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Beau Friedlander

Beau Friedlander

Posted March 4, 2009 | 04:00 PM (EST)

Obama: Rushing to Victory


Republican National Committee Chair Michael Steele is on his way out on a Limbaugh (sorry). More and more folks in the reality-based community are saying Rush is running the show on the Republican-side of the aisle, that he's the true heart and soul of the Grand Old Party.

It seems clear enough. But unlike Michael Steele and other puppets of Limbaugh's stalwart reign of pill-popping fiscal despair, the fat man won't appear on "Meet the Press," or "Face the Nation." Same goes for radio.

Air America host Ron Reagan seemed like the right sort of knight to kill this dragon. He asked Rush to talk about his platform on "The Ron Reagan Show." No dice. Rush doesn't talk about Rush with anyone but Rush.

You've heard about that poll last October. Democratic strategists Stanley Greenberg and James Carville added a Limbaugh question to a poll and found that he was particularly reviled among younger voters. Why? We all know Rush Limbaugh is the rancid cream inside the boil that got him a military deferment after he dropped out of college during the Vietnam War.

Who likes him? The lore has it that a bunch of old white guys are to blame, but let's face it, the toad boasts millions of listeners. Have you never tuned in? Please! Of course you have. He's the purest expression of everything you hate--a red state Darth Vader waging war on true-blue Obama-wan Kenobi. It's great theater. Who could resist? Listening to his show is like watching a train wreck. Limbaugh loves all the attention he's getting ever since Obama called him out, and he's game to play his part in the above limned drama. He stated as much in a dispatch to Politico:


The administration is enabling me. They are expanding my profile, expanding my audience and expanding my influence. An ever larger number of people are now being exposed to the antidote to Obamaism: conservatism, as articulated by me. An ever larger number of people are now exposed to substantive warnings, analysis and criticism of Obama's policies and intentions, a 'story' I own because the [mainstream media] is largely the Obama Press Office.

If he doesn't sound like the Mr. T of politics, I don't know who does. Check out all the bowing and scraping among the power-set in the GOP. They know the drill. "I pity the fool," quoth Rush.

The catch is this: Limbaugh damages the fabric of society. Limbaugh didn't invent hate, but he perfected its mode of production. He goes unpunished because he answers to no one because he is an entertainer. He does not listen to criticism because if he is not God he at least, in the circus of his mind, runs the Republican Party and how dare anyone do anything other than bow down to kiss the ring around his famous boil?

Bottom line: We need Rush Limbaugh. America needs a villain to juxtapose itself against, to escape, and to conquer. America needs to have a receptacle for the stupidity, selfishness, and pride that got us in the economic mess we're in.

Limbaugh wants Obama to fail, which means to say he wants America to fail. We don't want America to fail, or Obama, and so now we've got an identifiable bogey man in the person of Rush Limbaugh--a goad for success. And that's easily worth $38 million a year.