Rush Limbaugh and the Al-Qaeda have something in common: they both are afraid President Obama will succeed. The people who hate America are ratcheting up their language denouncing President Obama. They know that this roll of the dice is a winner-take-all bet: the recovery of American power and prestige at home and around the world is at stake. So is America's political future.
As reported in the Huffington Post (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/01/23/rep-clyburn-bashes-limbau_n_160399.html) Limbaugh was asked by a major newspaper to write a 400-word statement on his "hope for the Obama presidency." Limbaugh said: "So I'm thinking of replying.., 'Okay, I'll send you a response, but I don't need 400 words, I need four: I hope he fails,'" He continued: "I would be honored if the Drive-By Media headlined me all day long: 'Limbaugh: I Hope Obama Fails.' Somebody's gotta say it." Limbaugh also recently had said: "We are being told that we have to hope he succeeds... grab the ankles, bend over... because his father was black."
Before the election James Dobson sent out a disgusting fictional letter detailing the ruin that lay ahead for America if we elected the man Al-Qaeda now calls a "house slave" and the man Limbaugh wants to have fail. We can assume that since the letter failed to do the job the next "best thing," as far as the Religious Right leaders including Dobson would like to have happen, is a scorched earth policy: If we can't win, then no one can!
Looks like Limbaugh has signed on. Cue the Wagner! So much for patriotism!
As the father of a son who recently fought for our country while serving in the United Sates Marine Corps I take furious exception to people rooting for us to fail. Failure won't only mean a worse economy; it means lowered American prestige and a climate where it's easier to take shots at my son's brother Marines and soldiers.
As someone who left the Republican Party and the Religious Right, one big reason I did so (that I describe in detail in my book Crazy For God), is because of the right's lack of patriotism. I had begun to notice many years ago that bad news was good news to the right.
The worse off America got the more Dobson, Limbaugh, Coulter et al could claim that America needed saving -- bythem. Educational failure "proved" we needed private schools to get government funding. Crime? Why we need more prisons! Terror? Attack Iraq and settle old scores. Abortion? Do nothing to stop actual abortions by helping women, just use the issue to raise more money and guarantee votes for "our side." Patriotism? Not unless our candidate wins!
The right wing patriotic flag-waving veneer is wearing thin. And when the Obama administration succeeds beyond all our wildest hopes - and they will - the right will be cowering in a corner, saying the sorts of things that if they were said from left wing commentators would be called treason.
There is something worse going on than a fat stupid man shooting his mouth off. Following in the spirit the Palin/McCain rallies, where they sailed perilously close to stirring up violence by doing nothing about the haters who were shouting out "kill him" -- mark my words: in the next few years the more President Obama succeeds, the more shrill and demented Limbaugh, Coulter, and the rest of the rabid crowd will get. And mark my words, when the Secret Service uncovers one little pitiful half crazy plot after another, and they will, there will always be someone involved weaned on the poisonous milk of paranoia/talk radio, right wing screeds and the rest.
Limbaugh is like the neighborhood coward who won't do it himself but who dares the village idiot to jump off a bridge.
We find ourselves in the position of survivors of a shipwreck clinging to a life raft. President Obama is that "life raft." We are asking our young president to lead us at a time of extraordinary peril.
Patriots - of the right or left - will lay aside the debates that have so poisoned our country.
Patriots -- will honor our new president's requests when he calls upon us to sacrifice, be it to volunteer for military service or for civilian programs, or to change our consumer lifestyles in favor of an environmentally sustainable way of life, or to pay higher taxes.
Patriots -- will be patient, realizing that the challenge facing our country is unprecedented. We will not demand instant success.
Shakespeare wrote: "There is a tide in the affairs of men that, when taken at the flood, leads on to fortune." President Obama is our tide.
The anti-American unpatriotic right has lost all credibility beginning with the Palin hate "he's not one of us" fest, and continuing now with Limbaugh's "I hope he fails." All that remains of the right is corrosive bile.
Pray it doesn't spill over any time soon, but don't bet it won't. The unpatriotic American right and the real and plentiful foreign enemies of our country know that there is a bright new future ahead of us if we keep faith. American success terrifies them . They know America's success and President Obama's success is, for now, one and the same.
Frank Schaeffer is the author of Crazy For God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back (Now in Paperback).