On Tuesday's episode of the loathsome Rush Limbaugh radio program, in response to Bush's call to not question opponents' patriotism during a rare press conference Tuesday morning, Limbaugh "respectfully" disagreed (this and other linked quotes found here courtesy of Media Matters):
I want to respectfully disagree with the president on the last part of what he said. I am going to challenge the patriotism of people who disagree with him because the people that disagree with him want to lose. And I want ask you people a question. What is patriotic about losing? How come we can't question the patriotism of people who are actively engaged in sabotaging victory over this enemy? Why can't we question their patriotism? We most certainly can. We most certainly should. Damn straight, we should.Does Rush hate the president? Does he wish to undermine president's moral authority? Does he want to make the president look dumb? Alright, I admit that last one isn't exactly a tough one, but the answer to all three questions would be a resounding no. All this is a smokescreen, a shared wink and a nod between Bush and his most obsessive and loudest supporter. In fact, this is all just the standard operating procedure for how this administration conducts business. On a larger scale, it is how this GOP-controlled federal government conducts business. On the largest scale, it is how the Right Wing Noise Machine (h/t to David Brock) conducts business.
See, this is all about making the president look like he's above the fray and above all the partisan politics, when in all actuality, he and his crew have been the ones stirring the pot for over half a decade. But he can't just go around attacking those who disagree with him. After all, Bush is the Uniter-in-Chief. So no, Bush never leads the charge. That's what his lieutenants are for. First there are his lieutenants in his administration: just last week, Vice President Cheney was singing that same old song and dance, "Vote for Democrats and the Terrorists Win." Donald Rumsfeld is always good for spreading the message by using that entertaining tic of his, the rhetorical question. "Will the terrorist be emboldened if we leave Iraq? I'd say yes. Are Democrats a bunch of skirt-wearing panzies? You betcha!" Condi Rice never fails when it comes to saying something that makes little to no sense, as if she were channelling Bush himself. And let's not forget John "Tarbaby" Snow and the evil one himself, Karl Rove.
In the government, there are always ready individuals, prepared to say whatever needs to be said, whenever it needs to be said. Tops on that list is Bill Frist. Thinking back, don't you remember a time when the Senate Majority Leader position was relevant in Washington? Actually, remember when Frist himself was relevant?
Of course, aside from Frist, there are over 280 members of Congress from Bush's party so there's always someone to mouth what the prez can't say. McCain's usually a solid choice because he gives an air of legitimacy to whatever needs to be said because he's got his "Maverick" credentials. A big offender from this past week is James Inhofe, who says that what's going on in Iraq is a miracle. Uh huh.
Then there's the highest level of mouthpieces, the aforementioned noise machine. They've been honing their skills for decades and it shows. Chief among the noisemakers is our good friend, and the subject of this post, Mr. Limbaugh. Before the audio blowhards like Glenn Beck and Laura Ingraham and all the others, there was Rush. Before the advent of Fox News and the creep of rightwing influence into other media outlets, Rush was there sounding the horn. You can always count on Rush to say anything. ANYTHING. (And of course no one will call him on it.) Here's a couple of fun examples.
On the George Felix Allen Jr./macaca controversy: "[O]ne of my staff is Spanish and informs me" that Allen simply called Sidarth a "clown".
On stem cell research and science: "[Y]ou need abortions to get" embryonic stem cells, "we need to re-examine" notion of "scientist" because "science has been so wrong about so many things".
On Ann Coulter: [She] "doesn't lie".
Here's some pure and unadulterated racism for you:
I mean, why didn't these morons leave New Orleans before the hurricane? I'll tell you why: because they wanted to rape and loot! That's just the way some people are! And if they're black--if the rapists and looters are black--it's not George Bush's fault! We've had these problems ever since the Emancipation Proclamation. Once the whites leave town, all you've got is overwhelming lawlessness. That's not racism, Mr. Snerdley; it's a proven, demonstrable fact. Have you even seen a ghetto in Greenwich, Connecticut? I rest my case. [12 September 2005]And of course, there's this Hall-of-Famer, when Rush was commenting on the death of Jerry Garcia: "He's just another dead doper," says the guy with an oxycontin problem so bad it resulted in a loss of hearing. [circa August 1995]
Alright, I'm getting off track here. It's just Limbaugh quoting is so darn easy and fun. But I digress.
My point here is that while Bush is saying the right things like don't question your opponents' patriotism, Rush is there to let all the masses know that not only should we continue, but it is our own patriotic duty to do so. What you just saw there between Bush and Rush was a little wink and a nudge between two commited warriors.
Late Update! - Limbaugh opines on the upcoming season of Survivor. Quick, someone call Tramm Howard!