Friday, January 23, 2009
We've seen plenty of reporting about Rush Limbaugh's statement of hope that Obama's presidency "fail." While I suspect the news coverage is exactly what Limbaugh was hoping for – and I seriously debated whether I should give him another potential internet hit – I just couldn't let this one pass.
So I can't be accused of taking things out of context, below is a large chunk of the transcript from which Limbaugh's comments originate. It is part of an interview with Sean Hannity reported by Fox News. (Not exactly a bastion of liberalism bent on misreporting a discussion between two of conservatism's flag bearers.)
"HANNITY: Coming off record-ratings year for you, but you — you are a passionate conservative. You've defined conservatives for many people in this country for years. He represents the antithesis in terms of his world view.
So then the question becomes, do you want him to succeed?
LIMBAUGH: Now — this — I am so glad that he asked me that question. That you asked me this question.
HANNITY: I'm glad to.
LIMBAUGH: I'll tell you why. I am hearing many Republicans say that — well, we want him to succeed and prominent Republicans. Yes, we wanted — they have laid down. They have totally — they're drinking the Kool- Aid, too. They have no guts to stand up for what their beliefs are because they're afraid of criticism, they're afraid of being called racists, they're afraid of not having gotten with the program.
Now success can be defined two ways. I said earlier I don't know about this guy. I really don't. I've got my — I've got my suspicions, and they're pretty close to convictions, but we're going to have to wait to see what he does. Now if he turns out to be a Reagan, if he adds Reagan to his recipe of FDR and Lincoln, and if he does cut some taxes.
LIMBAUGH: If he does not eliminate the Bush tax cuts, I would call that success. So yes, I would hope he would succeed if he acts like Reagan, but if he's going to do FDR, if he's going to do the new, new deal all over which we will call here the raw deal, why would I want him to succeed?
Look, he's my president. The fact that he is historic is irrelevant to me now. It matters not at all. I — if he is going to implement a far left — look it. I think it's already decided. $2 trillion in stimulus? The growth of government. I think the intent here is to create as many dependant Americans as possible looking to government for their hope and salvation.
If he gets nationalized health care, I mean, it's over, Sean. We're never going to roll that back. That's the end of America as we have known it because that's then going to set the stage for everything being government owned, operated, or provided.
Why would I want that to succeed? I don't believe in that. I know that's not how this country is going to be great in the future, it's not what made this country great.
So I shamelessly say, no, I want him to fail, if his agenda is a far- left collectivism, some people say socialism, as a conservative heartfelt, deeply, why would I want socialism to succeed?"
Let's leave for other posts the question of whether Obama really is a socialist. (A quick preview – he isn't.) My bigger question; why would Limbaugh phrase his statement like this:
"So I shamelessly say, no, I want him to fail, if his agenda is a far- left collectivism, some people say socialism, as a conservative heartfelt, deeply, why would I want socialism to succeed?"
Limbaugh is about as far to the right as you can get in American politics. He claims to sternly believe in "conservatism" and just as strongly opposes anything approaching "socialism." If he really believes he's right, and he really believes Obama is a socialist, why does he need to want Obama to fail? If conservatism is right, shouldn't he know that socialist policy will fail? Shouldn't he be predicting that implementing socialism will lead to economic and political failure? There is no need to want failure, if he really believes he's right he should know failure is coming.
Instead he has phrased this as a want – a hope – that Obama will fail. Doesn't that mean Limbaugh sees a possibility that the policies he so vehemently opposes might succeed for the American people, and therefore lead to political success? If that's the case, and you have the interests of your country at heart, why would you "want" failure?
Unless of course you oppose policies not because they are bad for America, but because they are bad for your pocketbook.
In fairness, it's at least possible that Limbaugh is trying to say that he "wants" Obama to "fail" in efforts to enact a "socialist" agenda. The transcript doesn't read that way though. It looks like he wants the president's policies to fail once enacted, causing yet more misery for the American people.
At least we've learned that the new Senator from Minnesota knows what he's talking about.