"Rush Limbaugh said he hopes this administration fails, so you're saying, 'I hope America fails', you're, like, 'I dont care about people losing their homes, their jobs, our soldiers in Iraq'. He just wants the country to fail. To me, that's treason."-Wanda Sykes, White House Correspondents Dinner, May 9, 2009 Video
MSNBC and CNN (I do not watch what Fox pretends to portray as news and informed opinion) did cover Sykes's Limbaugh remarks in depth immediately after the dinner and early the next day, then shied away from them into the afternoon and evening in favor of her less controversial cracks about media coverage of the President's nipples and Nancy Pelosi's conspiracy to assassinate by hamburger.
But Sykes may yet succeed where others have failed in forever marking the shameless Rush Limbaugh for the traitor to country he truly is and ending his disgraceful career. I recall a similar tipping point involving a United States Senator from Wisconsin and the chief counsel for the United States Army:
"Until this moment, Senator, I think I never gauged your cruelty or your recklessness, attorney Joseph Welch rebuked Joe McCarthy. "Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?"
Few in the mainstream news media realized that day, June 9, 1954, how mortal the wound to McCarthy was, but Welch had slayed the terrible demagogue at once and forever. Exactly three months before McCarthy's final shame under the tongue-lashing of Joseph Welch, Edward R. Murrow began to open the eyes of the public with the half-hour television special "A Report On Senator Joe McCarthy", exposing McCarthy's contradictions and demagoguery. By the time Welch completely outed McCarthy's putrid soul, the senator's millions of admirers and supporters were fully ready to shun him.
"Rush Limbaugh said he hopes this administration fails, so you're saying, 'I hope America fails', you're, like, 'I dont care about people losing their homes, their jobs, our soldiers in Iraq'. He just wants the country to fail. To me, that's treason," Wanda said.
"To me that's treason" crosses back through time to "Have you left no sense of decency?" Are the quotes about to merge to take down the 21st Century McCarthy, Rush Limbaugh? If history is a gage, this early 21st century repeat of 1950s demagoguery has passed zenith and is rapidly collapsing to an end.
In the beginning was McCarthy. McCarthy begat Rush Limbaugh, who begat Karl Rove, who begat G. W. Bush, Jr. Also in the beginning was Edward R. Morrow, who begat Keith Olbermann, who begat Rachel Maddow. Yet, if history is truly repeating, Joseph Welch begat Wanda Sykes.
Using all of McCarthy's skills of targeting and branding foes of Bush/Cheney policies as unpatriotic and America-haters (the new communists), Karl Rove and Dick Cheney channeled McCarthy to a level even McCarthy would never have envisioned: a brew of Joe Gobbels/McCarthyism so toxic that it very nearly suffocated to death the whole of the American Republic. False patriotism and 911, wrapped in a stars and stripes shell, was dropped in a kettle of boiling fear of terror and the blood of our soldier sons and daughters. Bush/Cheney were evil gods who could see and hear everything. Step out of line, the man comes and takes you away.
"I was stuck on the tarmac at LAX...with nothing to do but read the Associated Press stories on my ESPN-issued mobile phone. And there it was: Don Rumsfeld calling me morally or intellectually confused, or the equivalent of a Nazi appeaser, or both. Not just me, mind you, but all of us-all of us who dared question Iraq, or the game of Simon Says that is the juvenile and ineffective new domestic counterterror rules, or the Bush administration itself.
And I searched the rest of that part of the Web offered me by the phone for the righteous indignation, for the atomic bombs of verbiage from the poets of the left, for the repudiation of this historically backward twisting of all that had happened since about 1933.