In Dante’s immortal architecture of evil, the fraudulent advisors were encased in flames in the Eighth Circle of Hell. I’d have to say that when it comes to conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh, that sounds just about right.
My problem with Rush Limbaugh is that he is all talk. I mean WHAT has this guy done? He flunked out of college. He was content to miss the draft during the Vietnam War. He has never held public office or run for public office. He’s never held a policy position or worked in any kind of public sector job.
The truth is he has made a career out of telling everybody else what to do while refusing to get his own hands dirty. And yet the dittoheads and politicians continue to hang on his every didactic utterance, as evidenced by his performance at last week’s CPAC meeting where he pretty much sealed the deal as the poster boy for American conservatism.
For my money, if I have to listen to a right-wing nut job, I’ll take a guy like Pat Buchanan. He worked under Nixon and Reagan, ran for president, and knows a thing or two about controversy. His opinions certainly are as far out in right field as Limbaugh’s. The difference is that they are often delivered with a self-deprecating laugh rather than a sneer.
Unlike Limbaugh, Buchanan’s views have been tempered by the reality of actually having to get something done. He knows what every practicing politician knows. Today’s adversary is tomorrow’s ally. Today’s majority is tomorrow’s minority. He understands that politics is gray, not black and white as Limbaugh would have you believe.
Buchanan is just as sure of his own beliefs as Rush is, but he is willing to listen to the other fellow’s point of view, because he knows that in politics everything ends in a compromise. Limbaugh believes that being right is the only thing that matters.
In the movie Apollo 13, there is a scene where a room full of scientists and engineers are frantically arguing with each other about whether or not the astronauts can be saved. Ed Harris silences them with one phrase: "Gentlemen, failure is NOT an option."
Looking at today’s great crisis – the implosion of the financial markets and a severe recession – Rush Limbaugh has come up with his own answer: "Gentlemen, failure is the ONLY option." Well, one thing the American people are pretty good at is knowing who is part of the problem and who is part of the solution. I’d say it’s a pretty easy call.