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March 9, 2009

WHY LIMBAUGH MATTERS

By Andrew Schmookler

Limbaugh matters because he is an especially clear manifestation of the dark spirit that's taken over the Republican Party in the past two decades, and exposing his moral ugliness offers a means of either further destroying the power of that Party or exorcising that Party's demons and helping it regain its soul. Either way, America benefits.

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WHY LIMBAUGH MATTERS

So much talk about Limbaugh these days. And rightly so: he's a most important piece of the American political landscape for us to look at closely. He is an abomination, and the sooner America can recognize Limbaugh for what he is the sooner America can return more to the better angels of our nature.

Just as putting Barack Obama into the presidency was a vital step in saving the soul of America --lately possessed by the evil force of the Bushites-- so also would be the disgracing and repudiation of Rush Limbaugh.

That's what we should be trying to do with this disgraceful, shameless, narcissistic, vicious, dishonest man.

Limbaugh is part and parcel of the forces of the Bushites. He's part of the same pattern that came together on the right since the 1980s or so, and took over the Republican Party, the destructive and divisive pattern that gave us that bogus impeachment process against Clinton and then gave us that darkness of the George W. Bush presidency.

Limbaugh spent more than a decade teaching millions of Americans how to be their worst selves in the political arena. He taught them how not to think, how to seal themselves off from any genuine learning. He taught them to hate the people on the other side, to absolutely despise them. He taught them to misperceive their narrowest prejudices as the dictates of moral righteousness. He taught them how to pound their chests, spoiling for a fight-- indeed taught them to know no other way of relating to people different from themselves except to wage war against them fueled by the energies of contempt and the love of grinding opponents into the earth.

And perhaps above all, he taught them hypocrisy.

It is because of the lies of Limbaugh, taught for years on the radio waves, that so many people were prepared to call bullies like Bush and CHeney righteous men, when in fact they are precisely the opposite.  (So Bush goes throwing around the word "freedom" all over the place, where he actually was destroying our freedoms like no president in our history.)

And Limbaugh's basic lie is just as great:  a bully pretending to be a defender of the right. 

So here's why it's good that America is looking at Limbaugh now. Limbaugh is displaying so clear the profound ugliness of the very same spirit that has made the Republican Party such a destructive force in America, a spirit to which the Republicans still submit.

The inability of the Republicans to repudiate this spirit is the point on which the lever of the campaign against Limbaugh should be applied.

Step one is to declare to America, "See what a ugly thing this Limbaugh is-- his wanting the president to fail in the midst of a national emergency, his arrogant and pugnacious strutting and shouting in his interactions even with the Republicans, his insistence on picking fights, his almost grotesque narcissism, his disdain for anyone who is not on his side.”

It shouldn’t be too hard to expose the ugliness in the spirit of Rush Limbaugh. 

Step two is to use that image as a means to apply pressure to the Republican Party to denounce Limbaugh, and thereby to denounce the ugly and cruel, lying and bullying spirit, that, over the past two decades, has taken over the Republican Party. 

The campaign against Limbaugh, therefore, is a means to achieve either one of two important purposes. 

1) If the Republican Party cannot repudiate Limbaugh, and the spirit they’ve shared with him, then the manifest ugliness of Limbaugh –expertly displayed before the public—can be the means of further draining power from the Republican Party. What Limbaugh represents must be thoroughly repudiated by the American people, and if the Republican Party cannot separate itself from the Limbaugh millstone, it deserves to sink still deeper into obscurity and irrelevance.

2) Or if the Republicans can reject Limbaugh, and what he represents, this will be a useful exorcism on the path to restoring that party to a level of decency that this nation needs in BOTH of its major parties.

Either way, the good of the country is served.



Authors Bio:
Andy Schmookler, an award-winning author, political commentator, radio talk-show host, and teacher, was the Democratic nominee for Congress from Virginia's 6th District. His new book -- written to have an impact on the central political battle of our time -- is WHAT WE'RE UP AGAINST. His previous books include The Parable of the Tribes: The Problem of Power in Social Evolution, for which he was awarded the Erik H. Erikson prize by the International Society for Political Psychology.

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