Limbaugh’s memes

February 28, 2009

I’ve never listened to Limbaugh’s show, so I thought I’d check out his CPAC keynote to see what he’s peddling first hand.

The main theme seems to be that Obama is punishing excellence and achievement by taxing the wealthy more.  This is pretty standard GOP meme and it is wrong in several ways:

  1. We are basically going back to the old rate under Clinton, after having had a huge tax break on upper incomes which did not help the economy, and produced huge deficits under Bush (something conservatives conveniently have no problem with).
  2. I don’t buy that a successful individual will decide to work any less hard because his total tax bill is between 0% and 11% higher (due to a top marginal rate of 39.6% instead of 35% above 250k only).
  3. We are still nowhere near the 70-91% top tax rate we had much of the 20th century.

He supports this with the usual argument that the top 5% income bracket pays over 50% of all taxes (citing NY numbers specifically).  This is so deeply flawed it really needs to die:  It hides the fact that those 5% top earners have increased their income thousands percent in the last decade while the lower 50%’s wages have remained stagnant.  So if anything the statistics illustrate just how grave the income equality gap has become (in fact I think Democrats should confront this head on and own this argument).

Another recurring claim is that liberals just want control.  This is just thinly-veiled fear mongering and conveniently hides that it goes both ways:  Conservatives are constantly intruding in people’s lifes: Their phone conversations, their reproductive choices, their sexual choices (e.g. gay marriage or gays in the military), their choice to have or not have a cross at their courthouse, their choice not to pray at school, their choice to die in their own terms, their choice to use recreational drugs.  Let’s be real here, both sides want control: Liberals want control to allow everyone to do whatever they want, conservatives want control to ensure everyone lives by their Christian code of values.

Some other statements (paraphrasing):

  • More Americans live as conservatives than any other way, even if they don’t vote that way:  Very comforting to your base, but impossible to support, and in fact very wrong if you believe the polls these days.  He could point to party id polls (more people consider themselves conservative than liberal), but I believe the third of the population that are independents these days just want pragmatism over inptitude, and right now choose Democrats.  Also after 8 years of the word ‘liberal’ getting a bad name I think it will come back.
  • The media (i.e. the drive-by media) is against you:  So don’t listen to any of them and only listen to me instead.  Enough said.
  • Obama is busy fomenting anger and fear:  I think Obama is definitely challenging the populist anger simmering across the country, which is brilliant; better to let us know he’s on our side and get us behind him in effecting the change we want (and voted for overwhelmingly).  I understand Rush would have a problem with this since many of the pitchforks are pointed at him.
  • We (conservatives) don’t hate anyone: Hahaha.  Empty words.  I’ve read the quotes (from his show, Michael Savage, etc.).  I actually put myself through Hannity every now and then.  The hate oozes.  Every second is filled with fear and hate.  Mr. Limbaugh, you can’t tell me that up is down or day is night.
  • Barney Frank and Chris Dodd caused the financial crisis: I don’t even need to refute this ridiculous claim.  Rush, stop covering Phil Gramm’s ass.  Can anyone in your movement ever accept responsibility for anything?

Then it got more tactical… conservatism doesn’t need to change, we don’t need to be going after the Walmart vote or the Hispanic vote or whatever.  So that was it for me… things to do.

Limbaugh wants Obama to fail.  The cynicism inherent in that statement reflects what he really is: a showman looking for attention.

Never mind his arguments that Democrats may end up with a ‘permanent majority’ like FDR built.  Fixing the country and the Democrats benefiting from it go hand in hand.  You can’t have one without the other.

Wanting the Obama and the Dems to fail is to want the country to fail.  If Rush doesn’t like this he should complain to the one that brought this disaster upon us all: Bush.

We have come to a provervial ‘moment of truth’:  Will conservatives obstruct just to prevent long-term Democratic control, and send the country into disaster?  Or will they accept some blame for the situation we found ourselves in, and give Obama some room to maneuver?

In other words, are conservatives prepared to put country first?