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The Unrepentant Traditionalist
March 19, 2009

Rush Roulette
by Frank Creel

As the oldest presidential candidate ever, John McCain almost had to make an issue of Barack Obama’s inexperience. He had a point. Obama was arguably the least experienced presidential candidate since Lincoln, the predecessor in whose image he so likes to cast himself.

The President tacked an exclamation point onto his rookie status when he let his people lock horns with Rush Limbaugh.

Limbaugh is a talk show host! By his own description, an entertainer. A harmless, loveable little fuzzball. A captivating baritone microphone chef with talent on loan from Gawwwd!

No serious president should want to descend to the level of a political hawker on radio. Limbaugh appears to possess a few good conservative instincts but, as a thinker, he is several levels (whether the circles of hell or the spheres of heaven, depending on your leanings) below Burke and Kirk.

If I’m going somewhere in my car between noon and 3 pm, I flip these days between El Rushbo and Ed Schultz, an enthusiast for anything that gushes from the mouth of Lincoln…er, Obama.

I consider both of them, at bottom, comedians, Limbaugh wittingly, Schultz unwittingly. That the President should hanker to insert himself between their monologues is passing strange. Stranger still that, at a time when probably every sentient being inside our borders expects the President to focus on the economy, his chief of staff anoints a radio host the de facto leader of the opposition. Utterly beyond strange that neither Obama nor Emanuel nor Plouffe nor Axelrod nor Carville grasped that the squabble would send Rush’s ratings into the stratosphere.

As any savvy radio professional with his antennae tuned to ratings could appreciate, Limbaugh invited the controversy swirling about him by publicly hoping that President Obama would “fail.” Actually, he was careful to say that he hoped Obama’s policies would fail because those policies would be bad for the country. Every liberal in the country, many of them denizens of what Limbaugh labels the “drive-by media,” instantly mounted a white steed to denounce this “traitor” (a term actually used by somebody on a blog) for hoping for the failure of Obama, the apotheosis, in the liberal mind, of the country.

Thanks to this orchestrated spike in his ratings, millions of Americans beyond the usual dittoheads will tune in to his show and have the opportunity to hear Rush play back what he actually said: “Look, what (Obama is) talking about is the absorption of as much of the private sector by the U.S. government as possible, from the banking business, to the mortgage industry, the automobile business, to health care. I do not want the government in charge of all these things. I don’t want this to work.”

A lot of these new listeners will agree with that sentiment. A lot more will agree with him down the pike if the government’s absorption of the private sector doesn’t lift us out of this economic crisis, as it almost surely will not. In my opinion, Obama’s policies, if he succeeds in implementing them, will turn a two-year recession into a ten-year depression.

What sane and patriotic American would want him to succeed in doing that?

Ever the professional, Limbaugh retaliated by inviting Obama to a debate. Obama, of course, cannot accept. Limbaugh knows that, and Obama’s team, as amateurish as it was to pick this fight, is not dumb enough to think it can.

In any event, the Obama Administration should be measuring El Rushbo for bronze. If Limbaugh—along with Hannity, Levin, Ingraham, Savage, Plante and Crowley—had not encouraged George Bush to persist in his folly in Iraq, Obama would never have had enough traction to get the Democratic nomination, much less the presidency.

These “bastions of conservatism” seem not to have pondered, for instance, what would have happened to Japan’s occupation army by now had Japan won World War II. They never really explain why it makes sense to fight jihadism in the Muslim heartland, turning it into an Al Qaeda recruiting station.

Limbaugh, at least, entertains. Hannity is just a tedious browbeater. I heard him shouting down a Korean War veteran who wanted to express reservations about Iraq. Like he brags, it’s his mike.

All of them can take credit for helping usher a fervent acolyte of Saul Alinsky into the White House. Now they can burnish their “conservative” street cred, and, incidentally, raise their ratings, by attacking the guy. Fortunately for true conservatism, the Prez is naïve enough to fire back, thinking, I guess, that it will help his ratings.

To succeed, Obama needs policies that, in the long run, will preserve his electoral majority. All Rush needs to succeed is to keep his 15 million dittoheads. Guess whose cylinder has more cartridges.

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The Unrepentant Traditionalist is copyright (c) 2009 by Frank Creel and the Fitzgerald Griffin Foundation. All rights reserved.

Frank Creel, Ph.D., has been a columnist for the Potomac News, Woodbridge, Virginia. His op-ed articles have been published in the Northern Virginia Journal, the Washington Examiner, The Washington Times, and the New York City Tribune. In 1992, his A Trilogy of Sonnets was published pseudonymously by Christendom Press.

See a complete biographical sketch.

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