October 20, 2009
Who will rid me of that troublesome Rush?By Christopher Chantrill
Don't be tempted to believe in an organized conspiracy to race-bait Rush Limbaugh. That's not how things work in politics.
To understand how DeMaurice Smith, head of the NFL players' union and politically connected Obamite, could be the center of an attempt to destroy the reputation of Rush Limbaugh you only need to recall the complaint of English King Henry II about Thomas Becket. "Who will rid me of this turbulent priest?" the King is supposed to have said. Immediately four knights set off to Canterbury to deal with Archbishop Becket (See Eliot, Murder in the Cathedral; Anouilh, Becket).
Here's another example. A lowly courtier thinks he heard British Henry IV say of the deposed King Richard II: "Have I no friend will rid me of this living fear?" And so he rids Henry of his fear. Of course, Henry is livid when the courtier brings in the coffin of Richard. "I thank thee not," he says. (See Shakespeare, Richard II).
It doesn't take a conspiracy. It just takes a word, an attitude from the king, and the courtiers get the message.
In the case of Limbaugh it doesn't even take a careless word from the president. Every liberal knows how turbulent and troublesome, uncivil and racist the president's critics are. If it weren't for them we would have universal health coverage by now. If it weren't for them we'd be well on our way to saving the planet by now. If it weren't for them, we'd be well on our way to resolving the world's conflicts with diplomacy and "soft power" by now.
What's the harm in adding a little "artistic verisimilitude to an otherwise bald and unconvincing narrative?" (See Gilbert, The Mikado).
(We are adding all these literary quotes for the benefit of any sophisticated liberals reading this article.)
Rush Limbaugh is just doing is what the turbulent critics of the powerful always do, whether it's Thomas Becket criticizing Henry II, Sir Thomas More criticizing Henry VIII, or Tea Partiers criticizing Henry Paulson.
Politicians have the power of force; critics have the power of ridicule. Limbaugh's power is his talent to deliver "fun, frolic, and a serious discussion of the issues" to his 20 million listeners. You might even say that Rush is "edgy," because he commissions Paul Shanklin to do parodies like "Barack the Magic Negro" and "Banking Queen" to make his point. That's what art is for, according to our liberal friends. It is supposed to challenge the comfortable shibboleths of the establishment and say things that you are not allowed to say.
Here is the irony of the full-court press on Rush Limbaugh. Our liberal friends have made a big deal in recent years about the unilateral foreign policy of the Bush administration. They have lectured the "neo-cons" about the importance of "soft power" in resetting relations with powers that President Bush treated as adversaries, but that could be our global partners in diplomacy. They know the importance of developing trust and reciprocity.
But what do liberals do on the domestic front? They blow 1,000 page bills through Congress that nobody has read. They rush through a so-called stimulus bill in early 2009 that spends most of its money in the 2010 election year. They twist the Baucus health bill into a pretzel so it will score well with the Congressional Budget Office. They plan elaborate legislative tricks and subterfuges to snake their unpopular legislation around the long-established rules and customs of Congress They set up phony quotes on Wikiquote (that curiously seem to be edited from an IP address at a New York law firm) to discredit their political opponents. To heck with trust and reciprocity. We won, as the president said.
Let us not call this hypocrisy. It goes well beyond hypocrisy. It points to a delusional worldview. How can liberals think and write and act as though American conservatives are beyond the pale of polite society while they talk nicey-nicey with thug dictators and millennarian revolutionaries all over the world? If "soft power" and diplomacy works so well in international relations, what disqualifies them for the day-to-day diplomacy between the governing liberal elite and its loyal opposition, even including a popular entertainer and commentator?
However you look at it, the way the powerful treat their opponents tells us a lot about their fitness for power.
In a partisan sense, the clumsy political thuggery of the Obamites is a once-in-a-generation gift for conservatives. But as Americans who want the best for our country and its people, we deeply regret the truth that it communicates. Day by day, issue after issue, our liberal friends are telling all Americans that they do not deserve the political power that the voters have entrusted to them.
Limbaugh asked last weekend just what was the problem with his troublesome racial views:
Remember when young Prince Hal became king? The corrupt Sir John Falstaff thought he'd get his own shovel-ready stimulus project. Prince Hal had other ideas. The new King Henry V told Falstaff: "I know thee not, old man." (See Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part Two).
Would that President Obama were as wise.