CPAC – a distinction?

I was just reading at Red State that Rush is going to close out CPAC, drawing huge crowds and, if the author was lucky – he would get to meet him.

I’ve been following CPAC (at a very safe distance) these last couple of days – featuring Joe the Plumber, Sean Hannity, Rush and others of that stripe – and it occurred to me… I speak for myself here – I imagine the Daily Kos regulars look at it a little differently – but I don’t have any desire to meet and laud the nutjobs in my party. I don’t want to meet Ward Churchill, or go to a conference where Al Sharpton will figure prominently. I would be happy to forget that Dennis Kucinich even existed, and if Robert Kennedy Jr walked into the room with me right now, my first order of business would be to upbraid him for the anti-vaccine silliness. Keith Olbermann can kiss my … OK – I don’t like him, either.

It seems that conservatives do want to lionize their looniest fringe, and to a degree, seem to want to let that loony fringe set the policy agenda for the party. Am I wrong here?

I mean, besides Gingrich – himself no Winston Churchill – who appeared at CPAC who was even remotely sane? Is that really the future of the Republican Party?

Interestingly… I’ve been following Little Green Footballs lately (thanks to a tip from PZ Myers of all people). I used to think it was a FreeRepublic type website… but lately it is one of the few places that gives me hope that the entire conservative movement isn’t committed to a program of intellectual suicide.

Another thought… Regardless of how you answer the above… is polarization self-reinforcing? Do I tolerate more from Obama because he is not-Bush than I would tolerate from a leader if my choices didn’t include only extremes? Do CPAC conferees buy into Coulter and Limbaugh because they see the only alternative as Olbermann and Moore?

10 comments to CPAC – a distinction?

  • Daniel Davis

    The reason they do put people like Rush or Coulter up to the podium is because of their following its strictly a numbers game, Rush has a minimum of 13.5 million weekly listeners to his show, it always seems that whenever the other party is in power the party that has so to speak lost with the American people will embrace what they can to draw the people back and attempt to unite them, to my knowledge Rush has never been a speaker at Cpac neither has Coulter, people do not resonate with Rush because they are simple minded but because they can agree with or get mad with Rush or Coulter on a lot of things. If Churchill had a following as large as Rush which we know it would never happen I believe he would be used as a tool also if republicans were the dominating power in congress. Now should they be tools? No! I believe the policy makers the leaders in the conservative party should be the ones to speak and resonate with the American people using ideas and proven ways to make this country better but instead they have used popularity tactics. The conservatives lost sight, succumbed to greed and forgot about the people that voted for them and the voters spoke. I find it sad that we are relying on the mouth peices with the bullhorns of our party to be the uniters instead of the elected. Oh and Olbermann does blow goats.

  • RW

    RULE 12: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions. (This is cruel, but very effective. Direct, personalized criticism and ridicule works.)

  • Any revolutionary change must be preceded by a passive, affirmative, non-challenging attitude toward change among the mass of our people.

  • RW

    Thing is, Limbaugh knows exactly what’s happening (he’s said it all along). Obama’s team has decided to target him & attempt to categorize him as being on the fringe, in hopes that his voice will be relegated to that of, say, Michael Savage. Since Obama is the most powerful man on the planet & his words mean things, his foot soldiers are taking up arms in support and the talking points have been handed down.

    Notice how little discussion there is of Limbaugh’s policies, but rather that he’s now the ‘de facto leader of the Republican party’ – and when someone says that it’s a red-flag for “talking points” – in order to push him and his message aside. Straight from the Alinsky playbook.

    Well, it’s not going to work because Rush’s message it is that of mainstream Reaganism, like it or not (I’m sure you don’t), and any attempts to portray him as equivalent with the likes of Ward Churchill or Keith Olbermann will only go over amongst the diehard Rush haters. Trust me, we have our fringe on the right, but it ain’t Rush.

    The only way Rush loses is if he actually does start passing along fruity right-wing policies; as a listener since late 1990, I can tell you that if he does, it’ll be the first time. Pat Buchanan’s rhetoric from the 90′s is right-wing. Savage is right-wing. Sometimes, Ron Paul can be on far right-wing. El Rushbo is conservatism, period.

  • If El Rushbo is conservatism, period… then I feel for conservatives.

    Notice how little discussion there is of Limbaugh’s policies

    Quiz: who said, “One thing we can all do is stop assuming that the way to beat [the Democrats] is with better policy ideas”?

    The fact is that what makes Rush fringe is that he has become a rabid opponent of Democrats and liberals to the extent that it overshadows any positive agenda he may espouse. He became fringe when he made fun of Chelsea Clinton’s appearance, he remained fringe when he publicly berated irresponsible drug addicts while privately feeding his own jones, and he remains fringe now by acting righteous about hating democrats and “hoping they fail” but not meaning what that normally and obviously means.

    And, it’s lucky for you guys that he is fringe – because if he was the best y’all could do… it would be a sad, sad day for y’all.

  • PS – is Michael Steele part of the conspiracy to marginalize Rush? Why does he see El Rushbo as “ugly and incendiary”? What about Daniel Larison? Is he following the Alinsky playbook?

  • RW

    The fact is that what makes Rush fringe is that he has become a rabid opponent of Democrats and liberals to the extent that it overshadows any positive agenda he may espouse.

    The definition of “Fringe” isn’t open to be amended so that it suddenly becomes that which is a “rabid opponent of Democrats”. Seems as though it was only last year that “dissent was patriotic”. Sorry, “fringe” means on the extremes (in this case, the context would be politics) and being an opponent of Democrats might put you in the minority nowadays, but it’s definitely not the fringe. I would think that an athiest proponent of gay marriage & Howard Dean supporter in ’04 would know a few things about being on the outskirts of society (wait, does that make you fringe?).

    Skipping over the media-matters (or their precursors) press release section –

    And, it’s lucky for you guys that he is fringe – because if he was the best y’all could do, it would be a sad, sad day for y’all.

    I’m not sure where you intended to go with that. Rush Limbaugh is the most successful radio talk show host in the history of the medium. Every person that

    has been put up against him, every one, has lost. He is, for all intents and purposes, the Babe Ruth of his genre. I think you’re missing the point by treating him as a politician, since he’s not one. By way of comparison, who would be the “best” proponent of liberalism? Keep in mind that first, you’d need

    someone who will actually admit to being a liberal, which narrows the field quite a bit; which is why I say that treating him as a pol misses the point because Rush can do things on the radio (use biting humor to draw in a huge audience) that would get a conservative politician crucified (part of the reason Rush probably couldn’t win an election), while pols or radio show host on the other side can be obvious liberals, but once they admit it their audience dwindles. They’re two different animals. But, yeah, he’s done pretty darn good in what he does.


    is Michael Steele part of the conspiracy to marginalize Rush?

    I note the wording, where “conspiracy” has been injected to diminish me and my argument (similar to what is being done to Rush) as no one in the universe has claimed any conspiracy, which – like ‘fringe’ – has a definition. That said, if you’re going to go to bat with the notion that it’s just a coincidence that Rahm Emmanuel & Robert Gibbs trotted out the “de facto leader of the Republican party” and the usual suspects regurgitated it for now going on a week, then I hope the pitcher is off his game. As for Mr. Steele, I didn’t see where he said anying about Rush being fringe, which is the context. This is still America and while it appears that being a “rabid opponent of Democrats” gets you labled fringe in some areas, the chairman of the RNC and the biggest voice of conservatism can publicly disagree and the world still spin.

    What about Daniel Larison? Is he following the Alinsky playbook?

    Since I don’t know who Daniel Larison is, I must admit: you got me on that one.

  • I’ll have to get back to you on the rest, but I’m still a Howard Dean supporter! :)

  • RW

    Ah, that’s fine, no use working your fingers….I get your gist. I’m just, again, trying to note the difference between a radio show host and a politician. I mean, it’s not as if “we” nominated our most divisive host to the US Senate (cough, Franken, cough). :)

  • Thanks for letting me off easy. I grok you.

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