By Roger Kimball
April 23rd, 2010 7:43 am
Even if you don’t read anything else today (apart, of course, from this not-to-be-missed column), you will want to read Rush Limbaugh’s superlative reflections in The Wall Street Journal on the latest liberal libel, the idea that criticizing the Democrats’ big-government agenda is tantamount to 1. sedition (a fancy word for “treason”) and 2. inciting violence.
I know, I know: to hear them tell it, Rush Limbaugh is a barely articulate (or is he a demonically super-articulate?) neanderthal, one of those “bitter” chaps addicted to “guns and religion” that candidate Obama warned about on the campaign trail.
Yet here he is on the editorial page of the nation’s most serious newspaper sounding like a cross between James Madison and George Orwell. How can that be?
Limbaugh begins by recalling that in 1995 President Bill Clinton accused “loud and angry voices” on the airwaves—i.e., folks like Rush Limbaugh—of inciting the Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh. As Limbaugh puts it, “What self-serving nonsense.”
And the nonsense is not only self-serving, it’s also malignant. I mean, it’s not just this week’s prime example of liberal hypocrisy—“Liberals,” Limbaugh points out, “are perfectly comfortable with antigovernment protest when they’re not in power.” Then dissent is “the highest form of patriotism,” it’s OK to festoon walls with Bush=Hitler posters, etc., etc. But move the shoe onto the other foot and suddenly it is “unpatriotic,” even (if you—per impossibile—believe Chris Matthews and Joe Klein) “seditious” to raise questions about the growth of government and the fiscal and national security policies of the present administration.
Purely from a theatrical point of view, you have to admire the way the Alinsky-Left has deployed what Limbaugh calls “the violence card.”
Virtually all the real violence has been committed by the Left: The SEIU goons send Kenneth Gladney to the hospital because they don’t like what he says at Russ Carnahan’s town hall meeting. Karl Rove goes to Claremont College to talk and someone phones in a bomb threat. Allee Bautsch, Bobby Jindal’s campaign finance director, and her boyfriend are attacked leaving a fundraiser in New Orleans. She suffers a broken leg, he a concussion, fractured nose, and broken jaw.
When it comes to theoretical violence, though, the Left is sure that conservatives are just bursting with it. According to folks like Keith Olbermann, for example, the GOP generally and anyone who has anything to do with the tea party demonstrations in particular are inciting racism and violence. “If racism is not the whole of the Tea Party, it is in its heart, along with blind hatred, a total disinterest in the welfare of others, and a full- flowered, self-rationalizing refusal to accept the outcomes of elections, or the reality of democracy, or the narrowness of their minds and the equal narrowness of their public support.”
It is perhaps worth noting that Mr. Olbermann meant “uninterest” not “disinterest” in “the welfare of others,” but the inability to distinguish between disinterested acts and selfishness is characteristic of a certain species of left-liberal.
But let me return to Rush Limbaugh. In his column today, he points out what should be obvious to us all: that Obama and his left-liberal confrères are “using their power to implement their radical agenda.”
Mr. Obama and his party believe that the election of November 2008 entitled them to make permanent, “transformational” changes to our society. In just 16 months they’ve added more than $2 trillion to the national debt, essentially nationalized the health-care system, the student-loan industry, and have their sights set on draconian cap-and-trade regulations on carbon emissions and amnesty for illegal aliens.
Limbaugh is quite right that, had Obama campaigned on these policies, “he wouldn’t have garnered 30% of the popular vote.”
Indeed. There’s a lot of buyer’s remorse going around and that—not some deep, dark repository of racism and violence—is what explains the sudden rise of the tea party movement. Limbaugh eloquently captures the mood and the substance of the movement:
Like the millions of citizens who’ve peacefully risen up and attended thousands of rallies in protest, I seek nothing more than the preservation of the social contract that undergirds our society. I do not hate the government, as the left does when it is not running it. I love this country. And because I do, I insist that the temporary inhabitants of high political office comply with the Constitution, honor our God-given unalienable rights, and respect our hard-earned private property. For this I am called seditious, among other things, by some of the very people who’ve condemned this society?
I reject the notion that America is in a well-deserved decline, that she and her citizens are unexceptional. I do not believe America is the problem in the world. I believe America is the solution to the world’s problems. I reject a foreign policy that treats our allies like our enemies and our enemies like our allies. I condemn the president traveling the world apologizing for America’s great contributions to mankind. And I condemn his soft-peddling the dangers we face from terrorism. For this I am inciting violence?
Yes, precisely for that. And why? Again, Limbaugh gets it exactly right. The agenda behind the headlines is increasing government power. They say “health care,” what they mean is arrogating another sixth of the economy and your medical care to Washington bureaucrats. They say “a green environmental policy,” what they mean is more government control of business and your life. The say “bailout,” they mean sell-out of the American taxpayer. In the end, “the Obama/Clinton/media left are comfortable with the unrest in our society today.” Why? Because “it allows them to blame and demonize their opponents (doctors, insurance companies, Wall Street, talk radio, Fox News) in order to portray their regime as the great healer of all our ills, thus expanding their power and control over our society.”
A clear majority of the American people want no part of this. They instinctively know that the Obama way is not how things get done in this country. They are motivated by love. Not hate, not sedition. They love their country and want to save it from those who do not.