Friday, January 23, 2009

Rush Limbaugh: "I'm back, baby! I'm back"

Rush Limbaugh is an idiot. That’s not an opinion, mind you, it is an irrefutable fact. Water is wet, the sky is blue and Rush Limbaugh is a morbidly obese hypocrite who happens to be a complete and total idiot.

More importantly people who agree with him are idiots too. I make no apologies for saying that. Intelligent people can disagree on a number of issues but when it comes to Rush Limbaugh there is no room for discussion. You either believe that he is an idiot or you are an idiot yourself.

I’ve known this for quite sometime. I’ve actually listened to him and I was stunned by how misinformed he is. I was also taken aback by how crude and hateful his rhetoric can be. Even though I’m smart enough to realize the Rush is simply pandering to a surprisingly large segment of stupid people I still believe that Rush is an idiot because he doesn’t seem to understand where to draw the line. We all need to make a living but that doesn’t mean you should trade intelligence and decency for a paycheck.

Just when I thought my opinion of the guy couldn’t be any lower, Rush upped the ante with another gem. Now that Barack Obama is our president, Rush has conveyed his sincere desire to see Obama fail. Not only does Rush want Obama to fail, he insists that Republicans who want Obama to succeed are “drinking the Kool-Aide” and rolling over for Barack Obama. Rush goes on to lament the fact that people are supportive of the new President and feels that people want him to succeed because he is black.

Rush has proven time and time again that he is a racist. His apologists will sometimes insist that much of what he says is sarcastic and should be taken with a grain of salt but when it comes to racial issues Rush has made it very clear that he is a bigot. He’s careful not to throw around gratuitous epithets but suggesting that Obama is being given special consideration because he’s black is offensive at best. It’s not much of a stretch to characterize Limbaugh’s comments as treacherous.

This isn’t the first time Rush has forced race into a conversation in order to discuss his belief that “blacks” get treated with kid gloves. Rush famously got the boot from ESPN for insinuating that Donovan McNabb got a free pass from “The Media” because certain liberals were “desirous” of a black quarterback being successful. Never mind the fact that McNabb’s numbers indicate that he’s successful regardless of what people want. Rush is one of those cowardly racists. He finds clever ways to express his bigotry and poses obtuse questions that underscore his beliefs but it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that Rush doesn’t like black people.

Rush doesn’t have to like Barack Obama and he certainly doesn’t have to give Obama a free pass if Obama screws up. I’m sure there will be no shortage of venom coming from all of the conservative pundits over the next four years and since the Republican Party is definitely trending toward a more centrist platform, idiots like Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter will be even more popular in their niche. In fact, they probably want Obama to be successful so they can go back to selling lies and innuendoes to the NASCAR set.

Think about it. When was Rush Limbaugh at the pinnacle of his career? During the Clinton Administration. Rush Limbaugh was on the cover of every magazine and was a special guest on every news show. He was the king of talk radio and his format spawned a number of similar acts that managed to find an audience. Rush lost a lot of ground during the Bush Administration. When it comes to his career, which is the only thing Rush really cares about, Bush was the worst thing that could have happened to him. Conversely, Obama might be the worst thing that could have happened to The Daily Show.

The sad thing is that there are some conservatives who really do want Obama to fail. Rush doesn’t mean what he says but his audience takes him at his word and believes he’s right. It’s fine if they don’t like Obama and they should feel free to criticize him at every turn, but hoping that he fails is pretty rash. If Obama fails we all go down.

Bush was a failure and I can honestly say that I hated him and everything he stood for during his campaigns as well as his presidency. After 8 years of watching him crap on the entire world I can’t begin describe how much I dislike him. It makes me sick to think that he’s going to be drawing a fat presidential pension when it’s pretty obvious he should be doing time in federal prison. He’s the worst president we’ve ever had but additionally and more importantly, he is a sorry excuse for a human being. I loathe him.

Strong words indeed, but in spite of that I never wished that he would fail. In 2000 I knew that his campaign tactics were despicable, I was concerned with his religiosity and I was unimpressed with his intelligence but I held out hope that he would rise above all of that and be successful. I wanted him to exceed my expectations and do right by this country. While I can’t say that I was surprised by his failures, I certainly didn’t want them to happen.

By 2004 I understood exactly how bad Bush could be and I knew another four years of his antics would put this country in exactly the same hole it’s in right now. The problem with Bush is that he’s not only stupid but he’s arrogant as well. I can respect stupid people when they’re smart enough to know that they aren’t smart enough, but Bush is one of those rare clods who thinks that he’s a really smart guy. Combine that with his spoiled rich boy sense of entitlement and the chip on his shoulder because Daddy didn’t love him enough and you have a tyrant on your hands. If he’d been molested by an uncle or slightly less lazy, Bush would have been a serial killer.

Even though I despised Bush in 2004 I still wanted him to do the right thing and do it well. I wanted him to see the bitter division in the country and work hard to bridge the gap. Instead of viewing his narrow reelection as a warning sign that something was amiss, he pressed on as though the American people unanimously supported him in every endeavor.

At no point did I want him to fail. Even when I knew he was embarking on another hopeless journey I held out hope that he’d prove me wrong and everything would work out in the end. I’m really sorry that it didn’t.

You see the difference between liberals like me and the sort of idiotic conservatives who worship chunky opiate addicts is that liberals would love it if conservative policies worked. The world would be a wonderful place if we could just ignore the environment, burn up our nonrenewable resources with reckless abandon and impose rigid morality on the masses without infringing upon their rights. Unfortunately the world is far too complex for simplistic conservatism. I don’t want it to fail, it just does.

I voted for Barack Obama because I believe in him. He seems to grasp the complexity of the problems this country is currently facing. I don’t want him to be successful because he’s black. I don’t want him to be successful because he’s a Democrat. I want—I need Barack Obama to succeed because it’s in the best interest of this country. Failure, while possible, is not an option.

Rush doesn’t care about this country. He cares about his ratings and, in spite of Bush’s tax cuts working in his favor, his revenue has been down over the past few years. That’s about to change and he knows it. To Rush it doesn’t matter that he has had his way for the past 8 years. It’s not important that conservatism as prescribed by the rightwing pundits was a colossal failure. Rush is right back to where he was in 1992 and he’s not going to let this dash for cash slip by without a fight. Rush might be an idiot, but when it comes to lining his pockets he’s definitely not stupid.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Times, They are a-Changin'

Barack Obama will soon be inaugurated and I’m giddy at the prospect. I know that he’s not going to solve all the world’s problems with a magical pump of his fist but for the first time since I can remember I actually respect the man who is about to take office.

I was born in 1970 and while I can’t remember anything about Richard Nixon I firmly believe that he played a major role in shaping my cynicism toward elected officials. The guy was a crook, a liar and an egomaniac. Looking back I realize that Jimmy Carter was a nice guy who made the grave mistake of being honest with the American people but the fact remains that he was not an effective president. It didn’t help his cause that Teddy Kennedy treated him with nothing but contempt. If you can’t command the respect of your own party you have no hope.

Notice how I forgot to mention Gerald Ford? Exactly.

I do remember Ronald Reagan. Growing up in Northeastern Ohio I witnessed the effects of Reagan’s economic policies. To this day the Midwest is a shell of what it once was before Reagan declared war on unions and used blue collar workers as fodder for the cannons. A lot of people hold Reagan in high esteem. I don’t know why. Rumor has it that his face will soon make its way to the dime. Fitting considering that’s about how much he valued the American worker.

The first Bush was similar to Carter in the sense that he projected weakness. Unlike Carter he was a sniveling liar who got saddled with the fallout of his predecessor’s illegal and unethical activities. Bush presided over a grim recession and demonstrated a complete inability to understand how it affected the average American. Not surprising considering he comes from a family that doesn’t ever have to worry about its finances.

Clinton was a pig. He enjoyed living the life of a celebrity and indulged in all the perks that come with it. 30 years earlier nobody would have cared about his penchant for cheap women but in the 1990s people forgot that there’s a difference between personal life and public life. Besides Bill didn’t exactly go out of his way to be discreet. Even so, Clinton managed to ramp up the economy and got a lot accomplished in spite of the fact that a Republican Congress suspended doing its job in order to undermine Clinton at every turn.

The second Bush is proof that a combination of inbreeding and money yields disturbing results. I’ve read about all of our presidents and watched documentaries on most of them. George W. Bush will be viewed as the worst and that’s just based on what we know right now. Over the next 20 years a lot of secrets are going to come out and the level of corruption that occurred over the past 8 years will be mind boggling.

Worse than that are the clods who ran against Bush. Al Gore and John Kerry are very similar in the sense that they lacked any semblance of a personality. Gore is clearly the smarter of the two and probably would have been an excellent president but he was not able to project his positive qualities publicly. Kerry simply lacked the guts to stand behind his convictions. They were cut from the same cloth as Mondale and Dukakis, two other notable failures the Democrats foisted upon us and if it had been up to the brilliant minds that favored those four, Bill Clinton wouldn’t have been his party’s nominee.

Republicans haven’t fared much better in the campaign process. Reagan was highly charismatic. Even though he lacked substance, he projected a paternal quality that made people feel like they could trust him. After Reagan the pool gets really shallow. You have to go all the way back to Ike before you find a guy who is the least bit appealing. In addition to charm, Ike had a functioning brain which is not always a prerequisite for the job. Aside from Clinton, the Democrats have to go back to JFK to find somebody worthy of respect.

The point I’m making is that in my lifetime there hasn’t been a President or a Presidential Candidate I really believed in. Granted, I think Clinton did a great job and believe he was a good president but the guy was a creep and at the time I wasn’t so sure about him. I had to step back and put his administration into context. I realize that there are some conservatives who like to say that Clinton is to blame for the current state of our economy and the instability we see around the world, but I’m far too smart to buy it. I know how the system works. I've been paying attention.

You could say that I’m jaded. I’ve seen the best and the brightest both parties have to offer and I’m unimpressed. That’s been a fairly accurate assessment of how I've felt year after year.

Until now.

Barack Obama is a very smart man. That alone makes him immensely more qualified than two thirds of anybody who has run for political office in the past 40 years. I stopped and thought about the fact that I might be judging Obama by the standard that has been set by our current President but that’ not it. Bush might very well be the dumbest man to sit in the Oval Office, but that doesn’t diminish what Obama is bringing to the table.

More than being smart, Obama is appealing. He is every bit as charismatic as Ronald Reagan which is impressive seeing as how Obama is so young. The fact that a black man with that name was able to get elected is a testament to his personality but then this guy, who was born after 1960, exudes a sense of strength and wisdom that puts everybody at ease. Most importantly, Obama seems to have enough humility to admit what he doesn’t know and surround himself with people who do. Most Americans realize that the President can't do it all, so it's nice to see a guy who is comfortable in addressing his weaknesses.

This country is facing its darkest era since the great depression and the fact that the deep recession we’re in has global influences makes the challenges ahead that much harder. How can we reinvigorate the American economy if the rest of the world is struggling? Obama and his people have been analyzing that very question and they seem to have a couple of promising ideas. Additionally, Obama has to salvage diplomatic relationships that have all but ended. We can't extricate ourselves from turmoil if our allies aren't willing to lend a hand.

It’s a tough job, but the guy has already made progress. I’ve never seen a President-elect step up and demonstrate the level of leadership Obama has shown us...and we haven’t even heard his inaugural address. I’m actually excited to see what happens after he is sworn in. I know that he’s going to make mistakes but at least he seems like the kind of guy who will make an effort to correct them. We’ve spent the last 8 years letting a spoiled rich boy ignore his messes so having a President who is willing to accept responsibility for his decisions will be refreshing.