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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-09-2009, 11:31 AM Thread Starter
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Der Fuerher

From the Los Angeles Times

Rush Limbaugh has his grip on the GOP microphone
As Republicans grapple with their fall from power, not all are comfortable with the talk radio king's suggestion that he, by default, has become the politically wounded party's unofficial leader.
By Faye Fiore and Mark Z. Barabak

February 8, 2009


Reporting from San Francisco and Washington — In 1994, Rush Limbaugh was a field marshal in the Republican revolution, rallying troops fervid in their passion, armed with a change agenda and determined to shake Washington upside down.

Fifteen years later, Republicans are politically hobbled and Democrats are fervid in their passion, armed with a change agenda and determined, along with their new president, to shake Washington upside down.

And again there is Limbaugh, master of the talk radio universe, unchanged and unbowed. If anything, his prominence and political import have increased.

Obama is "obviously more frightened of me than he is Mitch McConnell. He's more frightened of me, than he is of, say, John Boehner, which doesn't say much about our party," Limbaugh said on the air, referring to the GOP leaders in the Senate and House, respectively.

That may be cause for personal congratulation (not to mention a bigger audience). But as Republicans grapple with their fall from power and undertake some inevitable soul-searching, not all are comfortable with Limbaugh's suggestion that he has become the party's unofficial leader by default.

"He motivates a core Republican, who is a very important part of the Republican coalition, and we need those guys to be interested and active," said Jan van Lohuizen, a GOP strategist in Washington. "But it's not enough. The Republican Party has shrunk and it needs to be expanding."

While the GOP's star has fallen, Limbaugh's has soared. As party leaders struggle to find their voice, Limbaugh's baritone booms loud and clear three hours a day, five days a week on 600 radio stations across America. If a $400-million contract and the title of most influential talk radio personality -- as voted by industry pros -- aren't sufficient proof, consider President Obama's decision to pick a fight with him three days into his presidency.

Hosting Republican lawmakers at the White House, Obama called out his nemesis by name. "You can't just listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done," Obama said, pitching his economic stimulus plan and offering a priceless advertisement of Limbaugh's influence.

The radio host happily responded on his next program. "I am Rush Limbaugh, the man President Obama has instructed you not to listen to!" he crowed, adding to a long list of self-appellations that includes America's Truth Detector; Doctor of Democracy; Most Dangerous Man in America; and All-Knowing, All-Sensing, All-Everything Maha Rushie.

By his own account, he is the most prominent voice of conservative thinking -- "the last man standing" -- now that Republican lawmakers have decided to, in his judgment, bow before the president. Indeed, Limbaugh seems more energized than ever. "Things just keep flying out of my fertile mind," he said during a recent reckoning of how "Obama the Unifier" had sprinted to the liberal left.

Limbaugh's listening audience is relatively narrow -- it is predominantly white, male and politically conservative -- but highly motivated. Many of the 20 million or so who tune in each week are willing, even eager, to pummel their opponents with letters, phone calls and e-mails to make their voices heard.

They can make a difference. Among their achievements, talk radio listeners helped kill President George W. Bush's immigration reform effort. Recent polls suggest that, despite Obama's high approval ratings, public support has declined for his stimulus bill since Limbaugh and his broadcast peers began railing against it.

Limbaugh has plenty of critics, not all of them liberal or Democrats. Some Republicans worry that the 58-year-old AM radio icon, highly effective at rallying disenchanted conservatives, may be turning off the less ideological voters whom Republicans need if they hope to again become a majority party.

"The question is: Are we going to have an all-white-man litmus test under the Republican Party? Or is there room for diverse opinion on environmental issues, on the issue of right to life, the issue of taxes and spending?" said Rich Bond, a GOP strategist and former chairman of the Republican National Committee. "There must be room for dissent in the Republican Party. It must be sincere. It must have comity."

To some, Limbaugh crossed a line when he recently rooted for Obama's downfall. Asked along with other prominent political types to write 400 words on his hopes for the president, Limbaugh said: "I don't need 400 words. I need four: I hope he fails."

"That sort of thing is going to turn off moderate voters. It's going to repulse some people," said David Barker, a political scientist at the University of Pittsburgh and author of "Rushed to Judgment: Talk Radio, Persuasion, and American Political Behavior." "There are a whole lot of people right now who just want to go ahead and give [Obama] his shot, hold back the arrows for a minute. And by immediately pulling out the partisan card, which is what Rush is doing, I think that repels more people than it attracts."

However, Limbaugh is accountable to no one but his faithful fans, his words arcing like spears flung from the Palm Beach, Fla., studio he calls his Southern Command. Enemies rooting for his comeuppance have been disappointed more than once.

Limbaugh acknowledged an addiction to painkillers in 2003 and was arrested three years later. (Prosecutors agreed to drop a charge of prescription fraud if he underwent treatment.) He has been married and divorced three times. Still, nothing seems to shake his standing with core conservatives. (Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas hosted Limbaugh's third wedding in his own home and performed the ceremony.)

Few Republicans dare cross him. "I don't need him crawling up my [backside] any more than the president does," said one GOP strategist and Limbaugh critic, who would speak candidly only if granted anonymity.

Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) recently learned the perils when he defended McConnell and Boehner in an interview with Politico, a Washington publication. It's easy for Limbaugh to criticize Democrats, Gingrey said, because he doesn't have to work with them every day. After he spoke, Gingrey's office was flooded with calls and e-mails from angry conservatives. He spent the next day apologizing all over cable television and on Limbaugh's show for making "those stupid comments."

These days, the radio host is so front and center that even his absence gets noticed. (He was on vacation last week and unavailable to comment for this article.) The liberal Huffington Post took note of Limbaugh's absence -- "Just as Rush Limbaugh ascends as the top leader of the Republican Party, it appears he has disappeared" -- and suggested sarcastically that he may have been forceably removed.

Not likely, though Limbaugh may eventually recede.

Though there is a place for his contentious commentary, "eventually, he will pale in importance next to the collective efforts of Mitch McConnell and John Boehner," Bond said. "He'll pale in comparison to the goods work of the new Republican national chairman, Michael Steele. He'll pale in comparison to the Republicans when they find new talent and new voices ahead of 2012."

Until then, the microphone is his.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

-President Barack Obama, 1st Inaugural address
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-09-2009, 12:27 PM
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The latest iteration of McCarthyism.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-09-2009, 12:33 PM
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He is the GOP leader. He represents the logical end to all that shit they've been selling for the past 20 years. Last man standing is right. Good riddance to them. The next bright idea someone gets for attracting voters, I hope they're libertarians or that they start their own party. The more the GOP is marginalized, the easier it will be to eviscerate this loathsome two-party system that keeps dragging us down.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-09-2009, 02:04 PM Thread Starter
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Funny you should mention that:

Leahy: Investigate Bush Now


Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy insisted on Monday in firm and passionate terms that a comprehensive investigation be launched into the conduct of the Bush administration, saying anything less would prevent the country from moving forward.

Speaking at a forum at Georgetown University, the Vermont Democrat suggested the creation of a truth and reconciliation commission to uncover the "misdeeds" of the past eight years.

"Many Americans feel we need to get to the bottom of what went wrong," said Leahy. "I agree. We need to be able to read the page before we turn the page."

The Senator also stated that Attorney General Eric Holder never gave assurances to Republican Senators that he would not prosecute Bush administration officials who may have been involved in illegalities such as authorizing torture or warrantless wiretapping.

"There are some who resist any effort to investigate the misdeeds of the recent past," he said. "Indeed, during the nomination hearing of Eric Holder, some of my fellow Senators on the other side of the aisle tried to extract a devil's bargain from him in exchange for the votes -- a commitment that he would not make... That is a pledge no prosecutor should give and Eric Holder did not give it. But because he did not it accounts for some of the votes against him."

At one point, Leahy slammed the lectern with his right fist, underscoring the emotion he brought to the debate. His remarks referred to claims that Holder had provided Republicans on the Judiciary Committee a pledge not to prosecute Bush officials -- claims that the Obama administration denied.

Leahy framed his commission idea -- which he had not discussed publicly prior to Monday -- as a middle ground of sorts between those who adamantly oppose investigations and those who say "we must prosecute Bush administration officials to lay down a marker."

The Senate, he proposed, would "authorize a group of people universally recognized as fair-minded and without any axe to grind" to investigate the Bush administration's actions.

"Rather than vengeance, we need a fair-minded pursuit of what actually happened," he said.

This is "not to humiliate people or punish people, but to get the truth out, so we don't make the same mistakes again," Leahy said later during the question and answer session. "We fought Revolution in this country so we could protest the actions of government. We should protect that."

After the speech, Leahy elaborated a bit on what he had just announced: The commission could, if needed, be granted subpoena power and it would investigate everything from torture to the faulty information that brought the country into war in Iraq. He had not, he acknowledged, discussed the idea with the Obama administration or Holder. After 35 years in Washington, he said, "I like being able to say what I want to say."

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

-President Barack Obama, 1st Inaugural address
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-10-2009, 07:12 PM
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sweet. about time.



in political asylum
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-10-2009, 07:13 PM
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Hang 'em, hang 'em, hang 'em high.

They did their level best to destroy this country.

Hang 'em.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-10-2009, 07:37 PM
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Quote:
Republicans…undertake some inevitable soul-searching.
One can not search something that does not exist.

Quote:
conservative thinking
Oxymoron.

Quote:
Limbaugh's listening audience is narrow-minded.
Fixed it.


Although I enjoy lampooning the Nazi of Cape Girardeau as much as the next man, I’d rather the media and Nation put him on permanent ignore.

Quote:
The Senator also stated that Attorney General Eric Holder never gave assurances to Republican Senators that he would not prosecute Bush administration officials who may have been involved in illegalities such as authorizing torture or warrantless wiretapping.
Perhaps – but they’ll be no investigation, much less prosecution; as much as I'd also love to see it happen.
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