Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The conservative trifecta

If, as Fitzgerald once wrote, the ability to hold two contradictory ideas in your head at the same time and continue to function is the mark of a first-rate intelligence, perhaps Rush Limbaugh really is as smart as he thinks he is after all. Or perhaps, like the White Queen, he simply likes to believe six impossible things before breakfast.

Longtime p3 correspondent Doctor Beyond, who listens to Limbaugh for surveillance purposes so that we don't have to, writes:

What I Learned from Rush (1/7/08)

1. Hillary Clinton's decline in the polls was directly caused by Rush. He told some reporter that Hillary should be asked about the driver license plan for undocumented aliens in NY state. Turns out that it was Tim Russert who asked about the plan but that still changed everything for Hillary and it was because of Rush. Somehow I don't think Russert got the idea for the question from Limbaugh.

2. Clinton campaign staffers are looking for new jobs. Rush has heard this "under the table." Also, Drudge reports that the campaign is over and Hillary is going to drop out of the race.

3. He apparently didn't hear what he had just said (due to the hearing loss from the oxycodone?), since he immediately transitioned into arguing that Hillary would win tomorrow in New Hampshire.

4. Perhaps due to that hearing-loss problem again, he then claimed that her campaign was doomed because of bad campaign planning and execution.

Unfortunately, I had arrived at Kiwanis and so I missed the official explanation for that last one.

Poor Rush. Hillary is letting him down. If she drops out of the race, the single most unifying issue/person among Rush's listeners will be rendered of little import. The hours of the show will have to be reassigned to Obama who, despite being black, is still a man and half white (the good half). It just won't be as visceral.

One never tires of saying it: Doctor Beyond is right. If Hillary were to drop out of the race (something I don't think is likely anytime soon, Iowa and New Hampshire be damned), Rush and his legion of listeners and camp followers would certainly have fun crowing about it--but they wouldn't find that one-tenth as satisfying as having her remain front and center to continue directing their spittle-flecked, sexually confused, faux-victimage anger toward.

And Republican fund-raising--already knocked off its once-invulnerable peak--would have less hope of regaining parity with the Democrats without the Fear of a Hillary Planet as a drawing card.

The same is true of the mainstream opinion elite, whose longstanding Hillaryphobia counts on the wingnuts' exuberant lack of subtlety to give elite hostility to All Things Clinton the necessary veneer of respectability. One of the great disappointments faced this electoral cycle by the Dowds, the Matthewses, the Russerts, and their ilk was that Al Gore declined to play "pull my finger" with them this time. Poor them.

Still, you go to the primaries hating the front runner you've got, not the one you wish you had to hate.

And worry not for the wingnuts; as Lance Mannion points out, whichever white guy gets the GOP nod, his minions won't lack for grist to whip up their base into a screaming frenzy, or for mainstream media voices to repeat the worst of it as "questions that must now be answered:"

The sexism and misogyny Hillary Clinton has had to face as a candidate for President is loathsome, despicable, vile, and probably a symptom of a class-wide sexual dysfunction among our elite pundits. [...]

This is what Hillary volunteered to take on. She knew what she would have to deal with.[...]

If Obama is the nominee, the attacks on him will be as vicious, loathsome, despicable, and vile, and racist.

And if Edwards is the nominee, the attacks on him will vicious, loathsome, despicable, and vile, and homophobic, (Cf. Haircuts, Breck Girl.) [...]

The diversity of the Democratic presidential field is a source of justifiable pride for many Democrats; a lot of Republicans are pretty excited about it too. By serving up a woman, a black, and a youngish well-groomed man (as opposed to a bunch of grizzly old manly-men white guys), the Dems have handed them the smear-and-fear trifecta. The only thing more perfect would be if Richardson were running stronger so they'd have easier access to the anti-hispanic card, too.

So don't feel bad for the Limbaugh wing of the Republican Party; Hillary or no Hillary, they won't want for someone to bring out the worst.

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