NEW COLUMN, “Still Addicted To That Rush: Revisiting The ‘09 CPAC Speech,” is now WND.COM and The Unz Review.
Rush Limbaugh died on February the 17th. In the encomiums to conservatism’s radio king, mention was made of his 2009 address at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C.
CPAC for short, or CPUKE before Trump.
At the time, I had surveyed the perennial, Republican Party dynamics surrounding the event. “Addicted to that Rush,” the March 6, 2009 column’s title, came not from Rush’s brief addiction to painkillers, following surgery, but from an eponymous hit by the band Mr. Big. (It, in turn, came from an earlier time when the American music scene produced not pornographers like Cardi B, but musicians like Paul Gilbert and Billy Sheehan.)
Nevertheless, that title alluded to one of Rush’s missed opportunities: Speaking against a war into which he was involuntarily drafted and by which he was almost destroyed: The War on Drugs.
Still, how petty does that war, in all its depredations, seem now?! How unimaginably remote do the issues Rush spoke to, in 2009, seem in light of a country that has come a cropper in the course of one year, due to an unprecedented consolidation of state power around COVID, compounded by an amped up, institutionalized campaign against white America. And, in particular, against white Trump voters.
Other than champion tax cuts and globalization, the Rovian cadre of the GOP had been doing what it has always done: Calling for a more upbeat, inclusive and diverse party. Michael Steele, then chairman of the Republican National Committee, today an “analyst” for MSNBC, had derided Rush as a mere entertainer, describing “The Rush Limbaugh Show” as incendiary and ugly.
Then as now, Steele’s main concerns were not those of main-street Americans. Rather, Steele’s cares were “conciliatory.” The Rovians, like the Never Trumpers and the Lincoln-Project perverts, believed in the urgent need to broaden the Republican Party’s base and “appeal” to traditionally hostile minorities, when in fact the GOP had been courting traditional Democratic constituents with every trick possible, with little success, all the while sticking it to the base.
The Steele-Limbaugh spat fell into Barack Obama’s lap. The former president was losing it—throwing everything and the kitchen sink at the thing he called “the economy,” but which is really no more than the trillions upon trillions of voluntary, capitalistic acts individuals perform in order to make a living.
Introduce government force and coercion into this synchronized spontaneous order, and it starts to splutter. The economy responds poorly to economic planning and planners. BHO had imagined that he could walk on water. America facilitated his fantasy. The former president was realizing that he was not the magic man he imagined he was. Desperate times called for desperate distractions.
In short succession, Democratic henchmen—Paul Begala, Stanley Greenberg, James Carville, and Robert Gibbs—began picking on Limbaugh. Strong-armed too by the Obama administration was CNBC reporter Rick Santelli, who led a revolt from the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange against the bailout billions for mortgage delinquents. Little wonder, then, that the contents of Limbaugh’s speech at CPAC garnered less attention than the characters involved.
Rush spoke stirringly. He railed against the enormous expansion of government in the first few, frightening weeks of the Obama presidency.
But, as I noted at the time, not a word did one hear against the man who began what Barack was just completing. George Bush set the scene for Barack. Stimulus, bailouts, a house for every Hispanic—these were Bush’s babies. The Constitution and the Bill of Rights had been abandoned well before the fist-bumping Obamas moved into the White House. …
… As rousing as his speech was, not a word did Limbaugh devote to the Warfare State, every bit as corrupt, corrupting, and bankrupting as the Welfare State. As I observed, at the time, over $1 trillion was being spent yearly on imperial expeditions that were awash in American blood, but offered few benefits to the sacrificed, stateside and abroad.
Besides, I asked, “what kind of a nation neglects its own borders while defending to the death borders not its own?” …
… READ ON. NEW COLUMN, “Still Addicted To That Rush: Revisiting The ‘09 CPAC Speech,” is now WND.COM and The Unz Review.