Romney’s spanking, especially in the South was a defeat not only for the pouting, self-styled “real conservatives” in the Republican party, but for the self-appointed opinionators of conservative talk radio.
Most of them, these days, ride a wave of hate and xenophobia against “illegal immigrants”, which is of course a code phrase meaning “dirty fucking Mexicans” and its their main issue, and consequently McCain is their bitter enemy for proposing even marginally fair and equitable treatment of people striving for the same freedoms and opportunities of every one of our ancestors strove for.
There is no valid reason to deny Mexicans this opportunity, so demagoguing and not so subtle racism of what we call the “Malkanite” wing of the party is the order of the day.
This did effectively whip up support during the attempts to pass immigration reform. However, this kind activism is the megaphone which amps up the apparent power of a minority, especially in the internet age, where online polls, emails and loud-mouthed blog posts by anonymous writers (like this one!) can overstate the actual support of any issue or candidate.
When real-world, measurable metrics like actual voting totals are used, we see the hollowness of their real support. This is why Romney’s humiliation exposed the emptiness of the supposed “power” of talk radio.
Romney was only supported by the Rush, Hannity and Coulter wretches because he was the most vociferous anti-immigration candidate. Never mind that he had only come to that point lately, he said what they told him to say and he obliged, that was good enough. He was extremely well-financed, slick, glib, and sucked Rush’s ass masterfully.
Unfortunately for Rush and his reputation, the same candidate who the best choice of the nativists also belonged to a dynastic leadership of a cult that teaches the very worst intolerance, slander and outright hate towards Protestants of all sects, Catholics and Jews (although their well-documented history of racism probably shared an affinity with many of Big Pharma’s brown-people despising listeners).
This elephant in the room was constantly dismissed from even being debated with the accusation that anyone talking about it was anti-Mormon and therefore not fit to be addressed. Well, in Florida and on Super Tuesday, Evangelicals and others demonstrated that they did take Mormon intolerance seriously and Mitten’s failure to address it or repudiate it doomed him. He took 3rd place in almost every Southern primary. Far right conservative threats to sit out the election if McCain were the nominee paled in the face of losing Evangelicals.
So Rush backed the wrong horse, but had he backed Huckabee (another Limbaugh hate candidate), there would have been no difference in Huck’s totals vs. McCain because Rush is irrelevant in a large contest like a national election. As stated above, he can stir the fanatical haters or one-issue obsessives to the point where they can make up in volume what they lack in numbers, but in balloting they can only vote once.
Sure, Rush is still popular. Lawrence Welk and Hee-Haw were picked up in syndication after networks decided they were passe and went on for years. Did they influence popular culture? Not a bit. They were a relic of an old culture with many surviving members who died off yearly until the shows were themselves terminated.
There was a time when Rush served a purpose, to gin up support when there were no other mainstream outlets for conservative and opinion other than a few tame national columnists. Those days are over and Rush is not so much an anachronism but an example of the kind of hide-bound insularity that is actually bad for a party. He’s the Democratic Underground of radio.
Rush is an example of the echo chamber, of misinformation and disinformation that might keep up morale, but is counter-productive in the long run because real information is always preferable to propaganda in the long run for planning, tactics and strategy in actually winning. Propaganda might work to keep the troops from giving up the fight, but its no way to actually run a war.
My Dad listens to Rush religiously, and is his perception of what is going on in politics is hugely shaped by what Rush says. I imagine he is representative of most Rush listeners.
My Dad was under the impression Bill Clinton’s un-provoked attack on Chris Wallace over some mild questions about bin Laden was a terrible mistake and had damaged Clinton. He was complete ignorant of the true intent, and result of the affair. Clinton shored up his support with the nutroots and the rest of the left by taking on what they perceive as right wing media bias. It was a terrifically popular move, but Rush and his ilk tried to spin it as a mistake.
This is but a tiny example of how Rush spins events preaching to his choir, down-playing negatives and enormously over-emphasizing positives. This is the kind of crap that have lulled liberals listening to MSM narratives about how the country hates Bush and the Republicans only to be rudely woken from their dreams of Presidents Gore and Kerry.
Similarly, Rush pimped Romney and skewed results, polls, anecdotes and news reports to spin the narrative that Romney was the choice of “real” conservatives, that McCain was doomed and would never be acceptable, was as bad as Hillary, that Romney’s toxic Mormon bigotry would not harm him in the South and that hatred of Mexicans transferred upon McCain would win the day.
Who knows, this kind of bullshit might even have faked out Romney and his team and explain why he didn’t address his very deep problems in the South. If so, we can all be grateful to Rush.
In the long run, the obnoxious, dishonest, bigoted, racist demogoguery of the Limbaugh/Hannity/Coulter nexus is damaging to the Republican party, negatively influences public opinion by the most easily deceived and gullible listeners, and gives the Democrat party ammunition to smear Republicans as being as disgustingly cretinous as Air Amerika and DU and Dkos.
Sure, there are blogs (like this one) that take that tack, but they have no national identity and don’t define the party nationally. Rush does. And his duplicitous pontificating, just like Coulter’s disgusting racism and boorishness and Hannity’s earnest inbecility all drag the Republicans down and dilute the fact that the far left is much more culpable in to the charge of incivility and down right hate in politics.
Being expected to defend Rush or Coulter just because you are a Republican is mighty irritating, and this blog, at least, cannot over-emphasize our disgust with both of them. They are not real Republicans or conservatives anyway, they are venal self-promoters who will take extreme positions to co-opt the most obsessive and loyally crazed partisans. This is not the way to win national elections, but I don’t think Rush gives a fuck. He’d do better with Hillary as president, so I don’t doubt he’d rather see Hillary in than McCain.