Monday, October 20, 2008

Republican Conservatism — What Happened?

In 1994, when the Republicans swept into majority positions in the House and Senate, it seemed that a long-awaited Republican conservative era of dominance was at hand, and that it might last for a very long time. Back then, I hoped that such a scenario was actually the case. Back then, I listened to Rush Limbaugh. I admit that now with some degree of shame.

2008, by all accounts, promises to be a bloodbath for the Republican Party, and I fervently hope that’s the case. Needless to say, I no longer listen to Rush Limbaugh, and here’s the reason why. Somewhere in the early part of the 21st century, I realized that when I listened to Limbaugh for 3 hours, it made me feel stupid for doing it. Rush Limbaugh claims that his listeners are more informed politically than those who listen to NPR. He’s probably right, in much the same way that pure carnivores eat more red meat than those who eat a balanced diet. NPR listeners spend part of their time learning about things like foreign news and European politics and (dare I say it?) scientific discovery. In Limbaugh’s mind, how can that compete with the ranting of a man who professes to have one half of his brain tied behind him?

Which brings me to the question— if Republican conservatism was such a big deal, then how come it lasted for a measly 14 years? I think I have a five word answer: Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. These two clowns have done more for Democratic Liberalism than all the Al Sharptons and Jessie Jacksons that ever graced then ranks of the Democrat Party. Limbaugh and Hannity have given a face to ideological fanaticism. It’s the fanaticism of Republican conservatism, but it could just as easily have been the face of fanatic socialism. They have reminded Americans why we’re not a Fascist nation. It’s because we just don’t like Fascists, but more than that, we just don’t like fanatics. In two weeks, The Republican Party gets to pay the price for having the wrong people on their team.

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