While it’s become politically incorrect, most of us remember the old story about the natives and missionaries. The missionaries invariably end up cooking in a Jacuzzi-sized stew pot atop a blazing fire as the natives set the table for dinner. Today, we have the leadership of the Republican Party sitting in a similar pot, only this time it isn’t hungry natives stirring up the stew. It’s Rush Limbaugh. Whether the base of the Republican Party realizes it or not, the well-fed Limbaugh is gleefully devouring his own kind. Because, as long as respected, influential Republicans cower in the corpulent talkshow host’s sizable shadow, the party is going to remain in disarray and no Republican is going to win another national election. In case they hadn’t noticed, voters in the last two elections have roundly rejected the strident ideology of the GOP, and Mr. Limbaugh is the archetypal right-wing ideologue. Belligerent, verbose, vitriolic and astonishingly arrogant, he is the de facto Chief of the conservative movement in this country and the epitome of everything that a growing majority of voters have reviled.
How bad are things for the Republican Party? The Wall Street Journal, not exactly an enemy of the RNC, printed the results of a recent and devastating survey of voters. Apparently, 26% of voters have a mildly positive opinion of the GOP, and only 7% are significantly positive about it. Now, add the porcine pariah of airwaves and you have a perfect storm of loathing.
If you’re a Democrat, the most ill-advised thing you could do is jump into that pot. But that’s what has been happening. Too many Democratic officials, including members of the Obama administration, have already put one leg into the boiling stew by making statements about Limbaugh, thereby enhancing his appeal to the Republican Party and validating his popularity with its base. In the process of doing this, they are creating even more friction in Congress, assuring increased obstructionism by a desperate political party with no responsible leadership. The latest example of Democrats jumping into the pot is this “I’m sorry, Rush” website, which is one of the most juvenile political gags in recent memory. The people who came up with that one are no better than the Republicans they’ve been criticizing. And every time Rush gets one of those e-apologies, he lights up another $100 cigar and swallows another jelly donut.
It’s time for politicians on both sides of the aisle to realize that this corpulent, strutting demagogue is exploiting them all for his own self-aggrandizement. Limbaugh has been at this for the last 35 years. He wants to be a celebrity. He desperately covets admiration and power– almost as much as he hankers for those jelly donuts. Why anybody, especially the DCCC, keeps focusing a big spotlight on this human caricature is short-sighted at best. Why do key Republicans allow this radio personality to keep his pudgy-fingered grip on their party and their platform, knowing that he is one of the most unpopular people in the country? Why do Democratic officials and pundits keep giving him free air-time, when they know that will only result in boosting his already bloated ratings?
Leave Rush Limbaugh alone. He can stir that big pot just fine all by himself and, by the time he’s finished, all that will be left of the Republican Party is a few sun-bleached elephant tusks. (From the look of him the other night at CPAC, he’s already swallowed a few congressmen). In the end, he will be like the character in Monty Python’s “The Meaning of Life”. He will nibble at that last “wafer-thin mint”, then explode, sending out lethal shrapnel of Big Macs, Whoppers, milkshakes and buffalo wings. Stand close to that pot at your own risk.