Radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh wants Barack Obama's economic policies to fail. He said it, he said it again, and he said it again at CPAC. Limbaugh was quickly accused of treason, more or less, and now he says he doesn't understand what all the outrage is about. All he said was that he hopes the economic recovery plan fails.
Why is this surprising? I'm not stunned that conservatives oppose President Obama's economic policies. Actually, I wouldn't have it any other way.
El Rushbo didn't stop there, of course. Limbaugh went on at CPAC to suggest that liberals opposed to the war in Iraq wanted the war to fail. Oh, shock and outrage!!!
Well, guess what? You're damn right I wanted the Iraq war to fail.
Yeah, I said it.
I think I'm not supposed to say that out loud because then I'm supposed to be afraid that I'll be accused of hating America and wanting troops to die. So maybe I should rephrase that tenderly and with great care....
"I wanted the Bush policy on Iraq to fail because the war and the ideas it was based were in complete opposition to my basic principles about how The United States should use its wealth and power. However, I was hoping that a magic genie would be found in Baghdad that would create a situation where Bush's policies didn't work but with no loss of life, damage to property, expense or harm to our nation's reputation."
The problem is -- I'm not Bobby Jindal so I don't believe in magic.
So I repeat -- damn right I wanted the Iraq war to fail.
Not because I hate our country or hate the troops but for the exact opposite reason -- because I love my country and I value the lives of the people sworn to protect it. If you opposed the war, I bet you feel the same way. Now, fasten your seatbelt while I go a step further.
I believe that Limbaugh wants the president to fail because he loves the country, too.
Let me explain with a specific example from the war: torture. I didn't want torture to succeed. That's not because I pray for a world populated by terrorists devoid of fear or the ability to feel pain.
No, I wanted torture to fail because I can't bear the idea of a world where America tortures people because 'it works.' That's not America to me.
I assume Rush Limbaugh feels the same way, more or less, about the president's economic plan. I bet he simply can't bear the idea of a world where massive government spending is effective and therefore popular because 'it works.'
The trick here is not to jump to conclusions. This is where so many fail, both liberal and conservative. They can't just accept a person's statement as it stands. They need to embellish it with accusations of treason. It's wrong to leap from "I oppose policies that I'm opposed to" to "I want people to suffer and die."
Of course, this very thing was done to Candidate Obama during the election. It's been done to all Democratic candidates for years and by people like Limbaugh. Well, not just people like Limbaugh but by Limbaugh himself, obviously.
The real crime Rush Limbaugh should be called out on isn't for his opposition to liberal policies -- because, duh -- but for being such total hypocrite. His bread and butter for years has been forming ridiculous conclusions based on purposely distorting his opponent's statements. He could give it but he can't take it.
But just because accusing our political opponents of treason is a tactic that Republicans have used with glee for years doesn't mean it's something that Democrats should adopt. It's wrong and it's counterproductive.
I have no problem stating the simple truth -- conservatives like Limbaugh love America just as much as liberals do. That's not the issue. The real problem gets lost in all the sound and fury - we just have different ideas of what America means.
Since I'll be accused by conservatives of being part of the 'blame America' crowd, let me be clear -- there's a deep ideological split in this country and I blame America.
We're a complex nation; big, sprawling and full of contradictions. Just looking at the personalities of our forefathers from the pious prudish Pilgrims to libertines like self-help guru / orgy attendee Ben Franklin explains a lot about why the country that we love is such a messy mass of mixed messages to this very day. We had founders like Jefferson who simultaneously wrote stirring words of freedom and owned slaves. Small wonder part of our manifest destiny was the two party system and CNN's Crossfire. Don't blame Michael Moore and Ann Coulter. It's America's fault. The whole country and our rich jambalaya of history.
We're complicated. Deal with it. The thing we can do to get along better isn't to expect to agree on things. Forget that. But we can agree to disagree without the pointless added bullshit playacting of pretending disagreement is treason. The healthy conflict of views on our homeland is as American as Christian TV preachers involved in gay sex scandals.
It's a war of ideas. Bring it on, Rush,. We'll keep the light on for you.