Columnist disses Rush while misreading Reagan and Lee Atwater.
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Instead, Cupp and her fellow travelers hope to revive Lee Atwater’s bygone “big tent,” under which gay people and Tea Party members and isolationists and neocons would coexist without rancor. But Atwater, the legendary R.N.C. chairman, did not have to worry about freelance voices like Limbaugh and Todd Akin offending whole swaths of emerging demographic groups. Nor during the Atwater era, when Ronald Reagan was president, did the party’s most extreme wing intimidate other Republicans into legislating like extremists themselves, thereby further tarnishing the party’s image. When I mentioned this to the Proximus gathering, [one of the group’s founders John] Goodwin explained the dilemma faced by Republicans in Congress. “What forces them to vote that way, 9 times out of 10, is a fear of a primary challenge,” he said. “What we hope to accomplish is to bring more voters into Republican primaries, so that it isn’t just the far right that shows up at the polls.”
Are you kidding me?
This is more of the usual liberal hokum that demonizes prominent conservatives in life — then when they’re gone they are summoned forth from the speechless grave and hailed as “legendary” (Atwater) or a great president (Reagan) for the purpose of somehow shaming the newest conservative leader to not be so conservative.
When Lee Atwater was working for Ronald Reagan and later running George H.W. Bush’s 1988 winning campaign — in which Atwater tied Bush as tight as a tic to Reagan — it was Atwater himself who was accused of being a key leader of what the Times calls “the party’s most extreme wing.” Never would Atwater allow anyone in the GOP to get to his right, Reagan’s right or, in 1988, Bush’s right. He was pummeled as a racist, as an anti-Semite, a right-wing extremist being the least of the furious charges hurled at him regularly by the liberals of the day and lovingly printed in the Times. Despite this fact, I can say with personal knowledge that there was zero truth to charges Lee was a racist or anti-Semite. The charges were disgraceful — but entirely typical of liberal politics at work.
Did Lee Atwater believe in litmus tests? No. “We are an umbrella party,” he once remarked, seeing this as being part of a majority party. But other than Louisiana Klansman and just-departed Democrat David Duke (whom Atwater publicly called to be “disenfranchised from our party” and summoning a resolution of censure from the RNC when Duke made a run for the governorship), he would never have read somebody out of the party.
Without doubt Lee Atwater would have loved Rush Limbaugh. The two never met, Lee dying shortly after Rush began his national radio show. Not for a moment would Lee have sat down with the New York Times and taken a shot at Rush, not for a second would he have called Rush “crazy,” “stupid,” or “dangerous.” And there’s a reason — a reason that, again, Cupp’s conservative mind and those of her friends seem not to grasp.
Lee Atwater of all people understood that conservative stars like Rush Limbaugh — as with a Ronald Reagan or a William F. Buckley Jr. and, of course, eventually Lee himself — were irresistible targets for the left. The left didn’t want to debate these people — they wanted to demonize them and then destroy them.
Rush and the Fluke controversy a case in point. When the controversy arose the goal of the left wasn’t to debate the issue of feminism or the Constitution or birth control or anything else.
The goal was to take Rush off the air. Period.
To deliberately, with malice aforethought , ruin and end his career.
As I documented in this story, “The Plot to Get Rush.” In which the saga of one Angelo Carusone was detailed. Carusone, the “Director of Online Strategy for Media Matters for America” had been running, as I noted, “a quite specific, quite detailed plot to get Rush Limbaugh, ruin his career, and drive him off the air” — long, long before Sandra Fluke. Bad enough for Cupp not to get this, but to not understand that this is how the left works — not to mention the fact she piled on and contributed to all of this in the Times — is yet another example of a conservative mind that seems not to grasp conservative history.
Does she not realize that Ronald Reagan as television host for General Electric was fired from his job because of his speeches criticizing the Kennedy Administration? That, according to Michael Reagan, then-Attorney General Robert Kennedy himself told GE if they wished to get government contracts they would have to fire Reagan? So they did.
Whether Lee knew that particular story about our mutual boss or not, he more than understood the point. By the time he was chairman of the RNC it was Lee’s turn to be demonized. When an RNC staff member had made a sharp attack on then-House Speaker Tom Foley, the Washington state Democrat, furious calls went up for Lee’s head. President Bush 41 made a point of showing up at a Washington fundraiser to defend, in the words of the Times in the day, his “beleaguered” RNC chief. Bush publicly backed him, saying “Lee’s doing a great job.” Liberals fumed. They wanted Lee Atwater fired — ruined — reputation destroyed and out of politics for good.
Only death solved their problem.
Most assuredly, were Lee Atwater here today and sidling into the bar to chat with Cupp and her friends, he would not be saying, as Cupp has, what a great idea it would be if, in Cupp’s words:
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?