The Current Crisis

Rush to Rush

Paul Begala is the loveliest of them all, with Kathleen Parker a close second.

By 3.5.09

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WASHINGTON -- "Rush is the bloated face and drug-addled voice of the Republican Party," Paul Begala is quoted as saying in the Washington Post. Begala is asseverating on Rush Limbaugh, the most popular radio commentator in the country, but alas one who disagrees with Begala. I think it speaks volumes about Begala's obliviousness that he would bring up physical traits in attempting to make some political point. Has he beheld himself in a mirror lately? Even friends know him as "The Skull," owing to his cadaverous countenance.

You may only have seen him on television. I have had the gruesome experience of seeing him in the flesh. We were in the makeup room being cosmeticized for appearances on a cable television show. The artiste attending to the crevices, the gullies, and the bumps of Begala's unfortunate face had to apply so much makeup to it that when he left the makeup room it looked as though he was wearing plaster of Paris. During the ensuing debate he may have laughed at one or two of my jokes or he may have frowned. It was impossible to tell. His ghoulish features were completely covered up.

The point Begala has been trying to make about Limbaugh is the point that apparently an entire phalanx of Democratic operatives, including President Barack Obama's chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, is trying to make, namely, that Limbaugh wants the President to fail. Of course, these Democrats are practicing a deception on their audiences. What Limbaugh clearly wants is for the president to fail in his apparent goal of bringing social democracy to our shores (through his nationalization of much of the economy and his onerous tax increases). Limbaugh wants this effort to fail because it will prevent economic recovery and the prosperity that has been allowed us by free-market economics. The whole controversy is a hoax. Yet now it is reliably reported that as many as a dozen top Democrats, some on the White House staff, are continuing this hoax and expanding it by trying to make reaction to Limbaugh an issue for the Republican Party to pronounce on.

Supposedly, if one declares admiration for Limbaugh in public one is politically an extremist. Alternatively, if one scorns him one is civilized to the utmost. The consequence is discord within Republican ranks, and -- so Democrats believe -- growing strength for the Democrats. Truth be told, here is but more evidence of my deeply held belief that politics for many -- whether they be Republican or Democrat -- is a form of neurosis. Come election time only the nuts will care which side you lined up on in this deviously confected hoax.

Yet the controversy demonstrates anew the validity of O'Sullivan's Law. The eponym of this law is John O'Sullivan, former aide to Lady Margaret Thatcher and former editor of National Review. According to O'Sullivan's law, in American culture if one is not firmly conservative one will fall prey to the liberals who dominate the culture, polluting it with their left-wing politics and creating what I call Kultursmog.

In the smog various timid conservatives have allowed themselves to become instrumentalities of the Democrats' hoax. Thus Republican National Committee Chairman Michael S. Steele has called Limbaugh's commentary "incendiary" and "ugly." Has Steele listened to Begala lately? Another timorous conservative is David Frum, who is always identified as an ex-writer for President George W. Bush who assisted in creating the phrase "axis of evil." How many writers are needed to create a three-word phrase? Frum is going along with the Democrats' misleading claim that Rush wants the president to fail. Perhaps Frum believes that social democracy is an improvement on free markets.

My favorite among the timid conservatives is this Kathleen Parker, a conservative columnist who apparently rose without a trace. Until this autumn I had never heard of her, and to this day about the only time one does hear of her is when she is puffing liberal gasses into the Kultursmog. In the autumn she was one of the conservatives sternly critical of Senator John McCain for his choice of the pulchritudinous Sarah Palin as a running-mate. Now in her Washington Post column she is equally stern in her criticism of the pulchritudinous Limbaugh.

Her presence in the mainstream media is another example of how the political culture works. Conservatives become acceptable when they disparage conservatives. Rush Limbaugh has never taken the coward's way out -- and he is very amusing.

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About the Author
R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr. is the founder and editor in chief of The American Spectator. He is the author of The Death of Liberalism, published by Thomas Nelson Inc. His previous books include the New York Times bestseller Boy Clinton: the Political Biography; The Impeachment of William Jefferson Clinton; The Liberal Crack-Up; The Conservative Crack-Up; Public Nuisances; The Future that Doesn't Work: Social Democracy's Failure in Britain; Madame Hillary: The Dark Road to the White House; The Clinton Crack-Up; and After the Hangover: The Conservatives' Road to Recovery.