Sunday, March 01, 2009

What does the rise of Limbaugh's party mean for the religious right?

I've never heard Rush (big fat idiot) Limbaugh directly. Heck, I've barely listened to any AM talk radio hosts* -- I don't even like NPR's talk radio. The only talk radio I can tolerate is the BBC's "In Our Time", and I gather Limbaugh is not Melvyn Bragg.

It's a failing. I don't mind listening to religious rantings; from what I've seen of the world any affiliated deity could be quite vengeful, irrational and nasty. The sheer stupidity of talk radio though -- it's too much.

And I'm an aging white male! These guys are talking to my (seeming) tribe.

Which is to say that I really don't know what Rush Limbaugh's ownership of the GOP means for the Party of Limbaugh's political strategy. It seems to fit with the "Southern Strategy" (white racism), but I don't think Limbaugh is a great fit for the religious right. I rarely hear him mentioned in that context, and my quick googles found mostly awkward defenses of Limbaugh's religious credentials from right side bloggers.

So does this mean the Party of Limbaugh is separating from the religious right? I'd like to see some commentary on that ...

* Lifelong consumption < 7 minutes.


Anonymous said...

I've experienced Rush Lobotomy's radio rants. For a while, I think I was just shy of becoming bulimic--I'd tune in while driving, and listen until I was ready to puke. Instead, I'd switch to R&R to clear my head.

Limbaugh is an egotistic, hate-mongering pig. I'm usually not that negative about someone, but here's the thing: he gets off on making people hate one another. If only you could see what he's doing with his right hand while he's coming up with some particularly rabid commentary (is that a pencil in his hand, or is he just glad to be witty?)!

Actually, and unfortunately, he's somewhat intelligent--but in a Hitleresque sort of way. If you pay attention to what he says and how he says it, you'll observe a common thread in all his rants. He'll start with a supposition--a "what if." Then he slowly takes that and creates a "maybe" scenario. After he spends some time on the "maybe," it becomes "when", and so on, so if you're not paying attention, you'll start thinking that his topic isn't hypothetical at all. And pretty soon he's talking about it as if it's fact, and by God, it's un-American, and the ditto-heads need to band together and stop the liberals in their tracks!

Anyhow, back to the question....If the above isn't just the ramblings of another "aging white male" but contains even a smidgeon of truth, and if the GOP is really Limbaugh's party, then the religious right doesn't have a chance. Limbaugh is SO not religious. He may claim (I don't know) to be a Christian, but my take is that his only god is His Holyness Rush Limbaugh. And the more influence he gains in the GOP, the greater the rift between the GOP and real Christianity. So I think the religious right is going to have to separate from Limbaugh, not the other way around. I think it's aready happening to some degree. It appears that many church groups are becoming less hard-core right wing, and are leaning more to the center (maybe out of desparation, but hey--let's take what we can get!).

As for what "Rush Limbaugh's ownership of the GOP" means: lemme tell you, if he can actually become the voice of the GOP, they are really desparate! He has no real substance, only what he conjures on his talk show. I don't think he has ever come up with a truly constructive idea. His idea of utopia is if all the liberals would becoming lemmings and march off to a seaside cliff. He abhores independent thinking (remember the ditto-heads?). The political strategy is dictated by the conservative credo:

If a liberal thinks it, proposes it, or agrees with it, it's wrong, and it's the conservative obligation to oppose it, no matter the cost.

And the credo has been defined to a large part by those that pay attention to the ravings of Rush Limburgher. (What is that smell?)

I don't know what will happen to the Republican party. Right now, it doesn't seem like they have much of an idea of how to proceed. Just like Limbaugh--and maybe because of Limbaugh--they've directed all their energy to making the Democrats/Liberals look bad. They've forgotten how to be constructive, and their innovative abilities stop once they've figured out how to pad their pocketbooks. If they continue under Limbaugh's guidance, I would guess that there are enough intelligent conservative Americans that they'll see the bad news that is Limbaugh, and steer the party away from that self-destructive road. I'm hoping that happens. It will be good for the Republicans, and it will be good for America.

John Gordon said...

Thanks for the great comments from a fellow aging white male!

Sadly, there are people I like who listen to Limbaugh. I wish it weren't so.

Hate the sin, love the sinner.

I do think American religion is separating from the right, so that era of the GOP is fading.

The very scary bit for people who've read history is how much Limbaugh resembles men in American, African, Asian and European history who have inspired an astounding range of atrocities.