Far-Right Obama Critics Get a Reply

''I hope he fails.'' -- Limbaugh

It is, of course, a calculated outrage.

it was spewed by a clown in the media circus to kick a familiar
sequence into motion: angry denunciation by bloggers, pundits and
supporters of President Barack Obama (the ''he'' whose failure is
hoped), followed by Rush Limbaugh refusing to retract a word, a
courageous truth teller who will not be moved. And, trailing behind,
like the folks with brooms trail the elephants in the circus parade,
Limbaugh's devotees, complaining that their hero has been misquoted,
misunderstood or otherwise mistreated. ``What Rush meant was . . .
yadda yadda yadda.''

A calculated outrage.

knowing this, knowing how frequently and adroitly media are manipulated
by self-promoting media clowns who defame conservatism by calling
themselves conservative, one is tempted to let the statement pass, to
make its way unimpeded to the dustbin like so many other manufactured
controversies. But occasionally, it's necessary to intercept one of
them and hold it up to the light.

This is one of those times. Not
because what Limbaugh said on his radio program a few days before the
inauguration was an outrage -- outrage is the point, remember? -- but
rather, because of what the thing he said says about him and his fellow

``I hope he fails.''

Do you ever say that about
your president if you are an American who loves your country? Would you
say it about George W. Bush, who was disastrous; about Bill Clinton,
who was slimy; about Jimmy Carter, who was inept; about Richard Nixon,
who was crooked? You may think he's going to fail, yes. You may warn
he's going to fail, yes.

But do you ever hope he fails? Knowing his failure is the country's failure? Isn't that, well . . . disloyal?

irony is that Limbaugh and the other clowns would have you believe they
are bedrock defenders of this country, that they love it more than the
rest of us, more than anything.

That's a lie. Limbaugh just told us so, emphatically.

not the country they love. It's the attention. The ideology, their
perversion of conservatism, is but a means toward that end.

an observer might point out that it's counterproductive to give them
attention while decrying their love of attention. But, as already
noted, occasionally the clowns spew something that cannot, and ought
not, be ignored.

Ideological division is nothing new to politics.
But has ideology ever taken quite the seat of prominence it now enjoys?
Have people ever been quite so prone to regard their ideological
identity as more important than their national identity? The last 30
years are rare in that regard, if not unique.

``I hope he fails?!''

that, what? The defamation of conservatism Limbaugh represents will
stand vindicated? The Republicans will pick up a few seats in the
midterm election? Limbaugh's ''side'' -- his word -- will score points?

A sense of mission

Is this only a game, then? No lives at stake, no future on the line, no planet in the balance? Just a game?

I hope he bricks this free throw.

I hope he fumbles that pass.

I hope he fails.

And to hell with the country.

country doesn't matter. The ''side'' does. And Limbaugh's side seems
angry in power and angry out. It's as if anger is all they really have.

Obama was elected in large part on a promise to carry the nation past
anger, past the notion that either party has a monopoly on wisdom, past
the belief that ideology is identity. He was elected because people
want a sense of mission that makes them feel like Americans again.

he is successful, Limbaugh and the other clowns will face tough
sledding in a radically different world. Small wonder he is so eager to
strangle this presidency in its infancy. And need it even be said?

I hope he fails.

© 2023 Miami Herald