In 2008 Zev Chafets profiled Rush Limbaugh in a good article — “Rush Limbaugh is just getting warmed up” — for the New York Times Magazine. Chafets is a canny journalist who knew he had found a good subject. He proceeded to write a forthcoming book on Rush (Rush Limbaugh: An Army of One) that I look forward to reading.
Rush is the master of what he refers to as conservative strategery as well as what I would describe as tongue-in-cheek comedy. Not infrequently, Rush combines the two, as in his promotion of Operation Chaos during the 2008 Democratic presidential primary campaign. We followed a few of the twists and turns of Rush’s execution of Operation Chaos as he commanded his followers to vote for Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries in order to forestall and complicate the rise of Barack Obama.
Rush deserves the attention that Chafets devotes to him, and he looms large in the nightmares of liberals who don’t get the joke or the point. They take the line of brain-dead liberals like Al Franken, who holds in his inimitable style that Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot. Franken really showed Rush when he got his chance on Air America, may it rest in peace.
Today Chafets takes to the New York Times editorial page to proclaim “The Limbaugh victory.” In this column Chafets seeks to diagnose the root cause of the conservative resurgence that is taking place around the country.
In his lead paragraph, Chafets refers to “very conservative Republicans” who “seem to be doing so well lately.” He thereafter drops the “very” and simply discusses the recent electoral success of Republicans against Democrats as well as the success of conservative candidates within the Republican Party.
Liberals would prefer to deny the conservative resurgence. Denial has been their first recourse. If you can’t deny it, the next best thing is to attribute its cause to Rush. Enter Chafets. “[T]he most obvious explanation” for the conservative resurgence, according to Chafets, “is the one that’s been conspicuously absent from the gusher of analysis. Republican success in 2010 can be boiled down to two words: Rush Limbaugh.” Chafets describes Rush as “the brains and the spirit behind [Republicans’] resurgence.”
This is an explanation that serves a couple of purposes. It gives New York Times readers a congenial explanation for a confusing (to them) phenomenon. At the same time, It gives them a familiar villain.
Liberals like to think that the program of national socialism on which Obama is embarked is a popular phenomenon. Instead, Obama’s program has produced a grassroots rebellion harking back to the Founding Fathers. If you seek two words that best explain the resurgence of conservatives, Barack Obama is probably the correct answer.
Rush deserves great credit for maintaining and building conservative morale In the immediate aftermath of Obama’s ascension. In today’s column, however, I suspect that Chafets is executing his own variation of Operation Chaos, confusing the opposition and selling books at the same time. An Army of One comes out on May 25.
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