Monday, March 2, 2009

Rush Limbaugh and the conservative movement


The 2009 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) produced a message of inclusion - of angry people. Rush Limbaugh was placed in the vaunted position of keynote speaker, which is a good indication of just where the GOP stands within the political arena. Polarized. Focused. Frustrated. Angry. Looking toward a self-aggrandizing reactionary pontificant to lead the way.
Rush Limbaugh told the choir, which was full of those there to hear the preacher, exactly what they wanted to hear. Liberals are bad. They are subverting the country from within. Obama is attempting to destroy the country that it took generations to build.Limbaugh makes it sound like Democrats (synonymous with "liberal") are the most vile people in the world. Actually, they're not, he is quick to disclaim. Their intentions are good, but... But it is part of the master plan. Because conservatives need direction to take the country back.
So, after telling everybody a joke about god thinking he was Rush Limbaugh to show how non-pompous he is, seconds later Limbaugh says, "Everybody asks me, what are we going to do?"
Limbaugh does look a little like Buddha. But, then, Buddha wasn't a god. Or so angry all the time... But the party faithful enjoyed it, giving Rush Limbaugh one standing ovation after another.
Tim Pawlenty, Governor of Minnesota, talked about the new GOP. It has become a common theme among the more progressive Republicans: The Republican Party needs new blood. There is talk of inclusion and diversity in the party that is made up primarily of white people. But in the straw poll taken at the Conference, Bobby Jindal is the lone face of diversity among the likely contenders for the Republican nomination for the presidency. Sarah Palin is the only woman. Democrats and Independents, political commentators and pundits call the GOP the 'party of old white men' or 'the party of tokens.' It isn't difficult to see why.

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Mike Huckabee finished sixth in the straw poll (7%). Newt Gingrich came in fifth (10%). Ron Paul finished third, tied with Sarah Palin (13%). Bobby Jindal edged them out for second (14%), even after that horrible speech on Tuesday evening. Mitt Romney finished on top (20%).
The CPAC straw poll showed a big difference in the choice among the hardcore faithful (the CPAC members) and regular Republican voters. CNN revealed that Sarah Palin won in a national poll among potential Republican voters in 2012, polling 29%, with Mike Huckabee polling a close 26%. Bobby Jindal polled a low 9% (and the poll was taken before the Republican Response speech)..

Michael Steele, who was just recently elected to the Chairmanship of the Republican National Committee, is the first black man to ever hold the position. Some point to it as a sign of the changing face of the Republican Party. Others point to it as a political maneuver to counter the black man that occupies the White House.
At this year's Republican National Convention, there were only 36 black delegates in attendance, down from a record number in attendance in 2004 (167).
In his CPAC speech, Rush Limbaugh said he didn't see black people, women, or Hispanics. The sad thing is, given the make-up of the Republican Party, it may have been the most factual thing he said in the entire hour-and-a-half that he spoke.
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