I never, ever, thought that there could possibly be any socially-redeeming value to Rush Limbaugh, but after last month’s election, I am reconsidering.
Amongst those willing to look realistically at what happened, there is no denying that Limbaugh, and his ilk, helped trigger an enormous backlash against the cartoonish excesses of the Republican Party.
The best part is that he has no intention of going away or moderating his approach. That’s right, Republicans, whatever you did trying to win in November, keep right on doing it!
Limbaugh and the GOP right think their relentless drumbeats still intimidate the opposition, making them tremble to cave in with concessions to give them victories in lawmaking, such as with the “fiscal cliff,” even though last month’s election trended in only one direction.
But the big bad Limbaugh Boogeyman specter, the loud, angry noises and intimidating cynical disdain, is no longer fearsome. This is not just because of the outcome of the election last month, but because of how that outcome maps onto the trend-lines of the unfolding national history going forward.
None of the new factors that contributed to the Democrats’ sweeping wins last month have any potential for reversal, or even of slowing down or stalling out.
That one way forward is toward diversity and equality, and because of the amazing GOP stupidity leading into the election, it accelerated far more rapidly than even the most optimistic Democrats expected.
It gained steam with a snowball effect, beginning in the early months of 2012 when, at the state level, bills were passing legislatures mandating outrageous assaults on the rights and dignity of women. Virginia’s mandated ultrasound tests as a condition for abortion was an exemplary case, and it was also fueled by the national push for new “personhood” laws defining life at conception, even suggesting outlawing contraception.
This rapidly got the dander up of the single most influential “special interest” group in the U.S.: Women. The stupid white men of the GOP’s right wing, the likes of Limbaugh, just can’t comprehend women who don’t enjoy presenting themselves as slavish sex objects to them, and, as per Mitt Romney, they can only scratch their heads and presume such “radical feminists” must hang out in “binders.”
Under the growing pressures caused by this, it was entirely predictable that a couple of those stupid white men would crack and reveal their passionately-held beliefs about God’s intended subordinate role of women, making comments about rape that made the blood of millions of women come to a boil. Most of the white men who run the GOP outfit remain totally unable to grasp the level of anger their candidates provoked among women.
Likewise, the GOP, thanks to Limbaugh and crew, wasn’t any more accommodating about immigrants, either. Beyond Limbaugh, the legacy of other sized-challenged, pink-faced wanna-be demagogues like Lou Dobbs and Glenn Beck (who remembers them?) resonated through the GOP ranks and the rancid stench of their influence was not lost on Hispanic and other minority voters.
Then, the long lines to vote on Election Day, stubbornly holding for hours after polls’ closing time, evidenced the popular backlash against the Republicans’ bald-faced efforts to suppress the vote. The GOP talking heads still work overtime on new sophistries to deceive and deny about such matters, but the public doesn’t care. It’s not listening any more.
There is an overwhelming sense that the Republicans were duplicitous and dishonest toward the public (especially to Romney’s famous “47 percent” of moochers), and no amount of slimy new rhetoric is going to change anything now.
In this context, could it have been a good idea to allow no limits on campaign spending, gauging by the results?
All that secret money pouring into salacious negative ads against Democrats from the big monied interests forced the Democrats to fight harder, and had the net effect of getting the attention of the voting public about who was who.
So, the sensory overload of the paid TV ads, thanks to the Koch Brothers et al, did produce results. As with Limbaugh, they helped fuel a big sweep for the Democrats. Keep it up, boys!