OK, so now Michael Steele, new RNC chair, has grovelled to Limbaugh and pulled back his weekend comment that Limbaugh’s rhetoric was “inflammatory” and “ugly”. And Bobby Jindal has said he’s all happy that Steele apologized. This all follows on the heels of some other Republicans behaving similarly.
At the same time, the Obama camp is facilitating exactly this outcome because they wish to portray Limbaugh as the functioning head of the Republican Party and its ideological fountainhead. The strategy here is to cast the various serious dilemmas we face as a consequence of modern conservative ideology and governance – an entirely reasonable proposition, of course.
Everyone, right and left, is acknowledging that the Obama administration is making a serious push to turn back the ideas and the policies of the “Reagan revolution” – to construct a “new New Deal”. Though the majorities of citizens are (as polls have shown for a long while, not to mention the last two elections) desirous of such a new direction, it is understood that resistance to it from movement conservatives will be intense, and they, along with the big money which profits from the post-Reagan status-quo will now mount an enormous PR/propaganda campaign to do whatever they can to obstruct Obama and to facilitate the failure of his administration and its goals. The prime vector of this campaign is already obvious and exits from the mouths of every conservative pundit appearing on radio and TV – “Obama is a radical socialist who will destroy the economy and eviscerate liberty.” The “culture war” issues, previously prominent, have now almost disappeared from the discourse and I don’t expect them to reappear in any significant manner except as something might arise which might provide some temporary means to derogate Obama and his project.
The next four years will witness a propaganda war more severe and omnipresent even than what we saw during the Clinton period. The stakes are higher for the parties noted above who stand to lose from changes to the status quo AND, importantly, the present situation (economic and political) gives Obama a much easier glide-path to achieving his goals than was the case during Clinton’s time in office.
It’s going to be very ugly. The elevation of Limbaugh in this equation indicates the depressing depths to which the right in America has fallen and is a harbinger of the level of paranoid, deceitful and hate-filled rhetoric which will now follow.
Update: Andrew Sullivan, as usual, says it well:
Steele Reports To The Politburo
Comrade Steele dutifully apologizes to the Great Leader and offers his regrets to his fellow comrades in the movement. Re-education camp will follow shortly. This climb-down marks the end of establishment Republican resistance to the Poujadist pontificator. It’s Rush’s party now. So why shouldn’t he run for president in 2012? Make Palin his veep – and be done with it.