If there was any question that Rush Limbaugh has become the de facto head of the Republican Party, his much-anticipated speech toe the Conservative Political Action Conference today (which he semi-mockingly called his "First Address to the Nation") should have laid them to rest. There was a positive frenzy around him.
But this was not a riveting speech, because in the end it was just an hour and fifteen minutes of Limbaugh's patented gasbaggery. It was meandering and unfocused, and ultimately came down to his usual message: Liberals bad. Really really bad.
Of course, there was the usual bizarre inversion of reality:
President Obama has the ability -- he has the ability to inspire excellence in people's pursuits. He has the ability to do all this. And yet he pursues a path, seeks a path that punishes achievement. That punishes earners. That punishes -- and he speaks negatively of the country.
Ronald Reagan used to speak of the shining city on a hill. Barack Obama portrays America as a soup kitchen in some dark night in a corner of America that's very obscure. He constantly is telling people that bad times are ahead, worse times are ahead. And it's troubling because this is the United States of America.
... President Obama is so busy trying to create anger, and an atmosphere of crisis. He is so busy fueling the emotions of class envy that he has forgotten: It's not his money he is spending.
And inevitably, the eliminationism posing as a joke:
It is not their task, it is not their right to remake this nation to accommodate their psychology. I sometimes wonder if liberalism is not just a psychosis or a psychology, not an ideology. It's so much about feelings, and the predominant feeling liberalism is about is feeling good about themselves. And they do that by telling themselves they have all this compassion.
The coup de grace comes near the end of the speech, when he compares the nation's economic crisis to the Super Bowl; of course he wants his team to win! Because to guys like Rush, it's all just a game anyway.
I do hope a lot of people watched this. Because Limbaugh's appeal is very, very narrow indeed. Mostly nasty, ill-tempered paranoids.
And what I hear in Limbaugh's voice is a lot of fear. What they really fear is the possibility that Obama will succeed.