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Not that Rush Limbaugh is the King of Calm or anything, but I can practically hear his veins bulging out as he spews a litany of completely irrelevant invective about how President Obama is a child of the '60s and therefore believes in tearing down the country because of the "ill-gotten gains" of formerly great American leaders who established America as an "exceptional nation."
You'd think perhaps such a rant was precipitated by some new policy proposal by the President, right? Actually, no. It was brought on when a caller asked why Republicans treat this President with unprecedented disrespect.
Whatever you may think about yesterday's scheduling scuffle, there has never been similar behavior from any Speaker of the House toward a request from the President to speak before a Joint Session of Congress. I happen to think it was not all that smart to intentionally step on the Republican debate (though others disagree), and I also happen to think the media blew it way out of proportion because it inconvenienced them, forcing them to possibly choose one over the other. But whatever any of us think, I sort of doubt the idea of him undermining the very fabric of America is part of that overall thought pattern.
But for Rush Limbaugh, it clearly is. He bases his argument on this truly odious column by Shelby Steele in today's Wall Street Journal:
If I've heard it once, I've heard it a hundred times: President Obama is destroying the country. Some say this destructiveness is intended; most say it is inadvertent, an outgrowth of inexperience, ideological wrong-headedness and an oddly undefined character. Indeed, on the matter of Mr. Obama's character, today's left now sounds like the right of three years ago. They have begun to see through the man and are surprised at how little is there.
Yet there is something more than inexperience or lack of character that defines this presidency: Mr. Obama came of age in a bubble of post-'60s liberalism that conditioned him to be an adversary of American exceptionalism. In this liberalism America's exceptional status in the world follows from a bargain with the devil—an indulgence in militarism, racism, sexism, corporate greed, and environmental disregard as the means to a broad economic, military, and even cultural supremacy in the world. And therefore America's greatness is as much the fruit of evil as of a devotion to freedom.
Mr. Obama did not explicitly run on an anti-exceptionalism platform. Yet once he was elected it became clear that his idea of how and where to apply presidential power was shaped precisely by this brand of liberalism. There was his devotion to big government, his passion for redistribution, and his scolding and scapegoating of Wall Street—as if his mandate was somehow to overcome, or at least subdue, American capitalism itself.
Please excuse me while I try not to choke on the bile flowing through that intro. Clearly Rush Limbaugh's ensuing rant about Obama's destruction of the country isn't based in racism, nor the disrespect shown to him as President because after all, Shelby Steele is a black guy, too. Right?
We have a real problem with reality-based thinking in this country, not to mention civility when Rush Limbaugh can go on the radio and seriously spew this:
LIMBAUGH: That is the answer to your question, Mr. Wolf. What is it about this President that has stripped away the veneer of respect?
We don't respect him because he doesn't respect the country. We don't respect him because he's trying to reverse centuries of greatness in this country.
You know, I said yesterday, they would never ask Bush or Clinton any of these questions, because Bush or Clinton would not have suggested a Joint Session on the night of either a Democrat or Republican debate, respectively.
There you have it. The very fabric of this country is unraveling because President Obama dared to request a joint session of Congress on the same day as the Republican debate.
The saddest part of this for me is how many people will actually make this connection in their own minds, giving them permission to keep being completely disrespectful and hateful toward this President. It's hate-talk, wrapped up in a flag.