In the ruckus over Rush . . .

It takes more.

. . . Limbaugh’s attacks on Sandra Fluke, his defenders have chosen to focus much less on what he said and opted instead to point to the transgressions of figures typically associated with the left. I’ve decided not to do that for a couple of reasons: (1) It’s important that conservatives police their own, and that’s not possible if you make excuses by pointing the finger at others who have committed similar offenses, and (2) when Rush gets embroiled in a controversy of this nature, it damages the conservative cause far more than anyone on the left ever could.

Having made my feelings clear on the situation with Limbaugh, no one can accuse me of obfuscation or hypocrisy . . .  for whatever that’s worth. A great many conservative activists — particularly those who choose to take the Alinskyite approach of never conceding the opposition’s point, irrespective of its validity — will say it doesn’t matter whether you’re consistent in your condemnation because the left will never acknowledge it anyway. And they’re likely correct; the left has never been keen on giving credit to the right for its intellectual consistency. Rather, they tend to exploit it wherever possible.

Still, I’ve never been the type who allowed the left’s tactics to determine my principles. And besides, if in the final analysis all we’re fighting for is a culture in which everyone wants to be governed by conservatives while they behave like leftists, you’ve lost the war anyway. That’s not to say conservatives should never resort to the kind of in-your-face tactics that the left employs to achieve its aims; sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. But, there’s a reason many of us explicitly choose to align ourselves with the right, and one of those reasons has to do with a disdain for the leftist mindset and the way it manifests itself in civic life.

And truth be known, not everyone on the left is comfortable with the behavior of their own, and some are even willing to call it out for what it is. Case in point: Kirsten Powers. (H/T: Aaron Goldstein at The Spectacle.)

Liberal men marginalizing women in the media with name-calling is actually more common that you would think, and it isn’t reserved just for conservative women. Veteran political reporter Karen Tumulty of The Washington Postwrote this week about the time Matt Taibbi—who incidentally blurbed Rachel Maddow’s new book—described Tumulty variously as “mannish,” a “female impersonator,” a “pre-op version of Dave Barry,” and “ugly.” She says that he also “wrote at length about the size of one female reporter’s rear end, and called another one  ‘squirrely bitch.’”

If the left reacted with the same furor to liberal misogyny as they have reacted to Limbaugh, misogynist cracks would go the way of racist and anti-gay “jokes.” Let’s just call a spade a spade: the uproar over Limbaugh is only because it fits into the Democratic narrative that the GOP is “anti-woman.” It’s Democratic Party activism dressed up as feminism.

As I’ve mentioned several times in the days since Andrew Breitbart passed on, while I admire the work he did and how much he accomplished through his determination, grit and sheer industriousness, I didn’t agree with every jot and tittle of his approach to taking on the left. While he was no doubt driven by moral outrage at the tactics of the left, what he often (though not always) advocated was an amoral response; to set aside the rightness or wrongness of your own side and focus solely on the wrongness of the other side.

But, what makes Kirsten Powers an effective and persuasive commentator on this issue is her willingness to hold her own side accountable for its hypocrisy. When this particular argument dies down and people do all the internal arithmetic to determine which side was in the right, they’re not going to look to all the conservatives who were defending Rush. They’re going to look to Kirsten Powers and people like her as the voices of reason in all of this because she was able to recognize and willing to acknowledge the glaring weaknesses in her own side’s position.

This, of course, is not going to win her any admirers on the left. She’ll obviously be seen as a traitor of sorts — perhaps even a duplicitous slattern in keeping with the tendency among her journalistic cohort. But in the end she will have been right and consequently will be seen as a more persuasive force on such issues than filth-flinging dirtbags like Bill Maher, Louis C.K. and Keith Olbermann.

The point of bringing all this up isn’t to say that the right shouldn’t take the approach Andrew Breitbart advocated. Truth is, we need people like Breitbart who will take the fight to the left at every opportunity. It’s people like him and Brent Bozell who gather the information and use it to push back against attempts to silence Rush Limbaugh and others on the right who run afoul of politically correct sensibilities. Having those examples to point to is essential in mounting a defense of conservatism when conservatives are under siege.

At the same time, however, the right does need voices who are willing to call out misbehavior on our own side if we are to be able to draw a clear line of distinction between ourselves and our opponents. Otherwise, we will have become little more than the flip-side of the same coin, albeit a little shinier on account of our superior personal hygiene habits.

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16 Responses to In the ruckus over Rush . . .

  1. Barbra says:

    Thank you for this article. I’ve been wrestling with this same issue. I have not seen the point in finger pointing, name calling, and bashing from either side. It just isn’t helpful.

  2. retire05 says:

    Walt, before you hang too many accolades around Kristen Power’s neck, you need to understand the philosophy that she subscribes to; cultural Marxism. The reason, and the only reason that she is even speaking out on the Rush fiasco is because it has been her particular ox that has been gored. Powers is, first and foremost, a feminist, and all other things fall behind in priority.

    Powers has had plenty of opportunity in the past to call out those who use perjoratives against women. God knows there was enough of that coming from the left about Sarah Palin. Yet, she was mute until now. Playing devil’s advocate is not couragous, speaking out at the time of the event is. If she is now holding her own accountable, it is too little, too late, and reeks with insincerity.

    Those who support the cultural aspect of Marxism, as designed by Gramsci and Lukacs, knew and understood that in order to be successful, they had to split the movement into smaller fractions; i.e. feminists, gay lobbyists, etc. Powers is just a spokesperson for the feminist fraction.

    While I agree that it is important for conservatives to “police” their own, I think that the amount of support you want to assign that conservatives are giving Rush is not as great as you think. I haven’t read anyone who agrees with Rush’s comments (although what he said exactly has been distorted in the retelling), they simply are calling the hypocracy of the left. It’s like the married man who complains to his girlfriend how his brother-in-law is cheating on his sister.

    I also think that you place more importance on Rush than is warrented. I am surrounded by conservatives every day (as that is who I choose to associate with) and rarely do they say “Hey, did you hear Rush say X, Y, or Z?” He just isn’t the important topic you seem to think he is.

    Gramsc, Lukacs and Alinsky were brilliant in their designs, simply because their tactics work. Why should conservatives not adopt those tactics to use against the left? That is like saying that if Germany developed a brilliant weapon, the U.S. would have been wrong to do the same to use against the Germans.

    • Walt says:

      I think perhaps you’ve misread my intent here, retire.

      I haven’t scattered a lot of rose petals in Kirsten Powers’s path here. For the most part, I’ve just given an objective observation of how her positioning will play out in the end. To wit:

      When this particular argument dies down and people do all the internal arithmetic to determine which side was in the right, they’re not going to look to all the conservatives who were defending Rush. They’re going to look to Kirsten Powers and people like her as the voices of reason in all of this because she was able to recognize and willing to acknowledge the glaring weaknesses in her own side’s position.

      And:

      But in the end she will have been right and consequently will be seen as a more persuasive force on such issues than filth-flinging dirtbags like Bill Maher, Louis C.K. and Keith Olbermann.

      These aren’t endorsements of her integrity, but rather simple acknowledgments that she’s found herself on the right side of the issue.

      Also, I’m not saying the right should completely refrain from using the sort of tactics the left do. In fact, I say quite the opposite. E.g.:

      The point of bringing all this up isn’t to say that the right shouldn’t take the approach Andrew Breitbart advocated. Truth is, we need people like Breitbart who will take the fight to the left at every opportunity. It’s people like him and Brent Bozell who gather the information and use it to push back against attempts to silence Rush Limbaugh and others on the right who run afoul of politically correct sensibilities. Having those examples to point to is essential in mounting a defense of conservatism when conservatives are under siege.

      As to whether or not I’m giving Limbaugh too much credit for the amount of influence he has, I think there are different types of influence a figure like Rush can have. I don’t believe, and haven’t for quite some time, that he can deliver electoral victories with his influence. I concluded as much during the 2008 primaries, when he was unable to deliver a win for Mitt Romney, despite spending three hours daily attacking John McCain.

      But, what Rush does influence is the general direction of the debate on the right. If he decides the most important issue for conservatives to talk about for a week is outrageous plumbing regulations, well, people will be talking about plumbing regulations for a week. Hence, for the past week, Rush has decided that the most important thing conservatives can talk about is Rush Limbaugh.

      As for the effectiveness of any specific tactic, sure — Alinsky’s tactics work. So did the four-corner offense for a long time until someone came up with a strategy to defeat it. Then, people got sick of watching basketball played that way and created conditions wherein it was no longer possible to play that way and win.

      The analogy to warfare works that way as well. There was a time when mustard gas and other blister agents were used in warfare — not all that long ago. Saddam Hussein used it on the Kurds within the past 20 years, in fact. And that sort of chemical warfare will always be a threat to some extent. But, it’s been deemed unacceptable by the vast majority of civilized nations — so much so that the suspicion that a guy like Saddam has the developed the capability to use it can result in his country being invaded, blown to smithereens, and handed over to a new government while Saddam does the Mussolini at the end of a rope.

      Just because something is effective doesn’t mean it ought to be copied — especially if it can be effectively countered. Unfortunately, Alinsky has been elevated to a Sun Tzu-meets-Machiavelli like status by the right and no one is doing a damn bit of original thinking. They’re just placing a new template over it.

      As for the extent to which conservatives “agree” with what Limbaugh said, I think it’s largely irrelevant. The problem isn’t that they necessarily agree with him, but that so damned many of them are willing to not just support him, but to do it uncritically. And they do it through obfuscation — i.e., pointing fingers at the left and refusing to even discuss what Rush said other than to dismiss it as not as bad as what someone else said.

  3. retire05 says:

    Sorry, Walt, but I don’t know this mythical “they” that are going to look to Kirsten Powers for some form of sanity is. Hell, most people don’t even know who she is. And frankly, as an officer in both my county GOP and my county’s Women’s GOP, I can promise you, if Rush Limbaugh started talking about plumbing regulations, that would NOT be a topic of conversation among other GOPers. Again, I think you place too much importance on what Rush says.

    As to Rush and McCain, do you seriously think he was not voicing what every conservative Republican was feeling? McCain was a loser from the git-go, a RINO that was soundly bucked off in his first rodeo, but who, like Romney now, thought the nomination was owed to him because he was the last loser.

    You say that no one on the right is doing any original thinking; just what would you propose? You still want to fight gorillas with Napoleanic firing lines? Think Knute Rockne; Rockne invented plays that simply wiped the opposition off the field, until the other teams developed the same plays, and then the tactics of Notre Dame were useless when other teams took those plays and used them with greater skill.

    Also, pointing out hypocracy is not obfuscation. It is simply stating the obvious. Yeah, Rush made an ass out of himself, but the story has morphed past just a stupid statement. Now we have Steny Hoyer calling for Sandra Fluke to sue Rush Limbaugh. We have Jay What’s His Face, a guest on Solidad O’Brien’s show, asking Joel Pollak if Pollak is afraid of black people, being too damn stupid to know that Pollak is married to a black woman. We have the left demanding that advertisers drop Limbaugh. Yet, David Alexrod is scheduled to go on Bill Maher’s show come next Wednesday. Guess that tony $1 million that Maher donated to Obama’s Super PAC holds weight and when pressed on that, after saying he didn’t want to talk about Rush and then proceded to talk about Rush, Obama refused to answer a question about Maher’s $1 million and called on another reporter.

    You refuse to admit that while we conservatives can criticize the words Rush used, we also can denounce the left’s attempt to put Rush out of business and we are well within our rights to do so. And if you think that throwing back at the left what they have been throwing at conservatives for 70 years is wrong, come up with a better mouse trap.

    • Walt says:

      For the life of me, retire, I can’t figure out why you come to DDR anymore. I’ve been a complete idiot for a month now.

      • retire05 says:

        Why do I continue to come here? Could it have anything to do with the fact that I find you interesting, intelligent, articulate, and think you, for the most part, view things in the same way most in flyover country do? Perhaps it is because I also find your photography to be of exhibition quality, placing the importance on what most would not see (i.e., the rain drops, not the grass). If asked, I would have advised you to apply to some art show, spend $100 at Sam’s for a canopy and a couple of hundred more for panels, and show your work. Lexington has a couple of quality shows. And it is your kind of artwork that winds up on the walls of expensive office space. (One thing is for sure; you will either get your ego stroked with sales or be totally rejected, spending a few hundred dollars to learn that your work has no value to anyone but you. But that is the risk.)

        And have I ever said that I thought you were an idiot? Is that how you view others, Walt, that if they don’t see an issue through your mind’s eye, they think you are an idiot/dumbass?

        No, I don’t always agree with you. I don’t always agree with my spouse. But when I don’t, I don’t jump up and demand a divorce simply because we don’t see eye to eye on an issue. And when they disagree with me, or have a different perspective on an issue, I don’t quickly jump to the conclusion that my friend[s] think I am an idiot.

        I am not always going to agree with you, Walt. And if because of that, if I have violated some golden rule here at DDR, then let me know, for then I will know it is not the bastion of open dialog that I assumed it was. I don’t try to belittle you, although you have taken to doing enough of that for both of us, and I do try to see things from your window. Some of your responses to me have been loaded with sarcasm, which, frankly, was neither helpful nor necessary. I disagree with your view on certain things; I am not trying to insult your intelligence, or efforts. I would appreciate the same.

        I came to DDR because of an entry that sparked my interest (about Gov. Perry) and because I felt that you were a blogger that would not get his Hanes all in a wad if those who visited here did not stand in total agreement with you. But for the past week (not month) you seem to be wearing your emotions on your sleeve, resorting to accusing me of “Alinskyite” tactics and deciding that any waivering from your opinion is an attack on you personally.

        Perhaps it is time for me to move on as you seem to be overly sensitive to my comments, and opinions, of late, rational and emotion not always being bed fellows. Since it is your blog I will let you make that judgement call.

        • Walt says:

          There’s a certain accusatory tone to your disagreements that strikes me — entirely reasonably, I think — as dismissive and a little bit condescending. For instance:

          “Sorry, Walt, but I don’t know this mythical ‘they’ that are going to look to Kirsten Powers for some form of sanity is.”

          And:

          “As to Rush and McCain, do you seriously think he was not voicing what every conservative Republican was feeling?”

          And:

          “You say that no one on the right is doing any original thinking; just what would you propose? You still want to fight gorillas with Napoleanic firing lines?”

          And:

          “You refuse to admit that while we conservatives can criticize the words Rush used, we also can denounce the left’s attempt to put Rush out of business and we are well within our rights to do so.”

          It’s hard not to take those criticisms personally when they’re directed at me personally, and in a manner that reads less as an expression of a differing point of view than as a gobsmacked expression of disbelief.

          Maybe you don’t mean it to read the way it reads; I don’t know. All I know is that when I question someone’s assertion with scare quotes (the mythical “they”), or couch my disagreement in terms of whether or not they “seriously believe” what they’re saying, or reduce their arguments to an unrecognizable absurdity (fighting guerrillas with Napoleonic firing lines), or accuse them of refusing to admit things that they explicitly admitted — it’s because I think they’re absolute fools.

          Typically, when I disagree with someone I respect, I tend to extend some credit to their arguments by saying something like, “Well, yeah — I see your point, but it just seems to me . . .” or “You know, I would agree with you but for the fact that . . .”

          Generally speaking, when I make my point in such a way as to question someone’s grasp on reality, I’m talking to a liberal. When I disagree with conservatives whom I think are arguing in good faith, I try to depersonalize my disagreements and stick strictly to addressing their arguments.

          I appreciate the kind words you do offer and I take them in the spirit in which they’re offered. But, there appears to be a difference in style that, at least to my ear, creates a degree of ambiguity in some cases and outright contumely in others. But, when the disagreement begins with the apparent belief that what I’ve said is flat-out preposterous, I feel the need to defend it more vigorously than I would otherwise.

          • retire05 says:

            Walt, for decades, the left has used the mythical “they” to substantiate their view points. I don’t know who “they” are, and consequently, dismiss “they” that is used as a battering ram. Give names of people, groups, organizations, but “they” can be applied to almost anyone. How many times have we heard someone on the left say “They say?” Well, who the hell is “they?”

            There are reasons I do not have a blog, and simply choose to participate in the blogs of others; not withstanding the time factor, I do not feel that I am glib enough, possess the verbal adroitness or the command of the King’s English that is required for such an endeavor. I am a simple person who tends to see things in terms of right vs. wrong, black vs. white, moral vs. vile. For me, there is little grey area.

            I am opinionated, and tend to speak my mind. I don’t feel the necessity to preface my opinions with a caveat “Well, I see your point but…….”, because I think that is only hedging ones bets, making sure that you don’t irritate anyone and reduce the amount of blowback you will get for expressing your views. If that is your style, that is your choice, but it is not mine.

            So here it is; I do not appreciate your comparison of my views to an Alinskyite; I do not appreciate your sense that I am attacking you personally because I see things through a different perspective; I do not appreciate having words (idiot, dumbass, flat out preposperious) put in my mouth when I never used those terms and did not indicate that I felt that way. You have the right to honestly disagree with me; you do not have the right to indicate I said something I didn’t. That is Alinskyite tactics in their purest form.

            So………………………

            I guess it is time for me to make my departure. If stroking your ego is what you are seeking, I’m not your Huckleberry. I had hoped that you would find the benefit in my years of experience dealing with the left (you are younger than my youngest child) but alas, it was not to be as it was you, not me, that chose to personalize the discussions. That personalization, without you seeming realizing it, is also an Alinsky tactic.

            Good luck in all your endeavors. May God keep you, and yours, well.

          • Walt says:

            You’ve apparently not encountered a great number of people who give as good as they get. If you can’t be bothered to extend the common courtesy of recognizing that your interlocutor is operating in good faith, you shouldn’t expect them to respond any differently to you.

            It’s not a matter of being an Alinskyite. It’s tact: simple respect for others.

    • Walt says:

      “Sorry, Walt, but I don’t know this mythical “they” that are going to look to Kirsten Powers for some form of sanity is. Hell, most people don’t even know who she is.

      Obviously, “they” aren’t as smart and well-informed as you are. But then, who is? Certainly not me.

      “And frankly, as an officer in both my county GOP and my county’s Women’s GOP, I can promise you, if Rush Limbaugh started talking about plumbing regulations, that would NOT be a topic of conversation among other GOPers.”

      Obviously “they” could stand to be a little more literal-minded and insist upon taking an analogy and using it as a reductio ad absurdum argument against the point I’m trying to make.

      “You say that no one on the right is doing any original thinking; just what would you propose?”

      I would propose that you do it, inasmuch as you have a monopoly on thinking of any sort based on what you’ve said so far.

      “You still want to fight gorillas with Napoleanic firing lines? Think Knute Rockne; Rockne invented plays that simply wiped the opposition off the field, until the other teams developed the same plays, and then the tactics of Notre Dame were useless when other teams took those plays and used them with greater skill.”

      Rockne’s style of play was dominant until people figured out how to defend against it, not when they ran the same damned plays, but with better athletes.

      “Also, pointing out hypocracy is not obfuscation. It is simply stating the obvious.”

      If it was that damned obvious, it wouldn’t need stating. People would simply know it and there’d be no point in even discussing it.

      “Yeah, Rush made an ass out of himself, but the story has morphed past just a stupid statement.”

      Talk about stating the obvious . . .

      “Now we have Steny Hoyer calling for Sandra Fluke to sue Rush Limbaugh. We have Jay What’s His Face, a guest on Solidad O’Brien’s show, asking Joel Pollak if Pollak is afraid of black people, being too damn stupid to know that Pollak is married to a black woman. We have the left demanding that advertisers drop Limbaugh. Yet, David Alexrod is scheduled to go on Bill Maher’s show come next Wednesday. Guess that tony $1 million that Maher donated to Obama’s Super PAC holds weight and when pressed on that, after saying he didn’t want to talk about Rush and then proceded to talk about Rush, Obama refused to answer a question about Maher’s $1 million and called on another reporter.”

      And all of this obviously is taking place due to the fact that I deigned to discuss the fact that Rush said something stupid that allowed the left to change the subject — something that would never occurred to them if I’d stuck to the Alinsky playbook, only more skillfully than they do.

      “You refuse to admit that while we conservatives can criticize the words Rush used, we also can denounce the left’s attempt to put Rush out of business and we are well within our rights to do so.”

      This is getting a bit tiresome, but at the risk of being repetitive, I’ll quote myself yet again:
      “The point of bringing all this up isn’t to say that the right shouldn’t take the approach Andrew Breitbart advocated. Truth is, we need people like Breitbart who will take the fight to the left at every opportunity. It’s people like him and Brent Bozell who gather the information and use it to push back against attempts to silence Rush Limbaugh and others on the right who run afoul of politically correct sensibilities. Having those examples to point to is essential in mounting a defense of conservatism when conservatives are under siege.”

    • Walt says:

      Believe it or not, retire, I was already aware of that. I know. It’s hard to believe — the dumbass who runs this blog knew about that. But, yes. I saw it on Twitter today.

  4. retire05 says:

    Walt, accusing others (as you did me) of saying things they did not say, is in no way showing a person respect.

    That is a fact that perhaps you have not learned to accept.

    • Walt says:

      And how would you characterize this by that standard:

      “You refuse to admit that while we conservatives can criticize the words Rush used, we also can denounce the left’s attempt to put Rush out of business and we are well within our rights to do so.”

      When compared to this:

      “The point of bringing all this up isn’t to say that the right shouldn’t take the approach Andrew Breitbart advocated. Truth is, we need people like Breitbart who will take the fight to the left at every opportunity. It’s people like him and Brent Bozell who gather the information and use it to push back against attempts to silence Rush Limbaugh and others on the right who run afoul of politically correct sensibilities. Having those examples to point to is essential in mounting a defense of conservatism when conservatives are under siege.”

      • Patrish says:

        I didn’t visit the site for a whole day and lookey here!
        Retire05 showing her ass again. Imagine that!

      • Patriot4Freedom says:

        retire05 – - I truly hope to see your posts continue here.

        I, for one, would feel a loss if you did not return to continue the honest exchange of opinions that are on view in this thread !

        As for my two cent’s worth (and it IS only worth two cents) –

        The differences of opinion voiced here sound like two people who have BOTH been taking one another’s comments just a little TOO PERSONALLY. I have always thought that the open, honest and tolerant exchange of viewpoints is one of the hallmarks of the conservative world, and a goal to be strived for.

        It would truly be a shame if anyone felt that DDR was not a place where that spirit flourished, IMHO.