Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Jonah Goldberg hearts Rush Limbaugh

As a Democrat, you just have to love the influence that Rush Limbaugh has over the Republican party. An obnoxious jerk running roughshod over anyone who disagrees with him. Great for party discipline! Not so good for encouraging dissent, honest debate, and open dialogue.

Jonah Goldberg, the conservative columnist for the LA Times, defends Limbaugh in today's column. Like Rush, he wants Obama's attempts to turn this country into a "European welfare state." It's a tragic state of affairs for our loyal opposition when this kind of argument by cliche counts as an intellectually sophisticated critique. Amazingly, Goldberg understands that Limbaugh's current perch on top of the GOP is a gift to the Democrats. Sure, he's rallying the few troops left on that side of the aisle, but he's alienating independents and moderate Republicans, and it's pretty much a net positive for Dems all the way around.

Goldberg defends conservatives by reiterating that they are bound to do things a certain way by, well, tradition:

I could swear that conservatives opposing the expansion of big government is what conservatives do. It's Aesopian. The scorpion must sting the frog. The conservative must object to socialized medicine.
Except, of course, when said expansion of big government is being done by a Republican. Or does the abrogation of the separation of powers and the claim of virtually unlimited power of the executive branch not count as an expansion of government?

What is most amusing are Goldberg's attempts to somehow find a middle ground between Limbaugh and his critics on the right. Of which there actually are some! I do have to give Goldberg credit for quoting some of the few dissidents who dare to point out that Limbaugh is wreaking havoc on his own party. But then Goldberg makes a godawful pathetic attempt to propose a solution. What is it? Get ready. He wants to bring back Firing Line. He wants to reincarnate William F. Buckley.

Right, because what this country really needs is another Sunday morning talk show about politics.

And, of course, the best antidote to Rush Limbaugh, a rude, loudmouthed populist who broadcasts several hours a day, several days a week, and reaches millions, is to bring back a preppy Northeastern elitist snob. Once a week. On PBS.

Goldberg writes that bringing back Firing Line would be

the kind of entrepreneurial government innovation even right-wingers could get behind.
How ridiculous is this? Resuscitating a program that started decades ago and lasted for 33 years is, for Jonah Goldberg, "entrepreneurial." Even with his tongue in cheek this is absurd.

And here we find a fault line in the Republican party: conservatives believe in tradition, but capitalists believe in innovation. Guess which side of that divide Jonah Goldberg falls on.

I have a suggestion for Mr. Goldberg: If you want to encourage civility of discourse and honest debate of policy, you might want to start with your own column.

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