Is Limbaugh subverting a sacred trust?

Cobb is saying Rush Limbaugh has crossed a line with Operation Chaos, and he even has a cartoon up about it.

My take on “Operation Chaos” is that Rush is doing several things, here – he’s demonstrating his sway, he’s enjoying making mischief (and hoping that when the press talks about “Hillary winning and demonstrating momentum” they’ll mention his “Operation,”) and he’s getting a feel for just how strong may be the desire of conservatives to — not now, but in coming years — jump the GOP ship and form a more demonstrably “conservative” party.

Rush is justifying “Operation Chaos” by suggesting that since Democrats routinely play around with some Republican primaries (I believe the Kos folks did something similar) this is an acceptable thing for conservatives to do. Rush seems to blame the Democrats rather than the conservatives for the GOP nominating John McCain over some never-specified “perfect conservative” candidate, and his line is “since the Democrats selected our nominee, we’ll select theirs.”

I reject the premise that the Democrats “selected” John McCain.
Had conservatives managed to find that “Ronald Reagan II” they were demanding, he/she would have been immune to stray Dem hijinks; if the conservatives couldn’t find/groom a preferred candidate when they’ve known they needed one for the past 4 years, they shouldn’t whine about it or blame others. (Please don’t tell me “Mitt was perfect” – you only loved him when you had no other choice but McCain, and you got McCain because no one else was “good enough” and Thompson was never serious. And remember, I’m the girl who still thinks — because things turn on a dime — that McCain may still not be the GOP candidate; health and age are real issues.)

Cobb writes:

This is quite obviously subversive which is bad enough, but when Limbaugh much to the consternation of party bosses on both sides claims to be influencing elections and manipulating democracy with his plotting it demonstrates what I consider unconscionable hubris. He’s gone too far and he needs to be stopped.

Well, it is subversive, and it is hard to justify the subversion on the basis “fighting fire with fire.” One cannot compare the influence of — at most — a couple million KosKidz to Rush’s enormous audience. I keep thinking that if a liberal with Rush’s audience was advocating “Operation Chaos,” lots of conservatives would be decrying the game-playing and mischief-making misuse of our votes, which I believe most conservatives consider “sacred” things.

But I don’t think Rush should be stopped. That would involved trampling on something equally sacred, our right to speak freely and organize and assemble, even if we’re making cakes of ourselves doing it.

This 2008 election – and much of our electoral process – is already a two-ring circus; Rush is simply adding a third ring, and he’s perhaps also demonstrating how absurdly dishonest and vapid has it all become – the endless campaigning, maneuvering, manipulating and lying. And like a good capitalist he is turning a profit on the thing, besides. (If the “Operation Chaos” tee shirts, hats, etc are meant to support a charity, please let me know.)

So, I don’t think Limbaugh should “be stopped.” But I also don’t know that people should be giggling and guffawing over “Operation Chaos” without considering that — if the “operation” is rooted in a spirit of spiteful payback — it is bound to reap negative fruit. Moreover, I am old-fashioned enough to think of our vote is “a sacred trust” even if that is unsophisticated of me, even if others think vote manipulation is timely sport.

I keep thinking about the Russian Immigrant who looked forward to his first chance to vote in America, and told Gerard Vanderleun, “I will vote always for best, always”…and about the people in Iraq who braved so much to hold their purple fingers in the air…and about the Iraqi and American dead who fought to give them that right.

And in thinking about them, I’m a bit ashamed of our three-ring circus and the casual menace which we are bringing to our own sacred process. They all deserve better than we’re giving them, right now.

What is your opinion? Is Limbaugh subverting a sacred trust, or is he – somehow – “saving” it?


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