Limbaugh Wants To Get Rid Of McCain Too

Limbaugh Wants To Get Rid Of McCain Too


One moderate Republican apparently wasn’t enough.

From CNN:

Conservative host Rush Limbaugh said Tuesday he isn’t sorry to see Arlen Specter leave the GOP — and that many Republicans wish the Pennsylvania senator would take a few others with him when he goes.

“A lot of people say, ‘Well, Specter, take [Sen. John] McCain with you. And his daughter [Meghan]. Take McCain and his daughter with you if you’re gonna…” he told listeners, dissolving in laughter.

“…..It’s ultimately good. You’re weeding out people who aren’t really Republicans,” he said.

Well, I’m sure Olympia Snowe is on his list now too.

Nevermind that moderate Republicans represent true Republican ideals instead of the far right strain that Limbaugh subscribes to and has pushed the past 30 years.

Good times.

  • Tillyosu

    “Nevermind that moderate Republicans represent true Republican ideals instead of the far right strain that Limbaugh subscribes to and has pushed the past 30 years.”

    Really? Is voting for this:

    A “true Republican ideal?”

  • Simon

    It’s pretty dicey for you as a moderate Democrat to presume to say what are “true Republican ideals.” It’s also syntactically awkward: Moderates, ex vi termini, don’t represent the core or even the whole. They represent one side of the party, just as Limbaugh represents another.

    Either way, though, I usually get very irritated by anyone, including Rush, using the terminology “true Republican ideals,” because the phrase is almost invariably a shell game, camouflage for “my ideals.” If we had to give it some kind of meaningful content, “true Republican ideals” would be those on which all the major wings of the party buy into: the moderates, the mainline conservatives, the religious conservatives, the libertarians, and so forth. I’ll take a run at it, with the reservation that these may simply represent my idea of Republican ideals, and it’s the test noted above not the list that follows that is the key point of this comment. If we are looking for the values – not the policy proposals, but the values that the party agrees on, we might think that “true Republican ideals” include, without limitation and to paraphrase Einstein, that government should be as small as possible but no smaller; that taxes should be as low as possible but no lower; that regulation should be as efficient and minimally-invasive as it can be; a generalized sense of federalism (far weaker tea than I would myself subscribe to, frankly); a muscular foreign policy that puts America and American interests first, second, and last; that judges should strive to announce rather than invent the law, to the extent that is possible; a belief in American exceptionalism, and subscription to the belief that we have been endowed by Almighty God with certain unalienable rights, including Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. (We might also include observations about crime, the Constitution, and so forth, but I would hesitate to frame them.) All of which gives you a sense of just how far from Republican ideals the previous administration and its Congressional enablers drifted.

  • shawn

    Simon, I understand the basis of your argument, but the problem is that in the real world, the vague and general ideals that you’ve listed need to be turned into more specific policies and actions.

    Those details are where things actually happen. It’s all well and good for you to ask that we judge the republican party on those abstract ideas, but it’s pretty darn hard to ignore the deeds of the past eight years. Those ideals might still exist as some sort of goal for you personally, and possibly for many other people, but when given the opportunity to enact those ideals, the republicans dropped the ball. You’re fooling yourself if you expect the argument “that was just a fluke, it’s not what we really wanted to do” to work.

    You can’t make up for 8 years of actual policy with a couple of months of talk. If the republican party wants to convince the citizens that they’re the party of those ideals that you listed, and not the party of Bush’s 8 years, then they’ve got a long path to walk and it’s going to take some time. And to make it even harder, there’s a significant and very vocal portion of the party that is still fighting for bush era policies.

  • TerenceC

    The problem in my estimation isn’t one of definition inasmuch as one of implementation. If you get 20 people in a room regardless of party affiliation you can usually get them to agree on a majority of the issues that would help move the USA forward.

    The disagreement usually comes into play when the representative nature of our government forces compromise. Add corruption, unethical behavior, lobbyists and special interest into the mix and you have a perfect recipe for programs and projects so watered down and useless the very problems they were supposed to address become worse. Then everybody gets mad – politics turns int a spectator sport with a we vs them attitude – the lobbyists and special interests make off with the cheese while everyone is distracted.

  • Paul

    Rush Limbaugh is an example of incompetence rising to the top-even as the Republican party begins to emulate the Whigs of the 1850s. Remember them ? As long as right wing Republicans control the ship, it is going to keep sinking !

  • cynicalone

    I dislike Limbaugh and don’t listen to talk radio.
    However, he is far from incompetent.
    Have you seen his ratings and his paycheck?
    He knows how to take care of #1.

    Elected Republican representatives have only themselves to blame for not standing up to Limbaugh.

  • Kevin

    Simon wrote
    …subscription to the belief that we have been endowed by Almighty God with certain unalienable rights, including Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

    They couldn’t get that wording in 200+ years ago so I guess you are against the Framers (which I thought was another talking point.) I repeat from an earlier post, there are no places where you have less freedom and liberty than the states that are solidly Republican. It’s not even close. I don’t know why they hate our freedoms but in their America they think they should decide how Everyone lives. At one point, this would have been far from the GOP core values.

  • Simon

    Shawn, I think you’ve missed the point of my comment. I’m not asking you or anyone else to judge the GOP at all, or suggesting that these are prescriptions. My point was that the term “core Republican values” is a vaporous and misused term, used most commonly to accuse a particular Republican or group of Republicans of heresy, and that if the term is to be meaningful in the slightest, it would have to mean those values shared by the entire party. And I expressly disclaimed the notion that those values are my values or priorities, necessarily: I came to the GOP as an agnostic, for example, so I can tell you from personal experience that the importance of God is not necessarily a universally-shared Republican value. It is, however, certainly so prevalent among Republicans of all stripes that it deserves to be called a core Republican value notwithstanding a few dissenters. Of course those values are defined at quite a high level of abstraction: that is in the nature of the big tent. How those values are weighted vis-à-vis one another, how they interact and shake out into particular policies, those are things on which people can still disagree while still being Republicans; that’s what we have primaries for.

    Christy Whitman wrote a book called “it’s my party, too.” It sure is. But it’s also my party, too. And Reagan’s. And Newt’s. And Olympia’s. The question, properly-conceived, is what does it mean to be a Republican? What are the party’s core values, values broadly if not universally-shared, that bind us together even though we may disagree — disagree passionately, even fundamentally — on some issues? I submit that if my list above isn’t quite right, it’s pretty close. A few years of self-interested heresy and corruption by the Washington cohort of the party doesn’t entitle them to define the party’s core values, any more than Rush Limbaugh can, any more than can Justin, Olympia Snowe, or me.

  • Kevin

    Simon you are getting to the core problem. What is a core value. When used as a cudgel, it means family values but they you have Hyde and Livingston and Newt and Reagan. It is anti Gay but then you have Craig and Foley. It is economic conservatism but then you have Reagan, Bush and Bush. It is proAmerican but then you are gleeful when things happen to American citizens (think the car companies)My guess is that on how we should be governed we could find many places for agreement and the reason that I would not identify as a Republican is that their “principles” are their weapons and they don’t live them.

    That and they believe to the point of forcing it down everyone else’s throat in an invisible sky God. and not the good parts. They have for years asked WWJD? In the torture debate I think we have their answer, Who F**ng Cares. (Are torture supporters still getting communion?)

    They use religion to prop up their bigotry rather than their humanity and imo totally miss the point of what Christ is reputed to have said. Bertrand Russell said that Christianity is a wonderful idea–it’s too bad it’s never been tried.

  • TerenceC

    Where the word God is concerned you may want to give a second thought (or expand the original) on the concept of that name. The Republican party has subverted the meaning of God so that it specifically focuses on the Christian view point in that regard. God, as an original concept during the “enlightenment” period was expressly that and not burdened by qualification of specific denomination (most of our “framers” were Deists). This understanding – in my opinion – is a serious flaw in the Republican talking point about God which leaves no room for discussion of any point of view other than the Christian understanding – simply because their majority won’t allow it.

    I think Rush Limbaugh is nothing but a mean spirited, nasty little clown. He isn’t of any large talent when it comes to political depth, although from time to time he can be funny. His influence extends to those who drive a lot, have to make a lot of small talk, and don’t necessarily have an expansive understanding of politics and the political processes. Although they have a detailed understanding of how those political processes effect them directly.

    Limbaugh has an uncanny ability to wedge open that direct understanding and exploit it for his own commercial purposes. I feel no empathy for his fans who give me the impression they are easily led, easily angered, and possess a very narrow point of view on a range of subjects in American life.

    Limbaugh’s most recent call is nothing more than a political hack exploiting the situation and environment to his commercial benefit – as he’s always done. His fan’s get angry and he makes $million$ – when will they wake up and realize that fat animal is just a loud mouth with a penchant for fine food, good cigars, and strong drugs?

  • Simon

    Two other values I might have mentioned if I were listing my own values rather that trying to define core GOP values: being conservative and being pro-life. Those are certainly my values, and they are certainly widely-shared in the party. But do they make the cut? Well, the libertarians and the rockefeller wing aren’t really conservatives (I realize that the Paulistas like to think of themselves as such, but that point is adequately refuted by the title of Paul’s last book), and while most Republicans I know are pro-life, some aren’t, and some Democrats are, although presumably a value doesn’t have to be exclusively Republican to make the cut.

  • ExiledIndependent

    The trick here is that without a set of core values, it’s difficult for any political party to exist. The simple fact of having a defined party (Dem or Rep) is that the participants come together because they share certain views on how government should work.

    To that extent, I think Simon’s explanation works as well as any. And for folks who want to see specifics, specific approaches to policy extend from those explanations. Take for example Simon’s “small but not too small” government example. In my view (and I have no official GOP affiliation), a “Republican” approach (and frankly, I’d relabel to “conservative”) to TARP would either be a) let the companies fail, engage in divestiture, and protect the individual investors rather than the financial institutions or b) if a bailout seems absolutely necessary, ensure that there is an clear exit strategy for government to get out of the way as fast as possible once the crisis has passed. See–this is how an “ideal” or “value” gets expressed as a specific.

    But without the value or ideal of “small but not too small,” there is no nucleus around which to base decision making. It all becomes political expediency, what can we do to acquire and retain power. Which results in a fall of Rome, bread-and-circuses approach to government.

    And yeah, this is the reason why the GOP is in such disarray. It isn’t because of too much conservative ideology. It’s because of self-centered opportunists who have used the mantle of being a Republican as a way to acquire and retain power. My sense is that there are so many of these Bush-era Republicans in Washington that they really don’t understand what a positive, move-the-country-forward conservative approach even looks like any more.

  • kranky kritter

    Limbaugh seems to have been cast here recently as the “go-to” guy to quote when an idiot-quote is needed to represent the GOP in its crappiest light.

    That’s great fun for progressives, and partially the GOP’s fault, I think. But let’s not forget who Limbaugh is. He is a bullsh!t salesman and an entertainer who knows his loyal audience and what they like. Every show is a greatest hits show. There is never any new material.

    It might be nice if republican reaction to the Specter defection was covered on a wider spectrum than just taking the path of least resistance, echoing the predictable quote of the well-paid guy who feeds the animals red meat. We’re not actually supposed to be surprised or outraged or anything that Limbaugh dusted off the “don’t let the door hit ya….who else should go” routine? Are we?

    It’s kind of ironic how the overplay of the Specter defection is unfolding against the backdrop of competing partisan spins. Let’s face it, Specter is a guy with views such that neither party could ever truly embrace him. He’s just as ill-at-home today as he was yesterday. This move has been speculated on for years, literally. All this time, Specter had one really good card in his hand to play, and he just played it. That’s it for him. He doesn’t really have any more good cards or good moves left beginning with his next election bid.

    And I’ll tell everyone right now, don’t hold your breath waiting for the first 60-40 vote on an important issue. Fact is, if democrats want to pass a big bill on an important issue, like say healthcare, without any GOP input, they will still have to answer to Specter and to the blue dog house.

    Specter and the blue dogs have the potential to prevent the GOP from roadblocking stuff like healthcare reform, but Pelosi and Reid will still have to answer to blue dogs. There is no brand new rubber stamp.

  • Kevin Jackson

    I think Kranky has it right. Specter is one of those mavericky guys we heard about and he practices what he preaches so I doubt Dems will control him any more than the Republicans did.

  • shawn

    Simon, fair enough, but I would just argue that from someone standing outside of the republican party and looking in (and this view is certainly biased to some degree), in terms of actually voting for who I want in government, your particular views/values/ideals/etc. are not nearly as important to me as the views/values/ideals/etc. of the people who were just in power.

    And when I say “your” views, I don’t mean you specifically, I mean the portion of the republican party that isn’t really setting the agenda. For numerous reasons, the GOP is currently dominated by the less moderate side of the party, and so their agenda is the one that matters.

    You’re right that within the republican party there is a wide swath of viewpoints, and what’s important to some isn’t necessarily important to others. But my point is that for me, in the big picture, the GOP hashes out all of their internal differences and presents a party agenda to the country. As someone outside of the party and not a part of those internal struggles, that overall agenda is all that matters. I don’t care how many republican citizens there are out there who disagree with the Rush Limbaugh crowd if the Rush Limbaugh crowd is setting the agenda.

    I wish you the best of luck in getting your party’s agenda to more closely match your particular ideals, but until that happens, those particular ideals are irrelevant to me on the level of national politics.

  • Simon

    Shawn, you’re not listening. What I’ve set out above are not “[my] particular ideals” or those of any “specific portion of the Republican party” – that’s precisely and explicitly the point. I’m trying to say what the general values of all sections of the GOP have in common. You point to the people who were just in power, but the reality is that to a great extent, their failings weren’t the product of ideals, but of corruption. Pat says it well in his post here: the electorate “didn’t put the GOP in power to deliver Medicare Part D. They didn’t vote for Bush the first time because they wanted an adventurous foreign policy.” Rather, Pat suggests,

    the religious right was hijacked and terribly manipulated by folks like Tom DeLay. That wing of the GOP, the wing which basically tore up the Contract with America, wanted power for its own sake, and it was inevitable that they would create the same problems that plagued the power-blinded Dan Rostenkowski Democrats. Folks like Specter (and Snowe and Collins) never pointed their finger at that manipulation. Instead, they railed against the well-intentioned religious voters back home.

  • gerryf

    Newsflash: Rush Limbaugh wants to get rid of Simon.

    Limbaugh noted in a press release that while Simon is clearly strident enough for today’s GOP, he lacks the clear core values that he, Limbaugh, says the Republican Party stands for.

    When pressed on what those core values might be, Limbaugh was intentionally vague, until stuttering: “hup, ip dip, du, uh…they are what I say they are the moment I need to kick people out of the party and they are subjec to change based on my need/mood at the time, and who I am trying to get rid of.”


    The problem, Simon, is you are trying to say there are general values that all sections of the GOP have in common, but it isn’t your or any other conservative’s party anymore.

    That ship done sailed.

    Conservatives no longer control the GOP; the GOP is run by a bunch of scary coalition of fear mongering, power hungry corporatists and extreme religious control freaks. The contract with America wasn’t torn up–it wasn’t a contract–it was a declaration of war against the middle class and lower class with some token bones thrown in to make it seem appealing to the center.

    Looking back on the Contract with America, you can’t help but laugh at the whole thing–it all led directly to where we are now. The core values you are trying to identify are not the core values of the Republican Party, no matter how much you would like them to be.

    The question now is can “conservatives” as you identify them take back their party.

  • kranky kritter

    That’s quite a rant there, Gerry.

    Yes, the GOP is a coalition of interests, just like the democratic party. Is this supposed to be a newsflash?

    Anyone interested in what the contract with America was? If so, you’re better off doing some research on your own than paying heed to Gerry’s rant. Or just go to wiki’s C w/ Am entry for a quick review.

    A very quick summary is that the contract promised immediate votes on a series of procedural changes to congress and trying to bring of a series of targeted bills into law.

    The procedural changes included things like making all laws passed apply to congress, auditing the federal budget, cutting house committees and staffs, limiting committee chair terms, reguiring 3/5 votes for all tax increases, and implementing new budgeting rules.

    The bills that were supposed to be brought into law included:

    • a balanced budget amendment,
    •a fairly severe crime bill
    • term limits on congressfolk
    •a welfare reform bill which added work requirements, changed some cash benefits to things like food vouchers and put a 5 year limit on welfare benefits
    • expanded tax credits for children
    •rules against allowing US soldiers to serve under Un command
    • a series of ideas designed to spur business by restricting gov’t regulation
    •legal reform which would have made losers in lawsuits liable for the winners court costs and which maybe included ceilings on awards for damages, not sure
    •other stuff

    I was way more liberal then, So many years later, I am surprised by the number of good ideas. I still look askance at a few (but not all) of the deregulatory ideas as well as the tort reform ideas. But it sure doesn’t live up to the boogey-rhetoric. Many of these ideas were implemented. Most famously, the budget was balanced, for which Bill Clinton took credit. Some welfare reform was forced through, the sky did not fall, and loopholes aplenty mean that many folks still are supported long-term by taxpayers.

    Tax credits for kids are a cherished and growing entitlement. Everyone loves handing out tax credits to favored groups now. It’s become a big part of congress’s spoils toolbox. Huh.

  • Simon

    gerryf Says:

    The problem, Simon, is you are trying to say there are general values that all sections of the GOP have in common, but it isn’t your or any other conservative’s party anymore.

    Bingo. That’s just the point, Gerry: It’s Rush’s party, too. That’s why I disputed Justin’s claim that “moderate Republicans represent true Republican ideals” in contradistinction to other groups in the parties: moderates certainly have true Republican ideals, or they wouldn’t be Republicans, but their ideals don’t define the length, beam, and depth of them as I took Justin to be implying. It’s Christy Whitman’s party, too, but it’s also Rush’s party, too. It’s even George Bush’s party, to an extent – but it isn’t the party of the people who misgoverned Congress and the White House, including Bush qua President, because corruption, incompetence, and indolence aren’t points of view.

    The question to come to is, what are the core values that unite us as a party – where is the nexus between all the various groups that make up the party? Whatever is in that place are the real “core Republican values.” If you put Rush, Snowe, and me in a room together, I think we’d disagree on a lot, but I think we’d find far more common ground than any of us would with, say, the President.

  • Simon

    And it has to be said, Gerry – I don’t look back at the Contract with America and laugh, I look back and knash my teeth with frustration that so much of it was thwarted at the hands of self-interest, moderate republicans, and democrats, because we would have been a LOT better off today had it all passed. Think about all the people who have made our country worse from the halls of Congress over the last fifteen years. Now think how many of them we would have been rid of now had the term limits amendment been passed. Imagine the Bush-Obama spending catastrophe, facially unconstitutional because of the balanced budget amendment. We would have been in so much better shape today.