BLUFF CALLING

Posted in Rants on March 9th, 2009 by Ed

The Democratic Party's effort to stick Rush Limbaugh with the "leader of the Republican Party" tag has been successful only inasmuch as Rush has taken his sweet time (weakly) denying the charge. Why have his denials been so rare, so quiet, and so half-hearted? Because he believes it, of course. He loves it. He desperately wants it to be true. He wants RNC big-shots groveling at his feet, Congressmen kissing his ass, and the whole conservative universe dancing at the snap of his fingers. His bombast does a horrible job of concealing his latent insecurity and need for adulation.

In short, Rush wants to be King. He knows what is best for the GOP and everyone in it – for the entire conservative movement in fact. So here's my question: why not make it official? Why not get off his fat ass and run for Congress? Why not challenge Michael Steele for the top slot at the RNC? Why not lead by example and show all these incompetents how to do things correctly? Limbaugh, like Bill O'Reilly, constantly crows about his ratings and his massive popularity. Why do these geniuses not leverage their phenomenal popularity into positions of elected authority?

Mr. Limbaugh is a legal resident of Florida, where there is no state income tax. Florida isn't a lost cause for Republicans, so surely all he'd need to do is throw his name on the ballot to run for Congress and the rest would take care of itself. Or how about that key Senate seat, the open one that Jeb won't run for? Or perhaps Governor, since Charlie Crist is one of those sissy fake Republicans Rush so loathes? Certainly Limbaugh has the finances, the name recognition, and most importantly the popularity he always mentions. So what's stopping him?

This will never happen, of course, because demagogues know that the second they leave their insular circle of sycophants their true level of popularity and influence will be exposed. Imagine how hard it would be to play Self-Anointed Leader of the Right after getting trounced in a Republican primary. Imagine how silly he'd sound doling out advice after losing to a Democratic Senate candidate by 40%. Imagine how embarrassing it would be for the Most Popular Man in America to get 15% of the vote in a real live election.

That's the grand illusion that all demagogues have to be very careful about maintaining. In his own little corner of the world, Rush is King and his legions of Dittoheads are a mighty army. Here in the rest of the world, they're 10% of the population and Rush is a red-faced, drug-addicted bag of fluid. Rush's influence among Republican officeholders is premised entirely on concealing the size of his fan base. If these Congressmen who kiss his ring realized that his audience isn't nearly as big as he thinks it is, that it's an insignificant portion of the overall electorate, well, they might not be so eager to prostrate themselves before Limbaugh's throne. That's why he'll never put his money where his mouth is – it's hard to be an arrogant, self-important know-it-all after getting one's ass delivered on a platter at the ballot box.

(Postscript: Both Larry Kudlow of CNBC and Chris Matthews of MSNBC have claimed they may run for the Senate in 2010, Kudlow against Dodd and Matthews taking on Arlen Specter. Smart money is on both chickening out.)

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LOGIC OF CROWDS

Posted in Quick Hits on March 9th, 2009 by Ed

First day posts at the Putz, including some photographic evidence of dubious estimates of crowd sizes.

THE HAPPENING

Posted in Uncategorized on March 9th, 2009 by Ed

The wording of the following post has flummoxed me for the better part of the weekend. There is news I must share with you, news which simultaneously feels very important yet represents no significant change from your perspective.

The Blogocracy, the world council of which meets in a hardened bunker deep underneath the Alps, has called me into higher service; as of today I am a regular contributor to Instaputz, the internet's foremost site for pointing out what a bag of wet dicks Glenn Reynolds is. What was once a tag team effort by Blue Texan (of Firedoglake) and TS (origins unknown) is now a mighty troika. We who so savor mocking right wing pundits recognize our own kind and tend to congregate.

I am thrilled by this opportunity, not because it carries with it any tangible rewards but because it will give me the opportunity to swear about David Brooks in front of a much wider audience. We're talking like ten or fifteen times wider. Technically audience size is irrelevant, but those of us who spend copious amounts of time writing without compensation take comfort in knowing that someone is reading. Maybe it's malignant narcissism or maybe it's an easy rationalization, but: If this brings information or pleasure to other people, then it's worth it to me.

So what does this mean for ginandtacos? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Same format, same content, same frequency. Wild, incontinent horses couldn't drag me away from this thing. Maybe there will be a few more names popping up in the comments, but rest assured that I won't soon forget the people who have been here all along.

This represents a challenge for me because the prospect of contributing to another blog made me confront the fact that…well, I'm not really a blogger. I have never considered this to be a blog, a format I associate with short, frequent, and truculent posting. I think I'm more of an essayist, and that's not because I'm pretentious and the term makes me feel more important. What I mean is that my posts are less frequent (daily, although lately I've tried to do a late-afternoon quickie too) and exceptionally long-winded by blogging standards. I'm more of a shitty, prodigious imitation of Mencken or Twain than a true blogger, so it will be a learning experience for me to adapt to that format.

Thanks to everyone who has followed along thus far. I'll stick around if you will. Back to business as usual later today.