Forget whether or not Barack Obama is “black enough.” The newest wrinkle in the Presidential Campaign That Never Ended is whether or not John McCain is “conservative enough.” Evidently, according to two of the biggest conservative blowhards on the air – Rush “Dr. Feelgood” Limbaugh and Ann Coulter, She-Wolf of the Neo-Cons – the answer is “no.”
Limbaugh has been on a rampage about McCain, tearing the presumed Republican nominee a new asshole almost daily over issues like immigration and McCain’s voting against tax-cuts. Rush jokingly says he would endorse Barack Obama over McCain as Obama was “a blank canvas upon which anyone can project their fantasies and desires.” (Why am I not amazed that Limbaugh finds a black man to be a “blank canvas?” And you’re going to project your “fantasies and desires” on him? Oh, Rush – how Mandingo of you! Heavens, I feel all flushed! I swear I may have to swoon!)
Coulter has gone so far as to declare, on Fox’s Hannity and Colmes, she would campaign for Hilary Clinton rather than support McCain. That, if it came down to Hilary Clinton or John McCain, she would vote for Hilary Clinton as being more truly conservative. And on her site, she continues to champion “her Hilary.”
All those who believe this is really about McCain’s depth of conservative principles, raise your hands.
Oh, you poor deluded fools.
This is about something of far greater importance than a Presidential race. This is about Rush and Ann protecting their turf. It’s not really that they think McCain isn’t conservative enough, it’s that they think he can’t win in November. That seems to be the common consensus – that the Dems will take the White House in the next election. According to the Common Wisdom, the Bush Administration’s miscues have so soured the country on anything branded Republican that Ronald Reagan could come back from the dead and the Dems would take the White House in November. Me? I’m not so sure the Dems won’t find a way to screw it up between now and then but that’s just because I’m a long time Democrat. Or maybe I’m just conditioned to expect the worst because I’m a Cubs’ fan.
Coulter and Limbaugh can’t back a loser or they’ll be seen as not having the influence they like topretend they have. They have a perceived “power base.” That’s why people outside their base pay them any heed at all. Well, that and their ability to be quotably deranged. Coulter has compared McCain to Hitler, and Hitler came off slightly better. Limbaugh memorably suggested that actor Michael J. Fox was faking or exaggerating his Parkinson’s symptoms. (Limbaugh has said that he regards himself primarily as an entertainer first and, I suppose, a demagogue second. Bile = entertainment in Rush’s book, I guess.) Their job security is based on them not seeming irrelevant to the political scene. So they don’t back no losers and they seem to think Senator McCain has a big “L” on his forehead.
Would they like Hilary Clinton as President? Oh, they would love Hilary for President – two terms, please! Coulter and Limbaugh are among those who made their names via Clinton bashing during Bill Clinton’s two terms. Loved to hate Bill and Hilary back then. A second Clinton presidency would allow them to air out all their “Greatest Hits.”
However, what if – as seems increasingly likely – Senator Barrack Obama wins the Democratic nomination instead of Senator Clinton? Senator Obama has got to be the most interesting political story in a long time and he’s won the last ten Democratic contests in a row. He has shown his ability to inspire people and to really bring diverse factions together. If I was simply a mean spirited jackass like Coulter I might suggest that Senator Clinton’s decline coincides with Coulter’s endorsement of her; the more Ann backs Hilary, the faster Hilary seems to lose. Yeah, it’s specious and unfair and probably not true but so are a lot of Coulter’s rants.
So – what do Limbaugh and Coulter (Coltbaugh?) do if Obama is the nominee? I think they sit it out; they don’t endorse anyone. Given their own statements, they can’t endorse McCain without looking like “flip-floppers” and an Obama endorsement would toast any conservative creds they ostensibly have.
They then become totally irrelevant along with all the rest of the conservative pundits and right wing religious zealots who will also feel compelled to back no one because none of the candidates pass their conservative purity litmus test. Somebody wins without them. Their approval proves unnecessary. Their disapproval means nothing. Their moment passes. They become dinosaurs.
And wouldn’t that be a healthy thing for this country?
John Ostrander writes GrimJack: The Manx Cat, new installments of which appear every Tuesday here on ComicMix, and much of Munden’s Bar, new installments of which will reappear anon here on ComicMix. Both for free. His new Suicide Squadmini-series is out there from DC Comics, and his Star Wars: Legacy is out there from Dark Horse, both at finer comics shops across the galaxy.
John Ostrander started his career as a professional writer as a playwright. His best known effort, Bloody Bess, was directed by Stuart Gordon, and starred Dennis Franz, Joe Mantegna, William J. Norris, Meshach Taylor and Joe Mantegna. He has written some of the most important influential comic books of the past 25 years, including Batman, The Spectre, Manhunter, Firestorm, Hawkman, Suicide Squad, Wasteland, X-Men, and The Punisher, as well as Star Wars comics for Dark Horse. New episodes of his creator-owned series, GrimJack, which was first published by First Comics in the 1980s, appear every week on ComicMix.
Right-wing pundit hacks don't have to sit anything out if Obama gets the nomination. They may not endorse anyone, but they can still go on the attack. We see this taking form already, with all the hand-wringing about a "cult of personality" as if the Bush fratboy didn't have one; at least this time the personality has substance and eloquence behind it.
What is this, the Keith Olbermann Show?
No, we don't talk about cartoons as much as Keith does.
And by "cartoons" you mean Bill O'Reilly, right?
Cute.Remember Porky in Wackyland? Bill's the mayor.
"at least this time the personality has substance and eloquence behind it."Well, at least eloquence. I'm still waiting to see true evidence of substance. (Don't get me wrong, I'll take the eloquence alone…it'll be absolute joy to be able to not flinch in embarrassment when the leader of the country steps up to a microphone.)
Oh, he's got enough substance. A number of blogs have looked into and cataloged his record so far in the Senate. While it's certainly not a lefty voter's dream, it's pretty decent, and he has a very successful record in convincing the opposition to help push through legislation without watering down that legislation, which is practically miraculous.
Michael Berube says polls in some "insignificant" states show that if Clinton wins the Democratic nomination, McCain wins. If Obama wins the Dem nom, Obama wins.http://tpmcafe.talkingpointsmemo.com/2008/02/20/a…
If I was simply a mean spirited jackass…No, John– you're so much more complex than that.Coultbaugh? Well, they certainly aren't Limber…
Despite what anyone may think of Rush or Ann (and I try to think of them as little as possible), the fact remains that a significant percentage of the Republican "base" may not vote for McCain unless his opponent is the anti-Christ (Hillary Clinton). The religious right can't stand him, and the faction within the "small" government group that believes in faith-based math will never forgive him for the mortal sin of voting against a tax cut. Look for McCain to choose a southern Evangelical as his running mate — and then pray that McCain doesn't die in office if he's elected.
Pray to whom?I have a hard time understanding how so many Republicans will vote for Obama over McCain, but I appreciate the fact that there is such a body of the electorate. My biggest problem with McCain — and I have many — is that he's flip-flopped on virtually every significant moderate issue, selling his soul to the Religious Right for the nomination. What attracted so many people to McCain eight years ago was his ability to stand up to the forces of evil and to talk straight while doing it. Now, he goes down to anybody who'll deliver the vote. Straight talk indeed.
Pray to the deity of your choice. My personal favorite is Nug, the god of irony and practical jokes. As for the religious right, I don't think they'll vote for Obama. I think they'll stay home if it's McCain vs. Obama. And as for John McCain, he certainly has become the oldest practitioner of the world's oldest profession.
And Nader has announced, the grinch.