George Will and Rush Limbaugh are Obama’s unwitting allies
To hear the ready-fire-aim drivel from certain members of the conservative commentariot these days is to understand, at least in part, why conservatives do not govern the country.
Witness last week the ruminations of George Will, who argued that conservatives should surrender themselves to the nightmarish idea of four more years of the Obama-nation, and instead focus all of our collective resources on the transcendentally titillating goal of electing Mitch McConnell Senate majority leader and retaining John Boehner as our fearless (or not) House speaker.
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell? Slow down my pitter-pattering heart.
Give the election to Obama? Somewhere Neville Chamberlain is cheering.
And then there was Rush Limbaugh, whose loose lips seem hell-bent on unwittingly sinking GOP electoral ships, at least with women voters who, at last count, account for slightly more than 50 percent of the human race, as well as its American subset.
Not to be outdone by Will’s ridiculous suggestion that conservatives concede the election to Obama, Rush Limbaugh indulged the kind of self-defeating, self-destructive rhetoric that, if repeated frequently enough in the ensuing months, might actually throw the election to Obama.
As the saying goes, with friends like these ...
Let’s go to the instant replay so you can judge for yourself.
First George Will’s retreatist treatise:
“(Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum) are conservatives, although of strikingly different stripes. Neither, however, seems likely to be elected ... (S)uppose the accumulation of evidence eventually suggests that the nomination of either would subtract from the long-term project of making conservatism intellectually coherent and politically palatable. If so, there would come a point when, taking stock of reality, conservatives turn their energies to a goal much more attainable than, and not much less important than, electing Romney or Santorum president. It is the goal of retaining control of the House and winning control of the Senate.”
Political heresy, meet the normally-brilliant George Will.
The obvious fallacy in Will’s thinking is that the general election, still eight months from being over and still at least 90 days from even getting started, is somehow a fait accompli for President Obama. Granted, none of our candidates are setting the world on fire these days, and yes, Republicans are, admittedly, mired in a tub-thumper of a nasty primary that now appears headed to the summer.
But these circumstances are not anywhere near as grim as the hand that Barack Obama has dealt himself this election season.
Consider: No president since FDR has won re-election with unemployment over 7 percent. Barack Obama will be making the case for four more years with unemployment hovering around 8 percent, and that is probably a best-case scenario.
Consider this too: No president has won re-election with approval ratings less than 48 percent. President Obama’s approval ratings for February were 45 percent. In previous months, his approval ratings have hop-scotched around 40 percent.
Forgive us, Mr. Will, if we don’t take your advice and cut-and-run on the presidency just yet.
But staying in the fight is one thing. Swinging wildly is something very different.
Enter Rush Limbaugh, stage right.
The crafty Obama campaign team is diligently working to change the subject away from the economy.
The favorite misdirection ploy these days is this concocted debate over access to contraception, as if prophylactics and birth control pills aren’t more available to the youth of this country than Pringles with trans-fatty acid.
This whole controversy was a trap. Obama wants to debate “the pill,” not the economy.
And like Rodney Dangerfield off the high dive in “Back to School,” Limbaugh dove right in.
Most Americans aren’t attuned to the nitty-gritty nuance of the contraception debate, but they do know that a leading voice associated with the Republican Party called some cute-faced 20-something a “slut.”
Yes, the press made hay of it. Yes, liberals have said worse. But so what? This is the playing field we’re on. If conservatives don’t find a way to navigate it, we sink — and the country with us.
George Will and Rush Limbaugh both did a grave disservice to the cause they claim to represent last week. Barack Obama and the cynical brood of Chicago hacks that run his campaign no doubt hope Will and Limbaugh keep it up.
Josh Penry is the former minority leader of the Colorado Senate. He is a graduate of Grand Junction High School and Mesa State College.