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Rush Limbaugh spoke at length yesterday on his show, explaining his criticism of Glenn Reynolds for the "pre-mortem" that gave the Instapundit a rare long-form post this past weekend. Rush says that his motives have been misunderstood:
Now, I got a couple of e-mails I was checking here during the break from people who say, "Oh, no, Rush! Don't get in a war with conservative bloggers. If the media rips you guys apart, it's all over." I am not at war with conservative bloggers. I quote countless posts from many blogs on this program. I use them as resources. I'm referring to one blog post, and I don't even know who it is. This all got started when I cringed when I saw the use of the term "premortem" on a blog site called Insta-Pundit. It hurt me; it irritated me as much as when Tom Davis, congressman from Virginia, goes on Face the Nation and starts speculating to Bob Schieffer or whatever it was, and starts counting up the number of seats his party is going to lose.
I watch it and I say, "Well, that's really helpful." I don't see the Democrats out there even when they know they're going to lose talking about how bad it's going to be and how many seats they're going to lose. I just don't see it. I've been in this game a long time, and I've played a lot of competitive sports, and I've worked for competitive sports teams, professionally, and I've never seen anybody want to lose, as a means of advancing.
I certainly got my share of criticism for my response to Glenn, and I understood it as coming from the same motivations as Rush shared on his show today. Neither of us wants to see Republicans lose, as Glenn has said in response to the criticism. I don't think we will lose, at least not in the manner predicted by the media at this point, but that doesn't mean that criticism is unwarranted.
However, I also have seen the dynamic Rush attacked on his show earlier, and it hasn't come from Glenn. I get e-mails from people who believe that electing Democrats will improve the Republican Party. Today I received one calling Ohio moderate Mike DeWine a "traitor" to conservatives and encouraging the Right to vote for Sherrod Brown -- on the basis of DeWine's moderate position on immigration! I'm not a big DeWine fan ever since the Gang of 14, but any conservative who votes for Sherrod Brown on the basis of immigration has to have his head examined.
When people are dissatisfied with an incumbent in their own party, the time to address that is the primary. Lincoln Chafee is a good example of this. I supported Stephen Laffey because Chafee's voting record put him closer to the Democrats than the Republicans. Laffey wasn't even all that conservative, but he was a big improvement over Chafee, who couldn't even endorse his own party's candidate for President in 2004. However, Chafee won the primary, and now I support Chafee for re-election -- because he caucuses reliably with the GOP, and in that way is an improvement over the Democrat. I'm not supporting Lincoln Chafee as much as I'm opposing Judiciary Chair Patrick Leahy and Intelligence Chair Jay Rockefeller, not to mention Majority Leader Harry Reid.
Elections are about choices. Responsible voters have to recognize not just their rights, but also their responsibilities. A vote for a Democrat is a vote for their caucus control and all of the policies that will bring, which is responsible if you support those policies and that particular candidate. (I've voted for a handful of Democrats before, although none lately.) If that vote gets cast for the purpose of scolding Republicans, that's not just irresponsible, it's a waste. Parties do not necessarily improve by being cast out of power -- and if one wants to see an example, just look at the Democrats today compared to the Democrats in 1994 in terms of policy and tone. Sitting out in a fit of pique is even less responsible; it just allows the voter to feel vindicated that their non-choice alleviates them from any blame for what follows afterward.
Rush hears all of the arguments for protest votes and election-day boycotts, and he gets as frustrated as any of us. He wants to see more unity of purpose among conservatives, and as a man who has advanced conservatism more than most, his analysis should at least get some respect. In this case, I agree with him, although I still think that criticism of the party's mistakes helps in ensuring that the candidates understand why Republicans have lost some enthusiasm in their support of the candidates.
Note: Rush had some kind remarks for me, which I appreciate immensely.Sphere It View blog reactions
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