Being Right – Rush to Judgment

Kate Hicks

I grew up on Rush Limbaugh. At noon each day before I started school, I sat and ate my peanut butter sandwich while my mother would flip on 1240 AM to hear the guy with the weird name talk about the government. As I aged, my interest in politics grew almost as fast as I did, and soon I listened to Rush on my own when I could (he does, after all, broadcast during school).

Now I’ll admit, the man has a polarizing personality. Everyone I know who listens to him already agrees with him. And true, sometimes he goes over the top (Nobel Peace Prize nominee, anyone?). He admits that he loves rankling liberals, and who could deny the entertainment factor that comes with bashing the opposition?

But as for Rush’s recent speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference, don’t believe what the media feeds you. I was there and I heard him firsthand. The Rush I watched at CPAC explained the heart of the conservative movement in a way that did not so much bash liberals, as per his usual custom. Rather, he spoke in positive terms about the conservative vision for this great country and rationally objected to President Obama’s plan for America.

In an interview on January 22, Sean Hannity asked Rush if he would like to see our newly inaugurated president succeed. Rush said he wanted to see President Obama’s plans fail. As the interview lasted no more than about two minutes and forty seconds, Rush had little time to explain what that meant. Following the comment, naturally, the Drive-By Media (as Rush would say) lapsed into fits of pleasure over the newest controversial remark from the man they love to hate.

At CPAC, El Rushbo revived his statement while illustrating the problems with the new administration and its policies. Unsurprisingly, the media eagerly attacked Rush for desiring President Obama’s failure. Everyone from Rahm Emmanuel to Whoopi Goldberg criticized the statement, labeling it “divisive” (Rahm) and “crappy” (Whoopi).

Indeed, taken out of context, the sound bite sounds like ordinary Rush, making incendiary remarks to infuriate the liberals. But at CPAC, he made a thoughtful point about wanting the best for America, and I will not allow his insight to fall by the wayside.

Rush offered an extremely logical argument, one that any person who has ever supported a particular sports team, Olympic athlete, or woman on The Bachelor could understand. He compared his hope that Mr. Obama’s policies fail to his hope that the Cardinals would lose during the Super Bowl.

If you missed his speech (and I’m certain most of you did), then you have yet to see this quote, as the media once again picked over the speech to find the juicy bits. Rush’s commonsense analogy goes as follows: “I sure as heck want you to know I hope [Kurt Warner] failed. I did not want the Cardinals to win. I wanted Warner to make the biggest fool of himself possible. I wanted a sack, I wanted anything. I wanted the Steelers to win. I wanted to win. I wanted the Cardinals to fail.”

A rather innocuous explanation, considering the man makes a living by calling congressmen names (although Dingy Harry Reid makes me giggle, I confess). In sports, one team wins and one loses and on both sides rabid fans hope the other guys choke. Politics works the same way. Republicans and Democrats each believe their party possesses the sole ideology by which our country might prosper and that the other party does not. In an election, members of both parties hope the other candidate will fail to win the election.

Why, then, must we condemn Rush? Why should he hope for the president he didn’t vote for to successfully implement policies that Rush and I and 59 million other Americans believe will do our country harm? Why is that wrong? Simply because Mr. Obama is my president does not mean I wanted him to be my president, nor does it mean I want the policies and ideas for which he stands to work.

He’s on the other team. And in this case, more is at stake than a simple trophy. I believe that President Obama’s policies threaten my money, my values and (if the liberals succeed in resurrecting the extremely unconstitutional Fairness Doctrine) my voice.

Sure, phrasing opposition to the president by saying “I hope he fails” sounds divisive. But this statement embodies the essence of the political game. It is divisive. Someone wins, someone loses and both parties hope the other loses when their fates fall to the hands of the people. And like Rush, I have my team, and I’m not cheering for anyone else.