Rooting for failure

ROOTING FOR FAILURE…. Rush Limbaugh caused a bit of a stir about a month ago, when he told his audience, “I disagree fervently with the people on our [Republican] side of the aisle who have caved and who say, ‘Well, I hope [President Obama] succeeds.’ … I hope Obama fails. Somebody’s gotta say it.”

The right-wing host went on a similar tirade yesterday when talking about the economic recovery package: “I want everything he’s doing to fail… I want the stimulus package to fail…. I do not want this to succeed.”

Limbaugh is, without ambiguity, rooting for failure. In the midst of an economic crisis, Limbaugh quite openly admitted that if Obama’s economic policies are successful, it would undermine the talk-show host’s worldview. As such, Limbaugh wants desperately to see more Americans suffer, more workers unemployed, more businesses close up shop. The key here is philosophy — if government spending can stimulate the economy, as it always does, then the right is wrong. Limbaugh would much prefer a suffering nation than a reevaluation of conservative ideas.

Keep in mind, of course, that such talk under Bush’s presidency would force someone from the airwaves. If a prominent progressive figure said, just as the president was sending troops into war in early 2003, “I want everything he’s doing to fail. I want the war in Iraq to fail. I do not want the president’s national security agenda to succeed,” he or she would lose all advertising revenue and be fired. In the midst of a crisis, Americans rooting against America, based on nothing but ideological rigidity, are pariahs.

Or, at least, they used to be.

Similar sentiments are even found coming from members of Congress. Take Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), best known for getting caught in a prostitution scandal, talking to a Federalist Society gathering this week.

According to Vitter, the GOP is basically betting the farm that the stimulus package is going to fail, and the party wants Democrats to go down with it. “Our next goal is to make President Obama and liberal Democrats in Congress own it completely,” he said. Instead of coming up with serious measures to save the economy, the party intends to devote its time to an “we told you so” agenda that will include GOP-only hearings on the bill’s impact in the coming months to highlight the bill’s purportedly wasteful elements and shortcomings.

While Vitter seemed to think this was a brilliant new political tactic, voters might be less enthusiastic than Federalist Society members about politicians who spend the next 18 months rooting for the economy to get worse, just to prove a point.

But, in Vitter’s world, that’s the price you apparently have to pay for sticking to your principles, call girls be damned.

Remember, these clowns like to maintain the fiction that Republicans have the high ground on patriotism.