Cultural Secession Sounds Good To Rush

I’m not blessed (or cursed) with a lot of attention from conservatives. Yeah, my old friend Ramesh Ponnuru checks in with me now and then to get a handle on the liberal zeitgeist. I have a very cordial relationship with the number-cruncher and analyst Sean Trende. Ross Douthat quotes me in passing on occasion. And once in a while the locusts of the right-wing blogosphere will alight on and seek to devour something I’ve written. Most recently, a largely jocular post on who should be “banned” from the “new” Meet the Press was treated by Brent Bozell’s Media Research Center as a serious proposal to suppress the First Amendment rights of conservatives, which led to some Twitter abuse of yours truly as a “Nazi” and a “moron” and so on and so forth.

But it was a new and queasy experience to serve as the departure point for a Rush Limbaugh segment. Rush somehow noticed my TPMCafe column last week on the implications of the Supreme Court’s non-decision on same-sex marriage, in which I speculated (not for the first time) about the possibility of conservative Christians being enabled by “religious liberty” exemptions to erect a parallel society free from interaction with the wicked. Thing is, he thought it sounded like a good idea:

His point here is — and the reason it interested me is because it intersected with what I had read, what Mark Steyn wrote [aiyee!], that you can’t have a conservative government with a liberal culture. This guy’s basically saying that at some point Republicans are going to realize that, okay, they oppose gay marriage, same sex marriage. They oppose all the assaults on religion. They oppose all the demands of all these minority groups for equality here and nondiscrimination here and rights over there, and they’re simply gonna say, “Screw it. We want to live amongst ourselves and we want to sequester ourselves away from all of this because we have no desire.”

Indeed, Rush’s only real disagreement with what I wrote was the bit about Republicans being threatened by the cyclical occlusion of conservative evangelical political engagement. He says he doesn’t think GOPers give a damn what the Christian Right chooses to do.

Now presumably this is just part of Limbaugh’s regular effort to convince his listeners they are undervalued by the GOP (though I’m a bit surprised to hear it so close to an election, a time when Rush normally puts on the party harness and roots for The Team). But in any event, I suppose it’s a validation of one’s ability to understand contemporary conservatism to write something about it and hear the grand poohbah of the noise machine say “Damn straight!”

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.