The Sovereign Mind

Free thought on politics and real life

Does Limbaugh Have a Point?

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I know I’m immediately going to lose credibility with a lot of people when I say that I think Rush Limbaugh might have a point about something. Let me be clear that I think he’s a radical, who I disagree with more often than not. For example, of course I think it was wrong and offensive that he claimed that Colin Powell’s endorsement of Barack Obama was because of race.

I work during the day so I don’t often listen to Rush except when I happen to be in the car for some reason and catch his show. Today I heard something that caught my attention. He was responding to Obama’s infomercial last night. I thought the infomercial was well made and showed him off in the best light possible. However, something bothered me about the families he portrayed. It seemed a little too much like the last Michael Moore film I watched. But I couldn’t quite put my finger on what was bothering me, until I heard this (I’m cutting out some the fluff, but feel free to read the entire piece if you want–some of which I very much think is over the line. I’m trying to focus in on this one point):

Rush: Okay. Here’s my help. Here’s my assistance. These are just some questions I had. Ms. Sanchez, are you aware of the food stamp program? Ms. Sanchez, are you aware of the Medicaid and SCHIP programs? That’s the health care program for children. Are you aware of the school lunch program? Ms. Sanchez, are you aware of the public housing programs we have?… Obama wants to create the impression that the New Deal, the Great Society, and everything in between have never happened! We have so many relief programs out there. The food stamp program continues to get larger and larger, and they advertise for applicants…

You can seek the help of the scores of church and other charities in your area for help. You can apply to the drug companies for compassionate use assistance in buying your prescriptions. The Great Society, the New Deal, it’s all out there. We’ve already set up systems to help people in this circumstance, and yet it’s like we’ve done nothing. It’s like our country has no heart. It’s like our country has no compassion, and Barack Obama for the first time in American history is going to come along and take care of people who find themselves in problematic circumstances. You know, folks, we have never cared for people before in this country. We’ve never tried to help people who are down and out. Only Barack Obama is going to bring this about for the first time, only Obama. The Great Society? The New Deal? Why, they never happened. So, do we really need to destroy our economic system for Obama’s four families?

Now, you can make a reasonable argument that programs that Rush is talking talking about are insufficient to meet our societal obligations (whatever you think they might be). However, where I think Rush has a point is that Obama seems to want to pretend these programs don’t even exist. He did not say, “Mr. Jones applied for Medicaid but was denied” or “Mrs. Smith got food stamps but they just weren’t enough to feed her kids”.

The fact that Obama doesn’t mention these programs could mean one of two things:

1) It’s a political ploy just to try to get more votes, or…
2) He really believes these programs aren’t just insufficient, but are so flawed that they should be severely reformed or discarded in favor of new programs. If this is true, that lends some validity to the “fear tactics” used by the right that Obama will usher in a new nanny state society. It’s one thing to argue that the current programs need to be expanded, it’s quite another to argue that we should radically change the goals of our economy to be welfare oriented instead of growth oriented.

I wrote this post a few days ago but didn’t post it, thinking perhaps I was being too cynical about Obama. I think it’s arguable whether Obama intends to send this message. I think his reasons are more along the lines of the first (political ploy). I don’t think he wants to discard everything and start fresh. I think he is would support the traditional Democratic line that the programs we have just need to be expanded, even if his rhetoric seems to exceed that.

However, whether Obama intends it or not, there is no doubt that the message of a new “we’ll take care of you” society is taking root in some of his supporters, which is reason enough for concern among conservatives:

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Written by Mike

November 1, 2008 at 1:38 pm

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