26 October 2006

So We'll Go No More....?, or The Volpone Express

    As most of you have probably heard and/or seen, there's developed quite the brouhaha regarding Michael J. Fox's endorsement of Democratic candidates and Rush Limbaugh's attack on him for doing so.  Rush, always the master of subjecting jaws to gravity, obviously crossed a line here, with almost no one in the babblocracy defending him (see here for a sample), and more prominent pundits like Timothy Noah chiding him openly.  It's no secret that the Republicans are, and have been, in big trouble as the mid-term elections near, but I'm thinking Limbaugh's cynical slam may prove to be the death-knell for the GOP's chances. 

    Why?  (A question you're only asking, if you're asking, with eyes rolling and because I've basically said knock-knock and you realize Who's there? is the only way to get things over with.)

    Because the attack reeks of desperation, of pathetic say-anything politics that demonstrates fundamental weakness at the core (just listen to Rush's voice as he soldiers pointlessly on); Foley-Gate, the Iraq fiasco and so forth, they may have been tipping against the GOP, but Limbaugh I suspect may have tipped the balance definitively.  When power-holders, or the spokespeople of those power-holders, indicate desperation so obviously, usually in the form of an attack almost entirely defensible, it all but inevitably precedes a repudiation of those power-holders.  There are oblivious attacks (c.f., "stay-the-course" vs "cut-and-run") and there are invidious attacks (the Swift-Boat commercials), but some attacks are so cheap and personal that they expose weakness on the part of the attacker; the bully is revealed for being just a bully, his insecurities suddenly plain for everyone to see, even those that once stood by him.
    We have a classic, and I think instructive, example of this in Canadian politics, when the Kim Campbell Tories issued the attack ads that mocked Jean Chretien's face because of his Bell's Palsy.  Campbell and the Tories, already in trouble, were reduced to a mere two seats in the House of Commons, with even the Prime Minister losing her seat.  People, in my experience, will tolerate many things, but blatant desperation is not one of them.  (Think about your own past relationships and do the math.)  I have a funny feeling that in years to come, Limbaugh's melee on Fox may shortly prove to be the gesture that ushered in a congressional change as it became the symbol of that blatancy.  Put another way, it may provide the new whiff that determines that what's in the fridge has, in fact, gone bad and needs to be thrown out.  But the stench now is harder and harder to deny, and Limbaugh's attack may just have proven the proving pong.
    We'll see if I'm right soon enough--- providing, that is, there isn't a November surprise coming from the Roving Diebold machines.  If I'm correct, though, Rushing le petit renard -- hounding him no less!-- may just have proven the fatal mistake.  Crazy like a Fox, indeed.

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