Rush Limbaugh was asked by a “major American print publication” what his “hope for the Obama Presidency” was. Limbaugh’s response:
“I disagree fervently with the people on our [Republican] side of the aisle who have caved and who say, ‘Well, I hope he succeeds.’”
So I’m thinking of replying to the guy, “Okay, I’ll send you a response, but I don’t need 400 words, I need four: I hope he fails.” (interruption) What are you laughing at? See, here’s the point. Everybody thinks it’s outrageous to say. Look, even my staff, “Oh, you can’t do that.” Why not? Why is it any different, what’s new, what is unfair about my saying I hope liberalism fails? Liberalism is our problem. Liberalism is what’s gotten us dangerously close to the precipice here. Why do I want more of it? I don’t care what the Drive-By story is. I would be honored if the Drive-By Media headlined me all day long: “Limbaugh: I Hope Obama Fails.” Somebody’s gotta say it.
His answer was not only disappointing; I view it as unpatriotic, unimaginative, and emblematic of the failure of our current “conservative” leaders.
A couple of decades ago, a young and inexperienced African American gentleman was elected to public office on a platform that was designed to show he could stick it to the rich and powerful business interests better than anyone in previous history. He wanted to do more than just “spread the wealth” around. He wanted to put the “Smart-Ass White Boys” in their place.
That man was Andrew Young, and 8 years after his election, and even today, he is viewed by many as the most pro-business and successful mayor in Atlanta’s modern history. Young received over 80% of the vote when he stood for re-election in 1985. His transition from an anti-establishment “radical” to a best friend of the Chamber of Commerce was not a calculated political move on his part, but came about because those who he thought he wanted to fight against knew they could not afford for him to fail.
In the 80’s, Atlanta was still a company town. The CEO’s of Coca Cola, Trust Company Bank, Delta, and others generally ran the city from the tables of the Commerce Club. Upon Young’s election, it was the CEO of Coca Cola, Roberto Goizueta, who invited Young to have a friendly lunch in an effort to open up a dialogue. Many more lunches followed, and were expanded to the other CEO’s of the day. The conversion of Young didn’t happen overnight, but Goizueta was able to plant the seed that they could achieve far more working together than working against each other.
Atlanta would not have hosted the Olympics had these CEO’s decided their hope for an Andy Young administration was failure. Despite the fact that it was candidate Young himself who pronounced the business community an enemy, these gentlemen didn’t decide their role was to be the loyal opposition. They knew something much more important. You never get ahead by trying to get even.
President Obama has already made some moves toward the economic center. His choices for an economic team have been widely praised by those on the right. He has even gone so far to articulate that tax increases may not be appropriate in this economic environment. Despite this evidence that Obama may be willing to govern as a centrist, those who claimed we know nothing about this man during the campaign now seem to know everything they need to write him, and our country, off.
As a young conservative, I grew up listening to Ronald Reagan talking about America being a “shining city on a hill”. About the hope and optimism of the American people overcoming fear. About hard work and ingenuity of people united for a common purpose being able to tackle any problem that was put before us. Above all, we were the party of ideas.
As such, I am embarrassed when I see someone who presents himself to be a conservative leader “hope” for failure. It is unacceptable for those of us who believe in this country to pre-emptively raise a white flag of surrender with the only apparent motive to have the hollow pleasure of an “I told you so” should failure be achieved. America deserves better from us. America demands better from us.
Our citizens face immediate struggles that most have not experienced in their lifetime. If conservatives choose to watch from the sidelines and hope for failure, then we have become as pathetic as we are irrelevant. I, for one, am confident enough in America that I can still hope that President Obama will succeed. I hope you are too.
HT: John Konop/ControlCongress.com