Notes on the Atrocities
Like a 100-watt radio station, broadcasting to the dozens...

Tuesday, May 11, 2004  

I wonder if Rush Limbaugh is any kind of decent gauge for political earthquakes on the right. Scandal after scandal has plagued the White House (if plagued is the right word), and yet the Prez's approval numbers barely wiggle. Each one is tossed off as a consequence of liberal hysteria and after a week, things settle back down. Call these superficial tremors.

The torture thing, though, has shaken the country. I was listening to Rush this morning as I commuted to a dentist appointment, and he was apoplectic--nonspecifically apoplectic, if such a thing is possible. He started off with a Village Voice article (possibly this one, which I now see uses my sweet earthquake metaphor--d'oh!) that suggested the media, not the spin machine, was finally driving the story. But Rush, as we know, has taken the boys-will-be-boys defense, which leads him to conclude, delusionally, that the entire torture scandal is actually a liberal conspiracy. So he segued from the Village Voice article to the topic he loves--liberals and their evil ways. He actually made the argument that liberals are hypocritical because they are offended by the phalluses that sodomized prisoners, but not Clinton's cigar phallus.

Yet in his deranged rant, one cannot miss the bleat of serious fear (even if one can miss the point of his lunatic ire). Rush knows that, far from this being a liberal scheme, pretty much everyone left of the wingnut fringe is horrified. Actually, even the wingnut fringe is horrified, they're just not copping to it. It's clear Rush is scared to death this isn't a superficial tremor--this baby goes deep. (I'm not ceding my metaphor!)

He may be instinctively sensing something that's only beginning to show up empirically. Some numbers are starting to show the political damage from which Bush will have to be a wizard to recover:

Handle the Iraq situation better

Kerry: 45%
Bush: 48%

Late March
Kerry: 39%
Bush: 54%

Worth going to war?

Yes: 44%
No: 54%

Late March
Yes: 56%
NO: 41%

But who are you going to believe--the polls? They have Nader at 5-7%. I think the rising pitch of Rush's bleat may be the best indicator.

posted by Jeff | 12:16 PM |
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