A Portrait of Unvarnished, Loyalist, Blind Partisanship

[Cross-posted from PoliBlog]:

Said Rush Limbaugh this week:

Everybody on the Republican side now, along with the Democrats, wants to throw Alberto Gonzales overboard. He may be an idiot, I don’t know. He may be a weak attorney general. … It seems, every time there’s a public demand for somebody to resign in Washington, it’s always a Republican!

So, it really doesn’t matter if a guy is “weak” or maybe even an “idiot”–all that matters is that he is a Republican and that his removal would be considered some sort of “victory” for the other “side.” Never mind that AG serves all the people and is the conduit for federal law enforcement in the United States and that he oversees the application of key policies, not the least of which is a substantial portion of anti-terrorism policy. Because goodness knows that an “idiot” who can’t remember meeting from a few months ago will easily be able to help “connect the dots” when it comes to a terrorist plot or some other high profile crime.

Aw, heck, why worry about competence and ability when dealing with it would mean that one’s partisan opponents might score some temporary points?

Back when I used to listen to Limbaugh I seem to recall a constant mantra about “excellence” and a great deal of talk about meritocracy and the like. I guess that that has gone by the wayside.

Also: to those who think that some radical victory would be won by the Democrats if Gonzales goes, I would point out that the administration would get to name his replacement. And last time I checked, the Democrats got their way with Rumsfeld and yet the medium-to-long term effect of his removal was not some massive net gain in Democratic political capital. The change at the DoD certainly hasn’t resulted in a change in policy on Iraq in a way that would indicate that the Democrats have gotten what they wanted, now has it?

It is time for folks to stop worrying about the alleged “score” and think about how government ought to be run (and Gonzales is clearly not running the DoJ as it should be run–if he were a football coach or a CEO (or your accountant) he’d have been long fired at this point). Further, partisan Republicans who insist that they have to “win” on Gonzales need to step back, take a deep breath and think about what really is more damaging to both the administration and the country: Gonzales as AG or someone else as AG?

Transcript and audio at Think Progress » Limbaugh: Conservatives Should ‘Circle The Wagons’ Around ‘Idiot,’ ‘Weak Attorney General’

FILED UNDER: General, , , , ,
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor of Political Science and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Troy University. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. spencer says:

    It is nice to see you finally come to your senses and realize that it is more important to be an American then a Republican.

  2. Dave Schuler says:

    Didja ever think you’d be nostalgic for the good old days when John Ashcroft was Attorney General?

  3. Derrick says:

    Although we disagree on most issues, this post reminds me why I like to come to this site. Partisanship is part of our system, but this new hyper-partisanship that puts defeating the other side before all else has gone a bit too far. This isn’t to excuse Democrats who do a bit of it themselves, but to be able to make statements like this and Rush’s statements after the 2006 elections about “holding his nose” shows a real breakdown in civility. There isn’t a chance in hell that Rush and other loyalists wouldn’t be crucifying this guy if he had only shown half of his incompetence and was in a Democratic administration and I would be in an uncomfortable agreeance. There has to be some ground floor for loyalty and it was good to see that at least most of the Republicans on the Judiciary Committee were able to find it.

  4. I can agree. Can we now get some ‘Amens’ from the left on the game playing they are doing? Both parties need to clean up their act and worry more about the country than the political point scoring.

  5. superdestroyer says:

    I wonder what Rush will do in a couple of years when the Republicans become irrelevant. Between President Bush destroying any credibility that the Republicans ever had on any issue and the changing demographics of the United States, there is little chance that the Republicans can maintain what they have now let alone regain control of the House, Senate or any state government in the Northeast or Pacific Coast.

    Can someone like Rush maintain an audience in a one party country?

  6. McGehee says:

    So, it really doesn’t matter if a guy is “weak” or maybe even an “idiot”—all that matters is that he is a Republican and that his removal would be considered some sort of “victory” for the other “side.”

    Are you sure his message was that Gonzales’ being a Republican is “all that matters”…?

  7. bains says:

    Trusting Think Progressive to quote Limbaugh correctly, and in context is a bit of a stretch. But why bother with accuracy when (much like what Rush was talking about,) ones aim is to throw people they disagree with such as Limbaugh, Coulter, Malkin, or Hewitt under the bus.

  8. McGehee:

    I am not sure what other issue for judgment he is applying in this case.

    Bains:

    They have the audio with a larger chunk of quotation than that. Go take a listen. I am not sure how one can claim “out of context” in this situation.

    And how, pray tell, is this a case of throwing someone “under the bus”?

  9. G.A.Phillips says:

    Superdeystorer, Rush would have a bigger audience then ever if such a black day as the liberals taking control of every thing again happens, but I would doubt that it would last for long with the New Nazi Order in total power and with the aid of their Brownshirt Media to write laws to suppress the freedom of speech and most directly the truth that great men like Rush use to expose them with.

  10. superdestroyer says:

    G.A.Phillips,

    When the Democrats regain total control it will last for a very long time. The changing demographics alone guarantee that. Blacks vote over 90% for Democrats. Hispanics vote over 75% for Democrats. Those two demographic groups are growing much faster than middle class whites (the core of the Republicans).

    Look at states like Mass. or Maryland. Do you really think that the Republicans will ever be in the majority in those states? I seriously doubt it.

    Rush would lose his audience because politics would become irrelevant. If the Democratic primary is the only rel event election, politics becomes less interesting. If no problem can be solved through the political system, politics become a dead topic.

  11. bains says:

    And I gave you the link to the full transcript. Notice those elipses? They signify about three or four sentences missing. Whereas Think Progress picks parts to emphasize that which you used in your headline, in the full context, Rush’s comment “it seems, every time there’s a public demand for somebody to resign in Washington, it’s always a Republican[,]” is more a throw-away or transitional statement. Second, trusting a far left site to accurately report on a far right pundit is a bit credulous.

    As for the later bit, I have no problem with this site’s distain for Limbaugh or Malkin. What perturbs me is when some authors use the techniques of mis-quoting and false contexting, that is far too common on either fringe, to show that their ire at the subject in question is not just valid, but righteous. I dont read Greenwald nor Coulter for this very reason.

  12. jpe says:

    Rush is just applying the logic of GOP foreign policy to domestic politics: never do anything that the other side would claim as a victory, regardless of the merits.

  13. jpe says:

    The “context” changed nothing. It was a fair quote.

  14. David L says:

    Alberto Gonzales is not much an an attorney general, but he is far better than anybody confirmable by the Pat Leaby Senate Judiciary committee. Leahy’s idea of good attorney general was a domestic terrorist, Janet Reno. Leave Gonzales alone.

  15. G.A.Phillips says:

    Superdestroyer, I was joking, the liberals will never stop the voice of freedom and truth, and having them holding that much power is probably the greatest thing that could happen to shows like Rush’s. The way that you describe on how they would hold their power is a perfect example of their Nazi like preaching of hatred and socialist way of controlling the vote of the masses with promises of peanuts from the government, yes the Democratic leadership has studied their Marxism well but they iron donkey foot it out to the people like Dr. Hitlers Frankenstein.

  16. Andy says:

    The way that you describe on how they would hold their power is a perfect example of their Nazi like preaching of hatred and socialist way of controlling the vote of the masses with promises of peanuts from the government, yes the Democratic leadership has studied their Marxism well but they iron donkey foot it out to the people like Dr. Hitlers Frankenstein.

    This is really good spoofery. The Democrat Party is a bunch of Commie-Nazis!

  17. Christopher says:

    Steven,

    Why has he been such a bad AG? You sight absolutely no examples except some sort of liberal made-up one that is slightly embarrassing to Republicans. If the actual job has to do with serving Americans, then why don’t you comment about THAT?

  18. Andy says:

    Yeah, Christopher, there are no examples beside packing the DOJ with 4th tier law school graduates, repeated violations of FISA, helping to dismantle the Geneva conventions, making decisions on firing US Attorneys with virtually no knowledge whatsoever, allowing massive civil liberties abuses by the FBI, stating that there is no right of Habeas Corpus, etc. etc.

    When you’ve lost Sen. Coburn, it’s probably time to get out of Dodge.

  19. bains says:

    …stating that there is no right of Habeas Corpus, etc. etc.

    Instead of the etceteras, perhaps you could offer an example of where habeas corpus has been denied per strictures of the US Consitiution.

  20. Bains,

    The ellipses don’t change the meaning of the quote. Indeed, for my purposes you can leave off the last part of the quote. If one looks at the post I focuses on the first part of the quoted text.

    Christopher,

    Andy does a pretty fair job of detailing some of the basics.

    I suppose I could toss it back ‘atcha and ask what he has done that would suggest it is in the country’s best interest that he stay in office. In other words: what has he done that demonstrates that he has been a good AG?

  21. bains says:

    Indeed, for my purposes you can leave off the last part of the quote.

    Yeah… and that’s the point of context. Anyone can make their point by leaving off selective parts of any statement.

    The full context doesnt bear out your implied point, as far as I’m concerned.

  22. Andy says:

    Instead of the etceteras, perhaps you could offer an example of where habeas corpus has been denied per strictures of the US Consitiution.

    1) Gonzales himself said that there is no right to habeas corpus in the Constitution. That is perhaps the most scary statement that the Attorney General can make.
    2) Jose Padilla.

  23. bains says:

    Again, provide the full context for Gonzalez’s comment.

    Secondly, Padilla’s case is presently in the US Courts.

  24. Wayne says:

    It sounds like Rush doesn’t know if Gonzales is weak or strong, only that he just another Republican to be thrown under the Bus. Doesn’t sound like most of the posters know the AG overall record, only that he is a Republican that needs to be thrown under the bus.

    Of course the hyper-partisan will claim this administration has violate the constitution and anyone associated with it need to be thrown under the bus including Bush and Cheney which proves the blind partisanship of the left.

  25. Wayne says:

    One more thing, don’t give me that there is a Republican or two that support throwing another Republican under the bus. There are plenty of them who are only looking out for themselves.