Dark days for the right

Judging from what leading conservatives are saying, these are very bad times for the GOP.

By Vincent Rossmeier
Published May 15, 2009 6:05PM (EDT)

President Obama has been in office for only a little over a hundred days, but if you listened to some leading conservatives, you'd think the apocalypse was upon us. Granted, after having controlled the White House for 20 of the last 28 years, it can't be easy for conservatives to see a Democrat in the Oval Office, especially when he's presiding over both a Democratic Senate and House. Still, some members of the right are becoming quite hyperbolic in their denunciations of the country's current political landscape.

Take for instance, Focus on the Family founder James Dobson. A vocal and politically influential leader of the religious right, Dobson now seems to have conceded that the right has lost the culture wars. Thursday, on his radio program, Dobson referred to the hate-crimes legislation that the House recently passed as "the utter evil that's coming out of the United States Congress." (Hat-tip to Steve Benen.) No one who has paid even the slightest attention to Dobson over the years would be surprised by that statement. But then he went on to tell his listeners that there was nothing they could do to counteract the "evil." Dobson said:

I want to tell you up front that we're not going to ask you to do anything, to make a phone call or to write a letter or anything.

There is nothing you can do at this time about what is taking place because there is simply no limit to what the left can do at this time. Anything they want, they get and so we can't stop them.

We tried with [Health and Human Services Secretary] Kathleen Sebelius and sent thousands of phone calls and emails to the Senate and they didn't pay any attention to it because they don't have to. And so what you can do is pray, pray for this great nation... As I see it, there is no other answer. There's no other answer, short term.

Later, he added, "I've been on the air for 32 years and I've never seen a time quite like this."

This isn't the first time Dobson has sounded resigned to what he sees as the country's fate recently. In his farewell address to staff at Focus on the Family, whose chairmanship he recently relinquished, Dobson conceded that his side of the culture war has lost a string of important battles. And just a month ago, he told Fox News' Sean Hannity, "Yes, the left-wing media is itching for members of the pro- family movement to put up a white flag and declare the culture war over and to just hand the country to them... And it is true that many of the battles that we have fought for many years were lost, at least the battles were lost, the war was not lost."

But Dobson isn't the only prominent conservative responding to the left's political ascendancy in unusual ways. Not to be outdone, during his radio show on Thursday, Rush Limbaugh not only told his listeners that Democrats were addicted to power, but then compared that addiction to his own struggle with prescription drugs. After a caller asked what Democrats wanted now that they had control of the government, Limbaugh answered (video below):

RUSH: Have you ever had a genuine addiction to anything?

CALLER: I don't... Um, not really. (nervous laughter)

RUSH: Well, I have. I have. I have, and let me tell you about it. It makes you entirely unreasonable and irrational. It is all you care about. Nothing else matters. No matter how important to you otherwise, it doesn't matter as much as the addiction... These people are addicted to power, because they think it is their birthright... The addiction to power and dominance and control is what drives them. And the thing about an addiction is, it can never be satisfied.

... They don't seem like they are satisfied with any of the progress. They have debauched our culture. They have made perversion standard operating procedure, and they're not happy! They're miserable. They still want George Bush in jail. They want Karl Rove and Dick Cheney being frog-marched in handcuffs and shackles off to the hoosegow -- and if they got that, it wouldn't make them happy because then they would want it to happen to me.

CALLER: But after they destroy our country, where's their power?

RUSH: What do addicts do? They destroy themselves.

Vincent Rossmeier

Vincent Rossmeier is an editorial assistant at Salon.

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