Since the Republican takeover of the House of Representatives in 2010, American politics have been largely defined by stalemate. At every available opportunity, the Tea Party-era GOP has sought to stymie the Obama administration's initiatives on health care reform, economic stimulus, the minimum wage, climate change, and immigration reform. But to hear the conservative movement's leading rabble rousers tell it, the Obama years have witnessed repeated betrayals by the Republican establishment, notwithstanding its near-lockstep opposition to every major Obama policy. With the GOP set to assume unified control of Congress tomorrow morning, right-wing shock jock Rush Limbaugh is predicting further betrayal -- and in Limbaugh's demented telling, it has a great deal to do with the president's race.
On his radio program Monday, Limbaugh chastised incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for his statement that his goal over the next two years is to convince American voters that electing a Republican president in addition to a Republican Congress in 2016 need not be a "scary outcome." Though McConnell pledged to confront the administration on issues like health reform, energy, and the environment, Limbaugh decried the Kentuckian's remarks as evidence that the GOP will "throw in" with Obama and the Democratic Party.
"What do you think that means? That means throwing in with the Democrats," Limbaugh said.
"We don’t want to be scary. We don’t want to be seen as extremist kooks. Remember, all you have to do to be seen as an extremist kook is oppose Obama, pure and simple," he added.
Limbaugh's broadside then took a bizarre turn, as he proceeded to connect the establishment GOP's alleged betrayals with the police killings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.
"It’s easier to think ‘Hands up, don’t shoot’ happened than to try to tell people the truth that it didn’t," Limbaugh said, referring to Brown's reported last words before he was shot and killed by Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson. "It’s no more complicated than that. It’s easier to fall in with Eric Garner was killed in a chokehold rather than died in the ambulance on the way to the hospital of a heart attack," he continued. Medical examiners concluded that Garner, who was placed in a police chokehold after resisting arrest for selling untaxed cigarettes in Staten Island, died from “compression of neck (choke hold), compression of chest and prone positioning during physical restraint by police.”
Bringing his comments back to Washington policy debates, Limbaugh then cited polling statistics showing that Republican voters want the party to block the administration's agenda on issues like Obamacare and immigration reform. Still, Limbaugh asserted, the national GOP ran a midterm campaign that largely steered clear of those issues, even though individuals candidates campaigned on them.
"The Republican Party had a strategy — and that was to shut up and not say anything. And they still won. The only conclusion can be this election had a singular meaning: stop what Obama is doing," Limbaugh declared.
"But it’s easier to throw in with Obama," he continued. "His race, by the way, is a clear factor in this. Let’s not kid ourselves. It’s much easier to throw in with the first African American president than to oppose him because you know what’s going to come. Even if you pay off Al Sharpton, you still might face allegations of racism."
There you have it: the party of Steve Scalise will, over the next two years, abandon its posture of reflexive opposition to Obama, given Republicans' palpable sensitivity on racial issues. Let the bipartisan golden age begin!
Listen to Limbaugh's rant below, via Media Matters: