AmeriCAN-DO Attitude

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A Difference of Opinion, A Sharing of Conviction

I expressed some frustration (to say the least) with a post by Patterico in my last post, where I linked to HotAir Headlines. Patterico was classy enough to engage many of his critics (including myself) in that post and further explain his position. I still disagree with him, but I may have expressed a little too much heated opposition to his stance on this issue, which may have unfairly given the wrong impression to anyone who reads my blog (which from my stats doesn’t seem to be many anyway, but just in case) about my opinion of Patterico’s work and opinions.

He has done excellent work at his website in calling out the LA Times on their often left-biased and sometimes outright false reporting. Not to mention he has had a great series with “stashiu” regarding the atmosphere at GTMO. So while I very much take issue and disagree with his stance on this issue, he is definitely an asset to the conservative movement overall.

Here is a little of the back-and-forth I had with him at HotAir Headlines after he came to engage his critics:

I’m not sure Americans understand. And there are ways of saying the same thing without saying “I hope he fails” — phraseology that creates controversy and is easily misinterpreted.

Patterico on March 5, 2009 at 8:35 PM

Yep. As I said yesterday, Rush should have stated “I hate Barack Obama and everything he stands for”. Americans understand that much better. The DNC ran with that and with their 4 year message of hate, vitriol, smears, demonizing and destroying their opponents and rode that to two strong electoral victories.

So I agree. Rush should apologize for the “fail” rhetoric and move to a much better message that the American people understand and embrace: “HATE”.

Michael in MI on March 5, 2009 at 8:42 PM


Well, y’all Rush fans listen to the nuance, but too many Americans aren’t hearing it that way. They are hearing a guy who sounds like he’s saying he doesn’t want Obama to help the country. Their misperception — fueled in part by his way of phrasing the argument — puts conservatives on defense.

Patterico on March 5, 2009 at 8:41 PM

Actually, no. When Americans hear everything Rush is saying, it is pretty damn easy to understand. There’s no “nuance” about it. When Americans hear the propaganda of the mass media and only 4 words “I hope he fails”, then yes, the American public gets the wrong message.

But any person with a lick of common sense will then say “What? He wants Obama to fail? What does he mean by that?” and then s/he will find out what Rush meant by that. After about 30 seconds of an explanation of what that means, most non-retarded people will understand it completely.

I really don’t know what you and AllahPundit and the rest of the Rush critics find so gawddamned difficult about this.

Michael in MI on March 5, 2009 at 8:47 PM


We can’t afford to be on defense. 

Patterico on March 5, 2009 at 8:41 PM

That’s exactly what this whole circular firing squad is about….

sven10077 on March 5, 2009 at 8:48 PM


The “I hope he fails” was Rush going on OFFENSE against Obama. He was taking the lead of the conservative movement and the opposition. He was at the tip of the spear. He was opposing socialism, communism and Marxism as clearly as anyone could and leading the charge for the conservative movement to join him in going on offense against Obama.

But, instead of doing that, what does the conservative movement do? Goes all pu$$y and wrings their hands about whether we’re saying things the right way and whether we are going to be interpreted wrongly or whether we’re not going to be liked or whatever other wussy crap.

Now, instead of all of us joining Limbaugh and unabashedly, unapologetically speaking in one LOUD ASS voice against Obama’s socialism, communism and Marxism policies which are destroying the economy, some are sitting here attacking Rush, the leader of the movement, thus pulling the rug right out from under our attack and putting us on the defensive.

Brilliant job. We had the White House and the Left on the ropes by attacking them and saying we hoped they and their policies failed, and all half the conservative movement can do is wring their hands about rhetoric and nuance and thus give the upper hand right back to the Left and Obama.

Just absolutely brilliant.

Michael in MI on March 5, 2009 at 8:55 PM

My hero is Ronald Reagan. Ronald Reagan was a great conservative not because he went around saying he wanted people to fail. He was a great conservative because he stood his ground on conservative principles and explained to people why they those principle would help them.

You equate being tough with saying things in a way that (whether you realize it or not) alienates a lot of Americans. It’s not necessary.

The guy putting Republicans on defense isn’t me, the gnat criticizing Rush Limbaugh. It’s Rush Limbaugh, together with the leftist media that takes his easily twisted rhetoric and (whaddya know) twists it.

Patterico on March 5, 2009 at 9:00 PM


You can say such people ar stupid/ignorant/uninformed/etc. but those people vote too, and there are constructive ways to formulate messages and non-constructive ways.

Patterico on March 5, 2009 at 8:51 PM

Patterico – I am speaking from a reference of actually spending weeks and months talking facts with people all last year during the campaign. I sent long e-mails laying out policies and laying out Obama’s history and associations and background. I explained conservatism and liberalism. I researched policies like healthcare to explain why universal healthcare was bad, etc etc etc. And you know what 99% of these people I tried to convince said?

I was racist, I was a bigot, I was a hatemonger, I was lying, I was making sh** up to smear a Black man, I was ignorant, I was brainwashed by FOX News, I was just a stupid Bible-thumping hick, etc etc etc.

You all need to start getting it through to yourselves that with a lot of people, it just doesn’t freaking matter. We can’t worry about the ignorant, the morons and the racist pieces of dogpoo who aren’t gonna listen to one damn word we say. I personally can give a crap about them. If people are too stupid to not understand “I hope he fails” and that turns them off, but they are smart enough to understand “I hate Republicans and everything they stand for” and “He betrayed this country! He played on our fears!” and “Bush Lied! People Died!” and comparing our military to Nazis and comparing Bush to Hitler and saying GEN Petraeus is a liar… then you know what? F*** em. Because nothing is going to get through to those people.

But there are plenty of people who are smart enough to understand “I hope he fails”. And there is absolutely no damn reason for us to sit here and wring our hands over this instead of unabashedly and unapologetically support and promote this message. And when people demonize us as they are demonizing Rush? We get in their faces as the Left has done the last 8 years and we explain to them loudly and proudly what we mean by that.

We list off every policy Obama is pushing and we say we want it to fail. Period.

Seriously, this hand wringing on the right is getting tiresome. The Right needs to unite or we are all f***ed as a nation, not just an ideology or political party.

All that said, just so you know this is not some personal thing I have against you, I really admire your work keeping the LA Times in check and calling them on their BS as well as the interviews you had with the man who was at GTMO. You do a great job with your blog, even though I greatly disagree with you here.

Michael in MI on March 5, 2009 at 9:04 PM

Michael, I get what you’re saying about being treated like crap and a racist for saying what you believe. I could tell you some stories. But we’ll save that for another time.

My point is that you’re not going to get the chance to have this dialogue with everybody — and some of the people who are going to be affected by this aren’t hopeless morons. They’re just politically uninvolved people who don’t follow these issues like you and I do.

And you’re absolutely right: the media will twist and turn everything. But you can make it easier for them to do so, or you can make it harder. Saying “I hope he fails” makes it easier.

Thanks for the kind words about the L.A. Times. I took a little risk with my post to make a point — knowing that some people would get upset because they look at it too superficially. I don’t put you in that category. I think you understand I’m coming at this from a perspective of wanting to help the conservative movement. We may not agree on exactly how to do it but we probably agree on more than you think.

Patterico on March 5, 2009 at 9:11 PM


Great for a talk radio host. Not so great for the lawmakers who get quizzed about whether they agree.

Patterico on March 5, 2009 at 9:02 PM

Oh please, Patterico. How gawddamned difficult is it to look straight into the camera or look the interviewer in the eye and answer “Yes. I agree wholeheartedly with Rush Limbaugh. I want Obama to fail in his socialist, anti-capitalist policies as well”.

Tell me. How difficult is that?

This is why the GOP and the Right fail. Because you and others decide to grant the premise to the Left and grant the battlefield to the Left and play by their rules. Instead of saying, no, we are not playing by your rules anymore. We are not granting your premise and we are not letting you twist our words.

How difficult would it have been for every GOP member, when asked about Rush’s comments, to go on the air and loudly and proudly say “Yes. I agree with Rush Limbaugh. I want Obama’s socialist, anti-capitalist policies to fail.” Every single one of them. Over and over and over. GOP member after GOP member, repeating repeating repeating “socialist policies to fail”. THAT would have been the message put out to the public over and over and over again getting the public to start thinking “socialist, anti-capitalist? hmmmm”.

Instead, the GOP is on defense. Brilliant.

Michael in MI on March 5, 2009 at 9:11 PM


Thanks for the kind words about the L.A. Times. I took a little risk with my post to make a point — knowing that some people would get upset because they look at it too superficially. I don’t put you in that category. I think you understand I’m coming at this from a perspective of wanting to help the conservative movement. We may not agree on exactly how to do it but we probably agree on more than you think.

Patterico on March 5, 2009 at 9:11 PM

I am a HUGE fan of Rush, as I have grown to really appreciate and admire him since I started listening to his show around September of 2001 after the terrorist attacks of 9/11. So I am admittedly very reflexively defensive when I see people whom I think are going after him and not appreciating his message and effort. We do disagree on method in this case, but you’re right, I don’t question where you stand on the case of conservatism and wanting what is good for this country. I just have gotten so fed up with people spending more time going after Rush and, I feel, playing right into the Left’s plan, than rallying around Rush and unapologetically and unabashedly going after Obama and his cohorts.

The way I see it, we are in a battle (of ideas and ideologies) and our leader has just yelled “CHARGE!” and is going forward full steam at the enemy. Now, instead of all of us falling in behind him taking his lead and uniting to defeat the enemy at the other end of the field, half of us are charging and the other half are waiting behind going “wait a minute, I’m not sure if now’s the right time to charge or if we’re in the right formation or if our swords are sharp enough, etc etc etc”. Meanwhile, the enemy has heard the “CHARGE!” call and is now pushing forward to counterattack.

What are we left with? Our leader going foward with half his men, attacking an enemy at full strength. Meanwhile their leader sits on a hill looking over the battlefield laughing at how his enemy is splintered and divided.

I just don’t see what benefit you and the rest of your Rush critic cohorts felt was going to come from separating yourselves from Rush and dividing the Right rather than deciding to unite with Rush and unite the Right. Where we differ is you see Rush as the problem and I see you and your cohorts splitting the Right as the problem.

Michael in MI on March 5, 2009 at 9:22 PM


If I think the army is charging in the wrong direction, it’s my function to help get it pointed in the right direction first, and then scream battle cries.

I’m not going to go around screaming “I hope he fails!” because it’s too easy to twist. I just don’t think it’s smart. I want to fight but in a smart way that wins us more voters. It’s a war of ideas and in a war of ideas perceptions matter. Doesn’t mean you abandon your principles. Hold to them and be smart about it.

Patterico on March 5, 2009 at 9:26 PM


March 5, 2009 , 9:55PM - Posted by | Barack Obama, Communism, Conservatism, Liberalism, Marxism, Rush Limbaugh

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