Chris Matthews, the man who gets a tingle up his leg when he thinks about Obama, has issued the petulant challenge embedded above. And so far, all Republicans have resisted the temptation to bash Limbaugh for his entertainment. He has framed it as if he is just looking for someone who disagrees with Limbaugh on any single issue, but it’s a bait and switch. Matthews specifically says he wants someone to come on Hardball and “tell us you’ve had it with his distortions, his misrepresentations, his outright falsehoods.”
First, there’s the hypocrisy. While he can’t cite any examples of Limbaugh’s distortions or falsehoods, Matthews himself has plenty. He slammed Limbaugh for using the word “regime” to describe the Obama administration claiming it was incredibly inappropriate, but he himself had used the term to describe Bush’s Presidency. His network, MSNBC, was among those who aired fabricated “quotes” to slander Limbaugh when he held a minority stake in a bid to purchase the St. Louis Rams. To date, I haven’t heard Matthews condemn those lies. They routinely use Media Matters’ “research” to take sections of Limbaugh’s program out of context. And don’t you dare criticize Keith Olbermann for his incendiary remarks. Otherwise, the management at MSNBC will have to pull you off the air.
Then there’s the very premise of the question. Rush Limbaugh is not the leader of the Republican party. That is a fact. However, he is a passionate Conservative, so it should come as no surprise that members of the party of Conservatism would tend to agree with him. Apparently Chris Matthews is shocked that Conservatives might agree with other Conservatives. And of course, Matthews has conveniently ignored the Republicans who have voted in ways that indicate disagreement with Rush Limbaugh. Rush Limbaugh was vehemently opposed to Obama’s health care takeover, but Rep. Joseph Cao, a Republican, voted to pass the House version. Limbaugh has criticized Court Nominee Elena Kagan because of her attacks on the First Amendment, but several Republican Senators have indicated they may vote for her confirmation.
Finally, there’s the choice of targets. What can Limbaugh do to me? The answer is: absolutely nothing. Unlike President Obama and the Democrats in Congress who can, and are, raising my taxes, working to force me to drive an idiotic Smart Car, and generally meddling with my life as much as they possible can, Limbaugh has no such power. He’s just a man with a microphone sending his opinions out over the airwaves. Funny: that’s exactly what Chris Matthews is doing—albeit with only a fraction of the success.
So how about a counter-challenge? When Rep. Alan Grayson goes on the Glenn Beck Program and tells us he’s had it with Olbermann’s distortions, his misrepresentations, his outright falsehoods, then maybe we’ll see about shipping you a moderate Republican to pad your ratings.