To many opponents of Rush Limbaugh, this title would be an understatement. In recent days, however, Limbaugh has made it a personal crusade to attack the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court and has gone as far as labeling her a racist. You couldn’t find a better illustration of a pot calling a kettle black
Other conservative voices in dire need of media exposure, like Newt Gingrich, have echoed those sentiments. Just yesterday, a former Republican presidential candidate, Tom Tancredo, claimed Sotomayor was part of a group he characterized as the “Latino KKK.” And so it goes. The hard right has decided to make this a make-or-break case against the Obama administration.
The overkill may be beneficial in a way. Reasonable conservative voices are now emerging. Joe Scarborough, from MSNBC’s Morning Joe show, has written an article and a book outlining his vision of a GOP revival. Columnist David Brooks of the New York Times and former Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan of the Wall Street Journal have begun to trace the outlines of a message to counter Obama. This can only help quell the current Republican disarray and shift the focus toward policy and issues rather than personal attacks and character assassination. It is timely if the GOP has any hopes at making gains in next year’s mid term elections .
A more center-right Republican opposition could make Obama a better president down the road. We saw in the primaries and the campaign that Obama performs better when attacked on issues and policies. But the Republicans should not be fearful; it can only broaden their appeal to independents and new constituencies if they make their case forcefully and in a respectful manner. A return to the party of Lincoln, Eisenhower and a modernized version of Reagan is the best course for making a comeback. Scarborough, McCain, Charlie Crist of Florida, and Bobby Jindal represent the type of conservative who can cross party lines and make the GOP competitive again. Rove, Cheney, Limbaugh and Gingrich deal in divisive politics that the American people rejected last November. They are voices of the past. At long last, we may be seeing a return to robust debates about ideas with this latest Limbaugh overkill. It was about time.