The other day, perennial political tool Rush Limbaugh was on CNBC defending his now infamous "I want Obama to fail" comment. His argument went something like this (paraphrasing):
Yes, I want him to fail. His policies are liberal policies and I want liberal policies to fail. I want conservative policies to succeed.
I find this to be a stunning argument because what it really says is "I am an unrepentant partisan ideologue. I am a political clown." It's a shinning example of us-versus-them, as-long-as-my-side-wins-at-any-cost hackery. I guess it's nice to know that his position isn't personal against president Obama, but how can you hope for failure when the national (and indeed, global) consequences of failure are so dire? Someone might argue that they suspect certain policies to fail, or fear that certain policies will fail, but that's completely different from hoping that they do. There were a great number of Bush policies that I expected would fail (and they did), but I didn't, for example, actively hope that the Iraq war would turn into the king of colossal clusterfucks.
Apparently, for Rush and idiots like him, it is more important that your political ideology and your personal biases and prejudices be confirmed true than for the myriad problems facing the country and its citizens come to a just and fruitful end. And while a bulbous red rubber nose makes a clown easily identifiable at 100 paces, statements such as Limbaugh's are every bit as telling but much farther reaching.
It doesn't matter what Limbaugh wants. Conservatives have been in control of the U.S. for six of the past eight years: they instituted their policies and those policies have, by any reasonable measures, failed. The fool is on the losing side of history.
You may be being slightly too unfair: If there is an ideological view associated with certain views then this attitude becomes more understandable. For example, if one is for ideological reasons a libertarian one would hope that a libertarian society will do better than a non-libertarian one. If a government becomes less libertarian one might hope that that government doesn't succeed and so people switch back. There are obviously different scales for this sort of thing; small degrees of failure in policy are distinct from people dying in costly wars.
However, most sane people are much more pragmatic than Limbaugh. To him, everything is an ideological issue.
Al Franken said it best: Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot.
Perhaps he's hitting the hillbilly crack again.
Joshua said: if one is for ideological reasons a libertarian one would hope that a libertarian society will do better than a non-libertarian one.
Why would you hope for it other than to reinforce your existing view? Like I said, you might expect it, but that's a different thing. The problem with hope in this context is that you might be motivated to work to make this come true (and in the case of the Royal Clown, that means actively working for the detriment of the society at large). On the other hand, merely expecting a certain outcome would lead a thinking, considerate person to re-examine their position if the opposite actually occurred.
Jim, sometimes there are other consequences that you don't want to trigger. Possibly a better example would be the following: Suppose my society decides to become a theocracy. I expect that won't work as well. I also hope it doesn't work better in any way because it will make it more difficult to go back to being a non-theocracy. Does that make the situation more clear?
It still isn't clear to me whether 'fail', in Limbaughspeak is defined as a desire for the objectionable policies to never be put into action, as opposed to hoping for said policies to be enacted and result in widespread misery that Dittoheads can subsequently gloat about. The latter choice is truly unconscionable, and whether it was meant by Limbaugh personally or not, I feel sure than many of his minions interpreted it as such, and were likely already praying fervently for an early Obama bungle while continuing their attempts to expose the truth about his birth certificate.
However, I must plead guilty to the former interpretation of 'fail', w/r/t Bush's policies on essentially every human rights issue his administration dealt with (which also encompasses reproductive rights), privatization of Social Security, NCLB, etc., and if that is what Limbaugh actually meant, I can't ding him too badly for it. Truly, though, the man has already said and done so many loathsome things in the course of his excruciatingly long career, I have no need of yet another reason to didain him. YMMV.
urgh. 'didain' s/b "disdain". Need more caffeine.