Monday, March 02, 2009

Why Does Rush Matter?

It's interesting that other conservatives are now realizing what I've known for about 15 years: that Rush Limbaugh is a windbag that is more concerned about boosting his ratings than he is about trying to rebuild the GOP.

But now, that conservatives and liberals are chatting about the rotund radio announcer, I am left wondering something:

Why Does Rush Matter?

Why have so many bloggers spent so much time writing about this guy?

Yes, I know that he seems to hold a big sway over a lot of conservatives. Yes, he made a big speech at CPAC which is the big gathering of movement conservatives. But why have we made Rush and CPAC the be all and end all of American conservatism when they aren't?

Rush's message is a damaging to the GOP- I get it. CPAC is big, it is what made Ronald Reagan. But if Rush is not going to listen to reason and if CPAC is more interested in Joe the Plumber than in trying to build from the ashes, then maybe it's time to start to build a counter movement. Maybe it is time to build a new kind of CPAC that is more inclusive and more focused on solutions than in slogans. Maybe we need to ignore Rush and his blatherings and get our own ideas out in the open.

Think about it: the Democrats created new vehicles to carry their message. used the internet to get the message out. Yearly Kos became the liberal version of CPAC with progressive bloggers coming together to find ways to get the progressive message out there and pick candidates who could win. When the party and ideological apparatus was not responsive, they created their own structures.

It's interesting talking about how conservatism is dead and all that; but I know it is alive in people like David Brooks, David Frum, Reihan Salam, Ross Douthat and others. What it needs are new structures to carry that new message along. Rush won't do it and neither will CPAC or for that matter, Michael Steele and the RNC.

The GOP and American conservatism can survive; it just needs stop focusing on Rush. As Dr. Suess once said: "Those who matter don't mind. Those who mind, don't matter."

Rush Limbaugh doesn't matter.

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