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Let’s not stoop to their level

“You’re not going to believe what Rush just said,” a friend told me the other day. “No, really, you’re not going to believe it.”

There are a lot of things I can believe Rush Limbaugh would say. But, for once, my friend was right.

So, I went to the website with the motto “Make Money, Usually Tell the Truth, Sometimes Fear God” in search of the cause of my friend’s consternation. It took a little time to track through the podcast of the show to find it, but coming right out of one of his commercial breaks, he dropped the bomb.

An “A” bomb.

“Ladies and gentlemen, for the first time in my life, I am ashamed of my country,” he said. “To be watching all of this, to be treated like this, to have our common sense and intelligence insulted the way it’s being insulted? It just makes me ashamed.”

What could possibly make “The Voice of Conservatism” so apoplectic that he would use the “A” word with regard to the nation of his birth? What have we, as a nation, done that could finally set him over the edge?

Concerns about sequestration, that’s what.

Yeah, you got it. The fiscal ineptitude of Congress, coupled with liberals continuing to use the same pages of the worn-out playbook they’ve been using since El Rushbo’s earliest days on the airwaves, was finally too much for him to bear.

Now, don’t get me wrong. There was a lot Rush had to say that I agreed with, particularly when he went off on Ron Fournier’s recent column for National Journal. But, I will never ascribe to being ashamed of America.

I may, from time to time, be ashamed of our nation’s leaders. And, I’m frequently ashamed of those who foment contempt in not-so-thinly veiled attempt to derail one’s political opposition — even those with golden microphones.

But I guess what really bothered me with Rush’s tirade was 1) the utterly moronic excuse for his shame, and 2) the hypocrisy of such a comment, given Rush’s history of ripping into “libs” who more or less said the same thing because they disagreed with the political direction of the country under George W. Bush’s leadership.

Our culture — our very way of life — is going to hell in a hand basket, and he’s worried about fiscal policy? Good grief.

And to now say you’re embarrassed to be an American after lambasting others for making the exact same statement with regard to impending war in Iraq in 2003 — Dixie Chicks, anyone? — is the height of hypocrisy. Please.

The statement, “I’m ashamed to be an American,” says you’re embarrassed by your country, not its government. It implies a level of disrespect for other Americans that is, frankly, becoming all too common in today’s public discourse.

But, if he really is ashamed of Americans, is it because they overwhelmingly voted for President Obama? If so, how much of the blame is he willing to heap onto his own plate?

I know Rush is no idiot. He knew from the onset that Romney was a no-win proposition in a can’t-lose situation. I consider that a given, especially with Rush’s staying power as force within the conservative movement.

But do you really think, had he used his golden EIB microphone to unequivocally denounce Mitt from the onset, that dude would have won the GOP nomination in 2012? No, the intellectually honest answer is that Romney would have been DOA during primary/caucus season.

So, it’s a day ending in “Y.” Rush said it himself, that he’s been in the business for 25 years — long enough to have seen the liberal story on budget cuts come full circle. That he’s embarrassed by that — if he’s being honest in his reasoning — would be another shining example of why I cannot in good conscience call myself a Republican.

More and more frequently, liberals, socialists and Marxists, with assistance from their enablers in the mainstream media, are marginalizing conservatives as unhinged wackos, out of touch with the mainstream of America. But it’s stuff like this that makes it all true in the eyes the vast majority of Americans who sit in the middle of the great political divide.

What makes it worse is when others in the GOP — those who will never have a golden EIB microphone in front of their mouths, but who realistically have the biggest impact on their party’s recruitment efforts — follow suit. I’ve witnessed those efforts firsthand in my own community.

I live in a predominantly blue county. So, it probably would come as no surprise that folks who would otherwise be Republicans, were it not for political expediency, have been elected to office as Democrats.

In the November election, we had county-wide race in which both the Republican and the Democrat were “solid.” By that, I mean they both invoked a God-centered worldview, and they both shared political philosophies deeply entrenched in the founding principles of our nation, as espoused by the Declaration and the Constitution.

One of the candidates — the Democrat — had served as right-hand man to the retiring incumbent. And, anonymously (albeit ham-handedly), several local Republicans attempted to engage in the personal destruction of the guy, alleging improprieties that could not be substantiated in any way shape or form.

When my news organization refused to jump on the bandwagon, choosing instead to focus just on the facts that could be corroborated, we were pilloried at the next GOP central committee meeting. Unbeknownst to most of those in attendance, however, the newest member of our newsroom team — who leans right-of-center — was in attendance to learn more about the local GOP.

That young journalist, a 20-something, was so turned off by the experience, she vowed never to associate with the local Republican Party ever again.

A few months later, another of those who attempted to dabble in the politics of personal destruction wrote a letter to the editor to our news organization. Without going into specifics, the writer had nothing good to say about the Roman Catholic Church.

Now mind you, I’m not a Catholic, and I do not ascribe to many of that church’s beliefs, but this diatribe was written by a Christian, blasting a Christian church, for taking a stand in favor of personhood, not because the writer was opposed to ending abortion, but because — as the writer put it — it’s a well-known fact that Catholics vote overwhelmingly for Democrats.

Well, maybe in 1964, but not in 2012.

I shared the letter with my boss, who is both a Catholic (deacon of his church) and a Republican. He was understandably outraged.

Bottom line: if you’re going to try to win over the hearts and minds of America, tearing them down won’t be the way you accomplish your goal. I’m not suggesting you lie to them, but perhaps taking a page from Ronald Reagan’s playbook wouldn’t help.

From his famous 1975 CPAC speech:

 … Can we live with ourselves if we, as a nation, betray our friends and ignore our pledged word? And, if we do, who would ever trust us again? To consider committing such an act so contrary to our deepest ideals is symptomatic of the erosion of standards and values. And this adds to our discontent.

We did not seek world leadership; it was thrust upon us. It has been our destiny almost from the first moment this land was settled. If we fail to keep our rendezvous with destiny or, as John Winthrop said in 1630, “Deal falsely with our God,” we shall be made “a story and byword throughout the world.”

Americans are hungry to feel once again a sense of mission and greatness.

I don ‘t know about you, but I am impatient with those Republicans who after the last election rushed into print saying, “We must broaden the base of our party”–when what they meant was to fuzz up and blur even more the differences between ourselves and our opponents.

It was a feeling that there was not a sufficient difference now between the parties that kept a majority of the voters away from the polls. When have we ever advocated a closed-door policy? Who has ever been barred from participating?

Our people look for a cause to believe in. Is it a third party we need, or is it a new and revitalized second party, raising a banner of no pale pastels, but bold colors which make it unmistakably clear where we stand on all of the issues troubling the people? …

A political party cannot be all things to all people. It must represent certain fundamental beliefs which must not be compromised to political expediency, or simply to swell its numbers.

I do not believe I have proposed anything that is contrary to what has been considered Republican principle. It is at the same time the very basis of conservatism. It is time to reassert that principle and raise it to full view. And if there are those who cannot subscribe to these principles, then let them go their way.

Conservatives need to be bold, but we cannot lower ourselves to the standards of our opponents. If we do, even if we win, we lose in the end.