Catching up on what has transpired so far: Mr. Limbaugh expressed a wish that President Obama fail. Mr. Shakir said that Mr. Limbaugh is a hypocrite. Mr. van der Galien rebuked Mr. Shakir and defended Mr. Limbaugh on the grounds that it is good to speak from an ideologically pure basis, even if such speech is not politically correct.

In turn, I was going to respond to this back-and-forth, but then one of PoliGazette’s assistant editors, who goes only by Claudia, said what I would have said, so I’ll simply quote her:

Saying that it’s merely defying PC to wish the president failure ignores the glaring, obvious fact that the success of a nation and the success of a president are very closely tied. By saying that you want a president to fail, you are in essence wishing the nation ill, because a failed presidency hurts a country rather badly. That means that you’d rather see the country suffer than see the advancement of policies you disagree with. It’s heartless and selfish, not merely “defying the PC elite.”

I can understand conservatives not wanting to see policy implemented that they are contrary to, but hoping that that policy fails to the detriment of the nation in order to prove your point that it’s bad policy is astounding in its cynicism. But then, it is Limbaugh we are talking about, after all. I’m a lefty for most things, but I’d rather see a conservative policy work than be proved right.

To borrow Rev. Lowery’s common refrain: Amen.

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2009 The Moderate Voice
  • mwheinz

    And here I thought that dissent was patriotic. I await with bated breath your rebuke of everyone who ever wished Bush would fail, or be killed, or be thrown in prison.

  • Guest

    Disagreeing with someone is not the same as hoping for their failure. There’s a clear line between dissent and pettiness. The former can help improve policy. The latter endorses self destruction. That said, Limbaugh and others are free to wish failure on Obama, just as Bush’s detractors were free to wish failure on him. All I ask it that we not confuse such wishes with constructive debate.

    • pgrigg

      I never wanted GW Bush to fail. Though I disagreed with him, I kept trying to find policies I could support. It was so disheartening to have an anti-environmentalist be appointed to the Environmental Protection Agency, or to suddenly go to war with Iraq when I thought we were at war with Afganistan. I didn’t want us to go to Afganistan either, but I was willing to see if his strategy worked. But he lost me on the second war. I felt like he continually broke trust with the American people, through secrecy and lack of explanation of what he was doing. When he told California during their power-outages that they made their bed and would have to lie in it, while at the same time not pushing the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to oversee price gouging, he lost me (I am a Californian). I got to the point where I couldn’t listen anymore, and became angry. But I didn’t want him to fail. I wanted him to be MY president as well as president to the extreme right. This, to me, is very different from wanting a president to fail. Freedom of speech should be about principles and ideas, not about name-calling. Rush Limbaugh would probably never listen to my thoughts, but I wish he would, instead of seemingly going out of his way to polarize issues.

  • mwheinz,
    I didn’t want George Bush to fail, but he did, and made himself a criminal in the process. At that point, I admit I wanted him to be thrown in jail. Not because I wanted him to “fail” further, but because I didn’t want his failures to continue to harm the American people.

  • CStanley

    What should be quite obvious is that one can hope for improvement in America’s problems without believing that Obama’s policy prescriptions are the correct ones to bring that about. In this case, if one says that one hopes Obama ‘succeeds’, then such a person would be hoping for policies to be enacted which one believes are detrimental.

    That principle is pretty fundamental to the idea that dissent can be patriotic.

    I don’t agree with Limbaugh or the way he’s expressing himself (seldom do, and generally find it completely obvious that he’s trying to say things in the most provocative manner in order to draw attention and boost ratings.) But the general principle is correct- if you think that an elected official is pushing for policies that are bad for the country, then you have not only a right but an obligation to say so and not ‘support’ that person’s goals. That doesn’t mean that you don’t support the larger goals of improving the lives or safety of American citizens, it simply means that you think that person is going about it in a way that will cause harm rather than good.

  • Zzzzz


    I think it is commonly understood that if Obama succeeds as President, it won’t be that he succeeds at enacting specific and particular pieces of legislation, but that he succeeds in pulling us out of a crisis. No matter how you dance around or justify it, Limbaugh was wishing his country ill for partisian purposes. It was disgraceful.

    And yes, mwheinz, I have never wished that Bush fail, and have thought it disgraceful when other liberals have. I have wished that Bush get out of office as quickly as possible because he KEPT failing anyway.

  • Kathryn

    I voted for Bush in 2000. I didn’t in 2004 however I hoped and wished he would lead us wisely and for the good of the country, he would prove my doubts wrong. It is sad mr. limbaugh cannot for the good of the country wish the same for President Obama. It is interesting he has harsh words for other conservatives that wish President Obama will lead us well. I think if it was a matter of disagreement with Obama rather than blind rage at America for not voting the way he wanted us to, he would have expressed himself differently.

  • CStanley

    I think it is commonly understood that if Obama succeeds as President, it won’t be that he succeeds at enacting specific and particular pieces of legislation, but that he succeeds in pulling us out of a crisis.

    I disagree, although it’s obvious that some are interpreting it that way. Which is why I disagree with Limbaugh expressing himself this way (which I’m sure was intentional, to bait his critics.)

  • Jim_Satterfield

    Actually Rush and people like him do want Obama to fail whatever the cost to our country. No, they don’t want what it good for the country. They are completely incapable of admitting that they might be wrong about anything and compromise is in their minds the ultimate evil. Let the country fall into a depression. Let people suffer and die because of inadequate health care. These and any other consequences are subservient to the ideals of the perfection of markets.

  • I believe over half the surveyed democrats wanted Bush to fail,during a time of WAR! wow.