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Tilting at Windmills

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November 7, 2009

CANTOR'S SUBTLE CRITICISM OF LEADER LIMBAUGH.... Congressional Republican leaders are generally reluctant to criticize right-wing tactics and efforts, so I suppose Eric Cantor deserves some credit for yesterday's mild and indirect rebuke. I'm just not sure if he'll stick to it.

The second-ranking Republican in the U.S. House, Eric Cantor, criticized some comments by talk-show host Rush Limbaugh as inappropriate and said his party needs to be inclusive.

"The Republican Party in its roots is a party of inclusion and we ought to be promoting that and making sure that voices are heard," Cantor, of Virginia, said in an interview on Bloomberg Television's "Political Capital with Al Hunt," airing this weekend.

Cantor, when asked about Limbaugh's comments that "Adolf Hitler, like Barack Obama, also ruled by dictate," and his comparison of the administration's health-care logo to a swastika, said the comparisons were wrong.

"Do I condone the mention of Hitler in any discussion about politics?" Cantor said. "No, I don't, because obviously that is something that conjures up images that frankly are not, I think, very helpful."

Now, this is obviously far from a stinging rebuke. Cantor didn't mention Limbaugh or anyone else by name; he made his assessment as general as possible; and he could only bring himself to describe disgusting rhetoric as "not ... very helpful" and something he doesn't "condone."

Cantor, in other words, didn't exactly go out on a limb, taking a firm stand in support of decency.

As for the conservative activists Cantor addressed on Thursday, some of whom carried signs featuring photos of Jews murdered by Nazis at Dachau, a spokesperson for the House Minority Whip called the imagery "inappropriate."

Given the larger context, Cantor deserves at least some credit for his willingness to distance himself at least a little from some of the madness from the Republican base. But let's not forget that Limbaugh's Hitler comparison was made in August. When Jewish groups urged Cantor to repudiate the host's on-air remarks, Cantor ignored their appeals.

For that matter, in March, when Limbaugh led the charge in rooting for failure in the midst of a domestic crisis and foreign wars, Cantor indirectly distanced himself from the remarks -- only to subtly walk back 48 hours later.

As a rule, prominent GOP officials who dare to offer discouraging words of Leader Limbaugh reverse course soon after. It'll be interesting to see if Cantor feels compelled to do the same now.

Steve Benen 8:40 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (14)

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Comments

A Kremlinologist might note that this year's significant apologetic obeisances toward Limbaugh we made before the dramatic ascendancy of Beck and wonder if said ascendancy might not have been aided by apparatchiks wearied with said obeisances.

It's possible that the Limbaugh star is lower in the sky than it was in the spring.

Posted by: Suzii on November 7, 2009 at 8:49 AM | PERMALINK

eaturing photos of Jews murdered by Nazis at Dachau, a spokesperson for the House Minority Whip called the imagery "inappropriate."

Hmmm,I wonder when he thinks they would be appropriate.

Posted by: martin on November 7, 2009 at 9:06 AM | PERMALINK

Limbaugh's response:

Folks everytime someone mentions the holocaust, jews, or kikes, I have to bend over, grab my ankles and be analy poisoned.

What about our first amendment rights? Eric Kiketor is violating our right to free speech

Posted by: Banana-Eating Jungle Monkey on November 7, 2009 at 9:11 AM | PERMALINK

Limbaugh is a powerful voice in our party and I didn't say those mean things about him that you said I did. Typical media distorting the facts.

You quoted me as saying, "Do I condone the mention of Hitler in any discussion about politics? No, I don't, because obviously that is something that conjures up images that frankly are not, I think, very helpful."

However, if you hadn't cut out the rest of the conversation you would have heard...."unless the spokesperson is Rush Limbaugh and he is talking about President Obama's personality traits. Then I think it's appropriate because I agree Obama does have some Hitler like tendencies."

Posted by: eRic cAntor on November 7, 2009 at 9:13 AM | PERMALINK

that the rush limbaugh fundamentalism phenomenon persists provides a nice dimension to the meanness and stoopidity of the Repugnant Party...

it's slightly sci-fi...
some big fat slob spouting hate out of loud speakers all over the country, and his minions forced to bend a knee...
oh, wait... religio-sci fi...

Posted by: neill on November 7, 2009 at 9:44 AM | PERMALINK

Nice blog!.. thanks for posting...

Posted by: golf on November 7, 2009 at 9:50 AM | PERMALINK

But Cantor appeared before that small crowd with those signs clearly on display. It was as though it was a huge crowd of 50,000 or more hwere it would be possible not to realize that type of thing was present.

Maybe the proper time and place for Cantor's mild rebuke would have been as he stood before the people holding those signs.

To appear there was an endorsement. He can't have it both ways.

Posted by: Saint Zak on November 7, 2009 at 10:17 AM | PERMALINK

Saint Zak: Of course he can have it both ways. He IS a "conservative", after all.

Posted by: bikelib on November 7, 2009 at 10:52 AM | PERMALINK

Cantor deserves no credit. It's important for the Republican party that he maintains his credibility among the right-wing Jewish establishment (AIPAC, the Anti-Defamation League, etc.) If he let this go by without commenting he'd be the Jewish equivalent of an Uncle Tom. Limbaugh and the crazies understand that Cantor has special needs and he won't be required to walk this back as long as he doesn't say it too loudly or repeat it too often.

Posted by: Bloix on November 7, 2009 at 10:59 AM | PERMALINK

House Minority Whip called the imagery "inappropriate."

WOW - that's some REALLY TOUGH condemnation.

As Martin said above - makes you wonder where he draws the line, or when.

Posted by: Mark-NC on November 7, 2009 at 11:16 AM | PERMALINK

Just asking, but how is St. Ronnie's "11th commandment: thou shalt not say anything bad about a fellow conservative", which many conservatives proudly tout, NOT a straight-up, outright embrace of shameless dishonesty and hypocrisy?

Posted by: DH Walker on November 7, 2009 at 11:28 AM | PERMALINK

One can only hope that Cantor's hearing LOTS of kvetching at the synagogue and that it's working.

Posted by: Sarah Barracuda on November 7, 2009 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

I keep seeing this story on different websites as 'Cantor stands up to teabaggers' etc. etc. Here we learn that he deserves some little bit of credit.

I am speechless, revolted, furious. This 'rebuke' is so meek as to be a joke, and amounts to a tacit approval. How Cantor can live with himself is beyond me.

Posted by: Norbert on November 7, 2009 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

Not to be too personal here but Cantor is a weasel. He'll step back into the ugly-fold with limited coercion. Actually, he never left the ugly fold completely in his attempt to appear to be at least proportionately rational juxtaposed to the ranting of his party’s Emperor.

Posted by: Knights of the round Trollop on November 7, 2009 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK
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