Political Animal


February 22, 2013 11:29 AM Don’t Confuse Me With Facts!

By Ed Kilgore

Fitting in nicely with the overall theme of this pre-sequester Stupidity Week, a lot of vocal conservatives are furious that anyone is concerned about the impact of ham-handed budget cuts. The furloughed federal employees? The drag on GDP? Lies, all lies! we’re told by Rush Limbaugh:

[H]ere they come, sucking us in, roping us in. Panic here, fear there: Crisis, destruction, no meat inspection, no cops, no teachers, no firefighters, no air traffic control. I’m sorry, my days of getting roped into all this are over. We have the media playing along with all this. The ruling class of both parties play along with all this. It’s insulting. I don’t know how else to describe it.
I’m into my 25th year.
I can’t tell you the number of times this has happened. This hit me yesterday. I’ve said the same things over and over for 25 years. Whether the Clinton presidency or the Obama presidency, whether it’s a Pelosi speakership or Tom Foley (who was speaker when I started), it’s the same stuff. It’s the same threats. It’s the same arguments over and over. Nothing ever changes! We just keep spending more money. We create more dependency, we get more and more irresponsible from one crisis to the next, all of them manufactured.
Except for the real crisis, which nobody ever addresses, and that is: We can’t afford any of this.

We are presumably to think that every estimate of the real-life impact of the sequester (or the Ryan Budget, I suppose) is just a smokescreen for more waste, fraud and abuse, and more welfare money for those people to spend on their rap music and purple drank.

The Washington Examiner’s Charlie Spiering thinks this don’t-confuse-me-with-facts tirade from Limbaugh could be remembered as the second coming of Santelli’s Rant, reviving the Tea Party Movement for another, and this time all-consuming bout of rage.

Limbaugh’s comments reflect a common Tea Party frustration not only with Democrats but also with Republicans. Stop spending all the money. Stop creating false panics every time someone proposes cuts in government spending. And stop spending more money than you did the year before.
A similar frustration boiled over was when Rick Santelli gave his speech heard around the world calling for a new Tea Party.
That rant was almost exactly four years ago, on February 19, 2009.


Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • beejeez on February 22, 2013 11:41 AM:

    If only Congress could get out from under the thumb of the impoverished, unemployed and underemployed, then it could be free to let Wall Street influence its decisions!

  • Daniel Buck on February 22, 2013 11:48 AM:

    Limbaugh might have added to his list of outrages, don't start wars you are willing to raise taxes to pay for.


  • TZ on February 22, 2013 12:04 PM:

    The way to counter this nonsense is to challenge the underlying premise of the tea party - that we cannot afford universal medical care, insuring that the elderly can live in dignity, etc. Who says! We are the richest country on the planet, of course we can afford to do many things if we wish. What is the real truth is that some like Rush, do not want to pay for such things even though he could easily afford to pay more taxes.

    The real question for any debt hawks is: what government benefit that you enjoy are you willing to forgo? I have never heard an honest answer from a tea person on that one.

  • Sgt. Gym Bunny on February 22, 2013 12:20 PM:

    "...more welfare money for those people to spend on their rap music and purple drank.

    Wow, Ed. You just brightened up my day. I give you 8 million cool points for using the term "purple drank" successfully in political commentary.

    I wonder if Rush knows anything about that sizzurp???

  • boatboy_srq on February 22, 2013 1:08 PM:

    [H]ere they come, sucking us in, roping us in. Panic here, fear there: Crisis, destruction, no meat inspection, no cops, no teachers, no firefighters, no air traffic control.

    Because every good Teahadist knows that those aren't jobs, after all. Jobs don't come from Big Gubmint.

    And remember, this is the "keep Big Gubmint hands off my Medicare" crowd: there's a colossal disconnect between public services and the funding sources for same.

    It'll be interesting to see how they react to fee-for-service fire departments ("Saving your house will be $6,000.00. No, sorry - we can't take a cheque. Do you have a credit card you can use? No? Oh, well, then: at least you'll be warm tonight, and maybe you can toast marshmallows. Do you have insurance? Good! Oh - they want a report? That'll be $4,000.00..."). Any doubts about this? Just read up on what's already happened in Tennessee.

    I'm far more interested in what will become of all those well-paid defense industry professionals who will suddenly become redundant when the cuts actually hit. There's lots of good jobs - and lots of nice real estate - in NoVA that very soon won't be worth a d#mn.

  • Ian on February 22, 2013 1:50 PM:

    It wouldn't surprise me if they were trying to wind up the peckerwoods and knuckledraggers again. 2010 was a stunning success. If they try to rev up another "Summer of Hate", trying to get old white people cowering in the corner clutching their guns, terrified at the thought that at any moment Black Panthers and Jihadis could burst through the windows to take their teevees and have sex with their blonde Christian daughters, we'll know that's the agenda again.

  • boatboy_srq on February 22, 2013 2:00 PM:

    Iím sorry, my days of getting roped into all this are over.

    Were there ever any of these in the first place? IIRC, Limbaugh has never ever thought that a budget crisis meant Gubmint would have to go about laying people off - for two reasons: 1) the problem is all Those people sucking the public coffers dry, not the folks who earn their Gubmint handouts; and 2) the people getting laid off don't have real (i.e. private sector) jobs to begin with. And there is a precedent for this attitude: just look how well Saint Ronnie did with the air traffic controllers back in the day...

  • g on February 22, 2013 2:09 PM:

    Rush is forgetting which president gave us a surplus.

  • Josef K on February 22, 2013 2:09 PM:


    It might well be great news indeed, given Spiering's thesis is that the Tea Party will move out from under the GOP umbrella and strike out on its own. Wouldn't such a move effectively rob the GOP of much of its extant ground game and grassroots manpower? Plus which, how much of a chance do Tea Party candidates actually have absent the GOP's electoral infrastructure?

    Hey, a guy can dream, right?

  • Cloudy With a Chance of Intelligence on February 22, 2013 2:27 PM:

    Limbaugh HAS been saying the same thing for the past 25 years. He's stale, his party is stale, their excuses for doing nothing are stale.

    And still they refuse to notice, because change is just SO hard...and still people cling to Rush because facing truth is just SO hard.

    As for the furlough, that walking piece of arterial sludge doesn't know a damn thing, because he listens to nothing but the sound of his own voice, and has for 25 years. As a government worker, I recieved an email, one of a chain of emails, TODAY from our top leadership targeting that exact possibility. It's not Rush's job on the line, is it, it's MY job and he's an idiot.

    Rush Limbaugh needs to be permanently furloughed, for the betterment of humanity.

  • Doug on February 22, 2013 7:29 PM:

    Those bankrolling the T(axedE(nough)A(lready) Party are, as the expansion notes, solely concerned about their prospects of paying higher taxes. They've got it good and don't want any changes. Unless it's to lower the tax rates.
    Unfortunately for them, and fortunately for us, there just aren't enough fellow weasel-hearted, slime buckets with the empathy of department store mannequins to maintain their candidates in control of the government. So they called in the "reserves", aka "Tbaggers", and - Voila! - won a mid-term election!
    I would think those bank-rollers, with the possible exception of ideologues such as the Koch Bros, have been regretting it ever since. They no longer control the Republican primaries because they no longer control the local Republican Party organizations. The "Tbaggers" do and they provide such sterling candidates as Akin and Moudock. They also select, and elect, candidates for state government; candidates that proudly boast of their lack of knowledge, their biases (bigotry?) and are doing their utmost to enshrine those "feelings" into law.
    And people are starting to watch. Women, regardles of party affiliation, are noting their actions, and the fact that these legislators refuse to be swayed by their conastituents' letters/emails/telephone calls. Workers are (re)learning why their grandparents or great-grandparents fought desperately to establish the rights of organized labor. Teachers and members of police and fire departments are treatly with less respect than hotel maids. Lies that, were they directed against an individual would be actionable, are spread about members of the LGBT community. There are more groups, but I think you get the idea.
    The thing is, I don't think the ones who have to worry about "frustration" boiling over in 2014 and 2016 are Democrats...