As I sift through various news websites this morning looking for commentary on how President Obama's Monday prime time news conference was received by the public last night, one comment by a reader on one news site pondered how many John Stewart voters are there out there compared to Rush Limbaugh voters? I thought that's a brilliant question to ask in regards to how this whole national debate on the economic stimulus bill is being framed.
Much of the opponents of the economic stimulus bill fail to even mention one single provision of the large bill that they actually oppose and why. Most of the arguments I've seen are inch deep and shallow right wing philosophical arguments that simply don't believe in government action in regards to spending money, managing the economy or oppose education funding or some other important or worthy goal for American society. You begin to wonder if they oppose basic things such as funding for veterans hospital construction, school construction, Bureau Of Indian Affairs funding, highway construction, electrical grid construction, police or fireman jobs, then around what issue can you actually gain their support. To me they seem like a crazy group who are against anything that is needed, good or required for a decent society to live in. They are like the one group that oppose the bill that Obama referred to that you can never satisfy them around any reasonable goals. But of course there are another more pragmatic and thinking group that actually oppose specific provisions of the bill, and this seems to include but just three moderate Republican senators in it, although this number appears to be shockingly small indeed.
So I ask where does all of this public opposition come from? So I look at the two men who are so influential of so many with their editorial opinions, John Stewart and Rush Limbaugh.
John Stewart is a sharp contrast to Rush Limbaugh in so many ways. Steward was born into a Jewish household where education was a high priority and his own father was a physics professor and his mother was an educator as well. Stewart(whose actual family name was Leibowitz) was an excellent student in high school and graduated third in his class. And Stewart not only spent much time on the required school work, but extensively read leftist authors such as Eugene Debs as well. Although Stewart also excelled in college, he later took many jobs until settling into a career in comedy and television. John Steward seems to inspire his viewers to think about topics and to question authority. Stewart has also had a successful and happy marriage to his long time girlfriend.
Rush Limbaugh is quite the opposite. Although his father was a lawyer, Limbaugh wasn't a great student and only lasted a little more than two semesters before "flunking everything" according to his father and then dropping out of college. Limbaugh was also rated the equivalent of 4-F, or "unfit for military service" during the Vietnam War, and had a high draft number as well, so was not called up for service. Limbaugh has been divorced three times, has had serious problems with prescription drug abuse and has been accused of gross inaccuracy in many of the facts he cites. Limbaugh seems to tell his viewers what to think. And even refers to them as "dittoheads", which is actually far less than charming the more you think about what it really means.
Stewart helps to harvest a thinking group of Americans who question things enough that they look for good answers to things. They think about the issues. Limbaugh, by comparison is a know nothing blowhard, who acts as a leader for those who know even less yet, and need to be taken by the hand because they are mentally incapable to think very much for themselves, and leads them in wrong directions on issues like some "Wrongway Feldman" political version of Moses.
This current economic stimulus bill has largely been under so much public outrage because Rush Limbaugh has only managed to demonize it so successfully while actually hardly pointing to any real concrete reasons why to actually oppose it. He has managed to raise up an army of zombie followers, unable to think for themselves, who simply oppose the bill because Rush opposes it, while not being able to tell you a single thing about the bill.
Last night, the President made a very convincing and concrete case about what goals are good in this bill, and how serious he is at preserving the American economy. It was an image of a very serious and wise man who is an excellent president who cares about the health of the nation. Compared to many who oppose this bill, the president seems to have the genuine concern for the welfare of his country at his very heart.
I'd sure like to see an equal sense of concern for the welfare of the nation from those who oppose this bill, but generally I just can not find it. Many who oppose the bill just don't seem to be intelligent enough to reason that our society needs schools or veterans hospitals. It's too tough to sell such persons on reasonable goals for our society. They will always oppose anything good because that's their nature. Some people want to build up America, others just want to tear it down.
Note: Wizbang Blue is now closed and our authors have moved on. Paul Hooson can now be found at Wizbang Pop!. Please come see him there!