BROOKS AND LIMBAUGH PLAY GOOD COP, BAD COP
The GOP's Limbaughnistas and non-Limbaughnistas may be sniping at one another right now, but it's not clear how much they're actually disagreeing on actual issues. Notice, for instance, that there really isn't an inch of daylight between the policy critique in the latest David Brooks column and the fulminations of Limbaugh, despite Brooks's denunciation of "the Rush Limbaugh brigades" as "scary."
The U.S. has never been a society riven by class resentment. Yet the Obama budget is predicated on a class divide. The president issued a read-my-lips pledge that no new burdens will fall on 95 percent of the American people. All the costs will be borne by the rich and all benefits redistributed downward.
Limbaugh, October 29, 2008:
Barack Obama speaks the language of the socialist. Barack Obama peddles class warfare. He peddles human envy.
The U.S. has always been a decentralized nation, skeptical of top-down planning. Yet, the current administration concentrates enormous power in Washington, while plan after plan emanates from a small group of understaffed experts.
Limbaugh, February 13, 2009:
Capitalism features winners and features losers. Liberalism pretends to level the playing field and say, "There will not be any losers if, one, we have Central Planning and people who have 'compassion' at the top running it."
... in its very first budget, the Obama administration raises the cost of charitable giving. It punishes civic activism....
Limbaugh, February 26, 2009:
... the percentage that these people will be allowed to deduct on genuinely deductible items will only be 28% of every dollar. So if they give a buck to a charity, they'll be able to deduct 28 cents of it. There's probably going to be a lot less charitable giving as a result....
So the "moderate conservative" alternative to Limbaughism is ... more Limbaughism. Limbaugh's the nasty, piggish bad cop, and Brooks is the good cop who shakes his head in disgust at Limbaugh's tactics -- while seeking essentially the same result.