Saturday, April 13, 2019


I was scrolling through a page at Rush Limbaugh's site this morning and I saw a graphic that made me do a double take:

I don't want to read too much into these things but ... really? Is this the way Limbaugh's audience feels about Trump and immigration?

I lurk at a lot of right-wing sites, and I'm used to seeing immigration graphics like this, on another Limbaugh page:

But the first one -- with the sun and the triumphant Trump -- what the hell is that?

During the George W. Bush years, I regularly said that conservatives loved 9/11 -- that it was the best day of their lives, because it gave them (or so it seemed at the time) a permanent right to claim the moral high ground. They wanted war and more war. They loved regime change. They delighted in patriotic symbols and angry or sentimental patriotic music. Only one Republican has won the popular vote in a presidential election since 1988, and 9/11 was the reason. For Republicans, 9/11 was the gift that kept on giving (until the 2006 midterms, when it stopped giving).

Right-wingers still play the 9/11 card occasionally -- they're doing it now, with their usual shamelessness, as they distort the meaning of a phrase in a speech by Congresswoman Ilhan Omar -- but for the most part it's lost its power. We now have Republican president who (falsely) claims he was always opposed to the Iraq War, for which 9/11 had been a stated justification.

So maybe immigration is the new 9/11. Conservatives wallow in it as they wallowed in 9/11 because it makes them feel unquestionably morally superior. Trump as the exultant enemy of ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION is the new George W. Bush in front of the MISSION ACCOMPLISHED banner.

Trump won't stop illegal immigration, of course, but that might be to his advantage. Remember, George H.W. Bush went to war with Iraq, drove Saddam's forces out of Kuwait, then declared victory and ended the war -- and he lost his reelection bid the following year. He was no longer a "war president." His son went to war with Afghanistan and Iraq, botched both conflicts, was mired in two quagmires -- but he claimed great triumphs, and a sufficient number of voters bought it long enough to get him reelected.

That's the sweet spot for Trump: persuading his base that he's winning while never actually having enough success to declare victory. In that way, the increase in border crossings right now might be helping him. Limbaugh's graphics crew certainly seems to think so.

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