Limbaugh and the GOP: Victims of the White House

I always feel a bit guilty when I quote myself in one of these posts. It’s like cheating: if a topic deserves exploration or comment, it should also deserve to be explored or commented upon for itself, not because it parallels or echoes (or repeats) some other topic.

But I’ll do it anyhow. Here’s the set-up. Barry Soldat works in an ad agency, and is constantly at odds with the Mike Rosen, son of the agency owner, Arnie Rosen. Mike has recently circulated a memo which Barry found particularly offensive.

An hour later, he was summoned to the big corner office. Arnie, in his shirtsleeves, was leaning back in his brown leather chair, hands behind his head, staring at the ceiling. Mike, tie knotted and suit coat buttoned, was standing in front of a window with his arms folded, watching Barry as he entered.

Arnie leaned forward. “Sit down, Barry. We gotta talk.”

Barry sat in the chair beside Arnie’s desk, his back to Mike. “What about?”

Arnie shuffled a couple papers on his desk, then turned to Barry, white hair framing his tanned face. He looked and sounded like an Old Testament prophet. “It’s you and Mike. Again.”

What a surprise. “What is it this time?”

“What is it?” Mike looked like his father, but sounded like his mother. “You sonofabitch, you know damn well what it is.”

Barry said nothing. Arnie turned toward his son. “Myron, please let me handle this.”

“I’ve asked you not to call me Myron.”

“And I have asked you not to piss me off. Sit down and shut up.”

Mike sat on a small couch beside the window.

“So Barry,” Arnie continued, “there’s this memo going around the office on which, Myron says, you wrote insulting and scatological comments.”

Scatological? “I followed normal procedure.”

Mike opened his mouth. Arnie glared. Mike shut his mouth.

“Normal procedure, in this case, being what?”

“I acknowledged the memo, and passed it to the next name on the list.”

“You acknowledged it. In what way?”

“I initialed it.”

“I see. But since your initials are BS, and since you printed them in green block letters about three inches high, you can understand how your acknowledgment could have been misconstrued.”

Mike jumped to his feet. “Misconstrued?” He was practically squeaking. “Misconstrued? Soldat is making a fool of me again.”

“Myron, I read the memo. You are a fool of your own making. Barry merely had the temerity to point it out.”

Mike paused a moment, and managed to lower his voice. “Whose side are you on, Dad?”

“Myron, you will oblige me by returning to your own office.”

“Whose side, Dad?”

“Myron, get the fuck out of here.”

That’s from a novel I wrote about fifteen years ago, a novel which a real live agent wanted to represent and a real live editor wanted to buy. It did not, as you might guess from the wistful tone, actually get published, and the manuscript — if an rtf file in the wilds of a hard disc can be considered a manuscript — languished for a very long time. I got it out again a few months ago, and started fiddling with it — which is how the passage below is so fresh in my mind — and will be happy to have a few readers, even inadvertent ones.

It seems to be to be exactly on the mark, the mark in this case being the Republican Party’s no-it’s-not-a-love-affair-we’re-just-scared-shitless-to-disagree-with-him relationship with Rush Limbaugh. If you’ve been on Mars or in a coma for the past week, the details are here or here or here.

But it’s not the silliness of imagining Rush Limbaugh as a major political leader which makes my piece apposite. It’s what the Republicans now are doing to try to wipe the egg from their face: they are blaming the whole thing on the Obama White House. How, you may ask, did Obama (or Emmanuel) manage to sucker the GOP into grabbing its ankles for the Rushster? The fracas is presented (though not really illuminated) by CNN.

Limbaugh: A deliberate distraction or de facto leader?

As Democrats cast conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh as the de facto leader of the GOP, Republicans are decrying what they see as an orchestrated scheme designed to divert attention from the Democrats’ spending proposals.

Democrats fired out two political e-mails about Limbaugh on Thursday morning, calling him the face of the GOP, and Republicans sent out one of their own, demanding that the White House “come clean” about and apologize for a “political attack game.”

Did the Democrats make fools of the Republican Party, or did they simply have the temerity to point out what everyone else was saying?

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