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Jewish World Review Nov. 25, 2002 / 20 Kislev, 5763

David Limbaugh

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Consumer Reports

Daschle: Looking for that "Rush edge"


http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | If I thought Senator Tom Daschle's reckless remarks against my brother Rush were just a spontaneous outburst, I'd pass on an opportunity to comment on them -- OK, I'm lying; I probably wouldn't -- but I'm convinced they were delivered after cool, calm reflection.

Don't get me wrong. I don't want to look a gift horse in the mouth. On balance, it's always gratifying when your political opponents shoot themselves in the foot (sorry to use violent allusions here).

How do I know Daschle's comments were premeditated? Because his Democrats just got trounced in the elections. Democrats never believe they lose because their message didn't resonate. They've always got to find a scapegoat. Rush is perfect, because the mere mention of his name rallies the liberal base like nothing else.

Also, listen to Daschle's words. "We were just talking with some experts a couple of days ago about how if we're going to try to break through as Democrats, we have to have the same edge that Republicans do." Then, the next words out of his mouth were, "You know, Rush Limbaugh and all of the Rush Limbaugh wannabes have a very shrill edge, and that's entertainment." He uttered that cuss word "Rush" twice in the first nine words.

As plain as a properly Mirandized confession, the agitated senator admitted that he and his cronies summoned strategists who apparently told them they needed to get "the Rush edge." I could have saved them some time by reminding them they've tried that repeatedly without success. How many leftists have they trotted onto the radio waves, only to be slapped down by unforgiving market forces? Ain't free speech a bear?

Daschle wasn't using the terms "entertainment" or "edge" innocuously. He implied that Rush uses the vehicle of "entertainment" with a shrill "edge" to incite people to violent action. You think I'm exaggerating?

Daschle said, "What happens when Rush Limbaugh attacks those of us in public life is that people aren't satisfied just to listen, they want to act because they get emotionally invested." Well, I hope so, Tom. I hope Rush motivates them to political activism. But no. That's not quite what Tom had in mind. His next sentence: "And so, you know, the threats to those of us in public life go up dramatically ..."

Then, Daschle crossed the line further, slandering Rush's audience by analogizing them to terrorists. "We see it in foreign countries, and we think, 'Well, my God, how can this religious fundamentalism become so violent? Well, it's that same shrill rhetoric, it's that same shrill power that motivates. Somebody says something, and ... it becomes a little more shrill ... and then more shrill the next time, and pretty soon it's a foment that becomes physical in addition to just verbal. And it's happening in this country." (Note that Daschle said "is happening" not "could happen.")

It's ironic that Daschle is resorting to this tactic, considering that it's he and his cohorts who are guilty of distorting facts to disturb people -- such as with Mediscare and school lunches. But there's something else that concerns me about this whole thing.

Can we not see an insidious pattern of deceit here by Daschle and his leftist brethren aimed at muzzling their political opponents? The misnamed "liberals" are often enemies of freedom when they don't like its results, as is clearly the case with the economic market and is increasingly so in the marketplace of ideas.

Just think of the Left's eagerness to suppress disagreeable (politically incorrect) speech on college campuses, which are supposed to be bastions of free expression. And they have no problem regulating political speech through campaign finance reform. Don't be surprised if Daschle was just laying a foundation to resurrect the Fairness Doctrine, designed to silence the political speech of his opponents.

The Left has learned how to get around the First Amendment when it suits its purposes. It warns of a "greater" harm: violence. Think about it. That's how they have been able to pass "hate crime" legislation, where not only speech, but thought is punished criminally under the pretense that certain thought leads to violence. It's also how they justify banning politically incorrect speech. And now they are trying to make an overt connection between Rush radio and violence. A prelude to regulating Rush radio?

Just remember, for these moral relativists it's not the principle (free speech) that's worthy of protection, but the outcome (the prevalence of liberal ideas, values and policies). The end justifies the means, and as ridiculous as Daschle's remarks are, we better keep a sharp eye.

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David Limbaugh, a columnist and attorney practicing in Cape Girardeau, Mo., is the author of the just-released exposť about corruption in the Clinton-Reno Justice Department, "Absolute Power." Send your comments to him by clicking here.

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