Comedy is not pretty, especially if it is wielded as a clumsy hatchet by the Left to do their dirty work for them. Such is the case with the suggestion on the Daily Kos that satire could be used as a weapon to "take Limbaugh down." This is the comedy weapon post on this topic by the ironically named Kossack, FreeSociety:
Like it or not, Rush Limbaugh's elevation to icon status, by the right-wing-owned Corporate Radio Industry (which pre-dated the rise of Fox News) has been a serious problem for progressive politics, and also just basic accuracy in News Reporting.
Limbaugh's popularity (boosted by a right-wing Corporate environment, to which there is no "Left" equivalent), soared in the 1990s as Democrat Bill Clinton took office. While I disagree with some things Clinton did back then (NAFTA, complex HMO-style Health Care), the constant berating, distorting, and demeaning of Clinton by Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich, was successful in ending hopes of any oxygen for a progressive agenda, and in causing an uprising in the Electorate to vote in mass for the GOP in 1994.
...It is clear that Limbaugh is going to give Obama the "Clinton treatment" for the next 8 years, and worse, the GOP will in lockstep follow this same agenda and play the role of obstructionist to the core. It is clear that Obama counter-attacking Limbaugh, while helpful for his "base", will have no meaningful effect on this. It is clear that Democratic Party members counter-attacking Limbaugh, while evidence of "a pulse", will have no meaningful effect on this.
So how to counter Rush? Kossack FreeSociety gives us his laughable solution:
But one thing will: Humor/satire
Recall that the one time when Limbaugh faced a little dip in his popularity, and the Democrats unexpectedly averted losing more seats in 1996, and 1998, came after Al Franken's book "Rush Limbaugh Is A Big Fat Idiot" had gained significant public attention.
...So, the only way to take Rush Limbaugh down, is to "Tina Fey" him, or "Al Franken" him, relentlessly to the point where he becomes universally just a huge punch line so big, that even the GOP cannot be seen with him, or hold him up anymore as a figure of any credibility.
...The key here though, is that the satire has to be mainstream enough to reach a lot of people and go well beyond simply preaching to the choir. The "Tina Fey-Palin" dynamic provides the model for how political destiny can be dramatically altered, and how to fight back against the next bamboozling by the GOP.
My idea? I'm glad you asked. My idea is that comedy as a blunt instrument just doesn't work. The prime goal of good satire is to make people laugh and any "messages" are only secondary. By strange coincidence, your humble correspondent posted a satire earlier this morning on the DUmmie FUnnies before reading this "comedy as a weapon" post by this Kossack. It is also about Rush Limbaugh except it is about the attempts to remove him from the airwaves and/or marginalize him. So as a public service that satire is presented here for Kossack FreeSociety to show him how it should be done:
(It is early morning in the very recent past. A conference call which has become a daily ritual for over 15 years is taking place between White House Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, James Carville, Paul Begala, and George Stephanopoulos of ABC's This Week.)
EMANUEL: #@$* YOU!!!
CARVILLE: How y'all doin'?
BEGALA: Good morning!
STEPHANOPOULOS: So what's the latest in talking points?
EMANUEL: #@$* LIMBAUGH!!!
CARVILLE: But Rush is just an entetaynah!
BEGALA: Wrong, James. Rush Limbaugh is more than an just an entertainer. He is a serious threat to our agenda.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So how should I present Rush this Sunday? As a harmless entertainer or as a threat to the nation?
EMANUEL: #@$* LIMBAUGH!!! I'm gonna send him a dead fish in the mail!
CARVILLE: If he is so much of a threat then just bring back the Fayness Doctrine to Hush Rush.
BEGALA: It can't be so obvious. We can't call it the Fairness Doctrine. Perhaps we can just repackage it in another name but with the same result...to get Rush off the air.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So I can say that the Fairness Doctrine won't be coming back this Sunday?
CARVILLE: Maybe we can kick off Hush Rush by removing him from Ahmed Forces Radio?
BEGALA: Good idea. The talking point will be that Rush, by attacking our beloved president, is sowing insubordination among the troops.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Slower so I can write down that talking point correctly.
EMANUEL: Rush Limbaugh...DEAD! Sean Hannity...DEAD! Laura Ingraham...DEAD! Michelle Malkin...DEAD! David Gergen...DEAD! ....Okay, just kidding about the last one.
CARVILLE: AHAHAHAHAHA!!! Who says you don't have a sense of humor, Rahm?
BEGALA: We have to neutralize Rush right now because we need some Republican support for our stimulus package.
CARVILLE: Yeah, that way if it fails, we can claim that Republicans voted for it too. Spread the blame around.
BEGALA: We can make Limbaugh the focal point of our attacks. Paint him as an extremist and suggest that Republicans shouldn't listen to him. Then when we get a few Republicans on our side with the stimulus vote, we can portray Limbaugh as irrelevant.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Should I make that just a plain extremist or right-wing extremist on Sunday's program? And should I wait until after the vote before claiming that Rush is irrelevant?
CARVILLE: This is a win-win situation for us. Rush loses his credibility and Republicans will become so frightened of being labeled as extremist that at least a few of them will come on board with the stimulus package. There is no way Rush can come out ahead on this.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But what if Rush finds out about this plan? And what happens if no Republicans in Congress support the stimulus package?
BEGALA: Not likely to happen. At least a few Republicans will support the package and how could Rush ever find out about our plan to marginalize him?
CARVILLE: Ah lahk it! We mahginalize Rush by claiming he is the spokesman for raght-wing extremism... Hey! Mary! How long y'all been standin' behind me?
BEGALA: Oops! We better sign off for today.
CARVILLE: Bye y'all!
STEPHANOPOULOS: So do you think it would be better if I refer to Rush Limbaugh as a spokesman for right-wing extremism or as a spokesperson for right-wing extremism? The latter sounds less sexist. Hello?...Hello?
And remember, Kossack FreeSociety, the key to good satire is to have a strong element of truth to it. Anger as a comedy motivation will only backfire on you. This concludes your satire lesson for today.