Back in the 1990s, when gay bashing was de rigeur among certain segments of the right, a good number of Americans not favorably disposed to people like us became more sympathetic. We Americans don’t have much stomach for scapegoating, at least not in the past forty years.
I have seen Republican candidates lose support from Republican voters in Northern Virginia when they made an issue of a candidate’s sexuality or referenced “homosexuals” overmuch in their campaigns.
By the same token, I’m beginning to see people even here in Hollywood become increasingly sympathetic to Carrie Prejean, not because they like her bleach-blonde hair or her views on gay marriage, but because they’ve had enough with the media making mockery of her and her convictions. Just like those Northern Virginia Republicans becoming annoyed at their fellow partisans fault the gays, they’d just rather people leave her alone.
And now, I wonder if the Administration’s attempt to destroy Rush Limbaugh will backfire and increase his standing not just with his conservative audience, but also with Americans not favorable disposed to his viewpoint . . . or his persona. At the White House Correspondent dinner on Saturday, Wanda Sykes laid only kid gloves on the President, while reserving her rancor for Republicans and their allies in the media, particularly Limbaugh.
She compared the talk show host, not present at the dinner, to Osama bin Laden: “Because I think maybe he was the 20th hijacker. But he was just so strung out on Oxycontin that he missed his flight.” Even she realized she went overboard. Still, she later expressed the hope that his kidneys might fail.
Even self-professed liberal Democrat Nikki Finke thought “her overall performance was inappropriate for the room.” (H/t: Glenn.)
Like Perez Hilton insulting Carrie Prejean, Wanda Sykes, normally quite funny, assumed (quite correctly) that she could get away with replacing gentle jabs with nasty jugular thrusts. Despite her abuse, Rush Limbaugh will do just fine. I’m sure his opening monologue today will be one to remember.
But, more interesting to me will be to see if Camille Paglia comments on the dinner on her blog. She’s sure to roast her fellow Democrats for their mean-spirited attacks. Rush, however, resilient as ever, will relish them. He’s like the Hydra of Greek myth. Cut off one of its heads and two grow in its place.
Now that the Democrats are in power, the more manifest will become the contempt they and their allies in the media hold for conservatives. And the American people will react to them the way they react to most such purveyors of hate.
UPDATE: Pete Wehner offers:
. . . one cannot help but note the extraordinary double standard when it comes to the rhetoric of conservatives and liberals. If a conservative had said something similar about a liberal at the Correspondents’ Dinner, the press would be outraged and in high dudgeon. But because the target was Rush Limbaugh, most in the media appear quietly, or less-than-quietly, satisfied.
Read the whole thing and while you’re at it, check out Toby Harnden’s column.