There is a split among conservatives between those who think the NSA's collection of data about every phone call in America is an important counterterrorism tool, and those who think President Obama is, as usual, trampling on the constitution and the flag and the Founding Fathers. But Rush Limbaugh takes it one step further. He says Obama is leading a coup d'etat. And this time it's for real.
On Friday, Limbaugh added up the evidence -- the IRS targeting of conservatives, plus Fast and Furious and Obamacare, and now the NSA. "The evidence of the totalitarian nature or the authoritarian nature of this administration is on display undeniably every day," he said. What does it add up to? "Herbert Meyer," -- a blogger at American Thinker -- "asserted that essentially what's taking place in the United States right now is a coup, not a violent coup, and not a [militaristic] coup, but nevertheless a takeover of a government, and it's being done by the Obama administration." Limbaugh emphatically agrees:
He referred to it as a coup. I don't know if he used the word "peaceful," but clearly there's a coup d'etat going. You know it and I know it. This is what animates us. This is why the Tea Party exists. This country was founded on certain concepts, principles, beliefs -- and they're under assault. Chief among them under assault is the right to privacy, and that's what all this is about. So in the midst of this coup d'etat... I happen to like that formulation.
You know how we know Limbaugh likes that formulation? Because he's said Obama has been leading a coup so many times.
- February 26, 2009: "This is not even about politics anymore, folks. This is really not even about politics. I'm going to have to come up with a way of explaining that so you understand what I mean. This is not about politics. It's a political coup, maybe, if you want to look at it that way."
- September 23, 2009: "I did refer to this as a coup, a bloodless coup. He has delivered the United States to the global powers without firing a shot."
- September 23, 2009: [in a Rush quote roundup] "I would describe what Obama is doing to this country as basically a coup. It's just frightening. He talks about a New World Order, and the New World Order is him. Obama is bigger than his country, bigger than the presidency -- he is the world."
- September 30, 2010: A caller said Obama's immigration politics were "the basically coup d'etat tactics." Limbaugh did not disagree. Later, he said, "Bouncing here off the subject of our last caller, the issue here is the dictatorial nature of this regime and Obama's willingness to do anything to advance his agenda."
And that was before all the evidence rolled in! Now all the pieces are falling together. "You know it and I know it," Limbaugh said. "It's peaceful, nonviolent. The military isn't involved. But nevertheless it's a coup."
On Fox News, Ann Coulter, too, added up all the data and concluded this is about something more than counterterrorism: "with the Rosen case and with the AP listening to their phone lines case or tapping to see where they were calling. And that is that the National Security justification was nonsense. It was bunk." (She did not use the c-word.)
Dean Chambers, of Unskewed Polls fame, agrees with Limbaugh, and adds one more piece of data -- "all the tricks and dirty tactics Obama used to be elected in 2008 and reelected last year." He concludes, "That's right lefties, your beloved president Obama was SELECTED, not elected. Selected by the left, put in office by non-violent coup." However, Obama is the democratically-elected leader of the état in question.
And that's why we are also forced to admit that Limbaugh has been on both sides of the coup issue.
- June 29, 2009: "Oh, and you know we learned about Honduras? We learned the Obama administration tried to stop the coup. Now, the coup was what many of you wish would happen here without the military."
- March 23, 2011: "But is there a contingency plan for -- I don't want to say an anti-American president, 'cause that's gonna cloud my real intent here... Is there a contingency plan to deal with a president who is of the belief that the United States is the problem?"
Careful, Rush. Obama is listening.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.