In the wake of Rush Limbaugh's "I hope he fails" comments (full transcript here) about Obama, David Neiwert writes about "Conservatives' Profoundest Fear." Neiwert draws a distinction between GOP's current fears and those of liberals eight years ago; his conclusion is right on the money:
Most liberals, by way of contrast, believed George W. Bush would fail, and many predicted it; but it's hard to find any of them, particularly leading Democrats, who were out there saying that they hoped he -- and by extension, the nation -- would fail after 9/11 because his policies were "fascist." They opposed these policies in principle. Anyone who openly hoped for our military failure in Iraq, for instance, was in a tiny minority; but there were millions of us who opposed the war because we believed it was not only wrongheaded but doomed to fail. And we were proved right.
Rush and his ilk aren't worried that liberalism may fail in cleaning up conservatism's failures--they're worried that it will succeed:
In fact, all this shouting is just cover for Republicans' greatest and deepest fear: That Obama in fact will succeed. That progressive "socialism" (as they call it) actually will make people's lives better, heal the economy, and get the nation back on its feet. That the nation's working people will finally get a clear view of which side is on their side. That the public will finally see that not only is Conservatism an abject failure, it's a fraud.
In the end, they are such deeply invested ideologues that they would rather see the nation fail than see that reality reach fruition. [emphases added]
Thankfully, Neiwert's remarks only apply in full to a small--and steadily shrinking--pool of hardcore wingnuts. Only diehard Rushbots could listen to remarks like this
what is unfair about my saying I hope liberalism fails? Liberalism is our problem. Liberalism is what's gotten us dangerously close to the precipice here. Why do I want more of it?
without noticing the huge fallacy contained therein: that Rush is blaming liberalism for the failures of conservatism, which has had its hands on the wheel for the past 40 years. Our nearness to the precipice is due to conservatism's ideological refusal to shift out of reverse. We liberals are trying to stop the dittoheads from driving us over a cliff, but Rush's followers are fighting us every inch of the way back to where we were when they demanded a turn in the driver's seat. There may be rough road ahead, but at least we're headed forward once again.