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Michael Moore denies being the Democrats' Rush Limbaugh, so it must be true

March 9, 2009 |  2:28 pm
Liberal filmmaker Michael Moore

In case you missed it, Michael Moore, the -- let's see, we're supposed to call him -- the far-left-wing, wacko liberal filmmaker who fought long and hard to ensure the election of Sen. John Kerry in 2004 by making himself the lightning rod for all kinds of vicious conservative antagonisms and attacks, makes a lengthy and fun argument over on Huffington Post that he's not now and never has been the cultural icon that Rush Limbaugh has become on the conservative side.

While the nation awaits the Obama Cabinet's next inadvertent, years-long non-payment-of-taxes scandal, this is the funnest fight going. It pits two commercial heavyweights slugging it out on air and online. Both are clever, oversized personalities with their own devoted fans and committed enemies, making neither a likely candidate for bipartisan outreach in the not-quite-here-yet new Washington.

To be honest about it, however, Rush is swinging away at President Obama and his "socialist" spending policies with no time for the guy in the Michigan or whatever baseball cap. Moore and other Democrats are swinging away at Rush, which is great for both sides.

A while back, when stocks were several hundred points higher, the Obama team, led by Rahm Emanuel, launched a preemptive attack to turn Rush into the same unifying symbol of hate for the left as the GOP's tank corps did to Moore on the right earlier this century. People from the "Tastes Great -- Less Filling" school of political dialogue can argue in bad faith about this forever between the Metamucil ads on cable. And probably will.

When the Limbaugh Limbo began, The Ticket was among those sites noticing obvious, numerous parallels between the two polarizing icons. But now, over on the usually provocative Huffington Post site, Moore tells, "Why I'm Not Now and Have Never Been the Democrats' 'Rush Limbaugh.' "

As usual, Moore goes for understatement, saying he's been amused at the "self-immolation" of the GOP and admiring Obama's ability to tie "Rush like a rock around the Republican neck and hoping for its quick descent to the netherworld of irrelevance."

Moore lists numerous ways that Republican strategists went after him in past years -- books, ads, funny photos, and how he was booed off the Oscar stage even in liberal Hollywood for his early opposition to the Iraq war, Guantanamo, torture and other things.

Did that help Democratic Sen. Kerry not get elected in 2004? "Perhaps," Moore admits.

But Moore has many more words to argue that the demonization of him by Republicans and the marginalization of him by critics before 2004 combined with Moore's persistent, principled stands led inevitably to the Obama victory last November.

Likewise, Moore says, Limbaugh's persistent, loopy conservative stances and the country's rejection of his minority way of thinking will lead to the marginalization if not annihilation of the GOP. Which sounds vaguely like one-party rule, unless you count Ron Paul as the opposition.

And Michael says he's now very appreciative to Republicans for all of this. So you see it is possible to reach across the movie aisle anyway.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Associated Press