It should hardly come as a surprise that true believers aren’t always fond of evangelizers. After all, evangelizers tell true believers things they don’t want to hear. Just as devout Saudi Muslims are quick to question the Islamic credentials of Bengali and Malay and American Muslims who mingle freely with nonbelievers, Limbaugh is enraged by the likes of David Brooks and David Frum and Jim Manzi and Ramesh Ponnuru, conservatives who consort with the liberal enemy. Though all of these writers and thinkers disagree amongst themselves about a great deal, they share a basic belief that the party needs to do more than just promise tax cuts we can’t afford. And they recognize that a healthy political movement is always open to new ideas, and to questioning old convictions.
During his CPAC speech, Limbaugh praised President Obama for his gifts as a communicator, and he expressed genuine sadness over Obama’s misuse of those gifts. Much the same can be said of Limbaugh himself, who uses his obvious talent and cutting wit to do little more than ridicule his political opponents. True believers have their place. But right now, Republicans are in desperate need of evangelizers. And if Limbaugh really does manage to drive them out of his party, he’ll find his merry band of Dittoheads age and shrink into oblivion.