Phil Berger is the Rush Limbaugh of state politics. Via media rants, he channels the id of the right in the most bullheaded way. Politically, he is a neo-Confederate fundamentalist, reducing policy to the basics of social repression. As James Carville said of Limbaugh, Phil Berger leads the GOP.
Berger pioneered abusive conservatism just like Limbaugh launched the propaganda machine. In 2009, Berger was already viciously trashing Democrats. He set Bev Perdue up as a demon figure and inspired his followers to think her the enemy. Limbaugh created the same image of Bill Clinton. Neither of them let electoral defeat–1992 for Rush, 2008 for Phil–instill any humility.
Limbaugh shares Berger’s rhetorical predilections. Both of them use the most toxic invective to manipulate “the base.” They love aiming this abuse at women. Rush had Sandra Fluke, Berger had Kay Hagan, and both of them have women in headscarves. Their supporters, who largely share these prejudices, enjoy such insults with relish.
Contemptuous of institutions, Limbaugh and Berger like smash-mouth tactics. Limbaugh thinks Republicans haven’t been obstructionist enough. If he knew about Berger’s midnight assaults, he likely cheered their “principled” aggressiveness. Anything to save America from the secular-socialist machine.
This style makes Tea Party hearts soar with glee. But we know no one else tolerates it. By associating with Limbaugh, Mitt Romney poisoned himself with women. Good luck to you, Neal Hunt.