Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Bloviating Gas Bag
Some bartenders are pretty good psychologists not to mention being fairly adept at feigning interest in the most boring of topics. There is a gentleman named Bill Vaughan who used to tend bar at the old Orange Inn Tap Room here in Goshen, New York. Heaven knows how many hours the poor guy spent listening to me waxing inebriate on all matter of subjects from the deplorable state of American politics to the age-old question as to who was the funniest of the two: Stan Laurel or Oliver Hardy? I would imagine that in a perfect society, no one other than a patient, world-weary and kindly mixologist would ever have bothered paying any attention to the opinions expressed by the likes of Rush Limbaugh.
During the Democratic party's primary season he gleefully demonstrated that power once again when he instructed his moronic faithful to vote overwhelmingly for Hillary Clinton in states where cross-party voting was legal. His motivation was laughably obvious to anyone bothering to pay attention. The last thing the Republicans wanted was to have John McCain in competition with an articulate visionary like Barack Obama. Senator Clinton, they knew, was a sure loser. Had it not been for el Rushbo's electoral meddling, Obama's victory last summer would not have been the cliff hanger it turned out to be; it would have been a landslide.
And now he's at it again. Rush Limbaugh, in an effort to impress all of us with what a big and powerful dude he is, says he is going to "hijack" President Obama's honeymoon with the print and electronic media. He was a little vague on exactly how he was going to do this but you can be sure he was just as sincere as can be. He was telling his listeners in the same breath that the President is more afraid of him than he is of Mitch McConnell "which says a lot about the Republican party", he added. Oh really? While he may be "the most powerful Republican in the country at the moment", as some in the media are implying, they are ignoring the fact that the "party of Lincoln" is in the process of self-destructing. At this writing Rod Blagojevich is the most powerful Democrat in Illinois. How much does that reveal about the current state of the Democratic party? Not much.
The most jaw-dropping spectacle one can witness is the sight of Right Wing politicians dropping to their knees on the alter of the Church of Limbaugh. A couple of days ago, Congressman Phil Gingrey of Georgia had the unmitigated gall to criticize him in an interview with the magazine Politico and on MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews. Someone (probably Rush himself) got the message to Gingrey that any kind of negativity directed toward the Great One was a mortal sin punishable by political ostracism. Gingrey got the message loud and clear. Withing twenty-four hours he was on his knees, calling into the program and begging Rush to be absolved for his transgressions:
"I clearly ended up putting my foot in my mouth on some of those comments, and I just wanted to tell you, Rush — and all our conservative giants, who help us so much to maintain our base and grow it to get back this majority — that I regret those stupid comments."
It was one of the most pathetic things I've ever been forced to witness. Theodore Roosevelt would have said of Phil Gingrey (as he once said of his boss, President McKinley):
"He has all the spine of a chocolate eclair."
After Rush made some distasteful, racist comments regarding the President (which I won't reprint here - even I have standards, thank you very much!) MSNBC's Nora O'Donnell tried to get Indiana congressman Mike Pense to condemn the remarks. Pense merely tap danced around the question, frightened to death at the mere thought of uttering a word that would cause the wrath of Limbaugh to come crashing down on his political career. Ms. O'Donnell ended the interview by asking, "You're on your way to be interviewed on the Rush Limbaugh Show, aren't you Congressman?"
"Umm, I think so, Nora" replied an utterly fearful Mike Pense.
"We need to stop giving them coupons where they can go buy all kinds of junk. We just don't have the money. They're taking out, they put nothing in. And I'm sick and tired of playing the one phony game I've had to play and that is this so-called compassion for the poor. I don't have compassion for the poor."
"Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth"
Jesus of Nazareth
Like all of the Right Wing, media talking heads, Limbaugh is a hypocrite of Olympian proportions. In his book which inspired the title of this piece, Rush Limbaugh is a Big, Fat Idiot and Other Observations, the Soon-to-be Senator from Minnesota, Al Franken, wrote as follows:
"Given his feelings about the poor, you might find it surprising that Limbaugh has himself fed off the largess of the government in the form of unemployment insurance. Was Rush temporarily disabled? No....This self-described "rugged individual" and scourge of government handouts had the gall to file for unemployment at a time when he was able-bodied and spending his days sitting around the house eating junk food, too lazy to mow his own lawn."
One could literally go on for pages listing the contradictions and hypocrisies that are personified in the man's very being. The amazing thing is that there are many people - an estimated twenty million or more of them - who still take this asshole seriously! The most unpleasant aspect of my job is that I have to listen to Rush Limbaugh. That is not meant to imply that I listen to him every day, or for the full three hours that he is on the air - I can just take so much. But I do tune into his program a couple times a week and listen to it for as long as my stomach will allow (My endurance record is slightly over two hours). I have to do that in order to be able to comment intelligently on the bullshit he puts forward as fact. That might seem like a masochistic way to spend an afternoon but, hey! - A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do. About once a month I'll also tape an entire installment of Fox and Friends. I even read Ann Coulter's book Treason cover to cover. How's that for patience? It's all a simple case of "Know Your Enemy", you know what I mean?
From all that I have read and watched and listened to, the one common denominator that is shared by Rush Limbaugh and his compatriots on the Far Right is that they appeal to the very worst angels of our nature. And quite often, the recipients of their hateful ire are the most helpless among us. For the last thirty years, thanks to the abolition of the Fairness Doctrine, these people have dominated America's national political dialogue. It's high time we take it back, don'cha think?
Rush Limbaugh is not unique to American history. Three quarters of a century ago the opinion media was polluted by the minds of people like Westbrook Pegler, George Sokolsky and Walter Winchell. While they were all able to enjoy great fame and treasure while they were alive, death would find the three of them consigned history's garbage heap, forgotten and disgraced. Indeed, during the thirties and forties Winchell was arguably the most famous man in America. And yet when he died in 1972, the only person who bothered to show up at his funeral was his daughter. Do you remember the name Walter Winchell? Don't feel bad if you don't; not many people do.
Rush Limbaugh, too, will suffer posterity's indifference. Of that you may be completely certain.
"Rush Limbaugh is a Big, Fat Idiot and Other Observations" by SENATOR Al Franken
As I was editing this piece, President Obama was on television signing into law the Lillie Leadbetter Act. After eight, long years, it is a beautiful thing indeed to hear the commander-in-chief speak in complete sentences, free of grammatical errors. [sigh].
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