This next post may seem petty to some, but please hear me out.
I just finished reading an article by James Carville on CNN.com titled “Commentary: a history lesson for Rush Limbaugh”. The premise of the article is that Rush Limbaugh’s call for bi-partisan leadership from Barack Obama, and his proposed methodology for doing so, is inconsistent with Limbaugh’s actions and words in the past. On that I think Mr. Carville is quite right, and what’s more (slight rabbit trail here) I think 80% of all talk about bi-partisanship from politicians and media personalities alike is silly when examined beyond face value (I also think 97.3% of all statistics are made up on the spot). But here is the part of Mr. Carville’s article that I take issue with. It just happens to be the opening sentence.
”On Thursday, Rush Limbaugh, the moral and intellectual leader and most influential person in the Republican Party in the United States, wrote in the august op-ed pages of The Wall Street Journal, the acknowledged epicenter of right-wing thought, that President Obama should adopt a bipartisan solution to address the president’s economic stimulus plan…”
I would like to say right now that Rush Limbaugh is not my leader. I haven’t personally listened to him in months and that was only for about 20 minutes. When I do listen to talk radio, which is sporadic, my favorites are Michael Medved, Neal Boortz, and Dennis Prager, all for reasons other then their commentary on everyday politics. Further, I think both Limbaugh and his critics over estimate his real influence; Limbaugh because he seems to have a well developed appreciation for himself and his critics because it allows them to pigeon-hole all his listeners as being just like him.
(To provide a little reason for my assertion, I believe the results of the last Republican Primary are tangible evidence that Limbaugh’s influence is overrated. Limbaugh was firmly against both Huckabee and McCain – adamantly against in the case of McCain – the last two legitimate candidates standing)
That last point is important. Liberals, in their attempts to paint Republicans (and especially Conservatives) in the worst possible light love being able to point to Limbaugh and say, “There is a Republican for you”, and represent him as typical; but he is not, and if they were really honest I think they would admit as much. He is a radio personality for a reason and those reasons have nothing to do with his normality, or lack thereof. The base of the GOP, the John and Jane Doe’s, are much more varied in their opinion and thought processes. Sure, you have the jerks and the selfish windbags, but you also have the kind, considerate, generous people who work hard to make a positive difference around them and they do it expecting no return beyond the satisfaction of knowing they have done the right thing. Rush Limbaugh is no more like the bulk of his listeners than Keith Olbermann is like the bulk of his viewers.
Understand that I don’t particularly dislike Limbaugh. The guy is extremely good at what he does and can run rings around all but a very few people when it comes to brain power. I just am tired of people assuming Republicans are like Limbaugh simply because a lot of people listen to him, especially since it’s obviously a ploy propogated by Democratic strategists (and on the flip side, Republican strategists). Personalities get listenership, not real people in almost all cases, and nothing is wrong with that so long as we acknowledge it.
There…I am finished ranting. 🙂
God bless and veritas supra omnis!
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