Rush to Judgment

Right out of LSU I got a job working for the State of Louisiana. One of my co-workers there was Ron. Ron was a nice guy, knowledgable and friendly, but there was one thing about him that got me. Ron listened to Rush Limbaugh religiously. That in itself didn’t bug me, what bugged me was that he’d then come into my office and talk to me about it.

Back in those days I wasn’t much into politics. I never brought the subject up with co-workers. However, Ron had decided that I was not only interested in the subject, but that I was particularly interested in Rush Limbaugh’s opinions on the subject. This was back in late ’92, early ’93, the days of “America Held Hostage”. Yep, during those days, right after Clinton was elected, the same people who are telling us to “get over” the debacle of the 2000 election were whining that “the majority of the people didn’t vote for Clinton.” That was the election that Ross Perot decided to play politician and split the vote three ways, so while yes, more people voted for someone other than Clinton, out of the three candidates, Clinton received more votes than either of the other two. You see, that’s how it works.

(An aside: someone once told me of a game they used to play in college. They’d turn on Rush’s show and listen until he said the word “Clinton”, at which point they’d turn it off. The longest they ever had to listen was 31 seconds.)

Anyway, even though I didn’t follow politics much in those days, I could often tell when the stuff that Ron was relaying to me just plain wasn’t true. I would point this out to Ron, but it didn’t matter (just like how I pointed out that I HAD a radio in my office and if I wanted to listen to Rush, was more than capable of doing so didn’t matter) because, of course, Rush was an entertainer.

And now, Rush is still entertaining, though not his intended audience. He’s now entertaining hordes of liberals who are thrilled to see him roasting in his own juices. I admit that I would have liked for him to go down for other reasons – for being a liar, for example – but I can’t stand the guy and am happy to see him taken down by any means necessary. Rush Limbaugh nearly single-handedly destroyed legitimate political discourse in this country. Thanks to him, we now have a whole flotilla of “journaltainment” superstars like Bill O’Reilly, Chris Matthews, Ann Coulter, and Sean Hannity who believe that discussion means shouting louder and louder to drown out the opposition until you finally just cut off the other guy’s microphone. And for whom facts are no big deal. Thanks to them, our media has become increasingly conservatively biased while at the same time they whine about how “liberal” it is.

Thanks to Rush and the people he inspired, it’s no longer about the facts behind the issues, it’s about ignorance. No need to actually research any topics, Rush will tell you exactly what you need to know and how to feel about it. And if it turns out that some of those facts are incorrect, well remember, Rush is just an entertainer.

A lot of folks are feeling sorry for the guy. Why? Why on earth would anyone in their right mind feel sorry for him? Why not show him exactly the same compassion and empathy he has displayed for others? Let the man die by the same sword he lived by. I’m surprised that the second-stringers haven’t been flooding in to try and wrestle his crown away from him.

Not that it’s a foregone conclusion that this scandal will take him down. His supporters, after all, are extremely immune to the effects of reality. So far I’ve seen three reasons why this drug thing is no big deal, according to his fans:

1) Prescription drugs aren’t the same as illegal drugs. Well, they kind of are when they’re illegal, sport. Percodan is legally prescribed to people for pain, but if I start eating thirty of them a day without said prescription, that’s against the law.

2) Give him a break, he was in a lot of pain! Strangely, this debilitating pain didn’t seem to affect his golf game. He was still hitting the links on a regular basis.

3) This is my favorite. I’ll go slowly so you can try to understand. (deep breath) Okay, Rush believes in a strict morality, whereas most liberals do not. So if Rush violates the codes of that morality, it is hypocritical for liberals to chastise him for it, since they don’t follow his rules of morality. Are you getting it? See, since we allow that people are fallible and make mistakes, we should give him a pass, even though he has held himself up as a paragon of morality and has belittled others for their human failings. Him then popping illegal drugs makes US the hypocrites for pointing this out.

The way I see it, one of two things should happen here. Either the right wing needs to accept Rush as he is and abandon their stance as the party of morality (even though they’re the only ones who believe this sham in the first place) or they have to cast him out as unworthy (and then pray no one finds out about THEIR peccadillos.) Either way it should make things tough for them. Probably won’t, but I can dream.

In any case, let me raise a cup of coffee and toast your descent to the bottom, you hypocritical pompous ass. I hope you go far down and hit hard. With any luck we’ll eventually throw your idiot spawn down there with you to keep you company.

UPDATE: If you don’t believe me about Limbaugh’s Legacy and the inestimable harm he’s caused to political discourse in this country, check out this example of what passes for discussion of the facts in today’s society.

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