Monday, September 21, 2009

Limbaugh’s America

I understand that Rush Limbaugh has been going on lately about “Obama’s America.” Really? Does America belong to its President? Are we owned by our President? Does the President proscribe our actions and control the social environment in our country? Though that is the way conservatives would like it to be (only with a conservative authority figure controlling society), that is not the way it is.

Truth be known, this is much more Limbaugh’s America than it is Obama’s. When Limbaugh started his radio show in 1988 after the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine, the political dialogue in this country, though very imperfect, was not nearly as ugly and lacking in civility as it is now. The following is an excerpt from The Conservative Century: From Reaction to Revolution by Gregory L. Schneider:

“One of the most unheralded parts of the Reagan years was the decision made in 1987 by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), established by the New Deal in the 1930’s, to abolish The Fairness Doctrine. The Supreme Court had ruled that the doctrine-which stipulated that broadcasters provide “equal time” during coverage of political events or discussion- was not law, but rather a regulation, freeing the FCC to get rid of it... With the equal time provision ended, talk radio helped catapult conservatives to the forefront of control of the nation’s AM airwaves.”

At that time in this country, there was general Conservative complaint about the state of society. One of their biggest complaints was that Liberals were bullying people into “Political Correctness.” Nobody was allowed to speak their mind and it was impossible to thoroughly discuss and explore any issue because only half of the story could be told, they complained.

Rush Limbaugh was on the front line of that argument. His eventual rise in power and popularity has allowed him the freedom to say whatever he wants no matter how racist, intolerant, insensitive, sexist or just downright ignorant. His popularity and resultant power have given him the opportunity to spout the following gems over time:

"Feminism was established so as to allow unattractive women easier access to the mainstream of society."

"We're not sexists, we're chauvinists -- we're male chauvinist pigs, and we're happy to be because…We think that's what women want."

"Sorry to say this, I don't think he's [Philadelphia Eagles’ quarterback Donovan McNabb] been that good from the get-go. I think what we've had here is a little social concern in the NFL. The media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well."

"The NAACP should have riot rehearsal. They should get a liquor store and practice robberies."

"They oughtta change Black History Month to Black Progress Month and start measuring it."

"Look, let me put it to you this way: the NFL all too often looks like a game between the Bloods and the Crips without any weapons. There, I said it."

And let's not forget the "Barack the Magic Negro" song he plays on his radio show.

As Rush Limbaugh ascended his throne as the voice of the conservative movement and his listenership increased, his followers delighted in their newly found freedom and proudly proclaimed themselves as “dittoheads,” agreeing with everything he said not just regardless of the naked racism, homophobia, sexism, and intolerance being communicated, but because of it. Many uncivil tongues were freed to spout hate and intolerance, to whine and finger-point when things did not go their way, to paint themselves as victims and to vilify and attack anyone that disagreed.

While pretending to be a patriot, Limbaugh reveled in questioning the patriotism of soldiers who served their country (though he never did) and dared to come home and air their concerns about war. He childishly attempted to accuse actor Michael J. Fox of “shamelessly” faking symptoms of Parkinson’s disease that were actually side effects of the medication that he was taking to combat the disease. Fox’s crime? He disagreed with Limbaugh on a topic of which Limbaugh has neither knowledge nor experience-stem-cell research—and had the nerve to speak out in favor of it. In short, Limbaugh has gradually become the bully that he accused the “liberal elite” of being when he started out. And while doing so, he emboldened all of his dittohead followers to speak their minds without filter as well.

Now that there is no true leader in the Republican Party, some have pointed to Limbaugh as the titular head. Though he has officially rejected the title, he is nonetheless reveling in the power of the role. The recent proof of his role was a steady stream of politicians that rushed to apologize to him for saying anything with which he disagreed. The list includes Congressmen Todd Tiahrt and Phil Gingrey and even the figurehead of the Republican Party, Michael Steele.

This phenomenon became so ridiculous that Democrats created a website where you could create your own apology to Rush using a form letter:

There is no denying that Limbaugh has become the standard to which all other talk radio and right-wing talkers measure themselves. According to Wikipedia,

As of 2006, Arbitron ratings indicated that The Rush Limbaugh Show had a minimum weekly audience of 13.5 million listeners, making it the largest radio talk show audience in the United States.
According to a 2001 article in U.S. News & World Report, Limbaugh had an eight-year contract, at the rate of $31.25 million a year. On July 2, 2008, Matt Drudge reported that Limbaugh signed a contract extension through 2016 that is worth over $400 million, breaking records for any broadcast medium — television or radio. In 2007, Limbaugh earned $33 million.

So Rush is King and has inspired such imitators as Glen Beck, Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity. They spout the distributed talking points from the conservative propaganda machine and disrupt political discourse on important issues like healthcare, as we have all witnessed this summer. And they reap millions of dollars in reward.

Limbaugh boldly and unabashedly encouraged his followers to interfere in Democratic Caucuses in the 2008 Presidential election in order to disrupt the political process, because the Republican Party employing conservative policies had made such a complete mess out of the country that the only way Republicans had a chance to win was to interfere with Democratic political process. And Limbaugh faces no consequences while he laughs up his sleeve all the way to the bank. From Wikipedia:

In an attempt to undermine the Democratic campaigns, Limbaugh encouraged his listeners to vote for whoever was behind in the vote, an effort dubbed "Operation Chaos". In Ohio, Limbaugh encouraged his listeners to register as Democrats and vote for Hillary Clinton. In Ohio, voters changing their registration must attest that they support the principles of the party to which they switch. About 16,000 Ohio Republicans switched parties for the election. The Ohio Attorney General's office stated that it would be hard to prove any voter's fraudulent intent. Limbaugh said that there is nothing wrong with Republicans voting in Democratic primaries, as Democrats were able to vote for John McCain in Vermont, New Hampshire, Florida, and other states. Limbaugh has said that "The dream end of [Operation Chaos] is that this keeps up to the Convention, and that we have a recreation of Chicago 1968 with burning cars, protests, fire, and literal riots and all of that, that is the objective here."

Fraud, lies, deceit, disruption, intolerance, and an anything-goes-fratboy mentality rules the Limbaugh mob. He is unapologetic about it. He wants to sew chaos and despair, then turn around and blame anyone that is not part of the conservative elite for the consequences. He has stated that he has no interest in seeing government succeed in anything and has shown over and over again that he is willing to label anyone that disagrees with his views as “Socialist,” “Fascist,” or “Marxist” regardless of any evidence to the contrary and regardless of whatever consequences this labeling might bring.

The state of civility in America has decayed considerably since the rise of Limbaugh and his hateful brand of talk radio. It was the conservative movement’s complaint in the 1980’s that there was no respect in public discourse and in society, no tolerance for their religious views, a growing decay and disrespect for authority and decency. The rise of Limbaugh and his ilk has seen discourse, tolerance, respect and common courtesy degrade to nothingness. And Limbaugh’s latest race-baiting tactic is to twist a story of simple bullying into a racist attack against a white child:

It's Obama's America, is it not? Obama's America, white kids getting beat up on school buses now. You put your kids on a school bus, you expect safety but in Obama's America the white kids now get beat up ..."

NO, this is Limbaugh’s America where it doesn’t matter how many white kids are the target of white bullies, but if a black kid is the bully, it’s reverse racism.

In his book, The Culture of Complaint, author Robert Hughes posits that "The fraying of America" has come about as a result of excessive polarization and politicization.” He also states “…during the Reagan years conservatives managed to conflate all government intervention in economics with creeping Marxism. Over the past fifteen years, conservatives have succeeded, virtually unopposed, in depicting as left wing, agendas that, in a saner polity, would be regarded as ideologically neutral.”

The conservative machine, lead by it’s propaganda minister Rush Limbaugh, has implemented its strategy of smear tactics, fear tactics and disruptions over and over again, destroying civil discourse and ratcheting up hysteria to a dangerous new level, making it absolutely impossible for American society to function together.

Divide and conquer, slash and burn, lie and smear. This is Limbaugh’s America.

This is Limbaugh’s America where it is perfectly fine for him or one of his minions to bully anyone that disagrees with lockstep conservative ideology, because somehow THEY are the ones that are the victims of oppression.

This is Limbaugh’s America where there is no discussion of the FACT that conservative policy destroyed our economy by allowing runaway capitalism tantamount to gambling, but it is somehow Obama’s “Socialist” policies that have destroyed our economy.

This is Limbaugh’s America where a confused woman stands up at a political rally and is vaguely sure that somehow Obama is somehow not one of us, an Arab or something, she just isn’t sure, but not one of us.

This is Limbaugh’s America where a physically disabled woman is shouted down at a Town Hall Meeting while she practically begs for some relief from the greedy corporate healthcare system that is beggaring her just because she had the misfortune to become ill.

This is Limbaugh’s America where you can’t even have civil public discourse about a vital issue like healthcare reform without name-calling and threats of violence. He has his dittoheads so convinced that they are the oppressed minority about to be interred in a camp or killed by some mythical “Socialist” government that they are packing guns to attend Town Hall Meetings with the President and are busily organizing for some coming revolution.

This is Limbaugh’s America, where a large percentage of the populace is somehow convinced that the media in this country is run by Liberals who are out to destroy our economy and turn the country into a giant Marxist commune. It matters not that conservatives have publicly outed this notion as a lie:
William Kristol (influential Conservative and editor of Weekly Standard) in 1995

“I admit it…The liberal media were never that powerful, and the whole thing was often used as an excuse by conservatives for conservative failures.”
Brent Bozell (head of the right-wing “Media Research Center”)
"…In his lecture to the Heritage Foundation in 1992, Bozell admitted…The “monopoly” liberals held in the media had been “broken” by the “conservative network.”…“We have learned that many in the media are quite open to the conservative perspective if it is presented properly. We provide journalists with the conservative argument on a given issue, lead them to the organization expert in it, and recommend qualified spokesmen…It is amazing how very receptive some journalists are to this assistance…”

This is Limbaugh’s America much more so than it is Obama’s. Rush knows this but it does not serve his interests to admit it. It serves his financial, political, egotistical and personal interests to continue to sew fear, distrust, and hate by smearing and lying and spreading conservative propaganda and whipping people into a hysterical frenzy. Beck, Hannity, O’Reilly and other Fox News disinformationists would not have a podium had he not paved the way. THIS is Limbaugh’s America and he does NOT get to stand aside and pretend that the toxic seed that he helped to sow and its resultant poisoned harvest belongs to anyone else.

Lest you accuse me of being overly biased about the hate speech of Rush Limbaugh and the affect that this hate speech is having on our society, please take a moment to visit the extremely reasonable blog of a self-proclaimed conservative on the very same subject:

Finally, one of the reasons that people can be convinced that Limbaugh has any credibility at all is because of the utility of call screeners on talk radio. The call screeners on talk radio now exist to weed out any caller that might have a reasonable argument against any idea that the Host of the show is propagating. Here is an instance where the call screeners on Limbaugh’s show obviously dropped the ball. And, you will notice, that when they realized they had dropped the ball, they then dropped the call, enabling Limbaugh to label and name-call, which is the only recourse of someone without a real defense. Watch:

Rush gets Served

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jammer5 said...

The conservative movement in America is anything but. Facts mean nothing; innuendo means everything. I think the true indications of what these people have accomplished is very telling: They hammered Obama with everything they had prior to the election, and it did no good.

Rush, flatulence in broadcasting, Limbaugh whines like a little girl when things don't go his way, and mainstream America refuses to bow at his alter. Plus the fact their starting to eat their own, might just mean people who are tired of the rants are starting to look at things in a more positive way. At least I hope so.

kcfoodtruckgroupie said...

I agree that what is called "conservative" in this country is something much different from the traditional definition of the word, even for political purposes. I like "neo-conservative" better, but it still doesn't seem to do these folks justice in terms of defining where they are coming from and what they want. I can get along fine with the traditional keep-the-government-off-my-back conservative. But these folks are not for keeping government off my back. If anything, they want the government to have more power to spy, search, seize, arrest, etc.

I sure hope you are right about the demise of these people. But I thought they were on the way down once before and they resurrected like a villian from a horror movie: stronger and more menacing than before. I used to think Ronald Reagan was the worst president in my lifetime, then George W came along. Now I shudder to think what the Republican Party might produce as a leader and how they might go about stealing another election to get their power back. I can't imagine it getting worse than W, but I will never say never...superstition, you know.

opit said...

Forget superstition.
However, when Hillary can say she's not quitting her run for the presidency because of the chance of Obama being have to wonder who is who.
I was over at Len Hart's in comments and just read your article here. Absolutely Bravo!
Is there something in the water down your way ? I've followed BlueGirlRedState from K.C. Missouri for years : vitriol is her middle name. She's at They Promised Us a Republic at Soapblox. Which reminds me : she Twittered the site was down because of IP woes and I haven't checked back in.
I was posting a note at Len's : a piece on How to Talk to a Right Winger - the Search is informative - and plugged a bunch of mindgame links I've collected

kcfoodtruckgroupie said...

The links are great! I could have a field day with all of those. I have to feel a kinship with anyone that would post a link to anything written by Orwell. And, being a word geek, that particular piece was like candy to me! Then there was the one about "disinformation" in the Reagan years--that is something I don't hear much talk about but it is very important for folks to remember.

You ask if there is something in the water this way. It's always possible as all kinds of stuff gets dumped into our water. All kidding aside, I think that the vitriol comes more from living among large numbers of people who choose to believe all that they are told and are adamant in holding to their beliefs regardless of the facts. You completely lose patience over time with people who are adding to the country's woes because of sheer laziness. The denial is PALPABLE around these parts sometimes. It's like living with an alcoholic: after awhile you start to think ,you might be crazy.

I will check out BlueGirlRedState. It is always nice to find people of similar mind.

Thanks for stopping by and come back again! My postings here have slowed down some because I have been doing some writing over at
I just signed on to follow your blog and I'm looking forward to reading more!

opit said...

Always glad to find someone ready to give honest appraisal without worrying about preconceptions. I quip my biggest problem is the 'Things I know that Aren't So!'
I happened upon a piece honouring I.F. Stone at Global and immediately thought of your post.

"I tried to bring the instincts of a scholar to the service of journalism; to take nothing for granted; to turn journalism into literature; to provide radical analysis with a conscientious concern for accuracy, and in studying the current scene to do my very best to preserve human values and free institutions." In the spirit of author Finley Peter Dunne (1867 - 1936), he "comfort(ed) the afflicted and afflict(ed) the comfortable," in a way few others matched or kept doing for so long.

In a 1987 interview, he deplored what he called the ascendancy of "right-wing kooks (and) the ugly spirit (of Reagan's not so subtle message that) you should go get yours and run.

ZIRGAR said...

GREAT FUCKING POST!!!! I have become less involved in blogging lately and as a result I travel around to other blogs less, but I'm glad I stopped by here again. You nailed this one. Great work. Limbaugh and his fellow movement conservative asshole compatriots are slime, pure and simple. They are not conservatives, they're consumptives, sucking dry anything and everything on their way to where they're going, like a pathogen, a virus, an immoral black hole. And that's just how they define free market capitalism and deregulated financial system. Fuck 'em.

kcfoodtruckgroupie said...

Opit- Thanks for mentioning both I.F. Stone and Finley Peter Dunne. I had heard the quote before but did not know who said it, so I am going to look them both up. This blog is really therapy for me because it physically hurts me to live amongst so much mandacity and not call anyone out for it. Thanks for the kind words, they are well taken.

kcfoodtruckgroupie said...
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kcfoodtruckgroupie said...

Z-Thanks for stopping by! I noticed that you had been blogging less of late. I especially liked your post about Obama's non-committal commitment to changing (or possibly amending slightly) the laws regarding gay marriage, or homosexual unions, or possibly some other euphemism that the right wing doesn't find so unacceptable. HAH! This guy sure never looked like such a wuss-cake on the campaign trail!

As for Limbaugh and his compatriots, I agree completely. F'em. But, it would be nicer to put them in the slam and let someone else do the f'ing. Y'know?

Linda said...

Exceptional! You put together a post that should be required reading. Thank you!

It truly scares me that large numbers of Americans tune in regularly to a show which incites anger and hate. I used to think most of us avoid such emotions, preferring to identify the problems and work on solutions.

Thanks again for your efforts! At lest you help me be informed and maybe prepared.

kcfoodtruckgroupie said...

Thanks for the kind words, Linda. My own mother and father are listeners. It is puzzling to me because they are decent, intelligent people. My father is a particularly kind person. But over time their minds have been perverted by the trash Rush talks. It's very sad.

P.S. There was so much talk about goings on at the WEBlog that I couldn't stand outside the fray any longer. I am EugeneDebs. (Bet none of them know the significance of that name).

Linda said...

Oh my! I must go look for the fun of reading you. I am so sick of that 'controversy,' and wish we could put it in the dustbin and move on. But, I'm just me, and I can only do my part.

I sure am enjoying getting to know you!

Linda said...

OK, I confess stupidity. I'm not proud it comes so easily to me, just honest enough to recognize it does.

So, what's the significance of the nic?

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