I’ve been listening to Rush Limbaugh off and on for years, since early in his rise to the top of talk radio.
I agree with some of what he says, disagree with some of it, and get a good laugh almost every time I tune him in.
This week was good for several laughs, as Mr. Limbaugh gained the national stage as never before by first challenging the president to a debate, then saying he hopes Barack Obama fails.
The amazing thing is, the mainstream media actually took him seriously.
As a journalist dedicated to being impartial, I’m interested in what everyone has to say. I don’t feel “informed” until I’ve heard all sides.
In that context, I’ve found Mr. Limbaugh to be a convenient mouthpiece for conservatives. If I wondered where the right wing stood on any particular issue, I could listen to Rush for a day or two and feel confident I had heard that side of the story.
Over the years, he has been amazingly consistent with his message. He’s the classic ideologue. He knows one line, and he knows it well. You can count on him for the company line – conservative style.
In the process, you also can count on him to say some really outrageous things. You can’t tell for sure whether he has his tongue firmly in his cheek. He often doesn’t let on. But if you’re half-way open-minded, that’s where the laughs come in. It’s really funny stuff.
Of course, when you realize that some of the 14 million people in his radio audience think he’s serious, even when he’s being obnoxious for effect, it’s a little scary.
Bottom line. Mr. Limbaugh is a very talented entertainer. In his speech last week to a conservative conference in Washington, D.C., he told some hilarious jokes. He said some things that made a lot of sense, especially if you’re a conservative. And he said some things that were rude and obnoxious. It was all completely in character. That’s who he is.
The great irony is that – no surprise – the big winner of the week was Rush Limbaugh. His ratings will go up. He got lots of attention. It seems obvious that’s what he lives for.
Of course, the Republican Party was the biggest loser. They’re stuck with even more Americans thinking that Rush Limbaugh is the spokesman for their party. Ouch!
The Democrats didn’t come off much better. They jumped so heavily on the bandwagon they must have broken both axles. Not a pretty sight.
Congratulations to Rush.