Affordable Healthcare Act, Birth Control, GOP, Legacy, Obamacare, Politics, Rhetoric, Rush Limbaugh, Sandra Fluke
I’ve read a few things about Rush Limbaugh this last week or so. Of course, I shared my own thoughts on the man, and no, they were not be the kindest things you might read about Rush, but I meant every damned word of it. What I see in the way of praise for Limbaugh coming from the right wing blogosphere in the wake of his detah has me shaking me shaking my head and grumbling. No surprise there, of course, but it does bring to mind an extra thought on the matter of this awful man and his awful legacy.
I have often thought that people like Rush Limbaugh do more damage to conservatism than they will ever do to liberalism or progressivism. We still think what we think over on this side of the political spectrum. Professional bigots such as Rush Limbaugh may be able to drown out our voices from time to time, but they can’t force us to follow their own script, to think the way they pretend we do. Our politics remains what it is despite their best efforts to distort it.
The same cannot be said of conservatism.
More than any other right wing hack, Rush Limbaugh successfully redefined conservatism in American politics. He made it what it is today. This is what all the countless posthumous dittos written in remembrance of rush consistently amount to, a story about hoe he redefined conservatism and effectively made conservative politics the force that it is today. Throw in a couple gratuitous bits of pseudo-patrtiotism and some faux Christian sentiments, and you have the bulk of what is said to honor the man; he made conservatism what it is today.
Just think about what that means!
How it actually worked?
The Sandra Fluke debacle is a great example. It illustrates perfectly why Rush Limbaugh’s impact on conservatism is nothing to celebrate. Sandra Fluke’s testimony was about an aspect of Affordable Care Act, something conservatives generally opposed. There were plenty of things that could be said in response to Fluke’s testimony. People could have questioned her estimates of the cost. They could have pressed her to substantiate various anecdotes in her testimony. They could have argued any number of details, and at the end of the day, there would still have been one very serious question about whether or not a national policy mandating the details of insurance coverage for institutions like Georgetown is really the best way to handle any of America’s healthcare problems, let alone those that Fluke was talking about. That is the debate I would expect to have with conservatives on such a matter.
That debate did not happen.
Instead, we got a national dialogue about the sex life of a law student.
We got the debate about the sex life of Sandra Fluke, not because she invited it, but because Rush Limbaugh preferred that round of right wing gossip to the substantive debate we could have had – should have had! In dropping this gigantic red herring on the national stage, Rush Limbaugh did not merely silence Fluke, he also silenced the legitimate voices of conservatives who had something worthwhile to say about the matter. This was not the decision of a strong conservative voice; this was the preference of a cowardly man who had nothing to contribute on the topic hand. Limbaugh had to lie to get his version of the debate in the public sphere, and he did not hesitate, not this time or any other. That his intervention could be thought of as a strong expression of conservatism is damning praise for conservatives. A strong voice for any cause doesn’t start diverting attention from the real issues, which was always Limbaugh’s modus operandi.
In the end, we on the left still know why we support the ACA, some form of universal payer, or any other sweeping national reform, but the ranks of Republicans who can tell you anything more than sordid stories from the right wing gossip industry grow thinner with every passing year. They do so, because right wing media was remade in the image of Rush Limbaugh.
What Rush did for conservatives was to replace their best arguments with a range of cheap gotcha games like the one he played on Fluke. Of course, by the time of the Fluke affair, Rush already had countless allied pundits who desperately wanted to be him. Combined with Rush himself, their collective chorus of nonsense effectively drowned out any serious efforts to discuss healthcare. Instead we debated whether or not Obama was a socialist, a Muslim, or Kenyan. And then of course, there was talk of death panels. Don’t make the mistake of thinking this nonsense is merely a means to an end; it drives the public consciousness and narrows the options of those who rise to fame on the basis of such lies. To this day, countless Republicans think Barack Obama is a Muslim and that he is not a natural born citizen of the United States. I also hear talk of lizard-people, but anyway… This was the crap that filled our nations airwaves as some struggled to fix our very broken healthcare system.
This was also the crap that fed the imagination of the idiots who stormed our capital.
And the sleazy right wing pundits and politicians who spurred them on.
…and the idiots who don’t understand how the one led to the other.
We can lay this fact, the fact that conservatives all over America were so easily distracted then and now, directly at Limbaugh’s feet. It was Limbaugh who took diversions like the one he played on Fluke to the top of the media market and the stage for propaganda operations like Fox News. It was Limbaugh that crushed any hope that conservatives with anything substantive to say would find their way into the news cycle and replaced it with an endless supply of bobble-head pundits ready and willing to caricature themselves and their supposed politics.
The modern republican Party is an talent agency for right wing media. Folks run for office so they can command better speaker fees and maybe even land a spot on some cable television program pretending to be conservative. Thoughts of actual governance completely escape the modern Republican leadership. That’s why Ted Cruz ended up in Cancun while AOC and Beto went to work helping people through the crisis in Texas. Time was when we could have debated whose vision was better for America. Today, we are left with the simple fact that they tried and he didn’t. Hell, Cruz didn’t even come back to address the crisis killing people in his state; he came back to address his own PR crisis, no more and no less.
If you think that example an outlier in Republican politics, then you have not been paying attention.
Limbaugh certainly did redefine conservative politics; he transformed it into a form of low-grade pornography. It sells better than conservatism did before he came along, and it distracts voters and party officials alike from the real work that needs to be done in American government. But it does get ratings.
Our former President liked ratings.
He liked them a lot.
These priorities did not come from nowhere. They came from a right wing circus crafted in the image of Rush Limbaugh.
Once again, his legacy is nothing to be proud of.
Pingback: Addendum to the Legacy of Rush Limbaugh: The Cost of His Antics — northierthanthou – ZILLAS NETWORK
So right about the right. So wrong, they are…
Anti-Limbaugh posters are saying (hoping) he must be somewhere in Dante’s Inferno’s political section. I, however, wonder whether his spirit or consciousness may now finally be 100 percent free of the purely cerebrally based agitation and contempt that may have blighted much of his life. Therefore, he may be wondering, ‘Why was I so angry, so much of the time? Oh, God, the things I said!… I really hope I didn’t do too much damage while I was there.’ …
Sometimes I’d come upon Rush’s radio talk show (nationalized and heavily advertisement laden) as he was giving his morning political sermon, mostly on the atrocities being committed against Trump and his presidency. The ideas he’d go on about were bewildering.
I’d often wonder how he got himself to say some of the absurdities (to me, at least) he’d preach: irately paranoid political theories plentifully interspersed with business promotions big and small, as though straight out of a capitalist manifesto, the pages of which I think I could actually hear him shuffling.
SoundEagle 🦅ೋღஜஇ said:
The likes of Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity and other insufferable bigots can be characterized as those supremely “vexatious contrarians, provocative shock jocks, opinionated pundits, rabid commentariats”, as quoted from my extensive and analytical post entitled “Misquotation Pandemic and Disinformation Polemic: Mind Pollution by Viral Falsity“.
Many of the answers to your “wonder[ing] how [Limbaugh] got himself to say some of the absurdities” can be found in my said post.
This sums up … “replace their best arguments with a range of cheap gotcha games like the one he played on Fluke” – love it!
Alexander S. Kunz said:
The conclusion that this behavior hasn’t changed a single liberal is very important: this is true the other way around just as well: the mocking of conservatives (or whatever is left of their original ideas) will not change a single one of them either — on the contrary…
The question is how we can return to a path of constructive discussion of ideas.
You presume that what is known as “conservativism” in AmeriKKKa can be damaged. I think that’s an ill-founded presumption.
It’s like Trump as president, and the alleged (almost certainly not true) “golden showers” claim of Steele. The whole scenario was based on the idea that Trump had a sense of shame, and sense enough of shame that Russia could “control” him.
And, it simply was a non-factual premise.
The modern American world of #wingnuttery is as shameless, in a literal sense, as Trump.
SaaniaSparkle 🧚🏻♀️ said:
I believe our friend, Rush Limbaugh, is talking with angels. He was a good man who said it like it is, and made no apologies for honesty. Here’s something I’ll add, and perhaps, a few readers will understand. It’s something that always perplexed me, but I do understand it now. If there is one person who sees clearly, tells it like it is, and holds to the principles of real freedom, being blunt and straight talking, that person stands as a threat against all the disinformation campaigns within the hearts of those who’s teeth gnash at honesty. That’s it in entirety. It’s simple. Be honest in your heart, and you’ll have peace within yourself, but you’ll be visited by people who think your terrible. But always choose peace within yourself, supporting understanding in others.
I accounted for specific lies told by Rush Limbaugh in my post. You come here and without addressing that in any way, you simply say that he is honest and lecture the rest of us on principles of honesty. The irony is astounding!
One can always tell the honesty of others by the way they talk and respond. In real communication, when honesty is truly being discussed, honest people are calm, don’t over-react. That’s what Rush was: a man who spoke directly and honestly (No, I didn’t always agree, but mostly.). He was plain for anyone to hear and listen. It’s that way in life. When we see an honest, straightforward person speaking clearly, we immediately see who appreciates and who is gnashing at the teeth, and thereby who is who, at least at that moment. Tim Tebow is such a man. Those who appreciate honesty and integrity are made better for knowing him, and he gains from being around others with integrity and fortitude.
No. The way you tell honesty is by looking at how people address the actual information available.Those who consistently contradict known facts are not honest. When you lie about a woman because you disagree with them, as Rush did to Sandra Fluke, you are not honest. When you sidestep the issues in order to tell vacuous stories about who is calm and who isn’t, as you do here, you are not honest. You may take those vapid stories elsewhere now, because you will not be telling more of them here.