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Rush Limbaugh’s Fall From Grace: Good For Conservatives?

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I’m not entirely sure at what point in my life I started moving politically toward the Right – I suppose it was growing up in a fairly economically depressed area and being very disturbed by how social programs tended to fail miserably at doing anything other than keeping poor people poor. I remember reading one article that said that a mother of four on welfare would need a job making roughly $55K a year to be able to afford the housing, insurance, food and daycare provided (inadequately) by social services. There was simply no path for someone in those circumstances to try and improve their educational level or to shoot for better job skills because there are/were so few blue-collar jobs that would provide the income necessary for survival. The most logical and compassionate path for a woman in that position to take was to maintain the status quo: stay on the government dole.

Some people take information like that and process it as the idea that we need MORE social programs with better benefits and higher taxes to pay for them. I disagreed then and I disagree now. What gives people the best shot at escaping welfare and poverty is education and employment at an annual income well above the poverty line. U.S. Steel, General Motors, UPS, 3M, ‘Ma Bell’ – American businesses have fed generations of people and their employees’ paychecks have funded millions of children through college. It seems to me that America works best when business prospers. Give people adequate education and either encouragement and support toward entrepreneurialism or a chance at gainful employment and they will thrive. And where education is concerned, the Republican sentiment that education fares best when the Feds leave state and local governments the hell alone seems on the mark to me as well.

I don’t have the brain to write sweeping explanations of Right/Left politics in America. I just know that – for me – the Republican idea of strong business and less government makes sense. I tend personally to be in the very middle of the Conservative equation: I support a strong military, lower taxes and more initiatives for business, social programs that are finite and help people quickly re-enter the work force, but I also tend to be moderately liberal (choke, gasp) on social issues. As long as people don’t try to force their lifestyles down the throat of others – especially the throats of children – they should be able to live as they please. Abortion saddens me – as it does most everyone I’ve ever met – but I don’t think we need a return to coat-hangers and underground abortionists. And one of the few things that keeps me from fully drinking the kool-aid and becoming a GOP cultist is it’s flippant and stupid attitude toward environmental issues. Anyone who can’t walk outside in February and see that something is fucking WRONG with our planet is just an idiot.

But anyway – I say all of the above to say this: Rush Limbaugh makes me fucking crazy. On one hand, I sometimes love to see the old boy just cowboy up and bash the shit out of the Left – specially the Garrofolo / Franken ‘celebrity liberal’ crowd. But on the other hand, I don’t think you could find a more arrogant and obtuse media figure in American history. Limbaugh picked-up a hammer at some point in his career and he’s been swinging it with reckless abandon ever since. I have no sympathy for the man. The statements he made about NFL quarterback Donovan McNabb - true or not – were just plain idiotic. And the man makes me so angry with his ‘fuck the environment’ attitude that I had to quit listening to him on AM radio long ago. Conservatives are their own worst enemy sometimes and allowing Limbaugh to command the bully pulpit for the American Right was just plain dumb. There are millions of women, blacks, latinos and – shudder! – gays who quietly lean to the Right only to be repulsed by The Man With The Golden Microphone. The disclosure of Limbaugh’s ‘drug problem’ and the very public beating he’s about to take is just classic ‘pride proceeding the fall’ stuff.

I am very heartened by the Centrist revolution (or maybe ‘evolution’ is the better word) taking shape within the ranks of the GOP right now. The GOP could – if it will move toward a more inclusive attitude on social issues – become less the stereotyped party of wealthy / heartless white men and more a party of people from all walks of life.

Even if Limbaugh survives the shit storm – and he will – it should open the door for more sane Conservative voices in the media: folks like Tucker Carlson and Joe Scarborough and JC Watts and the possibility that a truly ‘compassionate conservative’ view of America gets equal air-time.

Rush Limbaugh’s fall from grace could be the start of something positive for a new generation of Conservatives.

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About Chris Gray

  • Alex

    I agree with your piece for the most part. However, one line really bothers me: “The statements he made about NFL quarterback Donovan McNabb – true or not – were just plain idiotic.”

    Isn’t that the heart of political correctness? We can’t say some things even if they’re true? I had the opposite reaction to his McNabb comments – hey may be wrong, but it’s still a valid topic of discussion (race affecting how the media covers athletes).

  • Eric Olsen

    Chris, two aspects of this: very fine piece in general, and you happen to reflect a lot of my own beliefs as well, though I would not in general characterize myself as “conservative,” on a point-by-point basis we are quite similar, including about Rush, who has always been vastly too bombastic for his own good. He really has been living an almost Roy Cohn-like double life.

  • debbie

    “Anyone who can’t walk outside in February and see that something is fucking WRONG with our planet is just an idiot.”

    Does this depend on where you live? The last couple of Februarys when I walked outside it wasn’t any different than before. Cold.

  • http://www.blogbloke.com BB

    It’s all about ratings. Rush Limbaugh is an entertainer, and the more annoying he is the more people will watch him.

  • Eric Olsen

    Perhaps the more annoying he is to a certain political viewpoint, the more people who agree with his viewpoint will watch and/or listen.

  • http://www.blogbloke.com BB

    I believe people will him watch regardless of their political leanings. Some will watch out of curiosity (I know I did). Others will watch just because they love to hate him, and some because he is annoyingly entertaining. Rather like his antithesis in California.

  • Fred

    What is troubling to me as a patient under a doctors care is this, I too suffer from chronic pain. In order that I rec’d the proper care from my doctors, I was required (all patients I understand are required)to sign a narc/contract which stipulates I won’t try to access from more than 1 physician my necessary meds. (doctor shopping in essence)
    And supposedly if I violate this contract, I risk jail. Now, having said that, I have no problem honoring my commitment (which is for my protection as well as my doctors)but I find it difficult to understand how Rush can claim his right to privacy when he is ingesting a federally controlled substance?

    And if the DA isn’t supposed to monitor someone’s alleged abuse of these drugs, then WHOSE job is it to tell Rush he’s violated the law? The DEA?

    Evidently, not the doctors who’ve circled the wagons around Rush to save their own arses!! How convenient that doctors are willing deny their hippocratic oath (Do No Harm)when it’s their own chestnuts about to be roasted.

    Clearly Rush’s only defense is to try and claim political motivations on the FL. DA’s part, as it seems evident to me, he wouldn’t have even tried to plea out for not breaking any laws. Trust me, Rush is too morally high strung to ever admit wrong doing for anything he’d done.

    I mean in Rush’s mind, he must’ve been guilty of something to want to even consider a PLEA right? Mr. Motel-Six, who you can trust your teenage daughter with overnight? (Just not your Vicodein)

    So now suddenly Rush wants to be treated like Joe Six-Pack and be given a loophole through which to save his rear-end….

    Three words Mr. Limbaugh…Rule of Law!
    Rush cited these words describing the rash of (Illegal)Gay marriages in SF and other parts of the country.

    I wish he bothered to take the time to follow his own advise…That’s illegal…This isn’t?? Errr..Well that’s different, that’s everybody else, not myself..I need no laws except to say that I’m right(imitating Rush).

    Just a point about law in closing, a contract isn’t legally binding without consequences for failing to abide by it’s language. If I and several thousand other pain sufferers should have to abide by the law then so should Mr. EIB…

    Hell, if I apply Rush’s analogy, then we all should be able to plea out of felony charges made against us for whatever we’ve transgressed. Call Kobe Bryant, Mr. EIB has the answer…(Just Plea)

    We’ll save countless millions in un-necessary litigation and free up the court systems for more important trials like tree huggers & feminazis. (more rush analogy)

    Drug abuse shouldn’t be a felony should it Mr. EIB? Hubba Hubba…

    A former ditto-head… (liberated)

  • Sandra Smallson

    I’m sorry..LOL. Anytime I see the name Rush Limbaugh, all I can think of is what Bette Midler said about him after his recent revelations. ” Rush Limbaugh. All these years he’s been telling me what to do, what to say, what to wear, what to think, and I come to find, he wasn’t in his right mind”..:)..LOL. Hilarious. I think that says it all on Rush.

    I knew he was not in his right mind. Finding out he was addicted to drugs only explained WHY he was not in his right mind. It is no wonder he was on something. When you try to inflict your opinions on society and judge everybody in a self righteous manner, you still have to go home at night and look at yourself. Scum!

  • Dan

    Sandra, What are you on?

  • http://macaronies.blogspot.com Mac Diva

    I did not find Rush Limbaugh’s attack on Donovan McNabb reasonable at all. It smelled of the genetic inferiority claims about African-Americans being discussed in another thread currently. I explained how I read Limbaugh’s remarks in this blog entry at SR. I found the refutations of what Limbaugh said by people who know sports and statistics convincing.

  • Dan

    The whole LiMcNabbaugh affair illustrates a societal neurosis related to a egalitarian fundamentalist mentality.

    Rush unambiguously, stated that McNabb was over-rated and that sports media were “desirous” that he, as a black quaterback, do well.

    For one thing, there can’t be anything wrong with saying you think that. For another, it’s likely to be true and not even hurtful or ugly no matter how you look at it.

  • http://fando.blogs.com Natalie Davis

    It is hurtful and ugly to say that the sports press would use pigmentation to define how it covers people. Doesn’t mean it’s not true, but it is hurtful and ugly.

    As far as that goes, I have many problems with Rush. His ESPN statement about the media in regard to McNabb is not one of them.

  • http://www.gwbush.blogspot.com RJ Elliott

    Rush is a hypocrite on the War on Drugs. That is what should do him in. Not the McNabb stuff.

    The McNabb thing was simply one man’s opinion. Maybe he’s right, maybe he’s wrong. But he wasn’t trying to hurt anyone’s feelings (other than maybe McNabb himself).

    I dispise the whole PC attitude that, even is something is truthful, it should not be mentioned, ever.

    Hey, guess what: Blacks commit more crimes per capita than whites! Does pointing out this truthful statistic make me a bigot? The PC police think it does. More rational people would simply look at the data and nod in agreement (because it’s true!).

    All that should matter is the truth. The media does not hesitate to mention that males are far more likely to commit crimes than females. I have no problem with this, because it’s the truth. Why can’t other crimes statistics be mentioned (to use one example)?

  • http://fando.blogs.com Natalie Davis

    It’s easier to define a “male” than a “black.” What is a “black”? I would say it is a color, but so many of you define it as something regarding certain human beings.

    At any rate, the problem is that these so-called truths are trotted out to hurt innocent people. They do not enlighten or educate — they hurt. They teach people to fear and hate. That’s it. And the truth is, the vast majority of those humans you would define erroneously as “black” would never harm anyone.

    IMO, there is no point in airing those statements, even if they are true by your yardstick, because outside of harming people, they HAVE NO MEANING. Unless, of course, your goal is to demean and divide and to perpetuate the shameful Amerikkkan tradition. One world, one race, one humanity… that’s all we’ve got, folks.

  • http://www.gwbush.blogspot.com RJ Elliott

    “[T]he shameful Amerikkkan tradition”…

    Well, that pretty much ends the argument. I’d be better off talking about airplanes with Emus.

  • http://fando.blogs.com Natalie Davis

    As would we all, I suspect.

  • http://macaronies.blogspot.com Mac Diva

    If a person says that some crimes are committed disproportionately by people of color and some by whites, some by men and some by women, he will be telling the truth. For example, 90-something percent of bank robbers are men. The overwhelming majority of serial killers are white men. But, that is not what most persons who make such statements would say. They falsely create the impression that African-Americans commit most crimes of any sort and that the victims are usually white. Both claims are false.

    When discussing crime, it is important to consider why people commit it. Historically, the poor commit more crimes of property and passion than the middle and upper class. For example, the Irish, who usually arrived as starving immigrants, were considered THE criminals of America for decades. (Ever wondered why big police vehicles are called paddy wagons?) After the Irish became white and were allowed to assimilate, the claim they were inherently criminally inclined stopped. But, since people of color are excluded from the process, the false claim of inherent criminality continues. The people making the claim invariably ignore the poverty, disempowerment and desperation that results in people of color disproportionately committing crimes, usually against each other.

    The topic is worthy of books, not blog comments. But, I believe Natalie and I have hit the most important points.

  • Sandra Smallson

    Dan: Sandra, what are you on?

    Sandra: Nothing. Yet. I’ve always wanted to be on SOMETHING Dan:) That desire is prevented by my “want” to always be in control of my mind.

    I love the blissful ignorance of the mindless idiots on “something”, on this site. Complete oblivion.

  • JR

    I dispise the whole PC attitude that, even is something is truthful, it should not be mentioned, ever.

    Is that “PC”? I thought it was just common sense. Hey, you can mention whatever you want, but when your wife comes home with an ugly haircut, don’t say we didn’t warn you.