Rush Limbaugh dead at 70

Gimlet

Kingfisher
In the beginning (I am old enough to remember) Rush Limbaugh was a radio entertainer first and foremost, of the variety of Imus or Howard Stern. Shock Jock is what they called it back then. "Conservative" shock became his niche; he was in essence a figure who was a counter to the dominant culture of the 90s. He was funny, and appealing to right wing people, because he was saying things people were thinking, and made it funny. Very few people could just talk on the radio for hours. He appealed to a different group.

He was courted as a pundit (sort of) down the line because of his massive reach to conservatives, and that was harnessed and directed by people more powerful than him. I lived in NYC in the 90s, and I recall several people who were really into Rush. Rush gave them the license to say things that weren't PC... but they were not entertainers so it didn't come off as funny as when Rush would say it. Sex jokes, race jokes, homo jokes can all be very funny coming from the mouth of a master. I think the source of rage that developed about Rush by the mid 90s was based on that, not hearing the joke from the source, but instead clumsy retellings in the local saloon. No youtube.com back then to get it from the source.

Now once people started viewing him as a pundit, as a fighter in the culture war, the knives were sharpened. And frankly he seemed to relish the role. And he enjoyed it to the end. I don't blame him, it gave him a sense of purpose (I think, I can't read the man's mind.) I recall when his drug habit came out. If you think of a Shock Jock having a drug problem, that is not surprising at all. It's the Pundit with a drug problem that seems odd.

Like him or not, he was a clever man who built his own niche by monetizing his own talents. And he was very very good at it. The rage filled people who want to dance on his grave don't know his start and build up. The people who think he was some kind of Boomer puppeteer don't either. I was not a fan, but RIP.
 
What you had instead was a fake left-right dialectic, where both parties to this piece of political theater where in favor of gutting the middle class through NAFTA and globalist "free trade", open borders, and fighting forever wars for Israel, which his working class audience was manipulated into supporting. I get that some guys have a soft spot for the man, having grown up with their pop listening to Rush, but the guy really doesn't stand the most basic scrutiny.

By this time you should have figured out that there is no substantial difference between the Bushes and the Clintons. Rush got half the country to hate the latter while believing that the former were good guys working for them.

A true America First conservative would have never seen the airwaves of commercial radio. Limbaugh was launched by radio stations like WABC, WOR (NYC), WJNO (Palm Beach). If you think those media outlets are run by pure "unmanaged capitalism", you really haven't figured what these media are for. Guys like E. Michael Jones who have a real conservative message have toiled in obscurity for decades printing out newsletters and magazines from their basement while Rush is on 600 radio stations including the Armed Services Network...

Rush started on one radio station in California. It was later syndicated to more and more, because he brought in listeners and made radio stations money. Daytime AM was dead back then and the nationally syndicated shows (e.g. Larry King, Jim Bohannon, Art Bell, Jean Shepherd) ran at night when AM radio range significantly increased and people who worked alone needed company. Music had gone FM, everyone had an FM radio, and during the day AM struggled and was looking for something. If there is any evidence that oligarchs paid radio stations to play his show, please show it.

My pop did not listen to Rush in the early days, I did, and I very well remember the political climate at the time. After a liberal from Massachusetts lost in 1988 after a liberal from Minnesota lost in 1984, Clinton ran as a moderate southern Democrat--that was the image everyone was trying to portray. Clinton used to sit outside with a shotgun and pretend to be duck hunting for photo-ops. The media had sold out like never before to get him into office. The narrative was for everyone to support Clinton, not to split the country. There was resistance out there already: Firing Line, National Review, The American Spectator (any one else remember when it was tabloid size?), The Conservative Chronicle, etc, and the intellectual conservatives went for that sort of thing, but their numbers were limited and something of an echo chamber. The only thing that group ever really accomplished was to provide intellectual fodder to Ronald Reagan when he was in office. Rush brought it directly to the masses and the media absolutely hated him for breaking the monopoly. There was no need to create a "managed opposition" when there was no meaningful opposition at all. And if that had been the case, it would have been to push country club Republicanism or maybe a socially liberal but fiscal conservatism (e.g., John Anderson), and not social and fiscal conservatism.

The creation of popular daytime political talk radio gave birth to other shows: G. Gordon Liddy (the establishment had him in federal prison for four years--think he was an establishment shill?), Mark Levin, Savage, et al, all came into being in Rush's wake. That was all part of the smokey back room oligarch conspiracy also?

You can argue for perfection in hindsight all day long, but politics is about the possible. Bush (both of them) had lots of problems, but we are far better now for them being there than if their opponents had won. Al Gore in 2000? Kerry in 2004? Really? If Bush had won in 1992, we would not have had Ruth Bader Ginsburg, or gays in the military, women in combat, and I sincerely doubt we have opened up trade with China the way it was--or at any rate, it would have pushed all that four more years down the road. It was Clinton's secretary of state who said "why have the strongest military in the world if you are not going to use it"--given an excuse, Democrats would have had more and larger military misadventures than the second Bush. Bill Clinton had sent the military all over, and for no strategic purpose. Both Bush and Clinton supported NAFTA, which in hindsight was a disaster. A rationale at the time, however, was that it would keep the high tech work in the US and keep it competitive globally by shipping semi-finished goods across the border where low-cost labor could do the low-tech work on it. Some companies actually did it for a while. The much bigger disaster was opening trade the way it was with China, a payback for them illegally giving Clinton money when he was behind in fundraising in 1996.

There was a difference between the Bushes and Clintons, maybe not as much as we would like, but there was a difference. I saw the before and after. In 1992 we, as a country, were in the best shape we had been in for decades, and after eight years of Clinton, in the decade about nothing, we were a mess: manufacturing being sent to China after we had proven we could compete head to head with Japan, unanswered Mohammedan terrorism that only encouraged more, the gay agenda taking hold, women in combat roles in the military, political correctness on college campuses, the accounting scandals, the dot com crash, an attempt at socialized health care, the legal nonsense that went into the big tobacco lawsuits, etc. That was what Rush fought against. I like Buchanan and he is right on almost everything, but there is no way he could have ever been elected when his only political experience had been writing speeches for Nixon. And by the way, in the 1992 Republican convention, I remember Buchanan completely endorsing Bush as the genuinely most qualified person for the job. Trump was at least a businessman. And Rush did support Trump and did not join the "never Trump" camp. If he was with the establishment, which sadly includes the National Review, he would have been a never-Trumper.

Maybe if there is a conspiracy, it is to insist on absolutely perfect candidates and pundits who never stand a chance with the general public, to split the vote with good or even merely not bad candidates whilst the hard core liberals take office.
 
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