Sunday, March 15, 2009 8:03 PM
Chicago Tribune Voice of the people
Charles Madigan's Sunday, March 15 commentary "The business of Rush Limbaugh" starts "It all started with Limbaugh's hoping aloud that President Barack Obama fails."
And that claim started out with statements on Rush's Friday, January 16 radio show. An online transcript describes his receiving a request "from a major American print publication: 'Dear Rush: For the Obama Inauguration we are asking a handful of very prominent... commentators... to write 400 words on their hope for the Obama presidency....'
Rush's on air comment: "The premise is, what is your 'hope.' My hope, and please understand me when I say this. I disagree fervently with the people... who say, 'we've got to give him a chance.' Why? They didn't give Bush a chance in 2000.... I've been listening to Barack Obama for a year-and-a-half. I know what his politics are. I know what his plans are, as he has stated them. I don't want them to succeed. Look, what he's talking about is the absorption of as much of the private sector by the US government as possible, from the banking business... to health care. I do not want the government in charge of all of these things.... "
"So I'm thinking of replying... 'Okay, I'll send you a response, but I don't need 400 words, I need four: I hope he fails....
"I don't care what the Drive-By story is. I would be honored if the Drive-By Media headlined me all day long: 'Limbaugh: I Hope Obama Fails.' Somebody's gotta say it."
Later in the article, Madigan explains that "Limbaugh should take every chance he can get to bash away at the Obama administration and hold onto his audience...." After reading the above transcript, does Madigan still believe "keeping his audience" is what drives Rush Limbaugh?
Madigan continues, describing Rush Limbaugh's "product" as "very conservative opinion. But he is not a William F. Buckley conservative...." Beyond his immediate family, Rush Limbaugh's most often referenced and quoted heroes are Ronald Reagan and William F. Buckley Jr. I never heard RWR or WFBJr say anything questionable about Rush, and I have heard Buckley speak very highly of Rush. There are a few writers on Buckley's magazine who recently have been less than flattering, but many more have come out in his strong defense. So Madigan's claim is no more than a wild guess.
But Madigan is full of wild guesses: "Limbaugh, perhaps the most successful broadcaster of the last two decades...."
Perhaps? Who is number two?
"Limbaugh's audience most likely trends toward an older demographic...."
"And who knows how many Limbaugh listeners are voters?"
No doubt about who people looking for something-for-nothing vote for.
"[A]ctual Republicans who have to carry the ball in Congress and in statehouses will never be able to keep up with [Rush's] rhetoric.
Rush often speaks on his show of his pride in a plaque naming him an honorary member of the 1995 Republican House of Representatives freshmen, thanking him for the help he gave them in taking over the House in 1994.
“Rush is ‘selling personality on air.’"
Since Obama brought not 5 minutes of executive, buck-stops-here experience to the office of president, what was he selling but "personality". At least Rush does it without a teleprompter.
Besides the title of this article, the word 'business' occurs 7 times, 5 referring to Rush Limbaugh. Would Mr. Madigan ever write about Barack Obama's business, which for his entire career has been applied 100% to getting out the vote for Democrat, left wing causes?
Madigan finally makes his major point, that "Limbaugh is about rhetoric, not reality...," which conveniently explains an earlier qualification that Madigan doesn't "listen to talk radio". If Madigan would listen to Rush Limbaugh for a couple hours some week, he would find 'rhetoric' is buried under tons of description and discussion of the Declaration of Independence, the US Constitution, the principles put forth by our founders to encourage private initiative, and keep the government out of it. The down side is that you would also hear lots of description of forces out to destroy all of this by convincing the public they cannot do anything by themselves, but must have the watchful eye, and constant intervention of 500 all-but-life-time elected public officials in DC, riding on the back of a vast bureaucracy they no longer control, beyond helping them stay in office.
After a murky opening paragraph that appeared to do little more than get him off the ground, Madigan closes with "Everyone involved [in the Limbaugh 'flap'] ... is motivated by self-interest." Maybe it would be easier to understand if Madigan could name a single person in the world who is not "motivated by self interest."
Arnold H Nelson5056 North Marine DriveChicago IL 60640773-677-3010