...when they talk about Bangkok, but they don't know beans about Rush Limbaugh:
Saturday, March 7, 2009 7:56 PM
Editors, UK Financial Times
The Financial Times Friday, March 6, article “Man in the News“ on Rush Limbaugh is interesting and well written. Granting that "his audience contains a large share of people with college degrees..." and "Democrats... would be rash to underestimate his ability..." is refreshingly fair, especially considering he didn't reply to your e-mailed questions.
But there are points that are absolutely wrong. Rush's nickname for "James Carville, a leading Democratic consultant" is not "Forehead”, but "The Serpent". The Forehead is Paul Begalla, a Democrat political strategist, and California Congress creature Henry Waxman is nostrilitis" (look at pics of those three and you will see, cruel they may be, the nicknames could not be more descriptive.)
And Mr Obama is not the “Supreme Leader” - he is the Messiah, a nickname not particularly liked by many on the right. Saving the "best" for last, Rush did not call John Edwards, the “Bret Girl”; but yes "in honour of a shampoo advertisement" called him the "Breck" girl. And “ditto heads” is not a "disparaging name" Rush gives to his audience, but an honored trademark (he calls his in-studio video camera "the ditto cam.") As he has explained many times, it comes from the early days of his national show, many callers did indeed compliment him, so much so that many more started off with "dittos to that last caller". Those compliments were often expressly qualified with "but I don't agree with every thing you say."
And I assume that you are quoting "moderate Republicans" when you say "Parties do not get elected by heading into the wilderness...." Did Ronald Reagan head into the wilderness? George W Bush was a little weaker there than RWR, but not near as deep in the wilderness as his two opponents. You want to see real 'wilderness'? Look at the results of George HW, Bob Dole, and John McCain.
As far as Rush's callers phoning in to agree with everything he says, I remember in the Teri Schiavo disaster, he came in on Monday AM and took 3 1/2 days of "Pull the plug", and it sounded like Sammy Sosa batting practice. Every one out of the park, until the last hour Thursday, when he finally took a caller who agreed with him.
Your statement that Rush talks "in a distinctive American conservative style – angry about white victimhood...." would only carry weight if you could quote a single instance of Rush talking about "white victimhood." A single example of any American Conservative saying that could only help your credibility also.
You object to Rush saying the Obama presidency would “lead ineluctably to 'socialism', 'socialised medicine' and other original sins." I've always understood that Socialism is public ownership of all means of production. Obama is well on his way to taking over the banks and the home mortgage industry. The investor class lost $2 trillion from Obama's election to his inauguration, another $trillion since then. How long will it take before Obama declares "the country is too big to fail," and nationalizes the entire economy because no one else wants it? And if taking management of the health care sector away from local doctors, hospitals, and common-stock-owned health insurance companies, and giving it entirely to Washington DC bureaucrats isn't "socialised medicine", what is?
Edward Luce is a fine writer, certainly deserving of a high place in FT's outstanding group of writers. But it's questionable how many Rush Limbaugh shows he's listened to, or how many listeners he's talked with.
Arnold H Nelson 5056 North Marine Drive Chicago IL 60640