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Rush haters don't like the dittoheads either
Enter Stage Right ^ | Oct. 20, 2003 | W. James Antle III

Posted on 10/21/2003 8:35:20 AM PDT by conservativecorner

Gallons of ink and a like quantity of electrodes were expended commenting on Rush Limbaugh's disclosure that he was addicted to painkillers and going into rehab for 30 days. With all the braying about "hypocrisy" in the ensuing weeks, you would get the impression that Rush is despised by his critics.

Yet it isn't just the bombastic radio talk show host they loathe. To be sure, Limbaugh emerged as one of Bill Clinton's most effective critics – perhaps the most effective – in the 1990s and remains the bane of liberals everywhere. Plenty of talk radio's voices have little reach beyond the studios they fulminate in, but when Rush makes a statement even Democratic congressional leaders often feel the need to respond.

But many anti-Limbaugh jeremiads are not aimed solely at Rush; indeed, they drip with contempt for his roughly 20 million listeners. Ever since he burst onto the national scene, liberals and elitists of every stripe have spoken derisively about the "dittoheads" that form his adoring audience, casting them as deluded masses that have been deceived into supporting a nefarious right-wing political agenda. Limbaugh himself has picked up on this, with his famous quips referring to his listeners as "mind-numbed robots."

Of course, much of the mainstream press would have you believe that his fans aren't in on the joke. In Newsweek, Evan Thomas likened Limbaugh not just to Elmer Gantry but also the "Wizard of Oz," implying that he had his audience fooled into believing he is something that he is not: "The man behind the curtain is not the God of Family Values but a childless, twice-divorced, thrice-married schlub whose idea of a good time is to lie on his couch and watch football endlessly."

As harsh as this may be toward Limbaugh, at least he is given a certain amount of backhanded credit for being able to pull off this act. What can be said for the listeners dumb enough to believe it? Thomas helpfully explained, "When Rush Limbaugh declared to his audience that he was ‘your epitome of morality and virtue, a man you could totally trust with your wife, your daughter and even your son in a Motel 6 over night,' he was acting." The average Limbaugh listener would have to choke back the impulse to say "no s—t." But Thomas (in what was incidentally a straight news story to which Eleanor Clift contributed, not an opinion piece) proclaims in the penultimate sentence, "Limbaugh's long-running act as a paragon of virtue is over."

It isn't enough to write a story about a famous but flawed man struggling with weaknesses even his closest friends didn't know he had. The underlying tone is that this also is a reflection on his audience, whose alleged naiveté has now been exposed for the entire world to see just as much as Limbaugh's prescription drug abuse. Rush might describe what they are getting at this way: "You fools! You believed in him and now we know that he is a druggie! Not only should you rethink your support for this man and his hate-filled intolerant message, but you should also admit your poor political judgment. It is time for you to reevaluate your politics, your values and every opinion you have that you formed in agreement with Rush, because his hypocrisy has refuted it all!"

The reality is that it has always been clear that large parts of Limbaugh's persona were an act and that his lines about being the "epitome of morality and virtue" with "talent on loan from God" were tongue-and-cheek. More importantly, the overwhelming majority of his listeners knew it. While a champion of God and country, Limbaugh never pretended he was not a sinner. Many of his conservative Christian fans – and critics – have always faulted him for being too secular, too inside-the-Beltway and insufficiently moralistic in his outlook.

While personalities like Limbaugh always attract uncritical admirers and sycophants, the bulk of his audience isn't comprised of people whose views were formed by what they hear on talk radio. On the contrary, Rush struck a cord with so many millions because they liked hearing somebody say things they already agreed with, things they weren't hearing anybody else in the broadcast world say. Although rivals and copycats have since arrived, Rush has won listeners' loyalty because for most of them he was the first and also because he has established the strongest brand name over time.

It's as simple as that. People who were tired of hearing their beliefs ridiculed, their values torn down and their opinions marginalized found Limbaugh to be a breath of fresh air. He was willing to speak up in agreement with Americans whose opinions weren't well represented in newsrooms, university classrooms or popular culture. Unlike his program, none of these other forums came clearly marked as purveyors of opinion. Consider that one of his biggest critics, Al Franken of Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot fame, did not come from the pages of some obscure leftist periodical. He was a writer for the mainstream comedy hit "Saturday Night Live."

It's especially important to remember that Rush really became a household name at the onset of the Clinton years. This was a time when it seemed as if everyone had forgotten about the accomplishments of Ronald Reagan, the Democratic Party looked not just resurgent but ascendant and Clinton was being received as the political equivalent of a rock star. Millions of people in red-state America did not agree with this new conventional wisdom and yearned for a spokesman to challenge it and communicate their views.

When Limbaugh rose to the challenge, many liberals responded with anger at the spokesman and fear of the people being spoken for. They treated ordinary conservative Americans as a malevolent force whipped into a violent frenzy by demagogic leaders, a collection of rednecks, bumpkins and militia members congregated together in fly-over country. This view was reflected when the media described the religious right as "poor, uneducated and easy to command" and tried to reduce the 1994 election results that gave Republicans control of both houses of Congress to a temper tantrum by "angry white males."

Rush isn't perfect. He can be simplistic, excessively partisan and sometimes wrong. I agree with those who hope that this episode prompts him to rethink the notion that the government can stamp out drug use at gunpoint by putting people with personal problems in jail. But his shortcomings don't diminish his talents as a performer and communicator.

It's obvious that a lot of Rush's critics just don't get him. They take his shtick a lot more seriously than most of the dittoheads do. But it is more disturbing how little they understand that vast section of America that votes Republican, believes in traditional values and prefers free enterprise to big government. You have to wonder how some of these elites can speak out in the name of "working families" and yet find so many of them so alien.

W. James Antle III is a senior editor for Enter Stage Right.


TOPICS: Front Page News; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
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1 posted on 10/21/2003 8:35:21 AM PDT by conservativecorner
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To: conservativecorner
SPOTREP - GIGA DITTOES!!!
2 posted on 10/21/2003 8:43:53 AM PDT by LiteKeeper
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To: conservativecorner
Oh no.....another WOD thread in the making?
3 posted on 10/21/2003 8:47:55 AM PDT by anniegetyourgun
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To: conservativecorner
The reality is that it has always been clear that large parts of Limbaugh's persona were an act and that his lines about being the "epitome of morality and virtue" with "talent on loan from God" were tongue-and-cheek. More importantly, the overwhelming majority of his listeners knew it. While a champion of God and country, Limbaugh never pretended he was not a sinner. Many of his conservative Christian fans – and critics – have always faulted him for being too secular, too inside-the-Beltway and insufficiently moralistic in his outlook.

Yep. As a Conservative/Conservative, I felt he was too easy on the left wing liberals. That used to tee me off. Why wasn't he speaking out?
In my opinion, he wasn't socialy Conservative enough , but I still liked his show.
That's why I don't hold this against him. He never claimed sainthood, but he knew his politics very well.

4 posted on 10/21/2003 8:48:01 AM PDT by concerned about politics ( Have you donated to the Salvation Army? Liberals HATE Christian organizations! Tax deductable, too)
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To: conservativecorner
No matter where I'm standing, Bush and Rush were always some paces off to my left.....
5 posted on 10/21/2003 8:49:54 AM PDT by Joe Hadenuf (I failed anger management class, they decided to give me a passing grade anyway)
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To: conservativecorner
You know....the left and the media (I know redundant)really do not get who Rush's audience is. Which is just fine with me!

Rush totally understands who his audience is. And that is all that matters. Let the left marginalize us all they want.

Let them think we are dumb. It just makes us all the more powerful.
6 posted on 10/21/2003 8:50:47 AM PDT by AlwaysLurking
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To: conservativecorner
It's as simple as that. People who were tired of hearing their beliefs ridiculed, their values torn down and their opinions marginalized found Limbaugh to be a breath of fresh air. He was willing to speak up in agreement with Americans whose opinions weren't well represented in newsrooms, university classrooms or popular culture.

Yep again. He was the "liberal gimmie, gimmie, whine, whine" alternative.
I mean really, we feed them , clothe them, educate them, house them, and they still bitch because they want more!!!
Ungrateful losers!

7 posted on 10/21/2003 8:51:37 AM PDT by concerned about politics ( Have you donated to the Salvation Army? Liberals HATE Christian organizations! Tax deductable, too)
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To: conservativecorner
Yea, Yea ,Yea Sexists, Nazi, Homophobe, Racist, Pig... all us right winger are just Evil, simple minded bumpkins.....
8 posted on 10/21/2003 8:54:06 AM PDT by tophat9000
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To: conservativecorner
I'm a huge Rush fan but never have thought of him as a 'paragon of virtue'. He's an articulate entertainer and can hype himself as well as any pitch man, but also says a lot of sensible stuff. He's not a priest, or even an elected official. I always received his 'half my brain tied behind my back' and 'talent on loan from God' comments as pure showmanship and tongue-in-cheek. Apparently the liberals missed the joke and took them at face. Rush never takes himself as seriously as his detractors do-and that's what's truly amusing.
9 posted on 10/21/2003 8:55:05 AM PDT by Spok
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To: concerned about politics
Ditto-anyone so hated by the left should be defended by the right. Besides, unlike the left, when this hit the media, Rush came out, apologized and took the flack. When was the last time a democrat didn't try to weasel out of whatever trouble they had gotten into or even admitted a wrong doing?
10 posted on 10/21/2003 8:56:57 AM PDT by MontanaBeth (Democrats-the how low can you go party-they won't let a little thing like hell stop them.)
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To: conservativecorner
You have to wonder how some of these elites can speak out in the name of "working families" and yet find so many of them so alien.

Beautifully said.

11 posted on 10/21/2003 8:57:48 AM PDT by T. Buzzard Trueblood
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To: Spok
or even an elected official

That's the most important part. He doesn't have to answer to anyone. He can just tell the left "Screw you" and move on, and they can't do a damn thing about it. LOL.

12 posted on 10/21/2003 8:58:15 AM PDT by concerned about politics ( Have you donated to the Salvation Army? Liberals HATE Christian organizations! Tax deductable, too)
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To: conservativecorner
When the media et al speak the word hypocrite concerning Rush, let us remember the praise and words of sympathy and touts of "bravery" they spew when the addicted person entering rehab is a Hollywood leftist.
13 posted on 10/21/2003 9:01:51 AM PDT by ladyinred (Talk about a revolution, look at California!!! We dumped Davis!!!)
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To: conservativecorner
Great article, James
14 posted on 10/21/2003 9:04:37 AM PDT by The Right Stuff
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To: concerned about politics
Having had a back problem which finally reduced me to an out of control, mass of pain (despite double the maximum dosage of codine), I can understand how Rush aqcuired his pain med problem.

I was lucky - after the operation, I was basically close to my old self. Unfortunately, for many the operation provides a lesser level of relief. I'm blessed with a lean body, Rush and many others naturally are heavier. That weight exacerbates back problems.

To all who are tempted to point a finger at Rush (yes, Liberals, this means you), may I suggest forgetting the old "Don't judge a man until you have walked in his shoes."

Make like a Liberal. Don't deride a back pain sufferer until you can honestly say "I feel your pain."
15 posted on 10/21/2003 9:05:23 AM PDT by GladesGuru (In a society predicated upon liberty, it is essential to examine principles - -)
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To: concerned about politics
He never claimed sainthood, but he knew his politics very well

Exactly. You can tell right away when a critic is either ignorant or lying when their description of Rush focuses on self-righteous ranting. I have seen one or two critical pieces that actually did understand Rush. One was the satirical piece that imagined Rush's show if he could criticize Bill Clinton for being addicted to painkillers.

16 posted on 10/21/2003 9:05:34 AM PDT by NutCrackerBoy
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To: conservativecorner
Gallons of ink and a like quantity of electrodes were expended...

The author is ignorant of physics. Maybe the movement of electrons were expended, but electrodes tend to be more robust. They're not measured in gallons, either, but why ruin a perfectly good, albiet innaccurate, turn of expression.

Limbaugh himself has picked up on this, with his famous quips referring to his listeners as "mind-numbed robots."

The author is ignorant of Limbaugh's actual quotes. It's not his listeners he calls "mind-numbed robots."

17 posted on 10/21/2003 9:10:00 AM PDT by Cyber Liberty ( 2003, Ravin' Lunatic since 4/98)
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To: NutCrackerBoy
"One was the satirical piece that imagined Rush's show if he could criticize Bill Clinton for being addicted to painkillers."

In one sense, Monica could be considered to be a form of pain killer. Think of the pain, the agony, the sheer degradation of being married to Hillary.

If the Liberals can give Bill and the HillaBeast some slack for mere self inflicted "pain", their hypocracy over Rush's pain med problem is now fully exposed.
18 posted on 10/21/2003 9:12:26 AM PDT by GladesGuru (In a society predicated upon liberty, it is essential to examine principles - -)
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To: Cyber Liberty
electrodes tend to be more robust

The ones in some Xerox copiers tend to need replacing fairly often if the volume of printing is high. They're not cheap.

19 posted on 10/21/2003 9:15:08 AM PDT by RightWhale (Repeal the Law of the Excluded Middle)
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To: concerned about politics
That's why I don't hold this against him.

I think the libs miss the whole point of human "failings".

They are trying their damnedest to associate the message with the now-tarnished messenger.

If you come upon Ted Kennedy barely hanging on to a lamp post singing How Dry I Am and he says "Look both ways before
you cross the street", people not suffering from liberalism would agree that what Ted said is good advice. (Probably the only good advice Ted ever gave, aside from which lawyer to hire.)

Libs would listen to the message not because it is practical advice, but because it's the Swimmer giving it.

Likewise, Libs do not like Limbaugh, so what Limbaugh says is untrue or irrevelant, regardless of the facts and should
be looked upon with scorn, as well as people that listen to him.

20 posted on 10/21/2003 9:15:27 AM PDT by Calvin Locke
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