Question on Rush L. Do you think millions would be listening if he were not touching a nerve?

All these highbrow conservative attacks on Limbaugh keep missing the point.

1) There is a certain sort of genius there that can do 15 hours of talk per week, ad hoc, and hold an audience of 20 million plus for over 20 years. There are about one or two others out of some 300 million who can do it. It may not be the same as digesting Reinhold Niebuhr or rereading the Federalist papers, but it is an uncanny talent and for over twenty years it has energized conservatives and reflected a certain populism that was lacking in its Wall Street/silk-stocking past. One could give Air America 1 trillion dollars in subsidy and it still could not match Limbaugh's audience.

2) Unlike many of his critics, Limbaugh is consistent, and that's why he maintains his audience. He is not going to wake up in the morning with vero possumus infatuation. Long before Barack Obama came along, he was warning his listeners about another populist maverick (from the Right) Ross Perot, and why they should not jump ship for him. For millions of conservatives the problem is not Limbaugh's occasional over-the-top riffs that are part of the talk-show genre, but NY-DC trimmers and triangulators who get caught up in fads and waves of popularity and adjust accordingly — as if they do not have the innate common sense to see that borrowing another trillion and more dollars to cure the problems brought on by borrowing annually a half-trillion dollars is, well, insanity.

3) When commentators bring up Limbaugh's private life in contrast to Obama's picture-perfect image, they only emphasize the superficial. I don't think Limbaugh would sit for 20 years listening to a white-supremacist preacher G-Ding America. I don't think, like a Moyers, he would care all that much to learn who on his staff is gay. As is not the case with a Bill Maher or Michael Moore, those around Limbaugh like him, because they sense he is, for lack of a better word, a regular guy. That's why he can go on about his mansion and plane since his audience senses it is more caricature than snootiness. And if you did not actually hear conservative elites tsk-tsking Limbaugh's weight, marriages, and past addiction, then you would have to invent them doing so. We saw all that with Palin and the demonization of her multiple pregnancies, blue-collar husband, twangy speech, and Idaho B.A. Yet the reason why a Ronald Reagan or George W. Bush was elected twice — and not George Bush primus — was precisely because they could resonate with the middle classes in both a cultural and social sense, an ability that transcends money but has everything to do with attitude. What scares many is not the sometimes slobby but authentic image of a blunt-talking Rush Limbaugh, but the polo-shirted pre-packaged personas of an Obama, John Edwards, or John Kerry.

©2009 Victor Davis Hanson


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16 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Amen brother.

    Question: Why cant these liberals who demonize him so much catch him in a lie and "expose" him as nothing more than a fraud.

    Do you know why they dont? THEY CANT!

  • 1 decade ago

    Beautiful question. Rush certainly does strike a nerve and the more the liberals talk about him, the better it is for him. Why just yesterday, I said hey, Rush is helping the economy because of all the money he makes and spends. One other thing that many liberals do not know is several liberal talk show hosts have tried to be as good as Rush but all of them have failed, all except that guy with the long curly hair who is a true druggie. Keep up the good work Rush!

  • bob
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    Pay attention! You guys aren't talking about Limbaugh any more. Check last week's talking points, its all liberals talking about him are breaking the conservative talking point rules and you will be punished! BTW, what is not superficial is the fact that he is a racist, sexist hate mongering hypocrite. Not at all what our country was founded on...just what of that do these millions of listeners find appealing? As I remember, Hitler was able to capture the ear of an entire nation with much the same sort of appeal.

  • 1 decade ago

    u do make sense rush is very popular is ratings and salarry,

    speaks 4 itself.but, he is the most popular 'talking heads'.

    in the great us of a.its true he is not a 'saint' so to speak,but then who is.obama wastn painted picture perfect either.if u followd the last election the right did not give him and easy ride.what im trying

    too say in anut shell is this.the us being still a youg country is 'burning itself up'', whit its ressecion etc.its just another 'empire'

    that crumbeling [ex. look at the other empires how they went down

    the tube and you will see its pretty similar.the next one that rising is

    china a communist regime that using a 'trojan horse' call capitalism'

    too buy us out. pokerdog1775

    Source(s): just observing.
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  • 1 decade ago

    I am just answering your first of your long winded points. Post each separately.

    1) First, Randi Rhodes beats Limbaugh in New York, Hartman does it is some cities, Ron Owens in the Bay Area. Limbaugh is talented, but he is also helped by a monopoly media that gets rid of entertaining leftists, even when they beat Limbaugh.

    2) Limbaugh is a very talented broadcaster, and very entertaining.

    3) The reason, however, he is popular, is not because he is correct, but becuase he is largely incorrect. He is the example 'ignorance is bliss'. That is, there is no global warming, the poor are poor by choice, if people work hard they will get ahead in the world, no one ever looses their insurance, his job, his health care, is a victim of environmental poisons, is shot in a battle defending the US to be free. No one is tortured, no white person is ever in pain. And Limbaugh implies all this with simple jokes, insults, one liners and smears. He has no facts, no instructors, no one from the media, no experts or scientists. It is all entertainment. It is all tremendous, self enforced ignorance, that is narcotic. It is no wonder he is addicted to drugs and food and is divorced 3 times.

  • grob
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    Drug abuse and illegally procuring drugs is a felony. Hardly superficial.

    But, quite simply, yes he has 20 million listeners but there are more than 20 million independent voters in the country and they don't like Boss Limbaugh, republican leader. They are the ones that decide elections.

    So, you do the math

  • 1 decade ago

    The only reason he is getting so much attention brought on all by himself is when someone repeats over and over again





    people who never tune in have no choice BUT to hear what the wind bag is saying all over the news..never heard such utter disrespect for president of the divide states and some are shocked

    He now wants to debate the PRESIDENT ON his show..and of course like that will happen his dreams

    WILL NOW SAY the president is scared to debate him

    he has already said the white house is using him to take focus off the bill and targeting him

    DOES the GOP and his Conservative army truly think we are that stupid...come on now people

    He uses his free speech to divide...his choice it is the ones who believe him I feel sorry for..mindless bs

    Genius....think this guy is Genius...what the drugs now make a guy Genius....look into what this dude has said in the past....

    I want to see Moore and him duke it that will be funny

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    The Conservatives are boxed out of the media, entertainment, etc and talk radio is the only place they have left.

  • 1 decade ago

    On the mark, to the point, and I would not even try to change a single premise here.

  • 1 decade ago

    No. The only reason he is being attacked personally by obama is that he is showing the truth behind the stimulus bill. Obama is afraid that he is going to lose the support he has from his hype-saturated supporters.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Victor writes well, doesn't he? I wanted to hear what YOU thought, though. As to the initial, millions wouldn't be listening if he weren't touching a nerve. I used to be one of those women who didn't like him until the last election. That's when I realized he makes a lot of sense and tells the truth that you don't get anywhere else, but you sense it yourself. He helps you realize you're not alone.

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