Rush Limbaugh is not having a good week. His radio sponsors are bailing out, Sandra Fluke refused to accept his apology and Republicans are finally piping up with more fulsome condemnations. But has Rush reached an Imus-like moment where his power and influence will be snuffed out? As much as I hope that to be the case, I think Rush and Imus have two very different audiences.
Rush discovered early on, a section of the American public who is angry at their own lack of power and purpose and reveled in blaming the Left for everything that happens to them. Twenty million of them! I listened to Limbaugh for several years in the 1990s, which was sort of like watching a train wreck. He was so absurd, that while you wanted to, it was hard to not listen. His callers were all the same: angry, older, robbed of dignity, living in places you would expect, homophobic, openly racist, sexist, misogynistic and mostly males, though a surprising number of females listen also. Over the years, Rush, to his credit, has turned these people into an ideological cult. They tune in every day, anxious to hear which extreme right-wing bogeyman Rush will be pillorying today, so they can yell at their radios “Exactly, Rush … Dittos!” Rush has become the de-facto leader of the Republican Party and his listeners beg him daily to run for President.
This is very different than listening to, say, the Diane Rehm on NPR, who tries to provide a reasoned view of a subject or topic and accepts callers with varying and opposite points of view. You know, like a reasonable person might do.
Rush is a nihilist demagogue who has had a negative impact on American democracy, and particularly on the Republican Party. His followers are exactly like Rush, and they have a negative impact on America every day simply by going about their business. They have a primal coherence, like a Bedouin tribe or Islamic radical fundamentalists. When Imus’s unfortunate comments about the Rutgers women’s basketball team went viral, his audience was devoted, and political, but instead of being angry, his audience were a fun-loving bunch who actually understood that Imus had gone too far, and accepted his fate.
I am sure that instead of turning against Rush, his audience, including the women, will love it even more now that the “Liberal Eastern Establishment” (even though LegalZoom‘s headquarters are in Los Angeles, as facts never get in the way for this crowd), advertisers have jumped ship. This attack on his integrity is obviously part of the vast Liberal Socialist Islamic Terrorist conspiracy.
I am afraid that El Rushbo is going nowhere, but I hope and pray that Bain Capital who owns Clear Channel, will figure out that through the “Liberal Media“, the dots will ultimately connect for Mitt Romney and he will, by association, be joined at the hip with El Rushbo for the rest of this race. By implication, Rush’s biggest Ditto-head. That just might do it. You heard it here first. Stay tuned