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  • Lance Mannion
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Ken Rasak

This is the best explanation for Limbaugh's comments that I have read. People seem shocked, but it seems entirely consistent with the Rush we've come to know.

Daniel DiRito

See a tongue-in-cheek visual that gives Rush Limbaugh a dose of his own


Once again, you have *nailed* it.

Thank you, Lance!


Good post. The only places I've ever heard Limbaugh on the radio are cabs and airport shuttles driven by white guys (e.g., white guys doing jobs they don't think white guys should have to do).


The first time I heard Limbaugh was in the 1980s when I was driving around the West on vacations. At the time he hadn't anywhere near the influence he does now, and I just thought he was amusing. I remember thinking "what kind of talk radio is this? The guy never takes any calls from the audience (might have been one or two per hour back then), and I thought that was the point?"

Little did I know he'd become the (ostensible) voice of the disenfranchised white guy by the time Clinton took office.

Very good analysis, Lance.


The only thing that keeps me from wanting to put my foot through the computer screen watching Limbaugh and that smarmy reply ad is the thought that this is desperation, as the looming election turns the Republicans into a version of the "Shark Massacre" chapter in Moby Dick. Had to re-read the passage after reading your post, in fact:

"They viciously snapped, not only at each other's disembowelments, but like flexible bows, bent round, and bit their own; till those entrails seemed swallowed over and over again by the same mouth, to be oppositely voided by the gaping wound. Nor was this all. It was unsafe to meddle with the corpses and ghosts of these creatures. A sort of generic or Pantheistic vitality seemed to lurk in their very joints and bones, after what might be called the individual life had departed."


Some people say the same words over and over even as the feelings they want the words to describe change. Other people just keep changing the words, usually because they don't remember them from one day to the next. The words were just sounds they gave to the feelings.

Great post. I'll be forwarding this on to my mates.

Molly, NYC

Put us rich white guys in charge and we'll make sure you become a rich guy too.

Limbaugh owes his credibility with those resentful, financially struggling ignoramuses he has for an audience to the fact that he genuinely hails from that class himself. And he has become a rich guy. His life is what they aspire to, underage Dominican hookers and all.


Excellent, excellent post. I don't have much to add as you said it so clearly.

Just one comment. I had been seeing on all the MSM yesterday that rush had apologized. Today I heard on Air America Rush saying he stands by everything, it is what he thinks, what he beleives, what he is led to know. I know, I know, just words, gobbledegook, but in reference to how Rush likes to pass it all off as a joke or an act, he is not even trying to here.

And anyway, why was the MSM apologizing for Rush before Rush even apologized?


Wonderful post. Couple things: I have read several times that Rush is (1) not actually all that smart (he never managed to get through college, even though his father is a lawyer and fairly big chesse in Missouri); (2) not very personable. His wives and those who tried to work with him at ESPN (including Olbermann) described him as colorless, uninterested in reading or debating anything, whose only pastime seemed to be sitting on the couch watching sports.

So for him to see himself as an entertainer is really true, just as George Bush sees himself as Abraham Lincoln. There's no there there. It's all an act.


What a great post. You are the first person that nailed the absolute contradiction. Rush's audience is lower middle class to poor whites and I cant understand why they vote/support rich white guys! They support people who make money off oil, pharma, insurance, yet they believe that the $200 check that they received due to a tax break is equivalent to bringing their job back that they have lost to globalization.

This is the biggest conundrum and hats off to Rush for fooling these whities all the time.


Rush's audience is lower middle class to poor whites and I cant understand why they vote/support rich white guys!

Because those people want to be rich white guys (and gals).

On a related note, if you want to get to Rush, go after his advertisers.


To paraphrase what I just told Avedon: You said what I said (yesterday, and again today), only better and not as succinctly. There cannot be enough words printed on how vile this man and his actions are, imo.

Also I'd add: Rush probably doesn't give a hoot about blastocysts either, and if he had an illness that could benefit from their demise, would be first to sign up for treatment, you betcha. But since Democrats, i.e. Liberals are aligned with stem cell research while Republicans are lined up against it, he's four square against it.

And let's not even go into the ironic territory of how MJF played a Republican on TV!


Rush Limbaugh and some others like him (Left and Right) think that what they say means something to someone who doesn't have the time or audacity to think for his,or her, self ! Pundits are a dime a dozen and about as usefull as an umbrella with a hole in it. Moral-think for yourself !

Comandante Agi

But Matt Lauer said Rush was simply expressing what we all felt inside. So...Rush has to be right. He's a visionary, a prophet, a artist of the ignorant mind.

Deep Thought

"But while Limbaugh probably doesn't give people with disabilities a thought when he's not using them to stir up the pot on his show..."

Yeah, sure - the deaf guy never thinks of the disabled. Brilliant insight.


[[The great evil that Limbaugh does is that he gives his listeners words that both help them express their hatreds and resentments and hide from themselves the fact that they hate and resent.]]

Precisely. Because most people still desperately want to think they're decent at heart, not full of hatred and resentment.

Wonderful insight. Reminds me of the great line from "The Usual Suspects":

"The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he did not exist."


Excellent post, as always. Just one point: Rush is not in fact, from a lower-middle class white family. His family in SE Missouri is a distinguished one; his father was a judge and I think they are about to, or have, named a courthouse after him. There is a MO Supreme Court Justice named Limbaugh; I believe he is Rush's brother. So basically, Rush may very well be considered the underachiever in his family, as I don't think he ever finished college.

Kit Stolz

To people who have only heard of Limbaugh, and not encountered his devoted fans, this post might seem broad. It's not. I have a good friend who went to Berkeley in the l970's and for many years was a fairly typical California liberal. Then he didn't become the success he wanted to become (in part because he couldn't deal with liking men sexually, and in part because he couldn't stop drinking) and turned to Limbaugh for succor.

David's not a stupid guy, in fact he has a PhD in statistics, even though he's now been homeless in Las Vegas for many years. We have often remarked in phone conversations on the irony that even though economically I should support Republican candidates who (at least in theory) would cut my taxes, and he should support Democrats who (at least in theory) would make some provision for the poor, in fact David is a hard-right Republican who repeats the latest Limbaugh talking points devoutly. It's crazy, but it's true.

As Lance so astutely points out, Limbaugh's audience desperately needs to believe that they are being denied their due; logic or even politics has little to do with it. This is what drives them, and this is why they love the bragging of Limbaugh, the "fun" he says he's having at the expense of the other, the thrill they take in his success. It's the modern equivalent of the KKK, I think, keeping in mind that in its heyday (the l920's) the KKK was a respectable organization with millions of members, and even a President (Harding) who was inducted into the KKK in a secret initiation.

But to say that Limbaugh doesn't think underestimates him a little bit, I think. Limbaugh is very very good at telling Big Lies. He crafts them consciously, I believe. Here's an example. If you heard any of his show yesterday, you heard him taking calls on the M.J. Fox case. (He wanted to put it behind him, but callers wouldn't let it go, which shows he's not in control of this issue.) What did he say? Well, we don't have time for a full forensic examination, but
his central point was that if you watch a Democratic ad, such as the Fox/Parkinson's ad, you have to keep in mind that it was funded by Democrats, scripted by Democrats, etc. Of course, there's a grain of truth in that, but note the bigger truth. Fox simply looked at the camera and said what he thought about the issue and suggested a vote for the Democrat. The anti-Democrat ads in Tennessee, in contrast, were a highly crafted collage of racist hints and sexual allegations, written and shot and edited with a master propagandist's verve.

It's all propaganda to Limbaugh. He's is far more cynical even than his audience realizes. If the love of the dittoheads for Limbaugh ever begins to fade, do not surprised if he turns bitter. He can't reject them, for obvious reasons, but the truth may out nonetheless...and if it does, it will be a spectacular moment.


Best takedown of Rush ever.


Really excellent post.


"What is most marketable is absolutism and attitude undiluted by thought."

[from Wendy Kaminer's critique of Camille Paglia which I lovingly lifted to throw on to Rush]


Outstanding. I dub thee Zeus. Thanks for articulating some thoughts I've never been able to sort out. Limbaugh has grimly fascinated me for years. Back in the early 1990s I worked at a bookstore when his first bestseller was atop the charts. Customers came in all the time telling me (or a colleague) how great this guy was, that I could read his book and learn a lot. (If I was in a good mood I would respond, "Oh, I don't read, man.") This was a cigar and tie-clip crowd. It was a cigar and tie-clip neighborhood. And ever since I've wondered, what do you guys have to be mad about? I mean, I knew, you dig, but now it's a little clearer in my mind.

harry near indy

great post, lance.

rush does speak to the lower-middle-class white male, the one group in the united states that i truly hate and wish would all die and go to hell -- the sooner the better.

in the past, if these lower-middle-class white males didn't climb the social/economic ladder to the same level as the upper-middle-class white males, at least they were above others -- a lot of them black, native american, and women.

the south from the 1860s to the 1960s used that to keep the lower-middle-class white males in their place, more or less.

btw, men with that mentality/outlook, in germany in the 1920s, were among the first followers of hitler. that's why i hate them -- they are nazis in embryo.

Deep Thought

Harry near Indy,
How sad it must be, to be filled with such overwhelming hatred of other you don't know because they are so... filled with hate... potentially.

Too bad that A) those days of the 1860's to 1960's were when the South was solidly Democrat and B) the South is the *least* racist area of the country

Really! Check here:

And how does it feel to live 'near Indy', historically a stronghold of the Klan?

Inside, Rush feels like a man of integrity and principle.

Within himself he is consistent. He is true to his guiding star.

No, that's the common fallacy about Rush. Rush thinks he's an entertainer, saying whatever gets his listeners to keep listening. That's it. He doesn't need to be factual, because he's not a journalist. He doesn't need to be consistent because he's not a commentator. He just needs to be entertaining, and he's happy.

I'm not saying this to excuse him; he's making huge gobs of money by peddling hatred, and that's evil and wrong. But do not think that he takes himself seriously. Don't think you can debate him and show the flaws in his argument. Don't think you can do anything to change him, except by hurting his ratings.

Wonder George

For the record, Rush, why don't you REALLY explain what you were doing with a bottle of Viagra in the Dominican Republic?

And while we're at it, Rush, were you having affairs with children in the D.R.?

Maybe even - GASP! - boys????

Hello, Rush? Rush, are you there?

Now how do you like that, the MFSOB hung up on me! I hope he gets his - preferably, similar to the fate of one Paul Gadd, better known as Gary Glitter!

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