Monday, June 01, 2009

Rush to judgement
I don't like Rush Limbaugh. Never have. Even as I've drifted more and more to the right in this country's political spectrum, I always avoided his show.

This had little to do with anything more than the fact that I hate loud talkers. I found Limbaugh's voice to be annoying -- it often obscured whatever point he was trying to make.

When Limbaugh was put on ESPN in 2003, I didn't think it would work. Like most people put on TV to be controversial, Limbaugh said something perceived as racist and was gone from the show.

Since then, I have probably heard less than 10 minutes of his show.

But I make no bones about my conservatism, and because of that, Limbaugh always comes up, and I'm expected to defend him.

I agreed with Republican chairman Michael Steele: Limbaugh is an entertainer. His primary interest is his ratings. He's great at what he's trying to do. But Rush is smart enough not to run for office.

I make this point because twice in the last two days, when I've been critical of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (who, for the record, I believe is a clown who should never have advanced past county government), I've gotten the "well, look at Rush Limbaugh" response.

Limbaugh has become more important to liberals than he has to conservatives. For the past eight years, liberals had the most powerful person in the world to unite around in distaste.

But George W. Bush's term ended. Someone had to fill the void.

Sarah Palin has to govern in Alaska, which few people on the mainland care about. Senator John McCain is nearing the end of a remarkable career, but his ability to rile up opponents ended in November.

So they go to what works.

Limbaugh is popular with his base. He's loud. He's controversial. And unlike most politicians, he will not back down from an argument, no matter how unpopular it is.

He's perfect for liberals who need someone to be mad at.

If Limbaugh didn't exist, liberals would have to create him.

But here's my point: Limbaugh, like John Stewart, entertains first. He doesn't hold an office.

Pelosi holds one of the most important positions in this country. It's not a fair comparison.

People say Limbaugh's crucial because people take positions based on his opinions. Well, what about Stewart? Lord knows how many college students get news from The Daily Show,with its comedy umbrella ready to pop up against any storm.

Most people who tell me how much they hate Limbaugh have never listened to him. Hey, I think Keith Olbermann is annoying (I see him on NBC football broadcasts), but I can't say too much -- I never watch his show.

I don't want to do the "I'm not a crazy conservative -- look, I hate Limbaugh!" bit that I've seen so many do. I'm just saying that the man does not represent anything but himself.

Those who try to make him more may very well be pushing agendas that are anything but conservative.

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