Apologies for the length of this post, but things need to be said about Newsweeks hit piece on Rush Limbaugh that fails to veil Evan Thomass glee and the palpable disdain for Limbaugh and his 20 million listeners. I cant resist highlighting Thomass east-coast boorishness and poor word-choice.
Limbaugh’s story owes more to the “Wizard of Oz” than “The Scarlet Letter.” 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. When Rush Limbaugh declared to his radio audience that he was “your epitome of morality of virtue, a man you could totally trust with your wife, your daughter, and even your son in a Motel 6 overnight,” he was acting.
Second, Thomass assertion that Rushs idea of a good time is related to a couch and football seems based on a quote from Maureen Dowd who claims that Rush told her that he works, watches the news, and the N.F.L. So? I fail to see how this makes Rush a schlub. The guy works, reads news incessantly, pays vigilant attention to world-events, analyzes speeches, editorials, and commentary, and yet his downtime watching football somehow detracts from his mental accumen? Even watching football turned into a brief stint on ESPN as a commentator!
Then, of course, theres the obvious response: If Rush is such an idiot, why is Howard Dean running against him? Why do the Dems run against Rush every election year? Why do they lament the dominance of Rush and his dittoheads on talk radio? Why do they look for a liberal answer to the EIB Network? There is a strong sentiment among liberals that Rush may be the biggest, most powerful weapon the Right has in its arsenal (which is likely why the National Enquirer held this story for 2 years). Apparently, the Left has been out-smarted by a schlub. Pity.
But Thomass disdain is apparent throughout the piece, as he acknowledges: "Limbaughs act has won over, or fooled, a lot of people....he is the darling of Red State, Fly-Over America." Imagine us Red State folk being fooled by a schlub. But I repeat myself.
The kicker for Thomass piece though is the ending: "Limbaughs long-running act as a paragon of virtue is over. Now the question is whether he can make a virtue out of honesty." Make a virtue out of honesty? This is Limbaughs job? Perhaps after years in Washington covering the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal Thomas has forgotten that honesty is in fact still a virtue, and that by admitting his addiction, taking steps to overcome it, and cooperating with investigators, Limbaugh has already succeeded in following this very virtue. Whether he continues to act virtuously in this regard remains to be seen, but its certainly not Rushs job to "make a virtue out of honesty." What does that even mean?