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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Soros and Limbaugh, the “Foreign” Puppetmaster and the Conspiracy Nut

On his show yesterday, Rush Limbaugh denounced one of his favorite punching bags, financier George Soros: "So you want to talk a little foreign money in American politics? George Soros has admitted to donating $1 million to Media Matters for America, which is -- they call it a left-wing media watchdog. It's not that. It's just a bunch of propagandists, and Soros, a foreigner, has admitted he donated a million dollars to Media Matters."

Of course, since Media Matters for America regularly exposes Limbaugh's mistakes and bizarre comments, it's no wonder that he hates Soros for funding them and other liberal causes. But why would Limbaugh talk so much about "foreign money" when Soros has been an American citizen since 1961?

As Glenn Greenwald notes,
What is it about Soros exactly that leads right-wing commentators -- including their long-time leader, Rush Limbaugh -- to falsely brand this American citizen a "foreigner"?

It's notable that Rush never complains about the foreign money in American politics of Rupert Murdoch, an Australian who became a US citizen in 1985 only in order to buy American television stations and move the media to the right.

As I note in my forthcoming book, "The Most Dangerous Man in America: Rush Limbaugh's Assault on Reason" (Thomas Dunne Books, March 2011), Soros is at the center of a vast array of Limbaugh conspiracy theories that range from Obama to football to the intentional destruction of the US economy.

Limbaugh saw a conspiracy in Obama's rise to the presidency, claiming that he "had to have a sponsor, had to have somebody orchestrating, directing it, so forth and so on." And Limbaugh had an easy answer for who was the puppetmaster, "You know what? It's George Soros. George Soros was in charge of electing Obama! George Soros and his people."

Just a few days after Obama's election in 2008, Limbaugh claimed: "Somebody chose Obama to run and was a secret sponsor....I think Soros is involved."

Such was Limbaugh's paranoia that he imagined a massive conspiracy linking Obama and Soros to the financial collapse that caused the Bush Recession: "Somebody had to tell him what was coming in 2007, meaning the crash in 2008. He didn't have any experience to know. Somebody had to know, somebody had to tell him, for that somebody to know they had to have a hand in it. Can anybody say George Soros? Pulling the marionette strings here of our leader of the regime."

According to Limbaugh, Soros is the puppeteer secretly controlling Obama, who ordered him to run for president and then staged the collapse of the housing bubble in order to help Obama win. Limbaugh said, "George Soros has said that one of his goals in life is to bring about the world financial crisis and profit from it" and added, "Soros may be running Obama." Everything about this conspiracy theory is absolutely untrue. Soros had nothing to do with Obama's decision to run for president. Soros never said what Limbaugh claimed. And Soros could not have possibly caused the housing bubble and the Bush Recession. Yet Limbaugh's website featured an illustration of Soros standing above Obama, holding a manipulator to control the president's actions.

Discussing Senate hearings on Goldman Sachs, Limbaugh declared, "Obama is one of George Soros' boys, and that could be one of the reasons why we're not seeing a whole lot of televised activity on the popular cable channels about this." According to Limbaugh's conspiracy theories, "George Soros continues to destroy the economy and profit from it."

Limbaugh said, "If you look at everything that Obama is doing, it's George Soros" and added about Soros, "his hatred of America is well known." In Limbaugh's mind, everything Republican is American, and anyone critical of conservatives is anti-American.

Soros is featured in a number of other Limbaugh conspiracy theories. When former George W. Bush spokesperson Scott McClellan published a book critical of some members of the Bush Administration, Limbaugh immediately saw a Soros conspiracy with McClellan's publisher, PublicAffairs: "so far six books have been bankrolled by George Soros. So there is a George Soros connection to the Scott McClellan book." Of course, Soros didn't "bankroll" McClellan's book or any other; he had written six books published by PublicAffairs.

Limbaugh even imagined that Soros was secretly made the primary owner in his failed bid to buy the St. Louis Rams: "I was told who it was, but now I'm wondering if it was Soros and I wasn't told."

Limbaugh's hypocritical attack on "foreign" money reflects the bigotry toward immigrants that has come to dominate the conservative movement. But his smear campaign against George Soros is just another insane conspiracy theory that Barack Obama is secretly trying to destroy Amerca.

Crossposted at DailyKos.

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