Rush Limbaugh had a lot to apologize for today after the death of Osama Bin Laden. For years, he's been telling his audience that Bin Laden was dead long ago (“don't doubt me”). He's compared Bin Laden to President Obama and other Democrats. He's been smearing Obama as an incompetent president on foreign policy, and repeatedly mocked Obama for failing to get Bin Laden. Now that Obama succeeded where George W. Bush failed, Limbaugh owed his audience a lot of regret.
Instead, he made no apologies at all. Limbaugh simply pretended that he'd never made any of his previous errors about Bin Laden and Obama. Rush gave George W. Bush all the credit for Bin Laden's demise, offering Obama only mock congratulations for following Bush's policies.
Six times on his show today, Rush “accidentally” referred to Obama as “Osama.” And Limbaugh reached his lowest point by claiming that Obama only went after Bin Laden for political opportunism. At a moment when America was united by relief at Bin Laden finally being found, Limbaugh turned it into an opportunity for sleazy partisanship to smear his political enemies.
Limbaugh began his show today by announcing that he was “documented” to be right “99.6% of the time” (a completely fake statistic), and concluded his show by commanding his audience, “Don't doubt me.”
In reality, Limbaugh has a long record of being completely wrong about Osama Bin Laden. As I wrote in my new book about Limbaugh, The Most Dangerous Man in America: Rush Limbaugh's Assault on Reason, “Crackpot theories dominate Limbaugh's thinking, such as his certainty that Osama Bin Laden, despite regularly putting out tapes, is dead: 'he's not alive! Don't doubt me on this.'” On March 17, 2010, Limbaugh declared that any evidence of Bin Laden being alive was just a vast conspiracy to smear George W. Bush: “The reason he will never be tried in the US court system is, he's already dead. He's been dead for years. Everybody knows it. The reason we're not talking about getting Bin Laden now is because everybody knows he's already dead. They just used that against Bush to show his Iraq policy was wrong and his Afghanistan policy was a failure.”
Don't doubt Rush on this. Everybody knows Bin Laden was dead for years, because any other facts might make George W. Bush look bad. Limbaugh even claimed today that the timing of the Obama speech was a conspiracy designed to interrupt Donald Trump's show Celebrity Apprentice: “Obama single-handedly gets the last half hour of Trump's show pre-empted.”
Six times during his show today, Limbaugh “accidentally” mixed up Obama and Bin Laden: “Obama—sorry, Osama—is dead.” He said, “couriers were needed by Obama—uh, Osama.” He referred to “the death of Obama.” He said, “One of Obama—sorry--Osama's wives pointed him out.” At one point, Limbaugh even got mixed up in his intentional accidents, referring to “Obama—sorry, Osama—no, Obama, Obama.” And perhaps most disturbing of all, Limbaugh talked about “killing Obama and producing DNA—uh, Osama.”
This isn't anything new for Limbaugh. When Obama ran for president in 2007, Limbaugh routinely referred to him as “Osama Obama,” based on a slip of the tongue by Senator Edward Kennedy. But there's nothing accidental about calling the leading terrorist in the world “Obama” six times in one show.
Limbaugh has repeatedly compared Obama to Bin Laden, such as this example from September 2007, when Limbaugh openly compared Obama to Bin Laden: "Well, we've got another tape from -- I get these guys confused -- Usama bin Laden. Another tape says he's going to invade Pakistan and declare war on Pakistan and Musharraf, which, ladies and gentlemen, puts him on the same page with a Democrat presidential candidate -- that would be Barack 'Uss-Obama.'" When CNN accidentally mixed up Osama and Obama in 2007, Limbaugh wondered, “have they apologized to Osama bin Laden for call him Barack Obama?”
In 2008, Obama was shown in a photograph wearing traditional Kenyan garb, and Limbaugh complained that “Obama dresses up like Bin Laden, and if you mention it, it's a scurrilous attack.” On October 10, 2010, Limbaugh discussed “Osama Bin Laden, who, if he would shave his beard and get rid of the imam cap, could run as a Democrat and get elected anywhere in this country.” On January 29, 2010, Rush openly compared Bin Laden to Obama: “Every day it gets harder and harder to tell Bin Laden's complaints from those of the average, run-of-the-mill leftists like Obama.”
Just a month ago, Limbaugh was denouncing Obama's efforts to promote democracy in Libya, claiming that Khadafy's replacement in Libya “could be Osama bin Laden.” This was part of Limbaugh's loony conspiracy theory that the rebels in Libya were actually al Qaeda, but it reflect Limbaugh's insane belief that Obama and Bin Laden share the same political philosophy.
After trying to ignore Bin Laden for most of the Bush presidency because he couldn't blame a Republican for failing to capture him (instead, he blamed Clinton), Limbaugh began to be concerned about Osama Bin Laden's freedom when Barack Obama ran for president. Limbaugh mocked “Little Barry Obama's Summer Trip” to Afghanistan in the summer of 2008: ““Hey, somebody answer a question for me. Has Obama found Bin Laden yet?” Using his usual racist language, Limbaugh accused Obama of “pimping Bush's ride. Here's a guy that's been in the Senate for 143 days, rather, saying we need more troops in Afghanistan when he goes over there?” On July 21, 2008, Limbaugh ridiculed Obama for criticizing Bush's failure to catch Bin Laden: “Hey, Obama, he's in Pakistan. How come you haven't caught him yet, pal? You're right over there.”
Less than three months after Obama became president, Limbaugh was complaining that Bin Laden hadn't been captured. On April 3, 2009, Limbaugh declared: “Have you heard a whisper even about capturing Osama Bin Laden?” By September 16, 2009, Limbaugh was mocking Obama for failing to capture bin Laden less than nine months into his first term: “By the way, whatever happened to our measure of success in the war in Iraq and Afghanistan by capturing Osama? Whatever happened to that? Remember all through the Bush presidency, 'Well, Bush hasn't done anything. We haven't won anything. Osama is out there. We haven't captured Osama.' Are we trying to capture Osama bin Laden now? We're defining victory differently.” On December 1, 2009, Limbaugh insulted Obama again for not capturing Bin Laden: “It's obvious to me that Bin Laden is dead for one reason: Obama hasn't captured him. Because Obama can do everything! Obama! Obama! Obama! Obama! Well, we don't have Bin Laden. That must mean he's dead. There must be nobody to capture.”
When Bin Laden was finally killed, Limbaugh offered only mock congratulations today to Obama: “President Obama deserves praise for continuing the policies established by George W. Bush.” Of course, Limbaugh conveniently ignores the fact that Obama was pursuing his own policy to intensify the efforts in Afghanistan and to find Bin Laden. Bush's policy was to start a war in Iraq that distracted attention from the hunt for Bin Laden and the attempt to secure Afghanistan, with disastrous consequences everywhere. Limbaugh falsely claimed that Obama did not “end harsh-interrogation techniques” Bush had allowed.
Rush gave all the credit to George W. Bush: “This is something Obama inherited from Bush.....He inherited the policy that led to the killing of Osama Bin Laden.” Of course, Limbaugh is lying again. Everyone wanted to have Bin Laden captured or killed. Bush's approach was to fail to capture Bin Laden and then divert attention from Bin Laden and Afghanistan by starting an unnecessary war in Iraq. Obama's approach was to escalate military action in Afghanistan, increase the focus on getting Bin Laden, and using far more military attacks within Pakistan. It's absurd to claim that Obama was continuing the same policies of Bush.
Limbaugh attacked Obama today by claiming, “he led his supporters to believe that he would be disassembling this program” that led to Bin Laden's death. Rush was lying again. Obama never proposed getting rid of any special operations program, nor did he oppose interrogations of al Qaeda operatives. Obama opposed torture, and wanted to shut down Guantanamo and put terrorists on trial. He never wanted to disassemble any program to get Bin Laden.
The Obama policy that led to Bin Laden's death was first announced in 2007, when Obama declared that “If we have actual intelligence against Bin Laden or other key Al-Qaeda officials, and we -- and Pakistan is unwilling or unable to strike against them, we should.”
Limbaugh declared on August 1, 2007, “this is just a huge boondoggle. He's shown he does not have the gravitas. He does not have the experience. He doesn't have the sensitivities.”
Limbaugh added that he didn't believe Obama would do it: “By the way, for those of you who just cringe when you hear Barack Obama start talking about invading Pakistan to go get bin Laden and thus to claim victory in the war? It's just sophistry.” That dangerous "sophistry" is exacted what Obama did. Limbaugh would make up all kinds of false statements about what Obama said. Rush claimed, “Obama was threatening to nuke Pakistan if they didn't give us Bin Laden when we found him.”
Of course, Obama never said anything like that. Yet on September 15, 2008, Limbaugh mocked the idea that “Obama is qualified to be president” based entirely on that statement about going into Pakistan to get Bin Laden.
Limbaugh claimed that in Obama's May 1, 2011 speech about Bin Laden's death, “We all saw Obama announcing his single-handed involvement.” That's a complete lie, as everyone who watched Obama's speech knows (and even Rush's first caller challenged him on it while Limbaugh was baffled by her complaint). Limbaugh asserted that Obama's use of the words “I,” “me,” and “mine” proved his self-centeredness, even though Obama used “we” and “us” more often and only used “I” to reasonably describe his own actions. Today, Limbaugh called Obama “a narcissist in the cult of personality.” The truth is that Limbaugh is the narcissist caught up in his own cult of personality, unable to see anything other than political gains to be made from the death of Osama Bin Laden.
Perhaps the sleaziest things Limbaugh said today was that Obama had attacked Bin Laden solely for political reasons: “If he was a shoo-in for re-election, Osama Bin Laden would still be alive today.” It's time to ask conservatives and Republican officials if they agree with Limbaugh's crude partisan smears, or if they're finally willing to speak out against America's leading force for crazy conspiracy theories, falsified facts, and divisive political attacks.
Crossposted at DailyKos.