Rush Limbaugh has always sought to make himself rich from the tea party movement, by turning the discontent of Americans from the Bush Recession into profitable listeners who delight in hearing him blame “the Obama recession” for all their problems since two days after Obama was elected in 2008.
But now Limbaugh has decided that the tea party movement really is a sucker born every minute, and so he's going to make more money off them by selling them bottles of tea, with a label hilariously featuring Limbaugh dressed up as Paul Revere on a horse, except that he's holding a bottle of his own tea instead of a bell, or whatever it was Sarah Palin said was used to warn the British. (In fairness, Limbaugh's site offers a history of Paul Revere that is actually accurate, unlike Palin's.)
Today on his show, Limbaugh announced that he is selling “Two If By Tea.” Limbaugh proclaimed “the labels are works of art” and even added, “it's the best shrink wrap to go along with the best tea.”
According to his website, “Two If By Tea™ is made just the way my mother used to make it.” However, Rush explained on his radio show, “this is real tea brewed in giant vats” and added, “this assembly line has created jobs.” Perhaps Rush's mother used to make her tea in giant vats on an assembly line, but I doubt it.
Limbaugh proclaimed that buying his tea was a stand for America: “Fellow Americans, hold on to our exceptional values, stand up against those who want to suppress your individual rights and above all take pride in being an American! While you’re at it, join me in drinking a bottle of my tea as we admire the great United States of America and the military and law enforcement officials who fight to defend our freedom every day. Thank God, yes God, for the blessings of life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness and of course, this wonderful drink - Two If By Tea™!”
The website explains, “The Liberals are coming. My good friend Paul Revere laid out the blueprint of how to deal with this. Sound the alarm! One if by land, Two If By Tea™!” What this bad pun would seem to mean is that liberals are invading America via tea, if any of it made sense.
Limbaugh's site declares, “Each bottle is designed to rise above the sameness and mediocrity that threatens our great nation. Just grab a 12-pack and join the fight to preserve the America we know and love. It's worth it!” Worth it? Patriotism is expensive. Limbaugh is charging $23.76 per case, or $1.99 per bottle, an extraordinary markup on 16 oz. of tea. By charging over $15 a gallon for his tea (more than four times the price of gasoline), Limbaugh is simply trying to turn his dutiful listeners in a profit machine.
Limbaugh claims that part of the money he'll make will go to charity, but he's been telling different stories about exactly how much. The website promises a $100,000 donation to the Marine Corps - Law Enforcement Foundation. Limbaugh proclaimed that “a portion of each sale goes to the Marine Corps Law Enforcement Foundation” but he also said that “a percentage of the profits are going to” the charity. So which one is it? Limbaugh loves to use the military to make more money, such as when he asks fans to give him money in order to provide a free Rush 24/7 subscription to soldiers, with Rush and his company making a healthy profit. His tea seems to be just another cynical manipulation of patriotism to line his own pockets.
This week, Politico revealed something that I had reported in my book about Limbaugh, that his praise for the Heritage Foundation is a product of the $2 million a year that Heritage gives him to promote their work.
Limbaugh has been a dutiful promoter of his advertisers. Limbaugh declared that he was “continually amazed that the Heritage Foundation” produced its right-wing analysis. Not convincingly, he added, “I'm not saying this because they're a sponsor." Of course, Limbaugh was saying that precisely because they're a sponsor. In fact, he charged them an enormous amount of money for what he said.
Remarkably, in the middle of one ad, Rush proclaimed, "I, my friends, am a long time member of the Heritage Foundation, I'm not a comp member, either, I pay for it, I don't accept comps, I don't want to be obligated, I don't like conflicts of interest.” To Limbaugh, taking something for free is a conflict of interest, but getting paid $2 million to promote an organization is not.
Of course, Limbaugh denounces the leaders of liberal non-profit groups who “do not have normal jobs” while he praises non-profit conservative groups like Heritage. It's all a question of profits. That's what motivates Limbaugh.
Selling overpriced tea with his face on it is just another way for Limbaugh to make money from his gullible listeners.
Crossposted at DailyKos.