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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Limbaugh's Class Warfare Vs. College Presidents

Rush Limbaugh normally hates class warfare. So it was a bit unusual today when he came out and denounced millionaires. Of course, Limbaugh only hates one particular kind of millionaire: college presidents.

Limbaugh declared,
the bottom line here is 36 college presidents make a million dollars a year or more. Where is Occupy Wall Street? Has somebody told them about this? The tuition keeps going up. We keep pointing it out here. The tuition keeps going up. Nobody ever talks about the greed of Big Education, 'cause that's where Obama's buddies are.
Actually, that's where one of Limbaugh's buddies is. He specifically exempted from his criticism Larry Arnn, the president of Hillsdale College (which spends vast sums of money advertising on Limbaugh's show). Arnn earned $608,615 in compensation in 2009, making him the second highest paid college president in the state of Michigan despite running a tiny and not very prestigious college.

Limbaugh added,
So Big Education keeps raising prices. Tuition keeps going up. As we know, the Occupy crowd and a lot of students all over the country are unhappy with the student loan situation. And never once do we hear about the greed of Big Education. Never once do we hear about the millionaires that are the college presidents.
In reality, lots of progressives on campus criticize the excessive salaries of college presidents and other administrators. I'd love to see colleges adopt a practice of never paying college presidents more than twice the median professor's salary. Colleges would have much better presidents if they stopped paying them so much money.

Limbaugh concluded,
I'm really struck by the fact that nobody ever talks about the greed in Big Education, and the students, the children, the future are going into hock. Student debt, loan debt, all of this, and what's the solution? It's never to be critical of the institutions of higher learning for charging too much.
Actually, there's an enormous amount of criticism of high tuition at colleges. Many Occupy protests on campus are devoted to opposing tuition hikes. In fact, just today on Truthout, Henry Giroux writes about students “protesting the ways in which universities now resemble corporations.” As Giroux notes,
higher education has been increasingly corporatized and militarized and subject to market-driven values and managerial relations that treat faculty and students as entrepreneurs and clients, while reducing knowledge to the dictates of an audit culture, and pedagogy to a destructive and reductive instrumental rationality.
Rush Limbaugh was inaccurate, as usual, to attack the Occupy movement for ignoring the institutions of higher education. But he was right to question the high salaries for college presidents. It's too bad that Limbaugh only questions excessive salaries when he dislikes the institution someone works at. We need to question the misguided priorities of Big Education, even while we denounce the cynical attacks of Rush Limbaugh who want to destroy higher education because of crazed conspiracy theories that “most citadels of higher learning are the incubators of Marxism, liberalism, socialism, that's where the indoctrination takes place.”

Crossposted at DailyKos and AcademeBlog.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Rush Limbaugh Admits Conservative Bias of Media

A few minutes ago on his radio show, Rush Limbaugh finally came out and admitted the conservative bias of the mainstream media in America. It came when Rush was complaining about the difficulty in finding liberal soundbites to play and ridicule on his show. Rush declared, “If it weren't for MSNBC, there wouldn't be any liberal soundbites.”

Limbaugh said that he hates MSNBC and wanted to tell his employees to ban clips from the network on his show. But he realized that he couldn't do that because MSNBC was the only media outlet where he could get liberal soundbites. (He admitted that “Al Gore's network” has them, too, but apparently Rush doesn't want Current TV to get any attention.)

Furthermore, Limbaugh admitted that most of MSNBC's programming didn't reflect any liberal viewpoint: “MSNBC's it....And it's two shows, three shows.” Interestingly, among these few shows with liberal viewpoints allowed that Limbaugh identified was Morning Joe, the show named for host (and former Republican Congressman) Joe Scarborough.

For years, as I note in my book, The Most Dangerous Man in America: Rush Limbaugh's Assault on Reason, Limbaugh and other conservatives have promoted the myth of the liberal media in America. Now, Limbaugh has finally confessed the truth: liberal views are so isolated in the corporate press that the only places he can find liberal views in the mainstream broadcast media are a few shows on one cable news network. It's proof that there isn't a liberal bias in the media.

UPDATE: Here is the full transcript from Rush Limbaugh's website:
if it weren't for MSNBC we wouldn't have any liberal sound bites. I've told Cookie I'm sick of it, ban MSNBC, and we can't, 'cause there's no other place to get liberal sound bites. There isn't any other place. I mean CNN is just insane over there. They emphasize their hosts, they have guests, but just roll tape on 'em and it's so boring. It's not worth putting anything from CNN on the air.

If it weren't for MSNBC there wouldn't be any liberal sound bites. Now, that has to mean something. That has to mean that they're rare, that they're not everywhere. They may be everywhere in print, but, you know, left-wingers on the radio, genuine cuckoo's nest. You wouldn't even want to go there. I wouldn't play that stuff. MSNBC's it, and it's two shows or three shows. It's it is morning thing with Scarborough, it's the Larry O'Donnell show at night, and maybe occasionally something from Reverend Sharpton. (interruption) Well, yeah, sometimes Sergeant Schultz. Sergeant Schultz is out there walking amongst abandoned railroad cars looking for the future of America. I know there's Algore's channel, but that's nothing worth highlighting. It really says something. MSNBC is the only place in the media to get these liberals.

Crossposted at DailyKos.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Rush Limbaugh Attacks Classical Studies

It's difficult to imagine a major more beloved by conservatives than Classical Studies. The one bulwark against all those trendy majors has always been a nice dose of Greek and Latin. So it was strange yesterday to hear Rush Limbaugh denouncing Classical Studies as part of a vast left-wing conspiracy and announcing, “If you go to college, do not do classical studies.” Inspired by an Occupy Wall Street protestor with a sign about how worthless her Classical Studies degree is, Rush denounced her: “somebody shoulda told you that from the moment you declared the major in Classical Studies.”

Rush asked: “Tell me, any of you at random listening all across the fruited plain, what the hell is Classical Studies?” It became painfully, and embarrassingly, obvious that Limbaugh had no clue what Classical Studies is: “And how are the classics studied? Oh, cause you're gonna become an expert in Dickens?” He added, “What if it's classical women's studies? What if it's classical feminism? Who the hell knows what it is? One thing I do know is that she, the brain-dead student, doesn't know what it is, after she's got a major in it.”

Limbaugh declared that Classical Studies was a devious plot within the leftist conspiracy to destroy America:
The socialists that run universities dilute the education, they offer useless majors, and then they lie about the quality of these useless majors. They lie about the happiness and the jobs and the money that awaits you after you get the degree in something like Classical Studies....I think this is part of a strategy that the left has had....They got great degrees like classical (raspberry) studies! They're un-hireable, unemployable, and that's just unfair and unjust -- and ergo, here comes the clamor and the clarion call for socialism, for government to fix it.
This kind of lunatic conspiracy theory (which is not in any way meant jokingly) has become a daily ritual on Limbaugh's show, where he imagines Barack Obama is plotting to intentionally destroy the American economy, among other crackpot assumptions of a Manichean worldview.

During a break, Rush looked up classical studies on the internet and found that it involved the study of ancient Greece and Rome. Incapable of admitting that he was wrong, Rush instead decided to take a McCarthyite tactic of guilt by association, declaring that “Karl Marx was a classical studies scholar.”

Later in the show, Limbaugh announced that “Queer musicology is a degree at UCLA” and “You can get a degree in Star Trek at Georgetown.” There have been classes on queer musicology at UCLA and a class on “Philosophy and Star Trek” taught at Georgetown, but obviously not a degree. Perhaps when Rush denounces “you idiot college students,” he ought to take a long look in a mirror. Limbaugh is so uneducated he doesn't know what Classical Studies are or even the meaning of the word “degree.”

In my book about Rush, I cite about case after case where Limbaugh's views are not merely wrong, but entirely ignorant. The leading conservative voice in America is a monument to stupidity who denounces even the most conservative-friendly major in college. All of us, left and right alike, should be concerned about the state of conservatism in America and the move led by Limbaugh to new heights of anti-intellectualism on the right.

Crossposted at Academe Blog.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Rush Limbaugh hates college. He hated it when he was a student flunking out of Southeast Missouri State, and he hates it even more today. According to Rush, Barack Obama's plan to help students with loans is a vast conspiracy to help "big education" which destroys the minds of students:

Suzy Creamcheese gets into George Washington University and borrows from the government the requisite $212,000 to obtain an undergraduate degree, and what is Suzy Creamcheese's degree in? She spent it on a degree in Oppressed People in the Orient, some meaningless degree like Conflict Resolution 505, whatever, some meaningless, worthless degree. She's comes out after borrowing $212,000 with no marketable skills, and the only thing she has learned at Bill Ayers University is it's all America's fault. She goes in, gets a stupid degree, worthless education, $210,000 in debt, and she has no marketable skills. And it's America's fault after she's borrowed all this money. So now here comes Obama riding to the rescue after his buddies in academe -- i.e., the Bill Ayers types -- have taken these young skulls full of mush and turned them into basically pizza.

Really? Rush thinks students major in "Oppressed People in the Orient"?

Crossposted at Academe Blog.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Why Rush Refuses to Debate Liberals

Rush Limbaugh was angry this week at Snerdley, his call screener, for allowing several “seminar callers” (liberals) to be on the show. Limbaugh failed miserably in all of his arguments, and that's why Rush refuses to debate liberals.

Credit goes to Mike Stark, and other callers he's trained to get onto right-wing talk shows, for getting a contrary voice out there. Normally, Limbaugh likes to have an idiot “liberal” caller to mock on his show. But when it's a smart caller like Stark, Limbaugh always has to cut off the caller. This time, Limbaugh had to offer a lame excuse for hanging up on Stark: “We were talking with somebody who was purposely pig ignorant....That's why I didn't hang in with the guy, folks, because it would have been like trying to talk to James Carville. I'm not going to change his mind about anything.”

Of course, the real reason Limbaugh hangs up on smart liberals is that his arguments can't stand up to a contrary voice telling a few facts. As I note in my new book about Limbaugh, The Most Dangerous Man in America: Rush Limbaugh's Assault on Reason, the man simply can't get basic facts right.

Consider this argument he made with Stark:
RUSH: Now that's the only funding source for Social Security. So we've got a Democrat president who wants to cut funding for Social Security.
CALLER: Well, any tax cut is going to take away from the general fund.
RUSH: No, no,...Many tax cuts raise revenue and generate new money to the Treasury.
Then Rush cut off Stark and concluded with this declaration: “your president comes along and cuts the only funding program that they've got in half and you support it.”
Here Rush manages to combine two directly contradictory mistakes. First, Rush doesn't understand that the payroll tax cut comes out of the general fund, not the Social Security fund. So this tax cut isn't a cut in funding for Social Security at all. Then Rush compounds this idiotic error with his delusional view that tax cuts raise revenue, which they don't. If you cut taxes, you get less revenue than you would otherwise have. That's the reason why the debt is so large, thanks to the Bush tax cuts. Of course, since Rush insanely believes that tax cuts increase tax revenue, it raises an interesting question: why does Limbaugh oppose the payroll tax cuts? Partly it's because a Democrat proposed it. And partly it's because the payroll tax cut benefits the poor and middle class more than rich people like Rush and his golf buddies.

These are the kind of intellectual inconsistencies and obvious factual errors that Rush Limbaugh makes on a daily basis. Rush can only sustain his bubble of lies and mistakes when he's talking with bobbleheaded Dittoheads, which is why he can't allow intelligent liberals and moderates on his show to tell the truth.

Crossposted at DailyKos.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Zev Chafets' Book on Limbaugh

On his show yesterday, Rush Limbaugh denounced “the fringe, left-wing website the Daily Kos.” Limbaugh also praised the biography of him by right-winger Zev Chafets as an “excellent, excellent book” and told his legion of fans to read it. Chafets' fawning biography just came out in paperback yesterday. I contacted Chafets' publisher, Sentinel, and found out that they made no changes compared to the hardcover. That's astonishing considering how many misspellings and factual errors were uncovered by me and other reviews. But since Chafets isn't changing his book, I have no reason to change my review. Therefore, I'm reprinting below the review of Chafets book that I wrote last year when it appeared.

I challenged everyone, left and right, to read both books and compare which one is the more honest portrait of what Limbaugh believes.

Book Review: Rush Limbaugh: An Army of One

Zev Chafets' new biography, Rush Limbaugh: An Army of One, is a shallow portrait of the nation's conservative-in-chief. Chafets gets only one thing fundamentally right about Rush: Limbaugh is an immensely powerful figure within the Republican Party and American politics. Would Republicans have become “the Party of 'No'” without Limbaugh's daily diatribes against compromise and desire for America to fail? Perhaps to some degree. But without two decades of Limbaugh's relentless militance against liberalism, it is unthinkable that the Republican Party would stand where it does today.

Chafets wrote a glowing profile of Limbaugh in 2008 for the New York Times Magazine. Rush would never allow a New York Times reporter such wide access without being completely assured that the article would be written from a sympathetic, conservative approach. Chafets provided exactly that, since he is a prominent critic of Palestinians (and former director of Israel’s government press office), and had written a column on the right-wing website Limbaugh even referred to Chafets as a “friend” on his show. Chafets shared that friendship, declaring about Limbaugh, “I'm a little bit defensive because I think that the liberal media takes such an unfair view of him.”

Chafets' 2008 profile lavishly praised Limbaugh, comparing him to “the great black singers of his generation” and calling him “the first white, Goldwater Republican soul shouter.” His new book compares Limbaugh to Muhammad Ali and Oprah Winfrey.

Bob Garfield of “On the Media” observed to Chafets in 2008, “Your piece on Limbaugh was very generous, I would say even flattering. You seem to give him a pass for his excesses.” When Garfield confronted him with the infamous Limbaugh quote, “The NAACP should have a riot rehearsal, they should get a liquor store and practice robberies,” Chafets responded, “Not my sense of humor, but it's not a lie.” Really? It's not a lie to link the NAACP to riots and liquor store robberies?

Chafets is a relentless defender of Rush. According to Chafets, “A lot of Limbaugh's critics dismiss him as a buffoon or a fanatic. These are people who don't listen to his show. Limbaugh is not only a brilliant communicator, he is a smart political strategist.” A Columbia Journalism Review blog noted, “it seems Chafets was distracted by all the bling in Rush’s World, so that the piece reads more like an episode of MTV Cribs...”

Janet Maslin's devastating review of Chafets' book in the New York Times reveals some of the flaws in it. Maslin notes that even the mild criticism of Limbaugh found in Chafets' original New York Times Magazine piece was largely purged from the book.

Limbaugh knew from the beginning that Chafets was a fan and a friend, and even told him, “if you think the editors of the New York Times Magazine are going to do a story on me that isn't a hit job, you are na├»ve.”(115) Chafets pretends to be shocked when Limbaugh refers to him on the air as a “friend,” but it certainly wouldn't shock anyone who reads this book. Chafets is a relentless defender of Limbaugh, even to the point of insulting his ex-wife Marta Fitzgerald as a gold digger. He writes that Rush's first two wives didn't marry him for his money, but “The third Mrs. Limbaugh is a different matter.”(130)

Chafets dutifully reports what Limbaugh said years ago on his show about his drug use: “Limbaugh concluded by saying that he would like to go into more detail but couldn't, because he was under criminal investigation.”(95) One would imagine that Chafets could have gone into more detail years after the criminal matter was resolved and the statute of limitations applies. But for some reason, Chafets reveals nothing more about Limbaugh's drug addiction. He reports that Limbaugh now thinks drug use should not usually be a crime, although he omits Limbaugh's earlier hypocrisy on the issue or the fact that Limbaugh never expresses this view on the air.(98)

On race, Chafets dares to be slightly critical of Limbaugh. Chafets recounts that he suggests to Limbaugh that he has a “blind spot” on race, that he doesn't understand “why American blacks didn't share his narrative of America as a uniquely virtuous nation.”(173) Chafets admits, “It was cringe inducing to hear Limbaugh defend his lack of bias by mentioning his housekeeper.”(176) But he lets Limbaugh claim, “the Constitution set up a process to gradually end slavery,” even though that's not true.

Chafets mentions the two fake quotes spread about Limbaugh on slavery and James Earl Ray (although he gets their origin wrong, falsely blaming writer Jack Huberman for creating them), but he never discusses the real racist quotes from Limbaugh's mouth, such as calling Obama “Halfrican-American” or “the little black man-child.”(183) Chafets even defends Limbaugh's bizarre claim that the media want black quarterbacks to succeed as “perfectly true,” apparently not caring if there's any evidence to support Limbaugh's claim (there's not).(184) Chafets depicts Limbaugh, a man who regularly occupies luxury boxes and even the sidelines at NFL games, as a victim who “found himself excommunicated”(185) merely because he was dropped from one ownership group's attempts to buy a team.

Chafets projects his own moderate conservative views onto Limbaugh: “Rush and I were both raised at a time of racial optimism and naivete, when the goal of decent white people was an integrated society. We were taught that skin color shouldn't matter, that we were all basically the same, that we should judge others not by their color but the content of their character.”(172) However, Chafets revealed that when Limbaugh was growing up, his public school responded to Brown v. Board of Education with de facto segregation of black students in low-level classes. Did Chafets ever ask Limbaugh about his segregated school, or growing up in a former slave state during the midst of the Civil Rights Movement? Did he ever ask Limbaugh if his notoriously foul-mouthed father or other friends and family used the N-word? Chafets had a tremendous opportunity, as the only journalist who has ever had the opportunity for in-depth conversation with Limbaugh.

When giving his own opinion, Chafets has many disturbing racial views. Chafets writes that GOP head Michael Steele was “intimidated” by comedian D.L. Hughley, a “former gang banger,” into criticizing Limbaugh.(147) Chafets claims that after 9/11, “total war was justified until the Arabs cried uncle.”(101) It's not clear if Chafets or Limbaugh or both believe this, but it's certainly a disturbing viewpoint to call for “total war” against a group of people that includes some of America's strongest allies.

Chafets got attention for his book by trying to arrange a golf outing between Obama and Limbaugh: “I spoke to a very senior Democratic activist with whom I'm very friendly, and he said he would convey the message. A day or two later he got back to me with the answer: 'Limbaugh can play with himself.'”(192) It's a funny line. The problem is that we don't know who said it, if anyone. Was this Obama's personal response to Limbaugh, as some in the media reported (and Chafets did not seek to correct)? Was it the response of some aide? Or was it Chafets' source simply commenting on the failure to get any response from the White House? We don't know, and Chafets seems more interested in using it to generate publicity for his book rather than clarifying what was actually said. It's noteworthy that when Chafets wrote a pointless op-ed for the Los Angeles Times about his dream Limbaugh-Obama golf outing, the “play with himself” quote was nowhere to be found. Perhaps that's because Chafets' lightly-sourced claim didn't meet a newspaper's standards for facts. Fortunately, Sentinel Books has no such standards.

In fact, Chafets' book has no endnotes or sources. After all, his primary audience is Dittoheads, and they certainly don't expect evidence after years of listening to Limbaugh. There's very little new information uncovered by Chafets, and much of the biographical parts of the books closely follow Paul Colford's 1995 book, The Rush Limbaugh Story.

From a literary point of view, Chafets' book is a mess. The final chapter is followed by an epilogue summarizing some events in 2010. The final line, a product placement urging people turn in weekdays at noon, is almost embarrassingly bad. That's followed by the acknowledgments where Chafets whines about the difficulty of finding a “New York publisher” for a pro-Limbaugh book and praises Limbaugh for being “cooperative and candid,” which if true means that Chafets simply failed to ask any important questions in what Limbaugh claims were 16 hours of interviews. That's followed by an appendix where Chafets denounces “the liberal consensus” in the media and academia, and claims that Limbaugh listeners are smart because they know basic information such as the majority party in Congress.

The book is also piled high with filler. He reprints Limbaugh's list of “35 Undeniable Truths of Life” with his own “unofficial and personal commentary” that reveals Chafets' agreement with nearly everything Rush says (“except for maybe the one about the Steelers”).(74) Whole pages of his book are devoted to the lyrics of the lame parody songs by Paul Shanklin that Limbaugh plays on his show.

There's not one word in the book about Limbaugh's inept misunderstandings about the Constitution (such as quoting, with the wrong words, the Declaration of Independence and and claiming it was in the Constitution). Instead, Chafets writes: “Big Rush would have been proud to hear his son expounding with such passion on issues of constitutional law.”(168) This is the kind of fluff that Chafets uses, words that would humiliate a real journalist to write.

Chafets' book has shoddy editing, too. There are several typos, including “the a great” (130) and “Limbaugh had set his sites on Congress....”(77) As Janet Maslin noted in her New York Times review, “Even the name of one of Mr. Limbaugh’s wives is misspelled here, as are Hugh Hefner’s and Phyllis Schlafly’s.” I found even more misspellings, including Senator “Clair” McCaskill (103) and even John Forbes “Kennedy” rather than Kerry.(159)

The book is poorly researched, and misses many important facts. According to Chafets, “There was never a doubt that Limbaugh would support the reelection of George H.W. Bush in 1992...”(81) Chafets somehow never realized that Limbaugh supported Pat Buchanan's primary campaign against Bush in 1992. Rush wrote that Buchanan accomplished “great things” by moving Bush to the right.

According to Chafets, “After Obama accidentally read the speech of his guest, the Irish prime minister, instead of his own, Limbaugh developed the conceit that the teleprompter, not Obama, was in charge.”(163) Obama never accidentally read the speech of the Irish prime minister; it was the opposite.

Chafets refers to the Sullivan Group as a “fictitious entity.”(44) In reality, the Sullivan Group was founded in 1980, long before Tom Sullivan became a talk show host and met Rush Limbaugh, and it continues to exist. What's fictitious is the idea that the Sullivan Group “audits” the accuracy of Limbaugh's opinions, which Rush often cites as proof of his truth-telling, and many of his listeners actually believe it.

Media Matters for America points out several errors in Chafets' book, including his propensity to give Fox News Channel credit for breaking stories that other mainstream media outlets actually reported first. Media Matters, which has become Limbaugh's chief nemesis by writing daily about his errors and distortions, merits only a couple of mentions in Chafets' book, although Limbaugh often refers to them on his show in a clearly irritated manner. Chafets notes that Media Matters “reported that Rush had referred to military personnel who objected to the war as 'phony soldiers,”(108) which is exactly what Limbaugh had declared. Chafets denies this reality, and then compounds his mistake in defending Limbaugh by falsely claiming that “Media Matters tried to correct its initial mistake” on the phony soldiers issue.(108) As Media Matters noted, Limbaugh referred to John Murtha as a “phony soldier,” providing all the evidence anyone could have needed to prove that Limbaugh's use of term “phony soldiers” applied to real soldiers who criticized the war in Iraq, not fake stories. If a man who served for 38 years in the Marines and the Marine Corps Reserves, winning the Bronze Star, two Purple Hearts, and the Navy Distinguished Service Medal, is a “phony soldier,” then Limbaugh's use of the term has nothing to do with fake soldiers.

I should note that Chafets quotes me at length, accurately, writing about the impact of Limbaugh's Operation Chaos in Mississippi, where Limbaugh fans helped Hillary Clinton pick up some delegates. According to Chafets, “the media reacted with alarm,” and then he quotes my words.(117) It's a strange world we live in, where my little blog makes me a member of the “media,” but the vast media empires of Rush Limbaugh, Fox News, and the New York Freaking Times Magazine don't count as part of the “media” in Chafets' estimation.

The book is full of odd claims about the press, such as saying that “the media” “reflexively squawk at any politically incorrect use of racial language.”(157) That's a favorite term of Chafets', who claims that in 1988 when Limbaugh began nationally, Time and Newsweek were “politically correct” and PBS was “unmistakably liberal,” which may surprise those of us who were watching Firing Line, the MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour, Wall Street Week, and the McLaughlin Group.(138)

Chafets complains that Limbaugh didn't get the same approval in New York City received by other “outsiders” like Walter Cronkite, Tom Brokaw, and Peter Jennings. According to Chafets, “the price of admission is accepting and, in some small way propagating, the group ethos.”(50) It's nothing short of bizarre for Chafets to join in with Limbaugh's pathetic crying about how he wasn't embraced as one of the leading journalists in the country because he had a syndicated talk show.

Is Rush Limbaugh a serious political force, or just a hammy jokester? Chafets denounces media critic Todd Gitlin: “He also doesn't listen to Limbaugh. Rush, like any satirist, engages in hyperbole, sarcasm, and ridicule, none of which is meant to be taken literally.”(139) Whenever Chafets wants to excuse or ignore some offensive, ignorant, or downright stupid remark by Limbaugh, Rush transforms from the leader of the conservative movement into a silly DJ having a laugh to tweak the liberals.

And while he refuses to take Limbaugh's own words seriously, Chafets condemns others for things they've never believed: "Some, like Professor Todd Gitlin of the Columbia School of Journalism, think the government should take Rush off the air."(139) I emailed Gitlin and he wrote back to me, “I do not think the government should take RL off the air. I never have thought that.”

On occasion, almost by accident, Chafets offers us an insight about Limbaugh: “This lack of partisan engagement is a recurring theme in the recollections of Limbaugh's old friends and colleagues in his early radio career. He was in his midthirties before he began giving strong, consistent voice to his conservative beliefs.”(17) The day after the White House Correspondents Dinner, where Wanda Sykes insulted him, Limbaugh was silent on the air but sent an email to Chafets: “I know I am a target and I know I will be destroyed eventually.”(166) Limbaugh normally has enough sense to keep his self-indulgent paranoid ravings off the air. But Chafets treats this absurd statement as if it were a justified response to unfair attacks, rather than evidence of Limbaugh's unbalanced mind. (Notably, is offering free copies of Chafets' book in exchange for a subscription to their magazine, under the headline, “Obama's master plan: Take out Rush Limbaugh.”)

On his show, Limbaugh admitted that he hadn't read Chafets' book: “If they get it right, I already know it, if they get it wrong, it's par for the course.”(May 26, 2010) Nevertheless, Limbaugh gave it his endorsement and prominently promoted it: “everybody who's read it has said it was pretty good.”

Chafets' book, and its admiring attention to Limbaugh's massive estate full of tacky decor, his $54 million jet, his fleet of $450,000 black Maybachs, shows that the author learned one essential lesson from studying Limbaugh: you can make a big pile of money by giving a conservative audience exactly what it wants to hear, as long as you're willing to sell out your integrity in the process.

John K. Wilson is the author of seven books, including “The Most Dangerous Man in America: Rush Limbaugh's Assault on Reason” (2011, Thomas Dunne Books). Crossposted at DailyKos.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Limbaugh's Hoffa Hypocrisy on Violence

Just like Fox News and other right-wingers, Rush Limbaugh has been selectively editing and distorting Jimmy Hoffa Jr's comments about a “war on workers” at a Labor Day event: “let's take these son of a bitches out and give America back to America where we belong!” Rush devoted most of the first hour of his program today to smearing Hoffa. At least three times, Limbaugh declared about Hoffa: “that's a direct call for violence against the Tea Party.”

A caller to Rush's program (fearing that Limbaugh's credibility might be questioned) mentioned that the show had removed the first part of the quote where Hoffa said, “Everybody here's got to vote. If we go back and keep the eye on the prize,...” But Rush refused to admit he was wrong: “there's nothing out of context here.”

Of course, the use of war metaphors is common in American politics. It's particularly common on Limbaugh's show. In 2005, Limbaugh told Sean Hannity that he was upset about George W. Bush working too much with Democrats, such as supposedly letting Ted Kennedy write the “No Child Left Behind” bill: “it just proves something that I've always thought: This is war.” In 2007, Limbaugh declared about a vote over an immigration bill, “This is war. This is what politics is.” In 2008, Limbaugh blamed the recession exclusively on Democrats and said, “this is war out there, this is political war.” In 2008, Limbaugh raised no objections to the war metaphor: “I see the Democrats as warriors, and I see them in this, the way people are in blood sports. They want to wipe us out, talking politically now. There's nothing wrong with that, by the way. I think that should be the objective.”

But Limbaugh, unlike Hoffa, has gone far beyond war metaphors. Unlike Hoffa, Limbaugh actually has called for an armed revolution. Earlier this year, Limbaugh proclaimed about left-wingers who urged a nonviolent revolution: “They better be careful what they wish for -- and you don't hear me talking like this, folks; but if they're gonna start talking about 'revolution,' they better be very, very careful what they wish for, 'cause they are outnumbered."

In 2009, Limbaugh declared, “before Obama's through, folks, we're all going to have a mug shot one way or the other.” It was a typical kind of Limbaugh paranoia: Barack Obama will arrest all the conservatives in the country. Or, he seemed to hint, the patriots would be arrested for taking up arms against the “dictator” in office.

Speaking about the 2009 military coup in Honduras that overthrew the democratically-elected president, Limbaugh noted, “the coup was what many of you wish would happen here...” A few days later, he again endorsed the idea of an American military coup against Obama: “If we had any good luck, Honduras would send some people here and help us get our government back.”

Limbaugh was supporting a violent revolution against the Obama Administration: “Do you realize, ladies and gentlemen, what we are living through right now is exactly why the Revolutionary War was fought?”

Limbaugh routinely uses violent rhetoric, not just war metaphors, to describe Democrats and the Obama Administration. The fact that Limbaugh does dream about a coup, and constantly refers to Obama as a dictator, reflects how Limbaugh, unlike Hoffa, is encouraging violence by his followers.

Crossposted at DailyKos.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Limbaugh: "Melanin Is Thicker Than Water"

A few minutes ago on his radio show, Rush predicted that Colin Powell would vote for Obama again, despite refusing to declare anything on Face the Nation yesterday. According to Limbaugh, “Melanin is thicker than water.”

This openly racist claim that all black people support each other because of their genetics is a common refrain from Limbaugh. I've documented Limbaugh's bigotry extensively on my blog ( and my book, The Most Dangerous Man in America: Rush Limbaugh's Assault on Reason. My book is now on sale for $4.61 at Amazon, which is both a great bargain and an indication that very few Limbaugh fans are inclined to read anything critical of El Rushbo.

When Republican Colin Powell endorsed Barack Obama for president, Rush claimed it was all about race. Powell said: "I think what Rush does as an entertainer diminishes the party and intrudes or inserts into our public life a kind of nastiness that we would be better to do without."i Rush responded: "I just think he's just mad at me because I'm the one person in the country that had the guts to explain his endorsement of Obama. It was purely and solely based on race. There can be no other explanation for it."

Limbaugh declared, “Secretary Powell says his endorsement is not about race. OK, fine. I am now researching his past endorsements to see if I can find all the inexperienced, very liberal, white candidates he has endorsed. I'll let you know what I come up with.” Of course, Powell did endorse an inexperienced white candidate whom he had some disagreements with, a man named George W. Bush. But Limbaugh could only see race.

Powell retorted on CNN, “And when you have non-elected officials such as we have in our party who immediately shout racism or somebody who is quite prominent in the media says the only basis upon which I could possibly have supported Obama was because he was black and I was black even though I laid out my judgment on the candidates, then we still have a problem.”

When Powell was a loyal Republican, Limbaugh had nothing but praise for him. In 1997, he said about Powell, “Look at him. He is dignity. He is honor. He's a four-star general. He is a man who is perceived to be the epitome of honor and integrity, and he's a leader.” How did Powell go from being the “epitome of honor and integrity” to being a racist? The answer is purely political: Powell endorsed a Democrat, and therefore Limbaugh used the accusation of racism he makes against every non-white liberal.

Yesterday, I appeared on Robert McChesney's excellent radio show Media Matters (listen to it here) and one of the callers was a Limbaugh fan who simply dismissed any possibility that Rush is a racist.

It's difficult to break through a corporate media stranglehold on public debate, one where discussing the racism of the leading conservative voice in America is simply forbidden. But it's important that we continue trying to raise these issues. A few weeks ago, I wrote about persuading a Republican defender of Limbaugh, D.R. Tucker, that Rush is a racist.

The declaration that “melanin is thicker than water” is the embodiment of a racist viewpoint, and we need to keep stating the obvious, and asking Republican officials if they agree with this claim, until the mainstream media and Limbaugh's supporters are forced to defend it. And when you have someone as indefensible as Limbaugh is, that would be a victory.

Crossposted at DailyKos.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

My Media Appearances

For those of you who heard me mention it on This Is Hell, here's my debate with Paypal founder Peter Thiel (before he became a billionaire) in 1996 at the Heritage Foundation on C-Span. Thiel was discussing the book he co-wrote, The Diversity Myth, while I was discussing my book, The Myth of Political Correctness. (You can see my other C-SPAN appearances about my Obama book here and here.)

If you didn't hear me on This Is Hell, the podcast of today's show should be up soon. My interview begins about two hours into the show.

And you can listen to me Sunday, August 28, at 1pm CST on Robert McChesney's show Media Matters on WILL, discussing my Rush Limbaugh book.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Joe Scarborough Is Right, and Rush Is Lying

Today, Rush attacked Joe Scarborough for daring to say, “We all are rooting for the president. If Rush Limbaugh is still rooting against the President, then he's also rooting for America to be in a fast decline, rooting for his stocks to collapse.”

Rush claimed, "I was rooting for the country when I said, 'I hope he fails.' But it's too late, Joe. He's succeeded."

Rush is lying.

In fact, Limbaugh had made it clear that he wanted the country to fail. Limbaugh said: "Of course I want Obama to fail. And after this stimulus bill package passes, I want it to fail."

On February 13, 2009, Limbaugh told his listeners about the stimulus plan: “I hope it prolongs the failure. I hope it prolongs the recession. Because people are going to have to figure out here that this is not how economies recover. Government is not the central planner.”

Back in 1993, Limbaugh had a very different approach to Democratic failure when writing his second book, See, I Told You So: “I sincerely don’t want Bill Clinton to fail, unless failure is defined as the defeat of his current economic policies.” Now, openly hoping for the recession to be prolonged—and then lying about this fact over and over again—is considered the norm for the conservative movement.

Scarborough is one of the rare Republicans who has the freedom to criticize Rush Limbaugh, because he doesn't need to win a primary or keep a job on Fox News.

Crossposted at DailyKos.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Guest Blogger: D.R. Tucker's "Robbed of Credibility"

I've never had a guest post on this blog before, but I'm making an exception for D.R. Tucker. I first met Tucker when he invited me to appear on the podcast he co-hosts, Patriot Games Radio, and I was impressed by his willingness to engage in intellectual debate about Limbaugh even if he didn't agree with my critiques. I may not have convinced Tucker then, but last week I posted a blog entry about Limbaugh's depiction of Obama as a burglar on the cover of The Limbaugh Letter.

In a blog post on his site “The Urban Right” titled, “Talent on loan from the devil: Rush Limbaugh embraces old-school bigotry,” Tucker concluded, “I can't defend Limbaugh anymore after seeing that sickening image.” I asked Tucker to explain what changed his mind, and he wrote the following essay about it:
Robbed of Credibility
By D.R. Tucker

What did they see that I didn’t see?

Years ago, I’d get into huge arguments with liberals, particularly black liberals, over Rush Limbaugh’s views on race. Liberals would insist that Limbaugh’s rhetoric was racially inflammatory and that he seemed to look down upon black people. I always responded that nothing Limbaugh said or did fit a traditional definition of racism, and that while Limbaugh said and did things that were certainly politically incorrect, he was not a bigot.

I started listening to Limbaugh on Boston’s WRKO-AM in the mid-1990s. I didn’t think he was as good as the late Boston radio star David Brudnoy, but he was certainly entertaining and quite insightful at times. I was outraged when President Clinton tried to link Limbaugh’s rhetoric to the Oklahoma City bombing; while Limbaugh was a harsh critic of the federal government, he certainly wasn’t encouraging his listeners to go blow up federal buildings.

Liberals in my social circle couldn’t understand why I was so defensive of Limbaugh. To me, it made common sense: Limbaugh was an articulate voice for the conservative agenda I supported, and I had no intention of leaving Limbaugh to bleed on the battlefield of ideas. I liked Rush, and I hated the liberals who found fault with him.

To be fair, there were times when Limbaugh made statements I found distasteful. As a pro-choice Republican in the late-1990s, I found Limbaugh’s scorn for those on the “wrong” side of the abortion question intolerable, and inconsistent with his stated support for the concept of limited government. Limbaugh’s contempt for libertarians struck me as bizarre, as did his October 2000 declaration that George W. Bush would defeat Al Gore as decisively as Ronald Reagan had defeated Jimmy Carter in 1980, despite the fact that no poll indicated such an outcome.

Yet I stood by Limbaugh, especially when the left suggested that he was bigoted because of his controversial remarks about football star Donovan McNabb and his promotion of an anti-Barack Obama parody song. Standing by Limbaugh wasn’t easy: I found his 2008 attacks on the “conservative intelligentsia” (i.e., David Frum, David Brooks, William Kristol and Ross Douthat) to be over-the-top, and his suggestion that race was the main factor behind Colin Powell’s endorsement of Obama to be unsupported by facts. However, I felt compelled to defend him whenever liberals would question me about his remarks.

In January 2009, Limbaugh’s attacks on Obama and conservative pundits who were allegedly too deferential to the new president became so repetitive and so negative that I temporarily abandoned the show. I resumed listening in April 2009, but in March 2010, his show moved from WRKO-AM to WXKS-AM, a Clear Channel-controlled station with a weaker signal. WRKO replaced Limbaugh with veteran Massachusetts-based GOP consultant Charley Manning, a lively personality who I found to be much less predictable in his views than Limbaugh; by the summer of 2010 I found myself completely uninterested in listening to “El Rushbo.”

Even after I stopped listening to Limbaugh, I still felt compelled to give him the benefit of the doubt on the question of race.

Until now.

I was repulsed when I learned that Limbaugh had depicted Obama as a burglar on the cover of the August 2011 issue of his publication, The Limbaugh Letter. Some images are politically incorrect but not bigoted. This image was bigoted.

I became a conservative because I disliked what I saw as the culture of victimology on the left, the tendency to blame all social problems on racism, sexism, anti-Semitism or homophobia. I felt the left promoted a “grievance industry” that encouraged minority groups to hate members of the majority.

Of course, there’s a difference between saying social bigotry is not the cause of the woes of certain groups and saying social bigotry doesn’t exist at all.

I’ve been in restaurants where white women have reached for their purses when I’m walking nearby. I’ve gone into elevators where white women have shifted nervously once the doors close.

It’s an ugly, unpleasant feeling. I thank God it’s not a commonplace occurrence in my life, but when it happens, it hurts.

I try to rationalize it, to understand that these women are not reacting to me personally, but to what they see in the news media. As Boston talk-radio star Dan Rea, who inherited David Brudnoy’s old job, noted in a 2008 interview,“[L]ocal television news is one of the great purveyors of racism of our time…[i]f you are somebody who lives out in one of the…suburbs, and never have a reason to really interact with people of color, the only time you’re going to see young black males is when they’re being arraigned, they’re being arrested, or they’re dying in the street.”

It’s painful when someone reacts to your body based on a media stereotype. I try not to let it bother me. Yet I wish prominent figures in the media would be a little more cautious about peddling stereotypes.

Rush Limbaugh, I now realize, is not one of those figures. By depicting Obama as a burglar, he’s peddling the old-school stereotype of the black man as shady, shifty thief. Even a black man who graduated from Harvard Law School can’t be trusted not to take your stuff when you’re not around.

I didn’t vote for Obama. He was too progressive for my center-right tastes. I wanted judges in the mold of Scalia and Thomas on the Supreme Court, not Ginsburg and Breyer. I admired the fact that he chose to run—he had more courage than Powell in that respect—but my support went to John McCain.

Do I regret that vote? No. What I do regret, however, is my inability to see Limbaugh the way the folks I used to debate saw Limbaugh. Because I was obsessed with defending Limbaugh from any criticism, I couldn’t distinguish between legitimate and illegitimate criticism of the man.

Does Limbaugh personally dislike blacks? I can’t credibly make that claim. Has Limbaugh exploited racial stereotypes to make money? The evidence for that is obvious.

Obama is not a burglar, in fact or political theory. While I’ve criticized his decisions and his leadership, I’ve never forgotten that he’s a citizen who’s doing what he believes to be best for the country. Previously, Limbaugh has characterized Obama as a “man-child,” a secret hater of the United States, a white-hating fiend whose economic program constitutes de facto reparations for slavery. Now, he depicts Obama as a thief. Having defended and supported Limbaugh for fifteen years, I realize, perhaps too late, that I must have been robbed of my common sense.

D. R. Tucker is the operator of Massachusetts-based blog The Urban Right ( He is also a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in the Boston Herald, Human Events Online,, and In addition, he hosted The Notes on Blog Talk Radio ( from August 2009 to June 2010.

For more about Tucker's essay, see my DailyKos blog entry about it.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Limbaugh's Racism: "Obama the Burglar"

50 years ago, when Barack Obama was born, the idea of a black president in America was unthinkable. The fact that he is president shows how much racial progress has been made in America. But there is still a large core of racism in this country, reflected in the open bigotry of leading conservatives such as Rush Limbaugh.

I just received the August issue of “The Limbaugh Letter” (Rush's highly profitable 16-page “magazine” consisting of ghostwritten pieces cobbled together from his various radio rants).

The cover features the latest in Rush's racial provocations: “Obama the Burglar.” Obama is dressed as a burglar with a black cap, carrying a bag of stuff and a silver candlestick as he exits the ransacked home of a rich man—Rush Limbaugh, to be precise, who looks on startled at this black robber in his castle.

Ah, yes, Obama as the dangerous black man coming to steal the white man's property. It's an ancient racist image.

In the article, Limbaugh accuses Obama of “robbing this country blind” and proclaims: “He's a burglar. All liberals are burglars. All liberals are thieves. That's what they do. It is who they are.”

Limbaugh depicts Obama's critique of tax loopholes and breaks for corporate jet owners as an attack on technology itself, predicting that he would go after the iPad 3 and the iPhone 5 and “tax the hell out of it so it ceases to exist.” According to Limbaugh, “You leave it up to Obama, and we won't need to be defeated by al Qaeda; we'll end up in the seventh century on our own.”

Of course, I'm sure that Limbaugh and his defenders will claim that he is not a racist because he believes that all liberals, black and white, are burglars. That's true. But it's no coincidence that Limbaugh depicts the black guy as the stereotypical burglar. Limbaugh hates Obama because he's a liberal, not just because he's black. But Limbaugh's racism shapes the bigoted way that he talks about Obama.

Perhaps one picture does not prove Limbaugh's racism beyond any doubt. But I wrote an entire chapter in my new book, The Most Dangerous Man in America: Rush Limbaugh's Assault on Reason, proving Limbaugh's racism. Here are a few examples of Limbaugh's racist statements about Obama:

Limbaugh is fond of using racial insults against Obama, calling him “a Chicago street thug,” “a half-minority,” a “Halfrican,” and even “the little black man-child." This was Limbaugh’s variation of the ancient insult “boy” (which Limbaugh also used to describe Obama) wielded by racists to demean black men. And let's not forget Limbaugh calling Obama a “spade.” In 2009, Limbaugh claimed that food safety advocates were "going to go after Oreos" but would wait until Obama was out of office, which was Limbaugh's way of calling Obama an “oreo” (black on the outside, white on the inside).

Limbaugh often uses racially demeaning language, declaring that, “Obama is essentially a primitive indigenous guy.” When Limbaugh describes the man who ran the most technologically sophisticated political campaign in history as “primitive,” race can be the only explanation. And there can be no doubt that Rush would never describe a white person born in America as “indigenous.”

Limbaugh claimed that because Obama calls himself an African-American, “Obama is telling us he is a black American first and an American second.” Of course, Limbaugh is too smart to believe that Obama is black. Limbaugh said: “He's not black. Do you know he has not one shred of African-American blood? He doesn't have any African -- that's why when they asked whether he was authentic, whether he's down for the struggle. He's Arab. You know, he's from Africa. He's from Arab parts of Africa. He's not -- his father was -- he's not African-American. The last thing that he is is African-American.” The fact that all this is completely untrue should be less important than the open racism of Limbaugh's obsession with Obama's ancestry.

After Obama became president, Limbaugh called him "the greatest living example of a reverse racist" and accused him of “fooling white people.” Limbaugh claimed, “the only reason Obama's anywhere is because whites are willing to support him because they feel so guilty over slavery.” He also accused Obama of “inciting racism” and “inflaming racial hatred.” Limbaugh claimed about Obama, “You organized riots and communities and stuff in Chicago.”

Limbaugh (the college dropout) asserted that Obama (the magna cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School as president of the Harvard Law Review) "probably didn't get outta Harvard without affirmative action."

When a racist caller declared that Obama was fighting “against white America,” Rush agreed with him wholeheartedly: “you're right down the line” and supported the idea that “Obama hates white people."

Today, as we celebrate the 50th birthday of America's first black president, we should also think about all the people like Rush Limbaugh who hate him because of his race.

Crossposted at DailyKos.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Limbaugh on Killer: "Maybe We Ought to Listen to Him"

Rush Limbaugh hadn't commented on Norway's mass murderer Anders Breivik until today's show.

In response to a conservative caller who urged opposition to Muslim extremists and right-wing extremist, Limbaugh said about Breivik: “Maybe we ought to listen to him.”

Rush was claiming that after 9-11, Bush's State Department had asked “Why do they hate us?” and suggested he was simply doing the same. Limbaugh tried to rewrite history, declaring that “Obama, after 9/11, said he had empathy for the terrorists” and said that “they were blameless” As Obama's actual words show, Obama said nothing like that. Obama actually said that the terrorism was caused by a lack of empathy for others, and Obama never suggested that the terrorists were “blameless.”

Limbaugh claimed, “This guy in Norway, I've been waiting for that call.” But strangely, Limbaugh claimed to be unaware at first that the killer was a right-wing extremist. After a break, when he apparently had a moment to research the issue further, Limbaugh continued to urge listening to Breivik. Rush also offered a paranoid suggestion that the openly conservative caller was secretly plotting to trap him: “I knew what the caller was trying to do.”

Rush tried to claim that Breivik was just a “run-of-the-mill Neo-Nazi.” According to Limbaugh, “This guy is a lunatic, he's against everybody, not just Muslims.” Obviously, Limbaugh does not endorse the mass murder of children. But he wanted to make sure that Breivik's right-wing ideas were not criticized. Limbaugh called Breivik's manifesto “a plagiarist of the Unabomber, who loved Al Gore.”

Limbaugh even said about Breivik, “He was not a Christian.” Bizarrely, Rush claimed that in Norway, “If you're non-Muslim, everybody's called a Christian.” That will probably come as a surprise to all the atheists, Jews, Buddhists, and various other believers in Norway.

Oddly, Limbaugh said that he had refused to state “my original thought” on the massacre, and declined to answer when the caller asked him about it. This indicates that Rush probably does have a strong sympathy for the killer's views, which mirrors much of the same rhetoric Limbaugh uses against liberals and the left. Earlier in the show, Limbaugh declared that everything Obama and the Democrats do is “poison” for America. But Rush understands that expressing agreement with a mass murderer is beyond the pale even for him.

Limbaugh still declared repeatedly, “Maybe we should listen to him,” but did so in a way that he could deny any responsibility and claim (falsely) to be doing the same thing as liberals after 9-11. In reality, repeating “Maybe we should listen to him” conveys the message of Limbaugh's sympathy with a mass murderer's hateful ideas.

Crossposted at DailyKos.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Limbaugh Announces Potential Debt Ceiling Deal

A few minutes ago on his radio show, Rush Limbaugh announced the latest potential deal for raising the debt ceiling.

He spoke an hour ago with House Speaker John Boehner, who “filled me in on what is the latest proposal on the table.” According to Boehner via Limbaugh, “Boehner and Reid and McConnell are working among themselves.” Limbaugh said, “Sen. McConnell is on the same page with Boehner now.”

Limbaugh said, “The deal is that they're going to offer Obama $1.1 trillion in cuts, $1 trillion in debt limit increase,” and “appoint six members of each chamber to recommend the cuts.” “Each Congressional leader will get three appointees.”

Limbaugh said of the deal, “This short-term deal has no tax increases in it.” He added, “These are real rate cuts. There will not be any defense cuts in the 1.1 trillion.” According to Limbaugh, “The second round would require a vote on the Balanced Budget Amendment.” I take that to mean that the Republicans would demand a vote on the Balanced Budget Amendment next spring before extending the debt limit, but not demand its passage.

When Limbaugh asked if the $1.1 trillion in cuts would happen now or later, he said Boehner told him, “the 12 members of the blue-ribbon panel will make that decision.” Limbaugh worried, “We don't know what the cuts are and we don't know when they will occur.” He said, “This takes us through next April.”

Limbaugh seemed skeptical of the deal: “I'm still assimilating all of this.” But he didn't condemn the deal and seemed mildly supportive of this fact: “They are denying Obama what he really wants, which is a deal that will take them beyond 2012.” Limbaugh declared to Obama, “You're not even in the game at all.”

Is this real? I have no reason to doubt Limbaugh's close relationship to leading Republicans. I'm more skeptical of whether Harry Reid is on board with this. But an AP story indicates it might be real.

But I take this potential deal as a hopeful sign in many ways. Yes, it simply postpones the debt ceiling debate for another 9-12 months. But this is a losing issue for the Republicans, when Obama has repeatedly offered a long-term solution to the problem. As for the $1.1 trillion in cuts, it's far from ideal, but having six Democrats on the blue-ribbon committee means that there will not be cuts controlled by Republicans. The fact that Limbaugh is uncertain about this suggests it's not such a terrible deal for liberals, considering the dire circumstances that Republicans have put this country in. Obama will take a political hit by backing down from a veto threat now, but next spring he'll be able to do an “I told you so” when another debt crisis looms and the Republicans will be, once again, standing for the principle of tax cuts for wealthy, which will hurt them in the elections.

As always, it's so bizarre that the Republican leaders are running to a right-wing crackpot like Rush Limbaugh to announce their plans and desperately try to convince him not to bring the conservative movement down against this. As I note in my new book, The Most Dangerous Man in America: Rush Limbaugh's Assault on Reason, it shows how much the Republican politicians must bow before Limbaugh, no matter how much it harms the country.

Crossposted at DailyKos.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Limbaugh Lies to 13-Year-Old Girl

On his radio show today, Rush Limbaugh told a 13-year-old girl who called the show that he was “documented to be right 99.6% of the time,” in response to her mentioning that she had heard he was right 99% of the time. There's only one problem with Limbaugh's assertion: it's a total fabrication.

I don't mean “fabrication” in the sense that I disagree with the people who document that Limbaugh is right 99.6% of the time. I mean “fabrication” in the sense that there are no documents, no audit, no people measuring Limbaugh's accuracy. Limbaugh simply is making it all up and inventing an arbitrary number that makes him sound authoritative.

That's right: Limbaugh actually has the audacity to completely fabricate his own accuracy ratings. And he does this regularly, declaring his accuracy ratings to be above 99% on almost a weekly basis.

For almost his entire career as a talk show host, Limbaugh has claimed to have a highly specific measure of his accuracy, declaring in 1992 that he is right "97.9 per cent of the time."

By 2009, Limbaugh was claiming, “I have an official opinion auditing firm, the Sullivan Group in Sacramento. They just last week released an audit of my opinion since the election. As you know, I went into the election documented to be almost always right 98.9%. I have jumped a full tenth of a point. I have not been wrong since the election, according to Sullivan Group, the opinion audit now documented to be almost always right 99% of the time.”

The Sullivan Group is an investment brokerage firm started by Limbaugh’s friend Tom Sullivan, who hosted a show at Limbaugh's original station KFBK in Sacramento (and now hosts a show on Fox News Radio and the Fox Business Network). The Sullivan Group, which Sullivan sold to Prudential Securities in 1986, would have no expertise in documenting opinions, and the entire reference is an inside joke by Limbaugh. There is no audit of Limbaugh's accuracy by The Sullivan Group or anyone else, and the whole idea of auditing opinions rather than facts is silly. It's simply a way of mocking his enemies and even his own audience by getting them to think there is some kind of statistical basis to his claim to being right.

Limbaugh explained, “they only audit opinions. They don't audit whether I misspeak on a fact or something like.” He added, “it is a massively complex -- I mean the server farm to handle all this, folks, fills rooms at the Sullivan Group. I mean this is even more complicated than trying to explain my diet.” Obviously, there is no computer program that could measure the accuracy of opinions, nor is there any “server farm” filling rooms that would be needed to run it. In this unique instance, Limbaugh was detailed enough about the “audit” to reveal to a careful listener what a fraud it was. But on most shows, Limbaugh simply declares that he is “documented to be almost always right 99.8% of the time.” Magically, his error rate dropped from 1 percent to 0.2 percent in less than a month in 2009. Limbaugh's claims to be almost perfect in his accuracy have grown precisely when his dishonesty and inaccuracy on the air has reached new heights.

As I document in my new book, The Most Dangerous Man in America: Rush Limbaugh's Assault on Reason (Thomas Dunne Books, March 2011), Limbaugh is a professional liar who routinely spreads false rumors and lies about his enemies.

Yet not one media outlet I've found has ever reported on Limbaugh's fakery. It should be a scandal that the leading conservative regularly fabricates accuracy ratings in order to deceive his gullible listeners. This is not a new story. But there's something just so sleazy about Limbaugh directly lying to a 13-year-old who trusts him because she thinks there's scientific proof that Rush is always right.

Crossposted at DailyKos.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Rush Compares Obama to Dog

Today, Rush Limbaugh called the president of the United States a dumb animal, comparing Obama to Limbaugh's dog:
One of our dogs -- poor Wellesley, cutest little sheepdog puppy -- just no matter what we do... You know, I'm sitting on the couch, and Kathryn will come home and the dogs go nuts when Kathryn comes home; and this dog, I'll have the iPad, and I'll be flitting around on the couch, too. She'll just attack. She just starts licking me and I put my arms up to protect myself. "No, Wellesley, no," and Kathryn says, "She just doesn't know." Well, Obama just doesn't know. He just doesn't know. He thinks that attacking corporate air travel and corporate air manufacturing happens in a vacuum.

Of course, this assertion that Obama “doesn't know” anything runs in direct contradiction to Limbaugh's favorite conspiracy theory, that Obama is intentionally destroying the American economy in order to expand his political power. But intellectual consistency has never been Limbaugh's strongest trait.

But this attack on Obama as a dumb animal came because Obama spoke out against tax breaks for the owners of private jets. As the owner of a very expensive private jet, a $54 million Gulfstream G550, Limbaugh cannot tolerate having his luxuries critiqued. Of course, Limbaugh's economic analysis, claiming that tax breaks for the wealthy are the only things keeping aloft the private jet industry (and, apparently the whole American economy) is idiotic. However, Limbaugh never met a tax break for the wealthy that he didn't like.

As I note in my book about Limbaugh, The Most Dangerous Man in America: Rush Limbaugh's Assault on Reason, he often compares Democrats to dogs, although in the past he has almost always reserved this attack for women. Early in his talk show career, Limbaugh called the National Organization for Women “a terrorist organization” and described two members of the group on the air as “ugly dogs.” Limbaugh also mocked Rosie O'Donnell by saying, "I'm telling you, the deal was about the dog biscuits that they gave her on the floor in the dressing room were just the wrong flavor. They couldn't come to an agreement on the flavor of the Ken-L Ration that she eats."

Limbaugh also compares the children to liberals to dogs, as he did to Chelsea Clinton. On November 6, 1992, Rush said on his television show: “In: A cute kid in the White House. Out: Cute dog in the White House.' Could--could we see the cute kid? Let's take a look at--see who is the cute kid in the White House. [A picture is shown of Millie the dog] No, no, no. That's not the kid. [Picture shown of Chelsea Clinton] That's--that's the kid. We're trying to...[Applause] No, just kidding.” Over the years, Limbaugh has tried to lie about this and pretend that he never arranged the dog-Chelsea comparison on his TV show.

So the newest comparison of his enemies to dogs should surprise no one. But it's typical of Limbaugh that he compares Obama to a dumb dog precisely on an issue where it's Limbaugh who has an idiotic perspective.

Crossposted at Daily Kos.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Myth of the Muslim 57 States

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tx) last week announced on the floor of the House of Representatives that Barack Obama is a secret Muslim who announced his devotion to a global caliphate in 2008 by referring to 57 states. Here's the crazy:

GOHMERT: And I know the President made the mistake one day of saying he had visited all 57 states, and I'm well aware that there are not 57 states in this country, although there are 57 members of OIC, the Islamic states in the world. Perhaps there was some confusion whether he'd been to all 57 Islamic states as opposed to all 50 U.S. states. But nonetheless, we have an obligation to the 50 American states, not the 57 Muslim, Islamic states. Our oath we took is in this body, in this House. And it's to the people of America. And it's not to the Muslim Brotherhood, who may very well take over Egypt and once they do, they are bent upon setting up a caliphate around the world, including the United States. And this administration will been [sic] complicit in helping people who wants [sic] to destroy our country.
This loony conspiracy theory has been around for a long time, as Snopes notes. There’s a very simple explanation for Obama’s slip of the tongue in this youtube video that's been watched more than three million times:

Obama said in this 2008 visit to Oregon that he had visited 57 states, “one left to go” and then noted that he couldn’t go to Alaska and Hawaii because it was too far to justify. So, Obama was trying to visit all 48 continental states, and he was trying to say that he had been to 47 states. It’s very easy to say 57 instead of 47. “fifty” is similar to “forty” and when we talk about the states, it is ingrained in all of us to say “50 states” instinctively.
It’s true that people mocked George W. Bush for his slips of the tongue, although Obama's “57 states” slip wouldn't even come close to making the top 25 Bushisms. But no Bush critic even went back three years and imagined some crazy Muslim plot was behind a slip of the tongue. This lunacy deserves a lot more media coverage, to expose just how far the wingnuts of the conservative movement have gone.

Rush Limbaugh is a particular fan of the “57 states” slip. He has referred to it at least 22 times on his show (I can provide the links for anyone who is interested). In the past month alone, Limbaugh has twice referred to the three-year-old “gaffe.”

Back in 2008, Rush Limbaugh decided to tweak the media and declared, “Obama said he's going to campaign in 57 states, and it turns out that there are 57 Islamic states.” This goofy comment has now become the theory of bigoted Republicans speaking on the floor of the House of Representatives.

Why has Obama Derangement Syndrome reached the point where the right-wing is obsessed with delusional Muslim conspiracy theories over one very minor slip of the tongue by a presidential candidate three years ago? It reflects both the racism and the anger of the far right, who believe that “all liberals are idiots” (to quote Rush Limbaugh) and must flail at pathetic evidence to prove the evil and stupidity of Barack Obama, when all it does is reveal their own idiocy and bigotry.

Crossposted at DailyKos.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Rush Limbaugh Sells Out the Tea Party

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.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Rush and Breitbart: The Lunatics of the Right

The June 2011 issue of The Limbaugh Letter features Rush's interview with Andrew Breitbart, and it's an unintentionally illuminating look into the dark soul of a sick and hateful man. The Limbaugh Letter is not online, but as the author of a new book about Limbaugh, I have a subscription. Most of the issue recycles a few of Limbaugh's tirades, such as his bizarre demand after the killing of Osama bin Laden that “the left owes us an apology” because “the primary obstacle to achieving the end of bin Laden was the Democrat Party.”

But I devote a book to analyzing the partisan insanity of Rush Limbaugh, so let's just look at the only original aspect of The Limbaugh Letter: the interview with Breitbart. The interview begins with Rush calling Breitbart “my boy” and the mutual love fest grows from there.

Breitbart explains why he became a conservative: “The humiliation of having to get a wait job in fancy Los Angeles, waiting on college and high school friends who were on the fast track to Hollywood success, was a wakeup call.” He resented them for “knowing the right people and possessing the politically correct philosophy of liberalism.” Of course, none of this makes sense, since Breitbart claims he was a liberal at the time, so his ideology had nothing to do with his failures. Breitbart's final words in the interview return to this petulant envy: “I consider David Geffen, Ari Emanuel, all these Hollywood people, they're bullies, they're elitist, they take my lovely 7 o'clock reservations and make me sit near the wait station at 9 o'clock. It's personal.”

Breitbart is admitting that personal hatred at the Hollywood left motivated his return to his parents' conservative views. Ironically, Breitbart became a conservative because of his hatred of wealthy people. Since the rich people where he worked as a waiter happened to be liberal, Breitbart became a conservative.

Bizarrely, he also admits that he disliked Limbaugh until his hatred of bands such as Nirvana led him back to the right: “because of my pure hatred for grunge music, during the 1992 election cycle I grudgingly switched from the FM dial to the AM dial, and I started to listen to you.”

Breitbart also contends that conservatism cured his insomnia: “I used to have insomnia. I think that insomnia was borne of existing in a world in which I believed in nothing. I haven't had insomnia since I embraced conservatism.”

Breitbart espouses conspiracy theories, claiming that American culture is “tilted to the left, on purpose in an organized and conspiratorial fashion.” And he wants his own conspiracy, criticizing those “conservative millionaires and billionaires who don't recognize that our culture is there for the taking.”

Breitbart proudly discussed one of his most recent scams, the student who took video of a labor studies course at the University of Missouri at St. Louis. Breitbart posted manipulated videos on his website in an effort to smear the professors. The administration at the university concluded that the videos Breitbart posted were “heavily distorted” and inaccurate.

What's interesting to me is how Breitbart describes this college course: “it showed them in full-throttle indoctrination of the children into communism.” Beyond the bizarre idea that an analysis of labor union actions is “communism,” consider how strange it is that Breitbart regards college students as “children” who are suffering “indoctrination” at the hands of their professors and must be protected from these “bullies.” Breitbart regards other people as dolts and children, idiots who can be controlled by the owners of cultural institutions and incapable of resisting the power of “bullies” who express different points of view than Breitbart's.

Limbaugh defended Breitbart in this interview by telling him, “You've not edited your footage to have somebody saying something they didn't say, which is a common practice on the other side. It's hilarious to watch you be lectured on this stuff.” Actually, Breitbart definitely has edited his footage to have somebody saying something they didn't say. That's precisely what Breitbart has done on many occasions (while Limbaugh offers no evidence of anyone on the left who does this).

Breitbart was quite open about his techniques: “What we do at the end of the day, is the gang tackle. If we see somebody being bullied, like Trig, Palin's kid, I go: 'Sic 'em.' And I say, “Make sure there isn't an ounce of meat left on their bones when you're done.' That is my business model: I hate bullies. I've always hated them.” Breitbart has a bizarre imagination, to claim that Trig Palin is being bullied, and then to invoke the violent imagery of stripping the flesh from the bones of his enemies.

The interview offers some insights into the mental illnesses of Andrew Breitbart, of how an untalented man who failed to make it in Hollywood turned his resentment as a waiter at the success of others into a highly successful career as a right-wing hit man, a brainless bully who imagines himself to be a superhero of the right standing up against the “bullies” who dare to criticize any conservatives.

Crossposted at DailyKos.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Rush Limbaugh: Black Children Taught to Hate America

Note: for those of you in the Chicago area, I'll be doing a book talk about The Most Dangerous Man in America: Rush Limbaugh's Assault on Reason today (Sat. May 14) at 2pm at the Evanston Public Library.

On Friday, Rush Limbaugh declared on his show that all black children are taught by their families to hate America. He was trying to explain why so many blacks vote for Democrats, while more Hispanics vote for Republicans: “We do not have institutionalized hatred of this country being taught in Hispanic households.”

The irony is that a few moments before Rush accused all blacks of hating America, he declared: “I do not look at people as members of groups.”

Exactly what does Rush mean when he says that black households teach their children “institutionalized hatred of this country”? Limbaugh frequently claims that Obama “hates this country." In part, it's a repeat of the old cry that anyone who criticizes conservative ideas is un-American.

Last week, Rush offered a defense against the accusation that he's racist for hating Obama: “I don't like his white side, either.”

It's true that Rush hates all liberals of all races. Rush would hate Obama no matter what color he was. But that doesn't make Rush innocent of the charge of racism. Rush expresses his hatred of Obama in racist ways.

And when Rush claims that black children are taught to hate America, it reflects a fundamentally racist view.

Crossposted at DailyKos.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Limbaugh Smears Obama as "Osama" 6 Times

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.