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03 November 2016

Rush Limbaugh's (Incomplete) Evolution from Lackey to Critic of the Republican Establishment




Free trade and Zionist wars are two points on which the establishments of both parties agree, and which they treat as non-negotiable — even when the majority of Americans disagree. And Rush Limbaugh has gone along with that bipartisan consensus. Bizarrely, Limbaugh has attacked the critics of that bipartisan Zionism and bipartisan plutocracy for deviating from “conservatism,” even though conservatism has no part in it.
[...]
The two longtime points of bipartisan consensus, free trade and Zionist wars, are now joined by a third, amnesty for illegal aliens. This time, Rush Limbaugh — finally — is not going along. 
-- Hadding Scott, December 2014

Rush Limbaugh in late 2014 made a change in the direction of greater honesty. This change increased Limbaugh's disposition a year later to support the presidential campaign of Donald Trump against the self-described true conservatives.
 

A Critical Look at Rush Limbaugh 
by Hadding Scott 

Originally Published on The Occidental Observer, 3 & 9 December 2014 


Part One: “Pursuit of Excellence” vs. Getting Along by Going Along

With his millions of listeners, and the many imitators who in turn influence millions more, Rush Limbaugh has been a major force in shaping American politics for a quarter of a century. Recently when Charles Schumer spoke on the Senate floor about the impending announcement of Obama’s “executive action” benefiting illegal aliens, he specifically referred to Rush Limbaugh as the critic who had been causing the public to regard it as an amnesty. Whether or not one has any respect for Limbaugh, he and the nature of his influence are worth evaluating.

When he began his afternoon radio-show on the ABC Radio Network in 1988, Rush Limbaugh seemed to be a fresh populist voice from Middle America. The most conspicuous fact about him, what was probably most important in winning a loyal following, was his flamboyant rejection of White guilt, especially White male guilt. Limbaugh portrayed a calculated pomposity (behind which he seemed genuinely humble) and ridiculed those who would cow the White man with demands of sensitivity for this or that victimhood-group. At times he could even be “racially insensitive” (although not quite as much as Bob Grant, who aired after Limbaugh locally on WABC during the early years and habitually referred to Negro criminals as “savages”). David Letterman’s quip, “Having more fun than a human being should be allowed to have,” which Limbaugh adopted and has repeated thousands of times over the years, is emblematic of Limbaugh’s overall theme of flamboyantly defying and rejecting guilt — especially in the form of demands to show sympathy for various victimhood-groups.

Most of Limbaugh’s targets for insensitive treatment were relatively safe to ridicule — homeless people, feminists, ecologists, sexual deviants, et al.

Regarding Blacks, he would make frequent criticisms, but always maintaining a certain ambiguity — if nothing else, with the pretense that Blacks were potentially equal and could do as well as Whites if only the government would stop setting back their progress by helping them. (Is there anybody who does not understand that the supposed harm done to Blacks is not the real concern there?) It may have been necessary to maintain some ambiguity in his outward attitude toward Blacks in order to continue as a commercial broadcaster touching in a controversial way on racial issues. There can be little doubt that the reason why Limbaugh has retained a Black call-screener for many years is that it creates an impediment to labeling him a racist, despite whatever attitudes might become apparent in his broadcast.

Another way that Limbaugh protects himself from having his racial views become too clear was by not letting any overtly racist callers on the air. In the first year of his show, a few did get on the air — one, I recall, mentioning Aryan Nations, another, David Duke — but this seemed to make Limbaugh extremely uncomfortable and it was stopped entirely. There seemed to be a policy that nobody farther to the right or more racially explicit than the host would be allowed on the air. Paradoxically, an overt White racist would be more welcome on a show hosted by a leftist like Tom Leykis or a Jew like Alan Colmes, most likely because unlike Limbaugh they were not trying to hide anything in that regard.

As window-dressing, Limbaugh also changed his bumper-music from the very Caucasian rock (e.g. Tom Petty, Bachman-Turner Overdrive) that he used exclusively in the first year — presumably reflecting his personal taste — to an assortment that included a large contingent of “urban contemporary” music. Some Negro even recorded a “Rush Rap” that Limbaugh aired ad nauseam. All the better to appear “not racist,” but with that Limbaugh was looking less and less like the authentic and unapologetic White man.



Rush Limbaugh and Fear of the Jews

The fundamental force behind everything that tries to shame and drag down the White man, Limbaugh calls “liberalism,” which is really a way to avoid naming an actual enemy.

Once, Limbaugh said something offensive to Jews. In mid-1993, when dusky-complected Lani Guinier was up for consideration as Bill Clinton’s Assistant Attorney-General for Civil Rights, Limbaugh scoffed at the widely parroted assumption that as a “person of color” she had risen up from unfortunate origins. Limbaugh scoffed at this hagiography: “Let me tell you something! Lani Guinier is Jewish!” He explained that, being Jewish, Lani Guinier had grown up in the lap of luxury. A listener could gather from this that Jews are rich leftists, and in Limbaugh’s world, the enemy.

I was highly impressed with this unprecedented outspokenness and explicit depiction of Jews as wealthy, which carried Limbaugh’s theme of defying and rejecting guilt to an important new level — but I fully expected that it would precipitate some kind of unpleasant reaction, and I wondered if Limbaugh was ready for it. Pat Buchanan had recently made some criticisms of Jews that led to his being labeled anti-Semitic by a chorus of Jews, but Buchanan had weathered the attack and maintained his career in spite of it. Perhaps this was what Limbaugh had in mind.

As it turned out, Limbaugh did not appear to realize what he had done. A week or so later he came on the air in a nervous funk, recounting how, at a social function, the Jewish actor Kirk Douglas had made some vague imputation of anti-Semitism toward him. This had thrown Limbaugh into such a panic that, to exonerate himself of this accusation, which he said could ruin his career, he took the earliest opportunity to proclaim to his radio-audience that he would pay $1 million to anyone who could prove that he had ever made any anti-Semitic statement. The idea apparently was that when nobody claimed the reward, it would mean that he had never said such a thing. I got to a fax-machine as quickly as I could and sent in the answer, that he had referred to a Jew as a Jew in a less-than-friendly tone a few days earlier, and had also invoked the stereotype about Jews being rich, and that Jews disliked being identified that way and would consider it anti-Semitic. I included the address where Limbaugh should send my $1 million check and thanked him in advance, but I never received it.

I supposed that Limbaugh would claim in court that his $1 million promise was a figure of speech or a joke, but his reason for proclaiming that reward was no laughing matter.

It was a very short time after this that Limbaugh, for some reason, became the recipient of a free trip to Israel. (More recently, Glenn Beck also received such a free trip, when he too had spoken some criticisms of Jews.) Apparently he learned something from this trip and from his encounter with Mr. Douglas, because, so far as I know, Rush Limbaugh has never again made a comment about a Jew qua Jew that was anything less than reverential.



Limbaugh turns against Populism and the interests of Ordinary People

There is a difference between having pride and refusing to be shamed unreasonably, and being hubristic and shameless. Limbaugh did not try to convey that nuance to his audience. Instead he uncritically supported the unnecessary 1990–1991 war against Iraq, misinforming his listeners that the war was about securing “the free flow of oil at market prices,” even though Pat Buchanan had already pointed out that it was “the Israel Defense Ministry and its amen-corner in the United States” that was pushing for that war (The McLaughlin Group, 26 August 1990). Buchanan was representing truth and the interests of the American people, while Limbaugh was getting along by going along. At the end of 1991, perhaps as a reward for this collusion, Limbaugh received his own nightly television-show produced by Bush-crony Roger Ailes.

When Limbaugh gave the commencement address at his old high school in 1992, he stated a piece of personal wisdom that can be seen to pervade his entire political thought:

“Life is not fair, folks, and if you spend your life trying to make the playing field even, you’re never going to excel. You have to accept life as it is.” [The Southeast Missourian, June 7, 1992]

That seems a reasonable attitude for an individual who is responsible only for himself and must face circumstances beyond his control. It’s roughly equivalent to “When the going gets tough, the tough get going,” or, “Whatever does not kill me makes me stronger.” As a principle for the individual, what Limbaugh advocates is making the best of the hand that one is dealt in life (although the hand that Limbaugh was dealt was not terribly difficult, getting his start in broadcasting at a radio station owned by his family). Made into a principle of government, however, it becomes an abdication of responsibility toward others. The government actually has a responsibility to “make the playing field even” (which is not the same as guaranteeing equal success). That’s the meaning of equal protection under the law, and in a later phase, anti-trust legislation. What we have been seeing more and more today is an abdication of the government’s responsibility toward the people in the realm of economics, consistent with the homemade half-wisdom that Limbaugh espoused on that day in 1992.

If the economic policy of a complex society is to be based on such a principle — that the chips will be allowed to fall as they may and that nothing will be done to counter the tendency for wealth to become concentrated in fewer and fewer hands as the people are reduced to poverty — it can reasonably be expected to lead to a society’s disintegration and collapse, as described by Brooks Adams (The Law of Civilization and Decay, 1895). It is a very ill-considered “conservatism” that follows that path.

Something of a parting of the ways occurred between Limbaugh and the people during the presidential campaigns of 1992. Limbaugh was at best ambivalent about President George H.W. Bush, who had notoriously raised taxes after promising not to do so, and in other ways reversed policies of Ronald Reagan — until June of 1992 when Bush invited Limbaugh to visit the White House and to spend the night in the Lincoln Bedroom. Somehow, without getting whiplash from the sudden change of position, Limbaugh thereupon became an outright propagandist for Bush, against Ross Perot (the favorite of many Buchananites) who was warning Americans about the catastrophic effects of free trade; Perot received such a surge of popular support that he was able to launch a highly credible third-party presidential campaign. When Limbaugh suddenly became an uncritical supporter of Bush, many of his listeners understood that this was a sellout. After the election, Limbaugh took off the mask and admitted that Bush was not even a conservative, complaining bitterly, “Bush didn’t do one thing the way Reagan did!”

That became the regular pattern with Limbaugh, acting as an absurd huckster for the globalist and plutocratic wing of the Republican Party during electoral campaigns, then complaining after the election that the candidate to whom he had given his outwardly unambiguous support wasn’t really conservative (unless he happened to win, as did George W. Bush).

This hucksterism reached the height of absurdity in 1996 when he labeled Pat Buchanan “liberal” for taking a stand against free trade (although historically it is free trade that has been regarded as a liberal position, and protectionism as the conservative position). After the inevitable defeat of the Republican establishment’s insipid candidate Bob Dole, Limbaugh again, as four years earlier, took off his mask and admitted that Buchanan was a genuine conservative and that Dole was not.

Why didn’t you help Buchanan then, Rush?

There is no evident answer to that, beyond the fact that Limbaugh had acted substantially in contradiction to his own views (e.g. the moral stand against abortion that Limbaugh and Buchanan share) which means that he did it because of some external pressure or incentive. 


Rewards of Conformity

Although Rush Limbaugh began his period of fame as an apparently authentic and unashamed White man, and a representative of the interests of ordinary White people — much like Pat Buchanan — he thereafter took the opposite path from Buchanan by supporting plutocracy’s free trade and Zionism’s foreign wars that have been ruining the country, and by supporting a series of GOP Establishment candidates in whom he did not really believe, therewith contributing to the marginalization of Pat Buchanan. The rewards to Rush Hudson Limbaugh III and his clan have been great, especially in return for supporting the idiot George W. Bush. In 2007 a new federal courthouse in Limbaugh’s hometown of Cape Girardeau was named after grandfather Rush Hudson Limbaugh, Sr., who had been an ambassador to India under Eisenhower, and a civil attorney (but never a judge); then cousin Stephen N. Limbaugh was appointed as a federal judge in 2008.

For all the talk about individual self-reliance and “pursuit of excellence,” this looks more like the rewards of getting along by going along. Limbaugh’s current broadcasting contract, which began in 2008 and expires in 2016, is for $400 million. One wonders if Rush Limbaugh, as a professing Christian, ever contemplates that question asked by Jesus and recorded in the Gospels, about the benefit of gaining the world while losing one’s soul.




Part Two: Conservatism in Crisis

Rush Limbaugh has claimed at various times to be “a conservative first and a Republican second.” He also espouses principles like the “power of truth.” But what he has done over the past quarter-century has often been inconsistent with that idealistic persona, and conservatism has suffered for it, as has the country.

Following the election of the first non-White President of the United States in 2008, Rush Limbaugh expressed ambivalence about George W. Bush, one of the most despised U.S. presidents of all time. On the day after the election of the first Black president, Limbaugh fumed:

Well, my friends, the new tone has finally come home to roost. … Conservatism did not lose last night. Conservative was not on the ballot. The Republican Party has not sought to be conservative since the new tone was initiated by the Bush administration in 2001. [Rush Limbaugh, 5 November 2008]

The Republican Party was now in trouble because under George W. Bush, whom Limbaugh had supported, the party ceased to be conservative.


Are Free Trade and Zionist Wars Conservative?

That is, unless conservatism is to be defined as the expansion of free trade and the waging of Zionist wars. Are those policies conservative? If free trade is conservative, then Bill Clinton must be counted as a great conservative for signing NAFTA and opening free trade with China. If Zionist wars are conservative, then George W. Bush must be counted as a great conservative for the unnecessary invasion of Iraq. But we know that Rush Limbaugh does not regard Bill Clinton nor either of the presidents named Bush as conservative.

Free trade and Zionist wars are two points on which the establishments of both parties agree, and which they treat as non-negotiable — even when the majority of Americans disagree. And Rush Limbaugh has gone along with that bipartisan consensus. Bizarrely, Limbaugh has attacked the critics of that bipartisan Zionism and bipartisan plutocracy for deviating from “conservatism,” even though conservatism has no part in it.

Incidentally, to the extent that Limbaugh’s audience accepts this kind of misrepresentation, it reflects that the “dittoheads” have imposed a kind of information-ghetto on themselves, rejecting the broader perspective that they could get by consulting diverse sources. “Rush is right,” and "Fox News is the only news-channel that tells the truth." I have heard that from a number of self-identified conservatives.

Free trade works in the Democrats’ favor because, if Americans are suffering economically, it is understood that the Democrats are more likely to use the government to try to alleviate the situation, while Republicans, including Rush Limbaugh, complain even about food-assistance.

The fact that the Democratic Party has been reputed as the home of pacifism since the 1970s probably gives them an advantage when voters are upset about unnecessary wars — especially since the big wars in recent years have been started by Republicans. Also, the Democratic rank and file, at least, seems to be less rabidly Zionist than the Republicans with their reliance on Pre-millennialist Christian support.

The allegiance of Rush Limbaugh and the Republicans to free trade and Zionist wars is so rigid that they cannot admit that these positions have done nothing to help them win elections; they cannot even admit that a change of policy is a viable option.

In 2008 and 2012 Ron Paul sought the Republican presidential nomination as an anti-war candidate. Anti-war was a very popular position — outside of the Republican Party.

Public support for George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq in March 2003 had never been overwhelming. It did not take long after the invasion for the support that had been created through scare-propaganda to collapse. By September 2005 a New York Times/CBS News poll showed that only 44% of Americans still said that military action against Iraq had been the right decision, and 8 in 10 were concerned about the expense of the war. A majority, 52%, favored not only withdrawal but immediate withdrawal from Iraq. During the presidential race in 2008, columnist Tom Teepen observed that being anti-war was an asset for a presidential candidate:


Obama opposed the war from the get-go, a stance widely assumed to be politically fatal at the time but one in which public opinion now strongly concurs. [Tom Teepen, 26 July 2008]

But Barack Obama turned out to be a disappointment for anti-war voters. Ron Paul, therefore, as a longtime, well known proponent of a non-interventionist foreign policy, could naturally be expected to win many crossover Democratic votes — if the Republicans would nominate him. Rasmussen and Gallup polls in 2011 showed that Ron Paul, if nominated by the Republican Party, could beat Obama. In fact it would be a landslide for Ron Paul if he could get more than lukewarm support from Republicans — which Rush Limbaugh could help to arrange, if he were so inclined.

Instead of helping Ron Paul, Limbaugh tried to extinguish the campaign. In an interview on Fox News, Limbaugh proclaimed: “Anybody other than Ron Paul could beat Obama” — flatly contradicting both evidence and common sense.

There was only one reason, according to Limbaugh himself, why he rigidly opposed Ron Paul: “his foreign policy” — specifically his criticism of Bush’s invasion of Iraq and opposition to warmongering against Iran.

But Ron Paul’s views on these matters were the views of the American majority. It was Rush Limbaugh’s view that was in the minority. Limbaugh nonetheless portrayed Ron Paul as a tinfoil-hat-wearer, a lunatic — for sharing the views of the majority!

When a Republican candidate who represents the view of the majority of Americans is deliberately undermined and marginalized within the Republican Party exclusively because he represents the American majority view, contrary to the agenda of the Israel Lobby, it becomes apparent that for Rush Limbaugh and many other Republicans, serving those Zionist Jews has been given a higher priority than winning elections. It even takes precedence over Limbaugh’s cherished less-government “conservatism,” which Ron Paul represents in the purest form that Limbaugh could ever hope to see. Ron Paul also happens to be a consistent opponent of abortion, which Mitt Romney is not. To Rush Limbaugh, for whatever reason, maintaining an interventionist Israel-First foreign policy is the concern that trumps all others.

The actual Republican nominee, Mitt Romney, whose Romneycare was the prototype for the Obamacare that Limbaugh loathes, severely damaged his own campaign by saying that 47% of the electorate would be disinclined to vote for him because they depend on government, implying that half the electorate is a detriment to the country.

After the 2012 defeat, Limbaugh complained, consistent with his usual pattern, that the Republican Party had lost due to lack of conservatism:

It wasn’t an election lost because we didn’t get the women’s vote, the Hispanic vote. We didn’t turn our vote out. It’s just that simple. Could it be, ladies and gentlemen, three million Republicans sat at home because they didn’t see enough of a conservative campaign? [Rush Limbaugh, 8 November 2012]

That is half-correct. A more candid assessment would be that the GOP repelled White voters by being unambiguously plutocratic and unambiguously supportive of Zionist wars. But Rush Limbaugh could not state such an assessment because he was rigidly committed to those two positions.

The Republican Establishment Purges “Extremists”

Since neither the Republican establishment nor Rush Limbaugh could accept the very clear fact that their party lost in 2012 by acting contrary to the economic needs of the White working class while supporting unpopular wars, they looked for alternate explanations.

In contrast to Limbaugh, who blames the loss in 2012 on the Republican Party’s failure to inspire the party’s core-constituency, the Republican establishment espouses an entirely opposite theory. They blame the party’s loss in 2012 on “extremists” within the party who, they think, give the party a bad image.

The most conspicuous of the “extremists” in 2014 was Chris McDaniel, a state legislator and talk show host from Mississippi who is a Republican in the mold of those Dixiecrats who defected from the Democratic Party to the GOP in the 60s and 70s, thereby making the election of Richard Nixon and all later Republican presidents possible. McDaniel had the endorsement of Tea Party Express because of his opposition to Obamacare, for which the incumbent Thad Cochran had voted. (Tea Party Express also happens to be one “Tea Party” organization that no longer supports free trade. We can hope that other populist Republicans are on that same learning-curve.) Chris McDaniel would now be a Senator-elect from Mississippi if the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Republican establishment — both of which favor amnesty for illegal aliens — had not moved heaven and earth to prevent it.

The Washington Post describes what happened as follows:

For much of the primary, [the incumbent Thad] Cochran was sleepy and might have been defeated outright were it not for a late push from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which aired a pro-Cochran testimonial from football legend Brett Favre on his farm in Hattiesburg, Miss.

McDaniel, a state senator, won the primary — though not by enough to avoid a runoff. The Republican establishment, as well as some black Democrats, rallied to Cochran’s side, and the incumbent narrowly prevailed.

McDaniel, bitter to this day, has refused to concede. “You had the entire Republican Party in Washington doing everything they could to keep the true conservative out,” he said. [P. Rucker, R. Costa, Washington Post, 5 November 2014]

Britain’s Daily Mail gives more details of the foul process whereby the will of the White people of Mississippi was denied political expression. Essentially Blacks were mobilized through alarmist propaganda to vote in the Republican runoff — illegally in many cases, since they had already voted in the Democratic primaries.


Rush Limbaugh and probably the majority of White Republican voters in Mississippi share McDaniel’s bitterness, which is directed toward the Republican establishment and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce as the forces behind the sabotage of McDaniel’s campaign.


Meanwhile, Neoconservative Jew Charles Krauthammer, without stating names, condescendingly praised the Republicans for purging McDaniel:


You exercised adult supervision over the choice of candidates. You didn’t allow yourself to go down the byways of gender and other identity politics. [C. Krauthammer, 6 November 2014]

Charles Krauthammer was also the first major influence among the Republicans, after the Republican defeat in 2012, to call for the Republicans to embrace amnesty for illegal aliens in order to win Hispanic votes, as Limbaugh noted at the time. In other contexts, where Krauthammer’s name is not mentioned, Limbaugh has said that if the Republican Party follows such advice on illegal immigration, it will cease to exist. The reverent tone with which Limbaugh still refers to “Doctor Krauthammer” is therefore quite incongruous. It is obvious that Rush Limbaugh is afraid to criticize Charles Krauthammer, even though they are in direct conflict in a matter about which Limbaugh feels strongly.



Rush Limbaugh and Amnesty for Illegal Aliens

The two longtime points of bipartisan consensus, free trade and Zionist wars, are now joined by a third, amnesty for illegal aliens. This time, Rush Limbaugh — finally — is not going along.

On the day after the 2014 elections, Rush Limbaugh talked to a Black caller named Larry in southern California who was angry at Obama for his generosity toward illegal aliens. Larry complained that Blacks in his region already could not get jobs because of illegal aliens.


On 19 November a more educated-sounding Negro, Eric in North Carolina, made the same point (Click to listen). These callers both made the very simple and obvious point that immigration of Hispanics is bad for Blacks. This information was liberating for Rush Limbaugh: now he felt free to complain about illegal immigration without fear of being labeled racist.


Since Larry’s call, Rush Limbaugh has been increasingly criticizing Obama’s amnesty for illegal immigrants, and, more and more, the Republicans’ failure to oppose it, which, Limbaugh now observes, is worse than mere failure to oppose: they covertly support it. Limbaugh is now proclaiming the dishonesty and venality of the Republican establishment, serving their donors rather than the public that elected them.

Specifically, Limbaugh refers to the role of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in pushing for amnesty, because, Limbaugh says, they want the cheap labor. The fact that unregulated capitalism demands immigration for cheap labor and that this destroys nations was often observed by critics of capitalism in the nineteenth century. Now Rush Limbaugh realizes it.

It must have been an awkward confession for Rush Limbaugh, after so many years of pontificating that whatever helps the rich to get richer — whatever helps the “job creators,” as Eric Cantor called them — is automatically good for America. It shows a serious problem with the nineteenth-century liberal ideology that Limbaugh and other Republicans have been espousing as “conservatism.” Rush Limbaugh is having to face the fact that unbridled pursuit of private profit can be disastrous for the country — and disastrous for a great many White people who are naturally attracted to the Republican Party because they see the Democrats as the party of non-Whites and aggressive multiculturalism, sexual non-conformists, and government unions.

Finally, after a quarter-century of lamentable compromise, the Republican establishment is crossing a bridge that Rush Limbaugh refuses to cross, which brings him to a crisis, not only in his relationship to the Republican establishment, but in his ideology.

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