I don’t listen to talk radio much anymore, though when I do, it’s usually Rush. Despite large swathes of disagreement, I find him consistently entertaining. Moreover, I appreciate his articulate cases for areas where we do agree, such as limited government and immigration policy. (Of the nationally known talk show hosts, ideologically I line up more closely with Neal Boortz, but quickly find his shtick tedious.)
Know what I’ve noticed consistently over the last 10 or 15 years? Only rarely do I encounter a Rush Limbaugh detractor—in person, online, in the media, or whatever—who demonstrates even passing familiarity with his program. I hear the Feminazi quote and/or a drug addiction crack, generally followed by a description of him as a knuckleheaded boob leading a mindless army of followers who passively lap up his every word.
That is exactly what he’s not, and that uninformed assumption is a big part of what keeps him beating you bloody year after year. (Think he isn’t administering said beating? Seen his ratings? Seen his new $400 million contract? Keep telling yourself he doesn’t matter. Better, listen to his show a few times and figure out why he does.)
That’s the big thing that this New York Times Magazine profile gets. It accurately describes his talents (considerable) and his audience (intelligent and demanding).
If you want to genuinely wound him, folks, stop dismissing him (and ridiculous attempts to reinstate the Fairness Doctrine aren’t the way either). You need a voice on the left that is as compelling and entertaining as Rush’s. I’d love to have that show to listen to. Where is it?