And In This Corner……El Rushbo

I have confession to make.   In my youth, I was a professional wrestling fan.  Oh, I knew that it wasn’t real…mostly.  But, I really enjoyed the drama of the match.  It was good against evil and good almost always won.

My favorite good guy was Bruno Sammartino.  He was quiet and soft spoken, always told the truth and always did what was right.  He was a good role model.

On the other side of the ring was “the evil guy”.  My two favorites were Ivan Koloff and George “the animal” Steele.  I say favorite only because I really enjoyed watching them being beat to the mat.  The thumping that they got was retribution for all the evil that they did to the poor innocent opponents who only wanted to have a good match.

Koloff was the typical loud mouth bad guy who constantly spewed nonsense and venom during interviews.  His goal was to piss the audience off enough that they would come back next week to see him get thumped.

George Steele seldom said two coherent words back to back.  He slobbered, growled and snarled he way through every interview.  That made the fans come back too.  It wasn’t that he pissed them off; they just wanted to see what stupidity he would do next.

Professional wrestling then and now was a grand show and the wrestlers were actually pretty talented entertainers.  They took their parts seriously during the show, but shed them quickly in their personal lives.  I’ve seen George Steele interviewed several times out of the ring in his non-wrestler persona.  I was amazed to find that he’s actually a very articulate person and used to be a high school teacher.

Shock jock political commentators remind me a lot of the bad guy professional wrestlers.  Left wing or right wing, they create and keep their audience by spewing polarized nonsense that ignores the realities of life.  Periodically, when ratings dip a bit or the last controversy that they created starts to die down, they say something outrageous to get their name front and center once again.  Rush Limbaugh has this loud mouth act perfected to a science.

Limbaugh doesn’t bring any special qualifications to the job he fills.  He isn’t schooled in political science, economics, law or science despite the fact that he opines about each of those subjects daily.  His lack of qualifications notwithstanding, in his early days I enjoyed his show and agreed with many, although not all, of his opinions. But, somewhere during the mid-nineties he bridged the gap between self-assured opinion and megalomaniacal arrogance.

In the last few weeks, he’s made a couple of comments that clearly illustrate his over-inflated self-opinion.  The first occurred on his January 16, 2009 radio broadcast where, in response to a request for 400 words on his hope for the Obama presidency he replied, “I don’t need 400 words, I need four: I hope he fails.”  On several occasions since then he has tried to “clarify” his words, generally by saying that it was the failure of liberalism he wanted not the failure of the President himself.   Let’s look for a minute at what that really means.

His hope that the President’s plan fails means that he wants the stimulus program, the financial sector bailout, the home foreclosure prevention program and the health care initiatives to fail.  Limbaugh’s response to that statement would be “Yep, government shouldn’t be involved in any of that.”  That’s a load of ultra right wing political bull shit.

The effect of President Obama and our current government failing would be a deepening depression marked by increasing business and personal financial meltdowns, millions upon millions of additional job losses and home foreclosures (most of those home losses unrelated to the sub-prime mess) and millions of people unable to get basic medical care because they’ve been dropped from employer medical insurance programs.  Of course Mr. Limbaugh would still be getting his $33 million a year, eating well, have a roof over his head and be able to buy his viagra prescription, so I guess “I hope he fails” is his version of  “qu’ils mangent de la brioche”.

A responsible commentator would have said something like, “I don’t agree with the President’s plan.  For the country’s sake I hope he succeeds, but I don’t think that he will and here’s what I would do instead.” His laughable  “Limbaugh Stimulus plan 2009”  notwithstanding, to boost his audience Limbaugh chose the sensational, obstructionist path instead. What a patriot.

The second comment he made was just this week when he challenged the President to a debate.  Actually, in a neutral forum where Rush couldn’t end the conversation with the push of a button, a debate would be an entertaining  idea. At the very least, it would be an interesting ninety minutes.  But idiot as he is, El Rushbo didn’t stop there.   During his kind offer to debate, Limbaugh described himself as the “last man standing” among the Republican pundits and opined that if Obama bested him in a debate then the President would “own” the country.

By claiming the title “last Man Standing” Limbaugh appears to have bought into the thought that he is the defacto leader of the Republican Party.  I’m a Republican, albeit a moderate one.  Given the current disarray of the party it’s my humble opinion that we don’t have a leader and if there is an heir apparent to that position it’s certainly not Limbaugh.  As to who owns the country, it’s not the President, the Congress, big business and , God forbid, not the likes of Rush Limbaugh.  While defining the ideals of right wing conservatism, Limbaugh once wrote, “at our core we embrace and celebrate the most magnificent governing document ever ratified by any nation – the U.S. Constitution.”  Apparently while reading that document, which effectively defines who owns our country, he missed that it begins with the three most powerful words ever written….”We the People”.

As citizens of the United States we elect our leaders and allow them to run the country with our proxy.  We’ve had our election and the majority’s will has been decided.  Given the abysmal job that the last administration did with that trust how could a even a conceited person like Rush Limbaugh have the arrogance to suggest that a new President take five minutes of his time to debate policies that have failed so spectacularly.

Rush Limbaugh has been steadily crossing over a line for the past few years.  In 2003 he had a regular audience of 20 million listeners.  By last year that number had dropped to 14 million.  When times are good, people have the luxury of moving to one end of the spectrum or another and the commentators who espouse right wing conservatism or left wing liberalism can find ready audiences.

These aren’t good times and to survive until prosperity returns our politicians and our people must accept the reality that success is found in true cross-fertilization of ideas and compromise.  The days of rigid conservatism are numbered, as is the importance of an obnoxious pundit like Rush Limbaugh.  Survival of my party depends on distancing ourselves from the likes of Rush Limbaugh and recognizing that we’ve moved into a new era.  We have the option of either sticking our feet in the conservative sand and being left behind or pulling our feet out of the sand and taking a step forward.  Moving forward makes more sense.

As for Limbaugh, well he’s going to need another job after his audience drops to a level that can’t justify his $33 million dollar salary.  Where does a loud mouth pundit go to find job these days?    Hmmmm, maybe they have an opening at the WWE.  I bet he’d fit right in.  Too bad Bruno Sammartino isn’t still performing.  Bruno vs. El Rushbo, now that’s a match I’d pay big bucks to see.


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One Comment on “And In This Corner……El Rushbo”

  1. Tom Says:

    Here, here!
    No one is completely worthless, he at least got you writing again. See he can do some good!


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