I’ve been listening to Rush Limbaugh since about 1992. Although he claims to be right 99.8% of the time or something like that, I find that I only agree with him about 97% of the time.
I’ve listened with great interest as he has eloquently exposed the left’s perniciousness in situations where I saw nothing sinister at all. More times than I can count I listened to the news or read a paper and simply took what they said at face value. Then I would listen to Rush talk about the exact same event and discuss the media’s coverage of it and like Russell Crowe’s John Nash in A Beautiful Mind he would lay out in great specificity what was really going on. He is as skilled at revealing the underlying machinations of the left and the media (the same thing, really) as Nash was at solving codes.
At the same time, he has been equally successful in highlighting the hypocrisy of the GOP establishment’s embrace of big government and open borders.
For more than a quarter century I’ve listened to Rush trumpet the virtues of conservatism. For more than a quarter century I’ve listened to Rush proclaim that if Americans only had an articulate conservative champion to vote for they would and the nation would be saved. Now that the country has one in Ted Cruz – for the
first time in a generation, where’s Limbaugh?
I’ll tell you where he is… he’s sitting in his south Florida studio explaining why Donald Trump is so successful in outsmarting the pundits. Sure, he offers the requisite “Ted Cruz is a rock solid conservative” a couple of times a week, but he spends most of his time explaining why Trump seems to defy the odds that no one else would have a shot at.
It’s his show and he has every right to do exactly what he wants and say anything he wants. My question is however, does Rush Limbaugh want to be remembered as a political commentator who uses his microphone to poke fun at liberals and illuminate the folly of the ruling class, or does he actually want to be a hero who drives real change? He can be one or he can be the other, but he can’t be both.
If he truly believes what he has been saying over the last 28 years then now is the time for him to put his microphone where his mouth is. I’ll take Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton, but Donald Trump doesn’t solve the problems that are undermining the country as we speak. Donald Trump will not end big government. Donald Trump is not a champion for individual freedom. Donald Trump is not an enemy of crony capitalism. Donald Trump is not a fan of separation of powers or limited government. Ted Cruz is all of those things and more.
At the end of the day, Donald Trump embodies many – but not all – of the things Rush Limbaugh has been railing against for the past quarter century. So the question is, does Rush really believe what he says or is he simply trying to sell advertising? Not that there’s anything inherently wrong with the latter. I love watching the Big Bang Theory, but not for one second do I think the actors on that show are going to give Stephen Hawking a run for his money on a physics quiz. And they don’t expect me to believe it, they’re actors, I know they’re acting and it makes for great entertainment for me and they make lots of money. Great setup.
But the Rush Limbaugh Show is not a Hollywood sitcom. People don’t listen to Rush to listen to fiction. They listen to see the left exposed and listen to the heartfelt commentary from someone who cares about the United States, who champions freedom and explains (with examples) how liberty and free markets make the world a much better place than socialism, communism and most of what came before the United States was born.
And so, people like me look at Rush today and wonder if his heart is really in it or is he like a union leader who plays to the base while enriching himself at their expense? Although our expense in this case is time rather than money. We wonder if wrapping himself in the American flag and American values is simply a ploy to generate advertising dollars.
Right here, right now is where the tire hits the road. Donald Trump is well down the path to winning the GOP nomination. That might lead to a Trump or Clinton presidency. Neither would be good for the country nor for freedom… although a Clinton presidency would surely be worse. But we’re not there yet, and now is when the voice of Rush Limbaugh could actually make a difference. It won’t matter in the general because coming out of the conventions most minds are already made up, and the ones that aren’t are likely not listening to Rush.
This is not a call for Rush to savage Donald Trump. That’s not necessary. What is necessary however is to stop the with wall to wall “exposing” of the hypocrisy of the GOP establishment – which we all see – and the media’s duplicity as they prop up Trump only to knife him once the general campaign begins. What is necessary is for Rush to simply talk about how Trump doesn’t comport with most of the things he has championed for the last quarter century. To explain that Trump is an enemy of free markets, limited government and no fan of individual freedom. And explain why those things are important and why his posture on those ideas puts him closer to Barack Obama than they do to Ronald Reagan.
There are times in our lives when we are faced with real, consequential choices, and it’s up to us to us to decide what we want to leave behind when we’re gone. For 28 years Rush Limbaugh has eloquently stated the case that the United States is the greatest nation in the history of the world, our Constitution is possibly next to the Bible in importance in helping to improve the condition of man and that our free markets have driven more prosperity than the world has ever seen. He’s right… but the cancer of liberalism has put all of that at risk. The question is, a century from now, when people look back on Rush Limbaugh’s life, will they read about a political gadfly who entertained people between long commercial breaks or will they read about a patriot who helped the country survive the scourge of progressivism and helped bring about a conservative revolution that not only turned back the tide of big government, but unleashed the forces of freedom (both individual and markets) that ushered in a period of growth and prosperity unprecedented in all of human history?
That’s a choice Rush will have to make. Does he want to go down as a footnote in history or does he want to join the pantheon of giants who used their influence to make a difference as have Ben Franklin, J.P. Morgan, William F. Buckley and Milton Friedman?