During Bill Clinton’s administration, Rush Limbaugh repeatedly mocked media types who marveled at Bill Clinton’s willingness to lie in such an effective manner to the American people. In that era, Bill Clinton was deemed a brilliant liar and Rush was America’s self proclaimed “Truth Detector”.
Now, Rush seems to marvel at the willingness of Trump to lie in an effort to win. At a minimum, Rush is not condemning the deceit of Trump as he would if done by Bill Clinton. From Friday’s broadcast when Rush was discussing Trump’s WSJ op-ed about the delegate process in Colorado:
In the world where perception is reality, this is another slam dunk score and I’m sure there’s some people upset about it who think that this ought to be all aboveboard and honest. Issues are very important, these are serious times, we don’t have time to monkey around here, we gotta in there, we gotta address these issues, we gotta educate people, they gotta vote as an informed electorate as possible. And one side is saying, to hell with that, we’re just gonna win. Whatever it takes to win, we’re gonna win. We can’t go forward without winning, that’s the objective, we’re gonna win. And that seems to be the guiding principle and philosophy here.
Which “side” are you on Rush? It seems that you excuse lying if the person seeks to market themselves as a populist. Is populism an invitation to lie and not be held accountable by Rush Limbaugh?
Oh, yeah, this Trump op-ed, it carries on the narrative that is fundamental to populism. You cannot have populism without the impression that the man is shafting the little guy. So the contretemps, the controversy in Colorado has actually buttressed Trump’s campaign theme, that the political system is rigged against the little guy, in this case Trump’s the little guy, he’s the outsider. So the political process is rigged against the little guy. He’s the champion of little guys, so they’re rigging it against him. And his op-ed today, making it look like Colorado had planned to have an election and canceled the plan, that didn’t happen. There was never going to be an election.
Rush actually marvels at the willingness of Trump to lie, and of his supporters to embrace the lie.
And Trump supporters are more than happy to embrace that. I mean, every supporter loves it when their guy is the victim of some cheating or some dirty trick. So I’ve answered my question. Why didn’t Trump call attention to this before they caucused in Colorado? Because he was counting on losing and then exploiting it, which he’s done brilliantly, and here you have this op-ed in the Wall Street Journal which carries the theme forward.
I remember Rush mocking the media when it was mesmerized by the “brilliant” lying of Bill Clinton. Now, Rush is doing precisely the same thing with respect to Trump. So Rush is telling us that he is to Trump what the Clinton sycophants were to Bill Clinton in the 1990’s? Those media types were self-proclaimed “neutrals” as well.
Rush, it may be too late for you to pick a side. However, if you wait any longer, you will have looped yourself into an important example of striking hypocrisy.
UPDATE (4/18 at 4pm ET): So today, Rush further invests in false equivalency in his explaining of rules to Trumpists and narratives to Cruzers.
RUSH: See, there’s a way that all of that can happen, and what Trump is doing here by going down the road that everything’s rigged and that he’s being cheated, Trump’s philosophy is blowing up that potential strategy that the establishment has of somehow awarding this to somebody else on the second or third ballot. That’s why Trump is… [Me: say it Rush, Trump is LYING] There was no canceled election in Colorado. Yet, Trump writes an op-ed on Friday talking about the election being cancelled.
Today on Drudge there’s a story about the four Cruz guys that could cancel the election. There wasn’t a canceled Election Day. There was no election planned in Colorado. But so the theme is being established by Trump that he’s being cheated, that it’s being rigged. The whole thing’s rigged in favor of everybody but him, so that if something happens and he doesn’t win it on the first ballot and somebody else does, then this is made to order for the Trump voters to skedaddle and get the hell out of there and just be fit to be tied.
Rush refuses to factor in truthfulness and accuracy when equating the Trump “narrative” and the Cruz explanation on rules:
RUSH: Look, you have… I’ve been this over and over and I’m catching hell from every direction it in explaining this. No matter how I explain it, the Trump or Cruz supporters think I’m endorsing what they’re doing. [Me: When you marvel at the brilliance with which someone lies, you are not condemning dishonesty] It’s amazing to see this. Let me just give you Pennsylvania as an example. The short answer to your question is, the millions and millions of voters do not choose the nominee. In many states they do, but in some states they don’t. Let me give an example: Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania, coming up soon, has 71 delegates available. By the way, you notice the nominee has to get 1,237 delegates. There’s no mention of votes. It’s the votes of 1,237 delegates. You with me so far out there, Mike?
Rush, we know all about narratives, particularly false narratives. We have relied on you to help publicize the many false narratives of the left. We don’t need you to explain to us the populist “narrative” that Trump is pushing. Clinton pushed all sorts of false narratives, and you spent 99% of your time focusing on their falseness. If Bill or Hillary Clinton were saying the things that Trump has been saying over the past 8 months, your radio show would be totally different than what it has been. Nobody needs this kind of “analysis” or this kind “explaining”. What we want is a pursuit of the truth, a propagation of the truth, and a ridicule of the untrue.
Rush, the Trump narrative is a lie. The fact that the Trump narrative is untrue is more important than how brilliantly it may work. Brilliant lying used to be condemned on your show. Can we have the old Rush back? America’s truth detector?
UPDATE (4/19 at 3:48 pm)
So I listened to Rush a bit this afternoon, instead of merely reading the transcript. He specifically said that he wasn’t “endorsing” Trump’s point of view on the Colorado rules thing. Despite his assertion (repeated today) that he was the “Mayor of real-ville” he will not call out Trump or his supporters out on the fact that their characterization of the Colorado rules thing is basically wrong. In the earlier quote above, Rush led with the caveat of “[i]n the world where perception is reality ….” Of course, Rush’s show has made a prosperous living out of mocking people asserting perceptions outside of reality. Trump is unique in not being challenged by Rush except in the most of gentle of terms.
The million dollar question is why? I don’t think it is about ratings or money. I do think it is abundantly clear to everyone besides Rush that he is behaving differently than in years past. I think we will only find out the answer if Cruz wins the nomination.