Why Would Limbaugh Make This Change to His Brand Now?

Admittedly I don’t listen to a lot of talk radio anymore. Too much of it nowadays is just cheerleading for one “team” rather than actually looking critically at politics and politicians. I still catch some of Rush Limbaugh’s show occasionally and this week (with guest host Mark Steyn) I noticed that a change had been made.

Rush has always introduced his show as “The Limbaugh Institute of Advanced Conservative Studies.” He has used that line for as long as I can remember and I started listening to him around the time Bill Clinton was first elected President. Recently while hawking some merch for his show he unveiled a change from “Conservative Studies” to “Anti-Leftist Studies.”

We have a brand-new car magnet that we just produced signifying the change. It’s actually not a change; it’s an upgrade, from advanced conservative studies to advanced anti-leftist studies. I figure after 30 years advanced conservative studies has been solidified here. Everybody knows that.

But it is now expanded to be targeted, so it’s anti-leftist studies. Because I figure, folks, after all these years, it’s not enough just to espouse conservatism and explain it, teach it, define it. There’s a missing component. It has to be presented simultaneously with anti-leftist studies as a contrast rather than as a stand-alone. So that’s all it is.

It seems like an unnecessary rebranding if you ask me. Conservatism is and always has been anti-leftist by definition.”Anti-leftist” covers a lot more of the political spectrum than “conservative” though

I can’t help but wonder if this is not a response to the political right largely abandoning conservatism in favor of Trumpist populism. Is the man who blazed the trail for conservative media signaling that conservatism is on its way out in his mind? Does “conservative” no longer focus group well among the alt-right and the Breitbart News/Gateway Pundit/Drudge Report crowd? Is this change a similar move to Hannity’s offering up his show to questionable characters like Julian Assange and Kim Dot Com?

I don’t think this change in and of itself is a particularly big deal but neither do I think it’s completely arbitrary. I just found it interesting that “conservative” has been stricken from a long used tag line shortly after Republicans have gone ga-ga for a non conservative President.

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