Wednesday, July 9, 2008


Just finished the Sunday NY Times Magazine piece on Limbaugh - argh!

His portrait graces (misplaced word) the cover - glaring, cigar plugged into his face, hand ready to remove plug so invective can flow onto our airwaves.

A millionaire many times over - thrice married and now alone in a 24,000 square foot home in Palm Beach, he's still the toast of the town for many, the darling of right-wing talk radio, and legend in his own mind.

The article by Zev Chafets is well-written and balanced - quoting folks from the other side who nonetheless admire Limbaugh's intellect and creativity, his amiability, as well as his business acumen. Chafets offers a reasoned assessment of an American icon - whether we agree with Limbaugh, disagree, or are somewhere in the middle (although that option seems hardly tenable for an intentionally polarizing personage like Limbaugh), he has shaped the American political landscape and is likely to continue doing so.

But I must confess, when I saw the cover, my first thought was simple: the face of evil!

Limbaugh might even agree - because he hopes to bedevil the liberal establishment, and I guess that includes folks like me, because I read his words - it all makes sense to me - but as far as I'm concerned, he's flat-out wrong, along with Reagan (Limbaugh's hero) and all the fat-cat Repubs who've made a killing off the decimated middle class and the pillaging of the national treasury.

No doubt this self-educated Missouri boy is brilliant, providing on-air commentary with only a few notes, no script writers, overcoming medication addictions, a total hearing loss seven years ago (now aided with cochlear implants) and maintaining a steady aim at his "enemies."

As a friend of mine who owned an auto dealership in Tulsa once said, "The car dealer down the road is my best friend. His effort to sell cars redoubles my effort to sell more."

I guess a guy like Limbaugh keeps us all honest, but I can't help but think: this kind of political hash, so close to hatred (yes, that's a value judgment), can only spawn distortion. Where's the compassion? Or is that a liberal word?

America's a fascinating land - we toy with conservatism time and again, only to have it fail. Grudgingly, we realize that a liberal vision is what has made this land truly great. The conservative Reagan pattern has spent this nation into hideous debt, depleted our efforts to mitigate poverty, playing into the wannabe mindset of the hope-to-be-rich-someday crowd who will vote for this nonsense even as their home is being foreclosed and their SUV now costs a hundred bucks to fill up.

Hats of the NY Times for this piece.