February 4, 2011

"The man who isn't quite there"

Charlene recommends this piece, How to Understand Rush Limbaugh:

...In retrospect, the amazing part of the story is how thoroughly the White House misunderstood Limbaugh's appeal, his staying power, and his approach to issues. It also points to a curious fact about Limbaugh's standing in the mind of much of the American media and the American left. Even though they talk about him all the time, he's the man who isn't quite there. By which I mean that there is a stubborn unwillingness, both wishful and self-defeating, to recognize Limbaugh for what he is, take him seriously, and grant him his legitimate due. Many of his detractors have never even listened to his show, for example. Some of his critics regularly refer to him as Rush "Lim-bough´┐Ż (like a tree limb), as if his name is so obscure to them that they cannot even remember how to pronounce it.

In short, he is never quite acknowledged as the formidable figure he clearly is. Instead, he is dismissed in one of two ways´┐Żeither as a comic buffoon, a passing phenomenon in the hit parade of American pop culture, or as a mean-spirited apostle of hate who appeals to a tiny lunatic fringe. These two views are not quite compatible, but they have one thing in common: they both aim to push him to the margins and render him illegitimate, unworthy of respectful attention. This shunning actually works in Limbaugh's favor because it creates the very conditions that cause him to be chronically underestimated and keeps his opposition chronically off-balance. Indeed, Limbaugh's use of comedy and irony and showmanship are integral to his modus operandi, the judo by which he draws in his opponents and then uses their own force to up-end them. And unless you make an effort to hear voices outside the echo chamber of the mainstream media, you won't have any inkling of what Limbaugh is all about or of how widely his reach and appeal extend....

One of the curious things about Rush is that during his New York years he was able to make almost no friends in the media world, even though he was a media giant. And even though he is an affable and interesting man. He was invited to none of the parties. Liberals are cowards!

Posted by John Weidner at February 4, 2011 8:53 AM
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