Friday, June 05, 2009

Thursday talk radio update I

Some days it must really suck to be Rush Limbaugh.

I know he makes good money, and I suppose that he generally likes his job. But probably not every day.

An example would be yesterday, when his show came on shortly after Barack Obama had concluded his Mideast speech. In similar circumstances, an ordinary journalist would have to hustle but would know the basic outlines of what he had to do: Grab a few sound bites, talk to a couple of people who thought the speech was good and a couple who thought it wasn't, then just wing it.

But Limbaugh is an ideologue and a monologist. He can't just say that the president gave a speech, and here's some of what he said. He can't even say that it was a good speech from a president with whom he still has profound ideological differences. Nor can he say it was a mediocre speech from a mediocre president.

No. It has to be a bad speech, filled with disloyalty and betrayal. That's what his listeners demand; it's what he promises them every day; and he has to deliver.

Limbaugh is nothing if not a consummate pro, and he did his professional best. He claimed to be "outraged" that Obama gave undeserved credit to the scientific innovations of Muslim nations. He claimed that Obama found moral equivalence between the plight of Holocaust victims and Palestinian refugees. He said the speech signaled an end to capitalism and a call for massive wealth redistribution on an international scale. He asserted that Obama is "angry," and so is his wife, and so is his Supreme Court nominee.

Then he went home and smoked a cigar. And left it to the rest of us to wonder whether he believed a single word he said.

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