Friday, June 03, 2005


Right-wing noise

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There's nothing more sad than a male schoolteacher out for the summer. Women are so much more industrious; we men founder under the crush of free time. We do things like launch left-wing blogs and construct elaborate beercan sculptures out on the back deck, one Budweiser at a time. I was doing precisely that yesterday, constructing Mount Budmore while listening to the radio, when curiosity got the better of me. I wonder what Rush Limbaugh has to say today, I thought.

I know I should have kept listening to the usual overplayed crap I had on - but I felt compelled to turn over to KMOX, a once legendary AM station now reduced to pandering to angry white males from places like Lemay, Mo., and Mitchell, Ill. Here's what I heard:

11:25 a.m.
Rush is in a lather over Mark Felt, the recently unmasked Deep Throat Rush asserts that Felt is not a hero. And I suppose I agree to some degree. Although Felt took some serious chances with his career and with the possibility of prosecution and disgrace, he also seems somewhat opportunistic, a disgruntled FBI man passed over for a promotion, and a rather Machiavellian FBI man, at that. So what do you know? I actually agree with Rush, at least to some degree.

But Rush begin Rush, he has to go too far. He soon turns his wrath on Bob Woodward, Ben Bradlee and nearly anyone who ever worked at the Washington Post. How dare they make money off Watergate? Rush says, conveniently neglecting to point out that Charles Colson, G. Gordon Liddy, H.R. Haldeman, Howard Hunt and others cashed in with books of their own. Furthermore, does anyone think Colson and Liddy could have launched careers in right-wing punditry had they not cashed in on their notoriety as convicted felons?

11:25 a.m.
Rush is now making excuses for Nixon and for Watergate:
"It goes on all the time."
"Did Nixon rape anybody or molest anybody? Did he? No, he didn't do those things." (That one really left me scratching my head.)
"What is Watergate? What did he do? There's no question he broke the law. Clinton also broke the law."
"I just wonder if you even know what Nixon did. Then I wonder if you know what FDR did. What JFK did."
He ends this rambing jaunt, with the disclaimer, "I'm not defending Nixon. But..."

Of course, Rush plays the old conservative double-standard - a high moral threshhold for liberals; a highly flexible, grossly situational set of standards for conservatives. Everybody's doing it. If you only knew what the liberal media covered up about JFK. Watergate was a whole bunch of nothing. Liberals couldn't stand Nixon, so they set out to ruin him.

Fact is, anybody who knows anything about Watergate knows that Nixon gave our country one of its greatest Constitutional crises since perhaps the Civil War. Anybody who says otherwise either doesn't know or wishes to make excuses for an indefensible pattern of conduct. If you don't what Watergate is, then let me know, and I'll tell you all about it.

11:37 a.m.
Rick from York, Pa., calls. Oddly, it's the only listener call I'll hear in my 90 minutes of right-wing talk-show listening today. After effusively telling Rush how great he is, Rick does the unthinkable.
"I gotta disagree with you Rush," he says. "Nixon was absolutely bad."
That's the last we ever hear of poor Rick. He is sent to telecom Purgatory as Rush rambles on more about how he's not making excuses for Nixon, but really he is. We then are treated to yet another endless string of commercials.

11:52 a.m.
Rush returns with a commercial of his own. For four minutes - that's an eternity in broadcasting - Rush tells us about his MP3, featuring catchy parodies of pop songs and other fun novelties he has for sale.
At this point I feel deprived and disappointed. I so badly wanted to be outraged. Instead I'm bored. This guy is the standard-bearer of conservative talk show hosts? The rambling, disjointed pontifications remind me of a conversation I once had with a resident of the Florida Keys who said that on some nights, he could hear Fidel Castro on the radio yammering on for hours at a stretch. Castro must sound an awful lot like Rush. I think I'll find someone else to listen to, maybe Bill O'Reilly.

To be continued tomorrow.

If you're liberal and live in St. Louis, please sign the petition requesting progressive talk radio for our area. For the love of God, I beg you.

Quote of the Day (Today is two-fer day):
"I agree that so many people voted against their self-interest. But I would argue it was a very good thing."
Senior Bush-Cheney strategist Matthew Dowd, speaking today on last fall's election on NPR's Morning Edition.

"I never thought anybody with such a position of sensitivity at the Justice Department would breach confidences.... A hero is someone that you want other people to emulate...and to say he was a hero because he broke his trust..."
Convicted Watergate felon Charles Colson, directing his moral outrage at Mark Felt.

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