It was announced yesterday that Rush Limbaugh died, and a number of prominent conservatives immediately took us to task for not being gracious about his passing.
To be fair, some of the tweets and other remarks I saw were really not kind. I wouldn’t have turned the volume up that much. But this is Rush Limbaugh we’re talking about. His brand was being an asshole. That was his brand.
- This is the guy who went after Chelsea Clinton for being “ugly” when she was 12 years old. (God forbid any of us should have said an unkind word about Barron Trump.)
- This is the guy who went after a Georgetown law student to have the temerity to appear in front of a Congressional committee investigating contraceptive mandates, labeling her a “prostitute” and “slut.”
- This is the guy who went after Michael J. Fox for participating in an ad promoting funding for stem cell research, alleging that Fox’s had exaggerated his symptoms from Parkinson’s disease.
- This is the guy who went after certain groups of Iraq War veterans opposed to the war as “the phony soldiers.”
- This is the guy who started the rumor that Vince Foster was murdered in an apartment owned by Hillary Clinton.
- This is the guy who claimed that Covid-19 was the “common cold,” and alleged it was being “weaponized” to bring down Trump.
- And, of course, this is the guy who first claimed that there was no violent insurrection on January 6th, and then, switching gears, justified and praised the insurrection, saying “I am glad Sam Adams, Thomas Paine, the actual tea-party guys, the men at Lexington and Concord, didn’t feel that way.”
Could Limbaugh be funny sometimes?
In the way cruel people can be funny.
Even people as expert as Al Franken — who wrote the book “Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot” — admired his ability to maintain a three hour show for years and years. “Three hours a day is a long time to do ‘unguested confrontation,’ which is the actual name for his format,” Franken has been quoted as saying. “Rush started this thing, and he was good at it. I mean, he’s awful, obviously, a monster, but very talented.”
Limbaugh, on more than one occasion, claimed that he was just an “entertainer.” Well, it was only entertaining if watching the fabric of civil society unravel is entertaining to you.
By the way, if you’re wondering whether Limbaugh’s “Presidential Medal of Freedom” could be taken back, the answer is most probably no. Heck, they couldn’t even take back the Medal previously given to Bill Cosby.
In the end, I can’t do much better than the quote attributed to famous trial lawyer Clarence Darrow:
I’ve never killed a man, but I have read some obituaries with great pleasure.Attributed to Clarence Darrow