Academic journal article Policy Review

Voice of America: Why Liberals Fear Me

Academic journal article Policy Review

Voice of America: Why Liberals Fear Me

Article excerpt

There are times in one's life that despite all the blood, toil, tears, and sweat expended in the pursuit of excellence, one really should lean back, light up a good cigar, take a sip of an adult beverage, and just savor the moment. My friends, this is one of those times.

Thirty years after the inauguration of Lyndon Johnson's Great Society; 25 years after Woodstock; two decades after Richard Nixon's resignation; and two years after Democrats secured control of the White House and both chambers of Congress, modern liberalism--exhausted and confused--is on the run. Three decades after Ronald Reagan's brilliant enunciation of conservative ideals at the end of the 1964 campaign, he told me "Now that I've retired from active politics, I don't mind that you've become the number-one, voice for conservatism in our country." And liberal fear is palpable.


Thus came the sizzling summer onslaught against me. "He's a showman, a showoff, and a jerk," wrote one pundit. "Chief propagandist for the revolution," said another. A self-serving, hate-mongering liar," railed one writer. "A tool-shed-sized hate monger," said another. "Rush Limbaugh's ideology makes him a political dinosaur, which puts him on the endangered species list," wrote one critic." Judge for yourself about that slabhead, Rush Limbaugh," said another.

The assault came from every corner of liberalism--from the White House and the Washington Post, from the New York Times and the New Yorker, from the Nation and the New Republic, from Time magazine and the Los Angeles Times, from C-Span and CNN, from U.S. News & World Report and USA Today, and from National Public Radio, the National Organization for Women, and the National Education Association (I'm leaving many out, but you get the picture). In the month that followed President Clinton's June attack on me, I was mentioned in 1,450 stories, including the South China Morning Post and Agence France Presse, as tracked by a media database service.

Liberals have, in fact, elevated me to the role of leading political figure. Target Numero Uno. It is a role I have never sought. My goal has always been to host the most-listened-to radio and television shows in history and, in turn, charge confiscatory advertising rates. But as it happens, not only am I a performer, I am also effectively communicating a body of beliefs that strikes terror into the heart of even the most well-entrenched liberals, shaking them to their core.

The interesting question is, Why? Why do liberals fear me? I am not a distinguished member of Congress. I am not running for President. I do not control billions of dollars in taxpayer money. I can enact no policy, law, or regulation to affect a single American citizen's behavior. So why the high level of liberal emotion; This would seem to me to be a legitimate area of inquiry to be pursued by members of the mainstream media--but their own animus has prevented them from solid analysis of this phenomenon. Yet again, I must do their job for them.

First, liberals fear me because I threaten their control of the debate. These are the facts: Twenty million people a week listen to my radio program on 659 stations nationwide, on short wave and Armed Forces Radio worldwide, while several million more watch my television show on 250 stations nationally. I am on the air 17-and-a-half hours a week. Add to that 6 million copies sold of my two books, The Way Things Ought To Be and See, I Told You So, and 475,000 monthly subscribers to The Limbaugh Letter after just two years in business.

What I do in this rather large oeuvre (a little literary lingo, there) is hard for pundits to peg. Media sages have not to this point been confronted with a conservative who is both commentator and entertainer. A conservative who trafficks in satire, of all things--mostly liberal turf until now. A conservative who dares poke fun at liberal sacred cows, and who does so with relish, optimism, and good cheer. …

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