Recently, paid blowhard and college dropout Rush Limbaugh was blamed for the troubles the Cumulus radio company was having with it's books. Specifically by it's CEO. This is an interesting situation if for no other reason then the fact that this is the first time, at least that I know of, that a radio company has outright said Limbaugh has cost them money instead of making it. This occurs to me because it seems that maybe one of two things are happening here: Limbaugh has finally lost enough public support that it's okay to criticize him now or that the boycott campaigns are actually working. Or both. Either way, this is somewhat unprecedented. But something else occurred to me while I was watching all the cons defend him in all this: What has Limbaugh actually accomplished?
Let's look at the facts. In the twenty five years he's been on the air, there have been two democratic presidents with two terms and two republican presidents, only one with two terms. In 1992, Bill Clinton won the presidency. This was the election that put Limbaugh on most people's radars. In 1994, republicans took back control of congress. Limbaugh and his ilk I'm sure, took credit for this. But in 1996, Clinton was re-elected. In 1998, the dems took back control of congress when the republicans overreached with their impeachment attempts. In 2000, Bush 2 won the presidency in the closest election in American history (and let's just say even that victory is up for debate). In 2002, out of fear of more terrorists attacks, the republicans took control of congress. In 2004, Bush barely won re-election...again. In 2006, democrats took back control of congress. In 2008, Barrack Obama won the presidency by a near landslide. In 2010, bitter republicans took back control of congress largely because liberal dems sat it out. In 2012, Obama wins a second term in a fairly close election. The GOP does sever damage control.
In the meantime, the majority became more liberal. Supporting gay marriage (something Limbaugh himself admits we've won on), more restrictions on guns, raising taxes on the wealthy, and wanting more regulations to reign in big banks. Not to mention support for some kind of public healthcare system. Even if they don't like to call it "socialized medicine". So what has Limbaugh actually accomplished? If his goal was to turn the country more conservative, he failed.
In fact, the only thing I can think of that he's managed to accomplish is turn the right even further to the right. Something even they themselves admit is now costing them elections. Or at least young people. So what has he done to earn that $400 million dollar paycheck? Nothing, as far as I can see. He's spawned a whole cottage industry of imitators but even this helps illustrate my point. With some many Rush clones out there, why hasn't the conservative movement made more headway?
I have a few theories on this, not the least of which being the fact that they mostly operate on a largely outdated medium, radio. But I think it has to do with the right's severe misunderstanding of both the public and how reality works. People only go see movies that spark their interest. Just as they also only watch TV shows about topics they care about. So it is with radio. Rush never converted anybody because the people who already disagree with him wouldn't tune into his show anyway. Same with the people who listen to him.
But I think the biggest kicker is the real world. You can sell a turd sandwich to people as much as you want but it's still a turd sandwich. If they try it and don't like it or it makes them sick, they aren't going to eat it. No matter how much advertising you give it. Limbaugh and his paymasters sold the public a bill of goods on trickle down economics and other right wing policies that failed. Now the public is dismissing them. He may have a big bullhorn but they tried what he and his kind had to offer and it blew up in their faces. So they are walking away.
The right also operates under a false assumption the public is more conservative then it actually is. I may be a died in the wool liberal but I'm not delusional. I know most people are politically neutral at best. As a result they would avoid most political shows regardless of whose side the host is on.
So let's review: In the past 25 years since Limbaugh first came on the air, the political landscape has not only more or less stayed the same, the public as a whole has actually become more liberal. Call me crazy but I'd say that's a failure for someone trying to turn the country more conservative. Yes, I know, there are going to be those who say that the republicans have defined the political narrative for the last thirty years and have held the rest of Washington hostage to the point where we can't get anything done. But remember, big business has both parties in it's pocket. Something that has zip all to do with Limbaugh or his influence. That is a failure of campaign finance reform more then anything else.
Face it, Rush Limbaugh is a paper tiger and it's time to stop letting those like him hold this country hostage.