Affectionate Farewells

Sorting through my email in-box day was a different experience than usual. Most days, when I get a missive from “” with a subject line reading “Obama’s Lies — and YOUR Money” (as I did today) or, a similar such email labeled “No Stimulus!” from a group called “Americans for Prosperity” (whose logo, unforunately for them, features a line through “Americans for Prosperity,” making it look like they’re advertising the negation of American prosperity), I save it, with the intention of possibly sharing it some day with you. I’ve been blogging here on conservative failure since April of 2007, day in, day out, well over a thousand posts—and I always tried to keep plenty of wingnuttia in reserve for weeks to come.

I announce today, however, with both excitement and a heavy heart, that I’ll be moving on from my work here at Campaign for America’s Future to begin work on my next book. The transition has been long-planned, but I was genuinely surprised at how melancholy I feel. The people at CAF are extraordinary. Waking up every morning and jumping on a conference call to plan how we were going to try to make the world a better place was a privilege. In fact, when I did it for the last time today, I misted up a little.

One thing that will not change: CAF will still be tracking the Big Con, day in and day out. There will always be conservatives, they will always be failing—and they will always be trying to win back power, through means both fair and foul. They’ll come in different shapes and sizes—full-on CPAC-style wingnuts; progress-obstructing Blue Dogs; lobbyists feeding at the public trough—and you’ll still be able to monitor their goings-on from writers at least as qualified, and often more qualified, than I.

That said, one last treat: Rush!

I mentioned yesterday that I listened to Limbaugh’s show from start to finish on Wednesday (my wife and I have a houseguest this week, by the way, and she said that never has she been more grateful for her noise-canceling headphones). What I didn’t say anything about was the second hour. Rush called it his “Gender Summit.” Apparently he’d read some poll somewhere that his listenership suffered from a gender gap of 31 points. So he decided to only admit female callers that second hour who either have problems with Rush or knew a woman who had problems with Rush. To, you know, explain to him the mystery—he was flummoxed!

He’s ravished by the first caller, but regrets she had to hang up before she could go on the air: she’s a student at Cal State, and informs Rush that, as a fan and as a conservative, she’s disgusted that Rush is referred to disparagingly at several points in her women’s studies textbook. He likes it. He’ll return to the point later. This datum, it arrives, will be the skeleton key to understanding the Gender Gap Conundrum.

The switchboards must not be filling up the way he’d prefer, so he puts in another beg for callers to help him, you know, succeed with the ladies. He must know what’s coming next, because he seems nervous, making a goofy Freudian slip: “We want this to have an effective climax!” (Well, maybe there’s your problem, Captain Bluepill.) He also says he has no problem with transgenders. But “if you’ve had a chop-a-dick-off-a-me, don’t call.” (“Honey,” I ask my wife, how do you spell ‘chop-a-dick-off-a-me,’ the surgical procedure described by Rush Limbaugh?”)

Someone calls in and admits that, yes, she has a woman friend who listened to Rush once, and hated the experience. He goes into fulmination mode: how could she have any informed opinion about him if she’s only listened once?

Well, the caller replies, she thought you were pompous.

“Pompous?!” (he’s literally incredulous). “Do you think I’m pompous?”

I’ve never heard him so nervous. He’s never worried about his audience before.

The caller admits that, yes, she’s occasionally found Rush Limbaugh a little pomp—though she can’t complete the thought because Rush interrupts her.

“Irreverent, yes!” says the man who calls himself “El Rushbo,” calls his company the Excellence in Broadcasting Network, brags that he carries out his show with half his brain tied behind his back at all times, and that he’s ninety-nine-point-nine percent correct about everything. “I’m not pompous.”

He pauses a bit. Perhaps he realizes he’s stretched credulity.

“I’m not changing that.” He returns to the datum that her friend only listened to the show a single time: “Demand that you and her listen to the program together and report back.”

End of call. For bumper music going into commercial, he puts on Barry White making sexual grunts.

Next caller coming off of the break is a conservative—but not a Rush fan. She says she might be if he didn’t refer to every woman he talks about in public life according to whether she is a “babe” or not.

Rush’s response: he has to say something nice about everyone. If he just mentioned how evil some liberal is, she’d be complaining about how negative he is. He changes tack, saying men can’t help it. And after a jab at those crazy feminists won’t let men be nice to them, he explains, “God created us this way. It’s what ends up with there being babies.”

Confronted with the unanswerable argument that her way of seeing things, should it prevail, would amount to the extinction of the human race, she asks him if he at least could refrain from calling female newscasters “infobabes.”

Once again he’s shocked.

“But I invented the term!… I would say they need to lighten up. Why do they say I have to change who I am?…I’m not going to change that. That’s a signature.”

Sighs deeply.

“You’ve got to stop talking down to people,” she says. “Maybe men can take this. But women aren’t going to take it any longer.” You always insist, she says, that “you’re right about everything.”

(It’s just then that I recall someone making a perfect description of Rush Limbaugh’s voice: it sounds like a woman imitating her know-it-all ex-husband.)

She says “Your opinion doesn’t have to be everyone’s opinion”—he interrupts: “It should!” She says something else, he interrupts, she says he always interrupts, and he says it’s only because his show has time constraints: “I probably have more respect for my audience than anything than anyone in the media… I don’t consider myelf better than anyone in the audience…. I have nothing but love and admiration and respect for all the people in America.”

(These are all direct quotes.)

The first caller, the college student in the women’s studies class, calls back, much to Rush’s thrill. She gives him chapter and verse on the references to him in her “women’s studies textbook.” She says it’s a “required class.” Rush, satisfied that the reason the world’s women are prejudiced against them is that they have to be so to get a college degree, makes ready to bring the Gender Summit to a close. The college kid tells him how much she adores him, and how she always keeps open when she’s doing web chats with fellow students so she’ll know what to argue. But she admits that she still doesn’t have the courage to praise him in front of the whole class.

Rush tells her—I swear—to “man up,” and she agrees.

Ah. I’m going to miss this job!

load more