Editor's Note: An earlier version of this post contained quotes attributed to Rush Limbaugh, which Limbaugh has since denied making. As is our policy when a fact in a blog post is called into question, we gave its author 24 hours to substantiate the quote. Since he has not been able to do so, the quotes have been deleted from the post.
This is the third Huffpost excerpt from my new book, 101 People Who Are REALLY Screwing America (and Bernard Goldberg is Only #73), a corrective to Goldberg's 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America (and Al Franken is #37). Because it's of course liberals who control America and therefore are responsible for almost all of its ills, Goldberg's book included, by my count, 81 liberals, 7 minor conservatives, and 12 others. Not one member of the Bush administration. Nor one Republican member of Congress, or lobbyist, or money-man. No one responsible for the Iraq disaster; the pre-9/11 "intelligence" failures; illegal spying on Americans; sanctioning secret detention and torture; trying to subvert the Constitution by giving the president unlimited, quasi-dictatorial powers; gutting our environmental laws; rewarding polluters, strip-miners, and other land-rapers; suppressing scientific information about global warming, AIDs prevention, and consumer safety; or working to replace science education with Christian-fundamentalist claptrap. (I've got all these covered.) No--just real evildoers like Phil Donahue, Tim Robbins, Barbra Streisand, Harry Belafonte, and Jimmy Carter.
I know you've all been thinking about and praying for Rush Limbaugh a lot lately. What troubles me is the likelihood that many of you hate him despite rarely, if ever, listening to him because you just can't bear to. I quite understand. I come not to change your mind, but to confirm it.
#27: Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Fascist Idiot
Why "fascist"? Not to try to one-up Al Franken, our 37th greatest American and author of the 1996 masterpiece Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot, but because bigotry, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, constant demonization of liberals as enemies of the state, hatred of intellectuals, glorification of war, obsessive emphasis on law and order (with regard to minorities and the poor, not businessmen or conservative politicians), and a high level of idiocy are all characteristics of fascism.
Why "big fat"? Because while Limbaugh, who topped out at 325 pounds, has lost around a third of his obesity, he has lost none of the obscenity that led him to describe 13-year-old Chelsea Clinton as "the White House dog" on his former TV show and to put up a picture of Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich--who is four feet, 10½ inches tall as a result of a childhood bone disease--that showed him from the forehead up. (Irony: X-rays of Limbaugh from the forehead up show solid bone. Whence "dittohead," from Greek dittocephalos = bonehead.)
Limbaugh is the right-wing host of the most popular talk-radio show in America; broadcast on some 600 stations, it reaches 13-20 million listeners weekly. Limbaugh is "credited" with the takeover of AM radio by right-wing talk. Former GOP congressman Vin Weber said of the Republicans' sweep of the 1994 congressional elections (which was before the advent of #28, Fox News) that Limbaugh was "really as responsible...as any other person." He surely deserves a generous portion of blame for George W. Bush as well.
Limbaugh's career took off after the Federal Communications Commission repealed the Fairness Doctrine in 1987, thus freeing radio stations from having to air opposing points of view. ("I don't need to be balanced with equal time, because I am equal time!" Limbaugh likes to say.) Beginning in 1988, his show was syndicated nationally (by a network owned by #50, Clear Channel). The rest is idiocy and mendacity history. The masochistic reader is referred to a book from Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR) titled The Way Things Aren't: Rush Limbaugh's Reign of Error: Over 100 Outrageously False and Foolish Statements from America's Most Powerful Radio and TV Commentator. Or to Franken's Idiot. Or to the watchdog group Media Matters for America, which monitored The Rush Limbaugh Show for around six weeks in spring, 2004.
During those six weeks, the "mainstream conservative"--as the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz all too accurately called Limbaugh--used the term "femi-Nazis" (which he coined) eight times; suggested women want to be sexually harassed; repeatedly said Democrats "hate this country" and side with terrorists; twice resurrected long-discredited right-wing claims that Clinton aide Vince Foster was murdered, hinting at the Clintons' involvement; repeatedly called Senator John Kerry a "gigolo," environmentalists "total wackos," and Howard Dean "a very sick man"; and said, "I'm proud to be a member of the lying crook Republican attack machine."
Descend with me now into Limbo to collect a few more soil samples. Many of the following Limbaughisms come from just the short period Media Matters monitored.
■ "We had an attack in Weird-zakistan or whatever--one of these Zakstan places. Uzbekistan, yes, whatever it is. They're all Weird-zakistan to me, but--how many Zakistans are there over there? Seems like a new one pops up every day. You can't keep track of them. I'm a geography expert and I've never heard of some of these...there was one the other day that I--that I--Kazakistan, Kazikstan, oh, I've heard of those."-- George W. Limbaugh. (But if Bush were to say we're attack one of them? Bombs away! A stan's a stan, man.)
■ "[T]here's some little strife going on in Venezuela with that wacko, Cesar Chavez, down there. Hugo. Hugo, Cesar--whatever. A Chavez is a Chavez. We've always had problems with them." (César Chávez was the founder of the United Farm Workers union. )■ Abu Ghraib "is no different than what happens at the Skull and Bones [Yale student's society] initiation...I'm talking about people [the Abu Ghraib guards] having a good time...it looks just like anything you'd see Madonna, or Britney Spears do on stage." Oh, to "initiate" Rush...■ "Some of these babes, I'm telling you, like the sexual harassment crowd: They're out there protesting what they actually wish would happen to them sometimes."
■ "We're not sexists, we're chauvinists--we're male chauvinist pigs, and we're happy to be because we think that's what men were destined to be. We think that's what women want." I've asked women: 93.8 percent agreed strongly with the statement, "I'd like to remove Rush Limbaugh's tiny testicles to ensure he never procreates"; 3.6 percent said "Not sure."
■ "Feminism was established to allow unattractive women access to the mainstream."
■ "What if [Fidel] Castro shows up and says I endorse Kerry? The Black Caucus would like that...." "Castro's the kind of guy that Kerry would probably lionize." In the December 2004 issue of Cigar Aficionado, Limbaugh lionized Cuban cigars, whose flavor the French-loving, Castro-economy-supporting, East-Coast elitist compared to Bordeaux grapes.
■ "The answer is to go out and find [drug users], convict them, and send them up the river." "All of us who accept the responsibilities of life and don't destroy our lives on drugs, we'll pay for whatever messes you [drug addicts] get into." All this was before Limbaugh admitted he was addicted to opioid painkillers--which he allegedly purchased illegally--and that he had spent a month at a drug rehab facility. "There's no hypocrisy" in his previous remarks, he said.
■ Democrats "don't like God," "hate this Constitution," "hate freedom," and "hate this country."
■ "You don't hear the Democrats being critical of terrorists." Democrats "celebrate privately" the terrorist bombing Madrid in March 2004. "[W]hat's good for Al Qaeda is good for the Democratic Party [and] for John Kerry." "[W]e know what [Al Qaeda] want: they want Kerry, they want the Democrats in power." An apparent Al Qaeda letter that surfaced in March 2004 said it was not possible to find a leader "more foolish than [Bush], who deals with matters by force rather than with wisdom," whereas "Kerry will kill our nation while it sleeps because he and the Democrats have the cunning to embellish blasphemy and present it to the Arab and Muslim nation as civilization. ... Because of this we desire you (Bush) to be elected."
■ "Who do you think the terrorists enjoy watching more on TV? Aljazeera or the [9/11] Commission coverage...? I say it's a toss-up." I say they prefer listening to Limbaugh; assures them America is inhabited by morons, and must soon collapse.
■ On John Kerry's marriage: "Well, there aren't too many of...little heiresses running around that are single, have 500 million [dollars] that some guy can marry into."
■ "I'm almost going to come out in favor of war every 10 years so that we always have a group of people in this country that know what it's like. It's not healthy to go without a war for all these many years..." Limbaugh did not serve in Vietnam and told ABC News in 1992, "I did not want to go."
■ "When a gay person turns his back on you, it's anything but an insult--it's an invitation." You wish, maybe.
■ "One of the things I want to do before I die is conduct the Homeless Olympics. The 10-meter Shopping Cart Relay, the Dumpster Dig, and the Hop, Skip, and Trip."
Drug addiction must do terrible things to the mind. So must listening to Limbaugh. His amazing stupidity--real or feigned--not only appeals to the "dittoheads" (Limbaugh fans boast of their refusal to think for themselves); it must also infect and sicken them in the first place.