09/22/2010 11:47 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Con Games: Rush Limbaugh, Elitist

Those of us in the talk radio dodge can't help but make note of Rush Limbaugh, the thousand-pound magilla in our particular jungle. Those on the Right might not have noticed, but the blame game has taken a rightward turn in Rush's world: no longer happy to blame everything on Democrats and liberals, he has now found a new culprit in "the ruling class."
At first, El Rushbo tried to make the case for dem Dems inhabiting said ruling class, but in a matter of days he was lumping standard-issue Republicans, circa 2006, into the club--people like Mike Murphy, the Republican consultant, and literally anyone who dared run against or from the Tea Party.

His embrace of the new ruling class--and the concomitant 180 degree shift in his historical worldview--raises an obvious question: is anybody out there, Republican or Democrat, more elitist than Rush Limbaugh? If a man is married by a Supreme Court Justice, Clarence Thomas, at his third wedding and can afford Elton John to sing at his fourth, should not that person be considered part of the ruling class?

Consider the evidence from the New York Times Magazine in a piece by Zev Chafets, purportedly the first journalist allowed inside the talk show host's compound in Palm Beach, Florida. Limbaugh has five homes on his property, with the biggest topping out at 24,000 feet.

"The room opens onto a patio, a putting green and a beach," Chafets writes of the big house. "On the table was a brochure for Limbaugh's newest airplane, a Gulfstream G550. It cost him, he told me, $54 million."

There is a "massive chandelier in the dining room..." according to the journalist, "a replica of the one that hung in the lobby of the Plaza Hotel in New York. The gleaming cherry-wood floors are dotted with hand-woven oriental carpets. A life-size oil portrait of El Rushbo, as he often calls himself on the air, hangs on the wall of the main staircase." His main guest suite was mocked up as a precise "copy of the presidential suite of the George V Hotel in Paris, France." His library calls to mind the Biltmore Estate in North Carolina for the journalist: leather-bound editions line rich mahogany walls. And his private humidor bears the likes of La Flor Dominicana Double Ligero Chisel cigars. He drives a $300,000-plus car, a Maybach.
Perhaps most damning of all, according to the Times: "His staff lights fragrant candles throughout the house to greet his arrival from work each day." Flower petals are no doubt scattered along the Persian rug from his bed to the bath.

"Meanwhile," at a local restaurant, "waiters buzzed around our table. They seemed to anticipate Limbaugh's every wish, refreshing our drinks, serving unasked-for delicacies, periodically checking to make sure everything was exactly to Limbaugh's satisfaction."

"He lives the way Jackie Gleason would have lived if Gleason had the money," Fox News chairman Roger Ailes told Chafets. "Some people are irritated by it."

"Do you know what bought me all this?" Limbaugh asked Chafets. "Not my political ideas. Conservatism didn't buy this house. First and foremost I'm a businessman. My first goal is to attract the largest possible audience so I can charge confiscatory ad rates. I happen to have great entertainment skills, but that enables me to sell airtime."

Even in Rush Limbaugh's world, the ruling class rules.