Monday, September 5, 2011

Limbaugh: Not A Truth Detector

I started listening to talk radio during the O.J. Simpson case. That's when I became a fan of Rush Limbaugh. Above all, I found his show entertaining and, at some level, also educational. I am still an occasional listener; but, the days of faithfully tuning in are long gone.

It all started after the 2006 Republican debacle. Soon after the election, Rush took to the golden EIB microphone and declared that he was tired of "carrying water" for the GOP. "Carrying water"? I thought he said he was the Truth Detector.

Now, I never believed that Rush was 99.9% right as he humorously claims. I did not agree with him on everything. But, I always felt that he believed what he said. No agenda. No phoniness.

Not after the "carrying water" comment. After that, I started listening to him with a skeptical ear. And, I would strongly suggest that his listeners adopt the same approach.

After every election defeat for Republicans, Rush draws the same lesson from it. And that is, the GOP candidates were not conservative enough. "Conservatism always wins." That's the Limbaugh maxim. Conservatism wins everywhere it is tried. Only RINOs (Republicans In Name Only) lose.

Really? Tell that to Rick Santorum. Can anyone think of someone more conservative than Santorum? Well, he lost by 18% to Bob Casey Jr. And - while Santorum was losing to a crash test dummy - RINO Olympia Snowe sailed to victory 74% to 21%. Apparently, 2006 was a bad year for all Republicans except the RINOs. You know, the ones who are supposed to lose.

RINOs also did well in 2008. Another bad year for Republicans. Susan Collins won re-election in Maine by a margin of 22%. On the other hand, Bob Schaffer with a a lifetime ACU rating of 99% lost to Mark Udall 53% to 42%. Despite the evidence, Rush is still insisting that conservatism always wins. How's that for truth detection?!

After the 2008 losses, Rush drew the lesson that social issues  are winners for the GOP. His evidence? Proposition 8 in California. Never mind that as time passes by ballot efforts to stop same sex marriage win by smaller and smaller margins. Proof that this is a generational issue. The younger generation views homosexuality completely differently than the older generation. But, Rush kept pointing to Prop 8 making his case that the GOP should not waiver on the issue of traditional marriage.

Something else that Rush did to make his case about social issues also casts doubt on his "truth detector" credentials. He completely ignored the fact that all ballot initiatives to ban or restrict abortion were handily defeated.

In South Dakota an initiative to ban abortion except for rape, incest, life and health of the mother was defeated by a margin of 55%-45%. Mind you that South Dakota is not exactly liberal land. In Colorado, a ballot initiative to that would have amended the state constitution to define the term "person" to include "any human being from the moment of fertilization" was rejected by a resounding 76%-23%.

If Rush was the Truth Detector and was really interested in helping the GOP, why ignore these results? Could it be that he is more interested in telling his audience what they want to hear than sticking to truth?