Next Sunday's New York Times Magazine has a cover story on the Big Man of radio, the Left's bete noir and conservatism's leading man, Rush Limbaugh. The piece is surprisingly even-handed, even nice and consists in large part of a long interview with Rush done in February of this year. The major piece of news to emerge from it is the revelation of Rush's new contract that will keep him on the air until 2016 for an unprecedented and breathtaking amount that is estimated to be near $400 million dollars...not counting the 9 figure signing bonus. Figured annually it is an amount larger than the per annum pay of Katie Couric, Brian Williams, Charlie Gibson and Diane Sawyer combined.
The Left, never a group to disappoint is livid, rallying a kind hysteria usually reserved for GWB.
On the Huffington Post, "researcher", showing the kind patriotism Barack Obama tells us the Left is all about says,
he is a have more and an imperialist and a war monger
that is why he so popular in america
until most americans figure that out not much will change
And Sylmason on the same HuffPo gives us a peek into the wonderful world of freedom that might be an Obama Presidency:
You might have a contract in 2009, but once BO gets to the WH.......................... you hate bating racists will have to change your dialogue. So for now drug abusing Rush,,,,,,,,,,,,,, have fun cause your days are numbered as a hate monger. Gotta love America,now you have, and now you don't.But such talk is to be expected from these folks and is therefore dull. What is not is the peek behind the scenes of the Golden EIB microphone into Rush's life offstage. If living well is the best revenge then Rush is living the most vengeful life possible. We're taken to his Florida estate on which there are five houses, the biggest, obviously being his main living quarters is 24,000 sq. feet. There's the two story library, the $450,000black Maybach 578. (It is a car for those of us not used to checking out vehicles in that price range.) There's the 54 million Gulfstream G550. A writer bearing a grudge would probably use all those things and use them as a launching pad for an assortment of snide asides, but none really show up here. Instead there is even some mention of the fact that Rush's excess isn't exactly self centered, with this revealing story:
Dinner was winding down, and I called for the check. It tickled Limbaugh to be taken out to eat on The New York Times. A few weeks later, he sent me a copy of an interview with Jeremy Sullivan, a waiter at the Kobe KobeClub in New York. Sullivan told a reporter that Limbaugh, a fellow Missourian, was the biggest tipper in town: “He likes to throw down the most massive tips I’ve ever seen. The last few times his tips have been $5,000.” When I read this, I felt a stab of guilt toward the hyperattentive staff at Trevini. If I had only known, I would have let Limbaugh leave the tip.
But perhaps the most interesting part of the story is the impression that one gets of Rush, off-air as being essentially the same man we hear on-air three hours a day, five days a week. He's passionate about those things you would expect; American exceptionalism, Ronald Reagan, his family and friends. He's tepid about those things you would expect; particularly GWB. And he's cold as ice about those things you would expect, also: Barack Obama and John McCain for two. About McCain he says,
“McCain and Reagan do not belong in the same sentence,”
About Obama, a dead-right clip from his show is used to express his feelings:
“With Obama we started out, we couldn’t talk about his big ears ’cause that made him nervous. We’ve gone from that to this: Not only can we not mention his ears, we can’t talk about his mother. We can’t talk about his father. We can’t talk about his grandmother unless he does, brings her up as a ‘typical white person.’ We can’t talk about his wife, can’t talk about his preacher, can’t talk about his terrorist friends, can’t talk about his voting record, can’t talk about his religion. We can’t talk about appeasement. We can’t talk about color; we can’t talk about lack of color. We can’t talk about race. We can’t talk about bombers and mobsters who are his friends. We can’t talk about schooling. We can’t talk about his name, ‘Hussein.’ We can’t talk about his lack of experience. Can’t talk about his income. Can’t talk about his flag pin. This started out we can’t call him a liberal. It started out we just couldn’t talk about his ears. Now we can’t say anything about him.”
Not all conservatives love Limbaugh, of course, some finding him a shallow popularizer and he doesn't seem give a damn about that view of him (although the "shallow" part he'd find not to be on target). The truth is that with Reagan gone and now with William F. Buckley recently deceased conservatism needs a popularizer. As Rush points out in the interview, GWB is not the leader of a movement and McCain is likely to be more of a danger to conservatism than an avatar.
It has been twenty years now since Rush first hit the national airwaves. In that time he saved AM radio by virtually creating the conservative talk radio industry and personally managed to spread the good word of conservatism forcefully, passionately and amusingly, while converting millions to the cause and still managing to charge "confiscatory" advertising rates at the same time.
The conservative movement is obviously in trouble these days, those we placed in office seemingly having left the reservation and left us as well. Rush has gone nowhere, standing firm for all these twenty years. And with his new unbelievably large contract he will continue to do so for another eight, at least. And maybe in that time one of those "skulls full of mush" he talks about so much who have been listening will come along and lead the movement from the White House once again. In the meantime I'll settle for having Rush.
And yes, he's worth it.
Flopping Aces also discusses
Allahpundit at Hot Air also notes the story
A Newt One is talking, too
As is Wake Up America