You knew the long knives would be out on the left.
It was a chance not to just bury Rush Limbaugh, but to explain him and his detestable conservatism, which was so cruel, so depraved and so wicked. This was a unique opportunity to not only consign to the dust his mortal body, but the very ideas that he popularized.
It didn’t take long for the ghouls to come out. They had been waiting a long time.
The first place to turn, naturally, was the New York Times, to a journalist and lawyer, a feminist – one who specialized in “gender and politics” – Jill Filipovic.
“When the conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh died on Wednesday of complications from cancer, he ended a decades-long career as one of the most malignant and sadistic figures on the right,” she wrote.
So much for warming up in the bullpen, for Filipovic. Just start with name-calling.
“His contributions to contemporary conservatism encouraged members of the Republican Party base to be meaner, smaller and more vulgar,” she said. “He anchored his banter with a steady stream of invective, by turns promoting xenophobia, racism, homophobia and misogyny, teeing up a ready-made audience for the cruelty politics of Donald Trump.”
She wasn’t done, continuing: “But perhaps one of Mr. Limbaugh’s most significant and longest-lasting impacts, and one that will persist even if the party returns to a post-Trump ‘normal,’ stemmed from his loud opposition to women’s rights: He was the right wing’s misogynist id. His belligerent chauvinism was key in making the Republican Party the party of anti-feminism. Cracking open his slobbering hatred of women allows insight into his success, as well as the perversion of the party he championed.”
Next up was Frank Bruni of the New York Times: “‘Not proud of this,’ a friend wrote to me in a text message mere minutes after the news broke on Wednesday, ‘but feeling really good about Rush Limbaugh dying.’”
“I understood,” Bruni wrote. “I myself wasn’t mourning the passing of a man who had been so contemptuous of people who didn’t share his political views, so prone to cruel mockery, so proudly prejudiced, so recklessly divisive. In his last months he sought to undermine democracy by ardently promoting the fiction that the 2020 election was stolen from his beloved Donald Trump. The world will hardly be worse for Limbaugh’s absence.”
Of course, there were the usual slanders that made it into headlines – all CAPS!
“BIGOT, MISOGYNIST, HOMOPHOBE, CRANK: RUSH LIMBAUGH DEAD.”
That’s what the HuffPost splashed along its front page. Other fake-news outlets took the same inspiration.
I recalled the day in 1994 that I had the misfortune of introducing Rush to my one-time friend, Arianna Huffington. The occasion was the completion of Rush’s second book, “See, I Told You So,” which I had helped write. I had helped arrange the guest list in Los Angeles for the book party. Rush did not know her and therefore did not genuflect to her. After that she made a scene on his television show – before dropping her faux try at conservatism.
But getting back to the recent comments from leftists about Rush’s passing: Twitter exploded with undisguised viciousness: “Rest in pi**,” read one post that made the decency cut for Jack Dorsey, amid various F-bombs.
Then it was Conor Friedersdorf’s turn to be insulting for the Atlantic.
“For my entire life, Limbaugh, as much as any leftist, was a hypocritical force for identity politics,” he scribbled. “More than that, he personified bigotry. Bull Connor and Lee Atwater were gone, George W. Bush was reaching out to Latino voters, but Limbaugh could still be relied upon to question Obama’s place of birth or call Sandra Fluke a slut.
“In the end, Limbaugh was aligned with a Republican standard-bearer who openly bashed Mexicans and Muslims to win the White House. Trump lost the popular vote twice and served one term, accomplishing the confirmation of many conservative judges but little else of lasting consequence for conservatives. By the end of Trump’s time in office, conservative self-identification was falling overall.”
Showing bad manners? Of course. That’s the childish mode of the left. It’s what they do. But on the occasion of a person’s death? Yes, what better way to cast aspersions? Is there anything better than writing a draft of history – of the man and of a movement? Have there ever been so many people who wanted a piece of Rush?
RIP for he who was the most beloved man – and the most hated – besides Donald J. Trump.
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