Blow the place up
On the November 27 edition of his nationally syndicated radio show, in response to claims made by King Abdullah II of Jordan on the November 26 edition of ABC's This Week that "we could possibly imagine going into 2007 and having three civil wars on our hands," Rush Limbaugh said: "[W]ell, let's just have them. Let's just have the civil wars ... because I'm just fed up with this." Limbaugh then asserted: "Fine, just blow the place up. Just let these natural forces take place over there instead of trying to stop them." Additionally, Limbaugh claimed: "[E]verbody comes to us. ... So we go and try to fix it and our own people, Democrats and the left in our country do their best to sabotage our efforts, and then we get blamed for trying to clean up the messes that these people start."Chances are you already know that Limbaugh is an idiot and then some. But as we move into a new political era, it's worth noting that Limbaugh still has the largest radio audience in the country, according to Media Matters.
So the problem with Limbaugh isn't that he makes much sense, because he doesn't and never has, but by legitimizing emotion over reason and blame over cooperation, he puts opinion that otherwise would be justifiably dismissed as lunacy into the mainstream. The people of Iraq didn't "come to us" asking us to help them. The war in Iraq is failing because it was and is a bad policy, not because anyone in the U.S. is sabotaging it.
But it's just hyperbole, right?
It's become fashionable on the right to point to the excessive and violent rhetoric used by radical Islamic terrorists, but here we have the host of the biggest radio show in America calling for the wholesale destruction of an entire region of the world. Do we think that maybe, just maybe, Limbaugh is not exactly helping the situation?
Basically Limbaugh is expressing a rather sick sentiment that some of our fellow citizens seem to possess. Sometimes it's called "the sheet of glass" strategy, meaning that the U.S. should simply use nuclear weapons in the Middle East. But then Curtis LeMay had something of a following, too. The main difference between Limbaugh and LeMay seems to be that LeMay was actually in a war. Other than that you could throw Rush in an ill-fitting uniform and prop him up next to the corpse of George Wallace.
Talk radio is a weird format to begin with. While Air America has certainly had its moments, I must confess that I have run hot and cold on folks like Randi Rhodes. She relies heavily on emotion as well, although she is relatively honest about it and has at times insisted to her listeners that they shouldn't believe things just because she says them.
But Limbaugh takes things to a whole other place. It doesn't really matter whether Limbaugh believes the crud he spouts, what matters is that he continues to have such a large presence when he clearly has no credibility. Shame on the radio stations who carry him, shame on the advertisers and shame on those who support him. It's not entertaining and it's not responsible to put this kind of nonsense on the air. It may be a First Amendment right, but so is marching through Skokie.