Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Limbaugh and Elton John

Bernard McGuirk, infamously the producer of Don Imus' former program on WFAN New York, frequently performed a skit asking "Which Doesn't Belong and Why?" And now for today's edition:

October, 2006: In their hearts and minds and their crotches, they don't have any problem with what (then-GOP Representative Tom) Foley did. They've defended it over the -- over the years.

June, 2008: Democrats will bend over, grab the ankles, and say, 'Have your way with me,' for 10 percent and 2 percent of the population?"

Summer, 1994: When a gay person turns his back on you, it is anything but an insult ; it's an invitation."

June, 2010: Elton John performs (for $1 million) at the Palm Beach, Florida wedding of Rush Limbaugh and Kathryn Rogers.

That would be Elton John, the famously gay giant of pop/rock music and of the Elton John Aids Foundation. Why would the right wing Rush Limbaugh, who has made a point of his hostility toward homosexuality, hire Mr. John to play and sing at his wedding?

Supportive Limbaugh biographer Zev Chafets suggests four possible reasons, though he assiduously implies that they are mutually compatible. Chafets claims "I’m pretty sure that Elton John’s sexual orientation never even crossed Limbaugh’s mind," which suggests Rush is stunningly aware. Or Chafets is stunningly stupid or lying, either of which is more likely than Limbaugh being asleep the past 40 years.

Chafets argues also

Limbaugh has been deaf for many years. He can make out speech thanks to a cochlear implant, but not music. What he can do is remember songs from the past. As a young top forty DJ, Rush played Elton John songs a thousand times. He knows them by heart.

That may have been a factor, along with Chafets' observation "if your bride is twenty-six years younger than you, you want entertainment that with a multi-generational appeal." Translated in the manner I prefer: my wife likes John's music and I have to concede something in order to marry an attractive woman much younger than I. I might be a hateful, venom-spewing extremist, but I never said my wife wouldn't call the shots (at least on some things).

Personal attacks aside, however, there is this: Ever the apologist, Chafets claims "hiring Sir Elton was not a social statement" (because, apparently, Rush would never, ever make a "social statement"). But he does contend, significantly, that Limbaugh

is not, and has never pretended to be, a member of the Christian Right. As a young disc jockey he invented a fictitious faith healer, “Friar Shuck” who saved people over the radio for a hundred bucks a pop. Shuck is gone now, but Rush’s show still has a rakish, sometimes impious edge. His fans know he was an Oxycontin addict who spent time in rehab, that he unapologetically appreciates “adult beverages” and beautiful women and that his Sunday devotionals take place in the Church of the NFL. As his good friend Roger Ailes once told me, Rush lives the way Jackie Gleason would have lived if Gleason had been rich enough.

The era of the "family values" Party is over, killed by the growing realization of Republicans that the true base of their party, the country club set, found appeals to ethics and religion inconvenient and uncomfortable. Oh, many Republicans throughout the nation still attend church, believe in (and occasionally practice) traditional values and really, truly believe the same of GOP pols and media figures.

He is still the same old Rush, the guy who would ridicule Christians on the radio for ratings, use and abuse a prescription drug, and flaunt his alcohol use. The same Rush who doesn't care about reproductive choice, gay rights, or gun control, except to flog its supporters because it's the Democratic Party that is associated in the public's mind with these views. That's why Chafetz may be sincere and accurate when he maintains that Rush supports civil unions. Limbaugh merely appears to oppose all gay initiatives so as to sharpen the ideological divide between the parties, and among Americans. Cultural issues are a mere weapon to achieve his aim of polarization of the electorate.

Oh, sure, Rush does regularly ridicule Representative Barney Frank (D-MA), known by many of his listeners primarily for being gay and a Democrat, which some believe are synonymous, anyway. But while they giggle and guffaw at the Dancing Queen parody, many are unaware of Limbaugh's real beef with Frank, and it's not sexuality:

But when, of course, there are "obscene profits" to be discussed, ladies and gentlemen -- such as big oil company obscene profits -- why all of a sudden there are companies in Barney Frank's world. When there are obscene profits, companies around about people. They are about companies, and they are evil, and we have got to punish them! We have got to steal from them and we have got to make sure that they realize they don't run things, that we do. But here when you have General Motors and Ford and Chrysler, they're not companies. They're just people! This, ladies and gentlemen, honesty and the straightforwardness of America's Banking Queen, Barney Frank, Massachusetts.

Barney Frank's sin, according to Rush Limbaugh: he questions the largely unregulated corporations which in their single-minded pursuit of profit put the safety and well-being of people at risk- and to make matters worse, he is sympathetic to American businesses which employ Americans and actually make goods used by Americans.

Who not employed by a drug company could be threatened by cheaper prescription drugs?On December 11, 2009, after acknowledging that the (North Dakota Senator Byron) Dorgan drug-reimportation bill would lower prices, Limbaugh maintained

To me it's all. It is a piece of garbage that needs to be thrown out, and certainly do not put it in the recycle bin. Put it where it is going to be destroyed and never come back.

Are Rush's listeners aware that he would prefer they pay higher prices for life-saving drugs rather than endangering the profits of pharmaceutical comanies? Have they noticed that he never, ever opposes anything that would threaten the corporate bottom line, no matter how it may serve the interests of the public? Perhaps now that Rush has decided to shower Elton John with $1 million- which the latter may use to aid gay-related cause(s)- they will begin to recognize Rush Limbaugh's Great Scam. Anyone can dream.

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