Thursday, February 18, 2021

A Blight On America

Charlie Pierce does not mince words on the death of Rush Limbaugh.

I have never killed any one, but I have read some obituary notices with great satisfaction.

Clarence Darrow

The doctrine of nil nisi bonum is not often subjected to the kind of stress test that it now will undergo with the death of Rush Limbaugh on Wednesday. I have gone all around Robin Hood’s barn trying to find anything to say about him that is simply neutral, let alone complimentary. I have given up and decided to stand with Voltaire: “to the living we owe respect, but to the dead we owe only the truth.”

The truth is that Limbaugh was a titan of American broadcasting who saw the potential of deregulated talk-radio as a profit center and conservative vandalism as a hyper-sellable product. That’s it. That’s all of it. Outside of those things, he was a blight, responsible more than any other non-politician for the spread of the prion disease from movement conservatism to the Republican Party, and the index patient for Trumpism before any of us even knew what it was. He ranks with Father Coughlin, Joe McCarthy, and very few others among the country’s most destructive demagogues. American politics would have been infinitely better off if he’d stuck to promoting baseball.

That’s about it.