Rush Limbaugh is having a bad day. His radio sponsors are jumping ship. Sandra Fluke refused to accept his apology. Republicans are finally piping up with more fulsome condemnations. Jim Poniewozik raises the most important question here: Has Limbaugh reached an Imus-like tipping point, where his power and audience will be severely curtailed?
It certainly is a result devoutly to be wished. Rush is a nihilist demagogue who has had a negative impact on American democracy, and particularly on the Republican Party. But I wonder. Imus’s act was getting old when his obnoxious comments about the Rutgers women’s basketball team went viral; his audience was devoted, and political, but it was also heterodox, consisting of both liberals and conservatives. Rush’s audience, by contrast, is an ideological cult. It has a primal coherence. It loves the wack stuff Limbaugh says, and will probably love it even more now that the Liberal Eastern Establishment advertisers have called in their chits. This attack on his integrity is obviously part of the vast Liberal Socialist Islamic Terrorist conspiracy. What other explanation can there be? I suspect El Rushbo is going nowhere, unfortunately. But it sure is fun to watch him grovel.