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After the Rush

not understanding the appeal of Limbaugh doesn't bode well for Aaron Harber

This is Dark Cloud on Wednesday, October 12, 1994.

In one of the great trivialities to emerge from Boulder in years, a local man aspiring to ride the coattails of Rush Limbaugh into froth history has been confronted with a $20 million lawsuit against his distributing company. Alan Harber, who chooses to call his proposed liberal/left wing call-in show After the Rush and market it to radio stations to be aired right after Limbaughs’s show, is feigning surprise that his attempt to throw a saddle over someone else’s success has been stymied. It is too bad, for the surest way for Limbaugh to get rid of the interloper is to have the show aired. From the sound bites offered by newscasts covering the issue, it is awful and reflects not so much a liberal point of view as a desperate bid for attention.

Usually, it has been the out of it conservatives who seemed pathetic and desperate when trying to sound like one of the people. Remember Jerry Ford’s cashmere chats by the fire during his term as President, where he was about as relaxed and personable as an insurance salesman hitting you up at a funeral? And recall those truth wagons of zealots following Ted Kennedy around in his heyday, trying to get remnant coverage for their antediluvian blather. Even Coors beer spent years airing commercials about beer parties that could only have been conceived by those who sipped sherry at Tupperware gatherings attended with their mothers. It is ironic for me to see the declared left wing exposed as so out of it they would formulate and offer such derivative garbage as After the Rush and expect the populace to gather round.

Now, I think Rush Limbaugh is just another fat and loud white man who entertains a not too sharp population. Like Ross Perot, whose appeal is Daddy Is Going to Make It ALLLLLLLLLLL Better, Limbaugh is the same Daddy hoisting the malt at a Saturday night bar, impressing the local yokels because he has a job and a loud voice. Like his audience, a nation of underachievers looking for scapegoats, Limbaugh wears his prejudices cheerfully. He is scared to death of competent women, he is terrified of his own hypocrisies. Large sections of his audience, like farmers, are totally dependent on socialized programs they love to excoriate publicly. If they don’t bad mouth government, apparently someone might notice how deep the government teat is in their own mouths. Limbaugh’s audience is composed of just the sort of people who need permission to vent their prejudices and anger that their own lives are in such contravention of their pro-claimed beliefs. It is a fad that will last until the public nauseates itself again.

Playing right into the hands of Limbaugh is Harber, who has no noticeable sense of humor and whose attempts at giving Limbaugh a dash of his own medicine only underline both his inadequacies and the clear fact he doesn’t understand Limbaugh or his appeal. Limbaugh is a self-parody and knows it. You can’t successfully make fun of pomposity when the target does a much better job of it.

The Left Wing in the United States has always had the severe problem of being far too serious and far too self-important, a fact fully in keeping with its dismal showing in elections. In short, it has rarely had a sense of humor, which is the surefire political drawback in a nation whose citizens all seem to have a sense of humor. After the Rush, aside from the fact it has to underline jokes that, if Limbaugh used them, would be throwaway lines, is the embodiment of all that is wrong with political viewpoints devoid of humor and doesn’t even know it. As badly as Rush Limbaugh needs a few public debate losses, this attempt will only reinforce his stature. Further, a bad show following Limbaugh will only make it worse, and Limbaugh is only suing on his remarkably silly grounds because he wants Harber on and Harber needs all the attention and help he can get. Otherwise, Limbaugh might actually get competition, under which he would fold utterly.

The secret of success is a lousy opponent, and Limbaugh knows the perfect patsy when he sees it.