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Don't Hate Rush Limbaugh. Copy Him
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My death will make some people giddy with joy. That’s cool. I like to make people happy.

In the unlikely event that I’m somehow able to witness the gleeful grins and chortles of those who savor the sweet news of my demise, I hope that whatever is left of me on the astral whatever will remain sufficiently objective to recognize the fundamental fairness of the celebrants’ reaction.

After all, criticizing the dead is one of my things. Rejecting the traditional maudlin obituary cartoon format that depicts every boldface name showing up at the pearly gates to check in with Saint Peter — why are American political cartoonists so certain that the next world will be configured in accordance with Christianity? — I have occasionally acquired notoriety by publishing critical observations about such dearly departed figures as Ronald Reagan, Jerry Garcia and other politicians and celebrities whose life stories I believe have benefited from grade inflation.

I have my take on Jimmy Carter ready to go. Let everyone else dwell on Habitat for Humanity; I’ll remind mourning lefties of draft registration, Afghanistan, the Moscow Olympics and setting the stage for the 1980s defense buildup. Also, he was the first Democratic president not to propose an anti-poverty program, because apparently, no one is poor anymore.

I didn’t know Rush Limbaugh, but I used to do talk radio, so I know some people who did. Based on what I heard, I have to think he would have held an analogous opinion on the clinking of champagne glasses in Berkeley and the Upper West Side that followed news of his passing. He would have been pleased. What he wanted, what we who express opinions for a living all want, was to be heard and reacted to.

They say Limbaugh was actually pretty sweet. He just said mean things on the radio. “What is sad is that such an imbecile and such an ignoramus ends up as a prominent cartoonist in major newspapers,” he said about me, and who knows? Maybe he was right. Perhaps he would have been courteous in person. I’m just happy he noticed my work.

I speak ill of humans who are no longer breathing, famously and infamously so. The typical response to body-still-warm criticism is that it’s too soon; let the family and friends mourn; cold-blooded assessments of a life well-lived or not so much should await some unspecified future moment. That’s dumb. There will never be a more perfect time to judge a person’s achievements and failings than the hours following a man or woman’s demise. Years later, when it’s appropriate, who will care?

Limbaugh gave as good as he got, usually better, and if anyone is above criticism, it’s not him. But much of the ding-dong-the-witch-is-dead rhetoric on Twitter and various op-ed pages goes beyond celebrating the death of a formidable adversary, which Limbaugh surely was to anyone on the left. It conflates political disagreement with moral judgment.

Declaring someone to be immoral because you don’t like their opinions is intellectually dishonest. Hate Limbaugh, hate Hillary Clinton, hate me, but judge our moral lives by the way we lived, not whether or not you agree with us. I hate it when readers tell me that I drew a good cartoon simply because they agree with its point of view; some of the best cartoons I have ever read expressed politics that I despise.

What really galled liberals about Limbaugh was his success, his incredible effectiveness. Imagine, though it’s scarcely possible, the progressive analog of the man who singlehandedly revolutionized talk radio. You could drive hundreds of miles across highways where Limbaugh’s voice was the only one on the dial, only to reappear on the next local station as the old one faded out. He brilliantly exploited dead air and an unusual-for-radio voice with hilarious bombast and tongue planted firmly in cheek whether his dittoheads knew it or not.

Though he wound up his career as a fairly rote Trump Republican, Limbaugh first made his mark as a conservative who criticized the GOP for failing to live up to the right-wing values he articulated and held it to account. He mobilized an army. As much as Buchanan, Reagan and Trump, he defined the ideological and attitudinal contours of today’s emboldened Republican Party. Had former Sen. Al Franken managed to guide the benighted Air America — take a sec to Google it — to similar heights, Democrats would have a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, and Sen. Bernie Sanders would be beginning his second term. Who knows how many economic sectors would be nationalized by now?

What if Franken or Rachel Maddow (who got her start on Air America) had dominated 15 hours a week of top-rated radio in every single market and hundreds and hundreds of stations for decades before succumbing to lung cancer? What if they had succeeded in pushing the 50-yard line of politics as far left as Limbaugh did to the right? It is a safe bet that, if such criticism could credibly apply, no Democrat would take note of any marital problems, substance abuse, intemperate language, cigar-danger denialism or alleged egotism. They might even pick up from President Joe Biden, as Limbaugh did from Trump in an episode that enraged liberals, a Presidential Medal of Freedom.


About Limbaugh’s supposed egotism: I am endlessly amazed by Americans’ inability to recognize humor expressed by a partisan expressing an opposing political point of view. Limbaugh “once introduced himself with a pomposity and self-aggrandizement that, to this day, takes the breath away,” Colbert I. King writes in the Washington Post: “This is Rush Limbaugh, the most dangerous man in America, with the largest hypothalamus in North America, serving humanity simply by opening my mouth, destined for my own wing in the Museum of American Broadcasting, executing everything I do flawlessly with zero mistakes, doing this show with half my brain tied behind my back just to make it fair, because I have talent on loan from God.”

Note to King: This is a joke. It’s so much of a joke that even if he meant every single word, it transcended the artist’s original meaning to become a joke he never intended. Seriously, though, take it from this leftist. It’s like that time Donald Trump asked the Russians to look for Hillary Clinton’s missing emails. It was a joke; everyone knew it was a joke; and Democrats looked stupid for pretending it wasn’t — or worse, not recognizing it.

Go ahead and hate Rush. But it would be smarter for lefties to copy him.

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  1. Darkwing says:

    All Limp Balls did was spit hate. If you were RINO you were good and did no wrong, If you were a DINO, you were bad and should be dead.

    • Replies: @Richard Sampson
  2. Wyatt says:

    Don’t hate Ted Rall. Laugh at him.

  3. He wasn’t on the radio because he attracted listeners. He attracted listeners because he was on the radio. He’d be nothing without the big bucks behind him. Nobody is.

  4. I like Rall’s article. He differentiated between the behaviour and the person.

    Can’t help it… the WCPT 820 AM symbol looks like an Israeli flag with a red Star of David.

  5. Hallo my friend ! I pleasse for to ask Mister authorRall yes to copy this great trial lawyer. YES, I for to explain church and send money sponsors (very very difficult here in Dhaka, no, YES !)

    Ditto ditto ditto ditto many many condo-lenses mr snerdlee , YES !

  6. @obwandiyag

    so, uh, to ring your bell how many them of them big bucks you be needing behind you ? or are you just pitching today …

  7. His “formerly nicotine-stained fingers” bit was riotous. Given the cigars and lung cancer thing. Rush inhaled his cigar smoke. Instead of cigarettes.

  8. Limbaugh like everyone else in the Jew MSM was a Zionist shill disinformation agent pushing the fake Dem. and Rep. parties and doing his best along with the likes of Ann Coulter on the fake right countering the fake left all run by by the same elites that control the puppet actor presidents and our shabbos goy aIPAC congress. If it weren’t for the right and left wing shills like them and you spinning fake controversies between the pretend opposing sides, then some of the goyim would maybe figure out that it is all a political stage play.

    Painting the proper image for whichever presidential puppet actor is currently in office has always been the job of people like Limbaugh. We see this all the way back to the syphilitic pawn Woodrow Wilson who was even catatonic for much of his second term. No problem, live in handler Col. House (Rothschild employee) along with Rabbi Wise knew what course Jewmerica should take. The same can be said for FDR, guided by his 52 Jew advisors led by the real president (((Bernard Baruch))).

    The MSM was even successful in covering up queer JFK and his live in boyfriend Lem Billings while the goyim were distracted by the fake missile “crises” and the phony Bay of Pigs. All of the subsequent puppet actors are just more props put in by the Zionists so I want bother to detail them other than to note that Trump has always been controlled by the Zionist Jews and the senile self proclaimed Zionist Biden has worked for the syndicate for close to 50 years. All of this, just common sense data makes Limbaugh’s fake diatribes about as useful as a dog barking up the wrong tree. But of course that is what bloggers like you and Audacious Epigone are for in the first place.

    How effective would the fake shootings, fake Floyds, fake pandemics, fake elections, and fake riots like the recent pathetic staged crisis actor event at the capitol be if the media were not there to hype things up. Limbaugh (and You) never bother to mention that the real agenda of Zionism goes on as planned regardless of which group of puppet actors is in power.

    The problem is not just in the MSM but in the alternative as well. Alex Jones is a prime example. He likes to talk about “the globalists” but is really just another Zionist shill who like Limbaugh was put there to lead the goyim into a dead end. There is also the very commonly used tactic of blaming everything on the Jews. We see all over the alternative media. Even Biden spoke the truth when he said “you don’t have to be a Jew to be a Zionist” and a great many of them are not.

    Your article’s title admonishing everyone to copy Limbaugh is just another subterfuge in order to keep the fake narrative in place. Its like Lenin said, “the best way to control the opposition is to lead them.”

    • Thanks: Jim Christian
  9. Imagine how much more Limbaugh could have done if he had never smoked tobacco: the chance of getting small-cell lung cancer (the type that kills people) and not being a tobacco smoker, is extremely low.

    Reap what you sow, motherfuckers.

    Also, he was a typically hypocritical moralising windbag: condemning drug abuse while doctor-shopping to satisfy his oxycodone addiction, then using his wealth and reputation to squirm out of charges that would have got the average person – black, white, or brindle – 5 years in the slammer.

    All history owes the dead, is the truth. Limbaugh was a typical American personality – midwit, not particularly original, and a complete fucking hypocrite on matters central to their platform. Like Beck, Savage, Maddow and the rest of them.

    Lucky for Limbaugh, what happened in Dominican Republic stays in Dominican Republic. (Cough underage rent boys cough).

  10. He brilliantly exploited dead air and an unusual-for-radio voice…

    What he brilliantly exploited was the open space in the then-moribund AM spectrum. All the big media players had written it off as yesterday’s news.

    To those who say it was “the money behind him”, there wasn’t that much money in Sacramento in 1984. Well, not privately-held money.

  11. @obwandiyag

    Phrased in that way, it sounds like you’re saying “anyone who didn’t fail at life as much as I did must have had an unfair advantage.” But that must be a mistaken impression; no self-aware adult would expose their insecurities quite so blatantly.

  12. @Darkwing

    It’s amazing how truth equals hate in leftists’ minds!

  13. I have long been an avid reader of your cartoons, Mr. Rall. I have also voted for Trump in both ’16 and ’20 elections.

    Now that I have elicited your cognitive dissonance, or at least that of your commenters, allow me to explain.

    I voted for the bad orange man in ’16 because I was tired of the neo-liberal Clinton agenda, and equally tired of the neo-con Bush/Cheney/Romney agenda. I would have voted for Bernie, but good ol’ Hill and her DNC managed to knee-cap him, just as they did in the ’20 (another reason why I voted for the orange one again).

    I am not a progressive. I am, in fact, somewhat to the right of Attila the Hun. Nonetheless, I have long seen that the corporate/congressional combine that has replaced venture industrial capitalism with vulture financial capitalism is doing this country no good, and as a matter of fact, quite a bit of harm.

    I’ve read your cartoons, and now read your essays, because you are one of the few progressives who manage to see the other side. You have learned Sun Tzu’s maxim: ‘If you know neither yourself nor your opponent, your opponent will always win. And if you know yourself but do not know your opponent, you will win half the battles. But if you know yourself and your opponent, you will win all battles.’

    Keep up the good fight, sir. I look forward to more of your essays. I wish you would resume cartooning.

    • Replies: @nosquat loquat
  14. @Bernard Franklin Brandt

    “…somewhat to the right of Attila the Hun”

    LOL. Actually, according to present-day identitarian criteria, I think Attila would be considered a “leftist”…

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