When one asks why Rush Limbaugh has so strongly attacked the nomination by President Obama of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court, the obvious rejoinder is another question: "Why wouldn't he?"-Give Limbaugh credit of sort for knowing his own audience. He is not seeking to ultimately build a Republican Party base. Rush looks out for himself first, last, and always and that means appealing to the vicious and faithful following whose support has made him a multimillionaire.
Pound minorities! This is what the mean-spirited Limbaugh base wants and so he will faithfully comply.
How many of us have known far right Republicans? I have and have heard many in their ranks slam minorities and engage in hateful bigotry, especially after a few drinks or after talking to you long enough to where their prejudices jump to the fore.
A woman I knew in the Los Angeles area who was related to, ironically, a prominent progressive in the entertainment industry, and was prominent in Republican Party women's circles, disgusted me by warning me that I should not continue to retain my highly competent stockbroker because "He is Jewish and Jews are interested only in promoting their friends."-
This same woman admired Richard Nixon and believed that he was hounded out of office unfairly by vengeance-minded Democrats for no legitimate purpose, which leads to a compatible segue.
Have you listened to some of the most virulent and hateful Nixon tapes when he really lost his temper? His diatribes sounded like he was reading passages from Hitler's "Mein Kampf"- as he ranted about how Jews were "out to get me"- and that they controlled all aspects of American life, particularly the media.
Did you see the revealing footage of the hate-filled 1964 Republican National Convention in San Francisco? In addition to NBC's commentator John Chancellor being handcuffed and escorted off the convention floor, and New York's Governor Nelson Rockefeller stunned as he was practically hooted out of the building, the small minority of African American delegates were bullied and one was set afire.
Remember Lee Atwater and his masterpiece of negativity during the infamous 1988 presidential campaign, when a disgusted electorate plummeted to a record low level? The idea was to rally a small and diminished base. Isn't that what Rush Limbaugh is doing on radio right now?
Democratic nominee Michael Dukakis, a Greek American, had his patriotism viciously impugned with the Willie Horton and pledge of allegiance negative ads.
The viciousness did not stop there. Author Philip Roth and others pointed out the viciousness of the attack on Dukakis for being olive-skinned, and of how good old typical Americans needed to fear those of darker skin, especially in the oval office.
What was this but the lowest and most despicable form of bigotry?
Let us bring things up to date and the 2008 presidential election. How about all those sardonic references to Obama's full name with his middle name of "Hussein"- being spat out with supreme vitriol by right wing Republican demagogues?
Ah, and they even brought back the pledge of allegiance style attack. Remember when it was alleged that Obama did not salute the flag?
Oh yes, and how about the spurious charge that Obama had not been born in the United States?
Do not underestimate Rush Limbaugh in one important respect. There is a very important connection between the slime he dishes out and the millions he has made.