By RAWLEIN SOBERANO
Everyone is familiar with Rush Limbaugh and his antics. But do we know who he really is?
When President Hu Jintao visited Washington in January, Limbaugh tried to mimic him, crossing the line on what is politically correct and acceptable. When you do it about other people outside your group, you are on alien territory. “He’s speaking and they weren’t translating. They normally translate every couple of words. Hu Jintao just got going ching, chong, ching, chong, cha.”
Several lawmakers and a number of civil rights groups have called for a boycott of Excellence in Broadcasting advertiser unless Limbaugh apologized for what they called blatant racism. He finally caved in to the pressure from Asian groups for an apology.
In America, money talks loud and clear. It takes courage to disagree with Limbaugh, whose daily morning listeners number 20 million that betrays their educational level and insensitivity towards race relations. His daily rants make one wonder whether we are becoming a nation of morons, listening to xenophobic nativists who want to push the clock back to the previous century.
Limbaugh gets peeved when someone is smarter, better and more accomplished than he is. He had to make these boorish comments that make him sound a disgusting, self-absorbed twit. Just leave him to his misery. It is obvious he is suffering a great deal when he compares himself to the highly-educated and then he finds himself looking dumb.
It makes one feel sorry for the poor, old, one-track Rush. His biggest mistake was picking a fight with Sen. Leland Yee of California. So it is here with Limbaugh or just any media figure on the right who is laughably and utterly outclassed. He and his demented fan base have decided to pick on a guy who is a squeaky clean, Boy Scout kind of a guy, a humble public servant and a genuinely nice man. His decency and integrity are unassailable.
Does Sen. Yee have the credibility to challenge Limbaugh? He is Chairman of the California Senate’s Committee on Asian-Pacific Islander Affairs. He was one of the first to call Limbaugh for an apology, saying that his “classless act is an insult to over 3,000 years of cultural history and a slap in the face to a people who constitute one-quarter of the world’s population..” Less than a week later, Yee reported numerous racially-charged death threats, including one fax addressed to “Fish Head Leland Yee” that stated in part: “Rush Limbaugh will kick your Chink ass and expose you for the fool you are.” Other faxes received were “direct and threatening” using Sarah Palin’s crosshairs after he sought information about the cost of her appearance at a Cal State campus. Limbaugh’s hateful supporters flooded his office with hundreds of phone calls supporting his racist remarks.
Sen. Yee immigrated to San Francisco from China at age 3. His father was a veteran of the US Army and the Merchant Marine. He received his bachelor’s degree from UC-Berkeley, his Master’s from San Francisco State U. and his doctorate in Child Psychology from the University of Hawai’i. He has worked in various mental health and school settings. He served four years in the California State Assembly and was elected State senator with the largest winning percentage from a Republican challenger. In 2010 he was reelected, receiving the most votes of any Democratic legislator in the State and receiving the largest percentage of votes for any candidate on the ballot in San Francisco. He was the first Chinese-American ever elected to the California State Senate.
During his tenure in the legislature, Yee has fought for children, mental health services, working families, seniors, education, open government, consumer protection, civil rights and the environment. He has consistently voted against budget cuts and for education, social services and healthcare.
Since 2003, Yee has one of the best track records, getting his bills passed and signed into law. He has successfully passed 133 pieces of legislation, of which 100 have been chaptered into law. Since 2010, he had 18 bills chaptered into law, most notably SB 650 provides legal protection for UC employees who are retaliated against for reporting illegal or improper actions; SB 787 ensures that charter schools adhere to the State’s student speech and employee protection laws; SB 782 prohibits landlords from unfairly evicting survivors of domestic violence, among others.
Rush Limbaugh is a political commentator, radio host, college drop-out…who was fired from KQV Radio for soliciting a gay man in Pittsburgh and synthetic heroin (oxycontin) use. He has a history of denying and balking at rumors that are later revealed to be true. His mentor in the radio world (Norm Woodruff) died of AIDS. He attended Southeast Missouri U. where he had an affair with Eliot Sanders and revealed he’s gay. (One ex-wife reportedly agreed to terms that prevented her from disclosing) “that none of his marriages was ever consummated”, and that he has a “penchant for child pornography.” He is the Grand Dagon of the GOP but shies from any invitation to debate an issue unless he is in control. He has proven himself to be mediocre on the few occasions (before he learned his lesson) he was on an even footing with an opponent in a public debate. He will not accept; he can only carry on a disingenuous monologue with a clique of pre-screened callers.
Limbaugh doesn’t have the credentials to talk about substantive topics in his show. If you disagree with him, he resorts to name-calling (the standard modus operandi of an ignoramus), histrionics and name-calling. His attention was called by Campbell Brown on MSNBC to stick to the issue (No Bias, No Bull) amid any name-calling because they undermine anything constructive one might have to say. His meanness distracts the audience from the issue at hand but he never comes up with ideas. Instead he resorts to nasty rhetoric and useless noise. When asked how he could come up with some solution to help provide jobs in this country or help workers hold on to their jobs or feed their family, his response amounted to rants with no substance at all. An overweight buffoon!
The popularity and charisma of President Clinton enabled Limbaugh’s hate-filled show to appeal to millions of bitter American conservatives. His unique combination of lies and theatrics provided a sense of unity from otherwise incompatible demographics, such as Klansmen and Wall Street stockbrokers. By the mid-1990s his promoters had co-opted his show to enough nationwide syndicates to claim Limbaugh was the “most popular radio personality” in the country.
Technically, this was false. However, the free handout of his show to any station that wanted it resulted in his being the most-listened-to-man on AM radio. Inspired by Clinton-induced vitriol, he paid a ghost-writer to author for him, e.g., See I Told You So (1992), Nanny Nanny, Boo Boo (1993), I’m Rubber. You’re Glue. Whatever You say Bounces Off Me and Sticks to You (1994).
The fundamental problems of Limbaugh’s perspective are that first, he considers himself an expert on whatever spews from his mouth. He is neither a financial expert nor an economist. Second, the evidence of tax cuts’ lack of effectiveness is deep and wide, from the much ballyhooed Reagan years – income tax revenues never grew to match the cuts – to the Bush years from which we should have seen income tax revenues leap given to the depth and width of the tax cuts. And lest we fall for the canard about “tax revenues jumping up the month after Reagan signed his signature bill that was because Reagan also doubled FICA withholding taxes to shore up Social Security. Interestingly, the times when we’ve actually balanced budgets and run surpluses, rare though they have been, have always followed times when income tax rates went up! Taking Limbaugh as worth more than the heat of his air is giving him too much credence!
If everyone just ignores the likes of Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly, Ann Coulter, and other racist talking heads, they would just go away. They only want to be seen and heard. We do not have time nor can we afford to waste time to listen to hate mongers. Hopefully, the FCC will impose strict guidelines on these racist people and their TV or radio stations. They want to talk and give evidence but do not have a clue on what to do. If they did, they had eight years to fix the mess before it got worse. Can we trust Rush Limbaugh’s cabal of miserably divorced, lying, impotent, Viagra-dependent, depressed old white males like him? This group is bad news for the country.
Rawlein G. Soberano. Ph.D. is the President of the Asian American Business Roundtable, 20224 Thunderhead Way, Germantown, MD 20874. Call 301-601-9038, email [email protected] and visit online at www.aabronline.org.