Radio

Rush Limbaugh: Not Shilling Anymore

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A remarkable admission from the great bloviator:

"There have been a bunch of things going on in Congress, some of this legislation coming out of there that I have just cringed at, and it has been difficult coming in here, trying to make the case for it when the people who are supposedly in favor of it can't even make the case themselves—and to have to come in here and try to do their jobs."

If I'm reading this correctly, Limbaugh is conceding that he openly advocated for bad, unconservative policies to protect the GOP's hold on power.  Which makes him about as credible an advocate for real conservatism as Ken Mehlman. 

It's a telling anecdote for what's gone wrong on the right.  There were precious few voices for real conservatism over the last six years.  Only voices for Republicanism.  That wasn't always the case.  Rush, you might remember, was once pretty skeptical of George W. Bush and the whole notion of "compassionate conservatism."  And the early Rush was harsh on Republicans who were insufficiently critical of entitlements, spending, and the regulatory state.

Since Bush 43, he's little more than a mouthpiece for the RNC—Sean Hannity with a bigger audience and back spasms.  The quote above is really only surprising in its frankness.

Via Andrew Sullivan.

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  1. This is the sort of thing some advocates always admit once their side is out of power.

  2. What’s really hilarious is Sullivan criticizing someone else for changing his opinions.

  3. It must have gotten tiresome to have to try and polish one Republican turd after another. I think Rush might have more fun throwing poo from the outside.

    Will be interesting to watch if some, like Rush, maybe go feral and go back to some sort of principles. While others, like Sean Hannity, blink, click, and circle aimlessly awaiting instructions from the mothership.

  4. Capt, he’s not changing his opinions, he’s admitting that he didn’t really believe what he was saying. That’s different.

  5. I guess his check from the RNC has been late one month too many.

  6. Who can I trust, if I can’t trust Limbaugh?

  7. This is why I could stand to listen to “early Rush”. When the R’s were out of power, he was probably the most articulate, broadly available, anti-big-government voice around. Then, as the R’s took power, he maintained that for some time and was very bold in denouncing anything Republicans did that was big-government. I even recall him accusing them of creating programs just to try to change their bad image as scrooges that didn’t care about poor people.

    At some point during W’s presidency, he became a complete shill for the party. No longer did I hear criticism of the huge-government initiatives that W has been spewing out. That’s when I stopped listening.

    Early on, you could even argue that he was more libertarian than republican, because his main issue was small, unintrusive government. He never used to harp on moral or “socially conservative” issues.

  8. I must have missed the part where he said he wasn’t going to be shilling any more.

  9. Holly,

    Did you read it? Was Sullivan actually criticising him for “changing his opinions”? No. He was criticizing him, and other GOPers, for abandoning their principles in exchange for power, and then hopping off the bandwagon once said power dried up. Not exactly the same thing as “changing opinions”, now is it?

    Nothing is as stupid as asserting that anyone who changes their beliefs or opinions on a matter is necessarily just wishywashy. Now, what determines said change makes all the difference. That whole “Kerry is a flipflopper” was idiotic, because it assumed that one must stick by his/her first opinions on a matter, because that’s what they chose…no matter if the situation itself had changed. And I wouldn’t have a problem with Rush just changing his opinions based on the situation…but instead, it just seems like a case of bandwagon-jumping in the hunt for more power.

    If you read Sullivan’s piece as simply criticizing Rush for “changing opinions”, then you’re not really reading what he wrote.

  10. Todd,

    I’m glad that it’s not just me who remembers the earlier Rush that way. It’s safe to say I wouldn’t be a libertarian if not for Rush, because he used to hammer every day about the inanity of believing that government could solve problems better than individuals. About the time he gave up on his hatred of “compassionate conservativism” and instead continued to paint Republican pols as victims of the media I completely gave up on him. Maybe it’s time to start listening again.

  11. Capt Holly,

    Rush was perfectly eager to ladle out the Kool Aid long after he went dry. That’s quite a contrast to Sully’s refusal to serve shit sandwiches after having a taste himself.

  12. This is what happens when you allow all of your politics to be governed by, “But the other guy would be worse”. Whether that’s true or not doesn’t excuse you justifying the same behavior that you decry in the “bad” party when it is being exhibited by the party that you support. If the ruling party doesn’t have room to take and deal with some criticism, it isn’t going to last long, anyway.

    Limbaugh was definitely better when he was fighting the good fight. He should’ve skipped the whole shill option in the first place. Hannity is a true shill and is pathetic.

  13. I remember back in the early 90’s hearing Rush reading whole paragraphs from Ayn Rand.

    I had such high hopes for him back then.

  14. Nothing changes the fact that Rush is a dick.

  15. Rush Limbaugh is a song and dance man with business sense. He sells advertisers the right to pitch their wares to the legion of dimwits who lsiten to him. Who takes him seriously as a political commentator?

  16. Early Rush was definitely better. Everything after Permanent Waves totally sucked.

  17. Edward,

    No one who ever thought for themselves ever did. He was always a cheap political hack with more hair tonic than brains. He wasn’t the first, and will not be the last. Rush never had an idea, political or otherwise, that did not benefit anyone other than Rush.

  18. The sad irony is that Rush was one of the very few people that could have been a positive influence on Republican legislators.

  19. Rush will rise again! Mark my words! Megadittoes, and the commie libs had best be careful what they wish for!!! And don’t forget, Colbert is satire! Don’t trust a word that guy says!

  20. I can’t help but remember the old Eddie Cantor lyric, “How could you believe me when I told you that I loved you, when you know I’ve been a liar all my life?”

    Seriously, Limbaugh may have had some ordinary small government leanings, but he was always a bully and a creep. Remember when he went off on how ugly Chelsea Clinton was? When she was TWELVE, for God’s sake? Like Mr. Hillbilly Heroin is a real looker, too. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

  21. Count me as another who believes that Rush’s show went downhill very quickly after Clinton left office. He was obviously straining to dress up the “compassionate conservatism” pig and clearly crossed the line into being a pure shill.

    I would never count him as a libertarian, especially I recall him expressing criticizing us on the air, but he seems to be more comfortable arguing for small-government conservatism than for the Jesusocracy.

  22. Disclosure:

    I listened to Rush in the early days– during the Gingrich revolution etc. He was especially good during my favorite political event ever: the 1995 government shutdown. (a tear comes to my eye just thinking about it) Frankly, it was fun to listen to well articulated, witty voice of smaller government, and anything that agitated Big Government(tm) liberalism. Then GWB got elected and I never listened again. Not one single minute. Not because he changed, but because I suspected he would, and I felt I wouldn’t be able to stand to listen to him. Given the quote above, it sounds like he did what I feared he would do.

    Not being famous and well, certainly not making any money on my opinions, I’ve often wondered how difficult it would be to have your bread and butter wrapped up in backing a thing and then have that thing change on you. For instance, I wonder how Kos will fare if his Dems run amok and go counter to everything he wanted them to do?

    The Kos perspective is interesting because I spent some time on Kos last night. Most Kos posters were elated about the outcome– but I was curious what Kos himself thought because his pet candidates lost almost across the board. The irony was not lost on him after all.

  23. Seriously, Limbaugh may have had some ordinary small government leanings, but he was always a bully and a creep. Remember when he went off on how ugly Chelsea Clinton was? When she was TWELVE, for God’s sake?

    As opposed to all of us enlightened libertarians who’ve been putting the beatdown on Santorum’s children (me included)? Rush’s show is intended to be snarky entertainment as much or more than political commentary, and frankly he was at his very best when making fun of the Clintons.

  24. “You want a good magazine? Reason magazine… It’s a magazine for libertarians. It’s a magazine for everybody. It’s a magazine for the world. Reason magazine: A good, good magazine.”

    Rush Limbaugh

    https://www.reason.com/news/show/36375.html

  25. “You want a good magazine? Reason magazine… It’s a magazine for libertarians. It’s a magazine for everybody. It’s a magazine for the world. Reason magazine: A good, good magazine.”

    Rush Limbaugh

    I knew he was a creep.

  26. Am I the only one who remembers Rush claiming that George Bush Senior was for “less government,” in an interview during the ’92 campaign?He used to be more independent, but he was always capable of pretending the GOP was more libertarian than it is.

  27. No matter how much fun it may be to listen to Rush tear a patch from somebody I don’t like, he’s never been intellectually honest. I’m sure those of us Reasonoids and Reasonettes who tune in from time to time have caught him refusing to debate anyone who tries to describe the political map in more than one dimension, as other than a manichean conservative/liberal spectrum. Just the mention of the word “libertarian” will get you the dump button faster than you could say “bababoie.” Irony abounds, as Rush quotes CATO and even Reason when it suits him, and has no problem letting Walter Williams sit in for him. Is there anybody who ought to be more ready for an anti-authoritarian epiphany since he was subjected to the scrutiny of the War on Some Drugs? But, no, he rehabbed up and continues to spew insults aimed at good-time, rock n’ roller, long-haired, dope-smoking, maggot-infested FM types.

    I suppose I should have some compassion. His hearing loss makes him unable to decode music he doesn’t remember, so when he wants to play tunes he breaks out the 70s disco he used to spin as a DJ. That must be somehow destructive of a man’s soul. And, his most recent wife left him. Oh, well, there’s always golf.

    BTW, Rush’s rise to prominence was never wedded to the Republicans’ outsider status. He went national in 1988, while Reagan was on the way out. The attitude of some critics after Bush 41 was elected was well, now that the election is over, what will he have to talk about?” Over the next 4 years, he found plenty. When the Clintons got in with a Dem Congress he went to town, and his moment of triumph was the 1994 investiture of Newt as Speaker. Until yesterday, the Republicans have been the effective majority party of the country, with Rush as court jester. Over the life of the show, there have only been 2 years where the Reps haven’t controlled the White House, the Congress, or both.

    Kevin

  28. Yes I remember early Rush too. I first heard him in the early 90s on late night AM radio. He was a breath of fresh air and was willing to bash both sides.

    Over the years he’s become more and more of just a mouth piece for the RNC when ue. Could explain why I haven’t really listened to him for the past five or six years.

  29. He was much better long ago, a real conservative, not a Repub shill. He used to have this great abortion thing, it was a sound effect like a blender – man, that got the point across.

    Too many lunches at the White House. You can’t be killing people you hang out with. That’s why you can’t hang out with them.

    He still has his moments, but he’s a shadow of his former self.

  30. Was that a quote from during one of his shows, does anyone know? Because I’m pretty sure I first heard of Reason one afternoon when I was about 15 and my dad was working from home with Rush on the radio. I’ve always suspected it was that exact quote that turned me onto Reason, making me a suscriber and eventually a Hit and Run reader, too.

    Rush was indeed much better in the Clinton era. I haven’t listened much during the W era, but like everyone has been saying, it’s not wortth it anymore. The man IS a total dick whether or not he’s talking about smaller government, but when he’s on your side of the issue, I think he’s actually (or at least used to be) pretty damn funny.

  31. Like Stern, he’s a talented radio personality, no more, no less. Same shit, different schtick.

  32. It’s time we rolled Rush’s bloated drug addled body into the putrid ditch of historical insignificance.
    (BTW isn’t a “rush” what heroin/ ocycotin addicts get when they shoot up?).

  33. Kevrob:
    the mention of the word “libertarian” will get you the dump button faster than you could say “bababoie.”

    Not entirely true. I remember during the early nineties he interviewed a woman who was a self-described libertarian at length– it was laughs all around. I suspect you’re really talking about libertarians who were taking him to task on the war on drugs.

    Highnumber:

    Like Stern, he’s a talented radio personality, no more, no less.

    This is very true. Another reason why Air America suck(s/ed) so badly. None of the people are trained broadcasters. Who cares what you’re saying, if it’s painful to listen to, I’m changing the dial.

  34. I think…never mind, Rush is on.

  35. I never found rush appealing. His grotesquely enthusiastic support of the drug war and opposition to abortion rights pegged him as an authoritarian from the start.

  36. Chris O writes: “As opposed to all of us enlightened libertarians who’ve been putting the beatdown on Santorum’s children (me included)? ”

    Seems to me there’s a significant difference between making light of a child’s momentary expression, and mocking a child’s actual, long-term if not permanent, physical appearance.

  37. I prefer the early Rush as well. It’s been downhill since “Presto.”

  38. Too many lunches at the White House. You can’t be killing people you hang out with. That’s why you can’t hang out with them.

    There’s a bit of that going on with the Daily Show, too. Jon Stewart can mercilessly skewer some Republican repeatedly, then toss softballs to the same Republican when he consents to appear on the show.

    The trend could get worse now that the Democrats have some power. The Daily Show’s standard jab at the Democrats has been their political ineptness; rarely any criticism of their positions on the issues.

  39. I hunted Rush up on the AM dial the day after the election. During the segment I listened to, he essentially said that Santorum lost because Pennsylvania has too many geriatric folks. Because they don’t have long to live, they couldn’t appreciate Santorum’s great vision for the future.

  40. Paul,

    Right on about Air America. Unlistenable. Nothing to do with politics. Total lack of talent. Shame about that. I listen to right wing radio despite disagreeing with them on nearly everything they like to harp on. I love to hear the different POV. I would listen to liberal talk for the same reason. NPR is great for news & information, but they really aren’t very biased, despite what many conservatives would like us to believe.

  41. Not entirely on topic:

    I experience scads of cognitive dissonance every time I am confronted with the “natural” cleaving of libertarians toward conservatives, be they real ones or fat funny radio bullies like Rush.

    90% of what I perceive coming from American conservatives is authoritarianism. Anti-drugs, stop the gays, abstinence, oh my god they don’t speak English, let’s bomb the Muslims, put God back in schools, liberals are traitors, and so forth.

    And then of course there is the Republican Party, a little bunch of folks I used to like to refer to as the liberal wing of the Christian Coalition. The CC seems moribund today, but you get the point.

  42. “opposition to abortion rights pegged him as an authoritarian from the start.”

    Come on, let’s be fair. Just because some authoritarians are anti-abortion-rights doesn’t mean that being anti-abortion is authoritarian. People can honestly disagree with when one becomes a person and when abortion becomes murder. Some set the line a lot further back than others. If I think a 2 mo old fetus is a person, then logically I think killing it is murder, and opposition to murder is certainly not unlibertarian. Don’t go calling someone “authoritarian” just because they disagree with you on the date personhood is attained (although, to be fair, Rush is an authoritarian douchebag).

  43. As opposed to all of us enlightened libertarians who’ve been putting the beatdown on Santorum’s children (me included)?

    The day Julian Sanchez goes on TV, holds up a picture of the Santorum kid and says “Hey, did you know that Pennsylvania has an official state dog?” is the day that comparison will fit.

  44. Just because some authoritarians are anti-abortion-rights doesn’t mean that being anti-abortion is authoritarian.

    Clarification: having moral qualms against abortion is not inherently authoritarian. But wanting to outlaw it is. It’s the same problem as with the drug war: how can police pursue crimes that don’t have victims reporting said crimes to the police? If I buy drugs from a dealer, neither of us are likely to report this crime to the cops, so they have to resort to spying and other totalitarian techniques to determine that a crime was committed. And the same holds true if I got an illegal abortion: neither me nor the abortionist would go to the cops.

  45. Jennifer,

    The comparison with the drug war doesn’t count. In that example it is clear no unwilling parties are hurt. That’s not so clear in the abortion case. Sure, the mother and the doctor may go home happy (or at least glad it happened overall), but what about the dead fetus? It’s not at all clear that a person wasn’t just killed.

  46. The comparison with the drug war doesn’t count.

    Again, Andy, the comparison between the drug war and making abortion illegal was over the fact that no victims will report the crime to the police, so the cops have to go out looking for evidence of a crime, and do so in very unsavory ways.

    If I murder someone, that person’s family and friends will report him missing, or the cops might find the body. Either way, the cops will learn of a crime committed WITHOUT doing the sorts of things that would give civil libertarians the willies. But how, exactly, will the police learn that I had an illegal abortion of a four-week fetus? Commandeering emergency-room records of female patients admitted for vaginal bleeding? Tapping the phones of OB/GYNs?

    In Ceaucescu’s Romania, the government made sure nobody had abortions by forcing all women of childbearing age to undergo monthly gynecological exams.

  47. “In Ceaucescu’s Romania, the government made sure nobody had abortions by forcing all women of childbearing age to undergo monthly gynecological exams.”

    Sensible policy;) If it saves just one life…

    (Due to recent political events, we can expect an onslaught of these stupid “if it saves just one life” BS lines. I’m getting some practice in on the “if ya can’t beat ’em, join ’em” principle)

  48. The day Julian Sanchez goes on TV, holds up a picture of the Santorum kid and says “Hey, did you know that Pennsylvania has an official state dog?” is the day that comparison will fit.

    A difference of degree and reach, not a substantive difference. BTW, I don’t think either was particularly appropriate, and I made my own little snarky comment on the Santorum thread. That Chelsea thing certainly wasn’t Rush’s finest moment.

  49. The trend could get worse now that the Democrats have some power. The Daily Show’s standard jab at the Democrats has been their political ineptness; rarely any criticism of their positions on the issues.

    Feh, it is what it is. I don’t expect the Daily Show to be any more ‘fair and balanced’ than Rush Limbaugh. Daily Show has less bloviation, but that’s not its schtick, anyway. It’s a satire on the news with a liberal slant. If the writers and the hosts want Universal Healthcare, why would I expect them to be critical of Universal Healthcare?

    Highnumber:
    NPR is great for news & information, but they really aren’t very biased, despite what many conservatives would like us to believe.

    They have their moments. What I think is strangely ironic (and disturbing– and I say this as an avid NPR listener) is NPR liberal bias was front, center and in your face during the Newt Gingrich years. Then during the GWB years, they’ve actually been pretty square with their reporting.

    I say disturbing because I still contend that to the modern liberal, a smaller, less intrusive government is a much scarier thing than a right-wing, socially conservative government that stomps on our civil liberties. I submit that modern liberals can bend intrusions into civil liberties to fit their perspective when they’re back in power. However, the lack of government can never be bent to fit their perspective… ever.

  50. At the risk of repeating myself (I repeat myself when under stress. I repeat myself when under stress.), you can’t support the drug war (as Rush always has) and be for limited government. You can’t believe that the 10 Commandments should be posted by publicly funded entities (let alone enforced) and NOT be an authoritarian.

    That Rush is openly declaring himself to have been a whore for the GOP is only a little more surprising than folks here saying he used to be worth listening to back in the 90’s. Here are some fun Rush quotes from those good old days that, to me, demonstrate that he has always been a dishonest clown.

    “It has not been proven that nicotine is addictive, the same with cigarettes causing emphysema [and other diseases].” (Radio show, 4/29/94)

    “The worst of all of this is the lie that condoms really protect against AIDS. The condom failure rate can be as high as 20 percent. Would you get on a plane — or put your children on a plane — if one of five passengers would be killed on the flight? Well, the statistic holds for condoms, folks.” (Ought to Be, p. 135)

    “Do you know we have more acreage of forest land in the United States today than we did at the time the constitution was written.” (Radio show, 2/18/94)

    “The videotape of the Rodney King beating played absolutely no role in the conviction of two of the four officers. It was pure emotion that was responsible for the guilty verdict.” (Radio show, quoted in FRQ, Summer/93)

    “If you want to know what America used to be–and a lot of people wish it still were–then you listen to Strom Thurmond.” (TV show, 9/1/93)

    “There are more American Indians alive today than there were when Columbus arrived or at any other time in history. Does this sound like a record of genocide?” (Told You So, p. 68)

    “Richard Daley, in 1968, in the Democratic National Convention, issued an order–where there were rumors of riots–he issued a shoot-to-kill order. And there were no riots and there was no civil disobedience and no shots were fired and nobody was hurt. And that’s what ought to happen.” (TV show, 6/10/93)

    On Iran-Contra special prosecutor Lawrence Walsh: “This Walsh story basically is, we just spent seven years and $40 million looking for any criminal activity on the part of anybody in the Reagan administration, and guess what? We couldn’t find any. These guys didn’t do anything, but we wish they had so that we could nail them. So instead, we’re just going to say, ‘Gosh, these are rotten guys.’ They have absolutely no evidence. There is not one indictment. There is not one charge.” (TV show, 1/19/94)

    (Of the 14 people indicted, 11 were convicted or pleaded guilty.)

    Then there’s the “White House dog” joke, holding up a picture of Chelsea. The guy deserved to be turned off over a decade ago, folks.

  51. The day Julian Sanchez goes on TV, holds up a picture of the Santorum kid and says “Hey, did you know that Pennsylvania has an official state dog?” is the day that comparison will fit.

    And if Hit and Run’s audience was the same size as Rush’s, Julian wouldn’t have posted that? How finely would you like that hair split?

  52. 90% of what I perceive coming from American conservatives is authoritarianism.

    Funny, I always had the same exact view of American liberals. Except I would ratchet that up to 95%. I never feared conservatives as much because I don’t think much of what I don’t like about their agenda is politically implementable, whereas much of the liberal agenda already has been.

    I say disturbing because I still contend that to the modern liberal, a smaller, less intrusive government is a much scarier thing than a right-wing, socially conservative government that stomps on our civil liberties. I submit that modern liberals can bend intrusions into civil liberties to fit their perspective when they’re back in power. However, the lack of government can never be bent to fit their perspective… ever.

    Thanks for making my point Paul, extremely well-said.

  53. Mustafa or Paul, could you tell me who, exactly, is “a modern liberal?” I know many liberals (many on this board) who are very different from each other, with very different priorities and ideals. Leftists, now, are a more similar bunch, but I think it’s important not to confuse liberals with leftists.

  54. Les, I should have foreseen that, and I knew we would get into some definitional problems as one always does with the crude liberal/conservative dichotomy. Seeing that this whole post started with Andrew Sullivan, I obviously prefer his style of conservatism to say, James Dobson. I’ve always tended to equate true conservatism with limited government. And yes, leftist would be a more apt term for what I was describing. Liberal has so much baggage and history, but obviously I wasn’t referring to classical liberals, basically the statist/collectivist variety.

  55. The only thing positive Rush can do in my mind is come out against the Drug War ( which I consider a true conservative/small govt position). And I never see that happening. I don’t care how “fiscally conservative” someone is. If they support SWAT teams for pain pills, theocratic bullshit, and all that other stuff- They can go fuck themselves.

  56. rush has always been a conservative and always will be conservative.

    Simply because conservatism borrows from libertarianism and is often conflicted and contradictory in its own stance does not change who Rush is will be or ever has been…which is a conservative.

    I listen to him once in awhile (just as i will listen to NPR or read an article from the New York times) and I actually heard what he said…you know the whole thing…and although i do not agree with conservatism or Rush on many issues I cannot say he is being inconsistent.

  57. At the risk of repeating myself (I repeat myself when under stress. I repeat myself when under stress.), you can’t support the drug war (as Rush always has) and be for limited government. You can’t believe that the 10 Commandments should be posted by publicly funded entities (let alone enforced) and NOT be an authoritarian.

    I like how Les equates the drug war which actually kills people and falsely imprisons them and steals their land to the same standard as religious fundamentalists putting up the equivalent of museum pieces in public buildings.

    Them Nazis are bad…sure they killed 10 million people but they also don’t like kittens.

  58. The day Julian Sanchez goes on TV, holds up a picture of the Santorum kid and says “Hey, did you know that Pennsylvania has an official state dog?” is the day that comparison will fit. . . and if Hit and Run’s audience was the same size as Rush’s, Julian wouldn’t have posted that? How finely would you like that hair split?

    The size of the audience doesn’t matter; do you not see the difference between Julian calling attention to a girl crying because her bigoted dad lost an election and making a joke about how he’s happy to see her cry, versus Julian calling attention to the same crying girl and making a joke about how she’s as ugly as a dog?

    JULIAN: Her dad lost. She’s crying. Man, I’ve never been so happy to see a kid cry.

    –versus–

    JULIAN: Her dad lost. She’s crying. Man, she’s so ugly she could be the official White House dog.

    You actually think the size of the readership is the only difference here?

  59. I for one, laughed at both jokes; that’s just the kind of guy I am! But please, let’s stop feigning sensitivity or any moral high ground regarding Julian’s post. We hereby declare war on on all things Santorum, including his eight-year old daughter! Sins of the father!

  60. Wow! The crying Santorum girl thread is like some 50s sci-fi movie monster. Not only has it grown beyond belief, it is infecting other threads too.

  61. Jenifer,

    If I am a Transient, and I am murdered, and I have no one to report me missing, the police shouldn’t care? Now if I am a citizen, and see the murder (there is no body) I report it, are you saying that nobody should investigate? So if I witness a 3rd trimester abortion days before its natural birth and its been established in Law that a BABY in the Third trimester is a person, the cops should ignore me because it would be totalitarianism? Whats the difference? It is not a good comparison with drug crimes. So why do we have consent Laws then? Are you saying NAMBLA is right because there is no victim? It has been well established that certain people need protection from other people because they are incapable of making a informed choice. Now , Being a Baby, I think would qualify. What should the law be as far as when its O.K. to abort. That is a question for the state legislatures. Just like age of consent is for sex.

  62. But do you think it’s that unusual, highnumber? I’ve noticed a fair amount of viral thread themes. Now that’s got me thinking about the next Reason tech upgrade…

  63. This thread is going to get major media attention. Julian’s posting will reinvigorate the reputation of libertarians as heartless fiends. Just when we were about to finally take power, too. Shucks.

  64. Paul,

    I’m not convinced that legislators are the best people to decide shade-of-grey issues. Certainly the fact that reasonable people can be close to evenly split on abortion is evidence that it’s something that the law needs to stay out of, not get involved with.

  65. If you read Sullivan’s piece as simply criticizing Rush for “changing opinions”, then you’re not really reading what he wrote.

    Yes, I read what Sullivan said: He’s criticizing Limbaugh for not having “intellectual honesty”, which coming from Sullivan is roughly akin to Bill Clinton admonishing someone for getting a blowjob from a naive young intern.

    Andrew Sullivan.com was the first blog I read, waaay back just before 9/11. If you have the patience, go back and read his archives from late 2001 to mid-2004 (if he hasn’t “sanitized” them). Sullivan’s gooey praise of Bush bordered on worship; he often insinuated that only Bush could lead our country through such difficult times. His rah-rah cheerleading for the Iraq war would probably surprise many who didn’t read him back then.

    After his August 2004 P-Town vacation, it was as if someone else had taken his place. Suddenly, Bush was a tool of the Right-Wing Christers. His Iraq war coverage went from hopefully optimistic to all waterboarding, all the time.

    So what changed for Sullivan? It was Bush coming out in favor of the Marriage Amendment in early 2004. The man who was supposed to be chosen by destiny to lead the free world was now a sinister buffoon, all because he didn’t support gay marriage. Sullivan, of course, portrays this as the result of high-minded pursuit of the truth. Most of his conservative former readers recognize it as a political snit because he didn’t get what he wanted.

    Now, Sullivan has every right to detest Bush because he doesn’t support gay marriage. But it’s kind of rich for him to lay in to Limbaugh for having a similar Damascus moment about the Republican Congress.

  66. Mustafa Shag,

    I guess the spillover is not that unusual, but that coupled with the unprecedented size of a thread about a photo of a little girl crying (It’s addictive – I don’t want it to die. Viva crying girl!), I am a little concerned about our mental health.

  67. I for one, would really like to see a crying Reason Pillow Girl. Just a sick fetish, I guess. She wasn’t even that pretty.

  68. That’s disgusting. So what if Rush Limbaugh is not shitting anymore. Jeeez. Grow up.

  69. The current issue of The Other Libertarian Magazine, Liberty, has an interesting article about whether libertarians have more in commn with conservatives/Republicans or liberals/Democrats.

  70. Les

    By modern liberal, I speak generally about Democrats who don’t believe in any form of government restraint including but not limited to the following:

    smaller government
    smaller budgets
    less prohibition (that includes areas of consumer choice- cigarettes, trans-fats)
    simplified tax code which rejects the notion of taxation to create policy instead of generate revenue
    elimination of McCain-Feingold
    Less than complete eradication of the Patriot Act

    Which brings me to the next question for the Dems, where are we with that? I hear the #1 issue for the Dems will be raising the minimum wage and several other domestic economic details. All fair, good and debatable… but having one or two things that Libertarians and Dems see eye to eye on, why isn’t illegal wiretapping, the Patriot act, and another half-dozen or so things not the first priority?

    Now do you see why I’m already nervous?

  71. If I am a Transient, and I am murdered, and I have no one to report me missing, the police shouldn’t care? Now if I am a citizen, and see the murder (there is no body) I report it, are you saying that nobody should investigate? So if I witness a 3rd trimester abortion days before its natural birth and its been established in Law that a BABY in the Third trimester is a person, the cops should ignore me because it would be totalitarianism? Whats the difference?

    Let’s be realistic, Paul: if someone has an illegal third-trimester abortion, how likely do you think it is that they’ll have it in front of you?

    I did not say that the police shouldn’t care if a transient is murdered; in fact, when the police discover any sort of dead body they always investigate, even if it is a transient. (There probably are transients who are murdered and nobody ever knows about it, but that is a different issue.)

    So can you answer my earlier question: if abortion is made illegal, how exactly do you think the police will learn about illegal abortions when they happen? I’m thinking specifically of abortions that take place before the woman is visibly pregnant; if a nine-months-pregnant woman suddenly shows up flat-bellied and sans baby, people would probably report it.

    But how do you suppose police will learn about illegal first-trimester abortions? This is a serious question; I’d like to know the nuts-and-bolts of how a total abortion ban would operate. And when/if you answer, consider that we already live in a country where harmless cold medicines are banned because they MIGHT be used to make meth, and students taking aspirin in school are expelled because they MIGHT be taking happy pills, and police roadblocks are deemed acceptable because someone MIGHT be driving drunk.

    So in a country where the government is already prone to restricting the innocent because he MIGHT be a criminal, what is the non-authoritarian, non-totalitarian method you think cops will use to investigate illegal first-trimester abortions?

  72. Let’s be realistic, Paul: if someone has an illegal third-trimester abortion, how likely do you think it is that they’ll have it in front of you?

    Jennifer, please refer to him as Mr. Davis, Paul Davis, P.D., what have you. I keep getting confrused.

  73. Nothin cracks me up like people wringin thier hands they cant stop- at gunpoint”? a woman gettin an abortion.
    you wanna save lives, creep? Strap on a dynamite vest & visit Congress.
    We’ll light candles for ya.
    Otherwise, your just a Mullah without a militia.

  74. I like how Les equates the drug war which actually kills people and falsely imprisons them and steals their land to the same standard as religious fundamentalists putting up the equivalent of museum pieces in public buildings.

    No equating going on at all. It’s just a short list of things that qualify supporters as authoritarian. One is certainly more destructive than the other, but they both represent points of view that require authoritarianism.

  75. All fair, good and debatable… but having one or two things that Libertarians and Dems see eye to eye on, why isn’t illegal wiretapping, the Patriot act, and another half-dozen or so things not the first priority?

    Now do you see why I’m already nervous?

    Absolutely I do. I can only hope they’ll address those things sooner than later. I’m not optimistic, though.

  76. But it’s kind of rich for him to lay in to Limbaugh for having a similar Damascus moment about the Republican Congress.

    Unfortunately for your thesis, Sullivan’s problem with Limbaugh is not his road-to-Damascus conversion, but that in the months/years after the scales fell from his eyes, he kept right on busting heads on the Jesus Freaks, only admitting that he wasn’t really down with the whole “persecution” thing after it became politically convenient.

  77. So maybe Rush will start being a good conservative again, like he was in the early Clinton years, and start advocating limited government and attacking government power.

  78. Why don’t we just be above-board about abortion. We’ll ban all abortions in the United States, but we’ll have a fund that pays for travel expenses to more progressive jurisdictions where a woman can still decide her own fate. This way we’d have some consistency. A ban on abortion would affect those too poor to travel much worse than the rich. To level the playing field, George Soros could set up a fund to pay for poor people’s travel bills. Under this plan, the high and mighty can rest religiously assured and people facing the most difficult decision in their life don’t get screwed by the holier than thou. Somebody above said it best: It isn’t entirely clear that a person hasn’t been murdered. That doesn’t cut it for accusing someone of murder.

  79. RIGHT…..Early Rush was better…Same with Aerosmith.

  80. The authoritarian nature is to control others, usually by dictating how people will live by removing our ability to choose what or how we do things.

    Someone can be anti-abortion and not authoritarian as long as they do not require others to be anti-abortion under penalty of law. Most that are pro-choice, don’t care if anyone else gets an abortion or not, they just the ability to choose for themselves. However most anti-abortionists demand that everyone live by their rule. They want the choice to be anti-abortion but they want to deny me the choice.

    Rush is certainly authoritarian in nature. He thinks his beliefs are America’s beliefs. In other words he thinks Americans should live as he believes they should, not by how they believe they should.

    To quote Rush, “Even though the Republican Party let us down, to me they represent a far better future for my beliefs and therefore the country’s than the Democrat Party and liberalism does.”

    His beliefs and therefore the country’s, says a lot.

  81. To answer how anti-abortion laws would be enforced, seems the simple answer would be to look back a few decades, to when most states didn’t allow it in most circumstances. The situation basically was, doctors would do them only when they could plausibly make out the case to be one of the allowed exceptions (whether that was actually so or not), and otherwise they were done by non-doctors. Among the non-doctors, the good ones performed them well and were never caught, while the bad ones were caught when their work led to injuries.

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