Friday, June 3, 2016

Rush to Shadenfreude

2003 statue of Humpty Dumpty,
by Minnesota artist Fiebirgir,
on display in Arizona
Almost 7 years ago today, back in June of 2009, I wrote about the resemblance between Rush Limbaugh and Humpty Dumpty.  Not only was there a distinct visual similarity, but the content spewed by Limbaugh was reminiscent of the earlier iteration of Humpty Dumpty, an exploding canon.
"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said in a rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less."

Used to be, in previous election cycles, anyone who crossed Rush Limbaugh (no matter how well deserved) sooner or later would kiss his ring (or his rear end).  Limbaugh was a king maker.  The majority of references to Limbaugh these days are not about deference to his political influence, but rather like Humpty Dumpty, about his "great fall".

Limbaugh is in professional trouble, trouble in part caused by 2012 candidate Mitt Romney's Bain Capital.  From March 2015:

Today, IHeart CEO Bob Pittman announced the company is closing its San Antonio headquarters. Pittman may never admit the company’s financial problems have anything to do Rush Limbaugh, even though Time Magazine, Wall Street Journal, and a Sponsor Boycott Petition which contains 125,000 signatures, confirm social media campaigns are working. It should be noted iHeart/Clear Channel picked up quite a bit of their debt via Bain ‘Mitt Romney’ Capitol.

Remember when conservatives wanted us to trust in the wisdom of Romney and his business acumen?  Where did THAT get anyone -- anyone other than those who profited at Bain?  The same claim is made for Trump and HIS business expertise; Trump of course, given his spotty track record of failures and bankruptcies, would be even WORSE than Romney and his Bain cronies for the nation and our economy, both domestic and global.

And from Politico, last month:
...there are signs that all is not well in the Limbaugh radio empire. Because even as his influence is sky high and his dominance at the top of talk radio remains unchallenged, as a business proposition, Limbaugh’s show is on shaky ground. In recent years, Limbaugh has been dropped by several of his long-time affiliates, including some very powerful ones: He’s gone from WABC in New York, WRKO in Boston and KFI in Los Angeles, for example, and has in many cases been moved onto smaller stations with much weaker signals that cover smaller areas.

And from Media Matters this week:
The former Clear Channel network owns 850 radio stations across the country and the syndication rights to right-wing stars such as Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity.
During the late 1990s and early 2000s the company, feasting on the fruits of media deregulation, gorged itself with profits. (It also bullied the music business for years.)
Since then, not so much. And what a brutal ride it’s been for investors:
Clear Channel stock price, January 2000: $90.
Clear Channel stock value, April 2007: $39.
iHeartMedia stock price, July 2011: $8.30.
iHeartMedia stock price at close of yesterday: $1.15.
The company hasn’t reported a profit since 2007. Today, iHeartMedia is busy selling off assets in an effort to shore up its bottom line. “It’s a case of burning your sofa to heat up the house,” Philip Brendel, a credit analyst recently told Bloomberg. “It’s not necessarily a good idea but you’re running out of options.”
The company’s woes date back to the Clear Channel leveraged buyout deal in 2008. It was overseen by private equity giants Thomas H. Lee Partners and Bain Capital, once headed by Mitt Romney. Coming just months before the U.S. financial crisis of September 2008, the Clear Channel deal couldn’t have been hatched at a worse time.
That influence appears to have changed, significantly if not suddenly.  Limbaugh is insignificant this election cycle, while conservatives, one after the other - most recently, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida - are sucking up instead to presumptive candidate Donald Trump the way they used to do to Limbaugh.  Limbaugh has conspicuously NOT come out either for OR against Trump, with speculation putting the reason for this as a fear on the part of Limbaugh that he will antagonize his listening audience, who appear split strongly for and against Trump.

We can only presume that the perennially financially strapped Rubio was bought off the way others have been by Trump.   Trump paid off the campaign debt of former rivals Christie and Carson; if not campaign debt, Rubio has been notorious for his perpetual person debt.  Although speculation, it is probable (imho) that money changed hands preceding the change of heart and position by Rubio.

However I can't find any mention of Rubio's capitulation, in spite of the fact that Limbaugh had referred to liking Rubio, and to Marco Rubio as recently as February 2016 with the following, after the Iowa primary: 
"I don’t see Marco Rubio as anything other than a legitimate, full-throated conservative,"
And Limbaugh has been an apologist for Rubio when the Florida senator was taking flak for debate comments.  It has become conspicuous when contrasting Limbaugh's promotion of Rubio and his absence of support for 'the Donald'.  From May of this year:

Pushed by a caller Monday to endorse the presumptive GOP nominee, Limbaugh said: “I think it’s a moot point now. … In the words of a famous and well-known politician: What difference does it make now?”

...The caller wouldn’t let up, saying: “He needs your endorsement! It’s that important! And it’s about time you did it!”
“It’s not what I do,” said the conservative talk-show host, who praised Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio in this primary season.

Apparently, like Humpty Dumpty, words mean whatever you want them to mean, and moot actually means self-serving and cowardly.  Or does moot mean it's usual meaning (to the rest of us)?
In United States law, a matter is moot if further legal proceedings with regard to it can have no effect, or events have placed it beyond the reach of the law. Thereby the matter has been deprived of practical significance or rendered purely academic.
Trump, left; Limbaugh, right
But is it moot, because the candidacy is settled.............or moot because it doesn't matter any more in the slightest if Rush Limbaugh is pro or anti-Trump?

Loss of influence, loss of platform to spew toxic opinions, loss of money; it couldn't happen to two more deserving men.  We can indulge in a little shadenfreude over Rush, and look forward to the same thing happening to Trump.

1 comment:

  1. Gosh this was well written. I concur entirely that Limbaugh's choices and words are very nearly irrelevant at this point but it is funny that Limbaugh self-admitted his meaninglessness, even if he didn't mean to do so.