Monday, October 27, 2008

The Silence Of Excellence In Broadcasting

Who is afraid of President George W. Bush?

Rush Limbaugh.

The legendary talk radio host with the largest audience in America can't bring himself to direct criticism toward our 43rd president. Not a syllable. Not a peep.

George W. Bush is not a conservative. He's not even a "moderate." He's a liberal.

Not only is he a liberal, President Bush will go down in history as a failed, apathetic president. He is the Jimmy Carter of the Republican party. If our president leaves office with an approval rating above 30 percent, it'll be a polling miracle.

President Bush has helped destroy the conservative movement. The movement doesn't exist anymore. It has been relegated to the ash heap of history.

Limbaugh is fond of declaring America is a "conservative country." We're not. It's a joke to even make such a declaration. And one of the reasons why that's a stark truth is because of George W. Bush.

Across conservative talk radio we hear Senator Barack Obama is a socialist, and a marauding Big Government left-winger for supporting the Wall Street bailout bill (he is). Limbaugh has gleefully and rightly lampooned Obama for it. But who proposed and signed the bailout monstrosity into law? President Bush.

Yet, day after day, in his monologues, Limbaugh never mentions President Bush. When he takes phone calls, there is also no discussion of the soon-to-be former president. The topic is off-limits.

For El Rushbo, George W. Bush is The Invisible President.

It's a daily broadcast embarrassment that has gone largely unnoticed. How can the most listened-to radio talk show host in the country pretend we don't have a president of the United States?

Limbaugh expresses an opinion on everything. From politics to sports to relationships to whatever floats into his mind at any given moment. Good. That's compelling talk radio, and he is the undisputed master of the medium.

Yet, it's amusing as well as disturbing to hear not a word from Limbaugh regarding the feckless leadership of the most powerful man on the planet.

Why? We don't know.

But I have a hunch. Because President Bush understands the art of media manipulation.

Limbaugh has been seduced by the president and his family with praise publicly and, undoubtedly, privately. The Bush family showering him with slavish compliments makes him think twice about cutting loose on the Oval Office occupant for willful deviations from conservatism.

Limbaugh has been effectively intimidated. Intimidated by a liberal president who can't leave public life fast enough.

Limbaugh knows what he's doing, of course. He's given other Republican politicians a total pass on his show while they were in the midst of stomping on conservative principles. Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, for example.

One of the few times Limbaugh has come close to addressing sell-out, counterfeit conservatives occurred in the days after Republicans lost their Congressional majority two years ago. He proclaimed he was done "carrying water" for the party's leaders.

It was a momentary flash of honesty. That didn't last.

Unfortunately, Limbaugh is still carrying water for an exhausted president. Buckets of it. And he is not alone. Leading conservative radio hosts Sean Hannity and Mark Levin also cravenly ignore President Bush on their shows.

Yes, I'm a conservative, and I love Limbaugh's show. I have since I first heard it on WABC in 1988. The man has no equal now, or ever.

But how is it possible that the president of the United States is blatantly omitted from any discussion about American politics from a program that has 20 million listeners? It's outrageous. It's gutless.

If Al Gore won election in 2000 and compiled the exact same record as President Bush, Limbaugh would have mocked and ridiculed a President Gore relentlessly. Monologue after monologue and musical parody after musical parody.

Limbaugh will, however, finally be able to recognize we do have a president of the United States. Soon. After Barack Obama easily defeats John McCain.

A major reason why President Obama looms is because of the man who currently resides at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Perhaps Limbaugh may address that fact after Election Day. He won't. We'll hear the sounds of silence.