The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

12 May 2009

Media Notes Limbaugh's Lack Of Response To Sykes-Obama Insults


Media Expects Limbaugh Tirade, Is Disappointed

Clearly not wanting to stoop to the level of his mean-spirited political opponents, Rush Limbaugh has decided to remain quiet about the hate-filled insults directed at him during Saturday night's White House Correspondents' Dinner.

That has disappointed mainstream media operatives wondering why he's chosen this strategy instead of calling out Wanda Sykes and Barack Obama by name.

Perhaps Limbaugh is adhering to an old political adage: never underestimate the power of doing nothing.

From the Politico:

“Rush Limbaugh — I hope the country fails. I hope his kidneys fail, how about that? He needs a waterboarding, that’s what he needs.”

Many thought Sykes crossed the line with that bit. New York Daily News columnist Mike Lupica called it tasteless. National Review's Jonah Goldberg said it was "particularly awful."

During his show Monday — his first since Saturday night’s dinner — Limbaugh alluded to the dinner just once, calling it "showbiz for ugly people, that's what politics is.”

There was, however, a mysterious moment during the show's final minutes, when Limbaugh interrupted a dialogue on fiscal policy and, in a statement seemingly directed at his prodding producer, said, "How can they be running a response, when I didn't respond? Well, there isn't going to be a response!"

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs was asked for President Barack Obama's reaction during Monday's press briefing and didn't duck, issuing a slight reprimand of Sykes by noting that the Sept. 11. terrorist attacks are "better left for serious reflection than comedy."

During her FOX News Channel program last night, Greta Van Susteren also noted Rush's near-silence and interviewed Karl Rove for his reaction:

VAN SUSTEREN: You know, it's sort of interesting. I sort of think once in a while -- I mean, I like good comedy. I like good humor. But I sort of once in a while wish that some of these people, whether it's journalists or comedians, would walk in the shoes of these politicians on either side of the aisle because these are tough jobs, whether you agree with them or not. It's not always fun.

ROVE: I think that's right. And look, imagine you're the President of the United States, whether it's this president or his predecessors. You have to go to these dinners, and there are several of them. There's the White House Correspondents' Dinner, there's the radio/TV dinner, there's the Gridiron Club, there's the Alfalfa Club. You have to go to these dinners, take a night away from your home and take a night away from work in order to go and have yourself belittled.

And so that's fine. It's for the good-natured fun of Washington. But I've notice that the media never gets -- you know, has a thin skin about these kind of comments. And I also notice that virtually nine out of ten times, the inappropriate humor is from a left-winger criticizing a conservative, as we saw on Saturday night with the White House correspondent dinner.

I repeat, these were mean, vicious, nasty comments. And you know, I know the president didn't chortle at them or laugh out loud, but he seemed to be wryly amused by them, and I thought that was inappropriate, as well.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, maybe the members of Congress and members of the Senate should have their own dinners and roast us. You know, maybe they -- you know, they should make some effort to sort of get even with us some time and bring in comedians. But they don't do that. That -- that might be a good suggestion.

ROVE: No. They wouldn't do that ever because they understand that journalists would keep a grudge. I mean, the thinnest-skinned people I know in Washington are not the politicians, they're the journalists.

VAN SUSTEREN: The comment against -- against Rush Limbaugh -- he's not a politician. But you know, he's a tough guy. He can take that one. I bet that -- for some reason, I bet that Rush sort of enjoyed that he matters that much that he gets hit like that.

ROVE: Yes, look, he's a tough-skinned guy and he's going to ignore it. But look, that's not the point. The point is, is that the comedian added to a coarseness of our political culture that's unattractive. I mean, those kind of things should not be said about anybody, even if they do have a tough skin and ignore them and can laugh them off. I mean, it just shows a coarseness and a bias and a meanness that is unattractive in American politics.

Meanwhile, the White House is trying to pretend the entire night never occurred. But Obama was there and laughed along with Wanda's jokes. Worse, he even participated, taking his own jabs at El Rushbo.

By avoiding the fray, Limbaugh has outsmarted his opponents.

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  • The liberals have taken a knife to a gun fight when they called out Rush.

    By Blogger randy, at 12 May, 2009 17:14  

  • Why did he keep his mouth shut? He knows they didn't hear Sykes' bit and he doesn't want to remind his audience that he's an Oxy feind

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12 May, 2009 20:34  

  • Rush understands that Obama is driving the country into the tank on its own. Obama needs no help from any of us to make a mess of things.

    Republicans and conservatives should just 'stay out' of Obama's way. Obama is Jimmy Carter on steroids and will soon have the country strangled by double digit interest rates, inflation and unemployment. Unemployed voters are quick to learn why liberal economic policies always fail. These were the Reagan Democrats from the Carter years. They are also called Republicans.

    For a list of other reasons why conservatives should be optimistic, you can hit:

    By Anonymous MAS1916, at 13 May, 2009 12:24  

  • He kept his mouth shut because they are not relevant

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 13 May, 2009 14:15  

  • Rush doesn't have to respond. He'll get the last laugh though when obama goes to prison for fraud. Until we see Barry's true birth certificate everything he signs and says is null and void in my book. Obama is a shameful disgrace to the american way of life and will lie and cheat to stay in power. He's not my president and never will be until I see concrete evidence that he is a born american citizen.

    By Blogger Tony, at 13 May, 2009 22:28  

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