Opinion: I Actually Agree with Rush Limbaugh

Thursday, January 20, 2011 - 02:03 PM

As a pretty staunch centrist independent, I agree very little with Rush Limbaugh. But when I see eye to eye with those whom I have deep seated disagreements with, I think it's good to highlight those commonalities.

In this case he is right on the money with his opposition to the effort to force commentators to give equal time to differing opinions on political commentary shows. As much as something like this passing might just lead me to start watching cable news again, this inaccurately labeled "Fairness Doctrine" is a clear infringement on free speech, and I'm glad the recent calls to bring it back don't look to be gaining traction.

Just because someone has a politically themed program, does not mean the government should then have the right to determine what they should talk about. As a matter of fact, those are the very programs the government should have the least control over. I see no difference between doing this and forcing the same on any other medium of speech, whether it be television, newspapers, podcasts, books, web video shows, magazines or even blogs.

Why should Rush have to represent views he does not hold on his own program, if Ariana Huffington does not have to do so on her Huffington Post, or the libertarian magazine Reason in the pages of their publication or website? Why is it wrong to force this upon an author or the outlets for the left-wing show Democracy Now, but acceptable to do so to Sean Hannity, another popular conservative radio personality? The obvious answer is liberals have lost the war on the radio waves and are attempting to use the government to attack their opponents.

For me this is very personal. I see this as a glaring example of hypocrisy on the parts of those who take part in opinion media, of which I include myself. I would never want right or left wing bloggers on my site, subjecting my audience to what I see as their absurd fringe ideologies. The same is assuredly the case for partisan commentators from across the spectrum, who have every right to disseminate their beliefs without government interference.

Indeed this issue is one of the core roots of our society. During the founding period of our country, pamphleteers were the bloggers and radio personalities, using the printing press to spread ideas of freedom and democracy. Should Thomas Paine have been forced to let monarchists give their side of the story in his "Common Sense," a pamphlet that was a source of inspiration for the movement that led to our nation’s founding?

Of course not. It could hardly be more hypocritical of me to expect my rights to say what I wish to say on my own blog be respected, if I were to at the same time push for the force of government to be used on other commentators, no matter the medium. I am honest enough to see that one cannot accurately say that they support free speech, while working to stifle those who’s ideas you may find repugnant. I wonder at why other commentators don’t realize this.

Solomon Kleinsmith is a nonprofit worker, serial social entrepreneur and strident centrist independent blogger from Omaha, Nebraska. His website, Rise of the Center, is the fastest growing blog targeting centrist independents and moderates. He is currently collaborating with other centrist independent and moderate bloggers on a news aggregation and social networking site, and is always looking for ways to help the independent groundswell as more and more people become disaffected with the two major parties.


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Comments [17]

Solomon Kleinsmith from Omaha, NE

"Blowhards with corporate backing don't own American Airwave Bandwidth."

You're right, they don't own it. They pay a fee to rent it. I don't see why doing so should be able to come with the strings that the government can tell them how to run their station.

Jan. 24 2011 10:29 AM
lance from Cerritos, CA

If I believe that you should have crosshairs at your head, I might bellow that out to my audience 24/7. But if I'm forced to have you on my show for Fairness I might have to argue with you on the merits and actually be Convincing with the Sensible Adult persons in the audience. Blowhards with corporate backing don't own American Airwave Bandwidth. All Americans own it and deserve to have it carry to them from all points Constructive Debate. We lost this. And thus the country is lost.

Jan. 24 2011 02:20 AM
Solomon Kleinsmith from Omaha, NE

"Ok, so I'm "purposefully dense", because I see a contradiction with:
. "I think people should pay much less attention to wingnuts like Rush".
. your article that highlights commonality between your idea and his.
. your comments encourage an active search for commonality (with him, presumably, because I'm not seeing much civility, let alone a search for commonality, with me).

Legitimization of this shared idea (with Rush) and a search for commonalities (with Rush) = more attention to Rush."

I said you're being purposefully dense because you're playing this stupid game of mistaking the forest for the trees. I don't pay a lot less attention to wingnuts on either side than a lot of blogs do, because I don't thinkk they deserve it. I didn't say we shouldn't talk about them at all.

I see you've already taken a page from the republican play book... keep repeating that legitimization garbage. Maybe someone will actually believe it if you say it enough times.

Jan. 23 2011 10:24 PM

Just a quick clarification, because I was rushing out the door yesterday.

I didn't attack the _validity or veracity_ of the data, I pointed out that sometimes polls reflect people's ignorance.

Therefore, poll data alone, whether it conforms to the someone's world view or not, is not reason enough to repeal a Constitutional Amendment.

On the contrary, prudence requires acknowledging, and then looking beyond mere poll data in this situation. It's erroneous to just say that it's a "stupid game" of attacking poll data.

Jan. 22 2011 04:10 PM

Are you serious? You should take your own advice. You've taken pot shots, got called out on contradicting statements and now are just being outright condesending. "Adult" debate indeed.

Ok, so I'm "purposefully dense", because I see a contradiction with:
. "I think people should pay much less attention to wingnuts like Rush".
. your article that highlights commonality between your idea and his.
. your comments encourage an active search for commonality (with him, presumably, because I'm not seeing much civility, let alone a search for commonality, with me).

Legitimization of this shared idea (with Rush) and a search for commonalities (with Rush) = more attention to Rush.

If that's what you want, that's completely ok. It's your right. I am not saying that you can't or shouldn't, just that you be honest about it.


I didn't attack the data, I pointed out that sometimes polls reflect a population's ignorance. e.g. a majority of right wing constituents who believed that President Obama was Muslim.

Jan. 21 2011 05:57 PM
Solomon Kleinsmith from Omaha, NE

"Ah, statistics. 50%? Who are they polling? People who own land phone lines?"

You know you're on the right side of an argument when the other side begins to play that stupid game of attacking the data. National polling data has been shown to be remarkably accurate. I'm adult enough to say I'm against the majority on a handful of issues... but I don't attack the data because it doesn't conform to my world view.

"So, would you say that your article, "I Actually Agree with Rush Limbaugh" gives more, less or the same attention to "wingnuts" (your terminology -- not mine) like Rush?"

I already said why. Read the first couple sentences of the post. You don't have to disagree, but no reason to be purposefully dense.

I have no problem arguing with people over substance, but when they can't even argue with what I'm saying, and resort to constructing straw men mutations of what I've said, there is no point. If you want to start debating like a grown up, I'm game.

Jan. 21 2011 04:12 PM

Stripping Constitutional rights, as long as it's "their" rights and not mine. Forming a permanent underclass within the U.S. .. I suppose "we shall overcome" should refer instead to the cognitive dissonance that (should) result when freedom, liberty, justice for "all" actually is reserved just for "some".

Yeah, my dictionary doesn't explain how some "poll" turns a once-fringe idea into a mainstream idea. Although, HISTORY can teach us that sometimes (like when the economy tanks) we really like to screw with people's rights.

It'd be nice if the supposed "staunch centrist independents" remained a bit more "centrist" during times of crisis. "You should really pick up" a (non-revisionist) history book, and if you can't, "you should really pick up" our own court cases or old (and once outdated?) laws. You know, the ones that we thought we buried long ago when we supposedly didn't know better.

"I also happen to think people should actively look for commonality ..."
Given my past experiences growing up in the U.S. (born and raised to naturalized parents), I believe that "commonality" is demonstrated best during those times when people actually stand up and say "You know what? You're kinda acting like a douchebag, just let her/him/them be." Yes, Rush is free to spew his divisive speech. But, when he does, decent people also have the freedom to call out crap that goes against American values -- the whole "pursuit of happiness", "liberty and justice for all" bit.

I don't see how Rush Limbaugh is your choice for your proposed endeavor. He _just_ dropped a load of divisive material, and is apparently isn't interested in finding any commonality at all. But, as you keep going right, I'm sure you'll find more and more. Maybe that's what you're suggesting instead. Based on Rush's current and past comments against Americans like me, I think that your whole "look for commonality" schtick kind of loses its luster. It reads more like a not-so-covert pushing of an agenda. You and Rush might have more similarities that you're willing to admit / let on. Rush declared the whole he's "colorblind" and "treat[s] everybody equally" bit with a straight face, too.

As I see it, for freedom of speech, you're passively accepting Rush's blatant divisiveness, yet wanting to search for commonalities with him. Does he have a stance on booting people from this country / stripping someone's citizenship?

Because for citizenship, you're apparently in lock-step -- actively seeking divisiveness through the repeal of the Fourteenth Amendment, our history be damned. I, for one, don't believe that barring groups of innocent children from having some form of citizenship status is the answer.

Jan. 21 2011 01:23 PM

Do people understand that European countries also have problems with their system -- a society of citizens, 1st, 2nd,
3rd, etc. generation of aliens with no country allegiance, where some citizens / political groups are vehemently (and at times, violently) anti-foreigner? Has anyone really thought about the potential powderkeg this might create / re-create?

Is repealing the Fourteenth Amendment truly a step towards a better or worse American society?

David A. Martin's article "Membership and Consent: Abstract or Organic?" or Gerald L. Neuman's "Back to Dred Scott?" might give different bits of information that may not be found in the spin / soundbites / a kneejerk responses.

I think that there are better ways to curb illegal immigration. E.g. What's bringing the workers here? Jobs. We should strictly and aggressively (as opposed to occasionally) enforce the penalties on the people / businesses that hire these individuals. They're the ones giving people the incentive to come here. They're also benefitting from this cheap, exploitable labor, and screwing over American citizens in need of work. Impose fines on the employers that break the law when they hire undocumented workers, and imprison them if they're repeat offenders (it's in the actual law).

Also, can people honestly say that if the current wave of immigrants came from the country of our own respective ancestors, we'd be just as outraged -- so outraged that we want to go after their children? Does it matter at all that certain (but not all) immigrants just got a brief "rubber stamp" interview at Ellis Island, yet today, we require much, much more (e.g. an oppressive/discouraging waiting period, many face a complex American history exam administered in English, etc.)? Should we also roll back the clock and impose racist quotas by country / geographic location and/or bring back the Exclusion Acts too?

Perhaps, like past generations of Americans, it's just easier to hate the current immigrants. Apparently, 50% of us are willing to go so far as to target the innocent children, as if _that_ will magically stop anyone from coming here. "Hey kid, your mother/ father shouldn't be here, so we're sentencing you some international bureaucratic wasteland, where you'll have questionable / no citizenship. Now, go back to where you came from. No, no. Besides here." Incredible. Oh, and I'm sure that "citizenship status" is what actually crosses people's minds in flagrante. Well, maybe it's for those 50%. And .. has anyone heard of unplanned pregnancies? It happens. Then what? In effect, wouldn't we be forcing the hands of pregnant women? Doesn't that raise human rights / privacy concerns?

Jan. 21 2011 01:19 PM

Again, just be real.

"I think people should pay much less attention to wingnuts like Rush ... hence the above post."
So, would you say that your article, "I Actually Agree with Rush Limbaugh" gives more, less or the same attention to "wingnuts" (your terminology -- not mine) like Rush?

"And half of the country doesn't agree with birthright citizenship."
(Yeah, I suppose that I need a dictionary because I don't understand English. Oh, was that you kidding around again? I'm sorry, without the "hahaha" ... C'mon man, lighten up.)

Ah, statistics. 50%? Who are they polling? People who own land phone lines? Are some of them the same individuals who insist that our President is a practicing Muslim? Were some of them convinced by Fox News that they represented the "silent majority" "independents"? And really, are people's kneejerk responses to a _poll_ enough of a reason to go around nixing Constitutional rights? Maybe for some, but I'd need to consider it a bit more than that.

First off, do these individuals even understand that birthright citizenship stems from the Constitution (which, paradoxically, many seem to hold sacrosanct, e.g. their Second Amendment right to guns)?

Do these people understand our history, and that the Fourteenth Amendment was our response to the SAME xenophobic / racial animus that is being regurgitated today (you know, where one group of people wants to outright prevent another group(s) from citizenship)? Are we really _that_ willing to relive our history, and some would argue, the mistakes of the past? Can we claim that we have a better understanding of the intent of the drafters of the Fourteenth Amendment in 2011, than the Supreme Court did back in the 1800's? Are we that willing to toss all of that out? Do we understand that the drafters had differing opinions? Whose intent matters?


Jan. 21 2011 01:14 PM
Solomon Kleinsmith from Omaha, NE

"You know, as I'm checking
I'm not finding many of these "deep seated disagreements" with Rush Limbaugh that you wrote about in your post."

Because I try to ignore him most of the time.

And half of the country doesn't agree with birthright citizenship. If that is your definition of fringe, you really should pick up a dictionary.

I'm not a founding father worshipper. I happen to believe in free speech deeply, regardless of whether it was in the bill of rights or not. I don't think birthright citizenship makes any sense.

"Anyway. So, what do you say, "all-star"?"

I think people should pay much less attention to wingnuts like Rush, and focus more on the issues. I also happen to think people should actively look for commonality... hence the above post.

Jan. 20 2011 09:52 PM

Don't backpedal. Be real. It was an understandably flippant response, because You didn't "feel the need to respond to some weird assumption..."

It's ok. In truth, it did make me read your post a bit closer. As mentioned, I kind of found your article to be a non-issue, really. I almost can't wait to not read your future work, hahaha.

You know, as I'm checking
I'm not finding many of these "deep seated disagreements" with Rush Limbaugh that you wrote about in your post.

Actually, one particular stance, i.e. wanting to repeal the birthright citizenship (and, by the way, Section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment), also seems pretty much in line with his. Hopefully your next "I again agree with Rush Limbaugh" article doesn't get published right after he puts down a another group of people (or, hits the same ones).

Although, I'd have to say, that bucking the Constitution and the Supreme Court's affirmation of that Amendment (in the 1800's, after they went over the legislative history and the Congressional debates) seems to teeter on an "absurd fringe ideolog[y]", even though you argue otherwise.

I'm not sure if anyone would label their beliefs as an "absurd fringe" ideology. They probably would use that term for ideas that clash with their own. But, this is all discussion for another day.

Anyway. So, what do you say, "all-star"? Although it's kind of sad that Rush's comments weren't covered by the sites that you read (after all, it only affects 20% of the world's population, and, believe it or not, Americans too) ... do "centrists" even have a stance on this sort of issue -- other than "Run!! Avoid at all costs!! Hopefully, we can deny or explain our silence later."?

Oh, right .. you "don't feel the need to respond to ... something that has nothing to do with the issue [you] brought up here," and "don't pay much attention to [Rush Limbaugh]."

So, I guess we're done here.

Jan. 20 2011 08:51 PM
Solomon Kleinsmith from Omaha, NE

"Thanks, I don't smoke crack, and I don't think there's a need for ad hominems."

I thought the "hahaha" at the end made it clear I was kidding around. C'mon man, have a sense of humor.

I wrote this post two days ago, and frankly hadn't heard of whatever you are talking about thet Rush said. I don't pay too much attention to him. Not my fault you assumed what a whole story meant by reading between the lines of a short headline.

I don't feel the need to respond to some weird assumption that I agree with Rush on anything but things I specifically say I do, or something that has nothing to do with the issue I brought up here. I'm responding to chatter on blogs and news sites that I read.

Jan. 20 2011 06:13 PM

A news search with "Rush Limbaugh" resulted in the headline of your post, "I Actually Agree with Rush Limbaugh".

So, yes, it irked me that the headline (and then, by extension, you) seemed to be giving him support and legitimacy right at _this moment_, in the wake of his blatantly racist remarks.

And yeah, I admit that I quickly skimmed your post. I apologize.

Thanks, I don't smoke crack, and I don't think there's a need for ad hominems.

But, you can go back to agreeing with him about a dead piece of proposed legislation, which, if it ever went through, would have most likely been found unconstitutional.

That, and not speaking out against his unapologetically racist material.

Jan. 20 2011 05:18 PM
Solomon Kleinsmith from Omaha, NE

"Similarly here, you can support and give legitimacy to Rush Limbaugh all you want."

Boy, are you smoking some mean crack if you read what I said and thought I'm supporting or legitimizing Rush Limbaugh, hahaha

Jan. 20 2011 04:40 PM

Interesting that this headline, "I actually agree with Rush Limbaugh", comes directly on the heels of his mockery of Chinese people, presented here:

No doubt, his response (if any), would be that he has freedom of speech. So be it. He can proudly lead us in our chants of "U.S.A!! U.S.A!!"

However, it's revolting that Rush has the audacity to claim that he "doesn't look at a person's color", that he's not racist, etc. This is clearly the subordination of a person / people, based on their ethnicity, color, national origin, race, etc.

Similarly here, you can support and give legitimacy to Rush Limbaugh all you want. But wouldn't you have to be just as proactive and critical of instances like this, when him (and his listeners, and his advertisers) just don't think there is anything wrong with what he's saying?

Unless you and the other "centrist" independents agree with him on that, too.

Jan. 20 2011 03:47 PM
Solomon Kleinsmith from Omaha, NE

I wasn't referring to democratic lawmakers, I was referring generally to how almost all of the people I've seen argue for this are liberals. Mostly bloggers and columnists.

Pretty much with you on the rest.

Jan. 20 2011 03:06 PM
Nick from Democratic Republic of NJ

I totally agree with you. If it is a commentary program they cannot be forced to talk about anything. Local news I disagree, because they should be completely no biased and should give equal time, which they do. But a couple things:

There is no agreement whatsoever from anyone besides Clyburn, so I wouldn't say liberals, I would just say Clyburn.

Also, this was a huge mistake on Clyburn's part. He just threw a can of gasoline on their fire. Rush, Hannity and Beck love being victimized. Especially when it comes to something like this, their free speech. Clyburn should say he was drunk when he said it and won't say anything that moronic again. Honestly, I think you should let them be, they lie and cry so much sooner or later they will lose fans. Also, it is fun to listen to the things they say and laugh about how wrong, misleading, and just downright incorrect they are!

Jan. 20 2011 02:38 PM

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