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Friday Night! What a Riot!


Not the Pacers-Pistons, but Rush Limbaugh’s ‘statesmanship’

You just knew that Rush Limbaugh would weigh in on the November 19 basketbrawl game in Detroit.

Predictably (considering Limbaugh’s great respect for Donovan McNabb and other black athletes), Limbaugh sneers at Detroit as the “new Fallujah” and offers this rap: “The Coarsening of American Culture Ought Not Surprise Us: Gang colors are the norm!”

But forgive the blowhard if he was a little preoccupied that night. On the same evening that our culture was being “coarsened” by Ron Artest in Detroit, Limbaugh was in California receiving the Claremont Institute’s Statesmanship Award, an annual honor bestowed at the crackpot right-wing organization’s Winston Churchill Dinner. (See my earlier “Harumph Roast” item.) “Statesmanship,” by the way, means “wisdom in the management of public affairs,” and its synonyms include “statecraft” and “diplomacy,” the latter of which means “tact and skill in dealing with people.”

If you want to see how our culture is really being coarsened, forget the basketball riot and take a look at Limbaugh’s opening remarks at the Churchill Dinner, preceded by an introduction by developer and GOP sugar daddy Alex Spanos. These are long excerpts, but worth reading as an example of what is now being defined as “statesmanship.” This makes me want to run into the friggin’ stands. Here’s the intro:

SPANOS: I am delighted to be here this evening because I just love Rush Limbaugh. (Cheers and applause). I love his courage, I love his principles, and most of all, I love that his heart is as big as his compassion and generosity. I have seen Rush give of his time and resources to help others many times over. My friends, he is truly one of a kind.

Rush Limbaugh’s influence on American politics is unrivaled by any other person in the media world. Although he holds no elected office, he commands the attention of millions of Americans every day. His statesmanship is right along with the best in the pantheon of the American political tradition. Rush Limbaugh is a patriot in every way. His agenda is America. The same spirit throughout his career, Rush has also tried to shape public opinion. He has challenged us to think and uphold the principles on which this country was founded. He has advanced the cause of freedom and has promoted the welfare of his fellow man in a most compelling manner. Rush Limbaugh has blazed a trail for others to follow, and they have followed!

The standard for the Claremont Institute’s statesmanship award is high. We honor only those who look up to strive for the noticeable principles of justice, right, and liberty. Our guest of honor tonight also shares something in common with Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, Clarence Thomas, and William F. Buckley, each of whom has received The Claremont Institute’s Statesmanship award. On behalf of its board of directors, fellow staff and thousands of supporters across the nation, I am proud to present the 2004 statesmanship award to my good friend, great friend, Rush Limbaugh! (Applause).

Now, here’s that man of compassion, throwing a symbolic cup of beer at “liberals”:

LIMBAUGH: How many of you yesterday happened to see any pictures at all of the opening ceremonies of the Bill Clinton Library and Massage Parlor? (Laughter) How many hands do I see? OK, I don’t see too many hands and I’m not surprised. Let me tell you, I watched it. Not because I wanted to. I watched it for you. I watched it, my friends, because it’s my business to do this. The Clinton library opening ceremonies epitomized, if you will, exactly where the left in this country is today. First, where was it? It was in a red state. They hate red states. In fact, the media in this country, the—what I call them, the liberal spin machine—I don’t like to use the word “mainstream press” anymore. The liberal spin machine was there. They were all excited. But they’re thinking about sending foreign correspondents to the red states to find out what people—and to the red counties of California—to find out what Americans are really like. So here they all have to come to Arkansas. Not just a red state, folks. They have to go to the Bible Belt! Oh, this couldn’t be any better. And then when they get there, what are they there to do? They end up standing in a pouring, drenching rain for four hours! Does that—and what are they looking at? They are looking at a replica of a mobile home, ladies and gentlemen. Where did they stay in Little Rock? They stayed at a Comfort Inn. Can you imagine Barbra Streisand at a Comfort Inn? Some of them stayed at the Paula Jones hotel, now called the Peabody. But Clinton himself took the presidential suite. I mean, it just doesn’t get—and then when they’re watching all these festivities in the rain they actually were there not because they wanted to go to a red state, and they didn’t want to go to Arkansas, but they wanted to go show their respect for Bill Clinton, and who could question the left’s respect for somebody like Bill Clinton? They wanted to show that it was still intact. And the—but the primary—you have to understand that people like Barbra Streisand and—I mean, it looked like the Kerry campaign was there. Kerry was there. Terry McAuliffe was there. All these people with umbrellas, red ponchos. Folks, it looked like Halloween at an old folks’ home. It was just too delicious to watch. They all go there to be seen. This crowd doesn’t go because they want to pay respect; they go there to be seen. They knew TV cameras—nobody could be seen because of all the umbrellas because of all the rain. You had to watch this for three hours to find out who all was there. Meanwhile, the greatest speech all day that these people, who hate the red states, who had to go to Arkansas, a red state, to honor Bill Clinton, the greatest speech they listened to all day was delivered by President George W. Bush. (Cheers and applause). I mean, it was awesome!

That’s what an American statesman of the 21st century sounds like. Now why would the rest of the world think we’re bullies?

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