I feel truly sorry for the people who get their political and macroeconomic ideas from Rush Limbaugh. The man is a skilled entertainer, but he twists and distorts terms to try to justify his ideology. Actually, this isn’t even about ideology; it’s just about trying to make his slogans sound good. When you go around telling everyone “OMG! Government is so bad, amirite?” people start to internalize that as a pillar of their ideology, and then the government goes and does something you think is cool. What’s a poor millionaire talk-show host to do?
The answer: redefine everything to fit his ideology. What I’m talking about is this: a guy called in to Limbaugh’s show yesterday and pointed out that the Mars Rover–which Limbaugh had been singing the praises of–was a NASA project, and NASA is a government program full of government employees run by taxpayer money, and Limbaugh is ordinarily against that sort of thing.
Well, Limbaugh came up with a twofold rejoinder:
- Some government stuff is okay.
- This rover wasn’t really a government project, anyway.
This is a very suspicious defense, right up there with the old “I didn’t do it, you can’t prove I did it, and it didn’t hurt anything anyway”. Think I’m distorting what he said? Here it is:
RUSH: In the first place, I’ve never said that government never gets anything right. Secondly, throughout the course of this program, I have always heralded NASA for the contributions they have made to the advancement of science and the human standard of living, American standard of living. Obama shut it down.
And then a bit later:
RUSH: You know, one might say when speaking of NASA that the space flight realm of NASA, the vast majority of it is actually done by private aerospace companies bidding for the jobs. Private aerospace companies bid for certain aspects. Like the government didn’t build the rover. They got a contract for it. A private sector firm — yes, with Obama bucks — I take it back. The money was allocated before Obama came along. That’s probably why the money was still there. But it was our taxpayer dollars that were rewarded to a private sector company, probably a bunch of ’em combined, built various aspects of the rover. The rocket. Somebody won a bid to build that parachute, for example. The rockets to slow the rover down as it approached the Martian surface.
Well, okay. Then I suppose you won’t do anymore whining about Solyndra, right? I mean, it was a private company! Well, yes, it was given tons of money by the government and wouldn’t have existed without it, but still; private company!
Limbaugh and his listeners aren’t against government; they’re against certain things government does and certain individuals in the government, but it also does a lot of stuff they like, like space exploration and especially military stuff. And the weird part is, they don’t even seem to realize or want to admit it!