For one thing, Bill Maher is a COMEDIAN! Yep, Maher has said mean things about Palin and sometimes he goes too far — but most of the time it’s funny — because that’s what he does for a living. By now, everyone who is not in a coma should understand that Maher’s a politically-based comedian who does a show on HBO (pay channel!) and stand-up comedy.
On the other hand, Rush Limbaugh is broadcast on public airwaves for three hours a day, five days a week — including taxpayer-funded Armed Forces radio (AFN) — and has been allowed to set the tone and conversation on issues affecting everyone with the GOP establishment, while he sits atop the Republican Kingdom on his Big (huge!) Royal Throne of Grandiosity. There’s absolutely no comparison. Look at the influence that the GOP has given Limbaugh:
Limbaugh and George HW Bush:
Early in the summer of 1992, Roger Ailes, who was working for President Bush, made the connection. The president invited Limbaugh to accompany him to the Kennedy Center and spend a night at the White House. Bush personally carried Limbaugh’s bag from the elevator of the White House residence to his room, a gesture Rush never forgot. That night he called his mother and brother from the Lincoln bedroom. “Guess where I’m sleeping tonight,” he said. Bush might not be Reagan, but he was the president of the United States. [page 81]
Limbaugh and Ronald Reagan:
Limbaugh proudly read the letter to his audience on the December 21, 1992, edition of his television show [via Nexis]
LIMBAUGH: “Ronald Reagan, December 11th, 1992. Dear Rush, thanks for all you’re doing to promote Republican and conservative principles. Now that I’ve re” — and lis –and listen to this, folks. Listen to this. “Now that I’ve retired from active politics, I don’t mind that you’ve become the number one voice for conservatism in our country.”
I — I mean — you know, that’s — that’s — that’s not just a, “Hey, Rush, nice to know you. Hope you enjoyed my letter,” kind of sentence. There’s a — there’s something very serious in that, and I was – I — I was so proud.
It goes on, “I know the liberals call you the most dangerous man in America, but don’t worry about it. They used to say the same thing about me. Keep up the good work. America needs to hear the way things ought to be. Sincerely, Ron.”
Limbaugh and George W Bush — RECENT history:
August 1, 2008: During his 20th anniversary show on August 1, 2008, Limbaugh received a surprise phone call from President Bush, Jeb Bush, and George H.W. Bush — “people who consider you friends and really appreciate the contribution you’ve made,” as the president put it. George H.W. Bush told Rush he was “proud of you, always,” and asked how “our man” Roger Ailes was doing. Jeb Bush told Limbaugh: “One of the great things about your show is it’s broadcast in the Sunshine State, for which a whole lot of Floridians are very grateful, including me.”
November 9, 2010: Bush’s most recent appearance (to date) was on November 9, 2010, as he was promoting his recently released memoir, Decision Points.
In the final days of the Bush presidency, Limbaugh traveled to Washington for what one of his guest hosts called a “secret meeting.” Limbaugh later revealed that the “meeting” was a private “farewell luncheon” at the White House with President Bush. As Limbaugh described it, the lunch was actually a surprise birthday party for Limbaugh, complete with a rendition of “Happy Birthday” sung by Bush and his aides, and “a little chocolate microphone.”
And the apologies, the tears, and the kissing of the ring!
So if someone tries to say that Limbaugh’s an “entertainer” or “comedian” like Maher, it won’t work. He may be absurd and ridiculous to most of us, but he’s been taken very seriously by the Republican Party for two decades.
And that rather embarrassing fact is on them.
“More critically, every single Republican contacted by ThinkProgress has refused to deny government health benefits to their staff. Congressional staff members are granted the same taxpayer-subsidized, government-regulated health plans available to members. Unlike lawmakers, staff are often middle-class Americans who are not independently wealthy and need regular coverage in case they get sick. While lawmakers and their staff work ruthlessly to repeal health reform — thus denying coverage to over 30 million Americans and helping insurance companies continue outrageous, life-threatening abuses to their customers — pro-repeal members believe their staff should be “free to choose” quality government care.”