October 31, 2011

Rush Limbaugh's crisis of confidence.

This is odd, because you think of him as supremely confident:
... I've been talking about things I really don't care about and I have been worried (particularly for the past month) that I'm boring everybody silly....

I'm asking myself, "Have I reached a career crossroads here?"  This is a new experience for me....  I mean, I've really been agonizing over this in a career sense, and I have been dealing with it as best that I go....

[T]hat's what I've really been worrying about: "Have I lost it?"  Snerdley, I've walked outta here every day the past month thinking, "This has to have been boring as hell to listen to. Just has to be," and I worry about it, 'cause every day this show I do for the audience.  I don't do it for me.  Well, I do do it for me.  That's crazy. But I do it for the audience.  I know what the audience expectations are, and they are high, and the objective here is to meet and surpass them each and every day.  When I think I'm not doing that, I get depressed in terms of letting people down.

62 comments:

gadfly said...

I did not hear Rush today, but I will remind you that he sometimes does do "acting" bits to stimulate his audience.

CEO-MMP said...

Why do you think Rush is supremely confident? His battles with poor self image and shyness etc are pretty well known--among people that actually have a clue.

mesquito said...

I know I'm heartily sick of the goddam Republican race for the nomination. Happily, I'm in a position to ignore it.

IggyRules said...

Nothing constructive said over there for a long,long time.

Shouting Thomas said...

I've never been able to listen to Limbaugh. I'm always at work when his show is on. (That's about to change.)

When I debate liberals on Facebook, they always start raving about (1) Fox News and (2) Limbaugh. I'm not really a great follower of either, but they always assume I am. Fox News hysteria is rife among liberals.

Whenever they start screaming that Limbaugh is a clown who discredits everything that Republicans should stand for (in the opinion of liberals), I tell them that Ann Althouse, prof of law at U of WI, and proprietor of the #1 law blog in the country, often writes about Limbaugh, and clearly takes him seriously.

Jim Howard said...

I think the thing that made Rush so popular was his sense of cheerful optimism. Unlike the O'Rilleys and Savages of the world, Rush has always been optimistic about the future.

I think that the Obama presidency has been such a disaster of Biblical proportions that Rush is no longer optimistic about the future.

The fact that most of the front running Republican candidates can not really articulate a clear conservative message hurts a lot also. He went through 12 years of wincing whenever either Bush tried to explain a conservative policy.

He's down about the country's future.

As many thinking people are.

Coketown said...

He seems far more upbeat when those ellipses are filled in. For example:

Let's go back Wednesday, just two days ago -- just two days. It's stuff like this that makes me think, "Okay, maybe I haven't lost it," 'cause that's what I've really been worrying about: "Have I lost it?"

Seems like theatrics to me. Ask the audience if he's lost it, then open the lines for everyone to say that he hasn't lost it. He has excellent screeners, so whoever gets through reveals the image he's going for.

I don't like Rush.

Prager is cool, though.

Ann Althouse said...

First, that squib is from last Friday, not today.

Second, he's talking about his feeling that he's been boring lately and somehow uncommitted to the material he feels bound to put out, and I myself have found him less interesting lately. He's not as funny. He's going over and over the stuff about the economy and the GOP candidates. Maybe he's not too thrilled about any of those candidates. He's sad about what happened to Perry. All that Tea Party spirit is warmed over. He has to bash Obama over everything that happens. It's become rote.

Ann Althouse said...

"I've never been able to listen to Limbaugh. I'm always at work when his show is on."

Me too. I listen to the podcast.

Ann Althouse said...

Rush was also talking about some subject that he's not talking about, and I can't help guessing that his wife is expecting a baby and that somehow that's become all important to him, but he's not allowed to talk about it yet.

mesquito said...

Rush was also talking about some subject that he's not talking about, and I can't help guessing that his wife is expecting a baby and that somehow that's become all important to him, but he's not allowed to talk about it yet.

Last week wasn't Rush having great fun with "National Diaper Day" or somesuch liberal idiocy and bragging that he's never changed one?

wv: foopsop

MaggotAtBroad&Wall said...

Is it more complicated than he's seeing metrics suggesting his listenership is declining?

I know he's recently read on the air a couple of very hateful letters from people claiming to be long time listeners who threatened to stop listening. One thought Rush was trying to derail Romney's chances when Rush said Romney's no conservative. The other one was very angry that Rush refuses to endorse a Republican candidate.

edutcher said...

The only way you get better is through self-analysis and criticism.

He'll come through this better, I think, but, yeah, this is a good thing to review what he's doing.

PS Good point by Jim Howard.

Bender said...

Maybe he's not too thrilled about any of those candidates. He's sad about what happened to Perry.
____________

Who isn't completely discouraged by the Stupid Party, which seems determined to hand the nomination to someone that no one is really all that fired up about?

He needs to just come out and say it -- regarding Romney "I hope he fails." If Romney wins (the nomination or the election), conservatives lose, and America loses.

NYTNewYorker said...

A candidate will emerge, the right will coalesce.

Primaries are always a grind.

Basil said...

Rush started goiing downhill when he started playing golf. Golf, to excess, (meaning more than 8 rounds a year) kills the soul. The people he is around on his golf trips and celebrity tournaments are not conservatives. They are crony capitalists and statists. Its rubbing off. Hey Rush, give up golf and hang out with real folks. You'll get it back.

Mitochondri-Allie said...

Poor Rush is depressed , who can blame him? The Republican lineup for President is sad, one candidate after another is falling flat, damn depressing indeed.

Peano said...

"Have I lost it?" Snerdley, I've walked outta here every day the past month thinking, "This has to have been boring as hell to listen to. Just has to be," and I worry about it, 'cause every day this show I do for the audience.

Reasonable worries -- and better late than never.

rhhardin said...

It's not easy to parody the liberals. Their self parody has gone mainstream.

That's only possible now because the MSM is also self-parodying.

What Rush is missing is the larger-than-life act.

It used to be that it disappeared for a week at a time when he started moralizing, that is, being a social conservative, since you can't larger-than-life morality.

The larger-than-life act is actually self-deprecation, is why it doesn't work with morality.

edutcher said...

Mitochondri-Allie said...

Poor Rush is depressed , who can blame him? The Republican lineup for President is sad, one candidate after another is falling flat, damn depressing indeed.

The only thing sadder, more depressing, and falling flatter is the Democrat lineup for President.

ken in sc said...

Rush went through a period of depression in the mid 90s. I remember it very clearly. It was after Christmas, so I surmised it was a case of Seasonal Affective Depression (SAD). He got over it.

traditionalguy said...

Self doubt in Rush is only going to be temporary. Maybe just he needs an oxycodone break.

Skippy said...

Haven't listened to him since Clinton's era, when he was amusing.

Alex said...

Rush is way past his due date. Get some fresh blood on the EIB network. Need a young guy or gal. Maybe Michelle Malkin.

Lem said...

Could it be the weak republican presidential field?

Although.. in terms of ratings alone as a measure of how well Rush does.. I believe he does better when the democrats have the WH.

So.. if thats true, there must be something to this "crisis of confidence".

Tyrone Slothrop said...

I don't get to listen to Rush very often, but I enjoy the heck out of him when I do. A lot of my conversion to conservatism had to do with encountering this crazy guy on KFI back in 1990. He said what I was learning to think. As for a crisis of confidence-- I think it is that tension that keeps him striving for excellence.

Tyrone Slothrop said...

traditionalguy said...

Self doubt in Rush is only going to be temporary. Maybe just he needs an oxycodone break.


Since when are you a liberal tool, tradguy?

Carol said...

"Haven't listened to him since Clinton's era, when he was amusing."

There's something to that. Things in the 90s weren't quite so dreadful as now. It was the End of History and all that. His imitation of Bill Clinton and the Al Shanklin spoofs were hilarious in that context.

Also he's what, 60 now? That's about the time I ceased getting really emotional about external events. You start to let go, at long last.

Rush seems so happy anyway, and must be insanely rich. I think he'd enjoy just hanging out the rest of his life now.

madAsHell said...

I remember the Jimmy Carter years.

When immigrants stop showing up on the shores, then I'll be concerned.

In the mean time, we need to kick Obama to the curb. He's just not very bright.

....but he was the rational choice!!

cassandra lite said...

The thought of an obese Rush Limbaugh, at 60, having his first child, is disturbing. I'd bet against it. To whatever degree his newest wife is in it for the dough, she must know that her future is made without an heir. It's true that he suffers from a self-esteem issue, as CEO-MMP noted, but I don't think it's bad enough that he has to consent to, "Oh, please, Rushie, pretty please, I really really really wanna baby of our own."

Rick said...

I listen to Rush frequently, sometimes the entire show. I agree with him that his show has not been as good the last couple of months as, let's say, in the preceding 2 years. Rush has great insight and is magnificent when he gives his analysis of issues and events. Lately he drifts off into talking about Apple and its latest devices, and he talks football during football season. When he does that I switch stations for awhile.

Freeman Hunt said...

The baby hypothesis makes sense. Funny how that eclipses all else.

These are also boring political times. Everything is sullen. None of the political actors is very interesting. Bland, bland, bland. It's all television now. And the Leviathan that is Government only speeds in its growth. Then there's the fact that my generation is essentially idiotic. See Occupy Wherever and Facebook for evidence. Everything is depressing.

I've stopped following most of it myself.

Alex said...

Even his beloved Apple generates no enthusiasm? Heavens to mergatroid Alice.

Roux said...

I love Rush but I don't get to listen to him very often. When I do I usually hear his clarity on the liberal agenda and his optimism and faith in the American people. I'll have to make a point of listening more this week.

FWIW I've been on a cruise for a week and haven't listened to a bit of news until today. Not much has changed as the MSM and the Dems continue their lies.

bagoh20 said...

I think the GOP field is strong, especially considering the Dem alternatives. The thing is, they are strong Republicans, but many, including Rush, are looking for a very strong conservative. That's always the disappointment. Rush and many conservatives feel the times are such that weak conservatives just won't help get us where this country needs to go, even if they can get elected.

The loss of confidence is in ourselves as a people, and it's deserved.

Carol_Herman said...

One of Rush Limbaugh's strengths is that he's a real bellwether.

It's what's made his radio show unique.

And, he's right!

Not about himself so much ... but about how people are no longer paying attention.

It's as if the whole media has been turned off.

Sure. It's post the World Series. And, times aren't getting any better.

And, the Europeans are just kicking the can down the road. Since DEFAULTS make sense. They'd allow a slew of countries who have failed BECAUSE OF THE EURO. To let the EURO go. And, settle back into their own coinage.

Yes. He's asking the right questions.

Why does it seem the media we are seeing and hearing is so boring?

andinista said...

I don't know about all that, but I have noticed that there are not as many "Did you hear Rush? Man, he was on fire today!" comments as there used to be. To every thing there is a season.

bobby said...

"A candidate will emerge, the right will coalesce."
- - - -

Awhile back, someone, reacting to my apparent pessimism about the quality of our candidates, made this same assertion to me.

I was heartened by their optimism, and decided that I was being too cynical and pessimistic.

We ended up with McCain as our nominee.

I now pay much more attention to my Inner Cynic.

Carol_Herman said...

Hardly likely that an infertile man is suddenly going to have a wife that gets pregnant.

Let alone if she actually got pregnant that he'd go down in the dumps on his radio show.

More than likely the truth has been lacking. No one states, straight out, the obvious. That the "leadership" has failed.

Europe is saddled with an unworkable EURO.

And, instead of "solutions," what the conservatives wanted was a shoo-in.

Ain't got one among the 8.

Instead of heading a high powered program against Obama's weak leadership, there's nothing out there that shows ya there's any other road worth following.

And, I'd bet dollars to doughnuts that the elites are "waiting out the 2012 cycle." Probably, the way Karl Rove sees it; Obama gets "4-more-years." And, the next unveiling of the GOP will look for a chorus that isn't made up of conservatives.

This is a battle that is now being designed for them to lose.

No. You can't fight it. Because it's not based on individuals.

As to 2012, I wouldn't bet Perry. Because the inside track belongs to Romney.

I still think it might pay Donald Trump to give an Independent run a try? He's got the media savvy down pat. And, he'll probably run against the fading EURO. Pointing out that we can remain ahead of the crumbling global economy.

Why? We're big enough to sell to each other! Unions aren't going to be dictating anything.

And, if you can't imagine Europe defaulting ... then you can't understand about how 30 American cities are gonna be facing the financial music.

What default gives ya ... is something you can't get with student loans. Yes. You can discharge debt. Then? You're given a clean slate.

Koblog said...

Rush is the best, hands down. Has been for 23 years.

His secret is that his show demands you listen to all of it.

He doesn't pick a NYT column and beat it to death every fifteen minutes and then start over at the top of the hour and do it again like every drive time show on radio. His content is continuously new and interesting.

It's true he's not as funny every day as he used to be, but how can you laugh when you have an administration in office who wants this Nation to fail?

I love Rush's show from beginning to end, every day.

Mid-Life Lawyer said...

El Rushbo is brilliant. I wish I had more time to listen to him live. He is the undisputed champ and the liberals hate him because he has their number. He was conservative before conservative was cool. Long live El Rushbo!

snerdly said...

I love Rush, but sometimes current events are just boring - Like when Sarah Palin quit as Governor of Alaska and that was all the talk on radio and TV. BORING. Or when we all had to endure 88 weeks of the budget battle - then it goes off the front pages for a short time and then the infernal thing comes back to the fore again to get us all banging our heads once more. I feel burned out sometimes - I'm sure Rush does as well. Rush cannot help when the political news is in one of those very grinding times - nor can he do anything about our candidates flaws - but I predict that things will get better...or at least more interesting again.
What in the world would we do without Rush?

bagoh20 said...
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bagoh20 said...
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bagoh20 said...

The reason it's boring is that nothing is happening. The current leadership has no solutions, no ideas, no fire, no purpose. Some of the contenders have ideas, but nobody believes they can overcome the inertia of a government too big to get out of it's own way. We have been sedated with bullshit too many times. We don't even look up unless something explodes, and even then, we know what it means and what happens next.

Politics is boring lately because it's impotent. The government is a huge cruse ship, so big it can't be steered, stopped or accelerated. Nobody can affect it. We just hang on, ride and bitch about the service.

We may need an iceberg to make things interesting, or maybe pirates..., yea that's it - pirates of the care of being.

frank said...

What's depressing Rush is the # of useful idiots who remain out there that actually belive Obama is, I repeat "IS", awesome.

Peter said...

It was the middle of the GWHBush Administration when I had to go to Dallas for some strange reason. I turned the Dallas AM station on to get some traffic info, for traffic in Big D has been a nightmare for decades. There was some wild man on the radio talking politics and he actually made sense.

Awhile later I went to vote in a primary and wanted to know where and when my Precinct Convention would be. When I was told that there wasn't one because we didn't have a Precinct Chairman and would I like to be the PC? Well, since I'd already voted the woman manning the voting table took my name down, and asked the next few people voting in the Republican line if they'd take a write-in ballot and vote for me. One person did and so I was unanimouly elected with a landslide of one vote for, none against. Limbaugh gave me the courage to take that chance. And the words to articulate my political leanings.

Limbaugh is by no means perfect but then he isn't running for Savior. We already had one of thse around two milliania ago. He's just a smart guy that understands radio and politics. And he fears for the country. He can go away, he's got money enough squirrled away where the looters and moochers can't get it. In about twenty minutes notice he could be winging his way to Costa Rica or Switzerland. He's safe, he fears for America.

As do I.

chuck b. said...

I've noticed lately he frequently mentions how much longer he has to go every day. "I'm here for another hour..." It's not an unusual thing to say on radio, but what I'm hearing is, he'd rather be somewhere else, doing something else. (It seems conspicuous to me and I'm only sampling 5-10 minutes a time, a couple times during any day, a few days a week.)

Today he was talking about his roller coaster of emotions reading the Steve Jobs biography. Sounded like good radio, but then he quickly started using it to bash Obama. How utterly predictable. He's been talking about Jobs a lot since he died. It's a rich vein. I hope he'll go deeper.

Republican said...

Rush jumped the shark about 8 years ago, when he stopped referring to himself as a "Republican" and simply became a 'conservative'.

He's surrounded himself with influential types who are 3rd party wackos and religious freaks, and it has been showing for years.

He has been going through the motions since before Wilma Kline was delivering pills to him in a cigar box.

rcommal said...

Even for Rush, there will be an ebb. Relentlessly, the flow seeks death. It's the way of life; inexorable it is.

After the Rush, what fall will come?

"The fish is in the water and the water is in the fish."

[Just stuff to ponder.]

rcommal said...

Also, there is no crisis, as such nor as presented. Rush is being Rush, and that, as they say, is that.

rcommal said...

Also, the talk-radio job--by definition--is to *make things* interesting, no existential whining about it.

Rush's job as a talk jock--even the best politico-talk jock in recent times--is to make things in the world interesting to his listeners. It is not the world's job--not even the political world's job!--to make his job, career or franchise interesting to him, much less to make his life so.

If he's got a crisis, it's his own, and he will, as he should, struggle with it in retirement.

Meanwhile, honestly, who'd ever believe that Rush Limbaugh in a million years would share his true insecurities, much less a true lack of confidence, via his radio juggernaut? The guy knows theater and entertainment (not to mention dissemination of information). He's acknowledged that for decades now. Sheesh! What's the guy ever done not to be taken at his own word?

egoist said...

I think I see exactly what Rush speaks of. Rather amazing he exposes it on the air. One thing I really enjoy is that he gives Mark Steyn so many days to fill in. I think if Rush would just make it consistently 4-days for himself, there may be a partial remedy for him.

AllenS said...

Jim Howard said...
I think that the Obama presidency has been such a disaster of Biblical proportions that Rush is no longer optimistic about the future.

The fact that most of the front running Republican candidates can not really articulate a clear conservative message hurts a lot also.


Well said. Not too long ago, I said that our problems are so vast, so numerous and have been going on for so long, that it probably doesn't matter who is president. I think Rush senses that also.

Danny said...

yes, he's lost my listenership. but alas, only 2 more months of college football and i'll be back. funny how i can't engage in two different cultures at the same time.

Frank Turk said...

The last 60 days have proven why Limbaugh is superior to Beck on the radical side and Hewitt on the milquetoast side. Even in real crisis, he is a voice of wisdom, stolid civic virtue, and good humor.

And if the RNC doesn't listen to him, and we don't develop a candidate who is better than the spectrum in the current field, we're going to lose the best opportunity to make conservative inroads in the last 30 years.

madAsHell said...

Rush is political theater.

Yes, it is predictable, and boring.

victoria said...

Faux crisis of confidence. As if anything Rush "feels" is the truth. The Kim Kardashian of radio pundits.


Vicki from Pasadena

Johnny1A said...

'I think the thing that made Rush so popular was his sense of cheerful optimism. Unlike the O'Rilleys and Savages of the world, Rush has always been optimistic about the future.'

Part of the problem is that the conservatives, like the liberals, are slamming headlong into the fundamental problem that they are out of synch with the rest of the public. The conservatives are not nearly as _far_ out of synch as the libs, but they are out of synch.

The 2010 election was not, for ex, a mandate to do much of anything with Social Security or Medicare, yet Paul Ryan foolishly treated it as so and the GOP in Congress voted for his budget. This was both futile (since it had no chance of being passed anyway) and political lunacy, yet they couldn't stop themselves, just as the Dems just couldn't resist passing Obamacare even when every indicator was that doing so was political suicide.

Today, the leadership of the GOP is for open borders, free trade, social liberalism, and more spending. The public wants closed borders, less free trade, social conservatism (in a mildish form) and less spending on everything but their own entitlements, and they want Obamacare repealed.

Even landside wave elections like 2010 thus don't give conservatives a mandate for what they really want, any more than the 2006 and 08elections give liberals a mandate, so there's a certain emotional depression in the air.

Methadras said...

The only reason he married katherine was outside of her being hot, she was young enough to give him a child. I called it when he was getting married.

jamboree said...

Current events are not boring. At long last we have truly gotten ourselves into a very, very serious worldwide situation that partisan-bickering, in which I quite gleefully participated for years - cannot solve. Neither side is solely responsible for this, neither side's typical pure line solutions will work.

It's just not the time for the merry partisan warrior. It's time for actual oh-so-boring intelligence, wisdom and solutions.

It's not the right time for Rush, much less an older Rush, that's all. All things must pass, etc.

( And I cannot wait for the day when Facebook's time is over - it's going to be a long wait, but I think I'll be around to see it. )

Latest book: Michael Lewis's "Boomerang" about the current situation in Greece, Germany, Ireland. I love his stuff, generally. This one is a fast read, a kind of companion book to "The Big Short" re the domestic debt crisis.

jamboree said...

Where's the "goddamn hippies" tag? :-)