RUSH: I need to do a shout-out here to Los Angeles Times columnist Andrew Klavan. He had a piece on their website, and in the print edition of the LA Times yesterday on the op-ed page: ”Take the Limbaugh Challenge’ — If you are reading this newspaper, the likelihood is that you agree with the Obama administration’s recent attacks on conservative radio talker Rush Limbaugh. That’s the likelihood; here’s the certainty: You’ve never listened to Rush Limbaugh. Oh no, you haven’t. Whenever I interrupt a liberal’s anti-Limbaugh rant to point out that the ranter has never actually listened to the man, he always says the same thing: ‘I’ve heard him!’ By lifting some typically Rushian piece of outrageous hilarity completely out of context, the distortion gang knows full well it can get you to widen your eyes and open your mouth in the universal sign of Liberal Outrage. Your scrawny chest swelling with a warm sense of completely unearned righteousness, you will turn to your second spouse and say, ‘I’m not a liberal, I’m a moderate, and I’m tolerant of a wide range of differing views — but this goes too far!’
‘There is more untruthfulness in that statement than in a speech by President Obama. Even the commas are self-deceiving. You’re not a moderate or you wouldn’t be reading this newspaper. You’re not tolerant of a wide range of views; you are tolerant of a narrow spectrum of variations on your views. And, whatever you claim, you still haven’t listened to Rush Limbaugh. Which leads to a question: Why not? I mean, come on, the guy’s one of the figures of the age. Aren’t you even curious? I listen to all your guys: NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN, The Times, the New York Times, the New Yorker — I check out the whole left-wing hallelujah chorus. Why are you afraid to spend a couple of hours listening to Limbaugh’s show and seriously considering if and why you disagree with him? Let me guess at your answer. You don’t need to listen to him. You’ve heard enough to know he’s a) racist, b) hateful, c) stupid, d) merely an outrageous entertainer not to be taken seriously or e) all of the above.
‘Now let me tell you the real answer: You’re a lowdown, yellow-bellied, lily-livered intellectual coward. You’re terrified of finding out he makes more sense than you do. I listen to Limbaugh every chance I get, and I have never heard the man utter a single racist, hateful or stupid word. Do I always agree with him? Of course not. I’m a conservative; I think for myself. But Limbaugh, by turns insightful, satiric, raucously funny and wise, is one of the best voices talking about first principles and policy in the country today. Therefore, I am throwing down my gauntlet at your quivering liberal feet. I hereby issue my challenge — the Limbaugh Challenge: Listen to the show. Not for five minutes but for several hours: an hour a day for several days. Consider what he has to say — the real policy material under the jokes and teasing bluster. Do what your intellectual keepers do not want you to do and keep an open mind. Ask yourself: What’s he getting at? Why does he say the things he says? Why do so many people of goodwill — like that nice Mr. Klavan — agree with him?
‘The mainstream media (a.k.a. the Matrix)–‘ I love that. (laughing) I love that characterization, the Matrix. ‘They don’t want you to listen to Limbaugh because they’re afraid he’ll wake you up and set you free of their worldview. You don’t want to listen to him because you’re afraid of the same thing. Don’t believe me? Well, then, gird your loins. Gather your courage. Accept the Limbaugh Challenge. See what happens. I dare you.’ Andrew Klavan is a contributing editor to City Journal, and he’s written a novel for young adults, ‘The Last Thing I Remember,’ published next month by Thomas Nelson. And next week he promises his column will be, ‘Hear From Liberals Who Took the Bait.’ So apparently he thinks some liberals are going to take his bait and listen to the program and then react to it to him. So Andrew Klavan, the Limbaugh Challenge, urging all of you liberals who think you know everything that happens here to actually listen to it. I have a friend in this town who goes out every night, just socializes all the time and runs into people, meets them for the first time, and every time he goes out, he calls me, ‘I ran into another person who hates your guts. They never listen to you, but they think they know everything about you, and I try to explain, and they get so mad when they hear your name.’ He says they even get mad at him for being my friend. So I know this is a phenomena that happens. But these are supposedly the most open-minded among us, these are the most tolerant people, and they are in truth narrow-minded and closed-minded.