Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

May 2, 2011

THE SUBTLETIES OF SARCASM.... One of the lead stories on Mark Halperin's "The Page" this afternoon ran photos of Rush Limbaugh and President Obama alongside a headline that read, "Donkeys Fly."

Limbaugh says he must open show "congratulating" president Monday, lavishes praise on Obama for OBL mission.

"Thank God for President Obama. If he had not been there, who knows what would have happened?"

Obama "single-handedly" came up with technique to kill OBL and was the "only qualified" person in the room to think up "extremely effective" method. "No one else thought of that."

"I can't tell you how happy and proud" it made me.

Around the same time, Politico ran a similar story. The headline read, "Rush: 'Thank God' for Obama," and the lede told readers, "You heard that right: 'Thank God for President Obama,' Rush Limbaugh said on his radio show Monday afternoon. Limbaugh credited the president with the strategy that led to the killing of Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden."

The Hill also has a front page piece this afternoon, touting Limbaugh's "praise" for President Obama.

In case anyone sees all of this coverage and thinks these media professionals know what they're talking about, let's clarify matters: Rush Limbaugh was being sarcastic. The way sarcasm works, someone says one thing, but they mean the exact opposite. Sarcasm is generally intended to be humorous, and not to be taken literally.

Limbaugh, in other words, was mocking, not praising, the president. These reporters have it backwards. (Indeed, the right-wing host is now laughing at these news organizations on the air.)

What amazes me about all of this is the fact that, even now, after all these years, many in the media don't yet understand Rush Limbaugh. They still think he's capable of decency, willing to honor a Democratic president he hates when the situation warrants it.

This just amazes me. Do these guys even know who Rush Limbaugh is? When he said on the air, "Thank God for President Obama," did it not occur to them Limbaugh may not be sincere?

Steve Benen 3:40 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (59)

Bookmark and Share
 
Comments

Plain Ol' Human Nature... You're a decent person, you can't imagine someone being so crass as to mock the President at a moment like this. Well, guess what.... it only shows what a small little tool Rush is.

Posted by: Captain Obvious on May 2, 2011 at 3:45 PM | PERMALINK

Steve,

I don't know. I have listened to it a few times now, and there is a weird mixture there. He never really delivers a punchline. Not his standard shtick. I do think he actively loathes the president, but there may be some genuine conflict there.

Not holding out hope, but it is a possibility.

Posted by: RomanX on May 2, 2011 at 3:45 PM | PERMALINK

The joke would really be on Limbaugh, who apparently thought what he was saying was so far over the top it was self-evident satire, but to any rational reader it seemed like a reasonable reaction.

Posted by: demtom on May 2, 2011 at 3:51 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, if Limbaugh were serious he'd lose his audience overnight. He has a lot of competition now, he's limited by the confirmation bias of his audience. If he starts bucking their the beliefs their limited intellect allows them, they'll change the channel to Levin, Liddy, Beck etc.

Man, I was trapped in to a 24 minute conversation with my step father yesterday. He gets his news from hate radio. I usually just suck it up and wait for his thought-free, racist drivel to dry up but I couldn't do it yesterday. The end of the conversation came when he started calling Obama a communist/socialist etc. I just started laughing at him. He hung up on me. I know the guys old, and I shouldn't mock him, but really, it is just so unhinged and silly.

If Limbaugh were to say something positive about Obama people like my step father would be gone. It'll never happen. Limbaugh may be a fat dumb@ss, but he isn't stupid enough to challenge the limited intellect of his fans.

Posted by: nisl on May 2, 2011 at 3:51 PM | PERMALINK

Roman, I believed that, too. Then I followed the link Steve provided where he said "laughing at". You go there, it's offensive, and there are more offensive links. Turns out Limbaugh's been ridiculing the President all day long.

Posted by: Kevin Ray on May 2, 2011 at 3:51 PM | PERMALINK

@Blue Texan:

You're working this one pretty hard in the previous threads, so it might please you to know that:

President Obama’s counterterrorism adviser, John O. Brennan, said that the raid had been intended to capture Bin Laden, though those who planned it assumed he would resist. “If we had the opportunity to take him alive, we would have done that,” he said. The killing ended any hope of prosecution.

In addition, the President ordered the Camp X-Ray at Gitmo closed quite a few months back, but that the GOP has held up funding for the closure. Just so you know.

Posted by: AK Liberal on May 2, 2011 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

Republicans are assholes. Mainstream journalists are lazy and stupid. Just another day!

Posted by: ManOutOfTime on May 2, 2011 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK

I listened to Limbaugh for about five minutes via Sullivan, and I must admit I, too, was snookered. But I don't get the point. What's he being sarcastic about? Is his point merely "I hate Obama therefore you people who are daily listeners understand the fact that any praise of Obama means I'm actually mocking him." Again, mocking him over what? The fact that the president has accomplished something in 28 months Bush couldn't accomplish in 96? The fact that under his leadership the mission was brilliantly conceived and executed, without a single American casualty?

Limbaugh is beyond merely loathsome. He's just bizarre and weird and not remotely witty or clever.

Posted by: Jasper on May 2, 2011 at 3:59 PM | PERMALINK

Sure he was being sarcastic but it will also eventually irritate Rush no end that folks will praise him for praising Obama.

Then it will be fun to hear him say something to retract what everyone perceives he was saying.

Then we can all point out that he just can't help himself when it comes to his hate for the black man.

Posted by: Mike on May 2, 2011 at 4:03 PM | PERMALINK

Limbaugh can laugh it up all he wants. His boy Bush had his chance to get bin Laden and he blew it because he was so intent to go to Iraq. Obama had his chance and Obama took it. Limbaugh is welcome to mock Obama for taking care of bin Laden every day between now and Election Day 2012.

Posted by: ploeg on May 2, 2011 at 4:03 PM | PERMALINK

The development of SEAL Team 6 [not the official name] was in direct response to the 1980 attempt to rescue the American hostages held in Iran. -Business Insider

Huh. So Carter was responsible for the creation of the program that took out OBL?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Eagle_Claw

Posted by: Kill Bill on May 2, 2011 at 4:04 PM | PERMALINK

Sucks to be Bush/Rush right about now, huh?

Posted by: Captain Obvious on May 2, 2011 at 4:09 PM | PERMALINK

Rush wants the spotlight turned back on him, not his olive-skinned half/white POTUS!

Rush is an entertainer.

The media gobble up his sh*t, time and time again.

There is a vast audience, many of whom are less cranially (sp?) endowed than he is.

Bet Rush had to up the pain pillies today.

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on May 2, 2011 at 4:11 PM | PERMALINK

Rush certainly spent a sleepless night agonizing over how to spin this. Doesn't that make you feel better? It does me. :)

Posted by: Tom Marney on May 2, 2011 at 4:11 PM | PERMALINK

@Blue Texan:

AK Liberal said it well. I'd just like to add this.

Appart from you being wrong on the merits, but not very concerned about that, I'd like you to also ponder this:

In your anxiety to taint with a "concern" this rightful celebration of justice being brought after 10 years to the man that was directly responsible for 9/11, you are willing to sell out and dilute the very real and very important issues of lawfulness and decency in war.

You're apparently the kind of man that would willingly use the lynching of Benito Mussolini as proof that the Geneva convention is one big scam and we're all hypocrites.

The consequence of your choice is that the next time when strong voices must be raised to avoid us debasing ourselves and our values again like we did post 9/11 in Iraq, guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, our job will be made harder by the opponents of decency and humanity pointing to the example of people like you, and claiming that we are all like you.

Posted by: Danny on May 2, 2011 at 4:12 PM | PERMALINK

Until every single talking head is fired from their microphones, and their work deemed mere conjecture from a horses's ass, our nation is destined to spin tightly in a vicious cycle of snipe and snark!

In the meantime, these incompetent purveyers of information can't even tell the tenor of a statement, or ascribe nuanced meaning from a flamboyant mouthpiece!

Politico is a publication not healthy for a common intellect, and completely stupifying for an above average one! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on May 2, 2011 at 4:15 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, maybe the press was being deliberately credulous. "Hey, he SAID, 'Thank God for Obama.' Now you want context?"

I think it's hilarous that newspapers showed Limbaugh as saying, "Thank God for Obama." Stripped of his sarcasm, it looks like he was flipped. That could be a good thing.

Posted by: CT on May 2, 2011 at 4:17 PM | PERMALINK

LOL @ the FDL'ers bitching about bin Laden being taken out.

Not surprised tbh.

Posted by: mikefromArlington on May 2, 2011 at 4:21 PM | PERMALINK
The way sarcasm works, someone says one thing, but they mean the exact opposite.

Whereas a Freudian slip is when you say one thing but you mean your mother.

Posted by: navamske on May 2, 2011 at 4:22 PM | PERMALINK

This is called 'damning with faint' praise, and Limbaugh is no stranger to its use. He used the same schtick on both Clintons; lures the listener into thinking "My God, the man does have a soul, after all", only to have BS pile so high that it topples onto the snookered listener.

He's a One Note Johnny, always will be, because that is what keeps the paychecks coming.

Posted by: DAY on May 2, 2011 at 4:23 PM | PERMALINK

I assumed bluetexan up top was the same guy @ fdl. might not have been. if it wasn't I redact my statement

Posted by: mikefromArlington on May 2, 2011 at 4:23 PM | PERMALINK

@Blue Texan:

AK Liberal said it well. I'd just like to add this.

Appart from you being wrong on the merits, but not very concerned about that, I'd like you to also ponder this:

In your anxiety to taint with a "concern" this rightful celebration of justice being brought after 10 years to the man that was directly responsible for 9/11, you are willing to sell out and dilute the very real and very important issues of lawfulness and decency in war.

You're apparently the kind of man that would willingly use the lynching of Benito Mussolini as proof that the Geneva convention is one big scam and we're all hypocrites.

The consequence of your choice is that the next time when strong voices must be raised to avoid us debasing ourselves and our values again like we did post 9/11 in Iraq, guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, our job will be made harder by the opponents of decency and humanity pointing to the example of people like you, and claiming that we are all like you.

Posted by: Danny on May 2, 2011 at 4:23 PM | PERMALINK

Republicans misunderstood Rush not because they are stupid. They did not get the joke because they have no sense of humor. In fact, if you are in a group of people and need to know which ones are Republicans, all you have to do is tell a joke and note the people who do not laugh.

Posted by: BHReck on May 2, 2011 at 4:27 PM | PERMALINK

it only shows what a small little tool Rush is.

No, Limburger's a very big tool...

-Z

Posted by: Zorro on May 2, 2011 at 4:27 PM | PERMALINK

[Comments by "Blue Texan" are not actually from the well-known liberal blogger by that name. The person posting these comments is the same deranged moron who was posting as Wing Fung earlier and returned after we banned him with an appropriated handle. --Mods]

Posted by: Blue Texan on May 2, 2011 at 4:28 PM | PERMALINK

AK Liberal: that link claim goes against other reports I've seen all around from reputable sources, saying that there was no intention of capturing Bin Laden - at least, no intention and they assumed killing him would be the only way it could end. Presumably an authentic act of surrender couldn't be answered with a killing shot, but plans include assumed response.

Posted by: neil b on May 2, 2011 at 4:29 PM | PERMALINK

Republicans are assholes. Mainstream journalists are tools

.... fixed it for you.

Posted by: G.Kerby on May 2, 2011 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

These reporters have it backwards.

These "reporters" have it backwards? These reporters?

There's a word for people like Halperin, but it's not "reporter".

Cocksucker perhaps?

Posted by: Squeaky McCrinkle on May 2, 2011 at 4:32 PM | PERMALINK

The plot sickens. Politico has changed its story to highlight the sarcasm, without acknowledging that it is a revised version that got it entirely wrong the first time.

Posted by: John Dillinger on May 2, 2011 at 4:37 PM | PERMALINK

Rush Limbaugh -- World's Most Famous Shit-head. How can he help but be proud?

Posted by: hells littlest angel on May 2, 2011 at 4:39 PM | PERMALINK

Do these guys even know who Rush Limbaugh is? When he said on the air, "Thank God for President Obama," did it not occur to them Limbaugh may not be sincere?

Yes on 1 and no on 2, which is a sad, sad reflection on these so-called "professional" journalists and political pundits.

Posted by: Gregory on May 2, 2011 at 4:39 PM | PERMALINK

Hard to say if the following (from Sullivan) is a mere mistake (and sometimes people we like mixed up Iraq and Iran etc.) or a wishful Freudian slip from a Fauxifier reader:L
http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2011/05/gaffe-of-the-night.html

Posted by: neil b on May 2, 2011 at 4:43 PM | PERMALINK

Cynics arent funny even when they try sarcasm

Posted by: Kill Bill on May 2, 2011 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK

A man can dream that Rush will grow up, but apparently Limbaugh is too far invested in arrested adolescence.

Posted by: Sasha on May 2, 2011 at 4:50 PM | PERMALINK

Bring back the Fairness Doctrine.

Posted by: a on May 2, 2011 at 4:55 PM | PERMALINK

The myth of The Decent Conservative lingers on in the hearts of men, like Camelot or the Garden of Eden . . .

Posted by: Jon on May 2, 2011 at 4:57 PM | PERMALINK

by now, limbag should believe in the power of the "magical negro" !

Posted by: andyvillager on May 2, 2011 at 4:59 PM | PERMALINK
Republicans are assholes. Mainstream journalists are lazy and stupid. Just another day!

Posted by: ManOutOfTime

Republicans would praise the killing of their own families if it pissed off liberals, and the media works less often than a lawnmower at the bottom of the ocean.

So, yeah. Occam's Razor, etc. etc. etc.

Posted by: Mark D on May 2, 2011 at 5:04 PM | PERMALINK

In case no one mentioned this yet: I heard that the SEAL team was used instead of bombing the compound, mostly so they could get DNA. Rush's seeming, fawning praise for Obama was likely sarcastic, but indeed the first plan was to use B-2 bombers to flatten the thing, then Obama's close team said "we want the DNA." We can only hope that convinces some of the "deathers" who don't believe OBL was taken out, citing e.g. the burial at sea leaving no hard evidence, claims he died a few years ago, etc.

Posted by: Neil B on May 2, 2011 at 5:22 PM | PERMALINK

@neil b:

I imagine that all concerned preferred the eventual outcome. However, I take it that Brennan is authorized to speak about the raid and knows what he's talking about.

Posted by: AK Liberal on May 2, 2011 at 5:26 PM | PERMALINK

"I listened to Limbaugh for about five minutes via Sullivan, and I must admit I, too, was snookered. But I don't get the point. What's he being sarcastic about?"


There is no point. If he ever knew it, Rush has forgotten what sarcasm and irony actually are, other than the knee jerk excuses he throws up whenever he makes an ass of himself.

Mike

Posted by: MBunge on May 2, 2011 at 5:49 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, even Mia Liasson on NPR said Rush was congratulating Obama. I listened to about 2mins of Rush today and I knew he wasn't congratulating anyone but himself.

Posted by: martin on May 2, 2011 at 5:53 PM | PERMALINK

Yet another instance of conservatives not being able to grasp humor, irony even low level sarcasm like Limbaugh's.

Of course it did not help his cause that what he said about Obama was quite literally true.

It took Obama to get Osama.

Posted by: jjm on May 2, 2011 at 6:16 PM | PERMALINK

Sarcasm, a weak tool of a lazy mind.

Posted by: Jose Padilla on May 2, 2011 at 6:19 PM | PERMALINK

Take It at Face Value

Rush Limbaugh said "Thank Gawd for President Obama." He said it. It's on record, not to mention audio and probably videotape. He said those words.

So what about the tone? RUSH LIMBAUGH said "Thank Gawd for President Obama."

I'd quote him in many an ad all through election season, to burnish the President's bipartisan appeal.

Look - we all know how the Reps misquote and quote out of context and manufacture quotes. Here's a direct quote from their guiding intellectual, the Fat Man himself - Dems need to use it.

And if the Reps howl about it, too bad.

Posted by: zandru on May 2, 2011 at 6:20 PM | PERMALINK

"There is no point. If he ever knew it, Rush has forgotten what sarcasm and irony actually are, other than the knee jerk excuses he throws up whenever he makes an ass of himself."

Precisely. Humor, sarcasm, irony, etc. are just "cover" for Rush and his apologists.

I overheard a little boy trying to argue with his mom the other day. Kid: when are you going to eat food? Mom: I had breakfast with you two hours ago. Kid, slyly: breakfast isn't food. When are you gonna eat FOOD? (I could tell he was pleased with himself, but mom was unimpressed.)

Rush and the dittoheads are like that kid, only repulsive. It's as if they think we're backed into a corner that THEY can see out of, but we can't, unless Rush shows his hand, which he won't.

Posted by: CRA on May 2, 2011 at 7:20 PM | PERMALINK

Rush Limbaugh said "Thank Gawd for President Obama."

He should, actually. He's made tons of money by exploiting his hatred of President Obama.

A man with a soul as shriveled and toxic as his will no doubt receive his just reward when he looks back on his accomplishments of sowing hatred and division on his dying day. He's welcome to it. I hope it poisons him.

Posted by: g on May 2, 2011 at 7:30 PM | PERMALINK

This just amazes me. Do these guys even know who Rush Limbaugh is? When he said on the air, "Thank God for President Obama," did it not occur to them Limbaugh may not be sincere?

Idiots. Absolute idiots. Then again, one of them was Mark Halperin, so that pretty much says all that needs to be said right there.

Posted by: John on May 2, 2011 at 7:39 PM | PERMALINK

As usual, Rush steals. The trope of a chairborne warrior being catapulted sarcastically into front-line service has been done before:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ztY04FXxWXE

(Not surprisingly, Ollie North LOVES this bit.)

Posted by: Steve P on May 2, 2011 at 8:05 PM | PERMALINK

It did seem too good to be true...but all it took was to LISTEN and not just read the transcript. It was obvious the fat-ass fuck was mocking....it's all he can do.

Posted by: marty on May 2, 2011 at 9:06 PM | PERMALINK

Article: "This just amazes me. Do these guys even know who Rush Limbaugh is? When he said on the air, "Thank God for President Obama," did it not occur to them Limbaugh may not be sincere?"

Rush is a special piece of work. Fifty million a year and his biggest concern in life is running out of opiates. A true GOP hero.

Posted by: max on May 2, 2011 at 9:29 PM | PERMALINK

I certainly hope that Limbaugh dies soon.

Posted by: Joe Bauers on May 2, 2011 at 10:53 PM | PERMALINK

I never expected to learn something from Limbaugh. Well "learn" is a strong word, since I didn't have much doubt. But as Samuel Johnson didn't say "it is best to remain silent and be thought a fool than to claim that Rush Limbaugh is capable of human decency and remove all doubt."

I can't prove it, but in my heart I feel I could have guessed that "The Note" and "Politico" would score in the top three in the clueless classic.

Speaking of which, Cal Thomas appears to have a lock on the singles tournament

Posted by: Robert Waldmann on May 3, 2011 at 12:45 AM | PERMALINK

"Hey, even Mia Liasson on NPR said Rush was congratulating Obama."

Which is a very sad commentary on her ability to discern the difference between truth and bullshit.

Posted by: bluestatedon on May 3, 2011 at 2:04 AM | PERMALINK

It's kinda sad to see people glorying in vengeance, when to get it, they had to compromise their own liberty.
Hey, killing Osama is no skin off anyones nose, he was a murdering assroid.
But seeing people using this as an excuse to forget about both Bush's and Obama's crimes is nothing short of disgusting.
At best it makes you seem like a snotty "might makes right" sanctimonious moron, at worst like you already believed the bullshit beforehand and are now just satisfied with this as an excuse.

Posted by: HMDK on May 3, 2011 at 3:19 AM | PERMALINK

Limbaugh makes some very cogent observations about how Obama overruled the military when he ordered a raid rather than a bombing because it was critical that they be able to identify OBL. A very valid point. Then he follows it up with only Obama thought of this - thank god for President Obama. So that's supposed to make it funny. Of course he is being sarcastic, he's Limbaugh - but exactly what is he mocking? Competence? Hilarious.

Posted by: jomo on May 3, 2011 at 4:30 AM | PERMALINK

Limbaugh makes some very cogent observations about how Obama overruled the military when he ordered a raid rather than a bombing because it was critical that they be able to identify OBL. A very valid point. Then he follows it up with only Obama thought of this - thank god for President Obama. So that's supposed to make it funny. Of course he is being sarcastic, he's Limbaugh - but exactly what is he mocking? Competence? Hilarious.

Posted by: jomo on May 3, 2011 at 4:30 AM | PERMALINK

The sarcasm I see is when you refer to POLITICO as a news agency.

Posted by: Wowzers on May 3, 2011 at 6:01 AM | PERMALINK

Rush Limbaugh's getting what he wants: attention.

Posted by: Blue Galangal on May 3, 2011 at 9:12 AM | PERMALINK
Post a comment









Remember personal info?










 

 

Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM



buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly