Rush Limbaugh Is a Maniac!;
or, Why I Am a Dittohead
This page was last modified on 21 April 2012.
All "dittoheads" remember the first time they experienced Rush Limbaugh. For conservatives, it was very exciting and extremely pleasurable; the exhilaration of finally hearing someone in the media validate one's views and beliefs was almost unbearable. For others (leftists if you will, contrary to whatever euphemism they choose to hide behind), it was bitter, painful, and disillusioning; the humiliation of hearing someone in the media skillfully and gleefully slaughter each of one's sacred cows was equally almost unbearable. I suppose one could say that the experience is somewhat like losing one's sexual virginity.
Though I wouldn't have called myself a conservative at the time, and certainly not a Republican, my "deflowering" was a most memorable and pleasant experience. I was an activated Reservist assigned to the Personnel Division of Ft. Bragg's Womack Army Community Hospital during the Gulf War. On Fridays, the section would go into Fayetteville for lunch. I always rode with one of the civilian employees, Ralph Jenkins.
Ralph was a retired Personnel Services sergeant major. He was a short, scrawny, little middle-aged man with the quirky, touched-in-the-head sense of humor common among sergeants major. He first served as an artilleryman during the Korean War. His unit had completed its tour and was getting some rest and recreation in Japan. In the course of a typically drunken GI party, Ralph's boot had undue contact with his battery commander's teeth in a stairwell. Ralph was given a choice: court-martial or another tour in Korea as an infantryman. Ralph figured his lot in life would be much better if he took his chances with the Red Chinese. After surviving Korea, he decided to pursue a military career and got retrained in Personnel Services. After retiring from the Army, he got the civilian position.
Though I was thirty at the time and Ralph had to be almost twice my age, we always got along very well. Having completed a four-year enlistment prior to transferring to the Reserves, I was a seasoned veteran and "knew the deal"; Ralph and I respected one another as fellow soldiers. As I was six feet tall and weighed 200 pounds, I usually played the big, bad-ass sergeant with Ralph, and he played along. I would often call out to him in my Ed Norton impersonation, "Hey, hey Ralphy boy!"
On the Friday after Easter 1991, we were in Ralph's car returning to Ft. Bragg when he turned on the radio saying, "Hey Wally, you'll like this guy; he has your sense of humor!" It was Rush, and he was covering the "unpleasantness" surrounding William Kennedy Smith and the Kennedy Florida compound the previous Easter weekend. Part of the routine was a tape loop with Bart Simpson saying, "I didn't do it; nobody saw me; you can't prove anything!" interspersed with Ted Kennedy referring to the period of the events as "a typical Kennedy family Easter weekend."
I was in the backseat having a laughing fit. Though I was strapped into the seat with the belt, I managed to straighten myself by extending my legs behind the driver's seat. I was in a rigid position with my arms firmly folded against my chest. I was laughing hysterically and convulsively. I was laughing so hard that my abdominal muscles were cramping painfully, and I was on the verge of hyperventilating. Even so, I couldn't stop howling with laughter until after a repetition of Ted Kennedy saying that it was "a typical Kennedy family Easter weekend" when I managed to exclaim, "Yeah, a little public drunkenness, a little abuse of women, what's the big deal!? They're Kennedys!" Unfortunately, due to my military duties, I never had a chance to listen to Rush any further.
When I was demobilized and returned to college, my class schedule kept me from seeking out Rush on my local station. During the 1991-92 academic year, my columns in my college newspaper earned me the appellation "that conservative guy who was in the Army" though I was politically unaffiliated and thought of myself as a "moderate." An egregiously socialist Political Science professor in summer school and watching the 1992 Democratic National Convention combined to form the final impetus that pushed me into realizing that I was indeed a conservative and a Republican. I ended twelve years of being an unaffiliated voter who generally voted Democrat (Hey, it was fairly safe in North Carolina!) when I moved my registration to Guilford County and declared myself a Republican.
I got involved with College Republicans when they were revived at UNCG in Fall '92. Through my CR friends I learned where I could tune in Rush, and I finally made my reacquaintance with Rush after almost eighteen months. I was hooked; no, I was addicted! I was a "dittohead" and proud of it! All of us who tuned in during the dark days of Campaign 1992 could always count on Rush to boost our spirits with his outrageous humor, boundless optimism, and keen political insight. It was only one election, and there would be other elections. And there was...in 1994!
For additional Limbaugh-related pages in Matt Wallace's The Compleat Heretic, please refer to Limbaugh, Rush Hudson, III in my Site Index.