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People don’t believe me when I tell them that I once was true-red conservative. I voted party line Republican. One day back in the Dark Ages that were the 1990s a conservative friend suggested I listen to Rush Limbaugh. Since I worked during the day I couldn’t listen to his radio show so I caught a couple of his short-lived syndicated TV episodes showing in the wee hours of the morning. Quite frankly, I was appalled by his populist demagoguery.

Sculpting the Martin Luther King, Jr memorial

Martin Luther King, Jr

But what really was the last straw on the camel’s back was Rush race-baiting during a particular episode. I can’t recall much of the details but, I believe, his schtick centered around using monkeys at a drive-through zoo attacking tourists’ cars as a metaphor for rioting blacks. During a subsequent show he proudly waved a small newspaper clipping of the NAACP demanding an apology. Of course, the NAACP’s reaction was exactly what Rush was looking for. Gleefully he re-ran the clip. I think he did his usual routine of carefully parsing what he said with a wink and a nod to prove nothing he said was remotely racist.

True story and what started me down the road to liberalism. More accurately, I was washed down the road by a tidal wave of right-wing populism which endures to this very day.

Rush Limbaugh propelled to the top of the dung heap of conservative talk radio by taking on politically taboo subjects. I know several conservatives who listened intently to him in his early days because they were privately upset at minorities over affirmative action which they viewed as a serious career threat. Rush was their champion. He took the topic head on with a take-no-prisoners head of steam.

These memories and more flooded through my brain as I stumbled upon a cache of Media Matters clips of Rush Limbaugh’s trademark race-baiting on his radio show. The folks I used to know who listened to his crap long ago tossed in their dittohead towels. I have no idea who listens to his vile vomit today but I suspect they’ll be all around me at my polling station when I vote in 2012.

The only thing you’ll learn from Rush Limbaugh is contempt which is why, in my own inadequate way, I feel compelled to mock Mr. Limbaugh with a little bit of my own satire. Jon Stewart remains secure in a job but I had to do it.