The more I read about the manufactured outrage of the left against Rush Limbaugh for allegedly smearing the troops by calling some critics of the war “phony soldiers,” the more I realize how great is their smear of this outspoken conservative. As Christopher G. Adamo put it on The American Thinker, “Limbaugh’s attackers have intentionally mischaracterized his criticism of such individuals as an assault the U.S. armed forces, asserting that he derided any troops who oppose the war as ‘phony soldiers’” (Via Instapundit).
Rush made very clear the “soldiers” he was calling phony in the very radio program where he first uttered the expression. ABC had just aired a special on phony soldiers with which the talk show host was familiar. Byron York observes:
The fact that Limbaugh, on the original September 26 program, brought up the ABC report, unbidden, to explain the “phony soldiers” remark suggests that that indeed was what he had in mind at the time he said it. That’s also supported by the fact that he had recorded a commentary on the story the day before, and that he printed out and re-read that commentary on September 26 as he explained “phony soldiers.” It was clearly on his mind.
Let me repeat, that expression was clearly on Rush’s mind when one soldier called it to deride the media for selecting troops “who come up out of the blue.”
Within moments of uttering it, he made clear that he was referring to individuals like Jesse Macbeth who invented stories out of whole cloth but which fit the anti-war movement’s narrative of our mission in Iraq. Many of Rush’s critics make much of the fact that there was a two-minute delay between Rush’s first uttering the expression, “phony soldiers” and his clarification.
Perhaps in that time, Rush realized how others would spin his mark. For when he uttered it, it was just an expression that was on his mind. Importantly, as York put it, the talk show host brought up the ABC report “unbidden,” mentioning Macbeth’s name long before Media Matters accused him of sliming troops who support withdrawal.
But, Limbaugh’s critics won’t be assuaged. They believe they know what that conservative was thinking better than he does. As Tom Maguire puts it:
Limbaugh’s critics are certain that he could not possibly have had that in mind when he mentioned “phony soldiers”, even though the caller was alluding to soldiers that “come up out of the blue” and even though Limbaugh went on to cite a specific phony soldier, Jesse MacBeth, two minutes later?
The critics focus on the two-minute gap as if it means everything. And Media Matters doesn’t even include the references to Jesse Macbeth on its audio clip of Rush’s show.
Despite all this, Democrats continue to misrepresent Rush’s remarks, attacking a straw man of their own creation. But, we gay Republicans are all too familiar with such misrepresentations, people who define us not as we are, but as they wish we were. Maybe this incident will make that broadcaster more sympathetic to our situation.
Even without his support, we’ll manage just fine.
In the end, all this really shows is how far some on the left will go to denounce their ideological adversaries. They’re not interested in an honest discussion, but in undermining any conservative who gain a popular following.
I wonder if their continually misrepresention of those who challenge them is a sign of insecurity about their own ideas.