Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot

From RationalWiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Great and terrible
Icon books.svg
On our shelf:
Writer's block
Subsequent viewings [of the Rush Limbaugh Show] pretty much confirmed that the point of Rush's show is to punish you for actually knowing anything.

Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot And Other Observations (ISBN 0385314744) a 1996 book by former Saturday Night Live comedian, writer, and actor and Senator Al Franken. The title is fairly self-explanatory. This was Franken's first work of political commentary and invariably launched him into future success with forays such as Air America and a successful campaign for Minnesota's Senate seat in 2008.



The book was written in 1995, before the Monica Lewinsky scandal but after the introduction of the Republican party's "Contract With America." Cruising along the wake of the revocation of the Fairness Doctrine, conservative pundits such as Rush Limbaugh et al. gained major popularity and notoriety in the United States.

In stereotypical Jewish fashion, the book starts with a negative and ostensibly satirical review by former Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick, as well as a rebuttal from Franken that suggests that they had, at one time in the 1980s, fooled around.

The meat[edit]

Franken starts the book by lambasting the title's target. A collection of ad hominem yet factual attacks about Limbaugh's obesity are only the sprinklings of an otherwise thorough analysis of Limbaugh's history of anti-feminism, conservatism, racism, and — for some reason — fashion critiques espoused during his radio show.[note 1] Franken then proceeds to refute all of Limbaugh's hard-hitting talking points that he happened to hear or read about while researching for the book, usually through simple black swan counter-arguments.

Only three chapters devoted to Rush[edit]

Franken touches on many topics that were relevant at the time, and some today are no less meaningful:

  • "Pseudo-certainty" among Limbaugh's listeners who turned out to be the least informed[note 2] yet the most confident of their knowledge. Scientists would later refer to this as the Dunning-Kruger effect; Franken called it "being a fucking moron".
  • Limbaugh's baseless attacks on liberals as being anti-American, anti-business, lazy, or whatever.
  • Limbaugh's three marriages, his period of collecting unemployment, not voting for Ronald Reagan, being both a draft dodger and a chickenhawk, and other important hypocrisies.
  • Limbaugh's use of quote mining and producing false interviews with figures such as Hillary Clinton, which Franken turns around by doing the exact thing to Limbaugh.

But the rest are still interesting/funny[edit]

Franken dedicates the remaining 44 chapters, most not more than ten pages in length each, to a variety of other topics, including:

External links[edit]


  1. Franken talks about how Limbaugh spent many minutes of airtime complaining about how the "liberal media" misrepresented his own line of neckwear — likely to point out how inane the show is, generally.
  2. Sound familiar?
  3. And still are.