Conor Friedersdorf has a piece up at the Atlantic that has some substantial excerpts from a recent edition of Rush Limbaugh’s radio program, wherein we are given an explanation of How Rush Limbaugh Decides What Is True.
Specifically, Limbaugh compares his defense of Clarence Thomas with his lukewarm approach to Chris Christie.
Rather than recapitulating Friedersdorf’s post, I would recommend you surf on over and read the whole thing.
The upshot, based on Limbaugh’s own words: he vehemently defend Thomas not because of evidence or specific knowledge of events, but because of “Character, conservatism, and my knowledge of the left.” In other word, he was certain that Thomas was a true conservative (definition unclear, by the way) and he did not trust those who were testifying against Thomas. This was all he needed to know to passionately defend Thomas (and I can confirm that he did, as I was regular listener to Limbaugh at the time).
However, Christie’s situation does not have a clear fight between the ideological left and right, so Limbaugh doesn’t have the passion he had with the Thomas situation. Indeed, Limbaugh is quoted as saying the following:
It’s just every Republican who has entered the fray defending Christie has to put a caveat out there "if he’s telling the truth." Now, if there were a fervent ideological foundation, if there was a substantive reason of believing in Governor Christie, then whether he lied wouldn’t matter. They’d be out there defending him left and right just to make sure the Democrats don’t get away with this. And I’ll admit that was part of the reason that I jumped into Clarence Thomas. There was no way they were gonna get away with this if I had the ability to have a little bit of something to do with it. There’s no way. I wasn’t gonna sit there and put up with this. I’d done enough to find out he was a fine man and know this was a witch hunt. They were out to seek and destroy.
So, in short, it isn’t about evidence, it’s about ideology. This is not a surprise, to be sure, but it is rather remarkable to read such a blatant admission of that fact.
In sum: facts be damned, so long as “they” don’t get away with attacking someone on my team. This is a microcosm of how far too many view politics.