Rush Limbaugh: Why the GOP Carries His Baggage

Rush Limbaugh at a White House ceremony in 2009 (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)
Rush Limbaugh at a White House ceremony in 2009 (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

America's political arena started to become polarized nearly 25 years ago, after conservative talk-show host Rush Limbaugh syndicated his act, L.Z. Granderson writes at CNN. It also marks the time when Republicans began carrying the talk-show host's literal and emotional baggage.

If you want to know why there's little cooperation in Washington these days, I'd start with a campaign promise made in 1988 by presidential candidate George H.W. Bush.

"Read my lips: No new taxes."

So, when he raised taxes two years later, quite naturally, voters, particularly conservatives, were upset. 

If you want to know why so little is being accomplished in Washington these days, I'd start with that broken promise and what Bush did in an attempt to get those conservatives back.

He carried Rush Limbaugh's bags. 

That's right. In 1992, President Bush invited Limbaugh for a sleepover and personally brought his guest's bags into the Lincoln bedroom for him.

They were not friends.

In fact, Limbaugh didn't care for Bush that much, and "41" knew it. But Bush was seeking re-election. He was saddled with a slumping economy and locked in a tough battle with Gov. Bill Clinton and businessman Ross Perot. 

He believed he needed Rush Limbaugh. 

The party has been carrying Limbaugh's bags ever since.

So, if you want to know when Washington became so polarized, maybe we should circle August 1, 1988, exactly 25 years ago. That was the day a satirical talk show host syndicated his act and, in the process, made a lot of money and became one of the most influential figures in American politics today. 


Read L.Z. Granderson's entire column at CNN.

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