Rush Limbaugh's ship is not sinking yet, but it is listing substantially. From king of the airwaves he has slipped insensibly in ratings and revenue, and how this occurred has a powerful lesson for us.
Any protestations about Limbaugh's subject material fell upon deaf ears at Clear Channel, and Limbaugh himself thought that criticism from the left was merely a measure of his success. "Crying all the way to the bank" I believe is the appropriate expression. Then came the Sandra Flucke rant, and the downdraft began.
Since approaching the man or his employer had met with no results, several progressive groups devoted to Limbaugh's reduction siezed upon a new strategy. Concluding that earnest pleas and logical arguments would have no effect, some very clever people realized that Limbaugh's empire was founded upon the cash flow brought in by advertisers, and there was the weak link. They would attack the money, not the man nor the message.
Over the next few years, thousands of advertisers were contacted and presented with a novel concept -- that their brand might be stained by contact with Limbaugh's invective. An astounding percentage, some of whom did not know that they were on his show, opted out. The number is now in the thousands.
Limbaugh has not slowed down, but he is a man who is being hollowed out from the inside. Sometime in the future we could witness a full collapse, but even if not, the man may never have the clout he had before. Rumors are that Clear Channel is thinking seriously about his contract with them. At some point, a deep-pocketed right-winger may have to subsidise him (for as long as he could afford the 10M per year) just to keep his rasping bigotry on the air,. If he eventually goes down, it will not be primarily because of anything he said or did. In effect, he will have been defunded.
These days the fascist right does it all with money. They have no philosophy they can sell. They are loosing voter share as we speak because they are wrong on almost every issue. However, they are positive that if they fling hundreds of millions at the elections, they can walk away with all the prizes and impose their will on the rest of us.
What would the Koch brothers be without their billions -- just more right wing loudmouths wearing hats with teabags on them. Their money, which is the real muscle behind their efforts, makes them look larger than life, but it is actually quite vulnerable.
The Koch fortune is founded a bit on the chemical industry, but chiefly on sources of carbon, coal and oil. One would think that they would recognize alternate energy sources as the wave of the future and, even better for them, a potentially huge source of profits, but no. The newest version of wind turbine pays back its initial cost in six months, leaving the next twenty years for pure profit, but this is not good enough for them. These men have carbon to sell, and they dread above all else the words, "leave it in the ground."
Such wealthy men, and others of the same ilk, can be undermined by attacking the value of their holdings. Do you want to remove a stone from the wall of Castle Koch, buy a Tesla or invest in a wind farm or go solar. Then persuade someone else to do the same. Never mind the government, talk to your neighbor. When a critlcal mass of stones are removed, the wall cannot stand.
Finally, some of my fellow Kossacks are aprehensive about the giant wads of money thrown at recent elections, mostly supporting right wing candidates. Detached appraisal of the results would show that this money is gaining very little ground for them. If Republicans need to spend hundreds of millions each election just to prevent being swept away, their footing is precarious.
I can't help thinking that most Americans would resent the idea that an election could be bought, that their opinions can be so easily manipulated, even though this happens all the time. Perhaps the phrase "just another attempt to buy the election" isn't used enough. Developing an inherent suspicion whenever large sums from mysterious sources splash into an election would be a survival tactic to encourage.
Issues and candidates are important, but mostly so in the run up to an election. The rest of the time, progressives should not underestimate the impact of guerilla warfare against the money. Attack the sources of the money. Attack the value of the money. Attack the uses of the money. Personalities and issues are not the sources of our opponents strength, its just the money, and that money is vulnerable.
Unify and attack the money.