Paul Krugman claimed recently that the Republican party “went over the edge…when supply-side economics became [its] official doctrine.” The Washington Monthly’s D.R. Tucker reveres Krugman, but he has a different choice for “the moment when the GOP truly lost it”: August 1, 1988, when Rush Limbaugh’s radio show went national.
By the sheer size of his audience, many millions of Americans have disagreed, answering "Yes" to Time magazine's question on the cover in 1995: "Is Rush Limbaugh Good for America?" Of course liberals say no.
“The 28th anniversary of that morbid moment will arrive in just a few days,” vented Tucker in a Saturday post. He commented that syndicating the program had been “made possible by President Reagan’s elimination of the Fairness Doctrine a year earlier. Limbaugh and his backers had a clear goal of driving the GOP, and America’s overall political/media culture, as far to the right as possible–and sadly, they succeeded beyond their wildest dreams.”
In Tucker’s view, Limbaugh has left a “sick stain and [a] loathsome legacy…Thanks to his poisoning of the Republican Party, America was unable to lead in a bipartisan fashion on such issues as health care reform, gun control and climate change. Considering the international implications of that last issue, it can be argued that Limbaugh largely prevented America from leading the rest of the world in transitioning expeditiously away from fossil fuels–a transition that could have spared countless lives over the past 28 years.”
Moreover, argued Tucker, Limbaugh strongly (some would say “bigly”) influenced the current GOP standard-bearer (bolding added):
Donald Trump became the 2016 Republican nominee by copying Limbaugh’s shtick–appealing to the worst angels of our nature, exploiting extremism, casting scorn upon common sense, prevaricating with pride. It was Limbaugh who removed all traces of logic, reason, decency, civility and compassion from the party of Abraham Lincoln…It was Limbaugh who led the GOP towards lunacy–and the party may never, ever find its way back.