Voting with money, voting with one’s feet, works as well in an election year as any ballot at a polling place.
If enough people express their position on this, if enough companies decide to look at consumer response instead of only short term profits, then people win, then the marketplace and free speech combined both work. One station in Washington actually is POLLING listeners about dumping Rush, specifically.
If Rush Limbaugh is the proponent of capitalism and the free markets, then he has to acknowledge when it tells him he is bad and when he is wrong (and he is both, doubling down on his misogyny in subsequent broadcasts).
The best twist of all is that in his apology, Limbaugh satisfied no one. In his apology, apparently he finished himself, he shot himself down with his listeners, his rabid rabble of reactionaries, to whom he had pandered with his rants in the first place. Apparently they are angry with him for ‘caving’. It never was about being a joke, or being absurd, what Limbaugh said. He was ALWAYS absolutely serious in his statements, and now they don’t like it that he is claiming he was joking. They weren’t joking, not one bit, they really believe that what he said was true, they really hold those opinions of women and sexuality and contraception. They are a certain stripe of conservatives, stripes like those that would be found on a diseased, ill-tempered skunk.
There are a few conservatives who are better than that, who aren’t afraid of Limbaugh, like Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska who more emphatically condemned Limbaugh for his appalling words. There ARE principled conservatives, but the conservative side of the aisle has largely been hijacked by special interests, as evidenced by the ALEC legislation they funnel for special interest big money, both corporate and individual, and by extremist culture war ideologues. Moderates are not welcome and women are not tolerated if they fail to fall in line, which more than explains the retirement of Olympia Snowe from the Senate, a blow to Republicans, because they do not have a strong candidate to replace her, and are not likely to find one.
As of this writing we are at 34 sponsors who have abandoned Limbaugh – you can read the list here, with more contemplating doing so. There is not a big pool of people, other than Nut Gingrich’s SuperPAC who want to take up that slack. It was the same kind of advertiser boycott in response to similar excesses by Glenn Beck that led to his eventual disgrace with Faux News, and the loss of listeners. Beck became an embarrassment; Limbaugh is becoming an embarrassment, for his arrogance, his over-reach with his hatred.
Beck used to think he had a loyal power base; they left him. Limbaugh thinks he has a loyal power base; he puts the number at 20,000,000. That number is false, it is inaccurate, and it is grossly overinflated.
Unlike big banks, Limbaugh is NOT too big to fail. The 34 Advertiser number, that is growing; the listener numbers, that is not. When the money stops being generated, when the influence is no longer perceived to be real, Rush goes down that long circular swirl into well-earned, well deserved drain of obscurity. Romney, and Bain Capital, and the Republicans who have had to be nice to Rush even if they didn’t really like him… I don’t see them keeping a toothless attack dog on their leash. And I don’t see listeners, however many or however few, sticking with them if they think Rush won’t stand up for their minority view on subjects like women and contraception and sex. Rush has done the one thing more damaging than his statements offending advertisers; he has now also offended his rabble. It is time, and past time, to show that rabble isn’t important, isn’t the mainstream, isn’t the majority. And if we’re lucky, REALLY lucky this election cycle, it will mark the return of sane, moderate, fact based conservatives taking back the right from the extremists; this might be the beginning of a swing back.