I’m about to tell you something you may have heard me say before — but please bear with me, because I have a new example.
For many years, I interviewed young people for positions at National Review — internships and junior staff jobs. And I’d often ask them, “How did you happen to become a conservative?” A lot of them said, “I listened to Rush Limbaugh.” Sometimes they said this sheepishly. And sometimes they went on to say, “Behind my parents’ backs.”
It’s true: A lot of kids listen to Rush the way other kids sneak looks at porn. In fact, some parents would rather they looked at porn.
I mentioned this to Rush once — what the applicants were telling me. And, totally unsurprised, he said, “Ah, yes: I call them ‘Rush babies.’”
Okay, flash forward to last night. Some of us were attending a fundraiser for Ted Cruz, the sterling Senate candidate in Texas. (For his website, go here — one of the most promising and exciting conservatives in America.) Among the guests was a reader of ours who works as a lawyer here in the city (meaning, Manhattan). He told us how he became a conservative.
When he was 15 years old, he had a teacher who instructed the class to watch Crossfire and the Phil Donahue program. So, our guy did. He thought the “From the left” host on Crossfire, Bill Press, talked nonsense. He thought the same of Donahue. He didn’t know much about politics; it’s just that what they said didn’t sound reasonable to him. He noticed that they often trashed Rush Limbaugh. So he figured he’d give this Limbaugh a try. He did — and thought he was great.
So do I. And if you’ll allow me something semi-cutesy: “Rush babies” are, in a sense, delivered.