At His Mother's Funeral

Salon ran a column by Rush Limbaugh's cousin, Julie Limbaugh:

Even though our ideologies do not align, I have always admired Rush for his humor and savvy. I would like to believe that he has created a semi-tongue-in-cheek persona for entertainment's sake, a self-aware self-parody, the original Stephen Colbert. While his haters have always been too busy running in angry frenetic circles to notice the irony, Rush Limbaugh, the caricature, has had the time of his life; and there's something to admire in he who gets the last laugh.

Rush once told me, "The only way to make millions is for half the nation to hate you." He told me this at his mom's funeral when I was 13, and I think the reason he was talking business was because he was trying not to look so sad.

It's funny how the subject of half the nation hating him could effectively lighten his mood. I wanted to say, "But I don't want half the nation to hate you."

Yet lately, I must admit, being a Limbaugh has been a little tough. When listening to Jon Stewart or just about everyone lay into the latest outrageous thing Cousin Rusty has said, it just doesn't seem like he's in on the act, and that makes it hard for me to separate my cousin from his persona. Maybe it's just me -- afraid of facing my student loans in our crumbling economy, or maybe I have officially become one of the "crazy liberals" my uncles always warn me of, but it seems that Rush is no longer just playing the political game he plays so well. Rather, he has been attacking hope, and now it feels like there's little room for that.