Rush Limbaugh, conservative and influential radio talk show host, makes a point.
LZ Granderson: President Bush in 1992, seeking Limbaugh's support, carried his bags
GOP has been Rush Limbaugh's bellhop ever since he got influential, he says
LZ: Rush throws around half-truths and insults. Some are disgusted, others entertained
LZ: But it's destructive when people, politicians make him some sort of spokesman
Editor's note: LZ Granderson is a CNN contributor who writes a weekly column for CNN.com. The former Hechinger Institute Fellow has had his commentary recognized by the Online News Association, the National Association of Black Journalists and the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association. He is also a senior writer for ESPN. Follow him on Twitter @locs_n_laughs.
(CNN) -- If you want to know why there's little cooperation in Washington these days, I'd start with a campaign promise made in 1988 by presidential candidate George H.W. Bush.
"Read my lips: No new taxes."
So, when he raised taxes two years later, quite naturally, voters, particularly conservatives, were upset.
If you want to know why so little is being accomplished in Washington these days, I'd start with that broken promise and what Bush did in an attempt to get those conservatives back.
The party has been carrying Limbaugh's bags ever since.
So, if you want to know when Washington became so polarized, maybe we should circle August 1, 1988, exactly 25 years ago. That was the day a satirical talk show host syndicated his act and, in the process, made a lot of money and became one of the most influential figures in American politics today.
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"Have any of you heard of an individual by the name of LZ Granderson?" Limbaugh asked on his show in June 2012."Snerdley? He has not heard of LZ Granderson. Dawn, have you? Brian, have you heard of LZ Granderson? Prior to last night I had not heard of LZ Granderson."
But it's moments like that when you remember that Limbaugh's purpose isn't to provide thoughtful political discourse. It's to vent on his listeners' behalf, to appeal to their censored side. The side thatwants to hear a white man say "nigga" in public or call a woman a "slut" without getting fired.
If that makes you laugh, then he's doing his job.
If that disgusts you, well that's his job, too.
Limbaugh has had us on this yo-yo since the moment he assumed the role of Gabriel in the Kingdom of Reagan 25 years ago. Back then, it was only offensive, because he was the party's megaphone, warning listeners about the impending invasion of welfare queens with his mixture of righteous indignation and half-truths. It became destructive when listeners and politicians alike made him its spokesman: a pseudo-politician free from the burden of actually having to do anything.
Not too long ago, he read what he believed to be passages from Obama's senior thesis, passages that expressed a disdain for the U.S. Constitution. Sadly, the whole thing was made up by a blogger.And while Limbaugh did sheepishly tell listeners what he had read earlier was false, the host still found a way to justify reading it by saying, "We know he thinks it."
Some folks eat that kind of stuff up.
Some get riled up about it.
And the folks in Washington? Well, after 25 years, they're still not quite sure what to do with it or him. If you're a Democrat, do you ignore him? If you're a Republican, do you carry his bags? I imagine it's like that feeling you get when someone tells you something that you can't determine is a joke or not. You just stand there half-smiling like an idiot.
So, if you want to know what the folks in Washington are doing about the economy, I'd start there.