WASHINGTON -- What is that laughter I hear? I am at work here in our nation's capital, where there is rarely much laughter. Rather there are solemnities passed from one high and mighty to another. On Capitol Hill, the solons exchange declarations of virtue, manifestos of high purpose and, increasingly, threats -- particularly threats against free-spirited writers and the prodigies of talk radio. The giants of Congress also conspire in slopping up the pork; for instance, just the other day, there was an earmark of $130,000 for a National Fat Ladies' Library in Ohio (or is that National First Ladies' Library, but does it matter?) and $500,000 for a virtual herbarium (perhaps a high-tech privy for Sen. Larry Craig). Yet I still hear laughter.
The laughter comes from El Rushbo, the merry sage of the Excellence in Broadcasting Network. Rush Limbaugh just pulled a good one on the Democratic leadership and those 41 Democratic senators who thought they could intimidate the CEO of Clear Channel Communications, syndicator of Rush's radio show, by sending him a threatening letter. He gave the letter to Rush, who promptly informed his 20 million listeners that he would auction off the preposterosity on eBay, match the highest bidder with a check of his own and send the two checks off to the Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation to further its charitable work with the children of fallen Marines. He also invited the posturing senators to join in the generosity.
"This is more fun than I've ever had in my life," Rush declared on "Hannity & Colmes" during their Oct. 18 show. By then, he had 60 or so bids, the highest for $851,000. He was faced with writing the Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation a personal check for almost $1 million. Nonetheless he was laughing. Later he laughed even more when one of his supporters bid $2.1 million for the Democrats' epistolary assault on the First Amendment. Now Rush is out an equal amount but all to a good cause. He now can claim responsibility for a $4.2 million fund drive for the Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation. What has been the Democrats response, a matching grant? Actually Sen. Harry Reid lumbered out onto the Senate floor and heaved up yet another exhalation of guff.