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Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot Paperback – January 12, 1999

3.5 out of 5 stars 428 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Rush Limbaugh claims his talent is on loan. With this book, Franken demonstrates that he owns. The frankly Democratic author's shtick reminds us how much of a free ride conservatives have gotten in the mainstream media. For instance, he really drives home the weirdness of the conservatives' preachiness about "family values" in light of Newt Gingrich's and Bob Dole's first marriages, and Rush Limbaugh's first, second and third marriages. And he has great fun with Rush's and Newt's miraculous draft deferments in a chapter where he imagines all of the great conservative "chicken-hawks" out on a Vietnam war patrol under the leadership of Ollie North. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Franken, a writer and performer on Saturday Night Live and in feature films, does to Limbaugh what the conservative talk-show host has been doing to Democratic politicians for years. Using admitted half-truths and out-of-context quotes, he skewers Rush & Friends as no liberal has done in years. Franken does a retrospective of Limbaugh's life from when he "fed off the largesse of the government in the form of unemployment insurance"; how he failed to register to vote until he was 35; how he used two airline coach seats to fit his opulent hind-quarters; and how he got a 4-F deferment because of a pilonidal cyst. There are two hilarious sketches: "My 'Conversation' with Rush Limbaugh" uses out-of-context quotes to corner Rush in much the same way that Limbaugh once had a "conversation" with Hillary Clinton; and "Operation Chickenhawk," with Ollie North leading Vietnam draft-dodgers Limbaugh, Quayle, Buchanan, George Will and Clarence Thomas to their demises in Asian rice paddies. Franken also doesn't have anything nice to say about Newt Gingrich, Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, Phil Gramm and others of the haranguing right. A mean-spirited, albeit funny, diatribe that will delight liberals. Illustrations not seen by PW.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Dell; Reprint edition (January 12, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0440508649
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440508649
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (428 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #329,930 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I am English, and picking up a random satirical political book from the shelf seemed like a good idea for learning a bit about American politics. And having a good time.
I didn't like the title, because it is somewhat...confrontational. But between the covers of this aggressive book lay a very, very funny man. He combines an astute political sense with a level of indignant humanitarianism which allows him to put radical conservatives in a very bad light. Franken uses stats and figures to support his claims, but never attempts to pretend his book is any more than satire - slightly less political than P.J. O'Rourke, for example.
Radical conservatives might struggle to enjoy this, but anyone with a sense of humour should be able to appreciate most of Franken's character portraits and, even better, anecdotes - for example, when he played with the President American football and made a play which won his team the game...but the President forbore to congratulate him. The quick prose is funny and witty...
But...it does go a little far at times, and though I learned to share some of Franken's views on Rush Limbaugh, to whom I have never listened, I still thought some of the writing went too far. It reassured me tremendously to read in Franken's "Why Not Me" that Limbaugh himself had bumped into him and instead of pummelling him had yelled - "hell of a book!". This, and grudging praise to men such as Bob Dole gives Franken a bit more depth than an out-and-out liberal satirist with no punches pulled.
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Format: Paperback
As a diehard conservative, I am not supposed to like this book. I am also supposed to be a raving dittohead, horrified at any implication that perhaps Rush Limbaugh is not the best representative for my idealogy. However, as a closer follower of George Will than Mr. Limbaugh, I still hold the capacity to be objective about things--and this book, despite its liberalism, is genuinely funny, and the dirty tricks employed by Franken to embarrass Rush are very clever. Only four stars because, come on, I still have my principles.
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Format: Hardcover
Alan Stuart Franken (born 1951) is a United States Senator from Minnesota, and former writer and performer on "Saturday Night Live," as well as a political commentator, former Air America Radio host, and author of books such as Lies & Lying Liars Who Tell Them (03) by Franken, Al [Hardcover (2003)].

He wrote in the 1998 Preface to this 1996 book, "In the shadow of the whole Lewinsky scandal (I think the President f----d up very badly and that Kenneth Starr is a sick prig), it is important to remind ourselves how dishonest, misguided, and hypocritical the leaders of the Republican Revolution are and why they can't be allowed to run the country. This book is that reminder."

He states, "So Newt Gingrich is a deadbeat dad who presented his first wife with terms for divorce while she was in the hospital recovering from cancer surgery. That's not the point of this piece. But it's fun to repeat." (Pg. 47) He observes, "It's funny how many hawkish Republicans didn't go (to Vietnam). Phil Gramm had student and teaching deferments; George Will had student deferments; Clarence Thomas was 4-F." (Pg. 56)

He asserts, "Rush lies about a lot of stuff. Some of the lies I don't really hold against him. These are the ones where he's been on the air for an hour or so, and he's really on a roll... He's so far in the zone that he's left objective reality behind and entered this parallel universe where things are true because Rush wants them to be... Other lies bug me a lot.
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Format: Audio Cassette
I remember reading this book a couple years ago and didn't care for it. Without Franken's wide-eyed, mock-innocent delivery, his writing comes across as mean.

So, I did the decent thing and picked up the audio version. MUCH better!! As one of Franken's early political works, RLIABFI is not as hard-hitting as his later works -- "Lies and the Lying Liars WHo Tell Them" and "The Truth (with Jokes)". Franken is still more of the naughty boy than the political analyst, but his political and truth-telling skills are still definitely on display.

There were some gems. The mock book review by former UN Ambassador Jeanne Kirkpatrick was a hilarious send-up of her as well as of the genre. And Franken was at his best as he described his early political activity as a 20-something tagging along after the Moe Udall and Ronald Reagan presidential campaigns. Franken's description of playing football with Bill Clinton, of attending Ross Perot's Reform Party convention in Dallas and of travelling to a migraine-inducing Christian Coalition event are dead-on and usually warm-hearted depictions of the flawed but very real people who get involved in politics. And his full-alphabet version of the V-Chip (The "S" chip blocks out the sitcoms, for instance) is wacky and almost surreal.

Franken's pieces sometimes misfire or (what is worse) confuse. His essay on his assistant's Lyme disease ably illustrated the problems of the uninsured trying to get health care. But the following essay -- purporting to show how the assistant was suing Franken over the effects of the disease -- seemed more like a piece the right wing might use against trial lawyers. I wasn't sure where Franken stood on this issue; perhaps he was being so profoundly ironic that I missed the joke.
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