Classic Rush Radio Innovation: The Gorbasm!
JASON: My dad used to say this a lot. I said, “Dad, how do you run a business?” I grew up in a small-business family, and I said, “How do you know this and this and this?” He said, “Jace, in order to run a business, you don’t have to be the best at any one thing. You have to be second best at everything,” and it’s really true that managerial context.
Your accountant better be the best at accounting. Your marketing manager or your shop manager, whatever, you better know enough to be second best so you know what’s going on — and Rush was far from second best. He was the best in a wide array of topics that made him so listenable. That is really, in so many ways, the key to Rush. Taking a situation like Mikhail Gorbachev and meeting Gorbachev, and turning it into a funny, funny story like this…
RUSH: We’re gonna go back to the Grooveyard of Forgotten Favorites and we are going to have another Gorbasm today, because the Drive-By Media is, in fact, having one. It’s the 25th anniversary of the fall of Berlin Wall, and the Drive-By Media is out celebrating Mikhail Gorbachev as though he let it happen, as though Gorbachev made it happen.
You know, I met Gorbachev. It was at George H. W. Bush’s 80th birthday, and it was at Reliant Stadium in Houston. It was a big celebration. I didn’t go to the celebration on the field. There was a pre-bash in the bowels of the stadium in there, and I showed up for that. Gorbachev was there with that baldheaded interpreter that’s been following him around for 30 years.
James Baker was there. Well, everybody was there. And this baldheaded guy with Gorbachev kept looking at me, and I said, “This guy can’t know who I am. I mean, this is Mikhail Gorbachev. These guys don’t speak English. He has no idea.” But he kept looking at me. So finally I went up to James Baker and said, “I’d like to meet Gorbachev.”
I happened to be wearing the exact same color gray suit that Gorbachev was wearing. It was uncanny. So he took me over and introduced me, and he introduced me to the interpreter, and I heard the interpreter explain to Gorbachev who I was. I heard (impression), “Limbaugh, Ruskie Limbaugh” or something like that.
And Gorbachev smiled and cocked his head, looked at me, and we posed for a picture. And when we posted the picture at RushLimbaugh.com the birthmark that was on Gorbachev’s forehead had gone from his to mine. It ended up on my forehead. You should see it. We put it up there at RushLimbaugh.com. Anyway, for those of you too young to know, I will explain what a Gorbasm is at that point in time when we get to it.
JASON: (laughing) Well, we’re gonna get to it next segment. We’ve got a great clip explaining the history of the famous Rush Limbaugh Gorbasm.
JASON: You’ve got to identify the opposition, and Rush did this in a funny way by explaining what a Gorbasm is. Fire away.
RUSH: Now, ladies and gentlemen, for those of you too young to have remembered or to those of you who weren’t paying attention back in the 1980s, let me give you a little history lesson. During the 1980s, the Al-Qaeda of the day was the Soviet Union, and to a lesser extent the ChiComs. But the Soviet Union was the enemy of the United States, acknowledged enemy of the United States.
Soviet communism was expanding.
Every Soviet leader — Gorbachev, Brezhnev, Yuri Andropov — was doing their best to expand communist beachheads all over the world. Nicaragua, Cuba, you name it. They were literally trying to expand everywhere. The Democrat Party did not see the Soviet Union as much of an enemy. They didn’t see the Soviet Union as much of a threat. They saw the Soviet Union as a great attempt, actually, at equality and fairness in governing a society.
For the first five years of the Reagan administration, he refused to meet with a Soviet leader. To the media and the Democrat Party, that was dangerous. “You gotta meet with them. You gotta have dialogue. You gotta talk, nuclear weapons, nuclear warheads all over the place and a nuclear arms race and you won’t talk.”
And Reagan said, “They keep dying on me. They’re not staying in office long enough to have a meeting.” That made ’em mad. That made the Democrats and the media mad. Reagan believed the Soviet Union would implode because of its own immorality. He believed that communism would ultimately implode on itself.
But that didn’t mean he didn’t want to urge it along and help that along. But if you weren’t around to remember, it was really acrimonious. The media and the Democrat Party hated Ronald Reagan. Reagan was characterized as deranged, asleep half the time, finger dangerously poised on the nuclear trigger and he would wipe out the world in a moment’s notice.
It was dangerous, it was horrible, and all of this anti-Soviet talk was unnecessary. It was provocative. It was destabilizing. All it was gonna do is make the Soviets mad. The Democrat Party and the media thought it was impossible to defeat the Soviet Union — they were too big; they were too powerful — and they didn’t want the Soviet Union defeated.
They thought we should peacefully coexist, have an interchange and interexchange of ideas, and that there could be cultural exchanges, and we had a lot to learn from them. They could learn something from us. But the Soviet Union was established. It was there, it was legitimate, and it had no business being talked about the way Reagan talked about it.
And then all of these old Soviet leaders began to die off, and they got a new one, and he was younger than any Soviet leader had ever been. His name was Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev. The American media and the Democrat Party immediately fell in love with Mikhail Gorbachev, and it was hoped and thought that Mikhail Gorbachev was actually going to save the world from Ronald Reagan.
Reagan was a dangerous cowboy. Reagan was undisciplined. Reagan was uneducated; he was a dunce. Tip O’Neill called him “an amiable dunce,” but he was still a dunce. But Gorbachev? Now, Gorbachev, there was a man in whom we could place our total trust. And then Gorbachev came along and proposed a couple things called perestroika and glasnost.
And in the interests of saving time, what those things were is simple attempts by Gorbachev to institute a liiittle bit of freedom amongst the Soviet people while maintaining an iron fist gripping on them and communism. What happened was American culture began to infiltrate the Iron Curtain.
Something as simple as reruns of the Dallas TV series put the lie to what the Soviet leadership told their population about America, and then Levis jeans and so much of pop culture began to undermine the Soviet leadership. They began to lose control of the population. So they tried to institute glasnost (a little openness) and perestroika, which was designed actually to fool the American media into thinking that the Soviet Union was engaging in “reform.”
That made Gorbachev all the more popular.
Gorbachev finally came along and made it look like he was gonna be the guy that could finally sit down, have a meeting with the United States, and convince Reagan not to blow up the world. And a meeting was scheduled in Washington, D.C. Gorbachev was to come to United States and actually have a meeting with Reagan.
At which time, Gorbachev would tell Reagan how it was gonna be.
At which time, Mikhail Gorbachev would save the world from Ronald Reagan.
Ronald Reagan referred to the Soviet as “the evil empire.” That angered the American media and the Democrat Party like you can’t believe. Reagan went into the radio studio one day to record a Saturday morning presidential address, and before recording he joked, “The bombing begins in five minutes.” That was leaked out, and the press and the Democrat Party went bonkers, thinking Reagan was on the verge of losing it and was literally gonna bomb the Soviet Union!
You didn’t joke about the Soviet Union! You didn’t joke about nuclear weapons! was horrible. So when Gorbachev and the birthmark — which grew as the Soviet Union expanded. You could see that birthmark grow. You could see Maine, see the East Coast, see Florida! As the Soviets’ expansion and infiltration of the U.S. culture grew, so did the Gorbachev birthmark.
(Star Wars Imperial March)
Finally, ladies and gentlemen, the trip to Washington was announced!
Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev with his lovely and gracious wife, Raissa, would come — and, by the way, show Nancy Reagan a thing or two about china. I’m talking about plates, dinner service china. Nancy Reagan had nothing on Raissa Gorbachev. So finally, at Andrews Air Force Base, there is a gathered throng awaiting the arrival of Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev.
State Department luminaries, administration figures, media, and members of the public who could get in were all waiting as the leader of the evil empire arrived on American soil to save the world from the evil finger of Ronald Reagan. And then they saw it! The Ilyushin Il-62 jetliner on final approach at Andrews Air Force Base — the technology to build that plane, by the way, stolen from Boeing.
The Ilyushin Il-62 jetliner carrying Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev and the communist leadership began to taxi near where the throngs were gathered to hail the arrival of the savior of the planet Earth, Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev! And I’m not exaggerating this. This is exactly how it was portrayed in the American media. The plane kept taxiing and getting closer and closer — and as it got closer and closer, the anticipation in the crowd began to build.
Finally, the Ilyushin Il-62 Soviet jetliner, technology stolen from Boeing, pulled to a stop in front of a gathered throng. For the longest time, the door did not open. This led to further anticipation on the part of the crowd, all of whom were deeply invested in saving the planet from the United States of America.
The door finally opened, and the stairs were rolled up — and still, no sign of Gorbachev. Just a bunch of underlings, flight attendants, support staff gathering at the top of the stairs and walking down. It was noted that Reagan was not there. And then … all at once … there he was! Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev had arrived, standing atop the stairs just outside the front door of the Ilyushin Il-62 Soviet jetliner (the technology to build it stolen from Boeing).
He waved and the crowd could barely contain itself!
Screams of delight, shouts of sheer and pure joy emanated from the hundreds and hundreds gathered to witness the arrival of the man who was going to save the world from Ronaldus Magnus. And then he took off the hat, and there it was! The birthmark! Instantly, the crowd went nuts. They began screaming and squealing with delight and uncontrolled passion — sheer joy, the likes of which had not been experienced outside a Soviet jetliner ever!
Shouts from the crowd could be heard.
“Oh, my God! Oh, my God! He’s here! He has come! Oh, my God, we’re saved! Gorbachev is here! Ohhhhh!” And the first public Gorbasm ever to happen on record was witnessed. Gorbachev then walked down the stairs, got in the Soviet ZiL limousine (four miles to the gallon, just a piece of junk car), and drove off to the Soviet embassy to keep spying on the American people.
He got some sleep, had the meeting, and Reagan had his way with him.
JASON: (laughing) And that, my friends, is America’s Real Anchorman, Rush Limbaugh, on the Excellence in Broadcasting Network.
Classic Rush Radio Innovation: The Gorbasm!
Classic Rush Radio Innovation: The Gorbasm!