I've been watching the mass hysteria go into overdrive among the radical right fringeroots over Rush auctioning Harry Reid's letter with bemusement. If you somehow missed the caterwauling you can check it out yourself at Memeorandum or if you have a low tolerance for self-absorbed chest thumping, you can read Joe Gandelman's customarily excellent overview to get up to speed.
Honestly, I don't understand why the fringers are so invested in making this some kind of "gotcha" moment against Reid. There's plenty of reasons to criticize Reid, I do it myself regularly, but in the instant matter here Reid is showing some class in graciously and publicly acknowledging that Rush turned an ugly confrontation into something worthwhile for a change. The fringers inability to accept that makes them look like an inchoate bunch of ill-mannered fools.
Don't they get that without the letter, Rush would have nothing to auction and there would be no $2 million dollar, (or presumably $4 million if Rush does go through with the matching funds), donation to the charity? And before we slap that halo on Rush for his altruism, let's not forget that he sits on the board of Marine Corps - Law Enforcement Foundation. He's going to get some big brownie points for bringing in the dough. If it was truly an selfless gesture he could have picked a charity he had no affiliation with. Furthermore, I took a look at the organization's website. They do good work, don't get me wrong, but they don't pass out the money based solely on need. The recipients have to pass muster for worthiness by an internal panel of the organization. Somehow I think war dissenters need not apply.
The fringers want to pretend the letter was about silencing Rush. It wasn't. It was about making Limbaugh take responsibility for his hateful rhetoric. No one has ever denied that Rush supports some of the troops, but as was made clear by his phony soldiers remark, he only supports those troops that agree with him, and disdains those who dissent from his view.
If Rush wants to prove his remarks were targeted to only one guy who pretended to be a soldier and not, as was clear by the full transcript of his remarks, targeted at every active duty soldier who has criticized the occupation, then he can prove it by making certain that some families like Staff Sgt. Yance Gray's wife and daughter get those grants. Gray as you remember, was one of the soldiers that was killed in Iraq shortly after publishing a critical op-ed in the NYT.
The fringers can and will defend Rush to doomsday, but if Rush wants to convince the majority of Americans who haven't overdosed on dittojuice that this is anything more than another self-serving ploy to grease the wheels of his moneymaking machine, then he had better make sure some of those grants go to the war dissenter's families. Nothing less will lend substance to Limbaugh's self-promoting grandstanding.