Last night “Family Guy” featured a gracious appearance by Rush Limbaugh as himself in an episode titled “Excellence in Broadcasting.” The animated Rush attends a book signing at the Quahog Mall, where ultra-liberal family member and talking canine Brian waits in line just to insult Rush, who gently suggests that Brian read one of his books before tearing him apart.
Brian starts reading The Way Things Ought to Be and is overcome by how much he agrees with Rush’s arguments—to the horror of Lois, the FOX News-hating mother of the family. Lois accuses Brian of being a contrarian and going against the Democrats just because they’re currently in power in Washington. By the end of the episode, Rush sees through Brian and convinces him he’s not a true conservative, and the two part ways hating each other but holding a smidgen of respect for the other’s point of view. Brian’s brief and indecisive journey around the political spectrum makes one wonder about what makes up a truly independent voter?
The satire in the episode is balanced, with Rush getting in some digs at Brian for calling him a fascist totalitarian who’s responsible for setting “political discourse back 100 years”—without Brian’s having read a published word of Rush’s. Rush inexplicably agreed to a number of lines that make conservatives look bad, such as admitting that the reasons for going to war in Iraq didn’t “pan out.”
In explaining his temporary party switch, Brian declares that he’s always been open to reason, and that reason has led him to be persuaded that the other side is right.
Is Brian really a contrarian, a true-blue Democrat who’s just experimenting with the other side, or is he one of the Independent voters we hear so much about these days? I meet people all the time who call themselves Independent, and I have a hard time understanding their political non-stance. Why would someone declare himself an Independent? Are there that many people whose positions are so mixed that they can’t comfortably commit to one of the two major political parties? Do such people really agree with one party on half the issues and the other party on the other half of the issues?