Garafalo: Rush Limbaugh Is a Self-Loathing Narcissist

Janeane Garafolo, in rare form, psychoanalyzes Rush Limbaugh on MSNBC’s “Countdown” with Keith Olbermann.


OLBERMANN: A conservative male Republican governor, Mark Sanford, has basically called comedian Rush Limbaugh an idiot. Comedian is more interested in finding out why woman don’t like him. Quoting him, “I own the men. What must I do now to own the women?” In our third story in the COUNTDOWN, Limbaugh once again fails the primary test of psychological health, can you correctly gauge how the world views you?

Public Policy poll found that 56 percent of men held a favorable view of Limbaugh, but only 37 percent of women feel that way. That’s one of the largest gender gaps encountered by that polling organization in the past year. So Limbaugh seized on the opportunity. “This takes us to the age old question, what do women want? Not even Freud was ultimately able to answer that question,” he said, “so we will have a female summit to ascertain what I must do to attract women.” Save your jokes.

Today, when a female caller to his so-called summit suggested that Limbaugh seemed pompous, comedians reaction to the constructive criticism, “this pompous stuff, that criticism irrelevant. The woman has never listened. I’m not pompous. I’m not changing that.”

And accused women critics of not listening enough to his show.

As for Governor Sanford, who recently said, quote, anybody who wants him, meaning President Obama, to fail is an idiot. Limbaugh acknowledged this was directed at him, since he repeatedly wishes aloud for the president’s failure. Comedian says that Governor Sanford actually agrees with him. He just can’t admit it in those words.

Joining me now to revel in the fun is comedienne, actress and activist Janeane Garofalo. It’s good to see you.

JANEANE GAROFALO, POLITICAL ACTIVIST: Thank you. Thank you for having me.

OLBERMANN: So then, I’m going to see if I can do this with a straight face. What must Rush Limbaugh do to attract women?

GAROFALO: I want to say a couple things first; 37 percent is a shockingly high percentage of…I’m shocked by that. Secondly, this transcends gender. He is an unappealing person. The problems with Rush Limbaugh, as we were discussing during the break, it would take a neuro-scientist and a behavioral psychologist to sort that out. Failing that, let’s you and I discuss.

He is a narcissist who also struggles with self-loathing. That is clear. That is his prime maneuver. That’s the issue. He pretends it is politics. But there is something very, very wrong with Rush Limbaugh. He knows this. Most other, quote, unquote, Republicans or conservative don’t have self-awareness. I think he does. He really dislikes himself. And the type of people that respond to his message have a whole bunch of other problems, too.

But he’s…I think he’s trying to get women…I think he is trying to meet somebody right now. This whole charade that we are going through – – and we are even giving it too much credit discussing it. But I think he would like to meet a nice lady right now.

OLBERMANN: Your “24” and formerly “Larry Sanders Show” colleague is no longer in the picture?

GAROFALO: I think she actually just thought it would be funny to learn more about him. She said that he did suffer from low self-esteem. That was her impression of him.

OLBERMANN: It seems like that’s a long way to go to find that information out.

GAROFALO: I don’t think they really did go on a date or something. Mary Lynn (ph) is too nice. She’s very easy going and very affable. I think she just wanted to be nice to him. She felt sorry for him. She is more kind than I.

OLBERMANN: We will move it away from the personal here to this question: as I said, your easy, check your own sanity at home test is what do people think of me. We all get it wrong to some degree. If you have categorized women as basically femi-Nazis, castrators, babes, the hot or the unattractive…those are the only groups…and you wonder perhaps why women might not be responding to you more than 37 percent approval, how could you get it that wrong? Or is he just making that whole part of it up too?

GAROFALO: I think he is just, you know, throwing enough you know what against the wall to see what sticks. Somebody is going to respond to him. But the type of female that does like Rush is the same type of women that falls in love with prisoners, like Richard Ramirez or Squeaky Fromme. Good example, Charles Manson. Eva Braun, Hitler’s girlfriend. That is exactly the type of woman that responds really well to Rush. There will be some Eva Braun’s out there that will respond really well to this cattle call right now, or to this clarion call…is that the right word…he’s putting out there.

OLBERMANN: He is trying to get a date.

GAROFALO: He is trying to get a date. Lucky for him, he is wealthy. He is wealthy enough that someone…he dated Campbell Brown. Is that wrong? Some CNN woman.

OLBERMANN: No, it was Darren Kagen (ph), the old sports caster who worked in the morning studio.


GAROFALO: She dated him. So either she suffers from Stockholm Syndrome, like Michael Steele, the black guy in the Republican party who suffers from Stockholm Syndrome, which means you try to curry favor with the oppressor.

OLBERMANN: Talk about self-loathing.

GAROFALO: Yes. Any female or person of color in the Republican party is struggling with Stockholm Syndrome. That’s a whole other issue. We don’t have time. Let’s go back to Rush Limbaugh.

OLBERMANN: And Mark Sanford. Is there some hopeful thing in here, that even in code, he is criticizing Limbaugh. He is saying that anybody who says he hopes the president fails is an idiot?

GAROFALO: Well, if Rush were open to that kind of criticism, which I think he likes…like I said, he is a narcissist. He enjoys his name being bandied about, no matter what context. Rush Limbaugh, of course, is an idiot. That has nothing to do with what he just said. He…his reason for being is sort of to air out his laundry list of problems that make him an idiot. Does that make sense or have I started babbling? I get so…

OLBERMANN: I think I know what you mean. But why is he causing all of us to suffer along with him?

GAROFALO: He is a misanthrope, right? He is a hater of humanity and also a hater of himself. Why we all have to get dragged into this is one of the great questions. He brought up Freud. Freud has been debunked about his what women want thing years and years ago. He really needs to get more contemporary in his references.

OLBERMANN: Although that represents a very liberal extreme of Rush’s set of references.


OLBERMANN: The idea that there is something to psychotherapy and that there might be some way you can improve the brain without just smoking cigars.

GAROFALO: Like I said, Rush Limbaugh will go to his grave unfixed. Human frailty, let’s go with human frailty. It is human frailty that makes it be a conservative. You know what I mean? Whoever the person is, and this transcends gender and skin color, people that cleave unto the conservative message or to the modern day Republican party, there is something wrong with them. That is what makes them go…

Have you ever heard the phrase the Constitution follows the flag. Wherever the American flag flies, the manifestation of the Constitution follows. Wherever the jerk is, the manifestations of conservative follow. Does that make sense?

OLBERMANN: John Dean wrote about this. It is not conservatism anymore. It is authoritarianism.

GAROFALO: It is authoritarian message and people that follow the authoritarian message. It is the unrestrained id. It is whatever is wrong with us. It is whatever the flaws in human being. I’m a narcissist that suffers with self-loathing. But I prefer to channel my issues into a much more positive direction.

So I do identify with Rush on the level of narcissism and self-loathing combined. But I’m a far better person than he is. I don’t say that with arrogance. I say that because it is fact, scientific fact.

OLBERMANN: Thank goodness it is. Janeane Garofalo, political activist, currently of “24.” Thanks, Janeane.

GAROFALO: Thank you for having me.

OLBERMANN: Thanks for being a better person.


  • Billy
    March 12, 2009 - 5:18 pm | Permalink

    Nice job, Madison. Your comments were reasoned and not overly flippant.

    Jim, don’t believe anything you hear. Look at the facts. Bush totally screwed the pooch with the economy based on the Phil Gramm/Grover Norquist deregulation and privatization. Neo-liberalism (a la Bill Clinton) is better, but not great by the majority of us. Look at the median income over the last 40 years – by the way, you know the difference between median and mean, right?

    If you pursue knowledge long enough, you’ll realize that Chomsky is a brilliant person.

  • October 12, 2009 - 5:59 am | Permalink

    Thanks Madison for being intelligent and articulate.

  • Justin
    July 27, 2010 - 2:28 am | Permalink

    Madison, your eloquent writing and political discernment helped me put words to some of my feelings about modern-day conservatism.

    I have come to believe that conservatism, among other things, requires enemies, victimhood, a need to bully, and an appreciation for jingoistic platitudes (e.g., “Freedom is on the march!”).

    Thank you for your valuable input.

  • San Antonio Bankruptcy Attorneys
    October 24, 2013 - 5:44 am | Permalink

    Was it Rush Limbaugh who coined the term “feminazis”? He was the first? person I’ve ever heard use the phrase and he has been using it chronically and consistently for many years.

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