APRIL 2009 GALACTIC
by Alex Miller
Conservative pitchman and talk radio host Rush Limbaugh sparked controversy this mid-winter with a series of rhetorical jabs and jibes aimed at Obama administration officials and members of his own party. Beginning with a statement on January 16 that he hoped the new incoming Obama presidency would fail, Limbaugh followed this with a broadside diatribe at his keynote speech on the closing day of CPAC’s (Conservative Political Action Committee) Washington DC conference, broadcast live by CNN and Fox News on February 28. Within days, Limbaugh was feuding with newly-elected RNC Chair Michael Steele, with fuel being thrown on the fire by top Obama officials such as White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel. The situation devolved to the point of Limbaugh challenging Obama to a debate on public policy on his daily radio show.
Rush Limbaugh has been a leading player in the conservative movement for over 20 years, peaking in influence and popularity as a chief opponent of the Clinton administration in the '90s. He has been credited with the failure of “Hillarycare,” the ill-fated attempt to provide health coverage for all Americans, by rallying the Republican rank and file in opposition, and is acknowledged as one of the chief architects of the GOP take-over of Congress in 1994. As late as 2005 his eponymous “Rush Limbaugh Show,” airing weekdays from noon to 3 PM eastern time, attracted an estimated 13.5 million listeners, making it the largest radio talk show in the nation.
Controversy has always clustered about Limbaugh, who wears it like a mantle. He regularly refers to women’s rights advocates as “Feminazis,” opining that the feminist movement “was established so as to allow unattractive women easier access to the mainstream of society,” and has described them as women “to whom the most important thing in life is ensuring that as many abortions as possible occur.” Global warming and endangered species activists he calls “environmentalist wackos.” He has described the atrocities at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison as “people having a good time,” and indulging in “emotional release.” While he is adamantly opposed to illegal immigration, he supports legal immigration as a source of workers for “jobs that take absolutely no knowledge whatsoever to do,” which he is happy to have “stupid and unskilled Mexicans” perform.
In September of 2006 he described as “phony” those servicemen and women who disagree with the Bush Administration’s policies in Iraq, eliciting a firestorm of protest from veteran’s groups and Democratic presidential candidates John Edwards and Chris Dodd.
In October 2006 he was lambasted by both the right and the left for his shocking mimicry of Michael J. Fox’s Parkinson’s disease symptoms, twitching and gyrating in mockery of the actor’s appearance in an ad supporting the funding of stem cell research. Rush claimed Fox was either acting, exaggerating his symptoms, or had purposely failed to take his medication on the day of the shoot.
But these squabbles pale in comparison to the hornet’s nest he has stirred with his latest foray into opinionated controversy. Limbaugh got the ball rolling on his January 16, 2009 radio show, the Friday before Obama’s inauguration, when he responded on-air to a media outlet’s request for a 400-word encapsulation of his hopes for the Obama administration. “I don’t need 400 words,” opined Limbaugh, “I need four: I hope he fails.” He went on to state that the fact of Obama’s race was creating pressure to accept his policies, and questioned, “What is unfair about my saying I hope liberalism fails? Liberalism is our problem. Liberalism is what's gotten us dangerously close to the precipice here.”
The controversial statements simmered on the back burner for the next six weeks, but came roaring back after Limbaugh’s barn-burning excoriation of the administration and his critics at CPAC’s annual conference on February 28, where Limbaugh was the keynote speaker on the final day. He reiterated his desire to see Obama fail, as his policies were disastrous for the economy and the country: “I want Barack Obama to fail if his mission is to restructure and reform this country so that capitalism and individual liberty are not its foundation.”
That same night, criticism came from an unlikely source, newly elected Chair of the Republican National Committee, Michael Steele. In a CNN interview, Steele attempted to put Limbaugh’s comments “into context,” averring that the radio host “is an entertainer.... his whole thing is entertainment. Yes it’s incendiary, yes it’s ugly.” The next morning, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel was not slow to throw fuel on the fire; when asked on CBS’s “Face the Nation” who he felt was now the leader of the GOP, he responded that it was clearly not Steele, but Limbaugh, who was “the voice and the intellectual force and energy behind the Republican Party....Whenever a Republican criticizes Limbaugh, they have to run back and apologize to him and say they were misunderstood.”
Stung by commentary from the head of the GOP which parroted liberal criticisms of his political contributions, on Monday March 2 Limbaugh lashed out at Steele, simultaneously answering Emmanuel: “So I am an entertainer and I have 20 million listeners because of my great song and dance routine?... Michael Steele, you are head of the Republican National Committee. You are not head of the Republican Party. Tens of millions of conservatives and Republicans have nothing to do with the Republican National Committee…and when you call them asking for money, they hang up on you....I'm not in charge of the Republican Party, and I don't want to be. I would be embarrassed to say that I'm in charge of the Republican Party in the sad-sack state that it's in. If I were chairman of the Republican Party, given the state that it's in, I would quit. I might get out the hara-kiri knife because I would have presided over a failure that is embarrassing to the Republicans and conservatives who have supported it and invested in it all these years.”
True to Emmanuel’s prediction, it took less than a day for Steele to retract his statements, in an interview with Politico.com.
“I went back at that tape and I realized words that I said weren’t what I was thinking. It was one of those things where I’m thinking I was saying one thing, and it came out differently. What I was trying to say was a lot of people want to make Rush the scapegoat, the bogeyman, and he’s not. My intent was not to go after Rush. I have enormous respect for Rush Limbaugh. I was maybe a little bit inarticulate. There was no attempt on my part to diminish his voice or his leadership. ... [Rush is] a very valuable conservative voice for our party... He brings a very important message to the American people to wake up and pay attention to what the administration is doing. Number two, there are those out there who want to look at what he’s saying as incendiary and divisive and ugly. That’s what I was trying to say. It didn’t come out that way. … He does what he does best, which is provoke: he provokes thought, he provokes the left. And they’re clearly the ones who are most excited about him.”
In an attempt to fan the flames, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs challenged the media on March 2 to ask prominent Republicans whether they supported or repudiated Limbaugh’s position: “Do they want to see the President's economic agenda fail? You know, I bet there are a number of guests on television throughout the day and maybe into tomorrow who could let America know whether they agree with what Rush Limbaugh said this weekend.”
On Wednesday the 4th, Limbaugh issued a challenge of his own—to Obama himself, offering to debate him on policy issues live on his radio show. He chastised the slant the media had given to his remarks, asking, “Do you actually believe I want economic failure? Don't you understand Obama's economic policies equal economic failure?...They are page one of the standard liberal playbook, tax and spend, stimulating only government and attacking wealth producers and achievers.”
Born 12 January 1951, 7:50 AM CST, in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, Limbaugh’s natal chart is a patchwork quilt of deep space energies, focused strongly on Mercury, which made its direct station on the day of his birth. As such, Mercury is the fulcrum, the still point upon which the chart revolves, and at 1 Capricorn it forms an exact square to the supermassive Black Hole center of Galaxy M-87 at 1 Libra, the largest anomaly of its type of which we are aware, with a mass in excess of three billion suns, holding more than 100 subsidiary galaxies in its gravitational thrall. This phenomenally powerful point grandly reinforces the natural tendencies of Black Hole Mercury, which can be persuasive and compelling, but is often more interested in making its case than in getting the facts straight. It tends to massage data or reject inconvenient facts, carefully cherry-picking what will best support its views; linguistic sleight of hand is the rule, and downright deception is common. This power to communicate is well evidenced in Limbaugh’s career, and the impact he has made on politics nationally with his words and opinions.
Limbaugh’s fractious qualities, and the enhanced earning potential they garner him, can be seen in the square to Mercury from Eris at 6 Aries, named for the Greek goddess of discord, a recent addition to the planetary family discovered in the Kuiper Belt, the region of the outer solar system from which Pluto hails. Eris/Mercury is combative and confrontational; her placement in Limbaugh’s Second House of earned income indicates why such discourse has been so profitable for him. Mercury also squares natal Saturn at 2 Libra, inclining Limbaugh to conservative, reactionary opinions which are remarkably free of the milk of human kindness. Harsh and critical, his pronouncements tend to tear others and their policies down without building up much to replace them. Saturn’s position conjoined the 1 Libra Black Hole underscores the immense amounts of energy Limbaugh channels into his career, with a three-hour-long radio talk show daily, a very active speaking schedule, and two New York Times bestsellers to his credit.
This Mercury is currently undergoing a conjunction from transit Pluto, which began last year but experienced a reprise just as Limbaugh’s first controversial statement regarding Obama’s failure emerged on January 16. The Pluto conjunction continues throughout the year, with exact hits this June through August and October/November, periods which may coincide with Limbaugh and his words or views again receiving heightened public scrutiny. When Pluto combines with Mercury, power is the issue, and now Limbaugh is being elevated by many as the principal power and chief intellectual (Mercury) component of the Republican Party. Issues of control and manipulation also arise, and that Limbaugh is carefully and cleverly using this situation to enhance his public profile and establish himself as a guiding leader of the opposition cannot be in doubt.
Limbaugh’s Sun at 21 Capricorn conjoins the Black Hole at 19 Capricorn, and is squared by natal Neptune at 19 Libra. Black Hole Sun has a natural affinity for adapting to changing conditions and adopting new personas, and the square from Neptune reinforces the theatrical, chameleon-like tendencies of this combination, adding an aura of deception and illusion to the mix. Even in his public rejection of his proposed status as leader of the GOP, Limbaugh elevates his profile and crafts yet another image for himself, as the de facto power of the party, who is self-effacing enough to downplay his contributions. Sun/Neptune is a born deceiver, often of oneself as much as of others, and Limbaugh’s performance qualities are enhanced by this contact—he is indeed the “entertainer” Michael Steele averred him to be. Black Hole Suns have the ability to draw others into their orbits almost effortlessly, for good or ill, as the millions of self-styled Rush “ditto-heads” will attest. There is a strong attraction for power, and the desire to wield it, as evinced by Limbaugh’s frequent forays into power politics and his attempts to impact and influence public opinion in favor of the ideas or causes he espouses.
Two winter eclipses helped to foment the situation. The Solar Eclipse of January 26 at 6 Aquarius fell conjunct natal Venus at 5 Aquarius, bringing out the natal squares to the Black Hole at 6 Scorpio and the Maser at 7 Taurus, and focusing our attention on Limbaugh’s controversial (Maser) desire (Venus) to see the development of a future alternate reality (Black Hole) where Obama fails. The Lunar Eclipse of February 9 at 20 Leo fell close upon Limbaugh’s natal Pluto at 19 Leo, energizing his power center and bringing him into direct conflict with the national political leadership of both parties, as a perceived equal.
A New Moon at 6 Pisces on February 24, just four days before his controversial CPAC speech, showed the Sun and Moon conjoined exactly atop Limbaugh’s bombastic natal Jupiter, increasing his exposure and expanding the reach of his political rhetoric to a national audience, making his ideas the cause celebre of the new lunar month. Within the next week, both transit Mercury and transit Mars conjoined natal Mars at 22 Aquarius, underscoring the several quarrels, the war (Mars) of words (Mercury) with Steele and the White House, and providing the impetus for Limbaugh’s rash March 4 challenge (Mars) to debate (Mercury) Obama.
Progressions for this time are also significant. Limbaugh is undergoing a rare triple conjunction of the Sun, Jupiter and Mercury at 20 Pisces, which are also conjoined his natal North Node (future, destiny)/Moon (the public) conjunction at 22 and 23 Pisces. This progressed Superior Conjunction of Mercury and the Sun represents a major turning point in the cycle between these two which began on the day of Limbaugh’s birth with Mercury’s direct station. It is the culmination—virtually an apotheosis—of all that Mercury defines in his life, and likely represents the high water mark of his career.
Having expansive, politically-focused Jupiter included here as well could be extremely fortuitous, but also courts bombastic over-extension, something to which Limbaugh would seem to be particularly susceptible. This combination was agitated by rabble-rousing, provocative transit Uranus, which delights in shocking others’ sensibilities and making outrageous pronouncements, conjoining the triple conjunction exactly as the situation developed in late January and early February, still within orb as the issue became prominent in early March. Transit Uranus also rolled over Limbaugh’s natal North Node (his destiny, future, highest potential) at 22 Pisces at the height of the controversy, and then passed on to the natal Moon at 23 Pisces, increasing his visibility with the public.
Progressed Mars at 7 Aries has been stimulating natal Eris for several years, emphasizing the natal square to Mercury and adding fuel to the fire of Limbaugh’s contentious personality. This is currently joined by transit Venus, which due to its retrograde has already passed over Limbaugh’s natal Eris twice (in mid-February and late March) and will do so again in early May, when transit Mars will come into the mix as well.
Plenty of opportunity for further controversy there, and if there’s one thing that Limbaugh can be counted upon to provide, it’s controversy.
Alex Miller is a professional writer and astrologer, author of The Black Hole Book and The Urban Wicca, former editor of "The Galactic Calendar," and past president of The Philadelphia Astrological Society.
His pioneering work with Black Holes in astrological interpretation began in 1991, when his progressed Sun unwittingly fell into one. Alex can be reached for comment or services at firstname.lastname@example.org.