I have found a fascinating phenomenon among liberals. They feel free to harshly criticize Rush Limbaugh yet rarely, if ever, listen to him. And when they do hear him it is in carefully selected brief excerpts or in second- or third-hand accounts. This leads to a lot of misconceptions on their part.

I was reminded of this phenomenom again while reading a column in my local newspaper by Leonard Fein. I enjoy reading Fein's columns because, although he is a liberal, I consider him a member of the non-moonbat left who occasionally displays brief moments of mental clarity when it comes to current events. An example was his recent column in which Fein notices that Barack Obama is not exactly the messiah that he was promoted as being by the mainstream media during the 2008 campaign:

The longing for a messiah is, one way or another, a universal: Why not imagine the arrival of one, of The One, who will finally bring peace, justice, forgiveness and all manner of good things to humankind? Indeed, how repress the urge? Even those of us who are not given to supernatural visions can and do sing the Ani Ma'amin, that statement of absolute faith that "no matter how long he tarries, we shall yet with perfect faith await his coming."What prompts these thoughts is the growing disappointment with Barack Obama.In our innocence, many of us chose to impute messianic capabilities to him. Of course we did not suppose he could walk on water, but we did believe he could wade in quite deep and there, if need be, do battle with the sharks and defeat them...

Okay, so here is an example of Fein thinking outside the standard liberal envelope. Unfortunately he soon suffers a relapse with this gratuitous shot at Rush Limbaugh:

We'd hoped that Obama's even temper and reasonableness might cause Rush Limbaugh to disappear; instead, we now have Glenn Beck as well.

Leonard, I really have to ask you a question at this point: Do you actually LISTEN to Rush Limbaugh? And I don't mean in bits and pieces. Have you ever listened to entire Rush Limbaugh broadcasts over a reasonable period of time? If not, then I make this challenge not only to you but to all non-moonbat liberals: Listen to the entire three hours of Rush Limbaugh on a daily basis for a full month and then report back your findings.

This Rush Limbaugh Challenge is limited to non-moonbat liberals such as Fein because the moonbat left, exemplified by Keith Olbermann, is beyond hope. Their leftwing minds are already made up and there is no way they would listen to Rush regularly. Therefore it is a mark of respect for the reasonableness of folks like Fein that this challenge is limited to them.

We already have an example of a liberal who originally had a harsh opinion of Rush Limbaugh but changed his mind when he actually began listening to him. His name is William Raspberry. I'll let writer Jeff Jacoby explain what happened:

In 1993, Washington Post columnist William Raspberry wrote a piece blasting Limbaugh for his "demagoguery ... his gay bashing, his racial putdowns." Like the Mississippi segregationists of his youth, Raspberry said, Limbaugh "is so good at ... tossing the raw meat of bigotry to people.... Limbaugh is a bigot."Eleven days later, Raspberry wrote a second column retracting the first."Rush, I'm sorry," he began. He confessed, to his great credit, that the earlier piece had been written in ignorance. "My opinions about [Limbaugh] had come largely from other people -- mostly friends who think Rush is a four-letter word. They are certain he is a bigot. Is he?"Raspberry -- who by this point had listened to several hours of Limbaugh's shows and perused one of his books -- went on to answer his own question. Limbaugh might be "smart-alecky" and love "to rattle liberal cages," he might be "unrelenting in his assault on ... political correctness." But he was no more a bigot or hatemonger than Art Buchwald.

So, Leonard, are you prepared to take The Rush Limbaugh Challenge? Listen to his full three hour broadcast for a month and report back your findings. However, a warning. Should you find anything good to say about Rush, you will be subjected to a venomous campaign of hate by the moonbats. On the plus side, there is a good chance that you could expand your political horizons.

I urge Leonard Fein and other non-moonbat liberals to take the Rush Limbaugh Challenge. You just might find yourselves breaking out of the stale liberal cocoon in which you are currently confined. So spread your shimmering wings in the warm sunlight of El Rushbo's enlightenment and fly, butterfly, FLY!!!