Conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh recently passed away, leaving a brash, confrontational legacy that earned him the Medal of Freedom from former President Donald Trump.
“It was a great honor to do so when we gave the Medal of Freedom. It was something special, it was an incredible night,” Mr. Trump said. “We gave it during the State of the Union Address, and it was especially — half the room, half the room went crazy, and the other half the room, they knew he should get it, but it was special, and he was special.”
So forceful was Limbaugh’s influence on politics since launching a nationally syndicated midday show in 1988 that left-wing zealots cannot even pretend decency hours after his death. Rolling Stone Magazine published a hit-piece before funeral arrangements were made under the nasty headline: “Rush Limbaugh Did His Best to Ruin America.”
Limbaugh, who succumbed to cancer at 70 after a heroic fight, would likely have smiled and fired a shot pointing out the history of Rolling Stone’s anti-American hypocrisy. The most recognized voice in conservative media certainly doled them out, but with a tad more skill and humor. He popularized phrases such as “Femi-Nazi” when referring to vocal leaders of the feminist movement and Socialists such as Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders “Commie Libs.”
His penchant for bare-knuckled political brawling on the air made rising politicians nervous. During the “Stop the Steal” protests in Washington, D.C., and the ensuing rush on the Capitol, Limbaugh didn’t shy away from the lessons taught by Minute Men and America Revolution soldiers.
“There’s a lot of people calling for the end of violence. There’s a lot of conservatives, social media, who say that any violence or aggression at all is unacceptable. Regardless of the circumstances,” Limbaugh reportedly said on the air. “I’m glad Sam Adams, Thomas Paine, the actual tea party guys, the men at Lexington and Concord didn’t feel that way.”
His wide-reaching popularity among Republicans prompted party leaders to court his endorsement. Pres. George W. Bush, for example, worked diligently to get Limbaugh to visit the White House in an effort to curry favor with voters. The former “compassionate conservative” president literally carried Limbaugh’s bags into the White House.
“While he was brash, at times controversial, and always opinionated, he spoke his mind as a voice for millions of Americans and approached each day with gusto,” former President George W. Bush said. “Rush Limbaugh was an indomitable spirit with a big heart, and he will be missed.”
By contrast, liberal activists posing as journalists couldn’t contain themselves after learning of his demise. New York Times opinion writer Jamelle Bouie reportedly tweeted, “The most I’ll say about Rush Limbaugh is that he used his talents to make the world a worse place.” Considering the source, that’s high praise.
In 2008, Limbaugh was no passive player as the primary heated up between Obama and Hillary. Noting the popularity of Illinois senator, he urged his faithful “Dittoheads” to register as Democrats and help Hillary earn the party’s nomination. Calling it “Operation Chaos,” he knew Hillary lacked the mainstream popularity to win the Electoral College.
Although Limbaugh and Mr. Trump did not necessarily see eye-to-eye about GOP conservatism during the 2016 elections, they emerged as unified MAGA proponents in the end.
“He was a unique guy, and he became a friend of mine. You know, I didn’t know Rush at all. I had essentially never met Rush, and then when we came down the escalator, he liked my rather controversial speech. I made that speech that was a little bit on the controversial side, and he loved it,” Trump said. “He was a very unique guy. And he had tremendous insight. He got it. He really got it.”
Rush is rightfully recognized as the father of conservative commentary. No matter what the left says about him, his political influence is undeniable — and will continue to grow with the talents he influenced and the people he inspired.
Featured Image by Gage Skidmore