I was just coming back to work from lunch and a colleague was eating at his desk and had the radio going. After saying hello to others there and taking a look at what was on tap for the afternoon, I heard the radio host bring up Michael Dukakis, with the background music being The Beatles “I’m a Loser”.
What the heck is that?, I asked.
“Calls himself Rush. Its great. He shreds hypocrites.”
That was my introduction to Rush Limbaugh. It was, I think, very early 1989, though it might have been very late 1988. At all events, Rush had only recently started his national show and I was immediately a fan. I had never heard anyone argue in the media with the Conventional Wisdom. Rush was challenging and funny and he clearly didn’t care what liberals thought about him. I think a lot of us remember those early days with their various “updates” and things like the bake sale. It was energizing and fun. And, I think, it played a huge role in the GOP recapturing the House in 1994, thus starting the breakdown of Democrat power in the United States.
He was, of course, before blogging. Before Fox News. Before everything except National Review in Conservative thought. And he was the very first Conservative activist. Not that he gave his audience orders, but that he galvanized us by showing, via his gigantic audience, that we weren’t alone. That millions upon millions shared our dismay with the course of the country.
Rush’s influence simply cannot be overstated. Never holding any office. Never directly participating in any political campaign. He yet got the ball rolling for the breakdown of the Establishment’s grip on the public mind. That Donald Trump was able to get nearly 75 million votes in 2020 – after a year of pandemic and economic crash and after four years of relentless MSM lies – is testament to the number of minds freed because back in 1988 Rush went on the air with the intent to say whatever he thought was right. That we haven’t won completely is no detraction from Rush. He was, after all, just one man. That we still may be able to save this country is Rush’s crowning glory.
I did see the intense hatred directed Rush’s way after his death was announced. We all knew it was coming, but there was something extra pathetic about it. None of the people celebrating his death have a tenth the influence that Rush had. And, just as certain, none of them ever listened to his show. Rely on that: the only people who hate Rush are those who don’t listen. If they did listen, they’d find that he had arguments to make. I didn’t always agree with everything Rush said. But when I did find myself thinking differently, I could still see the force of Rush’s argument…and though I never met him, I’m sure he’d see the force of mine. Those who hate him never exposed themselves to those arguments – arguments which no liberal could in any case win, because liberalism is wrong, entirely.
And while we on the right knew that liberalism was wrong, we didn’t have a voice to express it. Rush provided that. He was a master of his art. Don’t fool yourself: talking for three hours a day and keeping it interesting and entertaining is no small feat. Hardly anyone can do it and Rush did it superbly. He won’t be replaced: we’ll just get along as best we can with lesser lights…but while they can’t stand in the shoes of the giant, in their numbers they will make up for it. And it is because Rush happened that there will be scores of people out there, on the air, saying what they want.
I pray for the repose of the soul of our departed brother and that God may comfort his family and friends.