Liberalism is a scourge. It destroys the human spirit. It destroys prosperity. It assigns sameness to everybody. And wherever I find it, I oppose it.
RUSH LIMBAUGH, interview, Playboy, November 2011 (via Notable Quotes)
Rush Limbaugh announced yesterday on his show that he has Stage 4 lung cancer. The diagnosis is grim and the prognosis, iffy. But this isn’t a eulogy. One thing you learn about Rush: he’s a man of great optimism. Listening to his show for three decades, as I have, you know he’s fighter, not a quitter. If anyone can beat the odds, it’s Rush.
Yet it’s good to pause to appreciate Rush’s importance.
Rush’s gift for gab and his talent and skills for radio are means. What those means have delivered have been a conservative worldview. And, critically, exposure of freedom-diminishing liberalism – or what’s now leftism.
Limbaugh is an indefatigable champion of liberty, which is central to conservatism. He’s expertly sliced and diced the left, which is against virtually everything about the nation’s founding. He’s done it coolly, trenchantly, and humorously. He’s informed and educated millions of Americans for over a generation now. On any given day, about 30 million listeners tune in to his show. His program is carried by 590 radio affiliates.
Rush’s critical role in advancing liberty needs context. Rush broke onto the national scene in the late 1980s during the waning days of Reagan’s presidency. Reagan leaving the national scene left a great void on the right.
Limbaugh became the driving force for conservatism in Reagan’s absence. In many respects, Donald Trump’s success as president is built on the foundation that Rush inherited from Reagan that he expanded and strengthened.
Yes, Rush is a great radio man. He singlehandedly revived the dying AM band. Monologuing three hours a day, five days a week, takes prodigious talent, knowledge, and insight. And to entertain doing it only underscores that talent. As Rush says, “It’s talent on loan from God.”
In the years ahead, Limbaugh’s massive contributions, not just to the conservative movement but, more broadly, to defending and advancing liberty, will be better grasped. History will record that Rush was much more than a showman. He was a great American patriot. But that’s for the future. Rush has more contributions to make now.
One of Limbaugh’s lasting gifts is that by trailblazing conservative talk radio, he opened up a medium for other conservatives to follow him. While he is a mighty voice for freedom, countless other conservatives now fill the airwaves with opinion and analysis. Collectively, they’re a powerful voice that helps knit together conservatives across the fruited plain.
For that and much more, we owe Rush a great debt of thanks.
What do you think? Weigh in!