A Fond Farewell to Rush Limbaugh
The Golden EIB Mic has gone silent, and the likes of its master won’t pass this way again.
“The day’s gonna come, folks, where I’m not gonna be able to do this. I don’t know when that is. I want to be able to do it for as long as I want to do it and I want you to understand that, even when the day comes, I’d like to be here.” —Rush Limbaugh
Where were you when you heard the sad news about America’s Anchorman? I’d just finished lunch, and I was listening to the radio when Dennis Prager broke the news. For some reason, I just stood there for a couple of minutes. Didn’t move. My eyes welled up. Then I grabbed my phone and checked in with some friends, and I began to think about what we — all of us — had just now lost.
Rush wasn’t a family member, but he sure seemed like it. How many hours had we spent with him over the years? How many times had we said to no one else in our car, You tell ‘em, Rush? How many times had we heard that intro to The Pretenders’ “My City Was Gone” and just started smiling? Heck, we hear it now.
We knew this day was coming, this big, slow-moving freight train of a terminal illness. We had a year to prepare, to steel ourselves, but it didn’t help, did it?
We wrote about Rush last month, just after the holidays, and we marveled at how, even back in 1992, when his Excellence in Broadcasting Network was still in its infancy, Rush had already settled into a groove that would last more than three decades. “The views expressed by the host on this show,” he’d say, “are not necessarily those of the staff, management, nor sponsors of this station, but they oughta be.”
Everyone who remembers the early years of the Clinton administration also remembers the early years of Rush Limbaugh — and also realizes now, more than ever, that none of us are as young as we used to be.
Rush Hudson Limbaugh III was just a man, of course. But he was a larger-than-life man, a force of nature, and the happiest of happy warriors. As Zev Chafets noted in his 2010 biography, he was An Army of One. When the whole world knows you by your first name alone, it means you arrived some time ago.
Rush Limbaugh almost singlehandedly invented talk radio. Think about it: Who was the first person you ever heard talk politics on the radio? Answer: It was either Rush Limbaugh, or you don’t remember. To consider the medium without him is to consider the automobile without Ford, the lightbulb without Edison, the Declaration without Jefferson.
Rush was certainly the first “celebrity” conservative that we’d ever known. But he was a reluctant celebrity.
As Patriot Post Founder and Publisher Mark Alexander notes: “Rush was a humble giant, a grassroots Patriot who was the earliest inspiration for launching our publication. And we continue to fight the Leftmedia’s chokehold on public opinion that Rush started. His spirit and love for our nation was indomitable. To that end, his foundational message for three decades was just this simple: ‘We’re never gonna give up. We’re not gonna give up on America. … America is worth it, America is worth fighting for, America is worth not giving up.’ It is a message we should all embrace every day.”
Last summer, Alexander shared with our team, his experience on a side trip he and his wife took returning from Nebraska. They made a pilgrimage to Rush’s childhood home in Cape Girardeau, Missouri and Alexander noted how that humble little side-street house spoke volumes about Limbaugh’s connection to Grassroots American Patriots.
The secret to Rush’s success? “I think I just happen to be saying what a whole lot of people think and don’t have a chance to say themselves.” As for what he said, John Hawkins has pulled together a list of Rush’s 20 greatest quotes — which is, admittedly, a near impossible task covering 30 years of three-hour radio broadcasts.
Ron Locke, our creative director and chief memester, listened to Rush throughout his teenage years. “His masterful deconstruction and refutation of leftist logic with charm and humor saved me from public school indoctrination,” he says. “Rush opened my eyes to America — not the cynical mirage painted by leftists, but the rich vista of our ideas, our heroes, and our heritage. He was a personal hero, and his outsized influence is one of the main reasons I do what I do.”
Our Thomas Gallatin first heard Rush on the radio way back in 1989 while riding with his dad in his old truck on a dusty dirt road in the mountains of Colorado. “At the time,” he recalls, “my father simply said, ‘You gotta listen to this guy.’ And I’ve been listening to him ever since. Rush was a true Patriot, a proud American, and a believer in the power of Liberty, which has served to open wide the doors of hope and opportunity for all. He reminded all of us that America is a special country, the greatest country, because it above all others prizes and celebrates Liberty. I will greatly miss hearing his voice, but I know his legacy lives on.”
Andrew Culper, our social media manager, grew up in a conservative Christian community where, he says, Rush was a staple figure among his parents’ peers. “Over the years I came to know him as the pinnacle pioneer for conservative media that he was,” he says. “Rush was truly one of the most influential figures of our time. He has touched nearly everyone I know, and I am forever grateful for his life and work.”
We here in our humble shop all feel the loss, but only one of us, Managing Editor Nate Jackson, shares the man’s Missouri roots. “I can’t remember exactly when I first heard him,” says Nate, “but as a teen I became a regular viewer of his TV show and loved it. Certainly, over the years, I listened to Rush’s radio show whenever possible, but it wasn’t nearly as often as I’d have liked. Maybe it was being a fellow Missourian, but his humor and insight resonated deeply with me, and I always appreciated his ‘happy warrior’ worldview and approach. Most of all, it was his love of our great country that was infectious. To sum up his legacy for me, there are two men I’d credit with inspiring me to fight for Liberty here at The Patriot Post now for 17 years: My dad and Rush Limbaugh. Godspeed, El Rushbo, and thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
“To every thing there is a season,” said King Solomon, “and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” Now, it seems, is a time to mourn. But one day soon, we’ll set about the task of filling the massive void left by Rush. Perhaps no one understands this better than Mark Steyn, who has guest-hosted for Rush countless times over the years. In a magnificent tribute to his friend and mentor, Steyn calls him “The Indispensable Man.” And to this — this comparison to Washington — Rush no doubt would’ve scoffed. Because that’s who he was.
Steyn covers the enormity of Rush’s impact on both talk radio and conservative thought, and he shares some details about the last days of his good fight: “He stayed on the air until just a fortnight ago — because above all he wanted to keep faith with tens of millions of listeners, many of whom had been listening to him their entire lives and could not imagine a world without him. We are about to find out. I am well aware of the ironies of the headline. My father liked to caution me with the old saw that the graveyard is full of indispensable men. But … Rush remained the Big Voice on the Right, the largest obstacle to the complete marginalization of conservative ideas in our culture. All of us who labored in his shadows owe it to him to continue the fight. To modify Rush’s tag line: Talent returned to God.”
Rush, a Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, was a man of boundless generosity.
Our columnist David Limbaugh, offered a warm personal tribute to his brother.
There were countless accolades about Rush Limbaugh’s extraordinary influence, and they came from leading conservatives across the nation. Here’s a representative cross section:
“The great Rush Limbaugh has passed away to a better place, free from physical pain and hostility. His honor, courage, strength, and loyalty will never be replaced. Rush was a patriot, a defender of Liberty, and someone who believed in all of the greatness our Country stands for.” – Donald Trump
“Many people don’t know that I spent about a decade in talk radio. I was inspired to go into conservative talk radio in the 1990s because of Rush Limbaugh… There was only one Rush Limbaugh. He inspired not only tens of millions of young conservatives across this country, myself included, but make no mistake about it, he reinvented AM radio across the country.” – Vice President Mike Pence
“A son of Cape Girardeau, Missouri, Rush rose as a pioneer of talk radio starting in the 1980s, and was a friend throughout my presidency… Rush Limbaugh was an indomitable spirit with a big heart, and he will be missed.” – George W. Bush
“Rush never had any sense of presenting himself as an important national figure or heroic pioneer. There was nothing pompous or stuffy about him. He was just practical, and down to earth. Rush never really left Missouri in his heart. He had that middle American, down-to-earth sensibility… he never lost that touch – that life is about common, every day, practical things.” – Newt Gingrich
“My friend Rush Limbaugh … was a force of nature. More than any other individual, he was responsible for breaking the Left’s media monopoly. His voice on the radio … will never be equaled. He loved our country always, and came to a deep love of God. His massive audience will miss him, I will miss him, and the country will miss him.” – Hillsdale College President Dr. Larry Arnn
Finally, how fitting it was that the Bee Gees’ hit “Stayin’ Alive” was the bumper music as Rush Limbaugh signed off for the very last time on February 2. It was, of course, no coincidence. “Just enough time,” he said, “to say thanks to everybody for being with us today. We gotta get outta here real quickly, because time is slipping away.”
Indeed it is. Thanks for everything, Rush. From all of us. Rest in peace.
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