Rush Limbaugh—American Original
Happy Thursday, dear Kruiser Morning Briefing friends. I’m still in search of a life-changing paella.
Yesterday I happened to open my laptop to begin the day’s work routine just as the news of Rush Limbaugh’s passing was hitting. Yeah, he’s been sick for a year and we all knew it was bad, but I don’t think any conservatives wanted to wrap our heads around the fact that he might one day not be there. It was a big shock despite the fact that we knew it was coming.
Rush Limbaugh has loomed so large for so long over the American conservative political landscape that he gave off that immortal vibe.
Rush’s death was a blow to conservatives at a time when we’re still numb from whatever the hell went on last November. Given that Rush often felt like the glue that was holding conservatives together during the rough patches, many might feel that this is a critical blow. No doubt the people on the other side are hoping it is.
It’s not, of course, precisely because of the legacy that Rush leaves behind. As has been noted by every person in conservative media since yesterday, we have a platform because of Rush Limbaugh. It’s so much more than just that though. Rush could have easily been the detached godfather of conservative media, and we would all be giving him props for that. But almost everyone on this side has a personal story about how Rush inspired or motivated them.
A great example of that is the memorial post that Victoria wrote yesterday calling Rush her “Radio Dad.”
But he was my radio dad.
As a young dumb kid out of college, coming up in the media world of radio and TV, Rush gave me a reason to hope that I would be able to make a place in the then dying world of AM radio, a medium into which I had fallen madly in love.
If you had been able to talk to almost everyone in conservative media you’d have heard stories like that from each person.
Rush’s appeal obviously reached far beyond just the media people he would inspire. President Trump’s statement yesterday summed it up well:
“The great Rush Limbaugh has passed away to a better place, free from physical pain and hostility,” Trump said in a statement received by PJ Media. “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. Rush was a friend to myself and millions of Americans—a guiding light with the ability to see the truth and paint vivid pictures over the airwaves. Melania and I express our deepest condolences to his wonderful wife, Kathryn, his family, and all of his dedicated fans. He will be missed greatly.”
My personal anecdote about Rush isn’t one of inspiration, it’s one of pure entertainment. I fell accidentally into this gig, after all. I wasn’t out to be a radio guy or a pundit. I was just a comedian who dabbled in political activism in the background. I also wasn’t a big consumer of talk radio. The only time I did listen regularly was when my daughter was a baby and I took time off the road to freelance write and take care of her. We would listen to Rush every morning. When his theme song would come on she’d smile and start rocking side to side in her high chair.
The thing that I enjoyed most about the show was Rush’s sense of humor, which I don’t think gets talked about enough even by fans of his. Naturally, that’s what I would focus on. When Al Gore announced his run for the 2000 election he did part of it in Spanish. With that Tennessee drawl of his, the español was predictably tragic. I remember Rush playing the clip with the intro to Ricky Martin’s Livin’ la Vida Loca playing in the background and it was HILARIOUS. As I remember, he kept playing it just for laughs for a week or two.
That’s what I’ll remember. Not only did Rush Limbaugh do what he did at a sustained level of excellence for decades, he also made it obvious that he was having fun doing it and that fun was passed on to his listeners.
That’s one helluva legacy.
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PJ Media Senior Columnist and Associate Editor Stephen Kruiser is the author of “Don’t Let the Hippies Shower” and “Straight Outta Feelings: Political Zen in the Age of Outrage,” both of which address serious subjects in a humorous way. Monday through Friday he edits PJ Media’s “Morning Briefing.” His columns appear twice a week.