Not long after learning of Rush Limbaugh’s death, I jumped in the car to run an errand, and there he was, booming through the speakers of my car just like he has between noon and 3:00 for more than 30 years, for more than half my life. The brilliance, good humor, and optimism; the modesty of his false bravado; the confidence and intelligence and insight. Of course, it wasn’t a live broadcast. It was a “best of” show. But for just a moment, I forgot he was dead, and then, I remembered he was, and it hit me all over again… The end of an era… The loss of a mentor and teacher I had never met… The loss of the comfort of knowing that voice was out there…
“Rush Limbaugh is irreplaceable.” I wrote that almost exactly a year ago when his cancer diagnosis was first announced. It feels even more true today. Whoever America’s second-best talk radio host is — no offense, he doesn’t even come close.
Over the past few hours, Rush has been compared to Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, and Tom Brady, but only because that’s the best anyone can come up with. The truth is Jordan and Woods and Brady have been beat. No one ever beat Rush. Not once. No one even came close. For more than 30 years, he was number one in the fiercely competitive medium he himself founded. That’s never been done before.
The closest comparison, really, is Johnny Carson, who was number one in Late Night for 30 years. But when Johnny retired, he was already being edged out and aged out. Johnny’s time was up. Not Rush’s. Until the final minute of his final broadcast, he remained as vibrant, necessary, youthful, relevant, and timeless as ever.
In a country where everything’s disposable and we’re forever in search of the New Thing, some 25 million of us would have been happy to listen to him for another 30 years, for another 300 years.
As far as those of us who were not able to listen as much as we would have liked…? Well, we always felt better and more secure knowing he was out there — that someone, in the most persuasive way possible, was out there making the case for America remaining America.
There was never anyone like Rush Limbaugh. There will never be anyone like him. The loss to the conservative movement is incalculable.
One way or another, all of the above has been written about Rush many times before. What I want to focus on is what I consider to be Rush’s greatest virtue, something I only began to appreciate as the Trump era exposed the true face of so many who claim to hold the torch of conservatism.
Despite all the fame, wealth, and opportunity, Rush Limbaugh never sold us out. Not once. Not ever.
He never lectured us, talked down to us, or condescended to us… Not even those he disagreed with.
What’s more, as hard as the Devil of the fake and crooked establishment media tried, especially in the early days of his fame, Rush could never be coopted, could never be cornered into giving up the ground the fake media always try to corner conservatives into giving up. You know, stuff like, You do admit Ann Coulter is racist, correct?
This wasn’t marketing on Rush’s part. Down to his core, this is who the man was. You don’t do three hours of radio five days a week for 30-plus years without eventually revealing who you truly are… And that’s exactly what Rush did: revealed who he truly was, and what he was — despite all the wealth and fame and temptation — was one of us. A decent guy. A loyal pal. An everyday American who just happened to possess an inexplicable talent and intelligence and bravery and compassion that will never come our way again.
Think about all the so-called conservative “thought leaders” who use every opportunity to pompously and arrogantly sell us out in ways big and small. The National Review-types who look down their noses at us, who sneer from above.
Remember all the so-called conservative elites who, in an effort to be invited on Morning Joe or Meet the Press, couldn’t wait to sell out Nick Sandmann?
How about all the conservative quislings and Vichy Republicans who eagerly embraced every piece of “breaking news” about Donald Trump just so they could virtue signal and tweet things like “real conservatives would never accept this”?
And then, naturally, all that breaking news turned out to be lies.
Nevertheless, no matter how much the media lie, these pompous asses will still take every opportunity to prove they’re one of the good ones, right up to last month’s fire extinguisher hoax.
Think of all the conservative garbage who pose as one of us and then, at the first opportunity, use the backs they just stabbed in their mercenary climb into the establishment media — CNN, New York Times, Atlantic, Washington Post, MSNBC — where these cheap liars and unprincipled whores sell out entirely.
I cannot even begin to imagine the temptations put in front of Rush… Yet, never once did he give in. Not once 30-plus years.
That’s true virtue.
Whatever will we do without him?