The following is a short excerpt from Andrew Breitbart’s 2011 memoir, Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World!, discussing how Rush Limbaugh inspired his embrace of conservative principles and American patriotism.
One day I asked [my future father-in-law Orson Bean] why he had Rush Limbaugh’s book The Way Things Ought to Be on his shelf. I asked him, “Why would you have a book by this guy?”
And Orson said, “Have you ever listened to him?”
I said yes, of course, even though I never had. I was convinced to the core of my being that Rush Limbaugh was a Nazi, anti-black, anti-Jewish, and anti-all things decent. Without berating me for disagreeing with him, Orson simply suggested that I listen to him again.
This is where my rendezvous with destiny begins.
I turned on KFI 640 AM to listen to evil personified from 9 a.m. to noon. Indeed, my goal was to derive pleasure from the degree of evil I found in Rush Limbaugh. I was looking forward to a jovial discussion with Orson to confirm how right I was. One hour turned into three. One listening session into a week’s worth. And next thing I knew, I was starting to doubt my preprogrammed self. I was still a Democrat. I was still a liberal.
But after listening for months while putting thousands of miles on my car, I couldn’t believe that I once thought this man was a Nazi or anything else. While I couldn’t yet accept the premise that he was speaking my language, I marveled at how he could take a breaking news story and offer an entertaining and clear analysis that was like nothing I had ever seen on television, especially the Sunday morning shows, which had been my previous one-stop shop for political opinions.
Most important, though, Limbaugh, like the professor I always wanted but never had the privilege to study under, created a vivid mental picture of the architecture of a world that I resided in but couldn’t see completely: the Democrat-Media Complex. Embedded in Limbaugh’s analysis of politics was always a tandem discussion on the media. Each segment relentlessly pointed to collusion between the media and the Democratic Party. If the Clarence Thomas hearings showed me that something was wrong, the ensuing years of listening to Limbaugh and Dennis Prager — who at the time was also undergoing a political transformation from the Democratic to the Republican Party — explained to me with eerie precision what exactly was wrong. I swallowed hard and conceded to Orson that he was right.
Rush Limbaugh passed away Wednesday at the age of 70 after a year-long battle with lung cancer.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.