It was 1992, and I was on vacation in Dallas, Texas. I had literally escaped Los Angeles after riots had broken out, but that’s a story for another time. My friend, who is an airline pilot, told me about this great new radio program called The Rush Limbaugh Show, and since I was a passenger in his car I got a chance to listen in. This Rush Limbaugh guy was kind of funny, but a little too bombastic for my then-moderate tastes. So, once I returned to California, I dismissed the show from my mind.
In 1995, I had a roommate who I couldn’t stand, and she was a Dittohead. Rush Limbaugh was in the last year of his television show, so she watched it religiously. I thought it was a bit cultish and, coupled with my disdain for this particular roommate, I decided that if she liked it, then it wasn’t for me. So, I once again dismissed the show.
Fast forward to 2007. I had a hella long commute to work, and since my very new husband at the time listened to talk radio, I decided to give that a try to get me through the miles, and give us another point of commonality to share. Guess who happened to be on during the time I was on the road? the one and only Rush Limbaugh.
Maybe it was the ability to listen to the entire show, but this time, I was drawn in. Rush’s distribution company Clear Channel Communications had just received a censure letter from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, lambasting Rush for criticizing U.S. troops who were against the war in Iraq, calling them “phony soldiers.” What ensued, with Rush auctioning off the letter to charity for $2.1 million dollars, was the ultimate troll, and extremely savage. Rush gave zero f**ks about it and flipped the script by doing some good for a worthy cause while handing the evil Harry Reid his ass.
From that moment on I was hooked, and listened regularly.
Rush would always say that in order to understand his show, you had to do at least three to six weeks of consistent listening to understand his philosophy and viewpoint. What do you know? Rush was Right. All the hearsay and legacy media chatter about hate speech and how mean, racist, and misogynistic he could be was mere blather when you put his humor into the context.
Besides, I agreed with him that “Feminism was established to allow unattractive women easier access to the mainstream.” It was an excuse to have zero skills and a nasty attitude and still get away with being relevant. It was the biggest fraud perpetrated on women, so I sympatico.
I also loved his parody spots, like “The Justice Brothers,” and the way he skewered the “Rev-er-RUND JAH-K-HA-SUN” and Al Sharpton. Two people who should have never been taken seriously in life were being cut down to size in hilarious ways, and I loved it.
But what I most appreciated about Rush is that he was unapologetically himself. What was amazing is that he parlayed who he was into a new vision for Radio specifically, and for Conservative communications overall. Any conservative (and liberal) radio host, podcaster, or television personality has liberally stolen from Rush’s model. He created the mold for success that others have incorporated into their model.
If people are speaking about something passionately and if they have a level of intelligence about it and if they’re sufficiently informed, it’s going to be like a magnet to people. — Rush Limbaugh
It was my model, and an inspiration to aim for excellence. I was told by a motivational speaker that if you want success, you find the successful people you want to emulate and you learn their formulas. Then, incorporate their best practices into what you want to accomplish.
For me, Rush is that success touchstone; not because he made billions, but because he pioneered a movement and created brand success by simply being who he was and believing in that vision enough to keep at it.
He often talked on his show about the number of times he failed before he succeeded. For three hours every day, I not only received lessons on conservatism, but business and motivational lessons too. I learned how to be consistent in striving for that excellence, and how doing what works will always pay off.
While I wasn’t a consistent listener in the early years, for the remaining years that I did listen to Rush, I was able to see in action the Power of Redemption, the Power of Reinvention and Second Acts, and the Power of Conservatism and Why It Works.
- Power of Redemption: I delighted that after two failed marriages, he found the love of his life and was happily married until his death.
- Power of Reinvention and Second Acts: I rejoiced that he was able to overcome addiction, learn from it, and help others to learn alongside him. The Reinvention of his brand to incorporate the Rush Revere series was exceptionally inspired and gave me hope that history and conservatism can be translated in a way that appeals to all ages—you just have to dare to do it.
- Power of Conservatism and Why It Works: Rush was a true believer who lived out and articulated Conservatism for over 30 years; and just as conservatism rightly applied never loses its force, so it was with Rush. His words, his deeds, and the lives that he helped to shape and touch, Left a profound impact that, like our Founding Fathers, will be read about, utilized, and talked about for generations.
My colleague Scott Hounsell wrote about Rush’s history and how he created Conservative media. There would be no Fox News, Newsmax, RedState, Daily Wire, and on and on, had it not been for Rush.
One of the last honors Rush received was the 2020 Presidential Medal of Freedom, given by his good friend, President Donald J. Trump. My colleague Brandon Morse shares Trump’s tribute to Rush and the legacy he left of American exceptionalism.
And director and actor Nick Searcy gives a touching tribute to his good friend, and how he was one of us, part of our family, and what he did to teach us all to stand for conservative principles.
I will miss Rush’s resonant and rich voice, the impish humor and powerful insights. But I am thankful for the timeless lessons. I, too, can espouse them to others in the most excellent way that I know how, and replicate what I have learned to those around me.
Thank you, Rush. RIP.