Growing up, my dad never had new cars. In fact, for my entire childhood, the last new car that he bought (and still has to this day btw) was a victory-red 1968 Volkswagen Bug. I learned to drive in that car as did several of my siblings. It was always a reliable ride for us as it suddenly became cool to drive the 30-year-old vehicle to school events and on weekends to hang out with friends. What was more reliable though, was getting into the car on any weekday morning and turning on the radio, where the station would inevitably crackle that the voice of Rush Limbaugh. Much of the time, though I was young and wanted to blast my music, I’d leave the station tuned right where it was.
This morning it was announced that the man behind the microphone, The El Rushbo, had passed away after a long battle with cancer. He was 70 years old.
Rush was born in Missouri in 1951, and 20 years later, elbowed his way into the radio market, starting in Pennsylvania as a DJ on a Top 40 Station. During the next 17 years, Rush had a rocky road to success, landing him in jobs in Kansas City, and later in Sacramento, where he began his current style of “political shock-jock” radio. In 1988, Rush landed himself in New York with the current iteration of his show, which has run since that date. In the early 2000s, Rush announced that he was struggling with his hearing, however was able to regain a great deal of the lost hearing from a cochlear implant.
Rush’s brand of conservatism has molded the Republican Party for the last 30 years. One could not ask what the direction of the Republican Party should be, without first asking Limbaugh. Limbaugh has been the conscience of the party and a warrior against the liberal media. Rush’s radio program can be credited in large part with the Republican take-over of Congress in 1994, as well as the Tea Party movement in 2010. His direction from behind the “Golden EIB Microphone” has been the go-to for many of us in the wake of political events as we wondered what the man himself had to say about it.
In the hearing of Rush’s passing this morning, I wondered just how much of my own conservative ideals were formed from my early years of listening to Rush. Without fail, my dad would always have an article for me to read or a television program I was required to watch, because of a recommendation from Rush. When it came to giving my dad gifts, you could never go wrong with a Rush Limbaugh book or another piece of schwag from Rush’s store. In the 1990s, Rush’s show would come on our TVs late at night, among one of the few excuses I could use to stay up late with my parents. Rush’s style has formed a great deal of my own writing style as well as arguments that I’ve used in debates.
His voice is synonymous with greatness in conservative radio, as everyone constantly questions who will be the “next Rush Limbaugh,” even before he was gone. It was the standard that was set for all conservative media. One could only hope to be Rush. I was glad to see him recognized by the President during the State of the Union, largely in part because of all the liberal tears.
We at RedState, along with most of the conservative media, owe the godfather a debt of gratitude. Many of us wouldn’t be here without him. While we have known that this day was coming for a while, it doesn’t make it any easier. A fixture of many of our lives is gone. We would expect that eventually, all that talent, “on loan from God,” would eventually be called home.
RIP El Rushbo. Mega-dittos, Brother. We will always love you.