When conservative radio giant Rush Limbaugh died, it took just seconds for the vultures to come down from the left and start plucking at the public corpse.
Not everyone on the left did. Some were friendly. But many were glad and delighted that their great enemy was gone. I will not begin to dignify them with an answer. They reveal themselves. And if you want to read stuff like that, I'm sure you'll find it elsewhere.
I'd rather regret Limbaugh as a great American, a great conservative, a hugely talented broadcaster who loved his country and its traditions of individual freedom. And he unabashedly made millions of dollars from it, fueling the anger of his opponents.
Limbaugh was a man with public warts and a bombastic if entertaining manner who, on the radio, checked his political and philosophical opponents before checking Twitter, enraged them and inspired their hatred.
But he hugged those warts. He made his addiction to painkillers public as parts of his audience went through similar chaos. And he instinctively understood that major governments and major liberal corporate media and their Big Tech masters are opponents of individual freedom.
Since the late President Ronald Reagan and William F. Buckley Jr. there hasn't been such a major conservative voice in America. And unlike Buckley, and perhaps more so than Reagan, Limbaugh spoke directly to the forgotten Americans. They live in what mocking & # 39; viaduct land & # 39; marginalized by the Washington political establishment, both Democrat and Republican.
He knew who he was. He had a sense of humor about himself. He was a great entertainer, yes, but he knew what he believed. He was not a reed in the wind. And he remembered who his audience was when Reagan left the national stage, leaving a void. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, you couldn't walk into a factory, garage, butcher or machine shop without hearing his show. Some even had Rush listening rooms.
His audience started to grow. His program was soon syndicated, reaching more than 25 million people a week. He revived the dying AM radio and became his own political movement. Without him, in 1994, the Republican Revolution, the Republicans wouldn't have taken both houses of Congress. He made it fun to be a Republican again.
He was a kingmaker to former President Donald Trump when he told his audience that Trump & # 39; one of us & # 39; is.
Until Limbaugh, and later Fox News, there was no mass media outlet that reflected conservative sensibilities. Think of all the forgetting in blue states now, with the public discourse dominated by liberal views.
In a gracious tribute to the dying Limbaugh before the election, my former Tribune colleague John McCormick at RealClearPolitics.com wondered if his loyal audience would give Rush one last election victory in November.
Millions per million, listeners got more out of their radio speakers than anything Limbaugh said into his microphone: they learned that while they were ideological outliers in their families, their workplaces, their schools or their neighborhoods, they weren't the only part of it. something much bigger than themselves. For a long time, Central Americans who felt isolated were now part of a fiery community that gathered for the daily liturgy. & # 39;
And now that he's gone, I wonder who can fill that role?
Today, there are few national Republican political figures who can explain conservatism to a national audience.
The political right, in the process of building a great funeral pyre, has debated among themselves how best to counter the superior position of the progressive Democrats in culture – entertainment, academia, social media and news media. And the left side pressively grinds Rush's bones to make their bread.
Just as there was no one to fill the part of Buckley or Reagan, I don't think there is anyone who could fill Limbaugh's place. It just doesn't work that way. Those thinking of replacing Limbaugh should remember why he was a success on his radio show three hours a day, five days a week, year after year, decade after decade, until lung cancer took him on.
It wasn't just talent. Or the ability to control that great schedule. It was that he was not a fake. You can't do three hours of solo radio a day as long as he did and be fake. The audience has ears. It has a fake.
Many experts take themselves way too seriously or they mock everything and hide behind the youthful sarcasm of the morning zoo host on the radio. Limbaugh didn't. He was wise enough not to take himself so seriously. He loved to joke about the bombastic public personality he created.
"Even if I think I'm wrong, I'm right," Limbaugh once said. "I know everything."
He had such a wide reach that I appreciated it if he read my columns on the air now and then. He once read a column where I ripped football for concussion and predicted the game would die like the Marlboro Man. Rush described me as a liberal sports journalist.
So he didn't know everything.
But he was a great broadcaster. And his death leaves a gaping hole in the heart of conservative America.
(C) Chicago Tribune 2021. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
. (tagsToTranslate) Politics (t) political landscape (t) conservative (t) Rush Limbaugh