The Indispensable Man: Rush Limbaugh, 1951-2021

The Indispensable Man: Rush Limbaugh, 1951-2021. By Mark Steyn.

Rush died this morning, after a year-long struggle with lung cancer. …

Usually, in this line of work, if you’re lucky, you get a moment — a year or two when you’re the in-thing — and you hope to hold enough of that moment as it slowly fades away to keep you going till retirement. Rush did something unprecedented in the history of TV and radio. Commercial broadcasting began in the United States in 1920: The Rush Limbaugh Show came along two-thirds of a century later, became the Number One program very quickly, and has stayed at the top all the way to today – for a third of the entire history of the medium. And throughout all those decades Rush and his show stayed exactly the same: a forensic breakdown of the day’s news, punctuated by musical parodies, satirical sketches, and Rush’s own optimism and good humor, even through this last terrible year.

The comedy is what his many enemies and half his own side missed: Rush took politics seriously but not solemnly. …

[Sometime in the 1990s, having accidentally tuned in to Rush in the car,] conversation ceased. My friends were what you might call slightly skeptical lefties, so they disagreed with what Rush said on the issues but they were rapt by the way he said it. Because they had never heard anybody say it like that before. It was a unique combination — absolute piercing philosophical clarity, and a grand rollicking presentational style honed through all the lean years of minor-market disc-jockeying. First, he perfected the style, and then he applied it to the content. …

Political consultants. Where would we be without them?

Throughout his entire time on air, there were genius GOP consultants who, in reaction to any electoral setbacks, would insist that what the GOP needed to do was come up with a way to ditch Limbaugh. As I said on air many years ago: Really? For almost a third of a century, Rush’s audience was over half the total Republican vote. How many do all you genius “Republican reformers” bring to the table?…

The first time I was asked to guest-host, back in 2006, when I happened to be down in Australia and the Prime Minister, John Howard, asked me to some or other event a day or two hence. And I politely declined, saying I had to get back to America to host The Rush Limbaugh Show. “I hear that’s a pretty big show,” said the PM.

“Yeah,” I replied. “Twenty-five, thirty million listeners.”

“‘Strewth,” said Mr Howard. “Rush has more listeners than we have Australians.”

Indeed. And all these GOP clever-clogs never explain, once you throw Rush and his millions overboard, what’s going to replace them?

The newspaper of record, the Babylon Bee:

Within minutes of the news of the death of Rush Limbaugh, Democrats, well known as the party of love, empathy, and progress, began to rejoice over the death of their political opponent.

The party that is known for standing against hate in all its forms, the party that has chanted “Love Trumps Hate!” for the last four years, the party that calls the other side hateful bigots who will be on the wrong side of history for their opposition to love and tolerance, all cheered loudly and danced on Limbaugh’s grave on social media for much of the day Wednesday.