Our vision is to reawaken the genuine American spirit of living in a good, great, and growing nation of freeborn individuals.
Our mission is to uphold American liberty, prosperity, constitutional law, and humble government.
You Will Be Missed, Rush Limbaugh
Barry MacDonald — Editorial
I remember the first moment I heard Rush Limbaugh. I had returned to America in 1996, 25 years ago, after having lived in Japan and taught English there for nine years. I was driving around the Stillwater, Minnesota, area, trying to obtain job printing to supplement my income from The St. Croix Review. I had a habit of switching through the AM stations looking for the music I liked. I was arriving back at our combination office and printshop when I heard Rush’s voice. I stayed in the garage for 10 minutes with the engine off and the radio on because I was captivated.
Rush was confident, wickedly funny, and he was an America-loving patriot — this much was clear from the first moments that I heard him. I was reacquainting myself with America after a long absence, and Rush had a colossal impact on me. He was impetuously brash and courageous. He was like a stand-up comic, with expert political insight. If you were a nationally recognized, nasty, and crooked politician, Rush Limbaugh was a fearsome menace.
Rush had a penetrating intellect and a humane and compassionate heart. This is an aspect of his personality that people who never heard him — and who judge him, based solely on the disparaging opinions of his political opponents — will not understand. Rush would often ask his new listeners to wait for three to six weeks before judging him, especially if they held contrary political views. It would take time for some people to comprehend him and to come around to his way of thinking. Over my 25 years of listening to his program, I can testify that Rush had tremendous success in converting people to the Conservative cause, because I heard them say so repeatedly on air.
I didn’t need six weeks to understand Rush — I loved him immediately.
During the days following his death on February 17, 2021, the guest hosts on The Rush Limbaugh Show played many segments of Rush speaking on-air. A few days ago, while I was driving about the Stillwater area and conducting my business, I heard Rush say again what I had originally heard him say years ago: That people may forget the exact words that a prominent person said to them, but they will always remember how that important person made them feel.
My experience of living through the political drama of the Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama presidencies proves Rush’s statement. There were so many events involving an almost incomprehensible amount of contradictory detail that happened over the years. I read the news reports, editorials, and essays, and watched the broadcast news as I was diligently processing articles and writing for The St. Croix Review. And I listened to Rush Limbaugh. There were so many scandals with complicated and conflicting narratives, with the facts slowly coming to light. There were so many pivotal turning points of American history: President Clinton’s re-election: the Clinton-Gingrich duel; the Lewinsky scandal and Clinton’s impeachment; the first attack on the World Trade Center; the contested Bush election, with hanging chads in Florida; the 9/11 attacks; the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq; . . . you get the point.
Of all the news sources I have consumed to gauge the direction of American politics, touching on the motivations, techniques, and the personalities of national politicians, Rush Limbaugh has proven to be an outstanding and invaluable source of insight and analysis. From my perspective, Rush’s opinions were consistently validated by the outcomes of events over 25 years.
Rush Limbaugh shared vital attributes with Ronald Reagan, whom Rush nicknamed in admiration, “Ronaldus Magnus.” Both men were starkly different from the other public figures of their times. Both were optimistic and depended upon their faith in God. Reagan perceived Soviet weakness while the experts of both parties were intimated by Soviet propaganda, ideology, and missiles. Reagan based his policies upon the ingenuity and reliability of the American citizen and worker, and he believed in the underlying strength of the free American economy. And Reagan was right — the economy revived and prospered under his governance, and the Soviet Union dissolved soon after Reagan’s presidency.
Likewise, Rush Limbaugh extolled the ingenuity, independence, and entrepreneurial spirit of the American people. His entire radio career was a crusade dedicated towards the freeing of the American people from the arrogant, dispiriting, disparaging, and burdensome meddling of corrupt government. Rush was a solutions-oriented guy. He wanted the American worker to be left alone, so that the worker’s native talent and intelligence could be unleashed for his own and his family’s benefit. He didn’t suppose that Americans were better than people of other nations, but he did believe that Americans were gifted with a rich legacy by our enlightened Founders and our unique Founding documents. Americans are born into a nation that cherishes individual liberty — it was Rush’s mission on Earth to preserve American liberty and prosperity.
Like Ronald Reagan, Rush never tired of celebrating the Founders, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the American people, American history, the American dream, American generosity to the nations of the world in tragic times, the rule of law, justice, free enterprise, and the American military. Both men were unapologetically patriotic. Both saw America as an exceptional one-of-a-kind nation. To them America was a good and a just nation. They thought that American history should be celebrated and truthfully taught in American schools.
How did Rush make me feel? He made me feel proud and lucky to be American. Rush instilled enthusiasm and energy in me. He motivated me to watch the events and the contest of American politics carefully. He guided my understanding and deepened my perspectives. I placed my faith in God, like he did. I have come to distrust and have aversion for the endless barrage of accusations directed against innocent good-hearted Americans by the Left. Rush Limbaugh helped me to understand the deceitful ploys of Leftist politicians, media, and Hollywood stars.
I believe conservative intellectuals make a great mistake when they assume that they can inspire and direct a movement strong enough to counter Leftist propaganda and the Leftist agenda solely by making superior intellectual arguments. Our spokespeople must establish a heartfelt connection with the American people. Our conservative leaders must be living examples of courage, intelligence, enterprise, and patriotism, as Rush Limbaugh was. Compare Rush Limbaugh with the condescending personage of George Will.
Americans listened to Rush Limbaugh while they were driving in cars, working in shops, loitering in garages, gathering in restaurants, sitting in specially arranged “Rush Rooms,” or serving in the military and stationed overseas. Rush Limbaugh’s message reverberated at the grassroots of American culture, with an impact that the likes of George Will can never dream of equaling. Rush could persuade blue-collar workers to become Republican voters.
Rush had a tremendous impact on the course of American history. Newt Gingrich doubts that the Republican party could have won the House majority in 1994, for the first time in 40 years, without Rush’s influence. At the end of his 33 years on air promoting American liberty and prosperity, he was affiliated with 650 radio stations nationwide. He pioneered and paved the way for the entire Talk Radio industry — which is a working-man’s conservative movement. Talk Radio is a medium of communication that conservative intellectuals would do well to appreciate, respect, and promote. I don’t believe the conservative movement can succeed without Talk Radio.
One of the greatest accomplishments of his life’s work is that Rush inspired a multitude of talented imitators to carry on his mission: Dennis Prager, Buck Sexton, Todd Herman, and Mark Steyn are good examples — there are many more.
I listened to Rush Limbaugh for many years while I was operating a printing press. The mission and vision statements above the title of this editorial were inspired by Rush Limbaugh and Ronald Reagan. Rush Limbaugh will be remembered — and greatly missed. *