“The Greatest of All Time”: Paying Tribute to a Conservative Legend

On Wednesday, Rush Limbaugh succumbed to his battle with lung cancer at the age of 70, leaving behind an insurmountable legacy of conservative thought and massive shoes that will be impossible to fill. He will also leave behind legions of supporters, a smattering of imitators, and a whole lot of people who got their best political education from the EIB University.

And, of course, more than a few haters.

But we’re going to focus on the positives today and pay tribute to this absolute legend of conservatism who did more in his lifetime to expose liberalism and fight for true American patriotism than just about anyone else we can think of. Before there was Donald Trump, the politician, there was Limbaugh paving the way for three hours a day on his nationally-syndicated show. And while countless people have taken credit for (or given blame for) Trump’s extraordinary rise, El Rushbo is one of the few who deserves it. To say that he changed the landscape of American politics is to utter the understatement of the century.

In delivering the awful news on his radio show, his wife, Kathryn, said, “Losing a loved one is terribly difficult, even more so when that loved one is larger than life. Rush will forever be the greatest of all time.”

Amen to that.

With all of the Mark Levins and Sean Hannitys and Laura Ingrahams and Michael Savages that have come in his wake, it’s easy to forget that when Limbaugh started his program in 1988, he was one of a kind. His unique mix of firebrand conservatism and boisterous entertainment was like nothing else on the air at the time. He took full advantage of the fallen “Fairness Doctrine” and used his three hours a day to preach conservatism to the masses in Reagan’s America.

It was a hit almost from the get-go, and it eventually grew to become the number one radio show in the country. It’s no exaggeration to say that, without Limbaugh’s daily sermons, the Clinton years would have been a lot less bearable.

In today’s media landscape, it’s easy as a conservative to know that we’re not alone. We have TV channels, radio shows, and an incalculable number of websites and forums where we can gather to escape from the liberal drumbeat of the mainstream media.

In the 1990s, things were different. You would have thought that Bill Clinton was the most popular man to have ever lived. It was only through Rush Limbaugh (and later, Fox News) that you could understand that you weren’t crazy: The world was.

In 2013, Limbaugh explained how he came to see the world – and his country – as he did.

“I’m aware that the United States is young compared to countries in Europe and Asia that have been around for hundreds of years. They’re thousand-year-old civilizations,” he said. “So, I go to Europe and say, ‘Wait a minute. Why is this bedroom so damned old-fashioned and doesn’t work? What the hell is this? They call this a toilet?’ So I started asking myself, ‘How is it that we, who have only been around 200 years, are light-years ahead of people that have been alive a thousand?’ So, I started thinking this. It was a matter of genuine curiosity to me, and not from a braggadocios standpoint.

“I was literally interested in how that happened, and then I started to think about all the other things that we led the world in: Manufacturing, technology, innovation, invention, creation, and it all led back to liberty and freedom and the pursuit of happiness and dreams coming true and working hard for whatever you want and being able to do what you love, not just have to dream about it,” he continued.

A whole lot of Americans have forgotten that freedom and liberty stand at the heart of this country’s undeniable exceptionalism; Rush Limbaugh never did.

And we, in turn, will never forget him.

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