A year has passed.
That would be a year since Rush Limbaugh headed for the pearly gates on February 17, 2021, following a valiant fight against lung cancer. He has, as has been said by others, returned his “talent on loan from God.”
For his friends and fans, and along with so many others where I hang my hat at The American Spectator and beyond, I was so privileged to be both. So it is a day of mixed emotions. The inevitable wave of sadness is combined with the resolution to, as Sean Hannity remarked at the time, “up our game,” to redouble our efforts to carry on the fight for conservative principles.
It is impossible to understand the juggernaut that has become America’s conservative media without acknowledging the central role of Rush Limbaugh.
The “Founding Fathers” of conservative media, if you will, were William F. Buckley Jr. (who founded National Review in 1955) and R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr. (who started the magazine that would become The American Spectator in 1967). Both were and are superb magazines. But it took Rush Limbaugh to bring conservative media into the world of serious electronic media, in essence becoming the Founding Father of national talk radio when his Sacramento show went national in 1988.
Not to be overlooked is that Rush’s success on radio was noticed by GOP strategist and media guru Roger Ailes. It was Ailes who added a Rush TV show into the mix of early CNBC programming.
Television airwaves are filled with seriously solid conservative anchors and hosts who are where they are, without doubt, because of the genius of Rush Limbaugh.
But as he frequently said of himself, Rush was a radio guy, not a TV guy. The show lasted four years, but its success launched Ailes into a partnership with media mogul Rupert Murdoch — and Fox News was born. The rest, as they say, is history — big-time history.
On a personal level it has been impossible to get through the year since his passing without thinking of Rush. When X event would occur, one of my first thoughts was — and always is — “What would Rush say?” “What would Rush think?”
One of the major blessings of Rush’s life for his fellow conservatives was that he served as a serious role model. There is no one who can replace him. Absolutely impossible. But it is safe to say that Clay Travis and Buck Sexton, who now occupy Rush’s space behind the EIB golden microphone, have done a superb job in taking over the show. In fact, part of Rush’s legacy are all those talk radio hosts — local and national — who have filled the void of his absence. From Fox to Newsmax to One America News, television airwaves are filled with seriously solid conservative anchors and hosts who are where they are, without doubt, because of the genius of Rush Limbaugh and his role as a bold pioneer in conservative media. (READ MORE from Jeffrey Lord: The Rush Limbaugh Revolution)
Towards the end of his battle, as President Trump delivered his State of the Union address, Rush and his beloved wife, Kathryn, were guests in the president’s box in the House gallery. To his quite obvious shock, Rush was honored by President Trump. In the middle of his speech, the president announced he was awarding Rush with the Medal of Freedom — and there in the gallery was First Lady Melania Trump, medal in hand, who did just that.
It has been a year. And as is always the case in life, on we must all go. But on this first anniversary of Rush’s passing, it is the time to take a moment and reflect on the life of a great American, a great conservative, and a great friend to all of us.
Thank you, Rush.