Salvo 02.18.2021 5 minutes

Rush Limbaugh, R.I.P.

Credit: Gage Skidmore

A patriot passes.

The great Rush Limbaugh died yesterday after a battle with lung cancer. For over thirty years, “El Rushbo” was the voice of American conservatism, lifting and galvanizing the spirits of millions of patriots three hours a day, five days a week, on his “Rush Limbaugh Show.”  

Rush Limbaugh was one of the most influential American political figures of the last thirty years as well as the master of a medium in a way few figures in history can claim. Yet elites on right and left seemed continuously committed to underplaying his talent and influence. 

Rush was the actual “conservative movement” for a long time, putting into words what millions felt and thought of as common sense. Conservative intellectuals, think tanks, and other leaders were often carried along by him without even knowing it.  

The Republican Revolution of 1994, which gave the GOP control of both houses of Congress for the first time in 40 years and paved the way for welfare reform and the crime bill, was achieved largely through Rush’s advocacy for the “Contract with America” national agenda.  

Rush’s populist tone also set the stage for the rise of Donald Trump, who recognized the voice of conservative America by awarding the gravely ill Limbaugh the Presidential Medal of Freedom at the 2020 State of the Union address. This gesture—the sort of thing most Republican leaders would never dream of—drove the uniparty establishment crazy, of course. But it was right and just.  

Rush Limbaugh was one of the most brilliant entertainers in modern history, but he used his talent for higher purpose. Rush tirelessly informed and motivated his tens of millions of listeners and readers. He treated countless callers with dignity and respect. He addressed his fellow citizens as citizens.  

We are proud that Rush was a recipient of the Claremont Institute’s Statesmanship Award. His vitality, good sense, confidence, unfailing good humor, courageous joy of life, and love of America are enduring inspirations to the movement he did so much to shape and sustain. His genius and his spirit can never be replaced. He will be greatly missed. 

Christopher Flannery contributed to this obituary.

The American Mind presents a range of perspectives. Views are writers’ own and do not necessarily represent those of The Claremont Institute.

The American Mind is a publication of the Claremont Institute, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, dedicated to restoring the principles of the American Founding to their rightful, preeminent authority in our national life. Interested in supporting our work? Gifts to the Claremont Institute are tax-deductible.

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