Rush Limbaugh has gone the way of all flesh. That news is almost certain to be met with applause—some hushed, some boisterous— by those who viewed him as either a political opponent or a contemptible person.
There’s no denying that Limbaugh was both controversial and influential. His bold, staccato delivery riveted millions of conservatives, many of whom were evangelical Christians. His brand of politics gave voice to a generation of conservatives who felt marginalized by media pundits and cultural elites. He gleefully clipped the wings of progressives, and applauded as they fell out of the rarefied air they thought was their birthright.
In so doing, he became a target for leftist rage. When he fell prey to prescription painkillers, a condition no one should wish upon their worst enemy, some who despised him couldn’t pass on the opportunity to savage a man in the midst of fighting a deadly addiction.
He was an entertainment personality first and foremost; standard issue pundits do not accrue the level of wealth he earned. His fame began auspiciously when history presented him with a custom-made foe—Bill Clinton. Did Limbaugh offer cogent political thought? Absolutely. Most of it based upon common sense. Yet it was his swashbuckling charisma and humorous observations regarding the American left that drew the crowds. No one ever compared him, either as commentator or theorist, with that other lion of conservative journalism, William F. Buckley.
Stylistically, the two men had little in common. Buckley was a cerebral inquisitor who vanquished the opposition with aristocratic elan, whereas Limbaugh was a visceral reporter who overcame his foes with indomitable energy.
Years ago I would read Buckley’s column and eagerly scan it for vocabulary words. Rush Limbaugh was intelligent, but we didn’t go to him for grammatical nourishment; we went to him seeking relief from the liberal’s unremitting hatred of America. Buckley was a classical symphony; Limbaugh was a rock concert. Both satisfy in their own ways.
Some men cannot be replicated—not exactly. But there is someone who could possibly fill his shoes, at least temporarily. Who knows, maybe Donald Trump can pull off another miracle and have a third career?
Rush Limbaugh has met his maker. That is an appointment each of us has on our calendar. And even though we don’t know the exact date, day, or hour, it’s a guaranteed appointment. Prepare well.