Rush Limbaugh was a mentor to a lot of us in the conservative movement, and his death last week left a gaping hole in that movement. It was a sad day for America and we lost a great patriot.
When I started watching Rush’s TV show in 1992, I knew what I believed, but I did not have a clear thought process to define and especially to articulate those beliefs. Listening to Rush helped me refine those beliefs. I was a socially conservative and fiscally moderate Democrat back then, and I supported Bill Clinton. I probably would have become a Republican eventually, but Rush sped that process along.
For all of his bombast, I believe Rush was a truly humble man. The most sincerity I ever heard in his voice was when he profusely thanked his fans who stood by him and supported him for over thirty years. When Rush spoke of “talent on loan from God,” he recognized that everything he has was given to him by God and could be taken away at any time. Last week, that loan came due.
Arguably the most important thing Rush brought to the table was optimism. It is very easy for anyone in politics to sink into a dour mood, and Rush’s optimistic viewpoint helped me always believe that we could see the best days ahead of us. It is not enough to advance a policy viewpoint or point out what is wrong. You need to be positive too, and that is where Rush shined.
There will never be another conservative like Rush, and no one should try to be the “next Rush.” His brand of analysis mixed with humor and sarcasm relied heavily on his own personality. Anyone who tried to duplicate that will come off as a cheap knockoff. Instead, those conservatives who are inspired by Rush should focus on issue advocacy in the way that puts their own spin on it.