The Legacy of Conservative Icon Rush Limbaugh

Ryan Brooks, Assistant News Editor

Rush Limbaugh speaking with attendees at a Turning Point USA Summit in West Palm Beach, Florida. (Gage Skidmore) 

Last Wednesday, Rush Limbaugh, perhaps America’s most popular conservative radio host, passed away at age 70. His death has ushered in a period of mourning from people on the right, with everyone from Former President Donald Trump to Fox News host Sean Hannity, extolling Limbaugh’s legacy. This begs the question, what is his legacy?

Limbaugh was considered a conservative hero and legend among a portion of the population who felt as if their voice was not being heard in Washington D.C. At face value, these are statements that I don’t necessarily refute. His impact on millions of Americans is beyond dispute.

For decades he preached to his audience of 15 million viewers per week, promoting his vision of conservatism while entrenching himself into the mainstream of Republican politics.

This is what conservative media has gotten right about Mr. Limbaugh’s legacy… but it stops there. What Limbaugh preached to those viewers over almost three decades was a rhetoric laced with hate and bigotry.

For example, during the 1980’s AIDS epidemic, which ravaged the gay community, Limbaugh aired a segment each week on his show where he read a list of those who died and mocked them. “Gays deserved their fate,” the L.A. Times reported him saying.

When discussing the National Basketball Association (NBA), which is primarily made up of Black players, Limbaugh stated on his show, “you just gotta be who you are, and I think it’s time to get rid of this whole National Basketball Association. Call it the TBA, the Thug Basketball Association, and stop calling them teams. Call ’em gangs.”

According to PolitiFact, Limbaugh has made rude remarks about Latino Americans as well. “You’re a foreigner. You shut your mouth or you get out,” PolitiFact reported him saying.

And, for a period of time in 2007, Limbaugh played a song on his radio show called, “Barack, the Magical Negro,” referencing the nation’s first African American president.

It is unnerving to think about how many Americans grew up listening to Limbaugh, proceeding to introduce him to their children.

If I was asked to point to a figure who contributed to the hateful, bitter and polarized nation we have become, I’d say look no further than Rush Limbaugh.

Yet, what does the Republican party do? Condemn him? No. decry his statements? Of course not. They praise him, rise in thunderous applause as Former President Trump bestowed Limbaugh the presidential Medal of Freedom- what a joke.

What’s not a joke, however, is the damage Limbaugh’s rhetoric has done to our country.

Still, I don’t think it’s particularly advantageous for Liberals to insult Limbaugh’s legion of supporters as bigoted white supremacists.

If we are to move past Limbaugh, we must explain to these Americans why and how Limbaugh duped them. Only then will he be remembered for what he was: A hateful man with a sinister vision for our country.