I was 12 years old when I started listening to Rush Limbaugh. My Mom had him on the radio in the car, so, in Rush Vernacular, I was a "Rush Baby." Like millions of fellow listeners, I am saddened by his passing and do not look forward to the void from 12-3 PM on the radio, a timeslot which he filled for over 30 years.
I was interested in politics and had conservative views, so Rush was an obvious match with me. Rush roped me in, though, with his sense of humor, showmanship, and fun. I loved his parodies, nicknames (such as "Ronaldus Magnus," "Mr. Newt," and "F. Lee Levin"), and bits like "Environmentalist Wacko Football Picks." Over the years, Rush played fewer parodies, but he was just as funny. He even appeared with his own voice on three episodes of the animated TV show "Family Guy."
Over the years, when I heard an interesting or controversial news story, I would ask myself "what would Rush think?"
I am still in that habit, but, sadly, we will not hear his answer. The "Mayor of Realville" was of course known for his conservatism, but his analysis always went further than mere conservative talking points.
He brought a unique perspective to issues and added layers of analysis which other commentators could not see.
These attributes, combined with his "intelligence guided by experience," made him appointment radio and a lead commentary throughout the media in many news cycles.
Rush said that his one of greatest attributes was making difficult subjects easy to understand, and he taught many lessons.
First, the "Doctor of Democracy" educated on the value of Conservatism, its emphasis on the power of the individual, the advantages of free markets, the harms of government regulation, and the gifts of freedom and liberty.
Second, "America's Truth Detector" taught about liberalism and liberals, subjects which he considered essential to understand in order to advance Conservatism.
Third, the "Harmless, Loveable, Little Fuzz-ball" imparted the benefits of optimism and looking forward in one's life. For example, in contrast to those who worry about their birthdays, Rush liked getting older because he was learning and accomplishing more.
Fourth, since he talked about his early failures and firings in radio (I bet those stations are sorry now), "El Rushbo" showed his listeners that they too could overcome obstacles.
Fifth, in saying that he was doing "what God intended him to do," the "Most Dangerous Man in America" was telling listeners that they should do jobs in which they are passionate.
Sixth, the perseverance of "America's Anchorman" against countless attacks taught us about self-confidence, standing up for our beliefs, and not caring about what others might say about or think of us.
Rush talked about the need to "have a bond with one's audience," and he certainly had it. The "Big Voice on the Right" said that radio was an "intimate medium" which allowed one to communicate directly with listeners.
I did not understand this point until he mentioned that, when he was on television, he noticed that people were more concerned with the color of his tie than what he said.
The bond with his audience was so strong that listeners (except for the "stick to the issues crowd") wanted to hear about Rush's other interests such as golf, football, iced tea, tech blogs, and Apple products.
Even in these areas, Rush educated and offered new and compelling views.
Rush was a great businessman. The "Mr. Big of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy" invented Conservative talk radio, and he knew how to profit off his success. He had the Rush Limbaugh Store, the Limbaugh Letter, a TV show, Two If By Tea iced tea, books, and "Adventures of Rush Revere" history books for children.
His devotion to excellence was evident in the quality of products, and the audience knew that, if Rush's name was on a product, it would be top-notch.
He mentioned that he hired his own sales team to get sponsors for his show because he was concerned that sponsors could leave due to something he said on-air. This approach is timely in today's "cancel culture" and could serve as a model for others.
"The guy in a golf shirt in Palm Beach" had a strong devotion to philanthropy, and he helped countless people. He raised close to $50 million with his annual "Leukemia/Lymphoma Cure-A-Thon."
Some of his other philanthropic causes include the Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation and Tunnel-to-Towers Foundation. His openness with hearing loss, cochlear implants, and addiction to pain killers likely inspired others dealing with these issues.
Rush Limbaugh, "A Man, A Legend, A Way of Life," argued that opinion pieces should end with a suggestion for "next steps" for the reader.
I try to follow that advice in my writing, and I will do so here with thoughts for both myself and others.
While we will all miss Rush, we should be happy in the joy and education that he gave us.
We should also pass along the gift of Rush to others through his old episodes, books, "Adventures of Rush Revere" series, and the sharing of his wisdom in everyday conversation with others.
As Rush said, "at the Limbaugh Institute for Advanced Conservative Studies, there are no degrees because the learning never stops."
Michael B. Abramson is a practicing attorney. He is also an adviser with the National Diversity Coalition for Trump. He is the host of the "Advancing the Agenda" podcast and author of the author of "A Playbook for Taking Back America: Lessons from the 2012 Presidential Election." Follow him on his website and Twitter, @mbabramson. Read Michael B. Abramson's Reports — More Here.
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