It doesn’t seem possible that we’ve weathered an entire year since that bleak day last Feb. 17 when at 12:06 p.m. Eastern the inevitable-yet-shocking announcement was broadcast to the world: Rush Limbaugh had passed away. The radio titan, having lived his threescore-and-10 to the absolute fullest, returned his borrowed talent to God.
It was a devastating gut-punch to us, his “highly overrated” staff, and to his vast listening audience. Our beloved friend would no longer be providing his brilliant, inspiring, often-hilarious daily clarity and reassurance we had all come to cherish over more than three decades.
When Rush was ensconced in his Attila-the-Hun Chair, behind the Golden EIB Microphone, all seemed (ultra) right with the world. Which is why we Dittoheads have dearly missed that glorious voice ever since. Of this I am sure: whenever news hits, millions wonder, “What would Rush say?”
It’s largely unknowable. Even when we staffers would try to predict Rush’s “take” on some breaking event, we rarely nailed the creative angle or the one-liners that would define the political landscape ever after. Rush’s perspective and analytical gifts were so original they were a colossal audience draw: multitudes across the fruited plain tuned in with that same anticipation, “Oh man, I can’t wait to hear what Limbaugh is gonna do with this!” It was always, always worth it.
DAVID LIMBAUGH: GOODBYE, RUSH, MY BIG BROTHER. THANK YOU FOR BEING YOU
But what is knowable is that Rush fought – and won – the same battles against the same leftists who used the same tactics being weaponized against us today. Ten days ago, for instance. As soon as I read the Biden regime’s ridiculous “National Terrorism Advisory System Bulletin” – feverishly warning of the horrors of “misleading narratives” and “mis- dis- and mal-information (mdm)” – I was brought back in time.
Dateline, June 24, 1994. Aboard Air Force One, then-President Bill Clinton whined to kmox St. Louis in a phone interview: “After I get off the radio today with you, Rush Limbaugh will have three hours to say whatever he wants — and I won’t have any opportunity to respond, and there’s no truth detector. You won’t get on afterwards and say what was true and what wasn’t!”
He may no longer be on the air, but his example and insights still reverberate.
I’ll never forget Rush’s absolute delight when a few minutes later kmox sent the Clinton sound bite to the studio. Rocking in his chair with laughter, he instantly responded on air: “What do you mean, no truth detector? I am the Truth Detector!”
Clinton had intended his attack as a devastating way to rid himself of this troublesome critic, but Rush did his usual rhetorical jujitsu, grabbed the weapon and wielded it himself. Less than five months later, thanks to Rush, the Republicans took over Congress after 40 years of Democrat control. And Rush joyfully appropriated the moniker “America’s Truth Detector” for the rest of his life.
This remains a classic tutorial on how to fight the left, how to win and how to have enormous fun doing it. Clinton’s broadside was actually a scripted and focus-grouped narrative to paint a target on Rush’s back. The president rolled out the left’s standard “criticism-is-misinformation” canard followed by a ludicrous “fact-checking” report from FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, ha!), a leftist-funded prequel to Media Matters.
The media mob dutifully piled on, running thousands of stories calling Rush every hateful name in the book. This event really marked the onset of cancel culture, and during his career developed into a cottage industry that attempted to “hush Rush” for over three decades. They never laid a glove on him.
This is a significant portion of Rush’s legacy. He may no longer be on the air, but his example and insights still reverberate. He prepped us, his beloved audience. To mark this somber first anniversary of his passing, here are some of the lessons he left on how to defeat the left:
1. Know your enemy. Rush’s core mission (besides attracting an immense audience so he could charge confiscatory advertising rates) was to give his listeners an ideological understanding of our political opponents on the left. The left’s handbook never, ever changes.
Page one of Leftism 101: Silence dissent. Everywhere and always. The left has no interest in engaging in the arena of ideas. Liberals despise the very notion of political opposition; that we have time and space in the United States of America “to say whatever we want,” as Bill Clinton put it in 1994, ticks them off to no end. Freedom is their greatest nemesis; control of speech is the means to all their ends: accruing power.
They try to label all opposing ideas out of bounds, beyond the pale, fringe – so critics are marginalized, scorned and shunned (hence, their laughable “fact checks” and the lame “mis- dis- and mal-information [MDM]” gambit).
Leftism is built on intimidation and a tissue of lies, to which we are the fact check.
2. Reject the premise. Leftist accusations and attacks are based on unstated premises: You are the problem; conservatives are the problem; America is the problem.
Learn to instantly and instinctively turn the tables, as Rush did. Leftists used to call Rush “dangerous.” The unstated premise was that being dangerous to liberalism was bad. They expected the accusation would put Rush on defense. But he embraced that he was indeed a threat – to their dominance: “They call me the most dangerous man in America. Know why? Because I am. Bwahahaha!”
Liberals demanded that radio stations carrying Rush be required to provide “equal time” to ensure “balance” to his supposedly unsafe words – to which Rush correctly responded, “I am equal time!”
3. Use your power. The left may appear invincible, but it exerts control based on a currency of deception, manipulation, corrupt bargains. The power we have is unassailable, and it is built on invisible things: Truth. Joy. Common sense. Humor. Love. Gratitude. Faith. These qualities answer to a Higher Authority, and the left has no counter to them.
Never forget: we are the many. Rush connected us, his most important bequest to us, and we will never again believe the lie that we are weak and scattered and powerless and fringe. They are the few. Flexing our strengths – especially the power of the truth – drives them into hysterics.
4. Have no fear. Leftists are bullies who are terrified of fearless, cheerful people – who know they’re right. Those who, like Rush, truly grasp the pathetic nature of leftism exude confidence, even glee.
Never, ever buy into the temptation to despair that our situation is hopeless. This is the left’s most oft-used deception, wanting you to pre-emptively surrender without a fight (hello, Republicans). Optimism is an intellectual choice, and good cheer is the blessing that follows. Happy warriors never surrender.
5. Stay on offense. Be relentless. Because it is has no moral foundation, the left’s “power” is ephemeral – when fought, it will deflate like a souffle, and come crashing down like the Berlin Wall. Follow Rush’s model and laugh at them every day.
In the same way Rush was “the most dangerous man in America,” embrace the truth that we are the most dangerous people in America – to the left. They may at the moment control the institutions, the levers of power, and much of the media, but we have them surrounded. And they know it.