Fans think of Rush Limbaugh in lots of ways. He’s “America’s Truth Detector,” the “Doctor of Democracy”, and even the “Most Dangerous Man in America.” HUMAN EVENTS reader and Limbaugh fan J. David Waltz thinks of him another way: as an inspiration.
Waltz became a fan of Limbaugh starting in 1990. Born in Michigan, society bombarded Waltz with the liberal politics prominent in the 1960’s and 70’s. Issues like the Vietnam War and the Roe vs. Wade court ruling dominated the news. And the media conformed to the popularized liberal views.
“I, like everyone else, was exposed to a monolithic liberal media and it had seemingly no challenges out there. Like a lot of conservatives I felt all by myself – I really felt alone,” said Waltz.
Waltz, fed-up with the liberal bias of media and frustrated with the ignorance of the American public, took the advice of a co-worker who suggested he tune-in to Limbaugh’s then-young radio talk show. Skeptical of the validity of anyone in the media – even someone claiming to be a conservative – Waltz decided to give Limbaugh only five minutes of his time.
“Within five minutes, I was cheering, I was fist pumping the air… literally in the course of five minutes I was hooked. [Limbaugh] says more in five minutes than some people say in their entire career,” said Waltz. “For the first time, I heard somebody saying what I thought…And hearing it in a way that wasn’t preachy but funny.”
Waltz shared this view with many others, including new conservatives. Others shared his enthusiasm, and Limbaugh’s popularity rose meteorically. Limbaugh soon established himself as the most popular radio host, broadcast on over 600 radio stations across the country. More than 14 million listeners tune-in to the Rush Limbaugh Show at least once a week. Waltz contributes this success to Limbaugh’s motivating attitude and personality.
“When you’re not a follower, you’re a leader and you say your principles like you mean it – if you do it every day and you never change, you don’t stick your finger up every day and check where the winds blowing and go that way… it doesn’t matter if you’re a liberal or a conservative, you will be respected for that kind of honesty and integrity. That is Rush Limbaugh,” said Waltz.
Limbaugh affected Waltz’s life so greatly that Waltz attributes much of his successes to the radio personality. Listening to Limbaugh speak while Waltz went through “many catastrophes, like most Americans,” Limbaugh’s “you can do it” attitude helped Waltz persevere. He listens to Limbaugh while fishing, hunting, through unemployment, sickness, injury, and two back operations.
“This guy has just such a positive view about everything….He said on a regular basis that anyone in this country can succeed,” said Waltz. “Listening to this guy has cheered me up. He’s made me laugh; he’s given me back hope.”
Limbaugh also gives back hope to the Conservative party, reaching his many listeners with his Reagan-based views and criticism of the moderate actions of the Republican Party. Despite his lack of enthusiasm for Sen. John McCain, Limbaugh fuels concerns about the presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama, hoping for a Republican victory in November.
“It’s people’s tendency to confuse the Republican Party with the conservative movement and the two are taking divergent paths,” said Waltz. “Rush is a conservative first, and a Republican, if that, second. I think that is the right attitude.”
While Waltz is a self-proclaimed, die-hard fan of Limbaugh, some areas of disagreement exist between the two. Limbaugh’s lack of support for alternative, more conservative candidates up for the presidential nomination earlier in the year disappointed Waltz.
“A lot of times my disagreements with [Rush] are not about substance but degree,” said Waltz. “I really wish he had got out there in support of [Duncan] Hunter for the presidential race… someone who was a real Reagan conservative.”
Waltz’s disapproval of Limbaugh is mild, however, in comparison to some of Limbaugh’s more outspoken critics. The radio host’s passionate words and sometimes heated discussions on air led to some controversial statements over the years. Limbaugh’s competitors and liberal counterparts often attack Limbaugh for his non-P.C. views on controversial issues.
Waltz, however, does not see this is a problem.
“I’m always a proponent of the truth,” said Waltz. “In our society, which I contend is in decline, the truth is not particularly welcome, even amongst people calling themselves ‘conservatives.’ Like Rush says – letting other people control your emotions and attitude… that’s your problem. What’s wrong with controversy?”
Limbaugh certainly does not hold back on his opinions. He prides himself in his upfront criticism on whomever, wherever, whenever. And despite his often debatable statements on touchy issues, The Rush Limbaugh Show continues to grow in popularity and listeners each year. Limbaugh just signed a new contract with Premiere Radio Networks and Clear Channel Radio. Limbaugh will be paid a whopping $400 million to continue serving up his daily dose of conservative punditry through 2016.
For good reason, the radio host’s success does not go unnoticed.
“Rush is embracing that somebody has to get out there and be a leader. Someone has got to get out there and do what has to be done at personal risk to preserve conservatism and the American way,” said Waltz.
“Rush touches real issues and he touches on things he really is passionate about. As long as he can do that, his show will keep growing.”
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