Rush Limbaugh is part of the trinity that made modern conservatism the most potent political and economic force in America.
William F. Buckley, Jr. provided the energetic intellectual foundations that turned conservatism from an angry xenophobic, often anti-Semitic fringe of American political life into a forward-looking, thoughtful, appealing movement that attracted an ever-growing number of adherents as the dysfunctional characteristics of big government became more apparent and the play-nice approach to the former Soviet Union invited aggression and disaster.
Ronald Reagan took a philosophical movement and made it the dominant driver in American politics. Reagan’s sunny disposition, his strong sense of direction and his effectiveness as President — both in reviving the American economy and winning the Cold War against the Soviet Union — demonstrated the power and rightness of conservative ideas and ideals.
Two decades ago Rush Limbaugh moved conservatism into the everyday mainstream of American life. He buoyantly, successfully took up the cudgels in the war of ideas, literally reaching millions of listeners each afternoon. He combined humor with penetrating but folksily-presented insights that skewered the left and positively promoted the right.
Like Buckley and Reagan, Limbaugh has never been shrill as he went after his liberal enemies, even when those foes tried to bring him down by vile personal attacks.
Limbaugh has not been constrained by the exigencies of daily politics the way Reagan had to be when he occupied the White House. Thus, Limbaugh has been a consistent popularizer of conservative ideals and a highly successful critic of intrusive government. That is why Rush was crucial in enabling the Republicans, led by the brilliant Newt Gingrich, to win Congress in 1994.
Pick any issue and Rush Limbaugh has been farsighted in how it should be treated.
Rush has been a long-time advocate of tax cuts and tax simplification. He has been wonderful in skewering the most fantastic fantasy of our era – global warming. He has been courageously pro-life.
Rush Limbaugh demonstrated his rock-ribbed principles with Senator John McCain. He had serious differences with the Republican nominee on campaign finance and several other issues. But Rush never washed his hands of the political process. Instead, he has remained engaged both in getting the Senator to see the errors of some of his ways and in reminding us what would happen if Senator Obama wins the election.
Part of Rush’s success is his merriment. I remember years ago when he played his environmental theme song which was music accompanied by the sound of tree-cutting buzz saws!
Now Limbaugh is needed more than ever. Disaffection with the way the Iraq war was conducted before the surge and the commodity inflation we’re experiencing today have given tax-and-spend liberals and their Gore-like green socialist allies a dangerous new lease on life. The majority of Americans are conservatively inclined and if Washington Republicans had followed Limbaugh’s advice, the GOP would still have a majority in Congress and we would be looking forward to a landslide victory in this Presidential election.
The current adverse environment, though, won’t last forever, in no small part because Rush Limbaugh will be constantly and happily showing us the way to secular salvation.