Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness
Rush Limbaugh created modern national talk radio as we now know it—from nothing. For over three decades he kept at rapt attention weekdays—live from noon to three—the largest conservative audience in broadcast history. Over 15 million tuned in each week.
Last week—32 years, and over 23,000 hours of on-air commentary after Rush went national in August 1988—he is gone, at 70 years young.
By the 1990s he had become the voice—literally and iconically—of the conservative movement and its hot/cold liaisons with the Republican Party. Rush was hated by the Left because he was deadly effective in fighting them, and feared at times by the Republican establishment—because he could also be deadly effective in fighting them.
Limbaugh had an uncanny sense of what conservative populism could do—such as abruptly end Barack Obama’s control of Congress after just two years, in the sweeping Tea Party midterm election of 2010. And he also instinctively sensed what it should not do: endorse Ross Perot’s Quixotic third-party surge of 1992 that eventually would split the conservative vote and ensure Bill Clinton the presidency with just 43 percent of the popular vote.