20 Years Of Rush Limbaugh

In this Jan. 30, 2008, file photo, radio personality Rush Limbaugh arrives for a screening of Bernard and Doris at the Time Warner Center in New York. AP Photo/Gary He

This column was written by By Roy Spencer.
Rush Limbaugh's 20 years of masterminding a wildly successful syndicated radio talk show proves many things about America that the mainstream media just doesn't seem to get.

We don't want a steady stream of bad news all the time. We don't need a daily dose of new crises to wring our hands over. And in a country with abundant opportunities for success - where your creativity and ambition not only benefit you, but benefit everyone else - we sure don't need our politicians telling us that we need them in order to be successful in life.

What Rush Limbaugh has provided this country far exceeds his lucrative income, the result of what Rush calls "confiscatory advertising rates." For every dollar he has earned over the years, his encouragement to millions of loyal Dittoheads has surely generated much more in new wealth for us all.

And, yes, that even means more wealth for those humorless do-gooders who are so concerned about humanity's unsolved problems that they generously throw as much of your money at those problems as they can get their hands on. While they try to give away your fish to others so that they might have purpose in life, Rush encourages everyone to learn to fish for themselves.

Rush's on-air talents are numerous, combining to provide a wonderful vibe three hours a day, five days a week, that we will probably never again experience in talk radio. He articulates those underlying truths of life of which we are only dimly aware, bringing them out in the open and discussing them in the context of the news of the day.

Many of us remember the first time we heard Rush as the moment when we finally found someone who was able to express the things that we were thinking. His humor is subtle, devious, cutting, clever.

Despite 15 hours of material each week, Rush's enemies still have trouble finding anything he's said to damage him on the public stage. And then, they only do so at their peril. When Harry Reid and 41 Democrat senators sent a letter of complaint to Clear Channel last October lambasting Limbaugh's use of the term "phony soldiers," Rush auctioned the letter on eBay for $2.1 million, personally matched that amount, and then sent the proceeds to the Marine Corps Law Enforcement Foundation.

Later, on the floor of the senate, Reid surrendered and offered that he would have gotten even more signatures if he had known the good cause the letter would be used for. Rush wins again. Trying to claim that Rush does not support our troops is a little like calling Al Gore a global warming denier.

Rush's knowledge is encyclopedic. His memory is nothing short of amazing - the secret of which he once confided in me . . . but which I dare not disclose.

A dinner and house guest of presidents, honorary member of the House of Representatives, friend to countless celebrities and CEOs, and now a Nobel Peace Prize nominee, one would think Rush's ego would have long ago outrun his good sense. And to be sure, those whose knowledge of Rush only comes from rumors consider him a pompous blowhard.

But a couple of weeks of listening to The Rush Limbaugh Show will reveal Rush to be a gracious host. If callers do not clearly express themselves, he takes the time to understand what they are trying to say.

He makes even the worst phone calls work to advance the show. That's how good he is. Rush suffers the most irritating of callers, and seldom loses his temper even though thousands of impatient listeners are likely yelling and throwing their lunches at their radios and computer speakers.

As someone who occasionally provides Rush with "late arriving show prep" during commercial breaks, I have been amazed at how quickly Rush can assimilate new material. In a matter of seconds he can change gears and launch into an impromptu ten-minute dissertation on some issue he had not planned on addressing that day.

Some on the Left think Rush needs to be balanced by one or more voices on the other end of the political spectrum. A few politicians are even floating the idea of resurrecting the Fairness Doctrine. While conservatives consider most of the news media in America as decidedly liberal, those working in the media believe that they are the ones who really represent mainstream America, and they want equal time.

Does the mainstream media have a liberal bias? How can anyone determine the truth in such a matter of personal perception? The question is easily answered. In the free market of ideas, a widespread demand for views that have little or no supply will result in a huge market for anyone who steps up to meet that demand. Rush's show remains popular partly because he meets a need that is not being met elsewhere.

When Air America Radio tried to counter Rush's conservative views on-air, they failed simply because the market was already saturated with liberal views - from the mainstream media. When supply exceeds demand, the value of those views plummets. In stark contrast, Rush just signed a new $400 million contract. This is clear evidence of a continuing demand for something that still does not have a sufficient supply.

And this is what most in the mainstream media do not get. Rush is America. Its ideals and aspirations, work ethic and patriotism. A people who would rather focus on all that is right with our country rather than complain about what is wrong.

And as long the old media continues to deny that reality, Rush will continue to rally the hearts and minds of the people who make this nation work.

Dr. Roy W. Spencer is a principal research scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. He is author of the new book, Climate Confusion: How Global Warming Hysteria Leads to Bad Science, Pandering Politicians, and Misguided Policies that Hurt the Poor. He serves as official climatologist for The Rush Limbaugh Show.

By Roy Spencer
Reprinted with permission from National Review Online
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