I was reading an acclaimed list of progressive and liberal thinkers and was struck by how many times I’ve come across their quotes in my feed. There were people like Paul Krugman, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Jon Stewart. (Kos was in the top 10 in this Forbes list for building this site, which is more relevant than ever decades later.)
Going through the liberals, all are still talked about and highly regarded. For curiosity's sake, I looked up a list of conservative thinkers. I got people like George Will, William Buckley Jr., and Ayn Rand. I had to agree they made a lasting impact. I then moved on to other avenues of interest. Yet later that day I came across a tweet commemorating the one-year anniversary of Rush Limbaugh’s death.
Rush Limbaugh left nothing behind. No one quotes him, no one references him, his vast fortune didn't go to support any of the causes he supposedly believed in. The various Fox News talking heads should remember this. They will leave nothing when they are gone.
Wow, that hit me.
I thought, wait a minute: Limbaugh was highly paid and tremendously overhyped while he was still alive. I suddenly noticed that none of my right-wing friends were quoting him—and actually rarely did even when he was alive. Limbaugh never said anything profound or meaningful—just racist. In fact, it was liberals who quoted him to showcase the true beliefs of the conservative movement. Most of his quotes were things like his “jokes” about AIDS victims, degrading comments about women’s appearances, calling a student who disagreed with him a “slut” to his audience, or telling a Black man to “take the bone out of his nose.” In the end, Limbaugh was just another disgusting bigot.
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If you Google his name, you will notice that all of the stories about him stop immediately after his death. He was lionized for about a week, and then the world moved on. Limbaugh grifted and led a decadent life of luxury, yet his legacy is simply one of hatemongering against the most vulnerable populations among us. He left absolutely nothing for his supposed followers to latch on to. The fact is, Rush wasn’t needed even amongst them, because there were always plenty of white nationalist pundits and right-wing propagandists they could go to, and they did.
After all, these pundits just say the same things: They repeat the same talking points and make fun of others not like them. That’s easy to do and they are all replaceable. The sad reality for them is that they too will all be forgotten as well.
Stephen Colbert’s quotes from over a decade ago still show up in my feeds. His bits were so good—such as running for president exposing the hypocrisy of super PACs—that he actually won a Peabody Award. Jon Stewart was still discussed years after he left The Daily Show, and still advocated for causes on Capitol Hill after shunning the public spotlight.
Rachel Maddow set the bar very high for standards of integrity on her show—Republicans could never attack her over something she said that was wrong because she rarely was. Compare that record with someone like Tucker Carlson.
Speaking of the new Limbaughs: What do you think will become of people like Carlson, Dan Bongino, or Jeanine Pirro? What exactly do they even stand for? What causes do they support? (I mean, besides themselves?)
These people have accomplished nothing, and will suffer the same fate as Bill O’Reilly. I noticed he isn’t on any list of conservative thinkers either. He’s just remembered as another pervert who got fired from Fox News.
This site will long outlast Markos when he leaves the Earth. (Funny, I doubt anyone still gets the “Limbaugh Letter.”) Yet Limbaugh contributed nothing and left nothing. He didn’t advocate to make his listeners lives any better, but he did convince them to vote against things they desperately needed, like universal health care, unions, and pensions.
If anything, he failed the basic test of a successful life: He didn’t leave the world better than when he found it. In fact, he did his level best to make it worse. What he did “accomplish” was to help turn the GOP into a cult of Trump. He never pontificated on higher platitudes on what the conservative movement could be; instead, he provided excuses for poor behavior from the worst people in the party. He justified hateful and harmful policies by pointing out how much it would hurt the people he wanted his followers to hate.
The few times I suffered through his show, the one dominant variable was his massive ego. Limbaugh always bragged that he had talent “on loan from God” and did his show with “half my brain tied behind my back.” He was super proud of his following, and believed himself to be super important.
He was so delusional that he even compared himself to Martin Luther King Jr. Ironic since MLK was a liberal titan—a social justice activist whose quotes are etched forever in stone in Washington, D.C., next to his monument. After the end of Rush’s life, just one year later, Limbaugh has … what? A website? Not only is he never quoted, he is never even mentioned. He has been erased. Forgotten.
A fitting end to a sorry legacy for a sad, pathetic, bigoted man.
Twitter: @TheSemDem / Facebook: TheSemDem