Video Interview: Rush Limbaugh’s 25th Anniversary

Published on August 3, 2013

Thursday marked Rush Limbaugh’s 25th anniversary on the air. To label Limbaugh a radio talk show host dramatically underestimates his impact on the political debate, media, and American culture. Limbaugh is truly a transformative figure. When Limbaugh entered the world of talk radio, the AM dial was essentially moribund. He turned it into a weapon for conservatism, and in the process, led the revolution that has ended in the disintegration of the old media monopoly. Limbaugh can rightly be said to be the greatest populist expositor of conservatism in America since Reagan, and the link between the Reagan generation and the so-called Rush Babies.

In his book, Righteous Indignation, Andrew Breitbart wrote about how Limbaugh turned him into a conservative. “One day I asked [Andrew Breitbart’s father-in-law, Orson Bean] why he had Rush Limbaugh’s book, The Way Things Ought to Be, on his shelf. I asked him, ‘Why would you have a book by this guy?’ And Orson said, ‘Have you ever listened to him?’ I said yes, of course, even though I never had. I was convinced to the core of my being that Rush Limbaugh was a Nazi, anti-black, anti-Jewish, and anti–all things decent. Without berating me for disagreeing with him, Orson simply suggested that I listen to him again….This is where my rendezvous with destiny begins. I turned on KFI 640 AM to listen to evil personified from 9 a.m. to noon. Indeed, my goal was to derive pleasure from the degree of evil I found in Rush Limbaugh. I was looking forward to a jovial discussion with Orson to confirm how right I was. One hour turned into three. One listening session turned into a week’s worth. And next thing I knew, I was starting to doubt my preprogrammed self. I was still a Democrat. I was still a liberal. But after listening for months while putting thousands of miles on my car, I couldn’t believe that I once thought this man was a Nazi or anything close…I marveled at how he could take a breaking news story and offer an entertaining and clear analysis that was like nothing I had ever seen on television, especially the Sunday morning shows, which had been my previous one-stop shop for political opinions.”

That’s where Andrew’s transformation began. Soon he had moved from a self-described “default liberal” to a conservative media warrior.

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