How has Rush Limbaugh, never one to hold back, lasted for 25 years?
‘The Rush Limbaugh Show’ is marking a quarter century. The conservative instigator is heard on 600 stations by a whopping 20 million people a week.
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The breadth of his reach has even prompted powerful figures in his party to kowtow to him. Recall when President George H.W. Bush, locked in a tough 1992 reelection fight and having alienated conservatives after reneging on his pledge not to raise taxes, worked to woo Limbaugh (and by extension his base) by inviting him to the White House for a sleepover. The president even carried his bags.Skip to next paragraph
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Though the sphere of cable and radio chatterboxes has grown wider, and consumers can choose other outlets from which to ingest their daily partisan blather, Limbaugh remains. He has captivated the conservative base. The CNN story marking Limbaugh’s 25 years is headlined plainly: “At 25, Limbaugh show still rules GOP.”
One analysis of Limbaugh suggests he employs a disc jockey’s “bag of tricks” to skewer politicians.
“Limbaugh’s use of comedy and irony and showmanship are integral to his modus operandi, the judo by which he draws in his opponents and then uses their own force to up-end them,” wrote Wilfred M. McClay in Commentary. “And unless you make an effort to hear voices outside the echo chamber of the mainstream media, you won’t have any inkling of what Limbaugh is all about or of how widely his reach and appeal extend.”
The only reason Limbaugh isn’t an even bigger deal is that he’s “spawned so many imitators,” Mr. McClay suggests.
Although Limbaugh’s star dimmed during the eight years when President George W. Bush was in office and conservatives parted ways on many of his foreign and domestic policies, there came a rebirth with Obama’s election. A new purpose.
Forbes lists the four-times-married Limbaugh as 37th on its list of the world’s 100 most powerful celebrities. The college dropout will take home $66 million this year alone, according to the magazine.
That’s certainly enough coin to buy his own anniversary cake. And there’s a loyal segment of the country’s conservatives who would probably be thrilled to join him for a slice and a toast.
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