If there’s any doubt about how contemporaries will view the life and impact of Donald Trump, look no farther than how voices large and small weighed in on news of Rush Limbaugh’s death this week.
The conservative media blowhard lost his battle with cancer at age 70 on Wednesday, and within minutes love poured in from the extremist right, but was quickly doused by those who loathed the controversial radio host. Views expressed on social media overwhelmingly pointed to Limbaugh’s defining characteristics — racist, liar, conspiracy theorist, gaslighter, homophobe, misogynist. Sound familiar?
In both subtle and openly harsh messages and headlines this week (before Senator Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) self-inflicted #TedFed / #CancuCruz scandal) the nation sounded off on Limbaugh’s 30-year-run as the king of American Conservatism, most recounting his poisonous legacy of hate and division that did more to polarize the country than any other voice.
Limbaugh was not only an ally of Trump’s, but a precursor who “pushed baseless claims and toxic rumors long before Twitter and Reddit became havens for such disinformation,” as The New York Times put it. Limbaugh and Trump were two peas in a pod — both roundly scorned a year ago when Trump awarded the cigar-smoking radio host the Presidential Medal of Freedom at the State of the Union Address. Just the day before Limbaugh had announced on his syndicated radio show his diagnosis of advanced lung cancer.
The Huffington Post’s obit headline was typical of left-leaning media outlets: “Rush Limbaugh, Bigoted King Of Talk Radio, Dies at 70,” while it’s sub-head captured the man’s complexity: “Limbaugh saturated America’s airwaves with cruelty and conspiracies, amassing millions of listeners and transforming the Republican Party.”
Limbaugh, who called AIDS “the Rock Hudson disease” and coined the term “feminazis,” quipped that “Feminism was established as to allow unattractive women easier access to the mainstream of society.” This Rushism comes from a popular list of 35 “undeniable truths” he read on air in the 1980s and updated in the 1990s. Other quotes from the list include:
Liberals measure compassion by how many people are given welfare. Conservatives measure compassion by how many people no longer need it.
The most beautiful thing about a tree is what you do with it after you
cut it down.
Freedom is God given
There is no such thing as war atrocities
Evidence refutes liberalism
Using federal dollars as a measure, our cities have not been neglected, but poisoned with welfare dependency funds
You can wager large sums that Limbaugh’s goodbye and good riddance chorus will play out again anywhere from say five to 15 years from now, when Trump meets his maker. One difference, however, is that Trump memorializers will have so much more material to work with.
Here are some other reactions from Twitter to Limbaugh’s death: