Rush Fulfills a Dream: The Missouri Hall of Fame

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MARK: Mark Steyn in for Rush on the Excellence in Broadcasting Network. Mark Steyn in for Rush. It has been the greatest privilege of my life to utter those words for almost a decade and a half, and I’m not going to change now. As you know, Rush left us 48 hours ago. He had a glorious life, and he received innumerable accolades and awards culminating in the president giving him that medal during the State of the Union just a year ago. But this award was particularly special to Rush, given his background. He was inducted. He joined Mark Twain in the Missouri Hall of Fame.

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RUSH: Well, folks, I have to tell you, what red-blooded American kid growing up in the Midwest doesn’t dream of being in the Hall of Fame someday? And yesterday I made it into the Hall of Fame in the state of Missouri, with a bust and everything. And it’s a great bust. It’s an awesome-looking bust. What a fun day it was yesterday. And, of course, the libs are deranged. The Democrats are beside themselves. This is not the way this is supposed to be happening.

It was a great honor for our family, really, is what this really was, and so many of my family showed up, drove from all over the Midwest to be there for this event. I must have posed for 200 pictures and signed a bunch of autographs. Everybody was just fabulous. It could not have been greater. From the moment we got off the airplane until we left, everybody we ran into was just as sweet, nice, as they could be.

You would never make it to any Hall of Fame if you’re afraid of failure. I’m next to Harry Truman, Mark Twain — of course, what’s funny is the governor of the state of Missouri is Democrat, Jay Nixon, and honestly there’s a statement from the governor’s office yesterday, ’cause they run the rotunda. The Speaker, Steve Tilley, is the guy who suggested that I join the Hall of Fame. He’s the guy spearheaded it. He’s the one who made it happen. He’s the one that took the arrows. This guy was being fired on from the moment he suggested this. Never once did he waver.

As I mentioned yesterday in my remarks, you know how after a championship sporting event they talk to the star of the game, inevitably the star of the game says, “Yeah, I’m the first member of my family to go to college.” Well, I’m the first member of my family not to. I’m the only member of my family not to, and I didn’t follow the family path in life, which was the law. That was the whole point of my remarks. Despite all of that, everybody in the family was always supportive and always has been. In fact, I’ve got some sound bites, some excerpts of this yesterday, the acceptance.

The governor of the state, Jay Nixon, his office put out a statement yesterday saying that they’re not going to put my bust in the capitol rotunda, or somebody’s asking for the bust not to be put there because I say controversial things and don’t deserve to be there. Which, fine. That’s just the way things are today. They asked me to go eight to ten minutes, and that’s a cough for me. I went 14. Nobody complained.

The family direction was law. My family had a very, very domineering, positively so, influential patriarch. Our grandfather — Pop — Rush H. Limbaugh Sr., everybody wanted to be like him. You know, every family has a mythological character. Every business has a mythological figure about whom the most incredibly positive things are said. Of course, that legend grows and it’s expanded in time, but all the things that were said about my grandfather were true. He never smoked, never drank. He was the epitome of dignity and sophistication and so forth. And he was a role model. Everybody wanted to be like him. There was this vision of a giant law firm: Limbaugh, Limbaugh, Limbaugh, Limbaugh, Limbaugh, Limbaugh, and they’d go hire somebody else just to have another name on the door.

A lot of the family went into law. A lot of my cousins and my brother and so forth. But I was never interested. I told them yesterday I hated school. From the time I was 8 years old I found out I wanted to be on the radio. School to me was prison. I explained to them, my father reluctantly supported me as I embarked on my radio career only because it was the only thing in my life I’d never quit up ’til that time. He made me join the Boy Scouts. I was a Tenderfoot for a year. You know what you have to do to be a Tenderfoot? Nothing. You just join. Not one merit badge, nothing. Tenderfoot for a year. (laughing) I was doing so many things everybody else wanted me to. I just wasn’t interested, ’cause I knew what I wanted to do. And also I knew school couldn’t help me. Well, that’s the wrong way to put it. What I mean to say is I had a talent and there was no school to go to for talent.

I knew what I wanted to do, and so everything that prevented me from doing it was an obstacle. And school was an obstacle, in my immature view at the time. Here I am playing Donny Osmond records on the radio, and my family is looking at me, “Where is this gonna lead?” And of course nowhere. At age 28, my disc jockey days over, fired for the sixth or seventh time. So I quit and went to work for the Kansas City Royals, went back to work on radio. I mean I’ve told you all this story, but I spoke of it in brief yesterday as a means of expressing just how much throughout all of this the family, everybody in the family was 100%, totally supportive and have been since day one.

I can’t emphasize enough how much the support of everybody in my family has meant throughout this. Not one of them ever has sent a note or made a phone call, “Do you think you could maybe tone it down a little?” That’s never, ever, happened. It’s been just the exact opposite. And that you can’t replace. That kind of love, you can’t replace, and the gratitude that I feel is practically impossible to express.

Essentially, folks, I fought the law, the law lost on this, and now I’m in the hall of famous Missourians, and I’m deeply gratified for the honor. I wish everybody coulda seen this. I had no idea what a big deal it was gonna be. I really didn’t.

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MARK: That’s Rush being inducted with Harry Truman and Mark Twain into the Missouri Hall of Fame a few years ago. And he’s quite right. You know, anybody who has loved radio — and Rush loved radio long before he loved politics. You know, the radio came first, and I apologize for suggesting he was playing Partridge Family records on the radio. He was playing Donny Osmond records on the radio. I don’t want to make any — well, there is a huge difference there. But, you know, I don’t want to lower him into any particular pit of degradation that he didn’t actually inhabit.

But if you love radio, everybody, every kid who ever wanted to be on the radio will recognize that. And it’s the equivalent — now, Rush comes from this great family of judges and lawyers, and he says he wants to play Donny Osmond records on the radio, and they were, “Oh, my God. Where did we go wrong?” That’s the equivalent of saying you’re gonna run away and join the circus. And in the end, and with all due respect to Rush’s distinguished forbears, he was the greatest of them all. He never became a hotshot trial lawyer. He never became a federal judge, but he consorted with presidents and vice presidents and senators and governors and all the most eminent people of this land because he did what he wanted to do.

And Rush talks about this when he gives advice. What I’ve found just guest hosting for Rush is that when you listen to Rush attentively, he’s actually giving you life advice that you would have to pay a huge amount of money for. And one of the particular bits of advice he gives is not to keep prevaricating. You know, Rush, when he wanted to break into radio, the 8-year-old boy, he’d go around and occasionally run into people who, you know, they do the weather on the local station or the play-by-play guy on the weekend sports and he’d ask them about this, you know, “What do I need to do?” And he was just going around asking people what he needed to do.

And eventually one of them said to him, “What you need to do is to stop talking and actually start doing it.” And that is a critical bit of Rush advice. Now, he did it, all this stuff for 20 years, and none of it was right for him. He hadn’t found the perfect format. But when he did find the perfect format, when he invented the perfect format and then essentially invented a 24/7 radio format for his invented format to sit perfectly in, it was because of that guy who said at some point, you need to stop asking people what you need to do, because what you need to do is do it. And Rush was brilliant and practical like that.

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