The clarion call of the new right-wing was all about liberty and freedom. This was, according to Justin Ling, in his podcast aptly called The Flame Throwers, “the language of revolution.” 1998 was time for a New Tea Party. Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich saw themselves as right-wing revolutionaries. In fact Gingrich invited Limbaugh to come to Washington to fire up the new troops that had been elected. This was going to be the politics of extremism with no holds barred.
Limbaugh advised the newly elected Congressmen in 1998. “This is not the time to be moderate, this is not the time to be liked, this is no time to seek to gain the approval of the people you have just defeated.” American politics had entered the age of extremism where there was no room any more for moderation, reasonableness, or humility.
The incoming class of Republican Congressmen and women presented Limbaugh with a plaque that said, “Rush was right.” They also assured him that there was not a single Feminazi in the bunch. The right in America was nothing if it was not hyper- masculine. Only wimps would give in to feminists. Women were one of Limbaugh’s most consistent targets of verbal abuse.
At the time Limbaugh’s radio shows were shown on more 600 stations in the USA. He had a television show on another 225 stations. As Ling said, “Tens of millions of Americans were hanging on his every utterance. He now basically runs the Republican Party.” This was a role later taken over by Donald Trump. As much as he loved being adored by the Republican party, there was one endorsement that he treasured above all others—he got a personal letter from Saint Ronald Reagan himself. He was in heaven. Not only that it was the best heaven of all—Republican heaven.
This is what that blessed epistle from the Saint of the Right said:
“Thanks Rush for all that you are doing for promoting Republican and conservative principles. Now that I have retired from active politics, I don’t mind that you have become the number one voice for conservatism in our country. I know the liberals call you the most dangerous man in America, but don’t worry about it. They used to say the same thing about me. Keep up the good work. America needs to hear the way things otta be.
In many ways, Rush Limbaugh was in fact the most dangerous man in America. He was ready to blow it up—in the world of ideas of course. Though it would have ramifications beyond that.