One of the most notorious right-wing radio hosts in America, Rush Limbaugh, has died of lung cancer, aged 70.

Limbaugh was a leading figure in the “talk radio” field, which facilitated the ascendancy, into power of such right-wing political airheads as Donald Trump. His Rush Limbaugh Show was broadcast across more than 650 radio stations onPremiere Radio Networks and attracted 15 million listeners.

USA Today described Limbaugh as one of Donald Trump’s “most prominent enablers of his failed effort to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, with baseless claims of voting fraud.” 

The paper noted that in December 2020 Limbaugh declared that he thought the USA was “trending toward secession”. And 

after the mob of pro-Trump extremists stormed the Capitol, in Washington, on Jan. 6 2021, Limbaugh dismissed the controversy, declaring: “We’re supposed to be horrified by the protesters… 

“There’s a lot of people out there calling for the end of violence … who say that any violence or aggression at all is unacceptable regardless of the circumstances. … I am glad Sam Adams… the actual tea-party guys… didn’t feel that way.” 

In an article entitled “Limbaugh did his best to ruin America”, Rolling Stone Magazine reported that Limbaugh was exposed as a super-hypocrite when he was “outed as a serious opioid addict in 2003, when his former housekeeper was investigated for selling him thousands of pills in a span of months.”

Three years later, after three treatment stints, “Limbaugh landed in trouble for “doctor shopping” to get his fix. Yet he’d always been an outspoken “drug warrior”, shouting to the authorities to “lock ‘em up” for the most minor drug offences. He himself “got off with a slap and an expunged criminal record.”

Limbaugh was “the loudest voice in the right-wing echo chamber,… but it was harder to be heard in there. The sheer volume of imitators and competitors he inspired, across platforms, had spurred what one commentator called an “arms race” in conservative media. A “million loud voices [were] competing to be the most envelope-pushing, the most offensive, the most radically partisan and the most headline-hogging.”

The ascent of a black president, Barack Obama, “gave Limbaugh his bite back.” During the campaign that ended in Obama being elected President “Limbaugh mostly took the old-school route, trotting out racial-stereotype ‘jokes’ such as “If Obama weren’t black, he’d be a tour guide in Hawaii” and …“Barack the Magic Negro”. 

“But”, Rolling Stone noted, “something snapped in Limbaugh, just as surely as in his listeners, when the black man won. Four days before the inauguration of the popular and historic new president, Limbaugh told his listeners that he’d been asked by The Wall Street Journal to join others in writing 400 words on their hopes for Obama’s next four years. Limbaugh said he only needed four: “I hope he fails.”

Rolling Stone observed: “This was something new. This was openly rooting for a president, and thus for the country, to bomb. Right in the middle of a devastating recession and two unwinnable wars. Not, he insisted, because Obama was black. “Doesn’t matter to me what his race is. He’s liberal, is what matters to me…. And rooting for liberalism to fail is rooting for America to succeed.”

Rolling Stone added that “the real threat of Obama” [according to Limbaugh] “was far more tribal than ideological.” Here was a “President capable, among other terrifying things, of normalizing non-white rule in America. 

“But stopping Obama was “what I was born to do,” Limbaugh boasted. And thank goodness for that, because, as he reported in the fall of 2009, “In Obama’s America, the white kids now get beat up with the black kids cheering.” Limbaugh turned Obama-hating into a kind of litmus test for white pride”. “If any race of people should not have guilt about slavery, it’s Caucasians,” he declared, adding: “And yet white guilt is still one of the dominating factors in American politics.”

Limbaugh promoted “conspiracy theories that grew wilder, more menacing, more elaborate, and more violent (“Race riots are part of the plan that this regime has”). Obama was transformed into a symbol of the bleak future that white Americans might expect if they didn’t recognize the existential peril and rise to fight it.” 

Rolling Stone added: “Limbaugh served as a sort of original model for Trump — the comic-blowhard authoritarian who provides endless entertainment, infallible-though-incredible wisdom, and marching orders for the tribe. And by 2015, he’d helped nudge and bully the [Republican] Party not toward some kind of hardcore conservatism, but in a radically nihilistic direction.”

IN NIGERIA, some Internet commentators are having a lot of fun speculating on what will happen to Limbaugh’s fortune of a reported $600 million.Theyregard his fourth wife as an “IyawoKekere” (a “side dish” that becomes the “main dish!” As Limbaugh had no children, the prospect of his wife inheriting the entire fortune is real enough.

“Nice play for this iyawokekere,” wrote a Netter. “She has the rest of her life to enjoy a huge fortune, the reward for her job as IyawoKekere for only ten years, and no kids. Not bad at all.”

Another wrote to tease a female Netter: “I take it that you are happy for the iyawokekere? After all she performed all her wife duties till the end. Abi?”

The lady Nteer retorted: “Bro, I am a serious advocate of the idea that our labour and services should be justly rewarded!” 

That brought this riposte: “I doubt if the IyawoKekere will be getting all of the money. Rush is known for being business savvy… He and Donald Trump were perfect friends because they believe in prenuptial agreements.”

A pity that Rush won’t be able to read about the fun the “Negroes” he despised so much are having –at his expense. What would he say to it all?



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