WASHINGTON — Heritage Foundation President Kay C. James today issued the following statement on the death of Rush Limbaugh:
"Rush Limbaugh was a down-to-earth man with a towering personality. He had boundless enthusiasm, an effervescent wit and a fascination with politics, policy and the ideas and ideals that animate them both.
"Over the years, he galvanized the right and irritated the left. No conservative voice of the past two decades has been more prominent or plain darn funny. To say that the conservative movement has suffered an enormous loss is a huge understatement.
"He got his start as a talk radio host in the 1970s. But it was the death of the Fairness Doctrine that freed Rush to be Rush and enabled him to “go national” in the late ’80s. He soon had the nation’s number one-rated news talk show, informing and entertaining more than 20 million listeners a week.
"By 2008, a Zogby International poll found that Rush Limbaugh was the most trusted news personality in the nation. At one point, his influence was so strong that some less-than-friendly observers considered him “the leader” of the Republican Party.
"In fact, 'Mount Rushbo' was an inspirational peak on the landscape of American conservatism. And he became a close friend and ally of The Heritage Foundation.
"As Rush took to the golden microphone day after day, peppering the battlefield with wit and insight, we were honored to provide him with our research and analysis as ammunition. He was a treasured partner, and for several years we became a formal sponsor. During that time, our membership more than doubled—to more than 600,000 active supporters. Clearly, many of our new members felt that, if Rush could rely on Heritage, then they could, too.
"In December, Heritage honored Rush’s lifetime contributions to the conservative movement and to furthering the growth of free enterprise, individual liberty, and traditional American values with our first-ever Titan of Conservatism Award. In his honor, we named our new state-of-the-art broadcast studios the Rush Limbaugh Radio Studios. They will host members of Congress, foreign dignitaries, and America’s preeminent scholars. We hope this will help his legacy live on for generations, as everyone who enters them will be reminded of what Rush meant to The Heritage Foundation and to the entire conservative movement.
"The Heritage family today joins with millions of Americans in mourning the loss of this broadcasting legend, a wonderful friend and true patriot. May the Lord comfort his family and friends in their sorrow."