Right-wing radio host Rush Limbaugh died Wednesday, and both his opponents and admirers are remembering how he shaped today’s conservative movement.
After Limbaugh’s wife announced his death, some of his critics on the left brought up how his show promoted racism and homophobia, and how he emphasized that bigotry within the conservative movement.
Rush Limbaugh had a segment called “AIDS update” set to music where he mocked dying gay people so I don’t really want hear about ‘speaking ill of the dead’ today
— Jessica Valenti (@JessicaValenti) February 17, 2021
But some liberals acknowledged that while they spent years fighting against Limbaugh, he still succeeded in “la[ying] the groundwork for [former President Donald] Trump and Trumpism,” as former Obama administration adviser David Axelrod put it.
Whether you loved him or hated him-and there are very few people in between-Rush Limbaugh was indisputably a force of historic proportions.
Over the past three decades,he did as much to polarize our politics as anyone and laid the groundwork for Trump and Trumpism.
— David Axelrod (@davidaxelrod) February 17, 2021
MSNBC’s Chris Hayes similarly put Limbaugh in the conservative hall of fame.
I think Newt Gingrich, Rush Limbaugh and Donald Trump are three of the five most important and influential conservative figures in American life over the past three decades. (along with Ailes and Murdoch) The conservatism we have is the conservatism they have forged.
— Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) February 17, 2021
Rich Lowry, the conservative editor of the National Review, meanwhile focused on what he saw as Limbaugh’s unmatched sense of humor…
He was always a humble man who was incredibly personally generous. Her performed countless acts of kindness that we’ll never hear about
— Rich Lowry (@RichLowry) February 17, 2021
… While other right-wing tweeters repeatedly called out anyone who criticized Limbaugh after his death.
If you are celebrating the death of a 70-year-old man with cancer just bc you didn’t like his radio show, you might just be in a hate cult
— Jack Posobiec (@JackPosobiec) February 17, 2021