October 12, 2007

The King (of Radio)

Category: News — Ira @ 5:58 pm


“I, I will be King
You, you will be Queen
Though nothing, nothing will drive them away
We can be Heroes
For just one day.”
—The Wallflowers, Lyrics: “We can be Heroes”

On Monday morning, Pastor Dave called me at work. A friend had bought four tickets to see Rush Limbaugh Thursday night in Philly. They needed one more person to fill out the group. The tickets cost $80 each. Would I like to go? I thought for about two seconds. Of course I would. I’m honored you thought of me, I said.

Rush Limbaugh. Probably the most hated and the most admired man in modern Amer-ican culture. And the most feared by his enemies. A powerful voice blasting over the radio airwaves for three hours a day, five days a week. A man who over the years has influenced me in countless ways, a man I deeply admire and respect. An icon. The King of radio. A real hero. At least to me.

I remember the first time I heard him. In 1992, I think it was, when I was a destitute and struggling student at Bob Jones in Greenville, SC. I lived in a dilapidated trailer house in a dumpy trailer court with a strange roommate named Jim. A part-time stu-dent and an electrician, Jim had many eccentric habits, like walking around barefooted with a stocking cap on his head, muffler tightly wrapped around his throat and drinking hot tea while sniffling from a bad head cold. The problem was in the head, not the feet, he claimed. I couldn’t have agreed more. Jim was technically my landlord; he rented the trailer and sublet a room to me. A more tight-fisted landlord has not had the pleasure of my acquaintance. Each month’s utilities were carefully calculated and split to the last penny.

Once he laboriously prepared a long list of subjects just before he called a girl he liked, so he wouldn’t run out of things to talk about. Later I heard him on the phone with her, painstakingly working his way down every item on the list. The conversation did not seem to be going well, with many long awkward pauses, so I’m not sure all the subjects were discussed.

But I digress. Back to Rush and the first time I heard him. One day at noon I was huddled at the rickety kitchen table in the dilapidated trailer, eating a meager lunch between classes. Jim had an old radio sitting there. I turned it on, figuring I wouldn’t be charged extra for the electricity. A deep booming voice filled the room. The guy made a lot of sense. And was funny. I listened, intrigued. Just then, Jim wandered in from his class.

“Oh, I see you’re listening to Rush,” he said, reaching for his account book to note the fact (just kidding).

“Rush who?”

“Rush Limbaugh, the guy on talk radio who’s getting so famous. He’s on at more than a hundred radio stations. He’s great,” Jim replied. “Although I don’t agree with quite everything he says. I’m not sure he’s a Christian,” he added piously. I rolled my eyes as I chomped my food. I remember thinking that Rush sure is a funny-sounding name.

Although highly dubious about anything Jim might recommend, I continued listening to the booming voice on the radio. About a week later, I was hooked. I have been a Ditto Head ever since.

That was fifteen years ago. Since then, I have been an unabashed and loyal fan through thick and thin. At some very hostile places, including law school, where admitting you listened to Rush was tantamount to confessing a grave and dark sin. I not only confessed, I did so publicly with great gusto and did not repent.


Rush has strong beliefs and viewpoints. He articulates them clearly, passionately and unapologetically. His rollicking theme song announces his coming to the faithful. His parodies are scathing and hilarious, his humor devastating. From him I have learned to be skeptical and to question the source of any governmental claims or special-interest statistical studies. Numbers can be massaged and manipulated to fit any particular agenda. I learned to be deeply suspicious of government in general. To value the freedoms we have, even though they are eroding at an alarming rate. To despise the arrogant elitists who would dictate to the unwashed what is good for them and how they should behave. I also learned that I don’t agree always with Rush on every point, but that he’s well worth listening to anyway.

Kings have feet of clay. So do heroes. And so does Rush. He’s had his share of troubles. And more than his share of detractors and demonizers. The drug scandal of a few years ago, when he entered a drug treatment center for addiction to Oxycontin. He’s churned through three marriages and is currently divorced. Endured countless personal attacks. Including a presently unfolding full-court press by the Dems, doing their desperate best to convince the country that Rush does not support the troops. Congressman Henry “Nostrilitis” Waxman has his investigation team combing Rush’s archives. Investigating a private citizen with the full power of a hostile and intimidating government. The Dems can’t compete with him in the arena of ideas, and so seek to shut him up by any means they can. They will fail.

Camille Paglia, the only feminist author I admire (or worth reading) summed up the Dems’ attack on Rush as follows: “The latest example is the near-delusional campaign to turn popular radio host Rush Limbaugh, who has unwaveringly supported the military for nearly 20 years, into an anti-military antichrist. If Democrats are serious about ideology-based government regulation of talk radio, then the party is fast abandoning its fundamental principles, central to which should be constitutionally protected free speech.” (Salon.com) Speak it, sister.

Through it all, the man rolls on. His steady, even keel and good cheer in the midst of violent personal and political tempests have inspired me many times in my own dark days.

—(Those were heady times at Bob Jones. The 1992 Presidential race was in full swing. Another one of my heroes, Patrick J. Buchanan, who was nipping at President George Bush Senior’s heels like a pesky, yapping dog, arrived at the campus for a campaign speech. The auditorium was packed out to capacity at around 6000 people. Mr. Buch-anan and his sister, Bay Buchanan, were escorted onto the stage by a contingent of somber wingtip-and-suit-and-tie clad BJU leaders. Mr. Buchanan took the podium. He delivered a fiery speech. We all erupted in applause again and again. His closing line I will always remember verbatim: “….we have it on the highest authority that the truth, crushed to earth, will rise again.”

I was thrilled to the core of my soul. I had read Mr. Buchanan’s columns for years as a young Amish boy on my parents’ Iowa farm. His was the first high-level political event that I ever attended. I felt that he was a great man and I was awed to have been in his presence.

That year, Mr. Buchanan, in a speech at the Republican Convention in Houston, coined the term “culture war.” He was widely denounced and excoriated for the term and for the “harshness” of his speech. But time has proven his words prophetic. The culture war had indeed begun. It has been raging unabated ever since. And the outlook remains grim, as the conservatives have abandoned beachhead after beachhead in a rearguard action from secular assault.)—

Yesterday (Thursday), at 5 PM, I met Jim Stoltzfus, Leon Lapp, Jr. and Dave Nissley at the Parkesburg Wal Mart parking lot. Jim had bought tickets for the Rush show and also provided the ride to Philly in his SUV. The four of us had a jolly time riding to the city, laughing and catching up. I have known Jim and Leon for many years, since the Pequea days in the early 1990s, but had not hung out with them for a long time.

Jim navigated skillfully right into downtown Philly, where we found parking for the evening for sixteen bucks. We had a bit over an hour to kill, so we walked around to find a little restaurant for a bite before the show. We chose the Good Dog café, which was actually a little dive bar on the bottom floor with the restaurant on the second floor. The long bar was loud and full, just the kind of place I will work at someday, when I decide to scratch my bartending itch. The food was affordable and excellent.

Friends in the city.
Jim Stoltzfus, Leon Lapp Jr., Dave Nissley

Jim, Ira, Leon. I’m wearing my “Gitmo” Orange shirt.

Ira and Leon

After the meal, we walked the two blocks to the Academy of Music on Broad St. A four-wide crowd half a block long was already lined up, filing slowly into the theater. The Academy is a lovely, old historic place. We had tickets for the first balcony. There were four balconies. Sadly, the tickets stated in plain and threatening language that absolutely no photographs were allowed to be taken, and that all cameras would be confiscated if discovered. So I left mine in the vehicle.

We found our seats, and it was time for the show. The MC walked out and delivered a short rah-rah speech, then without further ado introduced RUSH. The place echoed with thunderous applause as he walked onto the stage. There he was in person, the man whose voice I had faithfully listened to for fifteen years, in almost every setting imaginable. He started out with a repertoire of jokes and funny stories that may or may not have actually happened to him. Many included Hillary as the main antagonist. Rush actually met her at a friend’s wedding a number of years ago. These jokes and stories were soon interspersed with more serious subjects, and he hit at the Dems time and again for the latest “phony soldier” scandal and the real damage they would do to the economy if elected to power. The crowd interrupted many times with cheers and several standing ovations.

It took Rush about fifteen minutes to really get warmed up. After that, he hit his groove and seemed very comfortable and relaxed. He spoke without notes for about ninety minutes. As he closed, we all rose to our feet for about the fifth standing ovation. Rush walked to the front of the stage and shook hands with a few lucky fans. He kissed the hand of one lovely young lady and made a great show of examining her left hand and feigning disappointment that she was married. The crowd roared.

We left the city and I was home by midnight. I was glad to have seen my hero in the flesh, the man who had accompanied me through many years of my life. Like many other memorable experiences, this one was once and done. I felt honored to have been in the same room with him, but will likely not go to another of his events.
My boss, Patrick Miller and his wife, Mary June, attended the MetalCon convention in Las Vegas last week. The show consists of a vast array of vendors associated with the metal forming industry. Patrick and MJ stayed in a hotel in a downtown casino. Unfor-tunately, on Thursday evening, Mary June was mugged by two young thugs right out-side the well-lit casino. Patrick was just a few feet away, but inside the door when it happened. He heard his wife’s screams of distress and rushed out and chased away the two thugs. They did not get Mary June’s purse, the target of the assault, but they did manage to hit her hard in the face several times. She was rushed to the emerg-ency room at a local hospital and required a number of stitches above her left eye. She is doing well, but will deal with the emotional after-effects for some time, I am sure. Check out their own account at Mary June’s blog. I think of the words written thousands of years ago and marvel at how some things never change: “Confuse the wicked, O Lord, confound their speech, for I see violence and strife in the city.” Psalm 55:9

In the NFL this weekend, my Jets play the thug Eagles. The Jets languish at 1-4, a game ahead of the 0-5 Dolphins. A sorry state indeed. On Monday at work, I plan to either gloat incessantly or wear ear plugs, depending on the outcome.


Last, but certainly not least, the young upstart Cleveland Indians unceremoniously drove a stake through the evil hearts of the vile Yankees last Monday night (Oct. 8th). Now I can watch the League Championships and the World Series in peace. The Yankees looked shocked and sad. May their demise be long and painful, their winter desolate and cold, their thoughts bitterly haunted with what might have been; may none have compassion upon them. With great exuberance I celebrate, I dance and sing, “The wicked witch is dead, the wicked witch is dead.” At least until next year.

Special thanks to Dorothy (my niece) Miller for the box of delicious baked organic goodies. Breakfast for at least two weeks.




  1. I’m jealous. As a fellow ditto-head, I would love to hear Rush “live.” He’s certainly a legend that very few others could fill his shoes. Truly, “talent on loan from God.”

    Come see us and we’ll hit a Jets game. -Gary

    Comment by Gary — October 12, 2007 @ 6:18 pm

  2. I liked Rush for awhile. Then I heard him diss a fellow making sense on why we should oppose NAFTA – just cut him off, then made fun of him when he came back from a break. (If you don’t understand the significance of the bipartisan NAFTA sell-out, then you only listen to Rush and other controlled media, and you accept the conclusions you are fed.) I knew something wasn’t right. I eventually turned him off. Here’s why.

    I think Rush is a safety-valve for conservatives. Media-slaves that we are, we think that having someone air our views on radio is sufficient, so we are placated, rather than acting.

    And no matter what Republicans do, Rush will assure us that if we were on the inside track (like him), we’d know they’re really doing the right thing, no matter how it looks. There is no doubt that the RNC, or someone on their behalf, gives a lot of funds/perks to him.

    He says many good things. But he says them in ways that move us just ever so slightly to hard-heartedness, and winking at sin (just a little).

    I side with him on probably most issues (not sure anymore, as I haven’t listened in years). Point is, that is just the kind of spokesman needed to forward the New World Order on the really crucial issues. The conservative uprising is the only thing that can stop them, and Rush placates us perfectly. Following Rush, we will finally have 99% “conservative” policies, under a 100% subsumed “country.” Then watch what happens next.

    Comment by LeRoy Whitman — October 12, 2007 @ 7:44 pm

  3. It’s quite obvious ‘the fat one’ as he is widely known, is in it for the big bucks, and the fame, not unlike politics. Your 80 dollars times all those there could have fed a lot of homeless, or helped some missions somewhere. He’s fix’n to have a real good 4 or maybe 8 yr. run after ’08. President H.C. will help out on that. Imagine, she’ll make all the important decisions that affect, and hopefully help, the world and Rush makes gobs of money off of her, trashing her. That’s hardly fair.

    I can’t recall the last time I listened to Rush, as I hardly ever turn a radio on. Nor a T.V. [Nor do I attend many weddings, all those things take too much of dwindling time]. I used to like to listen to Mike Gallager, wonder whatever became of him. He at least sounded more honest, and all.

    Comment by new grampa jess — October 12, 2007 @ 10:27 pm

  4. Dittos, Uncle Ira. I listened to Rush carry-on about his time in Philly, never imagined that you were there. Also wondered if you are going to bid on the letter sent to Clear-channel about Rush. You should post a link to that ebay page.

    Comment by Andrew — October 12, 2007 @ 11:34 pm

  5. I don’t quite agree with LeRoy’s assessment of the function of conservative talk radio in this country. It may be placating to some, I can’t speak for all, and certainly there are areas where I don’t agree with Rush, but by and large I believe he is an energizing force for our cause. For me, when I am well equipped, I am more likely to ‘do battle’. If I am ill equipped, I am more likely not to engage in the arena of ideas.

    One area of passion for me is creationism, and when I sit under the teaching of Ken Ham or Henry Morris, it gives me a lot of great scientific information to arm myself with when I engage in a conversation with a proponent of evolutionary teaching. Without this information, I would probably not engage in these conversations, and thus, not challenge the wrong thinking of the other party.

    The same holds true for me with conservative talk radio, and Rush in particular. What he does most of is simply articulate in a clear way what is really common sense, and he does so in a way that inspires people to become more informed about the issues at hand. In this way, the status quo is challenged, and the elitist snobs are engaged in conversations that challenge their ideas.

    Comment by pat — October 13, 2007 @ 8:44 pm

  6. VIVA!! NPR!

    (Sorry Ira – I just can’t help myself)

    One of the few things my Dad and I agreed on — it was a dark day when WWDB dumped Irv Homer for Rush.

    Comment by Glo — October 13, 2007 @ 9:56 pm

  7. Rush has a great sense of humor, but is vain almost to the point of being vile. His life also proves that money and fame do not bring real peace and joy, painkiller addictions, 3rd or 4th wife, etc.

    Comment by Gideon Yutzy — October 14, 2007 @ 12:26 am

  8. I’ve been a Rush fan since the days of working with Ted Toops. I’ve listened to him for many years, but with the advent of satellite radio, it’s really hard to go back to the crackly AM radio. I never was able to figure out why Rush never made a deal with either XM or Sirius. Probably too stubborn.

    Comment by Reuben Wagler — October 14, 2007 @ 7:17 pm

  9. Patrick, I am glad you are zealous. If I listened to Rush, I would no doubt get much “ammo” as well. So maybe I should not blame Rush, but rather those who listen passively. Nevertheless, I do believe he serves as a pet-cock pressure relief valve. I did not say all talk radio does this. I am thankful that Rush’s popularity has fueled more outspokeness on the part of conservatives.

    But more importantly than potential pacifying, Rush serves as an opinion-maker who helps turn true conservatives away from action on the really crucial issues which may subvert even a conservative country (such as NAFTA).

    Has he mentioned SPP or the NAU? (You can get a free full color news magazine about that at http://www.thenewamerican.com/files/documents/MergerInTheMaking.pdf).

    Comment by LeRoy Whitman — October 17, 2007 @ 7:56 pm

  10. Just a few comments continuing last week’s blog,

    I applaud the strength and insightfulness of Glo’s statements regarding open communion. It is exactly because we all fall/fail that we look to the commemorative act of Communion to guard and remind us of our very human tendency to judge and exclude others.
    Are we not being overly presumptious when we judge who is and who isn’t worthy of partaking of the host? The Old Testament example of the Lord’s choice of David as a King instead of his more “worthy” brothers teaches plainly that while humans judge from the outside, it is the Lord alone who can judge the heart. Jesus, too, in his ministry was clear about his stance on the misdirectedness of those who wanted to judge others around them. The story of the adulterous woman is clear to mandate that only those who are sinless have the freedom to cast condemnation.
    Such examples would seem to indicate that it is for a far higher power to make those decisions. They reiterate the idea that no one human can truly know the “worthiness” or “unworthiness” of another. Are we not better off allowing all (yes, even our enemies and those of other faiths) to participate – free of our judgment – yet ultimately subject to the judgment of the creator? Or, are you unable to trust in this process?



    Comment by Margaret — October 17, 2007 @ 11:30 pm

  11. Thank-you for the comment, Margaret. There have been times when I didn’t keep communion in the church I attended. One time it was my choice not to because I knew I had Sin in my life that would not allow me in good conscience to keep communion. Other times it was not my choice. So each time before I keep communion I have to examine myself and ask am I right with GOD. If you keep communion in a church and you know someone in the church is also keeping communion who is openly living in sin. Face it,there is poisin in the church and you have serious work to do before the entire church is poisened. So regardless where or how you keep communion be honest with yourself. We are called to spread the word of GODS Love but also to warn of a sinful life leading to burning in hell forever.

    Comment by Andrew — October 18, 2007 @ 11:01 pm

  12. How many times has the Church (big c) been corrupted/savaged by the actions of the church trying to seek out it’s “poison”?

    Comment by Glo — October 18, 2007 @ 11:37 pm

  13. All right already. The communion issue has developed a circular perpetual motion of its own. I suggest it be dropped, at least until someone has something non-circular to say.

    The Editor

    Comment by admin — October 19, 2007 @ 7:16 am

  14. Never heard Rush. Heard of him though. Now he’s dead. I wonder what he’s talking about these days?

    Comment by Francine — April 4, 2014 @ 12:22 am

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