Broadcasting legend and conservative icon Rush Limbaugh passed away Wednesday at the age of 70 after a battle with cancer. There were many highlights in a radio career that spanned more than four decades. Yet one of the most important moments in terms of his influence on politics was his keynote address to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in 2009.
The Republican Party had just suffered a demoralizing defeat to the Democrats and President Barack Obama. Mainstream conservatives seemed to have given up the fight. Bill Kristol, writing in the New York Times, said Obama’s inauguration marked the end of a conservative era.
In contrast, Limbaugh said of Obama: “I hope he fails.” He appeared at CPAC to explain his comment — and to rally the movement.
What followed was one of the clearest, most optimistic and prescient explanations of American conservatism ever delivered — delivered simply, without any notes, and with plenty