Mike Pence: Rush Limbaugh's legacy – Here's how conservative Americans can repay the debt we owe to him

When Rush Limbaugh left us millions of conservatives lost a champion and a trusted friend

Rush Limbaugh gave voice to the ideals and values that made this country great; he inspired a generation of American conservatives; he reached men and women, young and old from every walk of life with his wit and wisdom, and he will be deeply missed. 

So many tributes have been spoken and written about Rush since his death and all of them are true, and then some. Rush was more than just a towering figure in American radio; he saved it. He was more than an extraordinarily talented performer and entertainer; he was America’s political conscience.  

In the years following the Reagan administration, for more than 30 years, no one did more to educate, inform, inspire and just plain entertain Americans about the issues of the day than Rush Limbaugh.  

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He didn’t simply comment on politics and culture. He refashioned it in our own image. Rush called himself a lovable fuzzball, which he was. But he was also fiercely devoted to this country and its values and dedicated his life to promoting and protecting them. 

So many of us owe Rush so much. No one more than me.  

I first learned of Rush Limbaugh as a young candidate for Congress in the late 1980s. While I was unsuccessful in my early foray into politics, I watched as Rush played a leading role in the movement that would win the Congress for Republicans in 1994 and, a few years later, I was inspired by his example to start a radio broadcast of my own. 

For three hours every day on the airwaves of small-town Indiana, I described myself as "Rush Limbaugh on Decaf." My show aired across the state every morning right before he came on the air and Rush Limbaugh was a hard man to precede. He was brilliant, erudite, passionate and compassionate, and Rush Limbaugh made conservatism fun.  

The debt that conservative Americans owe to Rush Limbaugh can only be repaid by relentless imitation of his example.

Rush Limbaugh made conservatives proud and gave a rising generation the courage of their convictions and the confidence to step forward and lead. I scarcely think I would have been elected to the Congress in 2000 without the years that I spent in talk radio, years that were inspired and sustained by the matchless voice of Rush Limbaugh, and I will always be grateful. 

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During my years in conservative talk radio, he was the gold standard on the airwaves as he sat behind the golden EIB microphone. During my years among House conservatives in Congress, he was our greatest champion. And during my service as governor of Indiana and vice president, he was the anchor of conservatism, giving voice to a movement to make America great again. President Trump and our administration had no greater ally than Rush Limbaugh and we will miss our friend. 

Radio’s power as a means to speak directly to the American people was, and is, an invaluable part of American life and Rush Limbaugh understood that.

Just as Ronald Reagan’s nationally-syndicated radio broadcasts sponsored by Young America’s Foundation in the 1970s laid the foundation for conservative victories in the 1980s, Rush Limbaugh’s broadcasts and the voices that he inspired to follow him on the airwaves across America laid the foundation for conservative victories in the 21st century from Capitol Hill to the White House. 

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Rush Limbaugh was a genuinely good man, who had a heart for our country and the American people. Rush Limbaugh won hearts and minds all across America with "talent on loan from God" and could articulate conservative ideals and principles like very few Americans of our time. 

The debt that conservative Americans owe to Rush Limbaugh can only be repaid by relentless imitation of his example. Every day, his optimism, his humor and his insights gave courage to conservatives to stand up for what we believe in; to stand firm for a strong national defense, limited government, life and liberty. Now it’s our turn. For all of us who came after him, who were inspired by his love for this country and the American people, our debt to him is to fight on. 

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Rush Limbaugh lived the American dream. He believed in this country and in the boundless potential of every American. He believed, as I do, that the best days for America are yet to come. And when they come, that boundless future will be built on a foundation that Rush Limbaugh helped to pour.  

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There will never be another Rush Limbaugh. He will never be forgotten and his legacy will live on for generations in the hearts of the millions of Americans he inspired. The Bible says that "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted" and that will continue to be our prayer for his wife Kathryn, his family, friends and faithful listeners in our loss. God bless Rush Limbaugh. 

And from a grateful heart, thank you, Rush, for everything. 

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