Unlike Howard Stern, Don Imus and other big names in shock radio, Mr. Limbaugh had no on-air sidekicks, though he had conversations with the unheard-of voice of someone he called “Bo Snerdly”. He also didn’t have any writers, scripts, or plans, just notes and newspaper clippings that he scanned daily.
Alone with his multitude in his studio, he joked, declaimed, tweeted, and broke into song, mimicry or hoo-hoos as “The Rush Limbaugh Show” broadcast over 650 stations from Premiere Radio Networks, a subsidiary of iHeartMedia ( formerly Clear Channel Communications). In his on-air alternate universe, he was “El Rushbo” and “America’s Anchorman” in the “Southern Command” bunker of an “Excellence in Broadcasting” network.
To the loyal Dittoheads, his self-mocking followers, he was an indomitable patriot, an icon of wit and wisdom. Its political influence, they said, lies in the reactions it elicited – avalanches of calls, emails and rage on the website, numerous headlines and the occasional praise or anger from the White House and from the Capitol.
To detractors, he was a moralizing charlatan, America’s most dangerous man, a label he co-opted. And some critics have insisted that he has no real political power, only an intimidating and self-expanding presence that has influenced an aging and ultralight bangs whose numbers, while impressive, were not considered high enough to affect the outcome of national elections.
Married four times and divorced three times childless, Mr Limbaugh lived on his Palm Beach estate surrounded by oriental rugs, chandeliers and a two-story mahogany-paneled bookcase with leather-bound collections. He had half a dozen cars, one of which cost $ 450,000, and a $ 54 million Gulfstream G550 jet. He was known for his tips of $ 5,000 at restaurants.
Mr. Limbaugh himself was easily caricatured: overweight his entire life, sometimes over 300 pounds, a cigar smoker with a mischievous smile and sly eyes. He moved with surprising grace showing how an environmentalist delicately jumps into a forest. But her voice was her brass ring – a casual, swift staccato, breaking into squeaky dolphin lyrics or falsetto sobs to expose benefactors with her inventive and murderous vocabulary.