Rush Limbaugh, Talk Radio’s Conservative Provocateur, Dies at 70

“This attack is coming from the shadows of the deep state, where former Obama employees remain in the intelligence community,” he said. “They are lying about things, hoping to make it easier for them and the Obama shadow government to eventually get rid of Trump and everybody in his administration.”

After House Democrats impeached the president for the first time, Mr. Limbaugh attacked with relish: “Why is Trump really being impeached?” he said. “He’s being impeached because he’s too successful,” adding: “Donald Trump is being impeached because he’s standing up for the Second Amendment. He’s being impeached because he’s lowering taxes. He’s being impeached because he’s resurrecting the economy.”

Blisteringly sarcastic, often hilarious, always pugnacious, Mr. Limbaugh was a partisan force of nature, reviled by critics and admired by millions, a master of three-hour monologues that featured wicked impersonations, slashing mockery, musical parodies and a rogue’s gallery of fools, knaves, liars and bleeding hearts.

In the Limbaugh lexicon, advocates for the homeless were “compassion fascists,” women who favored abortion were “feminazis,” environmentalists were “tree-hugging wackos.” He delivered “AIDS updates” with a Dionne Warwick song, “I’ll Never Love This Way Again,” ridiculed Michael J. Fox’s Parkinson’s disease symptoms, and called global warming a hoax.

He was not above baldfaced lies. During the debate over Mr. Obama’s 2009 health care bill, he fed the rumor mills over its provisions to have Medicare and insurers pay for optional consultations with doctors on palliative and hospice care, saying they empowered “death panels” that would “euthanize” elderly Americans.

Unlike Howard Stern, Don Imus and other big names in shock radio, Mr. Limbaugh had no on-the-air sidekicks, though he had conversations with the unheard voice of someone he called “Bo Snerdly.” Nor did he have writers, scripts or outlines, just notes and clippings from newspapers he perused daily.

Alone with his multitudes in his studio, he joked, ranted, twitted and burst into song, mimicry or boo-hoos as “The Rush Limbaugh Show” beamed out over 650 stations of the Premier Radio Networks, a subsidiary of iHeartMedia (formerly Clear Channel Communications). In his alternate-universe-on-the-air, he was “El Rushbo” and “America’s Anchorman,” in the “Southern Command” bunker of an “Excellence in Broadcasting” network.

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