BRETT: One question that comes up often is, we’d always love to observe more about Rush’s family back in Cape Girardeau as well. What’s the story there? What happened there? Well, you know, Rush’s grandfather and mother discussed him — “discussed” as in “to discuss.”
(laughing) Rush’s grandfather and mother discussed him in a rare interview from 60 Minutes and A&E. Did you know that? That’s right. Back in 1991, Rush interviewed Pop (that’s his grandfather) on his 100th birthday, and here’s how that went.
RUSH: I got an e-mail from good friends of mine, Steve and Kathy Abernathy in New Orleans. I met them both when she was the manager at Brennan’s in the French Quarter. She said, “You’ve got to play some of the interview that you did with your grandfather on his 100th birthday,” and the copy that we have of that…
It’s unfortunate. We’re going to have to do some major EQ work with it to make it airable, because the sound quality is such it would distract, but we do have a number of excerpts of my grandfather discussing my career and me from a videotape that we put together called The Limbaugh Chronicles. He was also part of the 60 Minutes profile they did on me, and from the A&E Biography piece. So this is from the early nineties.
This is a montage of my grandfather, who worked until he was 102. He died at age 104.
LIMBAUGH SR.: Well, the Limbaughs are not inclined to be people who have fun, laughing and all that. But Rush’s mother is, and I would say that all of his humor comes from his mother. When I hear Rusty, I can’t help but think of his father, who he is so much like. When his father had a conviction about a thing, he didn’t hesitate to say it — and he was like Pitt the Elder.
If a thing needed to be said, he wanted to say it with emphasis. I can’t help but believe that there is in this generation and there will be in future generations a conviction that those values are, after all, basic and that they ought to be preserved. I have been an active citizen in politics, and I think that I had something to do with instilling that idea in Rush, Jr.
Now, as far as Rusty was concerned, I don’t remember that I ever was in a position where I caused my ideas to prevail with him, but I’m sure that his father was responsible for giving him that idea. I think that he has lived it and he is now, I’m glad to say, giving it to a large segment of the American people.
RUSH: Rush Limbaugh Sr., my grandfather, in the early nineties, a montage of his appearances on the video that we put together, also on 60 Minutes from the A&E Biography, and I had forgotten. (chuckling) I was stunned to think he didn’t think he had any influence. (laughing) Quite the opposite. Here’s my mother. I’ve often told you how much I hated school.
Hated it! I mean, I literally despised it — and isn’t it amazing, ladies and gentlemen, that I, having hated school, have become one of the finest teachers ever to exist? Somebody wrote that today. I’m not making it up. Somebody wrote that. I forget, somebody wrote a column about the 20th anniversary today and made that point, I guess at National Review Online, I think. At any rate, here’s my mother talking about me in kindergarten.
MRS. LIMBAUGH: We had 4- and 5-year-old kindergarten here at the college. You know, “the training school,” they called it. And one day the teacher, who is now gone, had me in for conference, like she did all the parents. She said, “If Rush doesn’t…” She called him Rush. “If Rush doesn’t change his ways, he’ll never grow to be the man his grandfather is, or his father.” (laughing)
RUSH: I was a hell-raiser and causing problems even at 4 and 5 years old when I had to be stashed away in prison in school. (interruption) Well, I don’t know, I was probably throwing spitballs, harassing the other kids, probably not taking a nap when I was supposed to take a nap.
All I know is, I didn’t want to be there, and when you don’t want to be someplace, you’re letting the people know that you think they are your captors, that you didn’t want to be there. I didn’t want to drink the Kool-Aid. I didn’t like anything about it.
Now, I told the story the other day after we played some of the sound bites from Nightline, how my mother was watching it with my dad and here’s her version of the story as they were watching Nightline, my debate with Algore.
MRS. LIMBAUGH: And that’s when Rush, Jr., turned around to me and said, “Where did he get that?” And I said, “From you, of course,” and that really pleased son Rush, that his dad finally realized. It was a wonderful thing to know that he had absorbed his thoughts about politics. It’s just like his dad all over. He is just his… The political views are his dad’s. I’ve always said he got his smarts from his dad, and I will say silliness from me. (laughing)
RUSH: (chuckling) All right.
BRETT: That’s the best thing about looking back on family and looking back on where your roots come from, because there’s a joint discovery there, right, when you think about this. The joint discovery is, you get to hear the impact as a child that you had on your parents later on in life. But then they get to discover how much they imbued in you, how much they were able to transmit to you — the values, the thoughts, the ideas, and the specialness.
Look, it’s not lost on any of us here — as we sit in this time when we’re working on sad, but we’re also remembering Rush for the great work that he did — that his father was a tremendous influence on him. Especially with the pieces and the speeches that his father penned and gave regarding the Mayflower and the founding of the United States, and of course, the signers of the Declaration of Independence and all that they risked.
Those have become such important elements in Rush’s life. They’ve become the subject of Limbaugh Letter articles, and they’ve become part of the holiday tradition of Thanksgiving and the Fourth of July and remembering all those lessons that you distilled at a very young age, being with the person who’s got the most influence on you of anybody.
And that is obviously your first teachers, your mom and your dad, and the idea that they would transmit that to him and that he would carry that with him through his life is mightily important to understand. The idea that there’s something special about being an American.
There is a responsibility that we have when it comes to our liberty and to our freedom, and there’s something that is sacred that we owe the future generations in the same way that the stewards of past generations carried this nation forward for us through difficulties we can only imagine, difficulties we can only imagine in the greatest abstract.
We have to understand that those parents that transmit those values are laying down an initial payment, a down payment or a deposit on an insurance policy for future American generations. We live in this country, we claim it as our country, but it really belongs to the next generations. And we have to keep that liberty alive.
That was one of the things that you picked up on immediately at CPAC in Orlando, the famous quote from Ronald Reagan, President Reagan, saying, you know, we’re only one generation away from the loss of liberty. We’re only one generation away from the end of freedom. We have to keep that going.
That was a profoundly important value, and I can testify to this personally, having worked with Rush. It was a profoundly important value to take care of the republic and ensure that future generations would live as free people, choosing their own direction, choosing their own destination. That’s on us to ensure that we pass those values on to the Rush Babies and the Rush Grandbabies and the Rush Great-Grandbabies.