Rush Limbaugh: ‘As Long as There Has Been Conservatism, There Has Been The Heritage Foundation’

HERITAGE IMPACT

Rush Limbaugh: ‘As Long as There Has Been Conservatism, There Has Been The Heritage Foundation’

December 11th, 2020

Rush Limbaugh has spoken at numerous Heritage events throughout the years. Pictured is Limbaugh speaking at Heritage's President's Club in 2009.

On a recent episode of his nationally syndicated radio show, Rush Limbaugh praised The Heritage Foundation for the organization’s principled leadership and decades of support for the conservative broadcaster.  

Limbaugh received Heritage’s inaugural Titan of Conservatism Award at the annual President’s Club Meeting on Dec. 8 in recognition of his massive impact on America and the conservative movement. His popular show, which began in 1988, is heard on more than 600 stations by up to 27 million people each week. It is the highest-rated national radio talk show in America. 

In addition to the award, Heritage will honor Limbaugh by naming its new state-of-the-art studios the Rush Limbaugh Radio Studios. 

At the beginning of his Dec. 9 show, and lasting for nearly seven minutes, Limbaugh spoke to his audience about what it means to be honored and why he’s grateful for Heritage. 

“I mentioned yesterday on the program that a very prestigious honor was bestowed upon me last night in Washington by The Heritage Foundation,” Limbaugh began. “The Heritage Foundation is one of the longest-surviving conservative think tanks in the country. They’ve been around longer than I have. They’ve been around for 50 years. As long as there has been conservatism, there has been The Heritage Foundation. They have been a bulwark and they have they have stood strong and they have not wavered and they never turned against MAGA.” 

Limbaugh has helped shape millions of conservatives throughout his lifetime, including Heritage Foundation President Kay C. James. She recounted Limbaugh’s influence on her life—a clip he aired on the program. 

“Long before I became president, I used Rush Limbaugh as my True North,” James said. “For decades, I’ve been listening to his show. I even remember going to the dedicated ‘Rush Rooms’ in restaurants where you could listen to the show on your lunch hour.” 

James continued, “In his first few years with a nationally syndicated show, I always marveled at how people could call him up and say, ‘Thank you for speaking up like you do. I thought I was the only one who had those beliefs.’ The fact is, Rush helped bring the conservative movement together three hours a day for a family meeting.” 

Limbaugh and Heritage have a long history of collaboration. Limbaugh said: “Ed Feulner was the president of The Heritage Foundation when I was first starting the program and he welcomed me in and got me introduced to all kinds of people there. I would meet people who otherwise I wouldn’t have met had it not been for Heritage.” 

He added: “I cannot thank them enough for over 30 years of a very good close working relationship that we’ve had and look forward to many more.” 

Limbaugh has promoted Heritage’s work on air for decades and has been a featured speaker at multiple Heritage events. Just last month, he read from a Daily Signal story on election integrity. He’s also talked about Heritage research on policy issues and quoted Heritage scholars

A full transcript of Limbaugh’s comments can be found below, lightly edited for clarity: 

Rush Limbaugh: I mentioned yesterday on the program that a very prestigious honor was bestowed upon me last night in Washington by The Heritage Foundation. The Heritage Foundation is one of the longest surviving conservative think tanks in the country. They’ve been around longer than I have. They’ve been around for 50 years. As long as there has been conservatism, there has been The Heritage Foundation. They have been a bulwark and they have they have stood strong and they have not wavered and they never turned against MAGA. They didn’t do any of the things that you find some individuals did on a rare occasion. For the most part, The Heritage Foundation has always been dependable. They are what you expect them to be, they are what you hope them to be.  

I have had an ongoing relationship with them since shortly after this program debuted on Aug. 1, 1988. Well, last night in Washington, they dedicated some new studios. They’re expanding and they built a new broadcast complex and they created new radio studios. They’re actually going to have radio programming originating from the foundation rather than have to traipse to various radio stations around town or around the country and they dedicated those studios to me. In addition, they gave me an award. The Titan of Conservatism Award was presented to me last night and I want to share with you a couple of audio sound bites from Kay James of The Heritage Foundation, who made the announcements last night. Here's the first of two:  

Kay C. James: Long before I became president, I used Rush Limbaugh as my True North for decades. I’ve been listening to his show since the very beginning. I even remember going to the dedicated “Rush Rooms” in restaurants where you could listen to the show on your lunch hour. In his first few years with a nationally syndicated show, I always marveled at how people could call him up and say, “Thank you for speaking up like you do. I thought I was the only one who had those beliefs.” The fact is rush helped bring the conservative movement together three hours a day for a family meeting. 

Limbaugh: That’s Kay James of The Heritage Foundation. Now, a lot you know all of this is happening without any strategy behind it. I mean I’m trying to just make my mark as a broadcaster, as a radio guy, and I have my own goals as a radio guy that I’m attempting to accomplish. Achieve, maintain and hold and it happened to dovetail with the conservative establishment in Washington at the time, most of whom I didn't know personally. I got to know them over the years and not just at Heritage, but a number of other different places and it’s interesting to me how here I am doing what I’m doing without knowing about the existence of any of these other organizations.  

I mean I had heard of Heritage, but to me they were not what I was doing. They were think tank. You know I’m a broadcasting tank and the interests nevertheless coincided and it helped firm up a movement and give it legitimacy and so forth. And there was ... I got to tell you folks at the at the beginning of the radio program, you had traditional human behaviors that nominated, for some people ecstatic, that there was a radio program out there that was properly, correctly identifying and promoting conservatism, you had others in the conservative movement who were jealous, and then you had others who didn’t like it at all because I didn’t go to college and didn’t have a pedigree, didn’t have a reputation that they could point to with pride. Like, “Who is this guy? Where do you come? What university did you go to?” Well, I didn't go to university. “Oh no, so our leading spokesman on the radio just barely went through high school?” “Yeah, that's about it.” “Oh no!” 

So, there was that kind of reaction, but Heritage never had that reaction. They never once had any airs about them. Ed Feulner was the president of the Heritage Foundation when I was first starting the program and he welcomed me in and got me introduced to all kinds of people there. I would meet people who otherwise I wouldn’t have met had it not been for Heritage. Here's the second Kay James bite: 

James: The extraordinary reach of his No. 1 radio talk show has allowed him to convert millions with his common-sense everyday language explanations of why conservatism works and how every American benefits from it. Everyone in America knows that the conservative movement simply wouldn’t be where it is today without the venerable Rush Limbaugh.  

Limbaugh: The venerable Rush Limbaugh! Kay James of The Heritage Foundation. I got the Titan of Conservatism Award last night and they named their brand-new broadcast complex, the Rush Limbaugh Radio Studios and that’s forever going to be people walking in there recording things and they will know that they are in the Rush Limbaugh broadcast complex at The Heritage Foundation.  

Thank you, thank you. Mr. [Bo] Snerdley saying well deserved. I wanted to take just a moment here at the beginning to thank everybody at Heritage for both of these honors, because that's what they are. The Titan of Conservatism Award and the Rush Limbaugh Radio Studios. I’m very appreciative and I cannot thank them enough for over 30 years of a very good close working relationship that we’ve had and look forward to many more.