Following the death of Rush Limbaugh, conservative social media users refuted characterizations of the iconic radio host as a bigot by resurfacing a video of Limbaugh espousing broad-minded values.
The flashback: In the footage, Limbaugh, who died at 70 after a year-long battle with lung cancer, delivered a passionate address at the 2009 Conservative Political Action Conference about “who conservatives are.”
- “Let me tell you who we conservatives are: We love people,” the talk radio legend said, prompting applause from CPAC attendees. “When we look out over the United States of America, when we are anywhere, when we see a group of people, such as this or anywhere, we see Americans. We see human beings.”
- “We don’t see groups. We don’t see victims. We don’t see people we want to exploit. What we see — what we see is potential,” he added.
- He argued against the “cliche” that a conservative is a “racist, sexist, bigot, homophobe,” pointing to Democrats’ internal discourse in the 2008 primary about whether then-candidate Barack Obama was an “authentic” black person.
- Some users pointed to instances of Limbaugh apparently mocking identity groups that they said contradicted the brand of conservatism he outlined in his CPAC speech.
- But others said the context of his remarks ameliorated such episodes.
- Other right-leaning pundits underlined something neglected by critics celebrating Limbaugh’s death: Limbaugh’s vast charitable donations, including $47 million to find a cure for leukemia and lymphoma.