Rush Limbaugh And Jesse James—Famous Missourians

The first I heard that Rush Limbaugh, from Cape Girardeau, Missouri, was picked to go into the Hall of Famous Missourians was when I saw Claire McCaskill on MSNBC on Monday evening.  I sort of thought it was a joke someone had played on Claire.

But nope. It is true:

Sculptor E. Spencer Schubert of Kansas City is posting pictures on his blog of a Rush Limbaugh bust in progress, which he says will go the “Hall of Famous Missourians” in the State Capitol in Jefferson City.  

Appallingly, Limbaugh was chosen by Missouri Speaker of the House Steven Tilley without approval by anyone (even though the busts are paid for with private money raised by the Speaker, they will nevertheless be displayed in the Capitol rotunda in Jefferson City). And most appallingly, he was chosen this year along with that great icon of Kansas City baseball and the Negro Leagues, Buck O’Neil, and—get ready—Dred Scott. Yes, that Dred Scott.

If this actually happens, Limbaugh, who is poisoning a slice of the American mind on a daily basis, represented by his swelled head, will sit beside Harry Truman, Walt Disney, Mark Twain and Stan “The Man” Musial. If that doesn’t sicken you, you have no business reading this blog.

Speaker Tilley, according to the Southeast Missourian, was “unapologetic”:

Keep this in mind: It’s not called the Hall of Universally Loved Missourians,” Tilley said Monday afternoon. “We’ve inducted people like John Ashcroft, Warren Hearnes and Harry Truman. They certainly had their detractors…

Tilley noted that Limbaugh, whose show is listened to on more than 600 stations, has the most successful radio talk show career in the industry’s history.

“He’s also been the strong voice for the conservative movement for a generation,” Tilley said. “Very few Missourians are as famous as Rush Limbaugh.”

With regard to the controversy, Tilley said his job isn’t to support or condemn what Limbaugh said.

Tilley referenced John Ashcroft, who served as U.S. Attorney General and governor and senator in Missouri. Following the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, Ashcroft was a supporter of the U.S. Patriot Act. Former U.S. President Harry Truman was criticized by some for his decision to use nuclear weapons on Japan.

“Those individuals took positions that at times could be controversial, clearly,” Tilley said. “Rush is no different than any of the other people. But it’s undeniable, the impact he’s had on radio and America and how successful he’s been.”

Let me see. By that criteria—”Very few Missourians are as famous as Rush Limbaugh“—Jesse James, who was born in Kearney, Missouri, should be in the Hall of Famous Missourians. The Confederate guerilla and his brother, Frank, were certainly Limbaugh-like celebrities in their day and legends beyond.

According to a former historian of the Jesse James Farm Museum:

Their father, Reverend Robert James, received a Master’s Degree and was a highly respected Baptist minister  who was also one of the founding fathers of William Jewell College in nearby Liberty, Missouri. Their mother was also highly educated for the time, and their step-father was a medical doctor. Frank James, although never allowed to finish his desired education, was very intelligent and well-read. His favorite reading material was Shakespeare and he could quote works as well as most professors. Frank’s wife was a college educated school teacher from a very respected family, and their son received a degree in business. The son of Jesse James became a lawyer. During a time when many in rural Missouri could not read or write, the James’ family had three consecutive generations of college graduates.

I’m sure, given that pedigree, that Tilley can overlook—as he said, it wasn’t his job to support or condemn—the fact that the James brothers were outlaws who robbed banks and trains and killed folks.

And although Limbaugh is not in the class of a James brother—his skills do not involve murder, for God’s sake—he has poisoned the well of our national discourse and should not be rewarded by being memorialized beside Truman, Twain, and Musial.


  1. Oh you poison it quite well enough right here in EC territory. You’re little hit against KZRG was quite the piece this morning. Guess you don’t remember the days upon days those guys stayed on the air after the tornado. The untold how many of those “evil capitalistic” dollars given up when programming was suspended to “just do the right thing”. Though you’ll never make the Missouri Hall of Fame the Joplin Hall of Shame awaits.


    • Geoff,

      I am going to break my rule of ignoring you to emphasize a point you unwittingly made. You said that to “do the right thing,” KZRG gave up those “evil capitalistic” dollars.

      Yes, amen. They certainly did.



  2. This so-called award by one-person committee is confirmation of the corrupt nature of “conservative” politics, not only in Missouri but in the nation at large. Modern conservatives’ measure of value is financial success, the God of Lucre, and they have anointed Limbaugh his chief disciple here in the heartland. The award is appropriate, given the nature of its grantor and his kind. May Limbaugh’s notoriety persist in the memories of the American womanhood he has defamed.


    • I am in awe of the way you expressed your thoughts here, Jim. “Defamed” is appropriate and, I hope for Ms. Fluke’s sake, actionable in a court of law. It’s one thing to bad-mouth a writer or a politician, but a non-professional who is trying to make the world better for her fellow women students is quite another.

      And that phony apology, which I listened to today, didn’t make it any better. But I am sure, after listening to Limbaugh for so many years, it was the best he could do.



  3. Considering Jim’s reference to “the corrupt nature of ‘conservative’ politics,” I hereby recommend Rush Limbaugh as its “poster boy”

    “a person who appears on a poster. 2. a person who typifies or represents a particular characteristic, cause, opinion, etc.”


  4. I lived in Cape Girardeau as a child in the 1960’s. The local radio station there was owned by Rush’s father. As such, that’s where Rush got his start in radio.
    I wasn’t aware of any of that until Rush became famous and my father told me he had known the young Rush. Dad knew Limbaugh Sr. fairly well and had been on the air with him regularly while promoting the city’s recreation program. Mr. Limbaugh also went canoe floating in Missouri with my father.
    Dad is a lifelong Republican and that won’t change, but he can’t stomach Rush. He also despises Sam Brownback and says that Sam should work for Kansas, not just for himself and the GOP.


  5. Reblogged this on KANSAS MEDIOCRITY.


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