Commentary: Political in-fighting over bust of Rush Limbaugh

The Kansas City StarJanuary 1, 2013 


Mary Sanchez is a columnist with the Kansas City Star.

MBR — Kansas City Star/MCT

Lock Rush Limbaugh in a closet.

Shut the door and keep it sealed until he’s deceased.

And that has nothing to do with my view of Limbaugh, which admittedly isn’t very high. Nor is it a wish for his early demise.

But removing the bust of Limbaugh from the Missouri Capitol’s rotunda would solve the ridiculous controversy about it.

Now, it’s Democrats pitching against Democrats.

Recall in the spring that former House Speaker Steve Tilley chose to honor Limbaugh by placing his bronze bust in the Hall of Famous Missourians. Now, Democrats are angry that Gov. Jay Nixon hasn’t figured out a way to get it removed.

Limbaugh never should have been considered. No one alive should be. That includes former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft and TV personality Bob Barker, who are also in the hall.

Only in death can a person’s total life be assessed. Their accomplishments need to be viewed broadly, weighing the long-term consequences of their lives on society.

Limbaugh, 61, probably has years to go in his career. He’ll likely commit some other outrageous verbalizations.

It’s his brand.

But you never know. He could go in a different direction later in life.

Limbaugh is certainly a famous Missourian. He’s fantastic at his craft: ramping up people’s rage and angst.

Highway Patrol officers were stationed outside the ceremony when his bust was placed, a hushed affair, in an attempt to keep protesters out. That meant Democrats weren’t invited.

It’s not Limbaugh’s right-leaning views that should negate his even being considered for the hall. It’s that he is so crude and mean-spirited and that his accomplishments for society’s benefit are modest at best.

He called his critics “deranged” when they complained about the bust. And that was nothing compared with the insult of labeling women’s health advocate Sandra Fluke a “slut” and a “prostitute.”

Limiting the choices to the deceased would be a wise policy.

It should be noted that public dollars aren’t involved. But maybe they should be, to bring some reason and balance to the process. An annual golf tournament put on by the House speaker funds the project, which opened to door to Tilley’s argument that he was within his right to decide whom to honor.

Nixon, as governor, should put the matter to rest without fanfare.

Send Limbaugh a politely worded letter, apologizing for taking his bronze image off display. State the new policy of death being a qualification.

Then explain that holding court in the Hall of Famous Missourians is far too great an honor to be influenced by the political whims of either party, or when legacies have yet to be completed.

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