© 2019 Gage Skidmore, used under a Creative Commons license
Feb. 16, 2023 — WASHINGTON: It was the second anniversary of the death of radio legend Rush Limbaugh, but the gathering of his fellow conservatives at the Old Ebbitt Grill in Washington, D.C. was in no way funereal. The bar was packed and boisterous; men in expensive suits filled the dining area, hungrily devouring steaks and banging the tables for service.
In fact if anything the atmosphere was combative, even truculent. Attendees spontaneously broke into chants of “Lock her up” and “Fuck the Libs” and howled derisive toasts to liberals whom they portrayed as “triggered” by the memory of “El Rushbo’s” greatness.
“Here’s to that piece of shit Keith Olbermann,” screamed broadcaster Mark Levin to applause and roars of approval. “Even dead Rush is better on the mic and you know it, so choke on that you liberal snowflake fuck!”
A few guests were even more unruly. National Republican Party vice-chairman Kyle Rittenhouse was briefly ejected for brandishing a handgun. Former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and his wife Kimberly Guilfoyle argued loudly with bouncers who insisted they smoke their premium cigars outside the restaurant.
“These Black Dragons cost a hundred grand a box,” snarled Giuliani as he and Guilfoyle were escorted to the chilly sidewalk. “It’s a joke! That’s why there’s no respect for the law anymore.”
The American Enterprise Institute, which sponsored the “Remembering Rush and To Hell With The Haters” event, was charging $1,500 a head just for the meal and open bar, with no speakers or live entertainment. Tickets nevertheless had sold out an hour after they went on sale in October. Some power players at the event had paid scalpers ten times face value.
“I just felt I owed it to him,” said broadcaster Ben Shapiro, sipping from a large Evian bottle. “I’m not even going to eat because I have Crossfit right after this, I figure the more I pay for a ticket, the more I own the libs.”
Owning the libs was top of mind with many conservatives in attendance, reflecting the increasingly bellicose tone of their movement since the recent arrest of former President Donald Trump and Texas Senator Ted Cruz by federal authorities for their role in the most recent attempted U.S. coup. Nearly half the guests wore buttons trumpeting the new Republican Party slogan, “GOP: Suck On This,” that had been unveiled at the Party’s Christmas gala.
They dismissed the voluminous documentary evidence showing Trump and Cruz recruiting militiamen for the November 11 siege, and the resulting precipitous decline in the Republican Party’s approval ratings, as “fake news” and “B.S.,” and vowed to “string up,” “execute,” “fuck up,” and “waterboard” this reporter for mentioning it.
All seemed to agree that the unfair treatment of Trump and Cruz was presaged by that of Limbaugh, whom they felt, despite his enormous fame and wealth, “never got the respect he deserved from the people he despised,” as a sorrowful former Director of the U.S. Economic Council Larry Kudlow put it.
“When Rush passed two years ago, liberals were so triggered it was disgusting,” said Irwin Feekle, publisher of the popular conservative site KillLibs, the rebranded Breitbart media property. “All of them saying they were glad he was dead and that he was in hell. Some were that especially bad — like that Larry Flynt the pornographer. I recall he had a picture of Rush in a toilet or something. It just shows how sick these people are.”
When this reporter pointed out that Flynt could not have published such an image after Limbaugh’s death because the Hustler publisher had actually died a few days before Limbaugh, Feekle let out a whoop. “So the fucker is dead!” he yelled. "Good! I hope it was painful. I hope his balls exploded!” Feekle then asked if this reporter knew the names of any close relatives of Flynt that he could harass.
Outside the restaurant some Limbaugh fans gathered under a patio heater, smoked or vaped and talked about the departed’s achievements and qualities that, in their opinion, liberals were not equipped to understand.
“I remember when Rush told this one joke,” said Joe D’Addario, the up-and-coming conservative radio star whose “Joey Says Blow Me” show with its popular “Libtards I Wish Were Dead” segment is nationally syndicated. D’Addario smiled at the memory. “It was about some liberal bitch,” he reminisced, “I forget her name, but it was about what a big slut she was, and it was just so freaking funny — not because of politics really but just, like, the way he said it.”
D’Addario said he would devote his next “Libtards I Wish Were Dead” segment to “liberal slut bitches who should die,” and that he would look up the subject of the original Limbaugh joke and prank call her if she were alive and, if she were not, invite his listeners to “piss on her slut grave.”
“It’s not political at all,” D’Addario insisted. “It’s just classic comedy that liberal chicks are sluts because it’s hypocritical because they’re feminists which means, you know, they’re not supposed to be sluts. That’s what the libtards don’t get.”
A hard wind fluttered their hair and coats; former Vice President Dan Quayle suggested they warm up by “doing the Michael J. Fox”; everybody laughed and pretended to shake uncontrollably for several seconds; there followed a longueur.
“I know what’ll pep things up,” announced Vice magazine founder Gavin MacInnes. He pulled out a phone and dialed a number. “Mac,” he yelled into the phone. “Things are dull. Need you to roust some Proud Boys and come hunt down some civilians.” There was a pause, a scowl. “Fuck the lawyers,” MacInnes said. “Let’s move, move, move!” The other applauded as MacInnes ended the call and hoisted his pint. “For Rush!” he called into the night, echoed by his comrades, as this reporter called an Uber to take him away before the new violence began.