On January 7, following the peaceful rally and smattering of violence at the U.S. Capitol, I made sure to tune into Rush Limbaugh’s show because I knew he provides words of wisdom and clarity during a difficult time. It made me think of how important Rush has been in my life — from age 16 to now as I navigate through a different season of life. This week you’ll hear from others, like John Rich, with similar stories about Rush’s generosity. No doubt there are many, many more. What follows is an email I sent to James (aka Snerdley) and Rush on January 7. I don’t know if Rush was able to read it, but I hope he, Kathryn, and his family know how many lives he touched beyond the political world.
Hi James and Rush,
I’m sure you have been hearing this often, today especially. I’ve been meaning to write since we had dinner with Chris Plante a few years ago in DC. Rush is such a beacon of light. The politics side is obvious, but I’m hoping you might be able to share this email with him. He knows some of it, but maybe doesn’t realize the ending and how much he has meant to me over the last 30 years. Apologies for the length, but it is the only way I can convey how Rush has shaped (and saved) my life.
In 1995, a boy I liked suggested I should join him for lunch and listen to Rush in his car. He knew I would enjoy the show since I frequently fought with my teachers in Tallahassee, Florida and wanted to be a writer since I had been writing for the city paper, The Tallahassee Democrat, since I was 13 years old. Sixteen years ago I told the story of becoming a conservative in the backseat of a Camaro when I introduced Rush when I was the Director of CPAC at CPAC 2009. More about that later…
In 2002, Rush read an article I wrote about feminists on his show and I thought that was the peak of my writing career (and maybe it was!). A few years later, through Kit, I shared my weight loss struggle. I was told Rush wanted to help and whenever I reach a plateau that I should let them know and they would tell me their secret. Six months or so passed and I asked. Their go-to for getting over a plateau is to go to a weight loss-focused resort/spa and just focus on my health. I was crushed. I think I was up to making $26,000 in DC at that time and working for a conservative non-profit. Go to a resort? Gee, thanks. I kept reading… They said that to encourage me on my journey, Rush wanted to pay for it. I really can’t put into words how much this meant to me. I went to a place in Hilton Head and it was the first time I was able to experience something like that just for me.
Unfortunately, while I was able to lose weight there and enjoy the experience, I continued to gain weight. By CPAC 2009, I had reached a position in politics I never thought possible and a weight I never thought I’d see — 320 pounds and I’m only 5'4"! On the CPAC stage, Rush and I both wore black (it’s very slimming! 🤣) and I may have been slightly bigger.
The emails and comments I got about my appearance were bad, but still paled in comparison to what I thought about myself. Around that time Rush began talking about his weight loss on the show. In May 2009, I decided to follow suit and got lap-band surgery. I lost 70 pounds!
Slowly I gained it back. By the time I invited Donald Trump to speak at his first conservative event — CPAC 2011 — I was nearly 300 pounds again. Following my introduction and attacks from board members and others aghast that Trump would be allowed at CPAC, I was fired by the board.
Since then, I became a Christian, have written four books, have been a regular commentator on Fox News, written for various news outlets and started my own outlet with The Federalist specifically for women. Despite these accomplishments, I never thought happiness and health were options for me. In October 2018, I had reached what I thought was the end when I was back over 300 pounds. I went to another bariatric surgeon about adjusting the lap-band. I found out then that they no longer did that surgery or maintenance for it, as time has shown weight loss doesn’t last. No kidding. They said gastric bypass has continued to be the gold standard. At the point, I didn’t care about my health or not coming back from a major surgery. I thought, at least if something happens to me, my family and friends will know I tried. I tried to do the ultimate thing and they won’t feel like they or I should have done more.
Then I lost my job and whether I could have the surgery via insurance wasn’t a sure thing. The company allowed me to keep my insurance and pay for it until the end of the year. A week before the surgery, I went to a bible study and a verse hit me — “I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing. Therefore, choose life.”
Rush has helped me embrace this over the years through his positive outlook (which was very unexpected at CPAC 2009 and why he was so important then, too) and certainly over the last year. When he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, I cried like a baby. Earlier in the day I had tried to lobby for going to the ceremony but soon found out I and the rest of the nation would be watching live.
So, today in 2021, I am once again finding myself being lifted by Rush as I listen to the show. And it’s a lot easier — because I’ve now lost over 135 pounds. While I’m still writing, I am not in day-to-day politics. My hope is that I was put here at the right time and in a place where, as Rush passed on to me over 15 years ago, I can focus on my health. I am so grateful for Rush — as a listener, a person who has struggled with health issues, a conservative who has been canceled a couple times, and someone who decided to choose light and life. Not every moment of every day, but it’s my path. I am so thankful that Rush has been on my side — whether he knew it or not! — over the last 30 years. He’s been there for all of us and I will always be there for him whether it’s to defend him in private and public or pray for him and his family, which surely includes you!
If you’ve made it this far, thank you for allowing me to share how much Rush the show and Rush the person means to me. I love all of you!