Missouri Republicans decided to shame and embarrass our state yesterday with the induction of Rush Limbaugh into the Hall of Famous Missourians: Doors Locked, Dems Banned As Missouri Honors Limbaugh:
Rush Limbaugh was inducted into the Hall of Famous Missourians yesterday, but the whole affair seemed strangely cloaked in secrecy.
The AM talker was ushered into an invite-only ceremony that took place behind closed doors inside the State Capitol's House chambers, "which were locked and guarded by armed members of the Missouri Highway Patrol while the ceremony took place," according to the Kansas City Star. Democratic lawmakers were banned from the induction.
A bust of Limbaugh, a Cape Girardeau native, was unveiled at the Hall of Fame ceremony. But for the first time in memory the chamber galleries were closed to the public. And the Republican Speaker of the Missouri House, Steve Tilley, who selected Limbaugh for the honor, gave the media just twenty minutes notice before the event took place.
The hush-hush nature of the event, which more closely resembled a clandestine political event than a feel-good acknowledgement, likely stemmed from the extraordinary controversy the selection sparked. Owing to Limbaugh's growing toxicity outside the narrow confines of right-wing talk radio, the backlash to the Missouri announcement was swift and fierce, coming as it did directly on the heels of Limbaugh's searing Sandra Fluke controversy.
The local chapter of the National Organization of Women sent hundreds of rolls of toilet paper to Tilley's office as part of its "Flush Rush" campaign. The state's Democratic governor and U.S. senator both denounced the choice of Limbaugh, and more than 35,000 people signed a petition condemning the decision to add Limbaugh's bust to a collection that includes Missourians Harry Truman and Mark Twain.
Despite the protests, the induction took place on Monday. In secret. It turns out using government employees (i.e. law enforcement) to keep the public at bay while the taxpayers' (Republican) representatives honored a talk show host wasn't the only bout of irony that hovered over the Limbaugh event.
You can read the rest of Eric's take down of Limbaugh and the Missouri Republicans at the link above. Video is from local affiliate KMOV's reporting on the event.