With little notice, House leader announces Monday's installation of Rush bust
Missouri House Speaker Steve Tilley gave reporters less than a half-hour’s notice when he announced that conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh’s sculptured bust will be formally installed in the Capitol at 1 p.m.
The short notice indicated that Tilley, R-Perryville, was seeking to prevent any organized protests during the event.
Limbaugh showed up for Monday's ceremony, which was private. Security was reported to be tight.
According to the Associated Press, "Limbaugh, 61, arranged for a guest host to handle his (national) radio show Monday so he could be at the Missouri Capitol. He repeatedly declared how humbled he was by the honor.
" 'I'm stunned. I'm not speechless, but close to it,' Limbaugh said to the laughter of the friendly crowd. 'I'm literally quite unable to comprehend what's happening to me today.' "
Tilley’s decision to honor Limbaugh, a Cape Girardeau native, has sparked opposition from Democrats and progressives because of Limbaugh’s often strong words when he talks about people with whom he disagrees.
In fact, some Democratic lawmakers already are pressuring Gov. Jay Nixon, a fellow Democrat, to block the bust's display.
Limbaugh’s bust will be placed in the Capitol’s Hall of Famous Missourians, which also includes newscaster Walter Cronkite and former President Harry S Truman.
Tilley had told the Beacon just a few days ago that he wanted Limbaugh to be present for the ceremony, if at all possible, and was trying to accomodate the commentator's schedule.
After the closed-door ceremony, House Minority Leader Mike Talboy, D-Kansas City, issued a strong protest.
"Instead of being open to the public as is tradition, the ceremony was conducted in secret in a locked House chamber with only Republican officials and other select people allowed in," Talboy said.
Added Assistant House Minority Leader Tishaura Jones, D-St. Louis: “It is quite clear from their handling of the Limbaugh ceremony that Republicans were ashamed of what they were doing and wanted as few people as possible to witness it."
Talboy added, "House Democrats have asked the Office of Administration, which controls all public areas of the Capitol, to refuse to display the Limbaugh bust, and we are confident that it will not be placed in the Hall of Famous Missourians.”
Start of update: State Rep. Jeanette Mott Oxford, D-St. Louis, contended that women should be offended by Limbaugh's bust, citing the recent controversy over his assertions that a college student was a "slut" and a "prostitute" because she wanted insurance coverage for contraceptives. Limbaugh later apologized amid a furor that prompted the defection of some advertisers from his radio show.
“Now women everywhere – along with a long list of additional targets of his vicious tirades - have been wronged by the induction of Rush Limbaugh into the Hall of Famous Missourians," Oxford said.