The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

March 6, 2012

Missouri House speaker plans to honor Limbaugh with bust in Capitol rotunda

ST. LOUIS — Rush Limbaugh’s comments last week about a young law school student have caused some advertisers to flee his radio show. But if the leader of the Missouri state House has his way, the broadcast icon soon will be in the company of Harry Truman, Walt Disney and Stan Musial.

House Speaker Steve Tilley, R-Perryville, intends to honor Limbaugh with a place in the Hall of Famous Missourians, a circle of busts in the Capitol rotunda recognizing prominent Missouri citizens.

The unveiling is not expected until closer to the end of the legislative session in May. But word of the honor leaked Monday, just as the furor over Limbaugh’s remarks continued to build.

Although the statues are commissioned with private funds, Democrats are already expressing anger at the decision to enshrine Limbaugh next to luminaries of science, culture and politics who have called Missouri home.

Tilley, who, like Limbaugh, hails from southeast Missouri, acknowledged that while not everyone may like the decision, it is difficult to deny the radio commentator’s status as a titan of the communications field.

“It’s not the Hall of Universally Loved Missourians,” Tilley said. “It’s the Hall of Famous Missourians.”

The conservative radio personality has long courted controversy, but his latest comments have provoked a sustained outrage.

On his radio show last week, Limbaugh turned his focus on Sandra Fluke, a Georgetown Law School student who had spoken out in favor of including birth control in employer-covered health care plans. Limbaugh called her a “slut” and suggested that “if we are going to pay for your contraceptives and thus pay for you to have sex,” Fluke should post pictures of herself online.

Limbaugh has since apologized, but that has not stopped a handful of sponsors from leaving his popular radio show. Nine had dropped the show as of Monday evening, according to The Associated Press, including AOL Inc. and a tax dispute company.

Tilley said the decision to enshrine Limbaugh was made well before his comments, but the House speaker did not waver from his decision Monday.

“I”m not going to go through it and review every comment he’s ever made,“ Tilley said. ”Just like the people who inducted Mark Twain, Warren Hearnes or John Ashcroft didn’t.“

Hearnes and Ashcroft are former governors. Twain, who took his place in the Hall in 1982, was the first induction. He has been followed by, among others, astronomer Edwin Hubble, game show host Bob Barker, journalist Walter Cronkite, St. Louis Cardinals announcer Jack Buck and American Indian guide Sacajawea.

On Monday, Tilley confirmed that he has also chosen to recognize Dred Scott, whose pivotal slavery case was heard at the Old Courthouse in St. Louis.

Limbaugh’s ties to Missouri are well established. He grew up in Cape Girardeau, where his family has deep roots in the political and legal community. The federal court in Cape Girardeau is named after Limbaugh’s grandfather; Limbaugh’s uncle was a longtime judge at the U.S. courthouse in St. Louis. Limbaugh’s cousin, a former state Supreme Court judge, is now on the federal bench.

Still, his Missouri pedigree is unlikely to quell Democrats in the Legislature, who were circulating a letter Monday to Tilley protesting the decision.

“We are doing everything we can to stop this,” said state Rep. Stacey Newman, R-Richmond Heights. “If it’s something I have to lay down in front of, I will.”

It’s unclear what, if anything, Democrats can do to block the move. They are in the minority in both the House and the Senate. The ability to choose Missourians to induct into the Hall is an informal privilege passed down by House speakers on both sides of the aisle.

The money to build the bust, which cost $10,000 each, is generated by the speaker’s annual golf tournament.

Kansas City artist E. Spencer Schubert, who was commissioned to create the busts for Limbaugh and Scott, could not be reached for comment. But in an entry on his website on Feb. 13, he posted a picture of Limbaugh alongside the famous ex-slave.

“What do these two guys have in common you ask?” Schubert wrote. “Well, turns out that they are both in the process of being sculpted by E. Spencer Schubert for the Hall of Famous Missourians.”

After a Democratic-affiliated website reported the news Monday, it quickly became fodder for Limbaugh’s critics, spawning at least one online petition.

Speaking on MSNBC Monday evening, U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo. — herself a target of Limbaugh’s barbs — said he did not deserve to be enshrined in Jefferson City.

“I supported naming the federal courthouse after his grandfather. I supported his first cousin to be a federal judge,” McCaskill said. But, McCaskill said, “I draw the line” at putting Limbaugh’s bust in the Capitol.

On his radio show, Limbaugh recently referred to McCaskill as a “commie babe liberal.” McCaskill attempted to capitalize on the comment, sending out a fundraising plea Saturday. A McCaskill campaign aide said that based on the response, the fundraising letter “did better than most.”


Text Only
Local News
  • r072814dogbike.jpg Cross-country trip promotes animal adoption

    Where’s Bixby? Not the town in Oklahoma, but the dog on the back of a bicycle ridden by Mike Minnick. On Monday, the two were in Joplin, one stop on a cross-country bike trip to promote the adoption of dogs and cats from local shelters.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4.3 magnitude quake reported in northern Oklahoma

    The U.S. Geological Survey says an earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 4.3 struck northern Oklahoma on Monday night.

    July 29, 2014

  • 4 workers injured in SE Kansas oil refinery fire

    A Texas company says four workers at a southeast Kansas oil refinery were burned in an early morning fire.

    July 29, 2014

  • Seneca man draws concurrent term in sexual abuse case

    A 39-year-old man who sexually abused a girl over a four-year period in both Joplin and Seneca received a 15-year sentence Monday in Newton County that will run concurrently with a term he received earlier this year in Jasper County.

    July 28, 2014

  • Judge lifts seal on records in Parsons quadruple slaying

    A judge has rescinded his order sealing court records in the case of David Bennett Jr., who is accused of killing a Parsons woman and her three children.

    July 28, 2014

  • Defendant who pulled knife on ER doctor sent for treatment

    A man accused of pulling a knife on a Freeman Hospital West emergency room doctor pleaded guilty to a reduced charge Monday and was sentenced to the state prison system’s Institutional Treatment Center.

    July 28, 2014

  • Wal-Mart to build second local Neighborhood Market

    A second Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market store is planned for Joplin. The company has filed an application with the city to rezone nearly six acres of land on the west side of town in the tornado zone to build a new Neighborhood Market and gas station.

    July 28, 2014

  • r072814mailcar.jpg VIDEO: Train mail car trailered on Joplin's Main Street to Redings Mill

    With a police escort leading the way Monday, postal car No. 34 breezed through downtown Joplin en route to its new home in Redings Mill, where it was greeted by a welcome party of local residents and railroad enthusiasts.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo 1 Slideshow

  • Anti-landfill group seeks grand jury probe

    As more than 200 people filed into Riverton High School on Sunday to attend an anti-landfill group meeting, many stopped to sign a petition asking the Cherokee County District Court to summon a grand jury to investigate how land was acquired by the city of Galena for a proposed landfill.

    July 27, 2014

  • 072814_jd anderson.jpg VIDEO: Noel strongman advances on talent show

    The past week has been busier than normal for Noel resident J.D. Anderson. Members of the production crew for NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” told him they have shot more footage of him than of other contestants for the next episode. “They said I have the busiest schedule of anyone this week,” Anderson told the Globe in a phone interview Friday. “There’s so many fun things you can do with B-roll as a strongman.”

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

Must Read


Given that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that electronic devices and communications are protected from searches and seizure without a warrant, do you think Missouri needs Amendment 9 added to its constitution?

A. Yes.
B. No.
     View Results
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter