JEFFERSON CITY , MO. (KTVI) - The Missouri Legislature’s Hall of Famous Missourians continues to draw attention thanks to Republican House Speaker Steven Tilley’s decision to honor controversial radio host Rush Limbaugh in the corridor’s beside Harry Truman and Stan “The Man” Musial. Wednesday was Dred Scott’s day, but the specter of Limbaugh still hung over it.
Dred Scott, of course, elicited no debate. The heroic slave who’s case for freedom made it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court drew hearty applause from both sides of the aisle when his bust was unveiled.
But even as that ceremony was taking place Wednesday afternoon, a minor mystery surrounding the Limbaugh bust was swirling on the internet.
On his blog, sculptor Spencer Schubert posted a message Tuesday, saying he was on his way to Jefferson City with both the Dred Scott bust, and the bust of Limbaugh. But soon the blog was amended, eliminating the reference to Limbaugh. Later it was changed a second time, deleting the reference to busts altogether.
Asked about whether or not Limbaugh’s bust had made the trip, or where it was, Schubert refused to say.
“Today’s Dred Scott’s day. Let’s focus on Dred. I think, I don’t actually know where the bust is,” he said.
When pressed, reminded of what a stir he’d created online, he only laughed, saying, “. I have. It’s certainly not hurting my Google search ratings.”
House Speaker Tilley, who has the power to decide who is and isn’t included in the hall, was no more forthcoming than the artist.
“Ya know, today is about Dred Scott,” he said, “and I’m not gonna do anything or say anything that takes away from the induction of a pretty amazing person.”
Of course Tilley has been heavily criticized by democrats here, and left leaning groups across the country for his insistence Limbaugh be added to the hall. He has pointed out that Limbaugh’s fame eclipses any other radio personality, and that Limbaugh’s controversial ideas are no more polarizing than people like Harry Truman were at their time. Truman, of course, is honored in the third floor rotunda.
House Minority Leader, Democrat Mike Talboy, authored a letter signed by 48 legislators asking Tilley to remove Limbaugh from the list of inductees, which also included Negro League baseball star Buck O’Neil. Talboy still thinks Limbaugh’s inclusion is a bad idea.
“Not only has he been extremely controversial to this point,” he said, “but it’s extremely plausible that he was say something even more arrogant, misogynistic, and wrong than he has in the past and his career’s not done yet.”
Despite his opposition to the bust, Talboy believes he can solve the mystery of its whereabouts.
“To my understanding it’s in the basement as they are until they are unveiled,” he said.
And when will that unveiling occur? Speaker Tilley, who also controls the schedule, refuses to say.