Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Limbaugh on McCain:
It's Better to Be Right All the Time

by Howard Kurtz - February 5th, 2008 - Washington Post

Rush Limbaugh has been relentless in his criticism of John McCain, prompting suggestions that he may have to soften his stance if the Arizona senator wins the nomination and faces off against Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama. But if that happens, Limbaugh said in an interview over the weekend, he would rather see the Democrats win the White House.

"If I believe the country will suffer with either Hillary, Obama or McCain, I would just as soon the Democrats take the hit . . . rather than a Republican causing the debacle," he said. "And I would prefer not to have conservative Republicans in the Congress paralyzed by having to support, out of party loyalty, a Republican president who is not conservative."

When it comes to the McCain mutiny, Limbaugh has plenty of company on the right side of the dial. Laura Ingraham endorsed Mitt Romney last week, saying, "There is no way in hell I could pull the lever for John McCain." Sean Hannity, who also endorsed the former Massachusetts governor, regularly rips McCain. Hugh Hewitt is urging the audience for his syndicated radio show to fight for Romney against what he calls a media-generated "McCain resurrection." But with a program heard on 600 stations, including Washington's WMAL, Limbaugh is the loudest and brashest voice inveighing against the man he derides as "Saint John of Arizona."

Since the election of George W. Bush, the Republican Party has been suffering from a serious leadership crisis. Notwithstanding the hatred of Bush from the left, Bush is himself left of center. His compassionate conservative philosophy is in reality nothing but socialism light.

To have Bush and Rove leading our party has been a continuing ongoing crisis for conservatives. Even though I embrace much of the foreign policy agenda of the neo-conservative philosophy (that has alienated much of the traditional conservative movement) I am on domestic and economic issues more in line with traditional conservatives.

This crisis is in some ways a holdover from the days of Ronald Reagan. Most of the conservatives that supported him did not understand his own description of himself as a libertarian-conservative. They were never completely comfortable with the idea that some issues should be left out of government. I have found few who wanted to hear about Regan's role in the defeat of the Brent Amendment and the foundation of the Log Cabin Republicans. In some ways the conservative movement has become as intolerant as those on the left claim it is. Though not entirely true, it is becoming more so. Many who loved Reagan just assumed he agreed with them on many issues. Any attention to his actions and writings would have made it clear he was more willing to allow people to live their own lives as long as they kept it private. Libertarians are more tolerant and more oriented to freedom of the individual.

The admission into the party of so many who embraced George W. Bush's compassionate conservative philosophy and the neo-conservative foreign policy agenda, stretched the big tent philosophy of the Republican Party very badly. Internal dissension became as adversarial as the dissension with democrats. Huckabee is in the mold of Reagan on all but the issues of using government to force people to be good. On this, Huckabee is closer to the democrats than to Reagan. Yet the evangelical movement, who identified strongly with Reagan, has embraced Huckabee and lauded his thoughts on expanding the compassionate conservative agenda. They have done this by attacking the business conservative wing and displaying serious venom against one of the oldest factions in our party.

Even though it is clear that Bush came from the evangelical wing as far as most Republicans were concerned, the evangelicals acted like he was not one of theirs. Repeated statements have been made that evangelicals were tired of waiting for someone who was "one of theirs" and that fiscal conservatives had "better back Huckabee". I am one of many who likes much of Huckabee's agenda, especially the fair tax plan, who nevertheless has problems with Huckabee's socialism ideas. I think I agree with those who claim he is very close to the Christian Democrats of Europe. That is an agenda that has damaged business everywhere it has been tried, because it is like compassionate conservative philosophy, simply socialism under a different name.

Unlike democrats whose coalition has groups that are generally not at odds with one another, the current Republican Party has large factions that are going in terribly different incompatible directions. The article above shows just how far the directions have devolved. That a large number of Republicans can vote for John McCain is simply astonishing to anyone who is a true conservative. McCain has been so angrily opposed to so much of the conservative philosophy it is inconceivable that any true conservative could back him.

That is the problem. The very definition of conservative has been stretched in so many ways and to cover so many issues, that it no longer has a useful set of beliefs that anyone can describe. I accept and subscribe to a set of issues that Newt Gingrich has identified. On each of these issues not only are they overwhelmingly accepted by Republicans, they are issues that usually have over 80% of the American people in agreement. Yet most Republicans are completely comfortable voting for a man who rejects much of that set of issues. John McCain is so out of touch with the party's base on so many issues, you have to ask, "What in the world is persuading people to vote for him?"

Is just holding on to power really all that matters? Didn't Dennis Hastert embarrass us enough with his "let's get re-elected" agenda that embraced rampant pork and corruption? I subscribe to the lesser of two evils philosophy and will probably vote for McCain in the general election. However like Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh and many others, I wonder if we would not be better off with Hillary or Barrack than a quasi-liberal like McCain claiming to be our party leader.

These are tough times for patriots.


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