The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

03 January 2008

Rush Limbaugh Still Facing Heat From Huckabee Supporters


Under Pressure From Huck's Supporters, Rush Doesn't Budge


Despite another day of high- pressure calls and emails from Mike Huckabee supporters, talk titan Rush Limbaugh isn't backing down from his position that Huck is no conservative. In addition, he has reaffirmed his longstanding policy against on- air endorsements of candidates in primary elections.

The fact that Limbaugh still felt the need to address the issue reveals how this peculiar conflict has proven to have a much longer shelf life than anyone could have predicted. It reflects a bizarre strategy by Huckabee's campaign, which began by lobbing grenades into El Rushbo's camp and continues via some of his obnoxious supporters.

On today's show, Limbaugh made it even more clear why Huckabee does not have his support, citing a record that couldn't have less in common with Ronald Reagan's:

RUSH: Well, you know, this is really not comfortable for me. This is not easy. I swore a vow of neutrality during these primaries and I'm sitting here and I'm minding my own business, and I'm remaining faithful to my vows, for one of the few times in my life. Just kidding about that. I'm just referring to my multiple divorce record. Don't make anything more of it than that. Snerdley, would you close your eyes? You're sitting there looking wide-eyed. All of a sudden I'm minding my own business, remaining faithful to my vows for what is a very common thing for me to do, to remain faithful to my vows -- is that better? -- and all of a sudden I start getting attacked by the Huckabee campaign. And so I had a chance. Do I sit back and just ignore this, or do I deal with it? So I dealt with it, and now what we're getting is an onslaught of Huckabee supporters, which I totally understand, attempting to do damage control, fearing that what I have been saying about their candidate will be harmful tonight in the Hawkeye Cauci and in future primary elections. The latest gambit has been for Huckabee supporters to claim that, hey, he's just Ronald Reagan. Reagan raised taxes when he was governor; Huckabee raised taxes when he was governor.

Here's my problem with this. I say this with all compassion, and I say this with love and respect for all of you who support Huckabee. But how dare you compare Mike Huckabee to Ronald Reagan. That is simply intellectually vapid, and it's grasping at straws. Ronald Reagan not only served as a governor, but he wrote and spoke for years about conservatism. Ronald Reagan was there at the beginning in 1964 about conservatism. I said yesterday, I have not spent a lifetime advocating conservative principles only to throw them away to embrace a particular candidate. I don't support open borders and amnesty. I don't support the release of hundreds of criminals. McCain supports open borders and amnesty. Huckabee released hundreds of criminals. I don't support repeated increases in taxes. I don't support national health care, whether you call it a children's program or whatever it is. I don't support anti-war rhetoric. I don't support Republican candidates trashing the war in Iraq when we're winning it. I don't support Republican candidates claiming the president doesn't read the National Intelligence Estimates as an excuse for him not knowing what the hell is in one. And that's Governor Huckabee.

Governor Huckabee has no similar intellectual or conservative movement record to fall back on. And I'll tell you, if those of you -- and I say this with all respect, and I say this with the love that I have for everybody in this audience, those of you that support Huckabee -- but the idea that you want to claim Mike Huckabee as Ronald Reagan II based on tax increases while governor, is an insult to me. That's not who Ronald Reagan was. We all know it. Ronald Reagan came in and said, "I'm going to cut taxes. I'm going to defeat the Soviets. We're going to win the Cold War, and I'm going to rebuild the US military." Mike Huckabee has come in and said, (paraphrasing) "Well, yeah, I raised taxes, but I had to, but I support this FairTax thing," which doesn't stand a chance in hell. Seriously, folks, gotta be honest about these things.

The second thing is, Mike Huckabee wants to treat the modern-day equivalent of the Soviet Union with the Golden Rule. That's not how Reagan did it. You could argue that Huckabee's approach is worthwhile this time, I'm not going to argue with you about that if you want to say that, but don't tell me he's Ronald Reagan. Don't tell me that any of these people on the Republican side are Ronald Reagan, because they are not. This is what I feared from the get-go with this roster of candidates, that not just conservatism was going to get redefined to fit the mold of whoever these candidates are and whichever one wins, but that Reaganism was going to be redefined. Now, if candidates want to go out and claim they're Ronald Reagan II, fine and dandy, then go do it, go be it. Don't try to say that what you are is Reaganesque when it isn't. You want to be Ronald Reagan II, be it, but don't be a phony baloney, plastic banana, good-time rock 'n' roller and say you're Reagan when you're not trying to implement and emulate what Reagan did. It's just that simple. As recently as last year, Governor Huckabee -- and I wasn't going to say this -- folks, I had decided I'm going to take the day off on Huckabee. But here I got the first call out of the box -- thank you, Mr. Snerdley -- Huckabee supported as recently as last year the phony amnesty bill. He believes illegal aliens should receive Social Security. He believes they ought to receive driver's licenses. He thinks their kids ought to get tuition breaks.

Now, you might say, "Hey, Rush, Reagan supported the '86 amnesty bill that was Simpson-Mazzoli." Yeah, but not because he supported these things. Reagan didn't support these things. He supported amnesty for a few million illegals in exchange for securing the border. Congress never secured the border. Reagan was not motivated by conferring benefits and rights on illegal aliens as Governor Huckabee is and as Senator McCain was, and probably still is, and who knows who else in this Republican field. Reagan was a huge law-and-order governor as well. He put down the riots on college campi from '66 to '74, he didn't release hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of criminals. If you want to compare him to a California governor on that stand, compare him to Governor Schwarzenegger, who is preparing to release a bunch of criminals on the basis of budget cuts.

I'll tell you a little Reagan story. During these college riots, free speech movement and all this, a bunch of kids demanded to see Reagan in his gubernatorial office in Sacramento, and of course security said, "You can't go in there and see Reagan." Reagan said, "Let them come in here. I'll be glad to see them."

So these college punks, these students, about five or six of them were granted permission to come in and talk to Reagan, and they just railed against him, "Who are you, old man? Who are you to tell us what we can and can't do? Who are you to tell us how to live? Who are you to be governor of this state? Look at how old you are. I mean, when you were born, there weren't airplanes. When you were born there were barely telephones. When you were born there wasn't even air-conditioning. You don't have any idea what life's like for us." And Reagan just looked at them, and said, "You're right. Me and my generation didn't have those things. We built them for you."

Beyond Team Huck- Up's bizarre approach to talk radio and the media in general, one has to wonder what Ed Rollins was trying to accomplish today in Des Moines:

Amanda Carpenter files this report from the ground in Iowa:

At a hole-in-the wall Des Moines eatery, Mike Huckabee’s campaign chairman loudly bashed their top rival presidential candidate Mitt Romney and made several predictions to two national television reporters.

I overheard Rollins’ conversation while dining in a restaurant called Winston’s located close to Huckabee’s Iowa headquarters and took notes on my computer. Below is a compilation of what I heard:

-He distinctly talked about going negative in South Carolina and told someone on the phone to “put some good in there if you have to, with the bad. Do what you gotta do.”

-Rollins let the f-bomb fly twice and told his blonde female dining companion a joke about flying the Confederate flag in the South Carolina state capitol.

-Rollins indicated several times their campaign was the victim of “dirty tricks” and that they were being unfairly outspent.

-Rollins also criticized another candidate as believing the Presidency was “their birthright.”

-Rollins made a phone call to Lou Dobbs and said he would ready to have drinks with him after Iowa to talk about Hillary. There also was a reference to Rollins’ recent comments about wanting to knock Romney’s teeth out, as Rollins told Dobbs “they are all porcelain.”

Within the next week or so, we will know whether Huck's insane strategy will have resonated with voters, or sent him packing. Either way, could somebody at least explain the thought process behind this, particularly when it comes to the unhinged antics of Ed Rollins?

UPDATE: Given Huckabee's clear Iowa win, the natural question is whether Limbaugh - Huckabee tensions will soon be smoothed- over. During an interview with the FOX News Channel early Friday morning, Limbaugh indicated that relations were not likely to be repaired, given a lack of interest from Huckabee's side of the aisle. Rush said he believed some of Huckabee's base might actually be happy with the idea of being at odds with the talk titan.

Limbaugh also used the opportunity to take the networks to task (FOX included) for underplaying Hillary's poor showing, choosing instead to highlight Huckabee's win. Rush is convinced that liberals are thrilled by Mike's first place showing, as they feel he is the easiest candidate to beat in November. El Rushbo pointed that criticism directly at Susan Estrich, who was co-hosting FOX's coverage.

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Middle Huckabee image: US News & World Report


  • Brian,

    You and I have disagreed on a few topics, notably our opposing views on Don Imus.

    But there's one thing for certain: you and I agree on this post. Gov. Huckabee is not a true Conservative; sadly, there doesn't seem to be any running once again.

    By Blogger Charlie on the PA Turnpike, at 03 January, 2008 21:23  

  • Unlike what lib’s claim Rush does not control the right. If he did Mike would not have won. In fact I have not heard one radio host support Mike.

    Rush needs to stick with what he does best push conservative ideas. This claim he is being attacked is bull. It is an excuse for him to try and knock Mike out of the campaign.

    I sense he is supporting Mitt Romney behind the scene.

    By Blogger pf1, at 04 January, 2008 03:26  

  • I watched a lot of election coverage last night -- on all three cable nets -- and think rush is wrong to say huckabee's win was played up more than clinton's loss (once both results were known). really do think it was fairly even.

    had hillary's loss been talked about more, rush would complain that all the nets want to talk about is democrats (as jay severin did yesterday on his show).

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 04 January, 2008 07:25  

  • Ron Paul is a CONSERVATIVE. Charlie, maybe your a psudeo-con Rush sheep.

    By Blogger Minister of Propaganda, at 04 January, 2008 10:24  

  • The Huckabee campaign is loving how the right wing chat orgy has opted to sideline their candidate. I think it proves how the dead ender 30 some-odd percent who continue to support the failed policies of the neo-cons are largely comprised of the type who actually listen to Robin Limbaugh and his Merry Morons.

    Here's an idea. If you actually want to kill Huckabee's chances of winning the Republican nomination why not openly support him? That would murder his chances.If I didn't know better, I would almost believe that Rush Limbaugh actually IS supporting Huckabee and realizes the only way to promote him is to defame him.

    By Blogger Dave Carroll, at 04 January, 2008 19:16  

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