The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

05 March 2008

Clinton Victories Seen As Win For Rush Limbaugh


After Clinton Comeback, Speculation Begins

Just six weeks after being accused of having lost his electoral influence, Rush Limbaugh is now in the middle of the opposite debate: did he successfully sway results in Texas and Ohio?

For days, Limbaugh has been going out on limb, imploring Republicans and others to vote for Hillary Clinton over Barack (No Middle Name) Obama:

CALLER: Hi, Rush. I total disagree with this strategy. You setting up a Clinton-Obama reconciliation ticket. You're going to get two of the most immoral, unscrupulous Clintons back in unchecked power and we are going to be screwed.

RUSH: We're already screwed. What we have to do is limit the being screwed to as small a screwdriver as it can be. And here. Here's the thing. The strategy is not to have these guys win. They may form a fusion ticket at some point down the road. Do you understand what the purpose of the strategery is?

CALLER: Yes. To keep Clinton in, to keep Clinton in. You think they're going to claw their eyes out.

RUSH: No, the strategy is... Yes. The strategy is to continue the chaos in this party. Look, there's a reason for this. Our side isn't going to do this. Obama needs to be bloodied up. Look, half the country already hates Hillary. That's good. But nobody hates Obama yet. Hillary is going to be the one to have to bloody him up politically because our side isn't going to do it. Mark my words. It's about winning, folks!

And after last night's big Hill comeback, speculation began almost immediately that the talk titan had played a role.

Asked about it during a TV interview this morning, Hillary didn't dispute the premise, instead saying "be careful what you wish for, Rush."

Other reactions have been mixed, with Tom Bevan pouring a bit of cold water on the notion:

It's a close call, but unless the vast majority of Republicans who voted for Clinton (more than 80%) did so at Rush's suggestion, they probably didn't put Clinton over the top. They may have given her a point or two bump in the end, but it seems unlikely they were the deciding factor for Clinton last night.

At the Huffington Post, however, Jon Wiener proclaimed it "a good night for Rush Limbaugh":

Tuesday night was a good night for Rush Limbaugh. "I want Hillary to stay in this," he said on Fox News, because "I want the Democrats to lose. They're in the midst of tearing themselves apart right now. It is fascinating to watch, and it's all going to stop if Hillary loses."

Limbaugh was interviewed Feb. 29 by Laura Ingraham, guest-hosting on the Bill O'Reilly show on the Fox News Channel.

"If Obama is the nominee, we are doomed, " Limbaugh said on Feb. 6 to a Republican caller to his radio program.

On Fox News, Limbaugh listed "another reason why we need Hillary to stay in:" the Clinton campaign can attack Obama in ways the Republicans cannot. "Who was it that first used Obama's middle name of Hussein? It was not us. It was [Clinton supporter] Bob Kerrey, over and over again, former Democrat Senator of Nebraska."

"Who was it that talked about Obama not just using drugs, as he admitted in his book, but maybe even selling them and dealing them? It was [Bill] Shaheen, Clinton's co-chair in New Hampshire."

Cable TV pundits and mainstream media Rush- haters need to make up their minds: is he washed up, or as big a "threat" as ever? You can't have it both ways, especially weeks apart during the same campaign season.

FOR New England regional talk radio updates, see our other site.

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