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Has Rush Limbaugh Sold Out to Mitt Romney?

As I mentioned before, Mitt Romney’s company, Bain Capital, finished purchasing Clear Channel in 2008, a few months after Mitt Romney dropped out of the 2008 presidential race. Clear Channel owns all of the radio stations that play talk radio, and talk radio hosts have been actively attacking every conservative who rises to challenge Mitt Romney for the republican nomination. So, I thought I would give an in-depth analysis of how Rush Limbaugh is supporting Mitt Romney, since he is the biggest name in talk radio and much of the conservative media follows his lead.

Early in the race, Rush Limbaugh seemed to be looking for a conservative candidate. He stated what the Romney strategy was: keep all of the conservatives in the race and try to divide the conservative vote. However, as Newt Gingrich’s support rose above 40% and well above where any other candidate had been, it seemed the conservative vote was coalescing behind a conservative challenger. Worse still for Mitt Romney, it was happening as the elections were finally approaching. What could be done?

Suddenly, Rush Limbaugh “discovered” that Newt Gingrich was a “liberal.” Rush even suggested that Romney should run to the right of Newt. All of this was said, despite the fact that Newt had been speaking nothing but pure conservativism in the 2012 race.

What Rush did next was even more telling. He employed the the Mitt Romney strategy that he had previously explained: split the conservative vote. While bemoaning Newt’s supposed liberalism, he recited the names “Santorum,” “Bachmann,” and “Perry.” I could hardly believe it at the time. Here was Rush Limbaugh throwing out every name to split the conservatives as widely as possible, just as he had explained.

Then came the Iowa caucus. Mitt Romney and Ron Paul blew millions of dollars trashing Gingrich. With the help of talk radio, they succeeded in crushing Newt Gingrich’s poll numbers. He fell from being solidly in first place to fourth place in Iowa. Rick Santorum rose as a result and landed in an effective tie for first with Mitt Romney in the Iowa causcus. Rick Perry continued to languish near last place with about five percent.

Newt Gingrich had tried to run a strictly positive campaign, but the negative ads had hurt him severely. Rush Limbaugh gleefully reported that “negative ads work.” Gingrich decided to fight back. Super Pacs supporting Gingrich began running ads about how Mitt Romney liquidated companies and destroyed jobs while working as the CEO at Bain Capital. Suddenly, Rush Limbaugh and the conservative media began assaulting Gingrich’s ad campaign as an attack on capitalism. They compared Gingrich to Obama and defended their radio station owners, Bain Capital, viciously.

Meanwhile, with Rick Perry having lost all of his support, Rush Limbaugh suddenly took up his cause. Rush went on about how he was being unfairly perceived as being stupid because of his debate performances. Rush told us about how he had met Rick Perry and how he knew that he was intelligent. It seemed strange to spend so much time on a guy who had no hope of coming back, except that Rush was hoping to keep or grow his support for the purpose of spliting the conservative vote.

Speaking of debate performances and appearing stupid, Rush continued another theme that he started when Newt first rose in the polls. He said that Republicans were in danger of trying to elect a guy who sounded intelligent in the debates because they were afraid of appearing stupid. He went on to tell us how debates don’t matter in the election. More recently, he said that Obama will probably only agree to do two debates anyway because he doesn’t want to be challenged on his record. All of the these things were said to neutralize the impact Newt’s overwhelming debate advantage.

Then came New Hampshire, which Romney won handily–as would be expected in a northeastern, liberal state. The media began to say that Romney’s win in the first two states was historic and that the race was now over. Bachmann had already ended her campaign in Iowa, and others were looking at possibly getting out. Rush Limbaugh confindently and repeatedly pointed out that the race wasn’t over. He said that the front-runner, Mitt Romney, had only secured 12 of the 1144 delegates need to win.

Rush seemed to be encouraging the conservatives to rally, but was he? No, if Rick Perry and Rick Santorum got out the race, the conservatives would get behind Newt and push him into victory. They needed to stay in to continue splitting the vote. To emphasize the point, Jon Huntsman dropped out before the vote in South Carolina and endorsed Mitt because, as his campaign put it, he would only take votes away from Mitt by staying in the race.

Then came Monday’s debate on January 16, 2012 in South Carolina. Newt’s debate level rose from superb to divine. He received the first standing ovation since Ronald Reagan’s New Hampshire debate in the 80s. Newt was on fire and the crowd was electric.

The next day, Rush Limbaugh played Newt clips during most of his radio show; Newt had so inspired conservatives that Rush couldn’t help it. There was just one catch. Although he praised Newt’s performance, he continued to make backhanded remarks about Newt and the “liberal half of his brain” (even though there were no liberal remarks made by Newt during the debate whatsoever). Most astonishingly, he repeatedly asked whether it was too late for Newt.

Wait a minute Rush, weren’t you just telling us that it wasn’t over and that Romney only had 12 delegates. I guess it’s only over for the second place guy. The rest of the conservatives who are down further in the polls could come back at any time, right?

Today, two days after that debate in South Carolina. Rush has taken up the Romney cause in full force. He played Romney’s latest attack ad, which has one of the House members who served with Gingrich calling him unstable. Then he took a call from a Romney supporter and let him rattle off a bunch of negative talking points about Newt.

That call was followed up by a caller who said that Romney hasn’t “whined” about being attacked. Rush agreed and followed that up by making the opposite implication about Newt. In reality, Mitt Romney has whined about being attacked in the Bain Capital ads. He even whined about them in the debates. The whining about the Bain Capital ads didn’t end with Mitt, either. His company, Bain Capital, used the talk show hosts that they own to whine for him too.

This is a dark day for conservativism, and it is sad to see how talk radio has sold out to Mitt Romney. So many times, Rush has spoken about how he wished that we had candidate who could articulate conservativism. Now we do, and he’s doing everything he can to keep him out of office.

Conservative talk radio, and Rush Limbaugh in particular, rose out of the wilderness through honesty and conservative idealism. Rush has withstood countless assaults by the left because he has always spoken his mind truthfully. Nothing can destroy a source of truth, except itself. Sadly, it looks like Rush Limbaugh will now do to himself what a vast liberal army, his drug addiction, and his hearing loss could not: end his career.

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January 18, 2012 at 4:23 pm Comments (0)