Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Rush shows character under fire

From The Washington Post:

It may be the best sideshow in presidential politics: the nation's top radio talker trying to take down the Republican front-runner in today's Super Tuesday showdown.

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."

Limbaugh dismissed the notion that a McCain victory would be a "personal setback" for him. "My success is not defined by who wins elections," he said. "Elected officials come and go. I am here for as long as I wish to stay. . . .

I have listened to Rush Limbaugh for a long time, from just after the first Gulf War to be exact, and have usually enjoyed his show. But I always used to cringe when he would claim to be a conservative first and a Republican second. I figured that when push came to shove he would always be able to rationalize a way to support any Republican candidate no matter how bad he might be.

Then white supremacist and former Klansman David Duke ran for governor of Louisiana, as a Republican, and Rush used his show to urge Louisiana Republicans to vote for Duke's corrupt Democrat opponant because it was better to have a bad Democrat in office than to damage the Republican party by having Republican voters show support for a creature like Duke.

I gave Rush points for that, but even then I wondered what he would have done if it had been a presidential race.

We now know the answer. When the choice is between a liberal Democrat and a Republican who is so bad that were he to win he would do critical, perhaps fatal, harm to the Republican party Rush will step up and do the right thing by urging the defeat of the unacceptable Republican.

My respect for him has grown by about 10000%.