The Limbaugh effect
March 5, 2008
So Rush Limbaugh is urging people to vote for Hillary. Hugh Hewitt is aghast (“If Hillary ekes out close wins, stays alive, gains the nomination and the White House, will Rush hold the Bible at her Inauguration?”) but I can’t say that I’m really surprised. Rush is an entertainer and for all the hype about his ratings, his audience isn’t that large by show business standards (he has half the audience of Fox’s reality show Moment of Truth). He needs a Clinton presidency to remain relevant and give people a reason to tune in to his daily gasbaggery.
As I’ve said before, Rush is every bit just as much as a mirror as a fountain for American conservatism. He reflects what conservatives are already thinking as well as shapes ideas. To not understand this is to miss why Limbaugh is so popular. To that end, conservatives have known for a long time that Hillary has more weaknesses than Barack Obama. She’s unlikable, has a past that someone can actually attack, and would represent a very favorable, establishment-oriented opposition to an establishment-oriented John McCain. The national head to head polls have said this for a long time.
Limbaugh may be dramatizing things, but his principle makes sense. As long as Hillary is in the race, there seems to be more hope for McCain. The popular distrust of Hillary Clinton is no myth; people just don’t seem to buy or like her. Her winning of the nomination would put old Democrats against old Republicans, with probablility favoring McCain.
Limbaugh won’t win Hillary the presidency; that’s not his aim. He wants to defeat the religious-like fervor of the Obama campaign, so that people will get to vote for either an old war veteran or an old, unlikable, failed Senator. When its put that like that, the choice seems pretty clear, no?