I will grant you that I do not listen to Rush Limbaugh’s radio program every day. But I do consider myself to be a “regular listener” in the sense that whenever I am in my car during the 11 am to 2 pm time period, I listen. And there are occasions when I listen to him on my computer when at home or in my office. I cannot say with absolute certainty that Rush has not made the declaration before, but I can say without any reservation that I heard Rush say for the first time today “Donald J. Trump is not a conservative.”
And there-in lies the problem. Rush is hardly bashful in calling out those who are “not conservative.” His ire is usually directed at democrats and other “liberals,” whether they be in the political or social realms and in the overlaps between the two. And he is unreserved in his criticism of those on the political and social “right” when they do not conform to true conservative principles. The GOP establishment is an example of one of his favorite targets. The exception to this rule however seems to have been Donald Trump, who we learn today from Rush, “is not a conservative.”
I am convinced that Rush’s fascination with Trump’s ability to handle the mainstream media, GOP establishment and other adversaries, clouded his judgment about Trump’s politics to the point of ambivalence. And in that fascination and resulting ambivalence, he failed his audience and by extension the country. Rush’s normal approach to those who are “not conservative” is to call them out and to squash them rhetorically. Had Trump been dismissed by Rush very early in the primary process in 2015, his ascendancy to now the presumptive candidate of the GOP and opponent of Hillary Clinton in the November 2016 General Election might have been avoided.
Rush demurs when identified as the heart, mind and soul of the conservative movement in the U.S., but it is virtually irrefutable that he is indeed a thought leader among conservatives. I contend that his silence on Trump’s political positions was deemed by listeners to be implicit support for him.
For the last month or so, Rush has attempted to defend his “neutral” stance on the GOP primary candidates, but the fact remains that he deviated from his normal modus operandi with Trump with respect to a thorough analysis of his politics and look at what we have as a result.