More this year than any other, conservative legend Rush Limbaugh has studiously avoided picking a favorite in the Republican primaries. While Limbaugh has made no secret of how much he admires Texas Senator Ted Cruz ideologically, he has devoted much of the last year to defending Donald Trump. The way Limbaugh sees it, one of these men will likely be the nominee and it doesn’t make sense to help the Democrats tear down that candidate before the general.
He hasn’t only defended Trump, however. Over the last month, Limbaugh has also defended Cruz. He has repeatedly explained the delegate process, dismissing allegations of fraud. At the same time, he has been pragmatic about all of this, recognizing that when it comes to some of these machinations, perception is as important as reality.
All of that preamble is simply to put Limbaugh’s latest comments in context. On Monday, El Rushbo said that the Republican establishment was only supporting Ted Cruz because they want to see him lose to Hillary Clinton.
“The bosses of the GOP do indeed, if they had a preference, there’s no doubt in my mind it would be Cruz,” he said. “The GOP Establishment would rather Ted Cruz be the nominee and lose the race for the White House. They figure that there’s only one Donald Trump. There’s not going be another guy like Trump coming along, but there’s all kinds of potential Ted Cruzes in the Tea Party, and they don’t want guys like Ted Cruz coming back.”
For years, Limbaugh has tried to dispel the notion that the Republican Party is interested in furthering conservatism. While he reserves his most damning criticism for the Democrats, he has often warned listeners of the anti-conservative bias inside the GOP establishment.
“They think they’re going to lose either way,” Limbaugh said. “Therefore, the way they’re thinking is it’s better to lose with Cruz, because that would say forever, ‘No conservative should ever get the nomination and lose in a landslide.’ They’ll be done with it.”
That sentiment should not surprise anyone. We can see it in the candidates. Romney, McCain, Bush, Dole, Bush – these men were not exactly icons of conservatism. Bush 43 was closest, and hey, he won two elections straight. Imagine that. And then you go back to the last real conservative nominee – Reagan – and it becomes impossible to understand why the GOP sees conservatism as a losing effort.
This is the kind of thing that Cruz has been fighting against since he first went to Washington.
Sadly, Cruz no longer has anything other than a longshot chance at the nomination. In fact, it’s possible that he will have dropped out by the time many of you read this. But regardless of how his story plays out, we should go forward understanding the basic truth about the Republican Party. Without a conservative foundation, they cannot be an effective opposition party. And, quite obviously, they haven’t been.