Rush: Remember when National Review was the voice of conservatism?

posted at 11:35 am on December 16, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

CNS News catches Rush Limbaugh in a reflective mood yesterday after National Review’s anyone-but-Newt-or-Perry editorial earlier this week.  Instead of railing about the attack on two of the Republican candidates in the field, Rush muses on how little influence NR has these days, and how it’s much more the voice of Beltway Republicanism than actual conservatism, and questioned whether it has any real impact at all anymore:

“National Review used to, indisputably, it was the voice of conservatism. There was no question. Now, it’s not so much that, as it is the voice of Republicanism, which could also be said to be the inside the beltway or Washington-New York conservatism.” …

Limbaugh began the segment by debating whether or not he should be discussing the op-ed because of his uncertainty as to the influence of National Review in today’s media:

“So I wasn’t going to really talk about it (the Op-Ed) because I’m not convinced that it (National Review) has that much impact. … They’ve got great people there; there’s some nice people. But it’s changed a bit from what it was.”

Actually, I think it was more the voice of conservative fusion than the voice of conservatism.  Buckley’s brilliance didn’t just manifest itself in a certain brand of conservatism, but uniting all of the brands into one movement, and putting NR at the front of that movement.  The movement and the instruments for communicating it have changed in the decades that have gone by since Buckley’s fusion, and Limbaugh himself is one of the best assets to arise from the evolution of both.  However, I think NR still has a leadership position in that fusion, and it still has a great deal of impact among conservatives of many stripes — even when the editors get something wrong, as I also think they did in that editorial.

Jonah Goldberg addresses the anger among conservatives in a piece at The Corner today:

I recognize that feelings are running hot about NR’s editorial. I have no desire to lend support to some of the overheated charges being hurled at NR — including from some of our longtime friends. So I will simply say that I don’t see perfectly eye-to-eye with it myself. But that’s often the case with NR editorials. Indeed, it’s the nature of editorials. Perhaps because I know and respect my colleagues, I see no need to attack their motives nor would it occur to me to question their commitment to conservative principles. Did we get this one wrong? It’s perfectly reasonable for some to think so. It’s certainly happened before. Indeed some of the criticisms strike me as entirely fair — why not just endorse Romney if it’s a two man race? Why even consider Huntsman? etc — and there are fair rebuttals to them as well. I will let the editorial speak for itself in that regard.

Now on to some of the unfair, hyperbolic and just plain weird charges.

First of all, what is with this complaint that we are trying to “dictate” who people vote for? I don’t get it. We are, as always, an opinion magazine sharing our opinion. It is not binding.

More substantially, the notion that NR isn’t a conservative magazine anymore (a charge our friend Rush Limbaugh seems to be flirting with these days)  or that William F. Buckley would be “appalled” (in Brent Bozell’s words) is just so much nonsense. Under William F. Buckley National Review made many questionable endorsements — a point he would happily concede. NR endorsed no one in 1960 — neither Nixon nor Goldwater. There were heated arguments on every side of that decision. In 1968 the magazine endorsed a much more liberal Nixon (to the considerable dismay of Bill Rusher). In 1971, National Review “suspended support for Richard Nixon.” In 1972 we endorsed the great John Ashbrook for president. In 1973 we essentially endorsed Spiro Agnew for president, even as George Will was savaging him in the same magazine, indeed, the same issue (largely prompting Stan Evans to quit the magazine, I believe). In 1980, WFB kept the magazine from endorsing Reagan (Bill loved the Gipper but had grave concerns about his age). We endorsed Mitt Romney in 2008, for many of the same reasons some of our biggest detractors today did — to stop John McCain.

The Corner has actually had a robust debate over the editorial all week, which lends some support that NR still represents a focal point for conservative dialogue.  If they’ve gotten a few things wrong over the years (and I’d count this editorial among those), it still has a great record of getting things right — and providing a platform for the great, sweeping, and diverse community of conservatives.  There is a lot of value in that still, even if it may be hard to discern at times during presidential primaries.


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I dumped that magazine after they went all pro-TARP back in the day.

Decoski on December 16, 2011 at 4:28 PM

I tend to root for the sinner over somebody promoted as a saint.

Dr. Tesla on December 16, 2011 at 2:37 PM

While I don’t condemn Gingrich personally for falling short, I am certainly not obligated to vote for a man that has committed adultery on multiple wives, likely with numerous women. I am not interested in another Bill Clinton figure in the White House.

I would encourage you to rethink your pledge to support sinners over saints. If we all have that attitude our country will pay dearly for it. Character matters.

scotash on December 16, 2011 at 4:30 PM

Ah yes, it seems that Newt instills fear in the liberal establishment/media and the republican/establishment media.

Usually those two groups don’t get real upset like this unless the candidate is a conservative. Hmmm.

IndeCon on December 16, 2011 at 4:51 PM

It’s an opinion. There are plenty others out there. We don’t need an orthodoxy where everyone must be in lock-step. Let’s leave dogma to the Vatican and ideological purity to the North Korean politburo.

Mark Ybel on December 16, 2011 at 4:57 PM

Nonsense. Rush learned the tune from WFB but he never learned and understood the words. Limbaugh got the answers to the test from WFB, but the questions have drifted over time. Because he never learned how to solve the problems to reach the correct answers himself he is a static entity in a changing world.

His “principles” aren’t “principles.” They are simply the conservative consensus circa 1990. Principles are guiding rules, a part of a process for reaching answers to problems. Lacking an understanding of the process one becomes the calcified anachronism that is Rush.

MJBrutus on December 16, 2011 at 5:06 PM

How is National Review the “establishment” any more than Rush is? The true establishment figures are not the fringe commentators but the government movers and shakers–politicians–the practitioners of backroom deals with Wall Street and the major corporations, the wheelers and dealers. Newt is the ultimate insider. He worked with the health industry behind the scenes to get Obamacare passed–and made tens of millions doing so. If he isn’t establishment, nobody is. Yet Rush rails against Romney, a pragmatic businessman who turned to politics late in life, but he gives Newt a pass, somebody who worked the system as a Washington insider in ways that are reprehensible. Rush is absurd.

writeblock on December 16, 2011 at 5:08 PM

I would encourage you to rethink your pledge to support sinners over saints. If we all have that attitude our country will pay dearly for it. Character matters.

I question how much character Romney has. I don’t think he is a particularly honest man. If a man can’t be honest about what he believes regarding politics, what makes him a decent man in general?

It seems to me Gingrich has been faithful to his current wife for a long time now.

Dr. Tesla on December 16, 2011 at 5:08 PM

Why are people expecting ideologically pure nominees from a party which isn’t ideologically pure?

That’s not a criticism of the party, by the way …. it’s not possible that every member in an organization as big as the Republican party will agree on every issue.

NRO looks at Gingrich & believes he’d be a bad general election candidate. Anyone who watched how Gingrich played the leadership hand the first time understands that concern.

Funny how Newt can be so quickly forgiven for cutting the legs out from under Paul Ryan & the Republican House Caucus ….

BD57 on December 16, 2011 at 5:09 PM

Lacking an understanding of the process one becomes the calcified anachronism that is Rush.

Buckley never had much influence, and Rush is easily more influential than Buckley. He has a huge audience and has maintained it for decades. Buckley never did that. Buckley wouldn’t last a day on the radio.

I’m tired of these moderates using Buckley as a prop to attack Rush.

Dr. Tesla on December 16, 2011 at 5:11 PM

Rush is talking out of both sides of his mouth. He needs Obama badly to prop up his ratings. A conservative win would hurt him badly.

Secretly he is hoping Ron Paul is selected, loses by a landslide, and gifts him anothe r4 years to attack Baroque.

CorporatePiggy on December 16, 2011 at 11:45 AM

Can’t agree with this at all. And no, that’s not a defense of Rush. I’m just noting that 8 years of Bush didn’t hurt Rush at all. If a conservative president is elected, the media will get all deranged all over again, and Rush will have every bit as much to talk about as he has under the Obama administration.

In fact, Rush probably won’t be hurting no matter who gets elected next time. And I think he’s smart enough to have figured all this out a long time ago.

There Goes The Neighborhood on December 16, 2011 at 5:12 PM

Funny how Newt can be so quickly forgiven for cutting the legs out from under Paul Ryan & the Republican House Caucus ….

Funny how Paul Ryan can vote like a liberal on so many spending and entitlement bills and be quickly forgiven and even puffed up as some kind of conservative leader when really he’s part of the problem in DC.

Dr. Tesla on December 16, 2011 at 5:13 PM

Anybody that thinks Rush wants Ron Paul to win for ratings is a fool. The man owns talk radio ratings and will until he retires, and he hates Ron Paul’s leftwing foreign policy nuttery.

Dr. Tesla on December 16, 2011 at 5:15 PM

Rush gives Newt a pass? Geez, none of you guys ever listen to his show.

Am I theo nly person who remembers Newt calling Rush “not rational” when Rush said he wanted Obama to fail back in 2009? Do you think Rush gave Newt a pass on that? Hah!

Dr. Tesla on December 16, 2011 at 5:17 PM

Buckley never had much influence, and Rush is easily more influential than Buckley. He has a huge audience and has maintained it for decades. Buckley never did that. Buckley wouldn’t last a day on the radio.

I’m tired of these moderates using Buckley as a prop to attack Rush.

Dr. Tesla on December 16, 2011 at 5:11 PM

That’s right. Buckley was the thinker and Rush the entertainer. WFB gave Rush the answers on a crib sheet and Rush made people want to hear them. That doesn’t make Rush any less shallow or WFB any less innovative.

MJBrutus on December 16, 2011 at 5:18 PM

Ok, if you say so. What did Buckley innovate? Did he invent conservatism or the idea of limited government? Can’t I argue somebody prior to Buckley gave him the answers? I sure can.

Buckley liked Rush, and he talked about how people like you would play Buckley against Rush for your own little agenda.

Rush is easily as articulate and bright as Buckley was, and he has much more reach.

Dr. Tesla on December 16, 2011 at 5:22 PM

Ah yes, it seems that Newt instills fear in the liberal establishment/media and the republican/establishment media.

He instills fear in me because he’s dangerous.

Newt is dangerous because he espouses ideas that are sometimes radical and go against the popular will. We are lately finding out he backed Freddie Mac with the same gusto as Barney Frank and worked the health industry to the tune of 37 million dollars on behalf of Obamacare. All done quietly, behind the scenes, to his own personal benefit, of course.

Besides, he’s a risky choice. Right now he’s running behind Obama by 10 points, whereas Mitt leads by around 5 pts. Mitt is running strong against Obama in the swing states, Newt’s far behind, by 12 points in FL, by 9 in PA. Mitt is running well in both of those important swing states–not to mention in the Midwest where he has strong ties, especially in MI.

writeblock on December 16, 2011 at 5:23 PM

If Rush was shilling for Romney, the same people attacking him now would have nothing but respect for him.

Dr. Tesla on December 16, 2011 at 5:24 PM

Romney fans like to fearmonger conservatives into voting for Romney. It’s the same thing that occured with McCain.

Romney has no base, McCain had more enthusiastic support than Romney does. Romney isn’t even most Republican voters second choice this year.

Dr. Tesla on December 16, 2011 at 5:26 PM

Newt is risky and dangerous, compared to Obama?

But no risk in nominating Romney, the father of OBamacare, a man that ran and governed like a liberal in Mass? No risk at all there.

You have to love the objectivity of Romney supporters. :)

Dr. Tesla on December 16, 2011 at 5:29 PM

No you’re right. Reagan was a big champion of unions. Especially union members who worked for the FAA. I think they honored him with a statue at their HQ for being such a friend of unions.

angryed on December 16, 2011 at 12:23 PM

As you wish, ninny.

Ronald Reagan was president of SAG, a significant union in Hollywood. He was twice endorsed by the Teamsters Union in his presidential races, and was so involved in organized labor in his younger years that he accidentally joined some Communist groups (which he quickly disavowed).

KingGold on December 16, 2011 at 12:28 PM

An experience which led to him becoming the conservative we voted into office. It’s easy to claim that Reagan wasn’t conservative if you pick your evidence from before he became a conservative.

This is just more of the BS from those who want to make excuses for Romney’s liberal nature. Cherrypicking ridiculous examples from a time when Reagan was a Democrat just exposes the desperation for Romney’s true colors becoming obvious.

You shouldn’t be calling anyone else a ninny.

There Goes The Neighborhood on December 16, 2011 at 5:30 PM

The National Review is not “less” conservative. It’s anti-intellectual egomaniacal buffoons such as Rush, Hannity, ad nauseam who have poisoned and dumbed-down honorable conservatism.

The National Review, American Spectator, Forward, and some of the better conservative blogs remain a shining bulwark against angry stupidity.

bifidis on December 16, 2011 at 5:44 PM

I’ve been reading National Review for the better part of 4 decades, they’ve changed and so have I. The only thing I fault them for is making an endorsement this early, we still have 6 months for this thing to play out, and we need to let it go to the wire. It’s a huge mistake to let the other side make you to show your cards, but that’s what we’ve been doing with all these “so called” debates. And it’s just as bad when Rove and Krauthammer are doing the backstabbing.

There’s only been 2 conservative Presidents in the last 100 years, I hope to live to see another, but it won’t be the next one. The stakes are as high as they’ve ever been and maybe as high as they’ll ever be, I’ll vote for whomever I think is best in my primary and when they lose, I’ll support whoever comes out of the convention. I’m not painting myself in a corner now.

A tomato can could beat Obama…but only if the tomato can runs a good campaign, we know how that turned out last time. Make the case for who you like, make a fair critique of who you don’t, just remember, the economy and the world may look a lot worse in 6 months, now is the time for patience.

halfbaked on December 16, 2011 at 5:45 PM

He also has not been dedicating his program to attacking Romney, as the Rommneybots think. Rush criticizes all the candidate at times and praises them all at times. He’s criticized Romney most for pandering on global warming and for choosing to run as a moderate this time. Why isnt’ that a legit criticism?

Dr. Tesla on December 16, 2011 at 1:11 PM

That seems like a good question. Let’s look at that again.

He also has not been dedicating his program to attacking Romney, as the Rommneybots think. Rush criticizes all the candidate at times and praises them all at times. He’s criticized Romney most for pandering on global warming and for choosing to run as a moderate this time. Why isnt’ that a legit criticism?

Dr. Tesla on December 16, 2011 at 1:11 PM

Ahh. I think that answers the question.

There Goes The Neighborhood on December 16, 2011 at 5:57 PM

That’s right. Buckley was the thinker and Rush the entertainer. WFB gave Rush the answers on a crib sheet and Rush made people want to hear them. That doesn’t make Rush any less shallow or WFB any less innovative.

MJBrutus on December 16, 2011 at 5:18 PM

That’s a pretty cool fantasy. I have heard Rush and his imitators lie and trample over the truth dozens of times as a matter of routine. He’s a demagogue who foments deception and paranoia.

Buckley was not only smarter, he was far, far, FAR more ethical and, frankly, more conservative. Rush’s inflated, wordy speechification entertains small minds.

bifidis on December 16, 2011 at 6:00 PM

The esteemed Dr. Tesla called Allahpundit a liar. Here is the specific:

Anybody making the argument that he endorsed Romney in 2008 is lying or admitting they don’t listen to his show.

Dr. Tesla on December 16, 2011 at 12:58 PM

And here is Allahpundit

It’s obviously an endorsement, guys. Rush can cover his ass however he likes but his meaning surely isn’t lost upon his listeners.

My conclusion is that Allahpundit is not lying and Dr. Tesla should not be here if he finds the bloggers to be liars.

hanzblinx on December 16, 2011 at 1:18 PM

You’re leaving out a lot of context. Most noticeable is that the race was down to 3 candidates at this point, so Rush was only calling Romney conservative in the context of a comparison to Huckabee and McCain.

And no, it was not an endorsement, whether Allahpundit misread it as one or not. That implies full support for a candidate, and Rush never went that far. Probably a wise move for an opinion person to stop short of endorsing a slippery politician like Romney.

It was an abandonment of the neutrality he had followed up until that point, but that’s about as far as it goes.

Now here we are, and Romney has distanced himself from Romney version 2008. Another bit of context the Mittdogs ignore in their attempt to justify Romney being, you know, “conservative.”

There Goes The Neighborhood on December 16, 2011 at 6:05 PM

autoplay. not. cool.

Steven McGregor on December 16, 2011 at 6:15 PM

A lot of assumptions on your part. It’s still better to vote for someone who will vote with us some of the time than someone who would easily set the movement back. Let’s have intelligent conservatives leading the way. Christine O’Donnell would have been our party’s Alan Grayson (except in the Senate).

GOPRanknFile on December 16, 2011 at 3:39 PM

While we’re on the subject of assumptions, what qualifies Mike Castle as an “intelligent conservative” and what would he have done to set the movement forward? Honestly, I don’t give a crap how Christine O’Donnell would have been perceived as long as she voted the right way. At least she didn’t support Cap & Trade or DISCLOSE. If you expect a self-described “moderate” to advance the agenda of the party, then you certainly learned nothing from the tenure of Arnold Schwarzenegger…when the going got tough, the coward turned left and now California is a national joke. Gee, was Alan Grayson any more of an embarrassment to the Democrats than Pelosi, DWS, Harry Reid, Barney Frank, Charles Rangel, MARXine Waters were and are? But strangely enough, the left circles the wagons them, and they keep winning. But our party is too gutless to do the same. Part of the problem with the RINO class is that they elevate these people and their positions too high. They’re largely useless individuals whose only utility at the end of the day is how they vote on critical issues.

fitzfong on December 16, 2011 at 6:20 PM

Romney fans like to fearmonger conservatives into voting for Romney. It’s the same thing that occured with McCain.

No, just the opposite. The same people who railed against Rudy–another NE politician unacceptable to the western-southern contingents of the party–the real establishment, btw–now rail against Romney. They would do so against Christie, still another NE politician they find incorrect on some of the issues. The result is always the same, somebody unelectable, whether it’s McCain or Newt–both sunbelters with no ties whatsoever to the central swing states, neither one a true fiscal conservative, both notorious for reaching across the aisle to accommodate the opposition, both legislators with scant executive experience, both famously disorganized. Time some of you woke up. You’re doing to Mitt what you did to Rudy.

writeblock on December 16, 2011 at 6:22 PM

The National Review is not “less” conservative. It’s anti-intellectual egomaniacal buffoons such as Rush, Hannity, ad nauseam who have poisoned and dumbed-down honorable conservatism.

The National Review, American Spectator, Forward, and some of the better conservative blogs remain a shining bulwark against angry stupidity.

bifidis on December 16, 2011 at 5:44 PM

A real tell that a person has nothing as an argument is when that person produces lazy, self-satisfied, content-free bluster and thinks that suffices as a charge. We’ve heard it all before, if you don’t support this position you are “anti-intellectual”, “anti-science”, “angry”, “dumbed-down”, “racist”, “greedy”, etc. There’s no foundation for your argument, just an assertion. The likes of Al Gore are able to pull that off for a while, but you’re not even that smart. But I’m a fair person, you make these big claims. Show us your work.

fitzfong on December 16, 2011 at 6:37 PM

That’s a pretty cool fantasy. I have heard Rush and his imitators lie and trample over the truth dozens of times as a matter of routine. He’s a demagogue who foments deception and paranoia.

Buckley was not only smarter, he was far, far, FAR more ethical and, frankly, more conservative. Rush’s inflated, wordy speechification entertains small minds.

bifidis on December 16, 2011 at 6:00 PM

I’m not Rush’s biggest fan, so it’s odd that I’m defending him this much. But I certainly have some respect for him.

Buckley was brilliant, and a lot more intellectual than Rush. But he was also a fan of Rush. Who, by the way, was a fan of Buckley. There was no great conflict between them.

At any rate, this claim that Rush lies is absurd. He’s been generally accurate. He may not be an intellectual as such, but that just says volumes for him and his record of being right on almost every issues.

Rush, in short, is the triumph of common sense in the political arena. It doesn’t prevent him from ever being wrong, but most of the time common sense is what the country really needs.

Your claim that Rush lies and tramples all over the truth is just more babbling from hatred rather than evidence. Calling him a demagogue shows that you don’t know the meaning of the word (hint: it has to do with amassing power by whipping up public enthusiasm on a populist issue. Rush hasn’t amassed power.)

Nor does it make sense to claim Rush is practicing deception. And the idea that he’s pushing paranoia has no basis in fact. The usual source for such a claim is the common common feeling on the part of extreme leftists that all conservatives are paranoid.

There Goes The Neighborhood on December 16, 2011 at 6:40 PM

Ah yes, it seems that Newt instills fear in the liberal establishment/media and the republican/establishment media.

He instills fear in me because he’s dangerous.

Newt is dangerous because he espouses ideas that are sometimes radical and go against the popular will. We are lately finding out he backed Freddie Mac with the same gusto as Barney Frank and worked the health industry to the tune of 37 million dollars on behalf of Obamacare. All done quietly, behind the scenes, to his own personal benefit, of course.

Besides, he’s a risky choice. Right now he’s running behind Obama by 10 points, whereas Mitt leads by around 5 pts. Mitt is running strong against Obama in the swing states, Newt’s far behind, by 12 points in FL, by 9 in PA. Mitt is running well in both of those important swing states–not to mention in the Midwest where he has strong ties, especially in MI.

writeblock on December 16, 2011 at 5:23 PM

Dangerous? Hyperbole.

Don’t know what polls you’re quoting there. I’ve seen several that have Mitt and Newt neck and neck against Obama in the swing states.

Generic republican beats Obama. Any one of the republican candidates will beat Obama; don’t believe the Romney camp/establishment hype and propaganda. Obama would love to face Romney in the general election for sure.

IndeCon on December 16, 2011 at 6:49 PM

Dole, McCain, Bush Sr were all moderates. They lost general elections against beatable Democrats.

Not all moderates are moderate in the same way. Nor are all NE Republicans Rockefeller country clubbers. NE politicians like Rudy and Christie are fiscally conservative and have strong appeal in blue and purple states. McCain was just the opposite–a fiscal moderate and social conservative–same as those you mention.

Rudy and Christie have strong working class ties and are fiscally conservative outsiders with no links whatsoever to the country clubbers. It’s why Rudy was the only GOP pol asked to campaign for Rubio, Brown and Christie–and all won. You seem also to forget that Rudy was leading both Obama and Hillary throughout 2007–but could get no traction in the primaries. He was essentially blocked by Dr. Dobson.

Unlike Dole and McCain and both Bushes, Christie and Giuliani are both tough warriors not averse to strong fiscal reforms, including lower taxes and spending cuts. Both fought the unions, the media, the Democrats and the race hustlers. Romney, it’s true, was born to wealth, but as a Mormon he’s also very much outside the Rockefeller tradition. He’s also primarily a fiscal conservative and social moderate–exactly like most of the voters in the central swing states. So I don’t buy the argument that all moderates are like Dole and McCain. Rudy, Christie and Romney aren’t.

If you don’t like the moderate choices of the past, then complain about the primary setup which is ludicrous, giving undue heft to social moderates and shortchanging fiscally conservative Republicans, especially those from the more urban NE.

writeblock on December 16, 2011 at 6:51 PM

Sorry. I meant to say, “giving undue heft to

social conservatives”.

writeblock on December 16, 2011 at 6:57 PM

No matter how you try and parse it, Romney supporters, you are backing a guy who supported socialized medicine. I just don’t get that.

Malachi45 on December 16, 2011 at 6:58 PM

I stopped reading NR the first time they endorsed Mitt, who was less conservative than BOTH McCain and Huckabee.

Malachi45 on December 16, 2011 at 6:59 PM

The National Review is not “less” conservative. It’s anti-intellectual egomaniacal buffoons such as Rush, Hannity, ad nauseam who have poisoned and dumbed-down honorable conservatism.

bifidis on December 16, 2011 at 5:44 PM

Elite Leftist Ivory Tower Concern noted.

As for “egomaniacal buffoons”, your side of the aisle owns that category. As evidence I present buffoons like Bill Maher, Bill “Lovenstein Institute” Press, who actually fell for the hoax of the same name, and of course Democrat Gigolo Jean-Claude Kerri, who said he went to Cambodia under CIC Nixon’s orders nearly two months before Nixon was sworn in for his first term, etc.

Del Dolemonte on December 16, 2011 at 7:06 PM

I have heard Rush and his imitators lie and trample over the truth dozens of times as a matter of routine.

bifidis on December 16, 2011 at 6:00 PM

I wasn’t aware Media Matters head David Brock posted here at HA.

Care to name these “dozens of lies”? Credible links only, which means none from your own website, OK?

Del Dolemonte on December 16, 2011 at 7:08 PM

autoplay. not. cool.

Steven McGregor on December 16, 2011 at 6:15 PM

Switch to the Firefox browser and then get the ABP (Ad Blocker Plus) add-on/plug-in

Del Dolemonte on December 16, 2011 at 7:09 PM

There Goes The Neighborhood on December 16, 2011 at 6:40 PM

Don’t confuse the Unit with Facts. It’s not programmed to respond in that area.

Del Dolemonte on December 16, 2011 at 7:11 PM

Let me add that I myself am conservative on the social issues. But I know my state–PA. If you study its voting patterns you’d see the state is equally divided between big city liberals and small town conservatives. But the Philadelphia suburbs, the swing districts–the same districts that frequently go Republican, as they did in 2010–are a mixed bag, socially liberal but fiscally conservative. Conservative pundits generally omit this distinction in their considerations about who is electable. They seem all too ready to simply put states like PA and NJ in the blue state column. Big mistake. We need to start taking some of these purple and even blue states–and that means running the kinds of moderate candidates they understand, somebody with strong fiscal credentials, but who underplays social conservative issues. Not that he or she needs to deny socially conservative principles–they need only not wear them on their sleeves.

writeblock on December 16, 2011 at 7:26 PM

I’m sure National Review is just going with Romney for electability. They’d like any candidate except kooky Ron Paul to win.

The Nerve on December 16, 2011 at 7:35 PM

What the moderates and Romney supporters like most about Buckley is that he’s dead. They can respect a dead conservative, even put thoughts in his brain. It’s kind of ghoulish, but hey, that’s politics.

Dr. Tesla on December 16, 2011 at 7:51 PM

I smirk when I see these silly losers on the internet assert Rush isn’t bright and can’t hold a candle to Buckley.

Buckley is a myth at this point. Conservatism never went anywhere when Buckley was ostensibly this great influential power for us.

Rush makes a better case for Republicans than they do themselves. I’ll never understand these losers who think Rush is the problem.

Dr. Tesla on December 16, 2011 at 7:55 PM

Does anybody believe that Jonah Goldberg and Rich Lowry are more intellectual than Rush?

I don’t have a problem with those guys, but to make National Review out as some kind of intellectual engine while dissing Rush is curious.

Their best writer is Mark Steyn, and he guest hosts on Rush Limbaugh’s show.

Dr. Tesla on December 16, 2011 at 7:58 PM

I quit reading nr four years ago. Still listen to rush. Nr is a joke at this point. Commentary and the claremont review of books are much better periodicals.

tom daschle concerned on December 16, 2011 at 8:03 PM

Rush is right, as usual.

Removing my NR bookmark (recently) was almost a fun as removing my Little Green Footballs one (a long time ago).

mapper on December 16, 2011 at 8:27 PM

Does anybody believe that Jonah Goldberg and Rich Lowry are more intellectual than Rush?

I do, at least in Goldberg’s case. Goldberg’s book on liberal fascism was a major contribution to conservative literature–and to the movement. Rush’s books were essentially conservative fluff cashing-in on his popularity.

writeblock on December 16, 2011 at 9:13 PM

The editorial is correct in all details. Newt is exceptionally bright and energetic, and has no judgment or self-control at all. He does not have the right character for the presidency. Romney for president, Newt for best friend and idea man.

Bartrams Garden on December 16, 2011 at 9:17 PM

Dangerous? Hyperbole.

Newt’s dangerous because he’d not only lose but lose big, dragging the party down with him.

What’s hyperbole is thinking anybody can beat Obama. But Obama has a built-in blue state advantage of 196 electoral votes in his pocket compared to our 180. He needs only 74 more votes. His victory path lies through the rust belt–PA, OH, MI, WI. All swing states. All states where Romney polls well and Newt doesn’t.

writeblock on December 16, 2011 at 9:21 PM

No, the voice of the conservatism is a fat, 7 time divorced, prescription drug addict.

No wonder the country has gone down the tubes.

haner on December 16, 2011 at 10:36 PM

Let me add that I myself am conservative on the social issues. But I know my state–PA. If you study its voting patterns you’d see the state is equally divided between big city liberals and small town conservatives. But the Philadelphia suburbs, the swing districts–the same districts that frequently go Republican, as they did in 2010–are a mixed bag, socially liberal but fiscally conservative. Conservative pundits generally omit this distinction in their considerations about who is electable. They seem all too ready to simply put states like PA and NJ in the blue state column. Big mistake. We need to start taking some of these purple and even blue states–and that means running the kinds of moderate candidates they understand, somebody with strong fiscal credentials, but who underplays social conservative issues. Not that he or she needs to deny socially conservative principles–they need only not wear them on their sleeves.

writeblock on December 16, 2011 at 7:26 PM

Good luck convincing that demographic with a blowhard like Rush being the voice of conservatism.

haner on December 16, 2011 at 10:39 PM

I think Goldberg just parrots the convential wisdom a lot of the time, and .I don’t think his book was an original topic. I think conservatives, like Rush, have been saying for years that liberalism is a lot like fascism. You know, “big government”.

Dr. Tesla on December 16, 2011 at 10:47 PM

Have you noticed the strident Romney voters sound a lot like Media Matters liberals when El Rushbo comes up? They have a disdain for somebody who is no doubt a “true conservative”.

Romney fans hate Rush, even though Rush hasn’t talked much about Romney and has not been any tougher on him than any other candidate. He defintely has not been shilling for Gingrich, so these moderates who worship Romney really need to get their facts straight before they lash out at Rush. Romney losing won’t be Rush’s fault.

Dr. Tesla on December 16, 2011 at 10:50 PM

No, the voice of the conservatism is a fat, 7 time divorced, prescription drug addict.

No wonder the country has gone down the tubes.

haner on December 16, 2011 at 10:36 PM

I don’t understand how a person who posts something like this can call Rush a blowhard. It’s not even factual. He’s been divorced twice, not 7 times, so off by 5 divorces there. He’s no longer addicted to that drug, and hasn’t been for like 7 or 8 years, so again, you have a problem with the truth.

Why shouuld anybody take this guy seriously on anything if he lies about things that are easily refuted?

Dr. Tesla on December 16, 2011 at 10:53 PM

Here’s exactly what’s wrong with Rush’s thinking. Today he said this:

I cannot emphasize loudly enough or often enough just how frightened and opposed the Republican establishment is of conservatism and of conservatives. I’ve explained to you why and the reasons run the gamut. But one is they think that conservatives will lose them elections, despite evidence. I know the evidence is to the contrary. But they still, the formative experience is the Goldwater landslide — and then of course conservatives are also made up of people that embarrass the elites. They have southern accents, and they’re pro-life, and they go to church (and they talk loudly about that). It’s embarrassing. They look at them as a bunch of Tim Tebows that can’t play the game, in a sense.

The elites look at conservatives as a bunch of Tim Tebows that really, when you get down to it, can’t play the game. All they can talk about’s God. So it’s a threat. ‘Cause what does Tebow do? Tebow shows you your shortcomings. Tebow illustrates your shortcomings. But if you’re matched up against a failure, you look great. People forget: Taking back the House of Representatives after 40 years? Ladies and gentlemen, that is a massive undertaking. That is not insignificant — and holding it all the way through 2006! I submit to you, I dare say, this is one of the reasons why Newt is hated. Not the commercial with Pelosi. That’s why we on the conservative side don’t like him. Stuff that he does like that’s what makes us mad.

I’ll pass over how he so blithely links Tebow with somebody like Gingrich–which is pretty odd. But that’s not the point I want to make. The point I want to make is that Rush is showing the kind of mentality that’s common in the Bible Belt but plays poorly in the Rust Belt–which is where the battleground states are primarily located. He has an attitude all too common to someone from a homogeneous religious culture like the South where a politician would benefit by parading his or her piety.

But this is not how you get elected to office in the NE or Midwest. Just the opposite. Other regions of the country are far more culturally diverse and therefore more prone to tread lightly regarding social matters, especially in matters of faith. In the South a politician like Perry earns points by praying in public and advertizing his piety. But he’d win no points in places like PA and OH with heavy concentrations of Catholics and Jews and atheists and everything in-between. Here politicians tread carefully–or pay a heavy penalty.

Remember the Terry Schiavo fiasco–when Bush and the Republicans in Congress so badly miscalculated public sentiments? This was a good example of the social conservative’s general myopia about the rest of the country which is far less socially conservative than Bush or DeLay had supposed. Even when politicians in the Midwest and Northeast are themselves socially conservative, they know enough to play down this aspect and to concentrate on economics and other policy areas.

Rush is dead wrong on this.

writeblock on December 16, 2011 at 11:56 PM

I think Bush should have been stronger on Terry Schiavo.

A court should not be able to overrule the will of the majority of a family, including both parents and both siblings, and they were willing to take on the costs of keeping her alive.

Allowing to her to be starved to death simply because she had brain damaged was cruel and ususual punishment and an abuse of the court’s power.

I scoff at these people like you who think you are for limited government when in fact you supported a branch of the government overruling the majority of a family on something that should have been their decision as there was no living will.

You didnt make a persuasive case against Rush there. Rush doesn’t talk that much about social issues and a lot of prudes don’t like Rush. Gingrich isn’t a saint either and I think hard to describe him as a moralist on social issues.

Dr. Tesla on December 17, 2011 at 12:13 AM

He defintely has not been shilling for Gingrich, so these moderates who worship Romney really need to get their facts straight before they lash out at Rush. Romney losing won’t be Rush’s fault.

Dr. Tesla on December 16, 2011 at 10:50 PM

Are you serious? Of course he’s been shilling for Gingrich and is trying hard to undermine Romney. He may claim otherwise and may put in a word for other second-tier candidates now and then, but he’s actually made it clear to his public he’s all in for Newt.

All last week he complained about how Newt was the victim of concerted attacks by “the establishment,” while he himself has uncharacteristically ignored Newt’s stance on illegal immigration, his influence-peddling, his embrace of the global warming hoax, his backroom dealing with the health industry to get Obamacare passed. No other candidate would have been treated so gingerly by Rush if they had espoused such positions or been similarly on the take at the expense of the taxpayer.

He spent time attacking NR for endorsing Romney. He compares Gingrich to Tebow. Over and over he repeats the mantra: the establishment wants Romney and opposes Gingrich. At the same time he’ll turn around and claim he’s still uncommitted–after spending hour after hour defending Newt and passing over all the baggage that has others worried. So yeah, I’d say he’s been shilling for Newt–definitely.

writeblock on December 17, 2011 at 12:50 AM

Dude, Rush spent less than 3 or 4 minutes on National Review’s column, that they wrote on purpose to get attention and traffic. Why can’t Rush talk about it, it’s what they wanted.

I don’t ever remember National Review being so strident against a particular candidate. It’s dump on Gingrich 24-7 over there. But they’ll whine if you assume they are in the tank for Romney, but that’s the only logical explaination for it. He would be their guy if Romney was not in it.

Dude, you don’t listen to Rush much if you think he’s been shilling for Newt. He called Newt and Romney out for being childess is their attacks on each other. Newt called him irrational back in 2009 when Rush said he wanted Obama to fail (I see you agreeing with that), and Rush slapped him around for that, and he’s criticized Newt for his global warming thing and did an entire show 6 months ago after his right wing social engineering comment about Newt and is he still a conservative.

If you think Rush has been tough on Romney now, wait until he does start going after him.

Dr. Tesla on December 17, 2011 at 1:00 AM

I don’t think he compared Gingrich to Tebow. I think he was making a larger point about flawed candidates can win, which is true. National Review thinks Romney is this perfect person with no flaws. That’s what is stupid.

Dr. Tesla on December 17, 2011 at 1:03 AM

The reality is the Romney supporters want to give Romney a free pass on his liberal to moderate record, while using conservative ideology as a litmus test for Gingrich. Rush has even said that there’s room to the right of Gingrich for Romney to move to but Romney has no interest in moving to the right.

Rush isn’t going to battle for Romney is a primary if Romney is clearly running as a moderate and even taking shots at Rush as being zany talk radio host. Rush doesn’t have to carry Romney’s water. If he’s the man, he should be able to win this on his own.

Dr. Tesla on December 17, 2011 at 1:08 AM

I think Bush should have been stronger on Terry Schiavo.

A court should not be able to overrule the will of the majority of a family, including both parents and both siblings, and they were willing to take on the costs of keeping her alive.

That wasn’t my point. I totally agree that was immoral and outrageous. But my point was Bush and Tom DeLay–two Texans–were so sure they had the public on their side and were taken aback by the public outcry against their intrusion. Clearly they misjudged the public–much as Rush does when he fails to distinguish social conservatism from fiscal conservatism. The public was clearly sending the GOP a message in the Schiavo incident: don’t push your belief system down our throats.

You know, when Gallup asks the public whether it’s conservative or liberal it doesn’t distinguish either. But a social conservative like Huckabee is miles apart from a fiscal conservative like Rudy. Huckabee raised taxes and was soft on crime. Rudy was just the opposite. So they were both conservatives, each in a different way. But Rudy was a social moderate and Huckabee was a fiscal moderate. Apples and oranges. Rush ignores all this and talks about “conservatives.” But it’s a mixed bag and different regions emphasize different kinds of conservatism and different kinds of moderation.

writeblock on December 17, 2011 at 1:21 AM

I don’t ever remember National Review being so strident against a particular candidate. It’s dump on Gingrich 24-7 over there. But they’ll whine if you assume they are in the tank for Romney, but that’s the only logical explaination for it. He would be their guy if Romney was not in it.

Maybe you don’t appreciate fully how outrageous a Gingrich candidacy would be–especially to the millions who comprised the Tea Party, people like myself. The Tea Party was all about adhering to the Constitution, limiting government, doing-away with the cozy relations between politicians and big corporations. I think Rush ignores all this too. He’s only looking at what Newt achieved in ’94. But he glosses over the corruption–which really is pretty outrageous, especially when Gingrich goes around lying about his record and claiming he was never a lobbyist. That’s as bad as Clinton’s definition of the word “is.”

writeblock on December 17, 2011 at 1:34 AM

Dude, you don’t listen to Rush much if you think he’s been shilling for Newt. He called Newt and Romney out for being childess is their attacks on each other. Newt called him irrational back in 2009 when Rush said he wanted Obama to fail (I see you agreeing with that), and Rush slapped him around for that, and he’s criticized Newt for his global warming thing and did an entire show 6 months ago after his right wing social engineering comment about Newt and is he still a conservative.

I used to listen when I could. Now I don’t bother, but I read his comments on his website. I don’t dislike Rush. He’s a fine communicator of conservative ideas. And yes, he’s criticized Newt in the past–sure. But this is an election year and he’s just constitutionally unable to stay above the fray and not support his guy, warts and all. He’s too tempted to weigh-in–and when he does, he’s not always objective. He sounds biased and inconsistent because he is.

writeblock on December 17, 2011 at 1:47 AM

The reality is the Romney supporters want to give Romney a free pass on his liberal to moderate record, while using conservative ideology as a litmus test for Gingrich. Rush has even said that there’s room to the right of Gingrich for Romney to move to but Romney has no interest in moving to the right.

No. Most Romney supporters know his limitations. They know he’s not the most conservative candidate. But he is the most electable. That’s what most of his supporters have been saying. And they’re right. The problem with Newt’s candidacy is that it is a huge risk. His supporters believe anybody can beat Obama. They underestimate the challenge he poses. At best it’ll be a close election.

writeblock on December 17, 2011 at 1:56 AM

they were both conservatives, each in a different way. But Rudy was a social moderate and Huckabee was a fiscal moderate. Apples and oranges. Rush ignores all this and talks about “conservatives.” But it’s a mixed bag and different regions emphasize different kinds of conservatism and different kinds of moderation.

Well, I disagree with you. I don’t think Huckabee is a conservative at all….to me he was really a pro-life anti-gay marriage Democrat. Rush said so.

Rush was never that tough on Rudy despite their differences on abortion. I think if Rudy had moved to the right on abortion, he would have been the nominee. And the fact he had to go out and join a gay parade just seems a little over the top. C’mon man.

What Rush is seeking is a full spectrum conservative, one that unites the social, fiscal, and foreign policy conservatives, like Reagan did. This is the kind of stuff Romney talked about in 2008 that he’s not talking about now. That’s why Rush preferred him to McCain and Huckabee.

Dr. Tesla on December 17, 2011 at 3:18 AM

No. Most Romney supporters know his limitations. They know he’s not the most conservative candidate. But he is the most electable. That’s what most of his supporters have been saying. And they’re right. The problem with Newt’s candidacy is that it is a huge risk. His supporters believe anybody can beat Obama. They underestimate the challenge he poses. At best it’ll be a close election.

I don’t see how Newt is a bigger risk than Romney in a general election against a weak Democrat candidate.

He’ll make Obama squirm more in the debates than Romney will. Romney just has not impressed me as a debater…he’s going to spend a lot of his time on defense explaining his evolving positions. I just don’t think he can effectively take Obama to the mat on Obamacare…that will be awkward debate…he takes that issue off the table and why why would want to do that? I want somebody who will hammer Obama on that issue, i don’t care if they are hypocritical about some aspects of it. Get the job done is what matters.

You can say the same about Newt, but the difference is Newt was a private citizen when he doing that stuff and he heading up some think tank that generates ideas, a lot of them bad ones that he doesn’t still support.

Again, Romney’s Mormonism is a problem that we light to overlook. A lot of moderates aren’t religious, and they tend to see Mormons as almost as kooky as Scientologist, and I’m in agreement on that, although you are not supposed to admit you think Joseph Smith was a crackpot or you hate Mormons.
Plus Romney won’t be able to work on Sundays as a Mormon. See Chick Fila, they are owned by Mormons and they don’t open for business on Sundays. (this is just a joke)

You have the Bain Capital photo of Romney and staff with cash stuffed in their pockets and in their hands. Obama is going to have a field day with that, making Romney out as the face of layoffs in a time when a lot of people are angry about being laid off. People are always angry about being laid off, even if they understand the economic reality behind it.

75% to 80% of Republican voters want nothing to do with Romney. I think he may be the weakest nominee we have ever had in terms of support from his own party’s voters. This is a weak field and if he was so awesome he should have wrapped this up months ago.

I think Obama is going to get thumped pretty bad. I think he loses all the Bush states he won in 2008 and more. No Democrats were touting Obama in the midterms and they got thumped bad. They know he’s killing them.

Dr. Tesla on December 17, 2011 at 3:30 AM

No. Most Romney supporters know his limitations. They know he’s not the most conservative candidate. But he is the most electable. That’s what most of his supporters have been saying. And they’re right. The problem with Newt’s candidacy is that it is a huge risk. His supporters believe anybody can beat Obama. They underestimate the challenge he poses. At best it’ll be a close election.

Ok, you are free to your perspective, but my impression is Rush prefers Perry, he talked today about how he’s charismatic and likeable. He’s said in the past that Romney is a nice guy. He hasn’t been gunning for Romney like he did McCain. He’s said he would vote for Romney if he’s the nominee. ALl he did was critize National Review for their over the top attack piece on Newt. He didn’t spend a lot of time on it. I don’t care if National Review doesn’t like Newt, but they seem to give Romney a free pass on the ideology stuff that they won’t allow for Newt. I think you should apply a equal standard to all the candidates, but they clearly have no desire to do that over there.

But the reality is, they would be shilling for Newtie poo if Romney wasn’t in it. Can you see them backing Bachman, Perry, Santorum? Their only other option is Huntsman and I think they understand he’s a joke candidate.

Dr. Tesla on December 17, 2011 at 3:37 AM

The only thing that makes Romney the most electable candidate is the assumption that conservatives will turn out in droves for him simply b/c he’s not Obama and he’s a big hit with moderates.

I don’t think either one of those assumptions is provable. It’s just speculation. You can look at the polls all you want, but polls always tell us the moderate is more electable. Until it’s a choice between a candidate and Obama, the electablity arguement is really just a way to scare people into voting for Romney.

If the economy sucks, why are true indepdenents going to flock to Obama over Perry, Gingrich, Bachman, Santorum. Obama is truly one hell of a politician if he can convince a majority of Americans he deserves a 2nd term over anybody we put up.

Dr. Tesla on December 17, 2011 at 3:49 AM

Shocker… Romney-lovers hate Limbaugh.

Tells me all I need to know about Romney.

TitularHead on December 17, 2011 at 7:36 AM

Limbaugh needs to understand that he is not the voice of the GOP and only represents a small portion of conservatives. He has promoted every loser in the Republican field except for Romney. Currenty he has been promoting and defending Gingrich, a person he recently denegrated. This country needs someone that is far right as much as we need Obama for another four years. Limbaugh wants to classify those who don’t support his current candidate of choice as “beltway Republicans”, which is far from accurate. He will learn that when people start voting and Romney rises to the top. I am a solid lifetime conservative but have stopped listening to Limbaugh several months ago, and certainly haven’t missed him in making my political decisions.

lhuffman34 on December 17, 2011 at 7:43 AM

When I saw David Brooks taking part in “round tables” or whatever they were called, I realized that they had taken a little bit of a dive into mush politics…

The evolution of this “fusion” is epitomized by the following progression:

WF Buckley then…Goldwater Reagan etc etc.
Christopher Buckley now…Endorsed OBAMA…

No, his endorsement doesn’t really have anything to do with Review…

But it is just another example of the entropy that the Conservative movement has gone through in the last 20 years….

It’s the saddest thing I’ve ever watched…

By the way, some of you Clowns love to say things about Limbaugh, and he has his own ideas that many may not agree with at times…but if you were smart, you would understand just where this movement would be without him….IT WOULD BE DEAD.

WL on December 17, 2011 at 9:47 AM

This country needs someone that is far right as much as we need Obama for another four years.

lhuffman34 on December 17, 2011 at 7:43 AM

Sure, only a purebred moderate can save us now.

TitularHead on December 17, 2011 at 9:55 AM

It seems to me, a long-time NR devotée and ardent fan of WFB, I read the original editorial and was gobsmacked. Jonah did a decent job of doing his job, but the facts are what they are: Endorse NO ONE

cross-posted by me at NRO …

Jonah, Jonah, Jonah … The rationalizing doth obscure something much deeper methinks. It’s natural, for more reasons than one, that you support your co-workers, BUT …
Oh how I miss William F. Buckley, Jr.
National Review is a shadow of its former self. As a long-time reader, and huge fan of WFB, it saddens me to see his legacy sullied by this endorsement of Romney, an unqualified, pseudo-conservative reminiscent of John Sununu’s SCOTUS recommendation to GHWB of David Souter to be one THE Supremes. A “rock-solid conservative” he was.
And how has that worked out?

Mittens is not electable. People worry about Independents, well what about we conservatives (a whole lot of us) who are sick and tired of RINOs? And y’all endorsed Mittens over Johnny Mac, smooth move. Since the least objectionable (and most conservative) candidate this time around, whom do you think can beat The Black Narcissus? Certainly NOT the only conservative in the race … Rick Perry. I do. In fact, Governor Perry should be your mule train.

Well, if consistency is your guide, learn to pivot when appropriate. While not an Ivy Leaguer, Governor Perry is without a doubt the best candidate for conservatives.
As for the Perry “gaffes” …
I distinctly recall being completely turned off in 2000 by GW’s television appearances, but once I heard him speak candidly, on the radio, in the back seat of his ride to his next campaign destination, I was sold. I may have been disappointed by some things he did, but he was the right man for the job at the right time. And so now is Rick Perry.

The last POTUS America needs is a Romney. There is war in the wind and the entire Romney family, having avoided serving their country in the military, represents their selfishness NOT selflessness. It’s downright disgusting and NOT an American “value”.

~(Ä)~

Karl Magnus on December 17, 2011 at 10:15 AM

Limbaugh needs to understand that he is not the voice of the GOP and only represents a small portion of conservatives. He has promoted every loser in the Republican field except for Romney. Currenty he has been promoting and defending Gingrich, a person he recently denegrated. This country needs someone that is far right as much as we need Obama for another four years. Limbaugh wants to classify those who don’t support his current candidate of choice as “beltway Republicans”, which is far from accurate. He will learn that when people start voting and Romney rises to the top. I am a solid lifetime conservative but have stopped listening to Limbaugh several months ago, and certainly haven’t missed him in making my political decisions.

lhuffman34 on December 17, 2011 at 7:43 AM

Sincerely,

Straw Man

fitzfong on December 17, 2011 at 11:36 AM

I’m so glad that I received a National Review subscription for Christmas last year, now I can call them and tell them I’m cancelling my subscription because of their Romney endorsement. I would have just let it expire, but I might as well tell them its because of the Romney endorsement.

Lawdawg86 on December 17, 2011 at 3:22 PM

Mittens is not electable. People worry about Independents, well what about we conservatives (a whole lot of us) who are sick and tired of RINOs? And y’all endorsed Mittens over Johnny Mac, smooth move. Since the least objectionable (and most conservative) candidate this time around, whom do you think can beat The Black Narcissus? Certainly NOT the only conservative in the race … Rick Perry. I do. In fact, Governor Perry should be your mule train.

Just the opposite is true. What appeals in the Bible Belt turns off voters in the more culturally heterogeneous Rust Belt, full of Catholics, Jews and non-believers in general. No candidate who wears his religion on his sleeve would ever take the central swing states. A rino is in the eye of the beholder. To an evangelical from a red state Huckabee was an ideal conservative. To a conservative in a swing state he was a tax-raising, soft-on-crime rino.

writeblock on December 17, 2011 at 5:26 PM

The only thing that makes Romney the most electable candidate is the assumption that conservatives will turn out in droves for him simply b/c he’s not Obama and he’s a big hit with moderates.

I don’t think either one of those assumptions is provable

It’s a myth that conservatives won’t turn out. They turned out for McCain, they’ll do it for Mitt. Turn-out of conservatives is not our problem. Our problem is winning the independent voter. That’s who we’ll be battling to get, not conservatives. Conservatives from red states don’t realize this. They want their guy to win in the primaries–even if he or she would lose in the general. It makes no political sense. Last time around Rudy led in all the polls–but he was blocked in the primaries. But O boy did the evangelicals love their Huckabee–even though he was unelectable outside the red states. This is a huge problem for the GOP. Some factions in the red states have out-sized influence in the primaries–but scant influence in the general. Tell me, what sense does it make for atypical states like pure white IA and tiny NH to have so much clout in the primary season whereas more diverse swing states like PA and OH have virtually none? Yet these more diverse states are the battlegrounds in the general.

writeblock on December 17, 2011 at 6:12 PM

A rino is in the eye of the beholder. To an evangelical from a red state Huckabee was an ideal conservative. To a conservative in a swing state he was a tax-raising, soft-on-crime rino.

writeblock on December 17, 2011 at 5:26 PM

BS. That sounds like typical Romneyesque, lib double-speak.

The establishment-types are desperately trying to change the definition of “conservative,” but it ain’t gonna work.

A lib is a lib, a RINO is a RINO, a squish is a squish.

BTW… Huckabee was never an ideal conservatve to anyone other than big government squishes that were solid on social issues. That’s not a conservative and it never will be.

TitularHead on December 17, 2011 at 6:20 PM

NR has been overtaken with Big-Government Catholics. Sad to say.

shawk on December 17, 2011 at 6:31 PM

If the economy sucks, why are true indepdenents going to flock to Obama over Perry, Gingrich, Bachman, Santorum. Obama is truly one hell of a politician if he can convince a majority of Americans he deserves a 2nd term over anybody we put up.

Because voters make decisions based on more than the economy. If the economy were the sole consideration, blue states would be more purple and purple states would be more red. But Obama starts with 196 blue state electoral votes in his pocket–without even working up a sweat. This is because identity politics also plays a part. It’s possible to blow an election in a bad economy if we pick the wrong candidate, one who turns off the electorate in swing states.

This is what was so maddening in 2008. Giuliani was looking at a gold mine of voters in the Italian-American vote, concentrated in key swing states like PA, OH, NJ and FL. It’s why Rubio and Brown and Christie asked Rudy and only Rudy to campaign for them to win FL and MA and NJ. He did and they won. This demographic comprises one-twelfth of the electorate, equal to the black demographic, and it was overwhelmingly pro-Rudy and therefore pro-Republican. It’s also concentrated in vital swing states. In 2007 Rudy was polling ahead of Obama in double digits in head-to-heads in NJ and PA and even in CT. Yet he was blocked by Dr. Dobson and his followers who couldn’t have cared less for what he brought to the table in terms of electability outside the red states. Well we all know how that turned out.

This is why I think Rush is so wrong. He’s not putting the swing states in proper perspective. He’s assuming all conservatives think alike, that what applies in AL or TX applies in PA or OH. I think that’s dead wrong. The Republican Party shouldn’t be asking who can win IA or NH. It shouldn’t be worried about who is popular in the red states. It should be asking who can win PA and OH and it should be testing candidates in these battleground states, not in IA or SC. Over and over, election cycle after election cycle, the general election pivots on those vital central swing states. Yet over and over they are ignored in the primary and fought-over in the general.

writeblock on December 17, 2011 at 6:40 PM

BTW… Huckabee was never an ideal conservatve to anyone other than big government squishes that were solid on social issues. That’s not a conservative and it never will be.

Yet he won huge in IA. So apparently true conservatism doesn’t matter when the candidate is a southern evangelical favorite. Purity only matters when a candidate is from the NE.

writeblock on December 17, 2011 at 6:49 PM

Yet he won huge in IA. So apparently true conservatism doesn’t matter when the candidate is a southern evangelical favorite. Purity only matters when a candidate is from the NE.

writeblock on December 17, 2011 at 6:49 PM

With all due respect, I think you’re seriously confused about what it means to be a conservative. (Hint: winning the Iowa caucuses doesn’t mean you are one.)

Dude… the first Bush beat Reagan in the Iowa caucuses.

See also: The other Bush (twice), Bob Dole, and Gerry Ford.

First and foremost, conservationism means smaller government. Huckabee and the rest of the aforementioned lot were not, are not and never will be conservatives.

TitularHead on December 17, 2011 at 7:01 PM

writeblock on December 17, 2011 at 6:49 PM

With all due respect, I think you’re seriously confused about what it means to be a conservative. (Hint: winning the Iowa caucuses doesn’t mean you are one.)

Dude… the first Bush beat Reagan in the Iowa caucuses

Just the opposite. I’m not at all confused. I try not to conflate into a neat package the various shoots of conservatism and moderation. But others–like Rush–don’t make these distinctions. For instance, I wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve read or heard that we shouldn’t nominate Romney because we’ve already nominated too many moderates in the past. But in fact McCain was a fiscal moderate, Newt’s a big government moderate, both Bushes were fiscal moderates. So was Dole and so were Ford and Nixon. Not one of our past candidates was a fiscal conservative–except Reagan and Goldwater.

Rudy, in fact, was a fiscal conservative, a reformer who knew how to lower taxes and consolidate agencies and fire deadwood bureaucrats in order to get more bang for the buck. You’d never have guessed that if you followed the last primary season closely. Nobody cared about that. Romney is closer to Rudy in his understanding of how the free enterprise system works than McCain or even Newt–but he gets scant credit for this in the “conservative” blogs. Yet he’s far closer to politicians like Sarah and Daniels and Christie than to Newt or McCain. So I’m not the one who fails to make proper distinctions. It seems to me others fail more in this regard since I keep reading in these posts the same old hooey about nominating “another moderate like McCain.”

writeblock on December 17, 2011 at 8:23 PM

writeblock on December 17, 2011 at 8:23 PM

I believe you think you know what it means to be a conservative. I just think you’re got a ways to go.

Best wishes.

TitularHead on December 17, 2011 at 9:59 PM

BS. That sounds like typical Romneyesque, lib double-speak.

The establishment-types are desperately trying to change the definition of “conservative,” but it ain’t gonna work.

A lib is a lib, a RINO is a RINO, a squish is a squish.

But this isn’t true. A so-called “rino” who is fiscally conservative, who lowers taxes and consolidates agencies, and fires deadwood bureaucrats, and puts a budget in the black for the first time in decades, and fights the unions and the liberal media and the race hustlers, and revolutionizes crime-fighting, and introduces workfare before anybody ever heard of such a program–all of which Rudy did in a city with a greater population and bigger budget than most states–is not a rino in the same sense as Senator McCain who didn’t have a clue about economics. You would call both rinos–but they are worlds apart. One would have been just what we needed as president, the other would have done what he did in the Senate–reached across the aisle and made a mess. If you don’t appreciate this huge disparity, you need to. It’s not rocket science.

writeblock on December 18, 2011 at 1:56 AM

Au contaire, Ed.

It is you and Rush who have lost influence. The lies about Romney are beginning to catch up with you!

Did you think you could go on forever like this?

The truth wins in the end. Life lesson for you and Rush.

petunia on December 18, 2011 at 2:03 AM

autoplay. not. cool.

Steven McGregor on December 16, 2011 at 6:15 PM

Switch to the Firefox browser and then get the ABP (Ad Blocker Plus) add-on/plug-in

Del Dolemonte on December 16, 2011 at 7:09 PM

Was gonna say Flash Block. I don’t click it, it doesn’t load.

Either way, and more besides. I’s handle-able.

Axe on December 18, 2011 at 6:03 AM

Buckley is a myth at this point. Conservatism never went anywhere when Buckley was ostensibly this great influential power for us.
Rush makes a better case for Republicans than they do themselves. I’ll never understand these losers who think Rush is the problem.
Dr. Tesla on December 16, 2011

Huh? As one who grew up with NR and relished watching WFB on Firing Line, and especially the “roundtable” discussions where he clearly outshone everyone. When he rarely conceded a point (he didn’t have to), WFB was gracious and self-deprecating as always.
WFB and a few of his pals RE-inserted conservatism into the national debate. The man is a legend and any effort to portray him as otherwise is usually based upon misinformation.

BTW… Huckabee was never an ideal conservatve to anyone other than big government squishes that were solid on social issues. That’s not a conservative and it never will be.
TitularHead on December 17, 2011

Right on. The Huckster thinks he still matters. meh
And then this:

NR has been overtaken with Big-Government Catholics. Sad to say.
shawk on December 17, 2011

I don’t know where that came from, but the modern-day “Catholic Church” is nothing like it was when WFB was a national force. Visit a Traditional Catholic Church some day and revel in the Latin Mass. Lingua Latinae Mortua non est.
And then, read the Book of Mormon, Mitt’s “value center”. It’s bizarre to say the least. IF NR has been co-opted by the “Catholic Church”, it’s because of a fear of challenging the belief system of an alleged “latter day saint” from another planet.
Why doesn’t anyone care – or is Axelrod waiting to play that card should Mittens become the nominee?
I’d sooner vote Libertarian.

~(Ä)~

Karl Magnus on December 18, 2011 at 9:29 AM

Rudy did in a city with a greater population and bigger budget than most states–is not a rino in the same sense as Senator McCain who didn’t have a clue about economics. You would call both rinos–but they are worlds apart. One would have been just what we needed as president, the other would have done what he did in the Senate–reached across the aisle and made a mess. If you don’t appreciate this huge disparity, you need to. It’s not rocket science.

writeblock on December 18, 2011 at 1:56 AM

Alright, maybe our disagreement is one of semantics. Your original point was something like: “Huckabee is an ideal conservative to some people.”

My point is this: Being a “conservative” is not subjective. One either is, or he/she isn’t. Huckabee ain’t. Rudy isn’t. Neither is McCain.

Yes, they all have positions that appeal to some segments of conservative voters and all have different areas of strength. I get that you like Rudy and the evangelicals like Huckabee better.

I’ll concede that the term “RINO” is somewhat of a misnomer. Maybe conservatives are the real “RINOs”. Maybe the “real” Republicans are the squishes and we’re in, name only.

I’ve often argued, which is worse. A squishy Repub, of a liberal Dem. Personally, I think it’s the former.

TitularHead on December 18, 2011 at 10:26 AM

IMHO,Limbaugh is the gold standard for talk radio.The rest are compared to him and most fall short.
He has the ability to bring everyone on board, stay on board and sort the BS from the real stuff that will benefit the country and his show.
Limbaugh is a complete package for radio listeners and a role model for others who would be him.
Many of us who have been “in the biz for years” respect what he does has done and will do in the future.

rodguy911 on December 18, 2011 at 11:19 AM

Rush is not the last word on Conservatism.
.
He supported Bush who was not a Conservative and actually damaged the Conservative cause.

FactsofLife on December 18, 2011 at 2:49 PM

Alright, maybe our disagreement is one of semantics. Your original point was something like: “Huckabee is an ideal conservative to some people.”

My point is this: Being a “conservative” is not subjective. One either is, or he/she isn’t. Huckabee ain’t. Rudy isn’t. Neither is McCain.

Yes, they all have positions that appeal to some segments of conservative voters and all have different areas of strength. I get that you like Rudy and the evangelicals like Huckabee better.

But these distinctions go to the heart of our problem. The present primary system acts as a filter to eliminate social moderates but not fiscal moderates. This is why Nixon, Ford, the Bushes, Dole, McCain were all social conservatives with weak fiscal backgrounds. The system doesn’t apply the same rigid standards regarding fiscal policies that it applies regarding social policies. The result is usually Democrats-lite, big government spenders like Bush. Rudy would have been just what we needed in the crisis–but he was filtered out.

writeblock on December 18, 2011 at 4:08 PM

. I get that you like Rudy and the evangelicals like Huckabee better.

You miss what I’m getting out. Yes, I was for Rudy–because he was a fiscal conservative who could win central swing states whereas a fiscal moderate from the sunbelt like McCain couldn’t.

But the issue itself is more important than the candidates involved. Because until Republicans change their primary setup we will continually nominate social conservatives with weak fiscal credentials.

We’re doing it again with Newt who’s all over the place on the economy but who is widely acceptable on the social issues. Newt’s basically a big government politician, as his defense of government sponsored enterprises illustrated in the last debate. Is he the one we want to send to Washington to reform the system?

One last point: it took Reagan three tries before he got the nomination. Yet he was the candidate who most attracted Democrats in the general election. Why? Do any of you ever question where the Reagan Democrats went?

writeblock on December 18, 2011 at 6:45 PM

You miss what I’m getting out. Yes, I was for Rudy–because he was a fiscal conservative who could win central swing states whereas a fiscal moderate from the sunbelt like McCain couldn’t.

But the issue itself is more important than the candidates involved. Because until Republicans change their primary setup we will continually nominate social conservatives with weak fiscal credentials.

We’re doing it again with Newt who’s all over the place on the economy but who is widely acceptable on the social issues. Newt’s basically a big government politician, as his defense of government sponsored enterprises illustrated in the last debate. Is he the one we want to send to Washington to reform the system?

One last point: it took Reagan three tries before he got the nomination. Yet he was the candidate who most attracted Democrats in the general election. Why? Do any of you ever question where the Reagan Democrats went?

writeblock on December 18, 2011 at 6:45 PM

I think I hear what you’re saying. You place more emphasis on the fiscal issues and seem to have little regard for the social issues. Fair enough. My point was simply that a candidate that is weak on either is not a conservative. (e.g. Huck, Rudy, or Mac).

I think I disagree with you about Newt. I think Newt is all over the place on just about everything. However, one has to give him credit for what he accomplished in ’94. I don’t think he’s particularly acceptable simply because of his social conservative creds. Actually, I imagine most evangelicals would really have to hold their nose to support Newt.

I personally don’t trust Newt (or Romney either for that matter). I think Newt is high risk, with the possibility of high reward… but an equally high risk of enlarging an already overly bloated government.

I don’t know what to tell you about the cultural stuff. Some will never support a candidate who reads the Constitution to say that folks have a right to abort unborn children, but have no right to keep and bear firearms. Some think that it’ll do little good in the long run if our economy is strong, but our culture is rotting at the core.

That’s exactly why Reagan was successful. He brought all of those groups together with his passion for less government intrusion, a strong national defense, and strong shared social values all of which were rooted in our founding documents. I don’t think the Reagan Democrats have gone anywhere. Like the rest of us, I think they’re simply waiting for leader that shares the ideals that they do.

TitularHead on December 18, 2011 at 7:28 PM

I give about as much weight to Rush’s opinions as I do the endorsement of the Des Moines Register. I’ve listened to him enough to get his shtick and he’s not really that impressive an intellect, despite his ceaseless assertions of “talent on loan from God.” Basically, he reads the news on the air and shoots fish in the barrel.

I would expect someone who lobs bombast for a living to like Newt Gingrich. They’re kindred spirits. But neither one of them is really qualified to run this enterprise or tell the rest of us whose opinion to respect.

flataffect on December 18, 2011 at 11:11 PM

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