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Posted by on Jan 2, 2008 in Politics | 1 comment

The Kiss Of Death: Rush Limbaugh Blasts Huckabee Day Before Iowa Vote

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If Mike Huckabee loses in the Iowa caucuses it’ll be partially because of this:

Rush Limbaugh devoted a large portion of his first show since the holidays to criticizing Mike Huckabee’s candidacy and offering a disapproving bottom-line assessment of the former governor.

“Ladies and gentlemen, Gov. Huckabee, mighty fine man and is a great Christian, is not a conservative, he’s just not,” Limbaugh said. “If you look at his record as governor, he’s got some conservative tendencies on things but he’s certainly not the most conservative of the candidates running on the Republican side.”

Limbaugh’s comments come after a long-distance back-and-forth between the candidate and influential talk show host before Christmas.

Despite his criticism, Limbaugh said he didn’t want to use the entire program to bash Huckabee.

“I’m going to keep some of the powder dry here because I don’t want to be accused of piling on,” Limbaugh said, “but if people are going to ask me questions I’m not going to shirk from them and try to hem-haw around.”

The bottom line is that Huckabee and Arizona Senator John McCain are not beloved by conservatives — particularly the early 21st century brand of conservative that worships more at the altar of George Bush than that of conservative purist Barry Goldwater (there are still a lot of those around, but they don’t hold the levers of power in the GOP party elite).

Last month one of Huckabee’s supporters made the big, fat mistake of “dissing” Limbaugh — saying he couldn’t think for himself and that his thoughts were influenced by DC types, particularly the types who work or live in the White House and consider him a vital supporter who can reach millions and get out their message. Vice President Dick Cheney, in fact, prefers to talk to Rush on the air rather than to pesky reporters, who he’d rather avoid — or invite out to go hunting.

It was a monster mistake.

In fact, despite what Limbaugh and his supporters say, Limbaugh CAN be reliably expected to echo or embrace the latest White House or RNC line. And in this era of mega-polarized politics where only YOUR SIDE has honorable, honest or well-intentioned people, Limbaugh is the gold standard for praising pro-establishment Republicans and ridiculing all Democrats (except Joe Lieberman).

But Limbaugh is, above all, a huge broadcasting TALENT who knows how to use his microphone and pace a show to keep his listeners tuning in again and again (a problem with some Air America shows is that the pacing is poor).

What does it mean?

It means some folks in Iowa who respect Rush — they listen to him and his talent as a broadcaster is that they firmly believe he is talking just to THEM — will think twice about Huckabee. Because Rush is right.

Who will benefit? Most likely the man who is running as a more or less traditional candidate and the race’s true candidate of “change” (since he has changed so many positions) Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

What does it mean?

More than ever it signifies how the GOP establishment is uneasy with Huckabee, from his irreverent jokes about Bush not reading intelligence reports, to his criticism of Bush’s foreign policy to his whole way of operating. Plus, he is not “their” person.

Reports earlier this year indicate Bush family supporters are split supporting two candidates: McCain and Romney.

Huckabee is nowhere in that recipe.

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