Yes, the Huckabee campaign “hucked up” again. Time for another NYPost cover!
I was in the car listening to Rush Limbaugh responding to the Mike Huckabee campaign’s attack on him. What an unbelievably knuckle-headed move by Huckabee’s minions. Casting Limbaugh as part of the Beltway-Manhattan elite? Those who’ve been tuning in and listening closely know that Limbaugh has scrupulously avoided playing favorites with any of the GOP candidates. He’s been an equal-opportunity scrutinizer. What possible benefit could accrue from going after one of the conservative movement’s most popular figures?
I believe this Rush-bashing incident may turn out to be Huckabee’s Howard Dean scream moment.
Like Glenn Reynolds said: “Bad idea.”
Jim Geraghty liveblogged Rush’s comments:
“These people are coming after me personally, something I have not done. They’re coming after me personally the way the libs do.”
Rush, discussing how he differs from the NY-DC media axis, lists off Harriet Miers, Dubai Ports World, Republican spending abuses, illegal immigration…
On the argument that he secretly wants Hillary to win, to make him a bigger star: “I became a megastar long before the Clintons got into the White House.”
“I really am uncomfortable with this, I was hoping it wasn’t going to come to this.”
“I’ve never called him a Huckster, I’ve called his fans Hucksters.”
Rush points out Rollins ran the Christie Todd Whitman campaign, calling him the “DC-Manhattan Axis campaign manager.”
“I’m part of the Cape Girardeau-Middle America Axis.”
“Stop with this Clintonian spin.”
“McCain’s starting to look better to than this guy, and that’s saying something.”
“The Huckabee campaign is trying to dumb down conservatism in order to get it to conform with his record.”
Here are transcript excerpts of Rush’s remarks via his website:
This election is going to be about the future of the country. The election is not about the career of Rush Limbaugh or anybody else in Drive-By Media or talk radio or what have you. It’s about the future of the country, which I care deeply about.
I care more about that than anything else because I have this awe, and this respect, and this utter appreciation for what this country is and what it affords the people, not only of this country, but of the world — and it can be destroyed. It can be damaged greatly. And there are people running on the Democrat side they don’t want to do that. I’m not sure they think they’re damaging it. They think they’re improving it, they think socialism is better than anything else. They’re wrong, but it’s not something I want to see, and I don’t want to spend eight years or four years having to talk about the president every day! You know, the Clintons, they are the issue! What their issues are is immaterial. They are the issue. They’re omnipresent and so forth. Now, would it cause an uptick in the audience? I don’t know. I don’t think about that. I wrote a book. The first chapter: “My Success Does Not Depend on Who Wins Elections.”
My responsibility is to attract the largest audience I can, and hold it for as long as I can, every day; charge confiscatory advertising rates to my sponsors so that they get better results here than they get anywhere else. It’s my job to do that regardless what the news of the day is — and I do. That’s why I’m a highly trained broadcast specialist and unparalleled. So it doesn’t matter to me who wins in terms of the radio show. It matters to me who wins in terms of the country. If this is really a Huck force member… If you missed it, somebody went out there and asked a Huckabee supporter in a Huckabee Universe, actually, why I don’t like him. Frankly, I haven’t attacked Huckabee. You know, I’ve raised some questions, but they’re pretty sensitive out there about this. So the Huckabee Universe Guy said, “Honestly, Rush doesn’t think for himself. I mean, that’s not necessarily a slap because he’s not paid to be a thinker, he’s an entertainer. I can’t remember the last time he’s veered from the talking points from the DC-Manhattan chattering class. If they were praising Huckabee, he would be, too.”
That’s just… I can’t believe that there is a Republican alive today who thinks this, whether supporting the Huckster, Giuliani, whoever. Then this also, said the Huck forcer, “I have to think that he’s dying to have Hillary in the White House. Bill Clinton made Rush a megastar. Having another Clinton back in power would make him the Leading Voice of the Opposition, once again.” What do you mean, “once again”? You know, these reports of my demise have never been correct. This program, after 20 years, 19-1/2 years, it’s still a fad to some people. But whoever made these comments, I’m sure has been made aware now that I am making them public or amplifying their already having been in public. If you really are a Huckabee supporter, whoever said this, your campaign is in trouble, because if that’s what people on Huckabee’s team thinks, your ignorance is going to get your candidate in big, big trouble.
Huck’s people have already begun kissing ass to mitigate the damage. The more the conservative world comes out against him, from Will to Peggy Noonan to NRO to Rush to Sean Hannity, the more he’ll be forced to pitch an “us against them” campaign to his supporters. He’s too far left on too many issues to tack right credibly, so the only way to keep them in the fold is to try to build on that religious and economic populism he’s peddling and make this a full-blown Cause against the conservative establishment. The trick is keeping the few truly big players like Limbaugh neutral, since they really do have the chops to tilt this thing in a two-man race. Sounds like it might already be too late.