If the Republican Party weren't so afraid of conservatism and having a conservative nominee, Ron Paul wouldn't be anywhere near winning the Hawkeye Cauci. It's just that simple...[B]ecause the Republican Party insists on insider moderates or at least gives the impression that's who they support, then it opens the door for all kinds of people to make headway because the Republican primary base is not interested in who the establishment is interested in. It's just that simple. I'll tell you something I've been saying here for the last couple, three weeks, maybe even longer than that, that Mitt Romney can't get higher than 30% anywhere. Other than New Hampshire, he gets 35. But in truth no other Republican does, either. When you get right down to it, no other Republican is, either. Now, the reason for that is primarily this. The Republican establishment is trying to split the conservative vote among all the other conservative candidates, the Gingriches, Bachmann, Perry, Santorum, I don't mean to leave anybody out here, but they're dividing that vote in the hopes of securing the nomination for Romney.
If I understand this correctly, Limbaugh is arguing that the sheer number of "conservative" candidates is proof that the GOP "establishment" doesn't really want a conservative nominee. If that was their actual desire, I infer, they would winnow the field so that there could be only one challenger to Romney. For that matter, I suppose they could just as easily persuade Romney not to run, if that's what the problem is. But because they allow (Rush might say encourage or entice) several credible conservatives to run, their strategy stands revealed in the spotlight of Limbaugh's intellect as a divide-and-conquer plan. Wouldn't some of these reputed conservatives, however presumably acceptable to Limbaugh as individuals, have to be complicit in the conspiracy? And wouldn't that throw their conservative credibility into question? If they share an obligation to clear the playing field so that primary voters have a clear choice of Romney, a conservative, and whatever Ron Paul is, and none of the four conservatives named has done so, does that mean that no true conservative is in the running? But that should have been obvious, since otherwise the dreaded establishment probably wouldn't have let any of them run in the first place -- right, Rush?
As for Rep. Paul, Limbaugh has taken to photoshopping tinfoil hats on the Texan's head and trying to impersonate Paul's voice. Limbaugh mocks him not for any suspicions Paul has about the Federal Reserve, but because the candidate dares suggest linkage between American foreign policy, Middle Eastern hostility, and terrorist attacks on this country. In other words, for the most nearly sane part of Paul's platform, Limbaugh dubs him a nut and a non-conservative. To be a "conservative," as far as Limbaugh and some others are concerned, is to affirm the exceptional right of the U.S. to attack other countries and dominate the globe. I bet even Mitt Romney believes that, but somehow Romney isn't conservative enough for Limbaugh. It's hard to tell who would be, but I suppose it's part of Limbaugh's job never to be satisfied and always to be a gadfly denouncing any deviation from ideological purity. At the same time, growing numbers of Republicans and conservatives in general resent his presumption of doctrinal dictatorship. He may revel in their resentment, but the really scary thing for him, I suspect, is the possibility that Republican leaders might simply ignore him. What can he threaten, after all? As far as I know, nothing more than a refusal to motivate his listeners to vote. But how much extra motivation will Republicans really need next year, given the hate for the President that Limbaugh has lit up as much as anyone? Yet Limbaugh already seems to be looking ahead and positioning himself to cast blame for another Republican loss. Maybe this is inherent conservative pessimism at work, but Limbaugh also seems interested in spinning 2012, as he's spun 2008, as a repudiation of something other than his own style of conservatism. It's easy not to see yourself repudiated when you never put your own neck out -- and that may be what professional Republicans resent the most about Limbaugh. Could you blame them?