Just when you thought Senator John McCain and his crew had finally left the scene after getting pounded last November, at least one prominent McCain operative has crawled out of his bunker long enough to blame McCain’s loss on Rush Limbaugh and conservatism.
That’s right. On January 15, 2009, McCain campaign manager Rick Davis appeared on BBC’s “Hardtalk” and credited McCain’s loss to “the Rush Limbaughs of the world who…literally almost feed the nativist attitude toward immigration reform” and the exclusivity of conservative principles.
So the McCainiacs are still trying to blame the 2008 disaster on everyone except themselves and their candidate. If you’ll remember, in the initial days and weeks after the election they were spinning the idea that it was Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin’s fault that McCain lost. Members of the McCain campaign dumped on her and McCain was nowhere to be seen. “Big Mac” proved to be but a “small fry” as he failed to come to her defense even once.
Of course the then-seemingly senseless attacks on Palin are more understandable in light of Davis’ BBC interview: If conservatism posed a problem for McCain, then Palin, Human Events Conservative of the Year in 2008, had to be trouble for the “Maverick.” They probably found the job of reining in her convictions akin to that of pulling a pork chop out of pit bull’s mouth.
Now Davis says it was Limbaugh and the “Limbaughs of the world” who caused McCain to lose. By doing this he shows himself to be a moderate who believes a Bob Dole/Jack Kemp-type centrist Republican Party could rule the day if they could only excommunicate the conservatives who still cling to the principles that defined the Republican Party and made it great during 1980s.
Davis’ attacks obviously grew out of bitterness over Limbaugh’s relentless opposition to McCain’s amnesty plan for illegal immigrants in 2006 and – four years earlier – McCain’s attack on the First Amendment in his Campaign Finance Reform Act. Conservatives across the board opposed both of these things when McCain championed them, and conservatives remembered them in 2008. McCain’s defects and lack of conservative principle were too great to overlook, even as the 2008 campaign progressed.
Although Limbaugh should be praised for standing when others caved in to the “Big Mac”-turned-small fry, the McCainiacs now attack him for not toeing the Republican Party line. I presume this is actually refreshing for Limbaugh, who is usually accused of being a “Bush apologist” or a Republican sycophant.
The truth is that Limbaugh is conservative first and Republican second; something intolerable to Davis-like moderates who demand more tolerance from Limbaugh.
Davis was so eager to see that no blame for McCain’s loss actually fell on the campaign itself that he told “Hardtalk” host Stephen Sackur that blaming the candidate and his managers is to “miss the mood of the country” and the political cycle we were in: “[The loss] wasn’t ideological.”
Really? If it wasn’t ideological then why is your post-election defense of McCain ideological Mr. Davis? Why did you take time to give BBC an interview in which you pointed out the so-called problems with conservatives and the “nativist attitude” of Limbaugh if this wasn’t ideological to begin with?
The answer is that it was ideological and will continue to be so as long as conservatives continue to put principle over party. And, thanks to Rush Limbaugh and others, we will continue to do just that as long as we draw breath.
Limbaugh admitted that his opposition to the McCain candidacy was ideological before McCain even won the nomination. He knew that McCain despised conservatives and predicted that McCain would purposefully destroy the Republican Party if he won the election. As it turns out, after ensuring the Party’s destruction, McCain’s minions (like Davis) want to prevent it from reviving. Apres McCain, le deluge? Only if the RINOs such as Davis remain in control.
Davis was explicit in his desires to see the Republican Party move beyond conservatism. He told the BBC audience he agreed with Charlie Crist’s post-election analysis that “It is as obvious as the nose in front of your face, Republicans have to change and have to find ways of becoming inclusive.” For years academicians, homosexual activists, and the abortion lobby have mocked Republicans for being “too closed minded,” and we just threw an election by giving them a presidential campaign run a faux-conservative who agrees with them.
Besides having the support of RINOs such as Crist, Davis’ case was bolstered just days before he appeared on BBC when former McCain economic advisor Carly Fiorina said, “The [Republican] Party has to be broader than Sarah Palin’s set of convictions.” In his interview, Davis added: “[The Republican] Party does have some serious questions that they’ve got to answer…before they can become a very competitive party again in the future.”
Now think about this folks: In spite of being despised and belittled by people like Davis, Crist, and Fiorina, there were still quite a few conservatives in the mix of 55 million Americans who voted for McCain. But as Limbaugh pointed out, even many of these were voting against Obama more than they were voting for McCain.
And who could argue with Limbaugh on this? Our choice in the last election was not between a liberal and a conservative but between Obama and Obama Light.
We will hold to our destiny and faith by holding to our principles Mr. Davis, but we shall never attain that destiny if we moderate as you and yours have called on us to do.
Like Limbaugh we must be conservatives first, Republicans second.