Rush Limbaugh’s endorsement of Ron Paul’s economic plan is a breath of fresh air. For the last several years the most capable and consistent conservative radio host couldn’t find a good word to say about the most capable and consistent conservative politician. All of sudden, Limbaugh declared that Ron Paul’s economic plan can save the country. He of course added, that Ron Paul stole it from him, which was ridiculous and unnecessary: In the age of the Internet it is easy to find out that Ron Paul has been saying the same things 35+ years ago, when Limbaugh was still a music disc jockey and hadn’t discovered conservatism yet. We all knew Limbaugh has been saying the same things in the last ten years or so, and we all knew the two men had the same libertarian approach to economics. There was no need for Limbaugh to make a fool of himself in such a way.
This endorsement means two things.
First, it unequivocally shows that Rush Limbaugh is an honorable and consistent man, even if I disagree with some of what he says and believes. Even in his attempt to ascribe to himself the fatherhood of Ron Paul’s economic plan, he did not shy from praising Ron Paul for his courage and tenacity. And he did not miss indicating that Ron Paul is serious about it and it is not just a campaign promise. Rush also did not miss taking a stab at the other candidates and at the Republican Party in general for only talking about budget cuts but never doing anything about it. That’s right, that same Republican Party to whose service he devoted a large part of his life and career. Limbaugh indicates he is disappointed with the Republican Party – enough to endorse Ron Paul whom he has treated less than honorably in the past.
Second, it shows that Rush Limbaugh is betting on a victory for Ron Paul in the Republican primaries. He knows Ron Paul can and will win. Why do I think so?
It is an old principle that “If you can’t beat them, join them.” Sometime in the 1950s – or may be even earlier – the media discovered a corollary to the principle: “If you can’t beat them, make them look as if they have joined you.” Communists were really good at using that principle in their propaganda, when they had to explain the economic successes of capitalism; capitalism, they said, has economic growth only because they have adopted some of the principles of socialism. In 1981 the Communist newspapers were explaining the rise of Reagan in the same way: “He promised the American people more socialism, and that’s why the American public, wanting more socialism, voted for him.” Stupid and ridiculous, but effective.
Limbaugh just rediscovered it. He apparently expects Ron Paul to win the nomination, and he wants to position himself favorably: “See, I have been telling you all along, this is the right plan, and Ron Paul stole it and he won. Next time listen to me.” Thus Ron Paul is made to look as if he joined Limbaugh and so he won.
Also, Limbaugh apparently doesn’t expect Ron Paul to lose. Because if the plan is Limbaugh’s and Ron Paul only stole it, and if Ron Paul loses the nomination, no other Republican candidate will implement a plan so radical as to cut $1 trillion of federal expenses. Limbaugh is right about the rest of the bunch: Their talk about “cutting expenses” is only marginal, 2% here, 3% there. In fact, if anything, we should only expect increase in government spending under any other candidate but Ron Paul because none of the others is seriously taking aim at the Federal Reserve, the Treasury, and the IRS, the three organizations most responsible for feeding the spending addiction of the Federal government. If Ron Paul loses, then in Limbaugh’s terms it will mean the defeat of his own (allegedly) plan. And it will mean that the Republican Party is not the party Limbaugh believes in anymore. Thus Limbaugh is indirectly declaring that only a Ron Paul nomination can preserve the Republican Party in its original ideology and purpose; unless, of course, one of the other candidates adopts Limbaugh’s (allegedly) plan – which is as probable as another virgin birth. Apparently, Rush Limbaugh is attaching his reputation, and his assessment of the Republican Party as representative of what Limbaugh himself believes, to Ron Paul’s nomination for President.
Of course, it may be that the words just slipped out of Lumbaugh’s mouth. Very unlikely, taking in account that he sounded quite self-conscious and purposeful in what he said. In any case, the Republican Party is changing drastically, and the conservative field is changing drastically towards what it was originally supposed to be. Whoever may claim the credit for it, whether Ron Paul or the 16-years his junior Rush Limbaugh, America can only benefit from it.