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When I was in high school, I remember “finding” Rush Limbaugh.  He was on my television in a thirty minute segment which I taped on a VHS tape and watched repeatedly.  Growing up in rural Tennessee, I was one of the only Republicans I knew.  Admittedly, most people either didn’t care or were the kids of Democrats, so Rush’s no non-sense, brash conservatism was a breath of fresh air.

That’s why it’s so hard to be on the opposite side of El Rushbo.  Recently, he’s said, “Romney is not a conservative….He is a gentleman. But he’s not a conservative.”

This, however, stands in stark contrast to this statement from 2008 (h/t Hot Air):

I think now, based on the way the campaign has shaken out, that there probably is a candidate on our side who does embody all three legs of the conservative stool, and that’s Romney. The three stools or the three legs of the stool are national security/foreign policy, the social conservatives, and the fiscal conservatives. The social conservatives are the cultural people. The fiscal conservatives are the economic crowd: low taxes, smaller government, get out of the way.

Of course, Gov. Romney hasn’t held political office between these two statements, so Rush’s (dare I say?) flip flop on this issue is puzzling.

And, honestly, disappointing.  Hopefully, Rush will come to view his record on abortion, gay marriage, or Romneycare as we do.  But I’ll always remember 1993 very fondly, when I sat in front of Rush’s television show and began to really enjoy politics.

Comments and Discussion

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50 Responses to Rush Versus Mitt Versus Rush

  1. Susan says:

    I have had similar thoughts recently. I am hearing a totally different Rush these days. I am curious also to what radio talk show hosts where saying about Romney and the Massachuett’s health care when it was first passed. Before Obama ever came on the scene.

  2. Brett says:

    Yeah, Nancy, I’ve noted this ‘flip-flop’ too…and been both disappointed and disturbed by it. Living outside the US, I don’t get to listen to Rush anymore, but have been an avid reader of his online transcripts for years. Oddly enough, I’ve nearly stopped reading since he started the ‘Romney’s not a conservative’ claims. I know Mitt personally from my time in Boston, and he’s just what America needs right now. Thanks for the post. Clearly, I’m not alone.

  3. Lance in TX says:

    My wife and I have heard the same things. We are puzzled about it as well. Romney has not changed since the 2008 election run in ways that would make me say he is less conservative than before. Actually, I would say just the opposite. But that is what I feel. I wonder if there is something else going on.
    We still listen to him on the radio, but we do wonder.

    • ccr says:

      While it’s only been in the past couple of years that I’ve listened to Rush, I was aware that he “supported” Mitt 4 years ago. It is obvious by his constant negative talk about Mitt now, that he’s changed his tune.

      When I read and ponder on the depth and breadth of Mitt’s economic, foreign and today, the China trade situation, I can’t help but compare him to ANY of the other GOP candidates not to mention any comparison to Obama and find Mitt way beyond any of the others.

      So, I come to a “conclusion” that Rush, along with Beck, Levin, etc. are doing one of two things:

      1) They are NOT studying Romney’s writings on any of the above mentioned or studying out the MA health care process. So this would indicate lazy intellectual material from them.


      2) They know the information but are trying to “manipulate” us. (Whether it’s ratings, their pocketbooks if they have no one in the WH to condemn, etc., etc., I won’t go there.)

      If it is “ignorance” of Mitt, WHY should any of us listen to any of them and trust what they are saying?

      Since I do not believe they are ignorant of Mitt’s preparation for POTUS, they are willfully choosing to feed their audience propaganda, the very thing they are so good at pointing out from the Left.

      Indeed, it has left me with a sad and sour taste in my mouth for voices I thought could be trusted.

  4. Philip R. Jasper says:

    Linda, I am stunned at Rush’s, I can only describe as real insults, against Mitt Romney. If you heard him earlier this week he said that Mitt didn’t want to make ANY CHANGES to social security. Mitt was very explicit concrning what he would do with S.S. and the changes he would make. I used to love Rush, but he is part of his own Republican Establishment that he accuses Mitt being a part of. he really dosen’t do his homework, and thats a shame. Cain now is having trouble explaining how services and some internet purchases will be handled with 9 9 9, and NO COMMENT FROM RUSH! I wonder why?

  5. Mike says:

    Nancy, we have been saying the same thing as you and the folks in these posts. My wife just wondered out loud if he is getting senile! Sad…

  6. Melissa Penuell says:

    Rush stated Mitt would not repeal ObamaCare and Mitt said he would 2-3 times in the debate. Why is Rush taking this drastic stance? Maybe he is trying to name himself King of the Tea Party, which BTW, I’m disappointed in as well. They are so closed minded about the one candidate that can beat Obama. When Obama starts rolling that dirty, money filled machine at our nominee, they are going to wish they had supported a candidate that can debate with him and stand up to him in every category. Mitt is that candidate!

    • Nancy French says:

      It’s odd too that they’d be so critical of Gov Romney since he has at least a good chance at being the nominee…

  7. Doug Campbell says:

    I have wondered the same thing. I noticed Glenn Beck has made the same change. In 2008 they both were saying good things about and leaning towards Mitt. I have a feeling they are being swayed by the Tea Party crowd, not wanting to loose out on them as listeners. I am having a hard time listening to either of them anymore. Before the TEa Party they were the main voices of the conservatives.

  8. Jon says:

    I also read somewhere that Haley Barbour said that Cain could sweep the South. I doubt that. Something is going on behind the scenes, and I don’t like it.

  9. K.G. says:

    I don’t know that Rush has “flip-flopped” as much as just flipped out. He’s been so crazy this week I had to turn him off, maybe for good, after 20 years of faithful listening. There’s no other way to describe it: Rush has just been ugly toward Romney. Uglier toward Mitt than he seems to be toward Obama. Rush seems panicked and desperate. We were all taken by the surprise by the Tea Party. I’m one: I marched in DC in ’09. The Tea Party has been taking a beating lately and apparently the Pub Establishment (behind the scenes?) has been fighting against the TP. I believe Rush sees a Romney presidency an Establishment presidency and the end of the country since the TP is the only force that can save the country.
    The problem is there is no TP candidate who has been running for years, doing the work, laying the ground, improving their message. I believe Rush is just throwing a tantrum because he cannot bear to see a less-than-rabid conservative created in his image in the White House. And therefore the country is toast.

  10. Dave says:

    As constitutional conservatives we do not want the eroding of the Reagan conservative bar lowered. We have come to see even ANYONE more conservative than Bill Clinton as acceptable. It is because we have been worn down and made to accept anything that “sounds conservative” as being conservative. But if you consider the constitutional conservatism……..hmmmm maybe not Romney.

    • Nancy French says:

      Hey Dave — I’m not sure what you mean… My husband David French is a Constitutional attorney, who defends free speech rights of Christians for a living. Romney does not have issues with the Constitution…

    • Renna says:


      You drinking the Rushbo Kool aid? Mitt romney has no issues with the Constitution – in fact he defends it more than most, especially the tenth ammendment.

  11. copp says:

    It’s called ratings, guys. Supporting Mitt is boring. Not only that, they know when mitt is President their whole raison d’etre is gone. No anger, no enemy, no ratings, no career, no money. Once Bush got in Chris Mathews stopped the Clinton bashing that nade his show famous and started becoming a Bush critic and hyper democrat. Rush and Mark Levin can;t do a switcheroo like that when Romney wins. Romney’s inevitability is a ratings killer for then now and it’s only going to get worse. They are scared and angry and confused. . Theyare flailing and lying about Mitt’s policies. It’s truly disgusting. On the other hand they are increasing Romney’s attraction to indepenedents and democrats. This drives them even crazier! And they are losing the Romney supporters in their audience – so they are actually ruining their careers faster. so you can see how they are in a vortex that they can’t get their heads around just yet!! They rode very high, and reached the peak just last November, and they can’t believe it’s all going to be going away very quickly. It’s inevitable though. It’s not their fault. Their moment has passed. But they served their purpose well.

    • brimstan says:

      Bingo! Copp has hit it right on the head. As Rush is fond of saying … “Follow the money”. Having a candidate who actually believes what he says and is willing, and able to make a rational defense of his positions is a refreshing change of pace. It has always been the Democrats that have relied on the ad hominem attacks. It is depressing to hear El Rushbo tag along the MSM party line of charges against Mitt.
      I am getting so sick of hearing the Romneycare/Obamacare connections being blindly made. Yes, they both address healthcare, but they are so radically different. It’s like saying that the Confederacy was copied from the United States.. Yes, they both included States, but there was a considerable difference between them. Do these people not realize there is a difference between the powers reserved to the States and the people versus those allowed to the Federal Government? Yes, I think Governor Romney does understand the Constitution.

  12. K.G. says:

    Dave, then who?
    This is my complaint with Rush, Beck and Levin, who supported Mitt last time and is now going to have a heart attack hating on Romney. So Romney is not as conservative as you want. The 2010 elections proved that perhaps Americans are ready for BIG changes (although I suspect that if they were actually presented, the electorate would say, Heck no. But I digress.)
    If not Romney, then who? Rush should have been a right-wing Bill Ayers and been grooming the perfectly electable, perfectly conservative candidate for the last 20 years. But he didn’t. He left it to chance and has lost. Maybe Cain can be the real conservative, but he hasn’t been vetted and I don’t care what the well-respected Art Laffer says, 9-9-9 IS regressive and politically not viable. Rush was loving Perry and we see how that worked out. Rush claims he’s living in “Realville.” Hmmmm……Maybe not.

  13. Philip Mazzei says:

    I had the impression that Rush flipped-out, right after Christie’s endorsement. Before that event he seemed to be more contained. What did Christie’s endorsement mean to Rush’s subconscious.? That would be an interesting question to answer.

  14. K.G. says:

    Copp: IMO you are absolutely right about the lying and mischaracterizations. And it is sickening. He seems to be imploding. Rush should be in the history books; his influence on the country has been that profound. But lately? Sad, mystifying implosion.

    • Nancy French says:


      You did NOT mention it, but I appreciate it so much. We’ve gotten a lot of hate mail lately, so THANKS. It’s appreciated.

  15. copp says:

    These guys are entertainers underneath it all. No criticism. It’s a business. With a competent conservative president doing things the people approve of…well, their act becomes pointless and passe. They see it coming. It’s happening now. They are scared. Because they are human and because they are celebrities. It’s tough to see it slipping away through no fault of your own. They need to figure out a new variation that holds the most audience possible. Honesty is probably their best shot but it’ll be very hard to do – they lose half the audience no matter what they do. At the moment they’ve settled on the old diehards sticking around. They fear that it could cost Mitt the election by turning these old fans against him, and that’s why they always say they’ll support Mitt in the end….but they better be careful. Meanwhile they’ve lost their smartest most influential audience – more recently acquired – and now holding them in contempt. I only listen to Levin and just for the last four years. (Rush always bored me.) Eventually Levin will revert to his basic straight-forward honesty about Mitt and Mitt’s positions as his conscience gets the better of him – and when he realizes the audience gets cut in half anyway so you may as well salvage your integrity if nothing else. But he better hurry up or he’ll have lost his better educated, hipper, more recent audience for good if he waits too long and tries too be too cute about it.

  16. K.G. says:

    It’s all rather surreal. Rush screaming, Mitt is not a conservative! Jeffress screaming, Mitt is not a Christian!

    Who gets to make such judgments? And how does this help our cause? Both Rush and Jeffress, after descimating Romney over and over, say, Oh, but we would vote for him over Obama.

    Yeah, after he’s mortally wounded by the likes of them. Obama et al must be dancing a jig right now. They couldn’t buy this kind of ati-Mitt publicity for any amount of money.

  17. Keith Price says:

    Nancy, I’m so sorry to hear you’re getting hate mail for supporting Mitt as an evangelical.

    I’ll add my thanks for all your tireless efforts to make the case to other evangelicals.

    Since I’m a Mormon, I find MY efforts tend to fall on deaf ears. Sounds like yours are hitting a lot, too. But, I’m certain you’re opening the eyes of many others who are willing to consider, thoughtfully.

  18. Dale Atherton says:

    Thank you Nancy. This issue hit me like a ton of bricks. I’m a faithful Rush listener. I remain a faithful Rush listener. Anyway, did you pick up on Rush’s assertion that Romney “sent” his advisors to the White House on the health care issue? That shocked me. I researched and found that Romney did no such thing. The advisors did go to the White House but Romney didn’t send them. I’m still scratching my head trying to understand the hostility Rush is showing Romney.

    • Nancy French says:

      I know – and I’m not like some of the others who think Rush is doing this for the ratings. I think Rush is a good, moral person who loves America. I just don’t get it. :(

      • Stan says:

        It’s ok for Rush to “flip” on his statement because when Mitt wins the Republican nomination, Rush is going to “flop”. :)

    • Terry says:

      A big point that is often being left out of new reports is that the “advisers” were Mitt’s former advisers when he when he was governor, not his current advisers.

  19. Darlene says:

    philip mazzei – I agree and said the same thing. Rush really lost it after Christie’s endorsement. I could understand it if Rush and Levin and Beck had issues with Mitt’s policies, but they are all out there blatently lieing. It has been noticed that Rush has even been playing clips that cut off Mitt’s full answer. I thought only the left did that?

    • Philip Mazzei says:

      Rush’s accusations /arguments /conclusions have been atypically “RUSHED” (pun intended) and SLOPPY. That’s why many of us have compared them to leftists tactics.
      To me it’s a knee-jerk reaction, due to the fact that Christie’s endorsement has struck a nerve.
      My question remains: Which nerve has been struck?

  20. Mike K says:

    I’ve wondered about this too. I think perhaps two things may be going on. First, the last time around, Mitt was to the right of the “establishment” candidate, McCain, and conservatives of every stripe could see how much better Mitt was on the issues, and also knew in their bones that the incoherent McCain would lose to Obama. This time around, Mitt is the establishment candidate, and due to the influence of the Tea Party, the center of the Republican party has moved to the Right from where it was in 2008. So even though Mitt is at least as conservative as he was last time around, now he is, as the establishment candidate, by definition the guy those who see it as their calling to pull the party further to the right culturally, fiscally and on defense issues have to challenge.

    Second, I think that Glenn and Rush have no desire to tear down Mitt to the point where he would not be electable, and they are smart enough to know that their over-the-top kvetching may actually make Mitt *more* acceptable to the all-important independents in the general election. Those who have never listened to Levin, Beck or Limbaugh, but have heard that they are bad and hateful by their liberal friends and the MSM, will think to themselves that if Romney isn’t the right wing haters’ favorite candidate, then he must be OK to vote for over the guy they voted for last time, and are now so disappointed in.

    This is the only way I can justify Rush and Glenn’s behavior lately.

      • Mike K says:

        My take (and hope) is that once the primary race is for all intents over and Mitt is the candidate, that Rush et al will get in line and say, “well, he’s not perfect, but he’s way better than Obama, so all you dittoheads, get out there and make it happen!”

        That remains to be seen. If it doesn’t happen that way, then they will have lost me as a listener.

        Oh, and thanks to you and David for all you do, not least for being a military family. My dad was career Air Force, and I know personally the sacrifices you both make.

        • Stan says:

          I think Rush will realize that Mitt is a lot more conservative than he is perceived. His goal to bring America back to her status as the leader of the free world is very much a conservative.

  21. Getting really sick and tired of Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin downin’ Mitt Romney every day. Mitt is a Conservative, accomplished executive, and will make a great president. Really disappointed in Rush, especially, because I am such a Dittohead, and totally disagree with him saying Romney is not a Conservative.

    If not Mitt, then who, you ask? Rush very clearly supported Sarah Palin, and seems bitter that the country overwhelmingly rejected her and has decided to take out his bitterness on Mitt Romney as a result. Totally unnecessary and destructive hypocrisy on the part of Rush.

  22. Arfisher says:

    I am thinking:
    1. He has fallen head over heals for Rick Perry and sees him as a successful long term governor or
    2. His new wife has another view of mitt and he doesn’t want to rock the boat. Kind of like a brilliant Newt buying a million dollars worth of Tiffany jewelry, taking cruises and signing elephant books instead of campaigning.
    These guys don’t want to lose wives again.

  23. Terry Tippets says:

    At the risk of belaboring points already excellently made, my wife and I have been wondering what the heck has been going on with Rush and Mark Levin. Today, we heard Levin tear into Mitt over the RomneyCare / ObamaCare advising thing. We didn’t listen to the entire show, but Levin did not once mention that the Romney advisers who consulted with the White House were Romney’s advisers when he was still Governor of MA. Looks to me like the mainstream media has done pretty smooth job of not making that point either, themselves. How anyone can honestly tie that to Romney is beyond me. Levin made other points that were so outlandish that my wife swore off him forever. I might also it he keeps it up.

  24. Terry says:

    Okay, I’ve never been a conspiracy dude, but here’s for ya’ll: Obama has done such a pathetic job as president, that right now he pretty much looks like toast for the 2012 election. HOWEVER…the possibility always exists that the Democrats and the mainstream media will come up with a way to suddenly bump him up in the polls at just the right time, far enough that he will be re-elected, regardless of who the Republican candidate is.

    Enter Rush, Mark, and Hannity–the big three–who conspire together to make Romney look as bad as possible. They know that folks like us will vote for Mitt in the Republican primaries regardless of what they say, and that Mitt will get the nomination. Why make Mitt look liberal when he obviously isn’t? To make him more appealing to those who are disappointed with Obama but would never stoop to voting for a true conservative. So Mitt wins the GOP nomination, and the big three express extreme disappointment and heartbreak. They continue that theme during the general election campaign (“Romney’s a liberal–Romney’s a liberal”). The former disenchanted Obama supporters, who now see Romney as their “new” leader, confirm their acceptance of him at the polls. Because of the addition this group of supporters, Romney wins the presidency in a landslide. The big three then come clean, and have a right jolly laugh after the Democrats find out, too late, how skilfully they have been played.

    Impossible, but pleasant to think about. :o )

  25. Matt says:

    I’ve been puzzled/bummed-out by Rush’s flip-flop on Romney, too. I think there are two reasons for it:

    1) Obamacare happened. Romney already had Romney care on his resume before, but the whole fiasco surrounding the passage (tempted to use scare quotes on that word) of Obamacare has caused them to look again at Romney’s association with the Mass plan. They were probably already skittish about the abortion/gay marriage stuff, and this just put all of it under a brand new microscope.

    2) I think these guys, whether they admit it or not, are really worried about the Mormon thing. I think they believe it is a fatal flaw, fair or not, that will sink Romney in a general election. It doesn’t mean they agree with it; I just don’t think they want to have to spend the next thirteen months defending/downplaying Mormonism, especially with so much at stake in the election. It’s just one extra thing to worry about, and if national polls are to be believed, it is a pretty significant thing. Obama is going to have a billion dollars and nothing to spend it on but going negative against the Republican nominee. He certainly doesn’t have anything to brag about.

    You can plausibly argue that anti-Mormonism in Iowa was primarily responsible for setting the wheels in motion that put John McCain on the ticket in 2008, and I don’t think anyone wants to play with that fire again. They’ve seen how hot it burns. It’s not fair, and it’s not right, but there you have it.

  26. Matt says:


    I too am so glad you posted this. It needs to be re-posted again and again. I’d like to find Mark Levin’s actual comments in 2008 as well. He was a strong supporter of Romney in 2008 when it was only Mitt, McCain, and Huckabee. I don’n know if you caught John Gibson’s show the other day where he actuall played this very clip, comparing to Rush’s most recent “he’s not a conservative, folks” comment. It was rich. I have been so frustrated by the flip-flops in the conservative media. This post is truly a breath of fresh air…ahhhhhhhh.

  27. Pam says:

    I am equally puzzled. Rush and Levin are making Mitt’s flip flops (a man can change his mind) look like nothing.
    I don’t get Beck, maybe he is a Huntsman fan due to their relationship with the Dad. Huntsman is somewhat to the left of Mitt. I do like some of his ideas but the catty remarks at Mitt are petty and unnessary. Maybe it is religion but never really thought about Rush or Levin being especially religious. I have never been much of a fan of Rush but my husband is really angry about the attacks and refuses to listen and he is a real or rather was a real fan. I really don’t like pundits or the media manipulating facts or stretching the truth. Beck is always saying …use source material… they loose credibility when you go to the source and find out you have been lied to. Beck may be eating his own words.

  28. Phil says:

    I’ve gotten tired of listening to talk show hosts over the years and don’t even listen to them anymore. I either listen to music or inspirational talks from my ipod on my car stereo. Between the incessant commercials and the fact that these guys are entertainers, that they thrive on stirring up controversies, and that they all tend to let their fame and “power” go to their head, I’ve lost interest in listening to them anymore. That’s not to say that they do have some good points to make, but it’s not worth it to me anymore and I can glean much more wisdom from my own focused web research than by listening to them. This makes me wonder if others are beginning to feel the same way and if talk show radio will become a thing of the past. I also don’t like what fame has done to either Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh, or other conservative talk show hosts. It seems to have gone to their heads and I’ve been appreciating them less and less over time.

  29. Brent W says:

    I think these talk show hosts started changing their tune when they started seeing polls indicating that Cain had a chance to beat Obama, now they want to see if they can keep those polls moving in that direction. Cain does appear to have less political “baggage” right now. However, I keep thinking about Ross Perot back in the day. Perot’s message on the economy and the deficit brought him a lot of support, but when he started talking about social issues and foreign policy, he didn’t seem so brilliant anymore. I think this will also happen to Cain.

    Romney understands more than the other candidates what it takes win a national election. He simply can’t afford to alienate the independents, therefore he is going to come across as “boring” to the vocal ultra-conservatives.

  30. Doug Campbell says:

    A rush comment today 31 October 2011. He doesn’t even want to talk about Romney. I am now done with Rush.

    Here’s Tony in Edmonds, Washington. I’m glad you waited. You’re next on the program, sir. Hello.

    CALLER: Hi, Rush. Thanks for having me on.

    RUSH: You bet.

    CALLER: Hey, I was hoping to hear your vantage point on my belief that the reason why Romney has not caught on is the sense that conservatives have of him is that he doesn’t have these core feelings. Now, you know, we all think back on Reagan and what he did for this country. The fact is Reagan back in the seventies believed that communists could be defeated, you know, detente was not working out, and it was a loser for the US, and he had this opinion that we could beat these guys by going after them head on and nobody believed that. The guy, they thought he was out in left field and was nuts. And supply-side economics was another issue. So he had a couple of core issues that he was able to focus on –

    RUSH: He had three. He had three that he never wavered from, beating the Soviets, rebuilding the US military, and cutting taxes which would rebuild the US economy. Those are the three legs of the stool of Reaganism, and he never wavered from them. Romney is dealing now with charges that he flip-flops and that he changes his mind on core issues as needed. Anyway, I would like to know, you know, Herman Cain says he was cleared by the restaurant association investigation and that the Politico is saying it’s up to him to tell us what he was charged with. Why don’t they go find out? They’ve been doing all this reporting. Why couldn’t they go find out what he’s accused of? Why is it his job to explain that?

  31. Pingback: Mitt Romney, the Tea Party, and the Rise of Conservative Political Correctness | The French Revolution

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