Conservative Colloquium

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Rush: Huck ‘not a conservative’

Posted by Tony Listi on January 2, 2008

http://www.politico.com/blogs/jonathanmartin/0108/Rush_Huck_not_a_conservative.html

Rush Limbaugh devoted a large portion of his first show since the holidays to criticizing Mike Huckabee’s candidacy and offering a disapproving bottom-line assessment of the former governor.

“Ladies and gentlemen, Gov. Huckabee, mighty fine man and is a great Christian, is not a conservative, he’s just not,” Limbaugh said. “If you look at his record as governor, he’s got some conservative tendencies on things but he’s certainly not the most conservative of the candidates running on the Republican side.”

Limbaugh’s comments come after a long-distance back-and-forth between the candidate and influential talk show host before Christmas.

Despite his criticism, Limbaugh said he didn’t want to use the entire program to bash Huckabee.

“I’m going to keep some of the powder dry here because I don’t want to be accused of piling on,” Limbaugh said, “but if people are going to ask me questions I’m not going to shirk from them and try to hem-haw around.”

Indeed, callers were interested in discussing Huckabee, and the talker spent most of the first half of his program discussing his candidacy in the context of the GOP race.

While calling Huckabee’s now-famous Des Moines presser Monday “Clintonesque,” Limabugh said he would not “join the chorus” of those saying it would damage the Republican’s chances.

“It’s quite possible people will see Huckabee’s press conference as an attempt to be honorable, that the drive-bys [in the mainstream media] have now sabotaged him on,” Limbaugh observed.

“And they can easily conclude, ‘Look, he didn’t air the ad, you guys did.’  The people that are looking at Huckabee in a supportive way are not analyzing Huckabee, this is what you have to understand. They are not picking apart his policy, they’re accepting him for what he is based on his identity politics. So I don’t think they’re going to take it to the nth degree the way the drive-by pundits are.”

Limbaugh, who has previously offered warm words for Fred Thompson, appeared to be dissatisfied with at least three of the top GOP candidates.

In addition to Huckabee, he singled out John McCain for specific criticism, attacking the senator on immigration, campaign finance reform, interrogation and tax cuts.  

“The idea that he’s a great conservative in this race is an affront to conservatives,” Limbaugh said, accusing the media of “pushing McCain hard.”

Limbaugh seemed to swipe at McCain, Huckabee and Rudy Giuliani, respectively, in responding to a caller about which candidate had true conservative bona fides.

“If our nominee is either not conservative and is pandering to the left trying to get some of their votes, or if our nominee is so afraid of his record that he’s relying on identity politics to get votes or if our nominee decides that the only way he can win is to go out and pick off some libs in the northeast and out in the west, it’s going to be a bloodbath,” he predicted of the general election.

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