Another Perspective

Thank Him, Santorum!

A Limbaugh endorsement has been the secret weapon of yesterday's big winner.

By 2.8.12

Send to Kindle

Remember Rick Santorum, the neb who finished a distant third in Florida 's king-making primary last week? There was a lot of buzz about him after that outcome, mostly speculation about whether he should walk off into the Sunshine State sunset. He had only one victory, in tiny Iowa, and even that one was retroactive, announced weeks after the voting. He had no money, no rich backers, no famous billionaires with comb-overs to offer him apprenticeships. And he definitely needed to lose that lame sweater vest.

The pundits wrote him off and I was prepared to accept their verdict… until the Limbaugh endorsement. Suddenly, Santorum has a head of steam and he is pulling ahead of his team of competitors. Minnesota minimizes Mitt! Missouri misses the Romney bus! Colorado colors in Santorum!

"Wait a second. What are you talking about? Everyone knows Rush Limbaugh does not endorse candidates!"

"I didn't say he did. I was referring to the David Limbaugh endorsement."

"HUH?!"

IT IS TRUE THAT RUSH LIMBAUGH has a long-standing practice of refraining to choose sides in primary elections. That is a good plan for a man who holds a position of public trust as an arbiter of a particular set of values. His job is to lay out principles that others can apply to life situations. If he starts telling people what to do, he becomes a private-sector version of big government: a know-it-all who figures out other people's lives for them.

Every four years during the primaries season, people call in begging him to jump on one of the horses in the Republican race, and he wisely holds back.

This time around things are different. Barack Obama has lied about many things but he has been truthful in his terrifying Inauguration promise to "remake" America. It may be too late to undo much of the damage he has wrought but one thing is fairly certain: giving him another term will guarantee a legacy of deep systemic damage to this nation. The pressure was building on Rush to accept that this time was the exception that proves the rule. When Rome is burning, Nero cannot be fiddling. 

Finally, on the eve of the Florida primary a woman caller propounded a novel approach. She said that listeners respected the constraints of convention and propriety that restricted his ability to announce a personal preference among the contenders. But how about this idea? How about if he would announce his brother David's choice? Listeners would know what to do with that information, she promised.

Limbaugh chuckled and moved on to other conversations. But lo and behold, at the very end of the broadcast he reported that his brother has emailed him to the effect he would back Santorum. Nor did it end there. He began pointing out on a daily basis that every other major candidate in the race -- Obama, Romney, Gingrich -- had either instituted or advocated a health-insurance mandate at some point. Not only was he offering a provocative argument, he used the broadcaster's skill to always end the presentation with the name of the candidate.

"The only candidate in the race who has not backed a mandate is… Santorum!"

This Tuesday, on the eve of the Colorado-Minnesota-Missouri trifecta, Limbaugh revisited this mantra, and I quote: "Santorum, of the conservatives remaining, is the one with the least baggage in terms of abandoning conservatism at times over his career." The voters were listening. In Missouri, where Rush was born and David still lives, Santorum won 55-25! In Minnesota, a 45-17 romp over Romney; in Colorado, a tighter squeak. These are not only victories; they carry a big stick and speak very loudly indeed.

The Limbaugh-by-proxy endorsement has shaken things up and you can be sure the establishment honchos are hunched over in terror. The Republicans march toward Super Tuesday mindful of this message: "Yes, Virginia , there is a Santorum clause on the ballot."

As for Mitt Romney, I respect him a great deal and his campaign has treated me with the utmost cordiality. All I can say to him right now is this: if at first you don't succeed, you're probably trying too hard.

Like this Article

Print this Article

Print Article
About the Author

Jay D. Homnick, commentator and humorist, is a frequent contributor to The American Spectator.