Zev Chafets, writing an op-ed for the New York Times, concluded that radio show host Rush Limbaugh “is the brains and the spirit behind [the conservative] resurgence.”
The writer claimed that “when the Tea Party movement emerged, Mr. Limbaugh welcomed it”:
The movement's causes—fighting against health care reform, reducing the size and cost of government, opposing the Democrat's putative desire to remake America in the image of European social democracies—were straight Limbaughism. A very high proportion of Tea Partiers listen to Mr. Limbaugh. Sarah Palin's biggest current applause line—“Republicans are not just the party of no, but the party of hell no”—came courtesy of Mr. Limbaugh. glenn beck…calls Mr. Limbaugh his hero.
His influence is so great, according to Chafets, that “if the [Republican] party sweeps this November under the banner of Real Conservativism, Mr. obama will find himself facing two years of ‘no' in Washington and, very likely, a Limbaugh-approved opponent in 2010.”
Pastor Chuck Baldwin, presidential candidate for the Constitution Party in 2008, wrote in February against Tea Partiers letting one person, or several people, gain such sway over their movement and warned that if such a “sweep” occurs in November, it would remind him “of the Conservative Revolution of 1994, when the GOP reclaimed both the US Senate and house of representatives.”
The vehicle used to transport these young conservatives from grassroots activism to US House and Senate seats was the highly touted “Contract with America” (CWA), which was orchestrated by House Speaker-to-be, Newt Gingrich. The CWA included a promise to the American people that if they would give the GOP a majority in Congress, they would eliminate up to 5 federal departments—such as the Departments of energy and Education—and many federal agencies.
Obviously, not only did the GOP-controlled Congress not eliminate a single federal department or agency—or even shrink the size of the federal government at all—it expanded the size and scope of the federal government at every level. And there is one reason for it: Big Government neocons posing as champions of conservatism co-opted and destroyed the Conservative Revolution of 1994.
He puts names on those “Big Government neocons,” including “charlatans such as Newt Gingrich…. Anyone who thinks Newt Gingrich is a real conservative or that he will do anything to reduce the size and scope of the federal government needs to speak with any of those Republican members of the freshman class of 1994.” An easier way to learn about Gingrich is here.
Baldwin also warns about Sarah Palin. “Palin is currently playing both sides. She is promoting Big Government neocons such as John McCain on the one hand, and sincere conservative-libertarians such as Rand Paul on the other hand. But if one wants a real barometer of Palin's true colors, look no further than her endorsement of rick perry in texas. Perry is the quintessential establishment Republican.”
Palin is also supporting establishment Republican Jane Norton in her bid for Senator Michael Bennet's (D-Colo.) seat this fall. Her opponent, Ken Buck, supported by Tea Partiers and whose showing in the recent primary was so strong that Norton chose to circumvent the primary process in Colorado and petition herself onto the ballot instead, was ignored entirely by Palin.
Baldwin reminded his readers that “Tea Parties are supposed to be about putting principle over politics, supporting and defending the US Constitution, supporting limited government and personal liberty, getting rid of the Federal Reserve, abolishing the IRS, ending preemptive and pervasive wars, and putting truth and integrity back into government.”
Whether Palin or Gingrich is “selected” by Limbaugh to run in 2012 remains to be seen. What is clear is Limbaugh's belief about his own power and influence among those respectable Republicans: “In my heart and soul, I know I have become the intellectual engine of the conservative movement.”
As John McManus, President of The John Birch Society, points out:
So bereft of principle has the conservative movement become that old-line conservatives no longer admit to being conservative, choosing rather to be known as constitutionalists. After all, the Constitution sets a standard against which anyone can be measured. Not so with ever-shifting conservatism.
In a long and highly relevant analysis of Limbaugh's false conservative credentials, McManus uncovered the day of Limbaugh's conversion from a grounded constitutionalist to a respectable conservative in an article by James Fallows in the Atlantic Monthly:
On June 3, 1992, George Bush invited Rush Limbaugh to Washington. The two had dinner and took in a show together. Limbaugh stayed overnight in the Lincoln Bedroom—where … he placed calls to his relatives saying, “You'll never guess where I am!”… From that day forward Limbaugh never said a word on his show that could be construed as hurting Bush's re-election effort…. [That] one visit seemed to turn him around permanently.
As McManus regretfully put it, “After June 3, 1992, [Limbaugh] unmistakably became a propaganda accessory of the Republican Party.”
Baldwin concluded his warning about establishment candidates, vetted and supported by such accessories as Limbaugh, infiltrating the Tea Party and co-opting its efforts:
I say again, be careful, Tea Party Nation. You are being infiltrated. You are being compromised. You are being neutered. Stick to your principles. Stick with the Constitution. Keep opposing unconstitutional, preemptive wars. Keep calling for the abolition of the federal reserve. Keep fighting for less taxes, reduced federal spending, and states' rights. Keep opposing the Patriot Act and the New World Order. Don't abandon Ron Paul. Be wary of people such as Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck. You don't need “big name” celebrities to give you credibility. As Samson's strength depended on keeping his hair uncut, your strength lies in keeping your principles intact.