Do Limbaugh's followers share his despair for the GOP?
Conservative talk radio pundit Rush Limbaugh has been finding it easier to identify candidates he dislikes in the Republican presidential primaries than anyone he might support.
Some analysts even believe that Mike Huckabee's disappointing third-place finish in the Michigan primary was a result of Limbaugh's constant claims that Huckabee is not a true conservative and that his nomination could destroy the Republican Party.
Now Limbaugh has gone a step further, telling his listeners that he's not too fond of McCain either and that "I can see possibly not supporting a Republican nominee" because "you don't have a genuine down-the-list conservative."
A political blog at the Los Angeles Times found reason for merriment in Limbaugh's admission. Blogger Andrew Malcolm wrote, "Across the country, people were dropping their coffee cups, choking on sandwiches, fainting and driving off the road. The king of conservative talk-radio not supporting the Republican nominee? ... 'And I never thought that I would say that in my life. This stuff is very tough.' No kidding. Who'd a thought? It's tough enough just listening to him go through this, let alone live it like he is."
However, Limbaugh's actual followers seemed far less fazed by his confession than liberals might have imagined. One conservative blogger wrote approvingly of Limbaugh's position, saying, "It’s heartening to know that such a prominent conservative is willing to stand on principle and not act as a cheerleader for whoever the eventual GOP nominee is.
A pro-Romney blogger agreed with Limbaugh that both McCain and Huckabee "are trying to redefine Republican and Conservatism" and was delighted by Limbaugh's statement that "it's easier for me to support a Romney than a McCain, for example. Because I believe his conversion is genuine."
Even a blogger who took issue with Limbaugh's position did so in temperate terms, merely complaining that "One doesn’t have to pretend Romney or McCain or whomever is the second coming of Ronald Reagan to decide you’d rather have him running the executive branch than Hillary Clinton."
Limbaugh himself was not enthusiastic about any of the Republican candidates, even Romney, concluding that "it's going to come down to which guy do we dislike the least."