Washington Post Columnist Michael Gerson blames Rush Limbaugh for Donald Trump being the front runner.
The newest way for the establishment to avoid any acknowledgement of their failures which rocketed Trump to the head of the Republican pack, is to blame Rush Limbaugh. Thus, Michael Gerson dutifully writes,
If Donald Trump becomes the Republican nominee, one of the main reasons will be that many in the conservative movement found him acceptable. And one of the main reasons that many conservatives are finding Trump acceptable is that the most influential political talk radio host in history, Rush Limbaugh, has provided his blessing.
Not his endorsement. Limbaugh takes pains to preserve neutrality between Trump and Ted Cruz, whom he describes as the obvious choice “if conservatism is the dominating factor in how you vote.”
But Limbaugh has also consistently defended Trump as a legitimate choice for those whose dominating factor is the humiliation of “the establishment.”
As an establishment flack, Gerson doesn’t like the fact that there are a huge number of voters who are indeed primarily motivated by the prospect of humiliating the establishment. Just run through Gerson’s previous columns and see for yourself.
Gerson has devoted this most recent column to attacking Trump (and Limbaugh), but he also attacks Trump and Ted Cruz together for the things they have in common with the vast majority of voters. He has claimed that they both are helping terrorists, and that the only hope for the GOP is to defeat them both. He favored Marco Rubio.
Think about that.
He is claiming that Rush Limbaugh is responsible for Donald Trump’s rise. But he is talking really about values and concerns that are driving both Trump voters and many anti-Trump voters (i.e. Cruz supporters). Does he seriously think that Limbaugh could have made a dent in that large a population of voters? Is the EIB network engaged in a massive mind control operation?
Does anyone think that Rush Limbaugh could have made Marco Rubio more popular with conservative voters?
All of this is absurd. In case Gerson hasn’t noticed, if the voters could be so easily led in the “right” direction, Trump would have never become a frontrunner. Gerson doesn’t want to face facts that, after thirty years of angry rhetoric—“I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!”—the bottled frustration has reached the point that, for a large enough group of people, they are not going to take it anymore. And they don’t have to. Trump has become the outlet for their rebellion.
As a conservative, I see huge problems in a possible Trump Presidency. But Gerson’s assertions are not going to change anyone’s mind.
Most in this Republican “establishment” believe they are serving a set of ideals, which includes market economics and limited government. There is no longer a Nelson Rockefeller wing of the GOP that is attempting to block the rise of the conservative movement. Leaders such as House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) are conservative by any serious measure.
Does Gerson think anyone will believe such fantasies?
Rush Limbaugh supported John McCain when he won the nomination and also Mitt Romney. Trump is no less a conservative than they are. Limbaugh was animated then by exactly what animates him now—a belief that the Democrats must be defeated. He is being entirely consistent.