Rush Limbaugh's Defense of Donald Trump Is Shocking
Last week, National Review’s Jim Geraghty published what may be the most insightful essay yet on the difference between the conservative movement and Donald Trump and his followers. Geraghty has noticed a telling reticence on Trump’s part to utter such words as "freedom" or "liberty." By contrast, Geraghty notes that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker used the word "freedom" six times in the 179-word announcement of his plan to replace ObamaCare, and Ted Cruz used "freedom" twice and "liberty" eleven times in his announcement speech at Liberty University, not counting references to the university itself.
The reason for this lack of keywords is that Trump’s principles are very different from those who are inspired by the likes of the late William F. Buckley; he is indifferent to the size and scope of big government and quite indifferent to Constitutional guarantees of citizens’ rights. For instance, Robert VerBruggen pointed out several months ago that Trump has not only been a serial abuser of the eminent domain provision of the Constitution but, having lost a case in which the state of New Jersey tried and failed to dispossess an elderly widow of her property on his behalf, even welcomed the disastrous Supreme Court decision in the Kelo case in 2005.
All of Trump’s campaign rhetoric centers on power politics — strength, American greatness — often in terms which would not look out of place in a speech by some nationalistic autocrat. And this doesn't appear to bother his followers one bit, or at least no more than they are bothered by his disgusting boorishness concerning women (ask Megyn Kelly and Carly Fiorina) or his schoolyard-bully taunts of any Republicans who criticize him (as Bobby Jindal and, most recently, Rick Perry and Ben Carson can testify).
But what I find truly shocking is not Trump’s behavior, which has been on display for decades, nor his ability to attract a certain type of follower. What I find shocking is Rush Limbaugh’s defense of Trump in the face of Geraghty’s analysis.