The White House is attacking Rush Limbaugh as the leader of the Republican Party. They're not exactly right. Limbaugh might have the attention of the Republican Party but Limbaugh has long said he doesn't lead the Republicans. Nor does he run for office. If anything, Limbaugh leads the conservative base in this country. Not necessarily Republicans but rather a principle that can be taken up by Republicans, Democrats or Independents.
Conservative people typically vote Republican because the Republican party has often stood for conservatism when compared to the Democrat party. However, there are liberal Republicans as there are conservative Democrats. Limbaugh, much like other conservatives, do not have to agree with the Republican party. When George W. Bush expanded the government, conservatives protested. Conservatives raised concerns about the first $700 billion dollar bailout. Conservatives did not like the choice of John McCain. Conservatives, including some Democrats in the "Blue Dog Group" are concerned about the latest "stimulus" bill.
I am a fiscal conservative. I believe in lower taxes and less government intervention. I believe government hampers business. I am not against oversight but I do not believe the government should be interfering in the day-to-day operation of any business. I believe in free enterprise and that America works best in the private sector. And these are things that Limbaugh also happens to believe. And I believe that it is an American citizen's right to voice that opinion. As does Limbaugh. And it's because I am conservative first, and not a Republican first, that I can criticize Bush's expansion of government and bailout plan. It is because I am conservative first that I can compliment Joe Manchin's fiscal conservatism in keeping West Virginia in the black. I don't care if he's a Democrat as long as he follows basic economic principles to keep the state in check.
On a social agenda, I find myself at odds with some in the conservative base. There are many social arguments in which I just don't have an opinion. So I base 90% of my votes solely on the financial policies of the candidate. And that's the Number One reason why I'm having a hard time with Barack Obama. I don't believe his policies are going to advance this country. And I believe we are heading down the wrong direction. And, like Limbaugh, I don't want to see this country turn into a welfare state where the redistribution of wealth becomes the primary job of the state.
Lastly, I don't like the policy the White House has taken in trying to bully and intimidate opponents. They have tried to distort the words of anyone who publicly disagrees with their policy. They have obviously taken on Limbaugh and Hannity and, by doing so, pushed many Republicans back to their conservative ideals (thank you, White House). And they have taken on other journalists who voice their opinions. They have attacked Rick Santelli for disagreeing with the "stimulus" bill on CNBC in his famous "Chicago Tea Party" rant and now they are taking on Jim Cramer because the believes the White House is destroying wealth.
Correct me if I'm wrong but doesn't the First Amendment guarantee Freedom of Speech and Freedom of the Press? Is it now not permissible to question the judgment of the White House? When the Press Corps was pushing a "Lose the War" agenda in Iraq and the White House called for a more balanced report, didn't the Press cite the First Amendment? Now the White House is trying bully the press even though a majority of the press has been favorable towards the "stimulus" bill. By calling out every critic and attempting to embarass their critics, they are trying to stifle opposition.
Anyway, I have strayed very far from my initial point. Limbaugh is right because he is standing up for conservatism. It doesn't matter whether it be a Republican or Democrat ideal...someone needs to stand up for conservatism and, for several months, he was the only person doing it. And that is the right thing to do...regardless of your party. In the next few days, I will try to explain what conservatism means to me...and why I'll vote for a conservative every time.