Just in case you've been living under a rock I will summarize what has led up to this. Someone associated with the Huckabee campaign responded to critical analysis from Rush about Huckabee, claiming in short that Rush didn't think for himself and just repeated chatter from the DC/Manhattan elites. Mr. Limbaugh responded, and it was quite blunt (audio here). This resulted in a lot of backpedelling from Huckabee who pleaded:
"I love Rush Limbaugh; I've always loved his show," Huckabee assured. "I think he’s been great for the conservative movement."
The former Arkansas governor conceded that he hadn't sought Limbaugh out to set the record straight — but that he would like to.
"I don’t have his number," Huckabee explained. "If you have it, Jonathan, why don’t you give it to me. I’d love to talk to him."
"Maybe put it on the Web that if he’ll call me, I’d love to visit with him."
Critics immediately knew this was bad news for Huckabee, but some saw a silver lining in that Rush would be going off the air until after the holidays. Well, that silver lining disappeared today as Mr. Limbaugh responded.
Rush Limbaugh — responding to Mike Huckabee's peace offering — said today that he doesn't need to talk with the former Arkansas governor.
"I saw his comments and accept them as honest, sincere and genuine," Limbaugh wrote in an e-mail.
Still, the conservative talk show host indicated his continued displeasure at the anonymous remarks Thursday from a Huckabee backer suggesting he takes his cues from the "D.C./Manhattan chattering class" that sparked this conflagration.
However, don't think that Mike got off that easy.
"Gov. Huckabee's campaign is engaged in identity politics at this moment, so I understand his adviser's/supporter's intent to put the focus on me rather than the substance of my commentary," he tweaked.
And as for Huckabee's plea for Limbaugh to get in touch, the man behind the golden EIB microphone said this: [T]here are people on his Arkansas staff who know full well how to reach me and they have not. But that is not necessary to me. We're not playing in a kindergarten sandbox here. We are all presumably adults."
Here are some blogger reactions:
I tell you what. Any person from Iowa reading this right now that is planning on supporting Huckabee, think twice. Take a long, hard look at his record and scrutinize it. You'll find, besides social issues, that his record is far from conservative. Don't just pull the lever for him because of his religion. Think carefully.
Next up...Huckabee will be up against Tim Russert. Its starting to look a lot more likely that Thompson or McCain will get the second place prize in Iowa.
That charge is key to why so many conservatives have a problem with Huckabee. As most realize, he seeks to do the same thing with being Evangelical as the Left has been doing for years with identities such as Black, Hispanic, Female, gay, etc. Huckabee would have it so that his qualifications and positions on many important issues don't matter - only his religion, or identity, does.
If he or his people engage Rush's premise it opens the door for Limbaugh to take him down and make the argument that Evangelicals, of which Bush is one btw, shouldn't be fooled. Conservatism and evangelical-ism are two different things. I wouldn't look for Rush to drop this anytime soon. He'll have to at least comment on it when he comes back.
Given that any conversation could be so dangerous for Huckabee, he's going to look as though he turned tail and ran from a talk show host. So, the question for Huckabee is, how are you going to stand up to terrorists, if you can't even stand up to Rush? He may not realize it, yet, but Huckabee has already lost this confrontation.
Huckabee is barely keeping ahead of the avalanche coming up on his heels (his record). So why in heaven's name would any self respecting Republican, especially one with his eye on the prize, take on the mighty mighty Maharushie? Singularly the most self destructive campaign move in the race.