From the Washington Post:
It may be the best sideshow in presidential politics: the nation’s top radio talker trying to take down the Republican front-runner in today’s Super Tuesday showdown.
Rush Limbaugh has been relentless in his criticism of John McCain, prompting suggestions that he may have to soften his stance if the Arizona senator wins the nomination and faces off against Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama. But if that happens, Limbaugh said in an interview over the weekend, he would rather see the Democrats win the White House.
Uh-oh! There’s trouble in Gooperville!
Original DVD cover.
When it comes to the McCain mutiny, Limbaugh has plenty of company on the right side of the dial. Laura Ingraham endorsed Mitt Romney last week, saying, “There is no way in hell I could pull the lever for John McCain.” Sean Hannity, who also endorsed the former Massachusetts governor, regularly rips McCain. Hugh Hewitt is urging the audience for his syndicated radio show to fight for Romney against what he calls a media-generated “McCain resurrection.” But with a program heard on 600 stations, including Washington’s WMAL, Limbaugh is the loudest and brashest voice inveighing against the man he derides as “Saint John of Arizona.”
McCain has a history of strained relations with the party’s right wing, especially on such issues as immigration, tax cuts and campaign finance reform. Yesterday Limbaugh said the candidate had “stabbed his own party in the back I can’t tell you how many times.”
After 15 years at the top of his game, Limbaugh ran into a series of personal problems. Deafness nearly ended his career until his hearing was restored by a cochlear implant, and in 2003 he went into rehab after admitting an addiction to prescription painkillers.
Politically, Limbaugh remained loyal for much of President Bush’s tenure, but after the GOP lost both houses of Congress in 2006, he declared himself “liberated,” saying the Republicans had “let us down” and that “I no longer am going to have to carry the water for people who I don’t think deserve having their water carried.”
After McCain won the New Hampshire primary last month, Limbaugh served notice that if either McCain or former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee got the nomination, “it’s going to destroy the Republican Party. It’s going to change it forever.”
McCain, for his part, has refused to engage with Limbaugh, telling reporters: “I don’t listen to him. There’s a certain trace of masochism in my family, but not that deep.”