Zev Chafets’ soft-edged profile of Rush Limbaugh in yesterday’s NYT prompts the question: Which part of the Republican Party does Limbaugh represent? Here’s what he told Chafets his own presidential agenda would seek to accomplish:
1. Open the continental shelf to drilling. Ditto the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
2. Establish a 17 percent flat tax.
3. Privatize Social Security.
4. Give parents school vouchers to break the monopoly of public education.
5. Revoke Jimmy Carter’s passport while he is out of the country.
6. Abandon all government policies based on the hoax of man-made global warming.
In other words, both the social agenda of the religious right and the international agenda of the neocons are not his priorities. Those he speaks for are the descendants of the old America First small businessmen of small-town America–not surprising for a scion of the elite of Cape Girardeau, Mo. Anti-government economic conservatism is his stock in trade; the rest is decoration. It’s the Club for Growth Republicanism that Mike Huckabee once lampooned as the “Club for Greed,” but then cuddled up to via his embrace of the flat tax. Limbaugh, in short, represents the hard nut at the core of the GOP, and so cannot be discounted in party politics. But in the electorate as a whole, it counts for less and less.