In light of today's revelation that radio host Rush Limbaugh is beginning treatment for advanced stage lung cancer, I am re-posting an open letter to him that I published in my Morphonios Manifesto column back in 2008 while I was working for the Ron Paul presidential campaign.
My own political philosophies diverged significantly from Limbaugh's back before the 2000 presidential election, but I recognized Limbaugh for his early contributions to the conservative movement during the Bush Sr. & Clinton years.
The Answer to Your Question, Mr. Limbaugh, is Ron Paul.
By Jake Morphonios
Originally Published January 15, 2008
The name is simultaneously a foul tasting epithet on the tongues of liberals and a shiny badge of honor on the chests neo-conservatives. But to traditional conservatives who follow the honorable traditions of men like Barry Goldwater and William Buckley, Rush has devolved into a second-rate shock jock, a traitor to the very conservative values he once cherished.
Rush's slide into neo-conservatism started in the years between 1996 and 2000. When Senator Bob Dole ran for President in 1996, Rush Limbaugh came out in staunch support of the more conservative candidate, Steve Forbes. In fact, it was partly Rush's fervent support for Mr. Forbes that first attracted me to the candidate. Forbes lost to Dole in the primaries, but I determined to throw my support to Forbes in the 2000 election cycle should he run again.
Indeed, Steve Forbes announced his candidacy for the Presidency in 2000, once more running as a fiscal conservative promoting his flat-tax ideals. I joined the Forbes campaign, serving as regional campaign manager in North Carolina. To my surprise and dismay, Rush abandoned his support of Forbes in deference to newcomer George W. Bush. What converted Rush from conservatism to neo-conservatism I do not know. Suffice it to say, the Rush that I had grown to respect over the years, was gone.
My family has had some personal dealings with Mr. Limbaugh. In fact, my grandmother Ellen Morphonios, known in her time as the toughest judge in America (aka “Maximum Morphonios: the Hanging Judge”), was invited more than once to host Rush's talk show while he was on vacation. I accompanied my grandmother to New York City, on Rush's tab, staying in excellent hotels and receiving royal treatment. I sat with “Mr. Snerdley” in the sound booth, as well in Rush's own, coveted EIB chair as my grandmother was broadcast over the airways to millions of Rush's listeners. Limbaugh's callers repeatedly praised my grandmother's articulation of conservative principles and quick-witted responses to caller's questions.
One thing that I doubt that Rush ever realized was that Maximum Morphonios was a registered Democrat. Perhaps it didn't matter. The Time Machine, as she was also known among violent criminals (murderers, child molesters & rapists), was more of a conservative than most registered Republicans.
This week Rush Limbaugh attacked Newt Gingrich on the air and bemoaned the loss of the very traditional conservatism that he has helped to squelch by his support of this current generation of neo-conservative Republicans. He said:
“So what's lacking here is not ideas and not principles, but the right people to speak them and the right people to develop strategies to win elections based on those ideas and principles. What's lacking, if you will, is intellectual and political leadership. Let me be even more specific. Where's the Barry Goldwater, the Ronald Reagan? We have people who claim to hold the mantle of these greats, and yet they also claim that the mantle to hold is not worth holding, that we gotta redefine it because the era is over.”
Mr. Limbaugh, may I proffer an answer to your question? If you want to know where today's Barry Goldwater is, perhaps you should ask his son, Barry Goldwater Jr. Mr. Goldwater Jr. served 6 terms in the US House of Representatives, striving to carry on his father's legacy. He has wholeheartedly given his endorsement to one of the several Presidential candidates. That candidate is Congressman Ron Paul.
In his endorsement speech, Mr. Goldwater Jr. stated that Ron Paul is the only candidate running whose positions and experience are compatible with the Goldwater tradition. Rush, I invite you to visit http://www.ronpaul2008.com to learn more about your dream candidate.
Sadly, I fear what Mr. Limbaugh's response will be. Rush already knows that Congressman Ron Paul is the only true conservative in the race for the Republican nomination.
Unfortunately, Mr. Limbaugh has developed an affinity for certain drugs in this past decade, specifically the addicting drugs of ratings and popularity, substances that destroy integrity in ways that pain killers cannot. Support for Ron Paul does not engender one to the masses. Then again, supporting traditional conservatism does not win many friends either. Giving support to noble, albeit unpopular, principles is the domain of true patriots and men of honor. Rush Limbaugh, I cannot in good conscience consider you to be either as long as you carry the flag of the neo-conservative movement.
It's not too late to regain your honor and station as a champion of true conservative values. I call upon you to stand up and be counted among the minority of Americans who are willing to sacrifice their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honors in spite of the herd-mentality of the majority. I pray that you will reconsider your course and join us once again in the battle for freedom and the preservation of our Republic.