Nothing embodies the conservative movement today more than the combination of Donald Trump and Rush Limbaugh. They're the perfect team: massive egos that know no bounds, and an endless capacity to spew insane conspiracy theories about Obama. Trump and Limbaugh would make the perfect Republican ticket for the presidency in 2012.
Perhaps the best indication that Trump might be thinking of running for president—and might stand a chance of winning the Republican nomination—is his appearance on Limbaugh's show, and the tacit endorsement from the far right's favorite host. Limbaugh is notorious for not having guests (because they interfere with his enjoyment of listening to himself), and Donald Trump may be the first political guest Limbaugh has ever had on twice in the span of two months.
When Trump appeared on Limbaugh's show Friday, he started off by giving $100,000 to Limbaugh's day-long charitable fundraiser. And his return appearance certainly had something to do with the fawning praise Trump gave the first time on Limbaugh's show: “I really enjoy your show and I really enjoy you. And a lot of people enjoy you very much, Rush. They just don't like saying it. They don't like giving you the credit that you deserve.”
The implicit support of Limbaugh for Trump may be the most important factor in Trump's dramatic rise in the polls among Republicans. For Limbaugh, Trump is exactly the wealthy celebrity buddy he loves. Limbaugh and Trump have played golf together. And unlike anyone with taste, a man like Limbaugh (who had a chandelier in the bathroom of his New York City penthouse) obviously loves Trump's ridiculous style. Rush, who relentlessly engages in product placement on his show, must admire Trump's willingness to sell anything. And the two like each other personally. According to Rush, “Trump's a funny guy.” He praised Trump for having “good old American can-do spirit -- and Trump's can-do spirit is backed up with Trump's can-do action.”
But one issue, more than any other, has made Limbaugh admire Trump: the birth certificate. Rush said, “He's tackling this birth thing head on. I mean head on. And they can't say that Trump is part of the Tea Party. He's not there. I mean he's a marginal Republican in terms of the way people classify, but I mean nobody is out there tackling this the way he is. I actually think, by the way, that Trump is providing a blueprint here. The way to beat Obama 2012 is to just go at him.”
Rush and Trump share a mutual friend at the forefront of the birther movement. Joseph Farah, editor of World Net Daily and a leader of the birther nuts, has been advising Trump about the birther issues: "We've have been speaking quite a bit." Farah also was the ghostwriter of Rush Limbaugh's second book back in 1993. Farah has praised Limbaugh for siding with the birthers: "What that did is beyond Rush's impact. It also gives other talk show hosts license to talk about this issue.…Rush is kind of the standard of talk show hosts. A lot of people emulate what he does. He crossed the Rubicon on that show, and I'm very proud of him for doing it."
Limbaugh's embrace of Trump has been controversial among some of his conservative listeners who know that Trump isn't a real conservative. Limbaugh told one caller who criticized Trump, “you're sounding like the left does.” Limbaugh even defended Trump's political donations to Rahm Emanuel and Rod Blagojevich: “If you're doing business in Chicago, what are you gonna do?”
So far, Limbaugh has been nothing but obsequious toward the Donald. He's never mentioned how Trump in 1987 ran newspaper ads declaring that “The world is laughing at America's politicians,” a group that included Limbaugh's hero, Ronald Reagan. Nor has Limbaugh brought up Trump's book where he proposed single-payer health care. (Fortunately for Trump, Limbaugh doesn't read very many books.)
But Limbaugh's show made the Trump candidacy possible. By creating an alternative media universe where insanity has become the mainstream of the Republican Party, a crackpot like Trump can be taken seriously as a political candidate precisely because of the craziest theory he's ever publicly espoused: the birther myth.
Trump and Limbaugh, two nitwits with egos the size of the Trump Tower, have found each other. It's a love affair that America deserves to have on TV. Imagine what this reality show would offer.
Of course, Limbaugh would never accept a vice-presidential nomination. He doesn't want the scrutiny, or the hard work, of a campaign, nor would he ever give up his salary of $57 million per year. But if Trump runs for president, Limbaugh will be his symbolic VP candidate, the one attacking all enemies and reassuring conservatives that Trump is the real thing. Meanwhile, Republican candidates are reluctant to attack Trump out of fear that Limbaugh might turn against them. Limbaugh and Trump may seem like a political odd couple, but they represent the ugly future of the Republican Party.
Crossposted at DailyKos.