On Mr. Limbaugh's program today, he said people should not be rushing to back Mr. McCain over issues of national security. The talk host said America's direction in Iraq would not be substantially different, even if Mrs. Clinton or Mr. Obama were elected. "They are not going to surrender the country to Islamic radicalism or the war in Iraq," Mr. Limbaugh said after mentioning the two Democratic senators by name. "They are not going to do that to themselves, despite what their base says."
"The idea that we've only got one person in this whole roster of candidates, either party, who is willing to take on the war on terror is frankly, absurd," Mr. Limbaugh said.
The idea that a conservative who cares about the War on Terror and national security first, and calculates that Mitt can't win a general, gains nothing over Hillary and Obama by voting McCain in absurd.
No matter what you think of him, McCain is very good on the war. He's not only committed to winning it, but he pairs a clear understanding of how dangerous the enemy is with a willingness to sacrifice his own aspirations to defeating that enemy. You show me a Democrat who boasts the same.
He also gets credit for being not only committed but, you know, right about the surge. And, the credit he's gotten for being right about the surge on top of his naturally positive relationship with the press could potentially be helpful to the war effort in general. If you've ever wished that Bush had been better at communicating his vision, taking the case for the war to the people, and building support, McCain's not a bad choice for doing just that.
Rush often complains about being taken out-of-context, so I'll look for a transcript or recording, but I'm beginning to hear this general argument from a few conservatives. Knock McCain for his laundry list of misdeeds, but I don't get this particular attack.
Update: Here's the full Rush quote (Thanks, Steve!), which was truncated by the source Michael Goldfarb was relying on:
RUSH: You know, ladies and gentlemen, I'm going to apologize here up front because reacting to this is going to require me to be repetitive. I like to bring originality to this program, but I guess the repetition is called for. You know, Senator McCain may be conservative on one thing or two things: the war on terror, the struggle against radical Islamic extremism. See, I happen to believe, ladies and gentlemen, that if the Democrats win the White House, they are not going to surrender the country to Islamic radicalism or the war in Iraq. They are not going to do that to themselves, despite what their base says. I do not believe the notion that there's only one candidate on any side of the aisle here that cares about the war on terror. I know that Huckabee may not be prepared for it, but you can't convince me that Romney is going to punt the war on terror. The idea that we've only got one person in this whole roster of candidates, either party, that is willing to take on the war on terror is frankly absurd.So, he's talking more about the idea that we don't absolutely have to settle for McCain to cover national security, not so much the idea that McCain and Dems are equivalent. He's right, especially about Mitt, but I think the idea that the Dems wouldn't punt the War on Terror is a bridge too far.