I first became a conservative by listening to Rush Limbaugh as a teenager, a habit I picked up from my mother. Those were exciting times, and I remember Limbaugh, the fiery outsider, supporting renegade Republican Pat Buchanan and his presidential challenge to incumbent George H.W. Bush in 1992.
Four years later, I supported Buchanan’s 1996 presidential campaign, which Rush would have no part of, and as the years went by I would continue to support conservatives who challenged the status quo — while my one-time radio hero seemed to become more comfortable with it. For the next decade I spent my time looking for the next Buchanan, while Rush would reflexively defend George W. Bush and constantly praise Donald Rumsfeld. He even broke his no-interviews rule for an hour-long interview with Karl Rove.
In 2007, I found my new Buchanan: Ron Paul. After the GOP presidential debate in Iowa last week, Limbaugh said the following about Paul on his program: “I’m sorry, but this Ron Paul is going to destroy this party … this is nuts on parade …” Limbaugh criticized Paul’s foreign policy and particularly the Texas congressman’s hands-off position towards Iran. But Limbaugh did not criticize the positions taken by the other candidates — many of whom strongly implied that war with Iran would be necessary to prevent its regime from promoting terrorism or producing weapons of mass destruction.