Monday, March 26, 2007

Battle of E.I.B.

Kevin Hassett scores the Limbaugh-Governator debate:

Much of the news coverage focused on the outsized personalities of the two, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger of California and radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh. But the content of their exchange was surprisingly important. Indeed, this squabble may well receive extensive treatment in the history books.

The Republican Party is at a historical crossroads. If you are Republican, the odds are you're ideologically either with Rush or Arnold. Only one side can win. And as is so often the case, California is the canary in the political coal mine of America.

....Schwarzenegger appeared on Limbaugh's radio show, and the exchange was lively and telling. Limbaugh railed against the $1.25 increase in the minimum wage. Schwarzenegger defended himself, saying the Democrats wanted $2.50.

The exchange continued in that vein, until Rush closed with this telling summary: ``The problem with that is the liberals and the Democrats aren't going to punt their ideology, because it defines them. And so when we end up agreeing with them just to get compromise, even if the numbers they want aren't as much as they wanted, we are still compromising our ideology. They are not.''

If you could find a workable crystal ball and tune it forward to the first major debate of the Republican presidential primaries, my guess is that the main point of contention would be the same.

....Schwarzenegger's might seems to suggest that the compromisers will win, but I am not so sure. Republican policy in the past six years, especially the burgeoning size of government, has been so far from mainline conservative theory, that many in the party must hunger for a candidate who returns the party to its roots.

If you read Rush's exchange with Arnold, there was a clear victor. Rush won by a knockout. It is hard to imagine that a presidential debate covering the same territory would go differently.

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