Why Palin and Limbaugh Are Supporting Trump: Fame and Legacy

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It was with great disappointment that I listened a few days ago to Sarah Palin’s endorsement of Donald Trump. I was similarly disappointed the next day when I heard Rush Limbaugh proffer simply that “Nationalism and populism have overtaken conservatism in terms of appeal.” It’s tough when you find that your heroes are less than they had led you to believe, or, perhaps, what you chose to believe…

I’ve been a big supporter of Sarah Palin since the moment I saw her walk out on the GOP stage in 2008. I penned a piece titled “Why I love Sarah Palin” discussing exactly why I found her so compelling. I liked the fact that she was not part of the establishment. That she had not spent her life in Washington. That she had lived a normal, imperfect life that many Americans could relate to… and, most of all, she was conservative and traveled around the country touting the virtues of a limited government.

I’ve been a big fan of Rush Limbaugh since I first heard him on the radio in 1990 while in college in Florida. Throughout that quarter century I’ve listened to Rush talk about conservative values, government overreach, media spin and endlessly skewer epic government failures both big and small. Although I don’t agree with him 100% of the time, it’s pretty damn close.

This week it became clear that both Palin and Limbaugh are paper conservative tigers. Both have shown that they are conservatives when it’s easy, when it’s convenient, but when the chips are down, they are consummate politicians. As I myself have written, I will vote for Trump over anyone that the donkey party produces, but until that becomes the choice, I’m not a Trump guy. He’s simply not a conservative in any sense of the word. From limited government to abortion to gun control to taxes, Donald Trump has no idea what a conservative is. And he doesn’t care.

There are however two different things going on here. The first is Palin, who with her ringing endorsement of Trump betrays the very principles she has spent eight years publicly espousing. The conclusion I’ve drawn is that she has become a Kim Kardashian wannabe. She became enamored with the fame, with the media spotlight, with the money, and she decided that a better avenue back to that spotlight was to jump on the Trump train, principles be damned. Donald is a rock star and Sarah is a groupie seeking to reignite her career in his shadow.

With Limbaugh it’s something different, although it’s kind of the same. He’s not overtly supporting Trump, and in fact he constantly says that if you want a rock solid conservative, Cruz is your man. Limbaugh of course doesn’t need Trump to shine. As a matter of fact, if Hillary or Bernie won his audience and fortune would probably increase. No, when he spends three hours simply “explaining” what’s going on with Trump is he’s feigning objectiveness while tacitly pushing him to the front of the stage. Which he has every right to do, as it’s his show… but then don’t waste our time whining about the GOP establishment never giving Americans a conservative to vote for.

Make no mistake, this is a choice. Limbaugh claims that he’s just “explaining” what’s going on, that he’s just reacting to the news cycle, but in reality he decides what goes on on his show. Guaranteed if he wanted to he could spend three hours talking about Iowa governor Terry Branstad’s attempt to crucify Cruz for opposing ethanol, and given it’s Rush it would be entertaining. But rather than do so, he spends days on end explaining why Americans find themselves entertained by a strangely coiffed professional entertainer. And why might he do this? Fear. Trump is the easy play. Trump is the fun play. And there’s no risk with him. If he loses, then he was just a clown that entertained people for a while. If he wins, well, great, a guy who’s not part of the establishment who will leave plenty of terrible government programs to skewer. But Cruz… he’s a real conservative. He’s the guy Limbaugh has been telling America we’ve needed for almost three decades. What happens if he gets the nomination and he loses? Then suddenly Limbaugh is shown to be wrong… he’s shown to have been a fool all these years when he was telling his audiences what Americans really want and need and weren’t getting from the GOP… a conservative nominee.

So there we have it, two giants of modern conservatism who, when the chips are down, decided to betray their principles. One for fame and the other for fear of losing his legacy. Unfortunately, after being a fan of both for years the only thing that comes to mind is a quote from P.T. Barnum: “There’s a sucker born every day.” My guess is more than a few other conservatives feel the same way.

The product of a military family, growing up in Naples, Italy and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and being stationed in Germany for two years while in the Army, Vince spent half of his first quarter century seeing the US from outside of its own borders. That perspective, along with a French wife and two decades as a struggling entrepreneur have only fueled an appreciation for freedom and the fundamental greatness of the gifts our forefathers left us.

11 Responses to “Why Palin and Limbaugh Are Supporting Trump: Fame and Legacy”

  1. 1


    Well said, and welcome to the club.

    I am disappointed in both Limbaugh and Palin. They are both more interested in the financial opportunities in the conservative movement than they are it’s underlying principles.

    Their modus operandi is nothing more than demogoging for dollars.

  2. 2

    Nanny G

    If he wanted to he could spend three hours talking about Iowa governor Terry Branstad’s attempt to crucify Cruz for opposing ethanol, and given it’s Rush it would be entertaining.

    Back on the day the Gov came out against Cruz, Jan 19th, Rush DID spend time talking about it. Not enough for you? Not the full 3 hours, that’s for sure. These are all pretty busy news days.

    Rush is not overtly supporting Trump, and in fact he constantly says that if you want a rock solid conservative, Cruz is your man.

    So, you are ignoring all that, and claiming Rush’s feint praise of Trump (which is by definition a misdirection) is somehow real praise.
    No, Rush would PREFER Trump to lose.
    Just as he would prefer Hillary, Biden or Bernie to lose.
    Rush WANTS conservatism to win.
    Rush hasn’t changed.
    But some people are looking for boogeymen under every bed.

  3. 3


    @Nanny G: I’m not suggesting that he never talks up Cruz. As you correctly point out, he states explicitly that Cruz is the sole rock solid conservative. My point is, that spending as much time fawning over Trump as he does, he is by default supporting him, rather than spending his time focusing on the issues he’s been focused on for 3 decades (Rush that is).

    Everyone agrees the MSM is in the tank for the Dimocrats and against conservatives and against the GOP in general. Virtually every conservative agrees with Trump’s border stance… which is little different from Cruz’s. There is an ocean between how Trump and Cruz would govern however, and by not discussing those things Rush is supporting Trump by default. Were he to spend time discussing the differences between a Cruz and Trump presidency you’d see different numbers playing themselves out. But he doesn’t, because, I argue, he doesn’t want to take the chance on a real conservative running and losing and then he looks like a fool.

    Just an opinion…

  4. 4

    James Raider


    @Nanny G: #2
    NannyG, I agree, there is a tendency toward Cruz for his “conservatism” and I’ve not heard ‘support’ for Trump so much as I’ve heard defence of him when he has been unfairly attacked. But Trump’s also been justifiably getting hit by conservative radio for his ridiculous birther attacks on Cruz.

    @vince: #3
    While I’m not a Palin fan, I remember liking her well before McCain plucked her for VP, because she was one of the very rare governors with guts who took on the oil companies and attempted to negotiate half-decent contracts for the people of her State. I still applaud her for that. For now, you’re probably right that her support of Trump is motivated by her joining a parade that might extend her moment in the spotlight and help her pay her bills.

    As for Trump, he’s mining a motherlode that isn’t either conservative or liberal — he seems to lack ideological conviction, but what he delivers and what people find attractive is that he is untethered to special interests. He is singularly independent.

    While I like the fact that Cruz slapped his fellow Congressmen around, I dislike the fact that he was one of the many who gave Obama “carte blanche” on the TPP. That is not good for America. I think that showed a lack of knowledge and insight on Cruz’s part. He can be forgiven for that oversight, but in my mind he is still a very, very political animal. He is a very smart politician, and can give anyone a run for their money as we’ve seen him debate. But he’s still a politician through and through.

    Trump, as goofy as he can sometimes sound, is the only one running who is anathema to the bought and paid-for Obama political mindset. He comes across very convincingly as being unattached to special interests, PLUS there is little doubt that he genuinely loves America. After a decade of insanity, hate mongering, and massive unemployment, he’s resonating.

  5. 5


    The Trump rebellion is 100% the fault of the Republican Party – which claimed to espouse conservative principles and most especially respect for the Constitution for the past few generations, but never followed through. The GOP has become Democrat Lite. The electorate is fed up, and is willing to put in a loudmouth, obnoxious businessman in power because clearly an establishment GOP president will be ineffective, as they have been for decades. Maybe, just maybe, Trump’s background in managing a large business with translate into his finding competent people to populate his administration, instead of political sycophants.

    Don’t blame the electorate for abandoning the GOP establishment. You should ask yourself instead why they have abandoned you, and make changes.

  6. 7

    Nanny G

    @James Raider:that doesn’t seem to phase Dems when they are believers.

    BUT, not all of them are believers any more!
    At the CNN town-hall event Monday night, (Jan 25th) a college student confronted the former Hillary about the perception that she is dishonest.

    “I’ve heard from quite a few people my age that say you’re dishonest,” the student said.

    Hillary was so distracted by the issue of her energy level that people summized she downed both Red Bull drinks plus Mountain Dews before taking the stage.
    She was talking a mile-a-minute.

    Maybe she needed to prepare to answer questions instead of worrying about her energy.
    Her answer was a non-answer, btw.

  7. 9


    Vince, I think you have pretty well hit the nail on the head. Over at the Weekly Standard, Henry Olsen, today, writes what seems to currently ails the conservative movement.


    Much of the position the conservative movement finds itself in, the seeds were laid in the 1980s in cobbling together the right-center coalition that would lead to electoral success. Whether you agree with Olsen’s premise, or not, the conservative movement will have to find a way to convey its principles and message to groups that the Dems should not be able to count on and take for granted. Hispanics and Asians are rather conservative when it comes to their value system, but in ’08 and ’12 we lost them both by wide margins. It is not to pander to them, but to make/take our case to them directly. Romney in ’12 had ideas of doing so by campaigning directly to Hispanics and Asians. Yet, he didn’t. He was nearly invisible to Hispanics losing the group by 76-24. McCain lost the group 78-22 in ’08. Both Romney and McCain didn’t even break 20% with Asians.

    The conservative movement will need to end its fratricide and become smarter when it comes to campaigning.

  8. 10



    The Democrats have become masters of the “Divide and Conquer” strategy of politics. They talk directly to all the minority groups – Blacks, gays, Hispanics, women, etc etc – and convince each one to support them. Actually, that’s not entirely correct, they convince each one that the GOP and Conservatives in general are the enemy and that voting Democrat is the only way to fight them.

    It’s a masterful strategy, in a very cynical way. But it works. How do you fight such a strategy without getting just as dirty?

  9. 11


    Trump has succeeded with the electorate because he tackled political correctness head on. Everyone was too afraid to say illegal immigration was a major problem because of political correctness. Trump went there.

    Same with Muslim immigration. Trump went there.

    The folk breathed a collective sigh of relief when a politician stood up and said what they secretly think and doubled down on what he said.

    Not conservative? I don’t give a darn. Most of those GOP candidates, who campaigned as conservatives, voted for Omnibus and gave Obama everything he wanted. There was not a single conservative win in that awful bill. If that’s what we get from “conservatives” in charge of the House and Senate, then “conservative” means nothing. The chumps at National Review still haven’t realized that.

    Palin and Limbaugh are standing up for American principles by supporting Trump. Conservative principles were long ago lost by the GOP.

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