Rush Limbaugh harshly criticized the Republican establishment on Tuesday for not embracing the Tea Party movement that swept them into power in the House in 2010. He said it ultimately cost the party the 2012 presidential election and is “illustrative” of the problem facing the Republican Party.
Limbaugh said that after the Tea Party was created in time for the 2010 midterm elections, Republicans “cleaned the Democrats’ clocks.”
“If you go back and look at the 2010 midterms, that was one of the biggest shellackings the Democrat Party’s had in a long time,” he said on Fox News’s On The Record on Tuesday. “The Republicans took back the House of Representatives, but the Democrats lost a total nationwide all the way down-ballot of over 600 seats. And it was because of ‘ObamaCare’ and the rising debt and the fact that nobody was opposing it and nobody’s stopping it.”
Limbaugh said the voters that showed up in 2010 did not show up for Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney in 2012, and that is “illustrative of the problem the Republican Party that faces. The people that sat home, if you look at the polling data, it was mostly white Republican voters that stayed home, mostly conservative, dissatisfied with the Republican Party’s rejection of conservatism, another nominee that they weren’t excited about.”
“That 2010 vote was all anti-Obama. It was all anti-debt. It was all anti-health care. It was all anti-the Democrat Party,” he said. “They were simply saying, Ain’t no way, no way, don’t want any part of this. And so I expected that that same turnout would happen in 2012, and it didn’t.
He said it was “amazing” the “Republican Party didn’t even make an effort to capitalize on that! Here you have a national uprising in opposition to Barack Obama, and the Republicans acted like they didn’t want any part of the Tea Party, either!”
“The consultants and the powers that be did everything they could to diminish the Tea Party,” Limbaugh said. “If I were the Republican Party, I would have embraced those people. I would have brought them into the fold and I would have done what I could to keep them as donors, as voters.”
He continued, “the Republican Party had no desire. So–and I think 2012 and the campaign–some of those Republican voters felt that and saw it and said, ‘OK, well, if you’re not interested in our assistance and if you’re not interested in what we think and our view of the country, we’ll sit at home. To heck with it.'”
Limbaugh said Tea Party members, who are regular Americans from all walks of life, are “demonized because they don’t understand the politics and they’re not of Washington and they can’t be controlled.” Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, whose endorsement carries enormous weight in Republican primaries, has repeatedly criticized the Republican establishment for not embracing a Tea Party movement that also appealed to independent working class Reagan Democrats in 2010.
“There’s a really unfortunate thing happening with the Republican Party,” Limbaugh said. “As a conservative, it appears to me the Republican Party is trying to push itself away from its conservative base on a number of issues.”
Limbaugh said in the same interview that the two conservatives he admired for their fearlessness were Palin and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX).