Rush Limbaugh mocked the Republican establishment on his radio show Wednesday for being “shocked” by Rick Santorum’s three-state win, saying, “I can’t believe how insulated they are.”
“They’re literally shocked. The Republican establishment had no idea this was percolating out there. I can’t believe how insulated they are,” Limbaugh said. “To look at the reaction they’re having today, to see how shocked they are that Rick Santorum has come out of what they thought was an impossible position equivalent to nowhere, is an incredible thing.”
The “drive-bys” – a term that Limbaugh has coined for the media – have been crediting the conservative radio talker for Santorum’s trifecta victory Tuesday by spreading around the notion that “the Republican base is a bunch of mind-numbed robots sitting out there waiting for marching orders from me,” the conservative radio show host said.
“First it was Newt, now it’s Santorum. It can’t be the candidates. It can’t be that Santorum’s connecting with voters. It can’t be that, no, no, it can’t be that Santorum’s resonating with Republican voters, the conservative base. It can’t be that the conservative base just isn’t happy with Romney. It can’t be any of that. No, no, no,” he said, according to a transcript of the show.
Proceeding to confess the “profound respect and administration” he has for the people who listen to his show, Limbaugh said the assumption that conservative voters are “a bunch of idiots” that can’t make up their own minds was “insulting” and “demeaning.”
He also warned the Republican Party that it would be making a serious mistake to assume that voters that opt for a non-Mitt Romney candidate do so simply under Limbaugh’s orders.
“They’re doing it because they genuinely have a problem with Romney. And they’re doing it because in Santorum’s case, as I’ve been saying the past couple of weeks, if you’re looking for a conservative who is the least corrupted, who has the least number of periods of wandering off the reservation, if you’re looking for a conservative who’s never sat down with Nancy Pelosi on the couch for any reason, you get Rick Santorum,” he said. “And people know this.”
Limbaugh, who has vowed against making an endorsement to avoid losing credibility if the person he backs doesn’t secure the party’s nomination, had some wondering whether his secret pick in the GOP race was Santorum after he declared before the Florida primary, “Everybody is guilty of some transgression somewhere against conservatism, except Santorum.”
And on his show on Wednesday, Limbaugh insisted that Santorum’s win was hardly a surprise.
“No, I wasn’t surprised by this! I’m not surprised by this. It’s one of the reasons that I haven’t been panicking throughout all of this. I think I have a pretty good understanding and idea where the Republican base is. If they’re given the opportunity to vote for what they think so important, they’ll do it,” he said.