- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 11, 2008

Rush on withdrawal

Radio talk-show host and conservative political commentator Rush Limbaugh predicted in a speech last week that Democrats will back down from their pledge to rapidly withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq. Mr. Limbaugh was in town to give the annual Winston Churchill lecture at a dinner hosted by Hillsdale College.

Mr. Limbaugh said he is confident Democrats and President-elect Barack Obama will reverse course on campaign promises of an immediate troop withdrawal from Iraq because they do not want to be politically saddled with a military defeat.

In recent comments, Mr. Obama and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates have backed away from saying there will be a rapid troop pullout from Iraq, noting that military commanders must be consulted.

Mr. Limbaugh also said that, for him, the “jury is still out” on Mr. Obama’s coming presidency, but noted that, so far, the new administration is shaping up as “Clinton administration three.”

Numerous officials from the Clinton administration — including Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, New York Democrat, and former Deputy Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. — have been named to key slots or are part of the Obama transition team.

On the election, the influential radio host criticized Sen. John McCain and his presidential campaign for saying the wrong things. “We could have beaten the guy,” Mr. Limbaugh said of Mr. Obama.

He also fired off criticism of the Republican Party, which he said had become “elitist” and has lost its way from the pro-freedom, pro-individual-liberty agenda of President Reagan.

Mr. Limbaugh recalled during his remarks how one of the highlights of last summer’s Republican National Convention was the rousing speech early in the convention by former Sen. Fred Thompson, Tennessee Republican, who criticized Washington bureaucrats.

Mr. Limbaugh said that while he normally does not intervene directly in Republican Party politics, during the convention he e-mailed Republican adviser Mary Matalin. He said he asked her to please urge Mr. McCain not to brag to the conventioneers during his acceptance speech about “working with Democrats.”

The advice was ignored. Mr. McCain boasted to the convention of his record of working closely with Democrats in the Senate.

“[House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi never talks about how she can work with Republicans,” Mr. Limbaugh said.

Speaking at a dinner at the Mayflower Hotel, the conservative talk-show host, whose public appearances are rare, said the solution for conservatives is to revert to their Reagan roots.

FCC probe

Retired military officers who go on television to explain the war on terror are fighting back against a federal-government investigation prompted by complaints from two senior House Democrats.

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