Only hours after WND reported on a growing political perspective that the primary election defeat of Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kan., by newcomer Roger Marshall was a powerful argument for “an all-out assault by House Speaker Paul Ryan and the GOP establishment on conservatism itself,” talk-radio icon Rush Limbaugh expressed the same opinion.
Limbaugh, who had discussed the defeat of Huelskamp – one of the most conservative Republicans in Congress and a member who was unafraid to challenge leadership on core beliefs – a day earlier, issued a “clarification” on his website.
He reported that the story that was going around was Huelskamp was a “Never Trumper,” one of those people who have said they won’t support GOP candidate Donald Trump under any conditions.
Actually, while Huelskamp originally endorsed Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, when Cruz later dropped out of the race, Huelskamp moved his support to Trump.
“This was the story going around. He was a ‘Never Trumper,’ and because of that, the fervor for Trump was so big that anybody who was a ‘Never Trumper’ on the Republican side was going to get shellacked. And I heard from a lot of people this is not actually what happened, and the story that is being circulated is incorrect,” Limbaugh explained.
“It actually comes from sources deep inside the Republican establishment. There are other reasons why Tim Huelskamp lost, and it looks like the primary reason is, he was one of the early critics of John Boehner. He was and is a dyed-in-the-wool conservative, and I guess he was a member of the Freedom Caucus. But one of the things that set him apart early on was his willingness to take on the Republican leadership.”
Limbaugh pointed out that Huelskamp, from Kansas, had been on the Agriculture Committee, a very important post for his district.
“And after he went publicly after the leadership, Boehner and some of the others, they removed him from the Agriculture Committee in the House, which is a huge deal if you represent a district in Kansas, and his district is No. 1. And it’s a highly reputed, very important district in Kansas. His constituents are very conservative. Obama only won 28 percent of the vote there in 2012. ‘The Big First’ is what they call Huelskamp’s district. In National Review, they have a theory – an explanation – for why he lost.
“I also got a note from Louie Gohmert explaining that this is really nothing to do with Trump so much as it is the establishment taking a guy out because he dared oppose them. First, they took him off the committee, and then the establishment funded his primary opponent and made it look like the whole campaign was over Huelskamp being a Never Trumper. He was pro-Cruz. He was a Cruz supporter, ardently so. But, apparently, he has never been and never said that he was a dyed-in-the-wool Never Trumper,” Limbaugh said.
WND reported late Wednesday that conservative commentator Daniel Horowitz was calling the dilemma for conservatives “a Waterloo,” because it was creating a rift.
WND reported there were two contrasting ideas, one that the loss was vindication for Trump because of Huelskamp’s original support for Cruz, and the other that it was a GOP establishment assault on someone who bucked the top-down orders.
Observers worried the strategy could be used as a template for driving additional conservatives out the door.
The template is described as employing a wolf in sheep’s clothing ploy: harnessing the prevailing deep anti-Washington sentiment among Republican voters to gin up support for an establishment-backed insider pretending to be an outsider, while portraying an incumbent conservative as an entrenched D.C. insider.
And it’s all done with the support of big money from the GOP establishment abetted by a compliant media, according to Horowitz, who is a senior editor at Conservative Review and author of WND Books’ recently released “Stolen Sovereignty: How to Stop Unelected Judges from Transforming America.”
Horowitz confirmed Huelskamp was anything but a Washington insider because insiders don’t put their careers on the line opposing big spending bills pushed by the GOP establishment.
What Horowitz found particularly alarming was how he believed the establishment had figured out how to turn the tables by portraying an incumbent conservative as a D.C. insider.
Conservatives, he told WND, “are facing a real crisis because the K Street lobbyists, the interests represented by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, have learned how to pick our lock. They’ve realized a tactic that is successful.”
“Not only are they winning all the races and defending all their incumbents,” he continued, “the significant and important thing to realize is the one big name to go down [in] a primary is one of the most conservative and anti-establishment members of Congress. This is a first. This is the first big-name to go down.”
And Horowitz doesn’t think Huelskamp will be the last target.
“This is a dire warning to conservatives,” he told WND. “And for anyone who steps out of line and doesn’t support leadership.”
The commentator called it cruelly ironic because the special interests are channeling voter anger against special interests to back candidates supported by – special interests.
Conservative talk-radio star Mark Levin also viewed the congressman’s loss as a big victory by the Republican establishment, blaming “so-called conservative organizations like the American Conservative Union and the Chamber of Commerce.”
And conservative Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, who is the chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, blamed the result on work by “the same party insiders and special interests that Republican voters across the country overwhelmingly rejected at the ballot box throughout the presidential nomination process.”
He said, “Republicans need to be unified behind conservative principles to stop the Obama/Clinton agenda. The House Republican leadership’s opposition to Tim Huelskamp significantly damaged the ability of House Republicans to do that.”