In 2006, Rush Limbaugh accused Democrats of "redefin[ing] victory" by claiming a "moral victory" in elections they lost by small margins. However, reacting to Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman's loss in New York's 23rd Congressional District, Limbaugh touted Hoffmann's "good showing" and applauded conservatives for having "kept a horrible Republican from possibly winning" in defending his and Sarah Palin's support of Hoffman.
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In 2006, Rush mocked Democrats for claiming a "moral victory" in losing campaigns
Rush's 2006 message to Democrats declaring "moral victories": "You're just stroking yourselves trying to tell yourself something good happened when you lost." Discussing the special election in California's 50th Congressional District between Republican Brian Bilbray and Democrat Francine Busby during his June 6, 2006, broadcast, Limbaugh said:
LIMBAUGH: The Democrats have already said that even if Francine Busby loses, that it will be a "moral victory," because they're making inroads in these safe Republican districts. It's sort of like Paul Hackett when he lost in a Republican district in Ohio, they said it was a "moral victory." Can I tell you about moral victories?
So I would say to you Democrats who want to continue to redefine victory as when you narrowly lose, "Keep it up, because for all the moral victories in the world you think you're having, it's just a bunch of sophistry. You're just stroking yourselves trying to tell yourself something good happened when you lost," and of course for the country at large, it is a good thing when liberal Democrats lose. [From RushLimbaugh.com, accessed 11/4/2009]
Rush mocked Democrats for portraying 2006 CA-50 election as a "moral victory." From the June 7, 2006, broadcast of The Rush Limbaugh Show:
LIMBAUGH: Then you go to California 50 and Brian Bilbray, 50-45%, over Francine Busby. Busby can't get above 45% no matter what happens in that race. As I predicted to you, ladies and gentlemen, when the last polls came out that showed that they were basically tied but then he had moved up two points, I said, "It's going to be bigger than that," and that the Democrats are going to proclaim this a moral victory, and the reason why -- I didn't predict that because I was just reporting that -- some guy that works at The Hotline, which is an inside-the-Beltway tip sheet, had pretty much some weeks ago said, "This is going to be a big moral victory even if Busby loses."
Here's just a sample. I mean, you can find this on any Democrat kook blog that you go to today. But here's just a sample. What is the blogger? "My Direct Democracy," I guess it's called. "No matter what the media says, no Democrat should be mistaken about this result. First, this is a huge seismic shift in our favor that bodes extremely well for November. If we receive an 18% shift nationwide, we will win the House easily. If Republican candidates are pulling only 20% of the independent vote the Indecrat [sic] realignment is still on." So the Democrats are indeed portraying this as a "moral victory," ladies and gentlemen, even though Francine Busby loses by four-and-a-half to five points.[From RushLimbaugh.com (subscription required), accessed 11/4/2009]
Reacting to defeat of conservative-backed Hoffman in NY-23, Rush touted Hoffman's "good showing"
Limbaugh says Sarah Palin "is not damaged at all" by Hoffman's "good showing." On his November 4 broadcast, responding to a caller's question as well as "talking points" in the media that the result of the NY-23 election was that "Limbaugh and Palin lost" for supporting Hoffman, Limbaugh said: "Sarah Palin is not damaged at all, to answer the [caller's] question. Sarah Palin's not damaged at all by the good showing of Doug Hoffman. Not at all." [Rush Limbaugh Show, 11/4/09]
Rush on Hoffman vote: "I'm reasonably sure that this was the highest percentage of the vote ever won on the Conservative Party line by a House or Senate candidate." From his November 4 show:
LIMBAUGH: These are my thoughts on New York 23. In the first place -- I'll have to double-check this, but I'm reasonably sure that this was the highest percentage of the vote ever won on the Conservative Party line by a House or Senate candidate. I think Hoffman had a higher percentage of the vote than even James Buckley, who won his U.S. Senate race on the -- against this Goodell guy, Charles Goodell, in the '70s. So that's one thing.
Rush "paraphrase[s]" RedState's Erick Erickson: "[T]he real victory was making sure that a Republican in Name Only did not win." Referencing a blog post by Erick Erickson at RedState.com, Limbaugh said on his November 4 show, "the message out of this is, we took out a horrible Republican. We kept a horrible Republican from possibly winning and totally redefining the party in a way that would make it a permanent minority party. So in Erick's view, yeah, it would've been great if Hoffman won, but the real victory was making sure that a Republican in Name Only did not win."
Rush on NY-23 outcome: "What did not lose was conservatism." From his November 4 show:
LIMBAUGH: So there's a lot to be said here. But what did not lose, what did not lose, is conservatism. What lost was Republican ineptitude and incompetence in selecting the wrong candidate from the get-go, staying with her for too long, and then sending her off packing while she endorses the Democrat.