You may have been wondering why conservative stalwart Rush Limbaugh is so enthusiastic about a candidate who was, until recently, a pro-choice socialized-healthcare-supporting not-evangelical-christian government-interventionist tax-raising moderate governor who abandoned the heartland for the liberal hellmouth of Massachusetts.

In the wide-open Republican presidential contest, Mitt Romney boasts an influential fan who has the ear of millions of voters.

Rush Limbaugh, the cigar-chomping conservative stalwart, has been on a tear over the last few weeks, talking up Romney and taking whacks at John McCain and Mike Huckabee. And in a race where no candidate has been able to unify the base of the Republican Party, Limbaugh’s chatter matters. With 13.5 million listeners on 600 stations, the nation’s most highly rated talk-radio host could give Romney a big boost.

Just as tellingly, Limbaugh has been crusading against Huckabee and McCain, whom he does not consider real conservatives or suitable heirs to the Reagan legacy.

If either wins the nomination, "it’s going to destroy the Republican Party," he told listeners Tuesday.

Limbaugh also derides the independents and moderates supporting McCain and Huckabee as "quivering masses of Jell-Os" and not real Republican conservatives.

While Romney’s advisers are aware of the kudos, Romney himself seemed unaware that he was being singled out for praise by the man who calls himself El Rushbo. "I haven’t had the chance to hear Rush Limbaugh lately, but if he is saying nice things then I appreciate it," Romney said yesterday.

As our french friends (hey, we’re liberals, we must have french friends, right?) say, WleF?


Well, I’m here for you. Here’s a quick list of the leading Republican candidates’ positions on issues of importance to Rush that will help you understand what he sees in Mitt Romney.

Abortion

Huckabee: Never supported it, doesn’t support it now. Wants to amend the constitution to ban it.

McCain: Doesn’t support it, has voted against frequently

Romney: Ran for office on a platform of keeping abortion "safe and legal"

Founded and built Bain Capital, which recently bought radio giant Clear Channel

Immigration

Huckabee: Governed a state with an economy supported by poultry processors, who depend on immigrant labor. Fought the Republican establishment for better treatment for the American children of undocumented immigrants. Has since demanded that those children be deported

McCain: Supported Our Fearless Leader’s business-friendly immigration plan, which Limbaugh and his cohort in radio opposed to such effect that conservative stalwart Trent Lott suggested bringing back that Republican bete noir the Fairness Act

Romney: Wasn’t interested in keeping undocumented immigrants out of his yard, let alone the country. Founded the firm which recently bought Clear Channel, a division of which franchises Rush Limbaugh’s show

Taxes

Huckabee: Raised

McCain: Didn’t raise

Romney: Raised, but did it in the context of having a large equity stake in a company with little concern about the free speech of its political opponents which recently bought the company that owns a division which syndicates Rush Limbaugh’s show

Path in life:

Huckabee: evangelical preacher, from red-state blue-collar family, bootstrapped his way to the top

McCain: War hero, son of war hero

Romney: Privileged child of a Republican moderate who spent the Vietnam war in France. Former partner and current equity holder in firm which recently bought Limbaugh franchiser (and radio station/concert venue monopoly) Clear Channel, a company which does not hesitate to make its political opinions known

I think if you look at it in context, you’ll see that Romney is exactly where he has to be in every area Limbaugh gives a shit about. Shame on you for doubting it.