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Theories on the Cloture Vote: Rush Explains What Happened

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: There are two ways to look at this cloture vote, which passed, which means that the full bill now goes to the floor of the Senate for a final vote, that will happen next week. This bill was 64-35 I think was the final passage, and was it 65-34? You sure about that? You sure about that? You sure it's 65-34? You sure? Double-check that. I thought it was 64-35. I'll bet you an SRX Crossover from Cadillac if -- (Laughing.) Snerdley, look it up. I'm telling you, go find it. I'll tell you right now, I know -- hang on just a second. It was 64-35. You lose the SRX Crossover from Cadillac. (interruption) Well, I would never make Snerdley buy me a car. I would never do that.

Anyway, there are two ways to look at this, folks. One is, as I mentioned in the last hour, and I want to present both of these options to you and let you decide how you want to look at this. I'll offer my opinion as to how I think a lot of people will look at it. One way is, okay, there's a long war to stop this, this is but one battle. The cloture vote was but one battle. The vote on the bill next week, there's still time to add a lot of pressure. Some of these senators on the Republican side that voted for it could change their minds and could have planned all along to vote for cloture but vote against the bill next week after they massage these amendments and so forth and see whether they actually get what they were promised. You have to ask yourself, some of these Republican senators who are so ignoring your sentiments on this, what were they promised? There's stuff going on behind closed doors that we don't know, and you have to wonder, okay, who's promising them what. What did they get, what are they being told that they're going to get to make them vote in such opposition to the people that elected them, their own constituents. The second way to look at this -- and the first way features obviously some optimism and you don't give up, you continue to fight, it's not over until it's over, and there's still a House of Representatives to deal with on this.

I haven't heard any more about what came out of the meeting that the Republican caucus in the House had. They were thinking of issuing a one-sentence statement suggesting that they were not going to support this in the House in whatever form it comes to them from the Senate, but I don't know that that has happened. It was just rumored to be something that they were thinking of doing. But it still has to pass the House. Nancy Pelosi will not have it pass the House without a significant number of Republican votes. She's not going to take the heat on this. A lot of these senators are not up for election next year, but every member the House is, and so you have the opportunity here, if this comes out of the Senate and if it passes next week then goes to the House, that's where you'll be listened to far more than some of these Senators, theoretically.

Now, the second way to look at this is, throw your hands up and say, "Screw these guys, I have had it!" We may as well not even have a Republican Party; we don't have a conservative anywhere out there; we may as well just throw our hands up; screw it, and let's just vote against these guys because they don't deserve reelection -- those that are up, I'm talking about senators, now, in 2008. I have a sneaking suspicion that many of you fall in that area today. I know how mad you are, I know how disrespected that you feel, and you're probably thinking, some of you, what the hell is the point of caring and being involved? We get involved, we let 'em know what we think, and they still don't listen to us. The reason you stay involved is because you love the country and you believe in it, and you don't want to sit idly by while you see it inalterably changed. The traditions and institutions that have defined this country's greatness, you care about maintaining, for future generations of Americans. But at the same time, you're just frustrated as you can be. You say, "Okay, there's not a reason to elect Republicans. There's not a reason to donate to them. Republican national leadership, where is it? How is it different from Democrats at all, especially when it comes to this bill?"

When you've got Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi almost on a weekly basis proclaiming defeat, happily so, in Iraq, demoralizing the troops, criticizing the commanding officers, the generals, claiming that they're incompetent, and the Republicans don't do anything? They don't stand up and demand that other Senate Democrats, "You agree with Harry Reid about that? Do you think we've lost, we're not worthy of victory, is that what you really want to happen?" None of the kind of things that liberal Democrats do when they get in the trenches and the foxholes and fight this battle. So if you're choosing the second one -- and I mentioned this a couple, three weeks ago. Now, this is a long shot, but you know me. I try to look at things -- I try to find the good in everything. That has been the nature and experience of my life. I just do. I try not to get defeatist -- and I do sometimes -- I don't always succeed at this. But when you have a situation where it looks like, "Gosh, there's no Republican Party," and by Republican Party, I mean no repository for conservatism, I'm not talking about Republicans first, but there just doesn't seem to be any conservative dominance in the Republican Party these days. You could say, "Yeah, that's true, it's over." Or, you can say, "It's a vacuum that's been created." There is a chance somebody has the guts to move in and fill that vacuum. I'm talking about presidential candidates now.

You don't know how this is going to shake out down the road in months and in the next year because what we've had here, we've had a vivid illustration for people of just how unresponsive, how incompetent, how arrogant and condescending big government is. That has been one of the central themes of conservatism ever since there has been conservatism. Markets work, limited government, low taxes, all of these things are on parade here in terms of the way this has all been handled by elected officials. They have been effete, they have been unresponsive, they have been arrogant, they're telling us we don't know what's in the bill, and yet they don't dare tell us what's in the bill. They made no effort to explain it to us. All they've done is insult us. So we've got big government on parade. We've got the illustration of how Washington actually views you. You're an obstacle. They need you at Election Day, and after that, they don't care about you 'til the next Election Day. They expect you to come around because they expect especially that you're going to forget things and that other issues are going to come along and make you forget this. In normal circumstances, that has happened. But this is such a visceral thing. This touches people in their daily lives every day. It is instinctive. Everybody opposed to this understands why it shouldn't pass.

This is not something you have to spend 13,000 hours watching C-SPAN to understand. This is simple. It embodies some of the basics. The rule of law, number one. Number two, national security. Maybe that's first and the rule of law second, and it appears that there are people that don't care about that, not worried about it whatsoever. This causes people to start questioning, "What is then the objective? What are the goals of the people trying to ram this down our throats?" And people are starting to say, "How come they care more about pleasing these illegal immigrants than they do their own supporters, donors, contributors, and constituents? I know you're going through all of this, and I am, too. We've waxed eloquent here trying to analyze this and figure it out, which is why I mentioned a moment ago what in the world did whoever promise some of these senators that they're going to get in exchange for that vote today? Because that happens, too. Arm twisting, could be. Or what threats were made? You never know. But what we do know is that in a normal civics 101 atmosphere, this makes no sense. This is not logical what's happened here. So there has to be, or have to be other things at play.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Just checked out a post at the National Review website, their blog. It's called The Corner, Mark Krikorian has a post that says there is a second cloture vote on Thursday. This cloture vote that took place today was to simply end the whole opportunity to offer new amendments. So the Senate's coming back at 2:15 this afternoon, and what will happen between now and Thursday is debate on the amendments. Now, this is important, because the real cloture vote is not until Thursday. That vote will determine whether the full bill moves to the Senate floor for a vote. So this was a cloture vote today, just to stop the offering of amendments and they voted to do that, and then begin debate on the amendments. But you only get 30 hours to do this which is why there's a second cloture vote on Thursday. Thirty hours of debate, no senator can speak for more than an hour, and Krikorian's post indicates that -- well, anybody would know this -- you only need five votes to switch from "yes" to "no," and he lists these names: Brownback, Kit Bond, Ben Nelson, John Ensign, Richard Burr, and Judd Gregg.

He thinks these are good bets to change their votes, particularly because if they thought they got phone calls and faxes now, wait until this vote today. I'm sure that all of these guys' offices are being peppered and inundated, probably meltdown is what's going on. So you have some people here who are on the fence, like Kit Bond, he says, "Look, I got an amendment here, and my amendment says these people gotta go back home," and Lindsey Grahamnesty offered that amendment, "Gotta go back home. They gotta touch back and come back before they get their Z visa," this 24-hour thing. So there are some people here that are still wavering. The way to look at this is that their vote today in favor of cloture means they're still open to try to get whatever they can get in exchange for a vote on the real bill. So you've got some people who apparently are holding out for whatever you'd want to call it. Things that will spice this up and help them.

Look, they want something for their votes, and this is an opportunity for them to get that. If they don't, then they could change their minds on Thursday. So we're going to go through this again on Thursday. What's going to happen in the Senate now is simply debate on the amendments. Thirty hours of debates on the amendments that were accepted and offered. Remember, that was the White House in order to get this vote was telling these senators, you'll get your amendments. Because when this thing first started, if I can just retrace this for you, when this first started, there were no amendments permitted. This was done, as you know, behind closed doors under cover of darkness. It came out, McCain said we don't want to any extracurricular politics involved in this, meaning no debate, no involvement from you, just wanted to ram this through. Of course that failed because people found out how that behind the scenes stuff worked, that La Raza was in there with veto power over Democrat ideas, as they were putting this together, and then they went down to defeat. It was thought to be dead. Harry Reid pulled the bill. So the White House, "Okay, you guys, we'll let you offer some amendments to this." That's what's been going on since they, quote, unquote, revived it. The cloture vote today was to end the period of time to offer amendments and to start a 30-hour period of debating the amendments. That will end on Thursday, then another cloture vote to actually shut down the whole debate process, amendments, whole bill, everything else, and, as I say, we'll go through this whole thing again on Thursday. If that vote passes, then the bill will go to the floor next week for a final vote. So the point is, you still have time to raise hell because there's one more cloture vote to go.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: I have an update on what the House Republicans are going to do. They're going to meet later this afternoon, but the odds are I guess a little better 50-50 they're going to come out with this statement disapproving of the legislation in the Senate. More on that in just a moment. The cloture vote today was simply a vote to start debate on amendments, stop the offering of amendments, and start debate on the amendments. That debate is procedurally allowed for 30 hours. The Senate's going to reconvene here in about seven minutes. Thirty hours will take us to Thursday. The real cloture vote is thus Thursday. Now, the vote today was 64-35. All they needed was 60 votes to stop the offering of amendments and open the debate process on these amendments that were offered. These amendments were allowed. The White House and Ted Kennedy and Dingy Harry Reid got together and said, "Okay, we're going to need to do something to get some Republican votes." They want some amendments so we'll let 'em offer their amendments.

Now, two things about this. I can understand why a number of Republicans might say, "All right, look, I'm going to go ahead and vote to shut down the amendment process so we can start debating the amendments. I don't want to be seen here as somebody opposing debate on the amendments." I can clearly see -- not clearly, but I can also see a number of people saying, "All right, while I'm willing to vote for the debate process on the amendments to begin, it doesn't mean that I'm going to vote to the bill. So I'm saying it's possible that enough of these Republicans could turn around Thursday and vote against cloture, depending on how the debate process on these amendments goes the next 30 hours. Now, my suspicion is that this whole thing with the amendments is a sham and it was done purposely just to get some support from Republicans. The idea that the amendments, a significant number of them will pass, I'm dubious about that. But anyway, that's what happened today. So some of you angry at your -- I'm not making excuses for them. I'm honestly, after digging into this during the program -- I do show prep and show performance at the same time. What I think I've figured out here is that this was a process by which they want to be seen as encouraging debate on the amendments, shut down the opportunity to offer them, and move this thing on, 30 hours of debate, then the real cloture vote on Thursday.

There's still all kinds of time for you to be heard if you are so inclined. Now, I mentioned earlier at the beginning of the program the Republicans in the House were considering issuing a one-sentence statement essentially telling their Republican brethren in the Senate, "You guys, don't do this, because we are going to officially stand in opposition today. We're all going to sign this one-sentence statement. So you don't have to walk the plank here. You can vote the right way for your constituents and be off the hook." That did not happen this morning. However, it may happen later this afternoon. House Republicans are set to vote on a measure this afternoon rejecting the Senate immigration bill sometime after the cloture vote, which I guess was over about 12:30 Eastern time this afternoon. Representative Peter Hoekstra who is a Republican from Michigan, offered the resolution in a closed-door meeting of Republican House members this morning, and a lot of them were surprised. They were eventually forced to postpone their vote because not enough members were in attendance, but they were expected to address the question later this afternoon when more Republicans show up. Roy Blunt, the Republican whip, said, "Clearly, many of our members have problems with the Senate bill." So the resolution is largely symbolic, but it would signal widespread displeasure of the Senate bill just as they had another cloture vote, real cloture vote on Thursday.

The single sentence in the Hoekstra proposal is this: "Resolved that the House Republican conference disapproves of the Senate immigration bill." The reason why it's symbolic is because it doesn't constitute an actual vote. If the members of the Republican caucus don't sign it individually, of course they're not officially putting their names to it. It will be put out in the name of the entire Republican caucus. So we'll see. But that could signal big problems when the bill gets to the House. Besides, there are many battles in this, as I keep saying.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: I have another theory out there about this vote today. I'm afraid that I'll send Edgar over the edge if I mention this theory. Now, let me just throw it out there and you digest it as you will. I know that somebody's going to say, "Well, you're trying to defend what these traitors did." Look, the bottom line is the bill was dead and there was no need to revive it, but they did. The bill was dead, and it has been revived, and it's been revived on the basis of this amendment stuff. Now, let's take a look two senators, the senators from Missouri. Claire McCaskill, the Democrat, voted "no" on cloture. Kit Bond, the Republican from Missouri, voted "yes" to bring it all back for another round of discussion. Why? How do you explain this? Well, my astute, experienced analytical political mind has come up with a possibility. It's worth getting the Democrats on record about this -- and this is something. Claire McCaskill could be forgiven for wanting to avoid going on the record for this. We talk about the Republicans here, but I'm telling you every senator knows this. They read polls and they live and die by polls, and they know full well that 76 to 80% of the American people are opposed to this.

The Democrats have succeeded in getting this portrayed as a full-time Republican bill because the White House is pushing it, but it's a Ted Kennedy bill. Ted Kennedy and McCain are the authors of this bill. McCain, a RINO. The Republicans have been portrayed here as being the ones fully responsible for this. Remember Dingy Harry said, "This is a Republican bill," when he killed it, when he took the bill off the floor. He said, "It's a Republican bill. This is a White House bill. I urge the president to get his people going." Nancy Pelosi will not let this thing pass the House without a whole lot of Republican votes. I'm telling you, folks, they're trying to do a bunch of things here, and one of them is destroy the Republican Party, and conservatism and so forth. This is war. This is what politics is. This is not the first time this kind of objective has been tried. I think what Bush and Rove were trying to do, frankly, with this at the beginning -- I think it was misguided as hell, but I think one of their efforts -- was to do as much structural damage the Democrat Party as they could, and make them the minority party for as far out in the future as possible. They just miscalculated on the way to do it, using the immigration bill. So what happens here?

Let me ask you. How does it help any Democrat to be on record opposing any amendments which may be sensible like that offered previously by John Cornyn of Texas? His amendment would have barred illegal immigrant felons, including child molesters and drunk drivers from obtaining any of the benefits of citizenship and would have sent them back -- and that amendment failed! Bond has offered an amendment striking the path to citizenship. If his amendment fails, he says he's going to vote against cloture. That's what he says now. So there's possibility they want to get the Democrats in on this. I think, folks, these people are not stupid. You may think that they're blind and dumb, but they're not. They know full well how you feel. They're fully mindful of this. I think the Republicans know the Democrats are getting off scot-free on this. But still, at the end of the day, all of this could have been avoided, and all of this extraneous analysis could be unnecessary, because the bill was dead, and it was unnecessary to revive it. None of these amendments puts security first, the amendments that have been offered. They're amnesty amendments, and the whole thing was a trick anyway. I think none of these amendments are going to end up passing and being part of the bill. So at the end of the day, it was dead. It's been revived, and there was no reason for it to be revived. But if you're trying like I always do to explain why people in politics do what they do, I'm just throwing out these possibilities here. Sorry, Edgar. He's probably racing to the phone to call me back and say, "All right, that's it! I'm never listening to you again."

END TRANSCRIPT

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