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Brooks, Barnes, Kristol Want Us to Join the McCain-Lieberman Party

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Mr. Brooks at the New York Times is back at it today, mentioning me, as he also did last night on All Things Considered on NPR.

When I read these guys and Fred Barnes' piece today -- and, by the way, you need to understand something. I have no personal animus. I never met David Brooks. I've met Fred a couple times, and back in the early days of this program Fred guest hosted this program when we were looking for a roster of guest hosts. I have nothing personal here. In fact, these are the kind of arguments, a political party and a movement ought to be having -- particularly at this point in the electoral process during primaries and so forth. But I get the impression, as I read Fred Barnes' piece today and David Brooks and some of the others in that crowd; that their opinion is that we really only have one disagreement with McCain. If we could just get past that, then everything would be fine. That couldn't be further from the truth. Illegal immigration is the single biggest problem that we have, and we should all be able to put that aside because of McCain's staunch foreign policy and war on terror position. This amnesty thing, illegal immigration, that's just the latest problem. They've been piling up here for many, many years.

Also, when I found out last night that I was once again going to be mentioned in the New York Times, David Brooks' column, I went and did a little research. I went back and I found a previous column written by Mr. Brooks. Let me see if I can get it here. Yes, August 10th of 2006. Now, this piece -- and I'm going to have more on this as the program unfolds. This is just to tease you a little bit. August 10th, 2006, three months before the November elections, the title of this piece is: "Party No. 3." Mr. Brooks began his piece thus: "There are two major parties on the ballot, but there are three major parties in America." Mr. Snerdley, I want you to listen to this. Put the caller on hold. Stop screaming at the caller! I want you to hear this, because you might get calls on this later. David Brooks, August 10th, 2006, "Party No. 3 -- There are two major parties on the ballot, but there are three major parties in America. There is the Democratic Party, the Republican Party and the McCain-Lieberman Party." Now, when I saw that, I said, "Wow. This explains everything that Mr. Brooks has been writing recently: the McCain-Lieberman Party.

"The McCain-Lieberman Party begins with a rejection of the Sunni-Shiite style of politics itself." He has referred to that recently in terms of me and my cabal. We're just Sunni versus Shi'ite. The McCain-Lieberman party, after rejecting the Sunni-Shi'ite style of politics, "rejects those whose emotional attachment to their party is so all-consuming it becomes a form of tribalism..." He also called me a "tribal leader." It "rejects those whose emotional attachment to their party is so all-consuming it becomes a form of tribalism, and who believe the only way to get American voters to respond is through aggression and stridency." Whew! I read this. Mr. Brooks has had it in for me for quite a while here, and I know it goes back in part to illegal immigration. Mr. Brooks included me in a list of people who were "nativists" and other bigoted-type comments, because we didn't see the value of illegal aliens being given amnesty and having open borders. But "[t]he McCain-Lieberman Party begins [rejects] the Sunni-Shiite style of politics itself. It rejects those whose emotional attachment to their party is so all-consuming it becomes a form of tribalism..." My attachment's not to a party. (laughs) I just said yesterday I might not vote for the party this year. Anyway, more on that and deeper analysis coming up as the program unfolds.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: That article from David Brooks in 2006, in the New York Times, says it all. Because what it says is he's looking for a kind of unity party, the kind they have in Europe, but not exactly. So for Mr. Brooks and his gang, all principles are negotiable -- and leadership means leading by committee, as long as your ideas are adopted by the committee.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: All right, so we talked about Mr. Brooks and his column from 2006 and just to review, two interesting things in this column. He says there are three parties in America -- this is back in 2006 -- the Democrat Party, Republican Party, and the McCain-Lieberman party. The McCain-Lieberman party -- and by the way, McCain-Lieberman's been an act here on the political stage for a while, 2003 the McCain-Lieberman Climate Stewardship Act or some such thing, the global warming boondoggle. Anyway, Mr. Brooks writes: "The McCain-Lieberman Party begins with a rejection of the Sunni-Shiite style of politics itself," meaning you don't fight for your principles, you don't get into these insurgent battles. "The McCain-Lieberman Party rejects those whose emotional attachment to their party is so all-consuming it becomes a form of tribalism." Mr. Brooks has a piece today called "The Voters Revolt," and although it doesn't say this in the headline, we've added it here on our copy, "The Voters Revolt Against Rush Limbaugh."

"The Reagan administration had its pragmatists and its so-called ideologues. It had James Baker as well as Ed Meese. Reagan carried moderate states like Connecticut, Wisconsin and Washington, as well as conservative ones like Wyoming and South Carolina. But then a great tightening occurred. Conservative institutions and interest groups proliferated in Washington. The definition of who was a true conservative narrowed. It became necessary to pass certain purity tests -- on immigration, abortion, taxes and Terri Schiavo. An oppositional mentality set in: if the liberals worried about global warming, it was necessary to regard it as a hoax." No, David, it's a hoax because it's a hoax. When the liberals propose something, we conservatives are naturally suspicious. There's a track record of liberalism and socialism, David. Our opposition is not knee-jerk. "If The New York Times editorial page worried about waterboarding, then the code of conservative correctness required one to think it O.K." No, Mr. Brooks, waterboarding worked in the case of sheik, what's his name, Abdul Sahib Skyhook, mastermind, whatever his name was, of 9/11, works. We're talking about national security, one of your big issues. Your guy, Senator McCain, the McCain-Lieberman party, wants to go a long way to making it tough to deal with terrorists, wants to give them constitutional rights.

And even after all this, he writes, "And still the corset tightened. Many professional conservatives do not regard Mike Huckabee or John McCain as true conservatives. 'I'm here to tell you, if either of these two guys get the nomination, it's going to destroy the Republican Party,' Rush Limbaugh said recently on his radio show. 'It's going to change it forever, be the end of it.' Some of the contributors to The National Review's highly influential blog, The Corner, look to Fred Thompson and Mitt Romney to save the conservative movement. Their hatred of McCain is so strong, it's earned its own name: McCain Derangement Syndrome. Yet a funny thing has happened this primary season. Conservative voters have not followed their conservative leaders. Conservative voters are much more diverse than the image you'd get from conservative officialdom. ... While various conservative poobahs threaten to move to Idaho if Huckabee or McCain gets the nomination, the silent majority of conservative voters seem to like these candidates."

David, I really haven't seen here a ground swell of support for anyone. What's happening is the Republican Party is making due with what's there. But what's interesting here -- and Rich Lowry points this out at the National Review, his highly influential blog, The Corner, Brooks writes of Huckabee today, "Huckabee's done very well among evangelicals, while loudly deviating from conservative economic orthodoxy." Well, yeah, but it's a far cry from the grandiose claims that Brooks made about Huckabee after Iowa, but he understands we have a crisis of authority in this country and how middle class anxiety is really lived and his victory opened up the way for a new coalition. And Rich is right here. When Huckabee won Iowa, the Brooks, New York, Washington cabal, all over, "Oh, wonderful, fabulous," precisely because he's not conservative. What Huckabee did in Iowa was appeal to a segment of a segment of the Republican base, and that's it. It's what he did everywhere. In Iowa, he got 46% of the evangelicals. In New Hampshire, 28%. Michigan, 29%. South Carolina, 40. "What's amazing about this is that Huckabee has been running a campaign pitched exclusively to evangelicals and still a majority of them have gone someplace else! Why? Probably because they are conservatives and they're looking for a plausible conservative candidate, and Huckabee isn't it. And I guess that the criticisms from Rush and others helped convince them Huckabee isn't such a candidate."

I fully maintain we drove down McCain's numbers in South Carolina on Saturday. He got 42% in 2006, he got 33%, whatever it was, 33% on Saturday. And he wasn't even running against two big guns on the Republican side, weren't even present. Anyway, let's go to the audio sound bites, because we have Mr. Brooks on NPR's All Things Considered last night. The hostette, Melissa Block, says, "It seems like knives are really being sharpened for John McCain. Tom DeLay, former House majority leader, telling Fox News McCain's done more to hurt the Republican Party than any elected official I know of."

BROOKS: That's the fight John McCain wants. It's true, there are some people in the Republican establishment who are against McCain, and Tom DeLay and Rush Limbaugh are the two primary ones, but I think you're seeing a couple things. First you're seeing a lot of establishment Republicans figuring he's the least bad option, and second I think one of the most fascinating things that's happened this year is that the Republican voters are not following the Republican establishment, and they have gone for McCain even though he's not popular in the Republican establishment. I think one of the lessons of this year, both with Huckabee doing well and McCain doing well, is the Republican voters are a lot more diverse, a lot more interested in changing the party than maybe some of the Republicans in Washington are.

RUSH: It's the exact opposite! It's the Republicans in Washington that want to change the party, and I'll tell you why in a moment. The Republicans and conservatives out in the country are trying to save the damn thing! Mr. Brooks, we're trying to save this party. You are the guys that want it to reform, reshape, reconstitute itself. I'm going to explain this as succinctly as I can, ladies and gentlemen. Mr. Brooks -- and there are lots of these people in Washington, in the media, and they're on both sides. They're on the Democrat, liberal side, Republican, conservative side. And if anybody's establishment, it is them. They measure themselves by one thing, and that is their influence with policy makers. They don't care about their influence with you. They've never had any, and they don't expect to. They don't want to have influence with you. They're not in touch with you as voters; they do not influence you; they don't care to. But, there are those of us who do.

It used to be in the good old days that the establishment in Washington, from the think tanks to the protected media class, say at the Washington Post, New York Times, the networks, and elected officials all worked together to advance policy. It's not happening anymore because you, the voters in greater and greater numbers, are yourselves influencing policy, and the people in the Washington establishment structure are not, and they resent it. They resent you, and they resent the people who have made this happen, i.e., me and my brethren. I think a great illustration would be the amnesty bill. Mr. Brooks and his crowd, they were livid at what was being said about the amnesty bill, they were livid that you were being ripped into a new one on it, and they thought that if it hadn't been for people like me, you would never have known what was in it. They totally misunderstand who you are. They're not particularly concerned what the American people think. They're concerned with what the American people do but not what you think, and they certainly don't want you determining policy. That's theirs. That's their purview, that's their bailiwick, that's their little area.

How can you say that people that write for a newspaper that basically has -- what's the circulation? Nationwide, is a million people? And most of that's New York City and some of it Washington, same thing with the Washington Post. Even if some of them are nationally syndicated, the idea that, you know, they're concerned about influence -- they're writing for each other and they're writing to gain influence within the power structures of Washington. And those power structures in Washington have been infiltrated or permeated, holes blown through them by virtue of you. You are influencing what elected officials do. That's their job, and that's how they measure their success and their influence, and they've lost some of it. It's troubling to them, and so now the lash-out continues. I think, when you go back to Mr. Brooks' piece in 2006, he wants kind of a unity party. Think the Christian Democrats in Germany or the UK. Not exactly like that, but he wants a unity party where principles are negotiable and leadership means leading by committee. You come to a consensus on what's best according to the people who think they're more informed and knowledgeable than regular old rubes who live in flyover country.

Here's another example. The Harriet Miers nomination. Now, in this case, the Washington media axis and talk radio were aligned. Everybody on our side thought this was a horrible, horrible mistake, the Harriet Miers nomination. There were people who began to speak out about it and so forth, and the race was on when the president decided to withdraw Harriet Miers and put who in her place, Samuel Alito. The race was on in the Washington crowd for who had been responsible for it. "Bill Kristol, no, David Brooks did that, no, no, no, it was Fred Barnes that did that, no, no, no, Charles Krauthammer did that." That's how they measure their success. We're more like Ronald Reagan, I don't care who gets the credit, as long as the right thing gets done. I wrote a piece for the Wall Street Journal around this period of time, October 17th of 2005. It was called "Holding Court." Let me just give you some excerpts of what I wrote. You can contrast this to what Mr. Brooks is saying about the McCain-Lieberman Party tribalism, getting rid of the Sunnis and Shi'ites in American politics, coming up with a unity party where you compromise principle in order to get big to advance whatever you think you want to advance.

"I love being a conservative. We conservatives are proud of our philosophy, unlike our liberal friends who are constantly looking for new words to conceal their true beliefs and are in a perpetual state of reinvention. We conservatives are unapologetic about our ideals. We are confident in our principles and energetic about openly advancing them. We believe in individual liberty, limited government, Capitalism, the rule of law, faith, a colorblind society, and national security. We support school choice, enterprise zones, tax cuts, welfare reform, faith-based initiatives, free political speech, homeowners rights, and we support the war on terrorism. And at our core, we embrace and celebrate the most magnificent governing document ever ratified by any nation, the US Constitution. Along with the Declaration of Independence, which recognizes our God-given right to be free, the Constitution is the foundation on which our government's built and has enabled us to flourish as a people. We conservatives are never stronger than when we are advancing our principles. And we're never more vulnerable than when we're not advancing our principles, when we're compromising them, when we're shaving them all to somehow expand. Conservatives are not thrilled when we go out and campaign, try to bring Democrats and liberals and moderates into the fold by being like Democrats, liberals, and moderates. We are all for bringing Democrats, liberals, and moderates into our fold as converts. But we don't want to bring liberals and Democrats and moderates into our fold as liberals, Democrats, and moderates." And sadly, that seems to be what's happening with our two top-tier candidates in this primary at this moment.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: By the way, ladies and gentlemen, I want to say to you and everybody else here in the audience that I talk about David Brooks not because he is influential, because he's not. That's the point. He's lost his influence. That's why they're upset. They're lashing out at people they think have robbed them of their influence. But I did it, I talk about Mr. Brooks -- who I've never met and I have no personal animus for, but I talk about Mr. Brooks -- because he is the vessel through which I choose to address the other liberals and pseudo-conservatives who wish the demise of conservatism as they promote McCain, purely and simply. A lot of people... I'm getting e-mail, "Rush, why are you talking about this guy? All you're doing is elevating him."

Hey, he's talking about me! In this case, he is the perfect vessel to address liberals and pseudo-conservatives who want conservatism to go down the drain as they promote McCain. A couple of other things here about Senator McCain. This is difficult to say. I think he's campaigning in a dishonest fashion. I think he tells people what they want to hear in New Hampshire about global warming. He talks about almost exclusively his military record in South Carolina. He's claiming to be tough on Castro in Miami. I wonder if he will support normalizing ties in Cuba as he did communist Vietnam (we'll just have to wait and see) and he's denying his record on amnesty everywhere because it's so unpopular.

(McCain impression) "It's not amnesty, Limbaugh! How many times do I have to say it? There is a fine: $5,000!"

Right, Senator, I understand that, but who's going to track them down and collect it? What if they don't pay?

"It will be fade. The budget will show it! So it's not amnesty. You got it?"

Right. It's not amnesty. Enough said on that. What we need, ladies and gentlemen, are more people talking about McCain's record, not fewer. They're telling us to shut up. They're telling us, "Come on, Limbaugh! You're destroying the party. You're breaking it apart. Just be quiet and let this process shake out." Fred Barnes today says McCain should come by my house here in Florida; we should have a meet-and-greet, talk about conservatism. Uh, fine and dandy, but, Fred, why don't you go by Romney's house? Why don't you go by Rudy's house? Why don't you go by one of Mitt Romney's three houses? (Just kidding, folks.) Why don't you go to the conservatives to find out what they think? They speak of McCain as though he's the nominee. Some of us are trying to prevent a Big Government interventionist who doesn't like conservatism and the Republican Party so much anyway, for leading both by default. But these guys think that there are just one or two issues with McCain, and if we just resolve those, everybody is hunky-dory, and it's not that simple. It's just not that simple.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Look at me, folks. Look at me. These guys -- Mr. Barnes, Mr. Brooks, Mr. Kristol, others in the Republican unity movement, "the McCain-Lieberman Party" -- they want us to believe that there is a single issue that we conservatives take issue with McCain on. Maybe two. But if we could just get past them and have a meeting and find common ground, then all would be good. The fact of the matter is there probably is only one issue that we agree with McCain on, and that's the war, and the war on terror -- and even that has an asterisk because open borders and amnesty, and granting constitutional rights to terrorist prisoners of war is not full-fledged on the war on terror. So even that has an asterisk. So they're asking us, the McCain-Lieberman Party, to overlook 20 other things just because we might have some common ground on the war. It's an issue of trust here, but more than trust, look: You have judges. For example, McCain has said that he's going to appoint judges like Scalia and Roberts who'll overturn Roe vs. Wade and so forth. Well, guess what? Those same kinds of judges might also overturn McCain-Feingold.

Now, is he going to appoint judges that might overturn his signature piece of legislation? We have to ask this, and that's what this period of time is for. We have to ask this. So you have judges. You have illegal immigration, tax cuts, Kyoto, global warming, CAFE-like standards, campaign financing. Our disagreement -- and I think for those of you in the McCain-Lieberman Party, what you have to understand here, our disagreement -- with Senator McCain is not issue by issue by issue or an issue here, an issue there. Our disagreement, our problem is ideological. It's about ideology. We're firm in our principles that form our ideology, and you in the McCain-Lieberman Party look at us as a bunch of Shi'ites and Sunnis, and what you are is a bunch of spineless linguini. By the way, I'm a tribal chief. By the way, progress being made on our casino. I'm Chief Wagawaga El Rushbo of the El Conservo Tribe. Well, if I'm a tribal chief, we're going to open a casino. We'll sell cigarettes tax-free, and we're going to get special dispensation so people can actually smoke the cigarettes they buy from us. How about that, in the United States of America? People are going to love our casino! At any rate, it's ideological. It's not issue by issue by issue -- and that's, I think, what they don't understand.

Try this headline from the Chicago Tribune. This is as bad as what CNBC has been trying to do all day by running the market down. What is it now, by the way? (muttering) It's down 132.01 now. It was down 399 earlier in the day. All you really need to know about the story is the headline: "'Dogs, Cats Latest Victims of Subprime Mortgage Mess; Animals Lose Families as Owners Lose Homes' -- The tentacles of the foreclosure monster reach all the way into a Naperville animal shelter, where McKenzie and Rocket are its collateral damage. The doggie duo -- a black Labrador retriever and a Shiba Inu -- wound up there a few days ago, when their owners, facing the loss of their home, gave up the pets to the shelter. 'We're seeing quite a few animals being surrendered due to economic reasons, including foreclosure,' said Angie Wood, assistant executive director of the Naperville Area Humane Society, which, in addition to McKenzie and Rocket," these are the two dogs, "is sheltering Bailey, a foreclosure cat." Mary Umberger, who wrote the story for the Chicago Tribune, requested interviews with McKenzie and Rocket and Bailey, but they were not available for comment. They were reportedly too depressed, and they didn't want to say bad things about their owners because they might not get new ones. "'We're seeing people in bad financial situations who are moving to places where they can't have pets,' [Wood] said. 'There definitely has been an increase in the past six months to a year.'" It's bad enough where women and minorities are hardest hit, but now when dogs and cats are victims of the subprime mortgage mess. Now we know it's serious.

RUSH: All right, back to the phones. People have been patiently waiting. Let's go to Seattle. This is Chris. Thank you for your patience, sir. Hello.

CALLER: Rush, how you doing? You are the most influential, and I am in your tribe. But I'm going to tell you that I do like John McCain for a lot of reasons, and I think that the oath that he's going to take if he ends up winning it, is going to be the same one he took as a naval aviator to uphold and defend the Constitution, and I think he believes that. He's got a remarkable history as an American --

RUSH: (sigh)

CALLER: -- and I think the one thing that a lot of Republicans see is that he is going to be the guy that can actually beat Hillary or beat Obama, who are socialists, and they see him having a good voice. He's articulate. He's well-spoken.

RUSH: What does it matter...? Wait a minute. Wait a minute, Chris. What's it matter if he beats Hillary or Obama? What's the difference?

CALLER: I don't think he's a socialist -- and I agree with you. I think Reaganism works everywhere it's tried. I agree with that, and I think that he is not flip-flopping so much, but he's coming out of being a senator and finding that he has to have a national voice, and I think he's trying to find a national voice. George Bush --

RUSH: He's got the national voice. He's had the national voice for, oh, eight years.

CALLER: That's all the difference in the world from being a senator and --

RUSH: He's got Chris Matthews, all of DNC TV, MSNBC. He's got a national voice.

CALLER: I agree. You've got a national voice. But I think as a leader, being president, uh, I think you have to all of a sudden realize the huge weight, the history, the -- the remarkable singleness of that job. It's easy to criticize presidents but we've never been one and very few people ever have, and I think that John McCain could end up finding that he's a different person as president than a lot of times what you're ending up representing him as right now. Now, I agree with almost everything you say. I love you. I'd love to play golf with you, have a steak with you sometime, smoke a cigar, but I'm telling you right now: I think John McCain ends up being the one guy the Republicans see can beat Hillary. And I gotta tell you, we don't want the Clintons back.

RUSH: (McCain impression) "You see, Limbaugh? This -- this! -- is how I have them fooled. They think that what I've been in the past is irrelevant. They know that (unintelligible) when I'm president, see? See? They will forget everything they know about me, Limbaugh, no matter what you try to do to remind them! I can't lose! I can't lose. Quick sailor: 360!"

RUSH: Pete in Chicago, welcome to the EIB Network. Hello.

CALLER: Fifteen-year dittos, buddy.

RUSH: Thank you, sir, very much.

CALLER: Do you think that this left-handed truce, this phony truce, temporary truce that Ms. Rodham laid on Barack a couple months ago; was just a phony, contrived shield to take the Obama camp, like their guard down a little bit so the former philanderer-in-chief -- you know, Mr. Schlick Meister -- could run around just bashing, lambasting Barack behind everybody's back all over the media like a stark-raving lunatic.

RUSH: I don't think the Clintons ever agreed to a truce. The only people agreed to a truce are those who are losing and need to reload and rearm. The media declared the truce. The Clintons said (doing Bill Clinton impression), "Now, this is going to work out well, Hillary. Ha-ha! They've told everybody that we're going to be nice guys. Now this is the time for me to get out there and start ripping a new one, Hillary. You know it's going to work. People love me, and we gotta get this done so that we get back into the White House, because you ain't going to be able to pull it off yourself. I have to do this. They're going to vote for me. They want me back in there. But you'll take it. You'll take it, because you'll get the Oval Office, but we'll be back in there, babe. We'll be back," and that's what's happening here.

CALLER: Did you notice, though, how when Barack deconstructed it last night, she just went ballistic and started pulling out all these verbal attacks once he started quoting Bill?

RUSH: Yeah, because you're not supposed to do that!

CALLER: Right.

RUSH: Look what happened to Chris Matthews. Chris Matthews, for once in his life got something right, and he has to do a mea culpa! You don't do that to the Clintons. You don't tell the truth about them. You know, freedom of the press is one thing when they take it away from you. Chris Matthews gave it away himself! I'm told the executives at DNC TV (PMSNBC), were just beside themselves. The Clintons were so mad, because they might lose access. So here came the apology. We have all these audio sound bites coming up, by the way, in the debate. I should get started on those pretty soon, because we have a lot of them. I appreciate the phone call.

END TRANSCRIPT

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