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Big-Tent GOP's Failure to Uphold Conservatism Caused This Mess

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: I went to Washington last night for dinner, and I told the staff, I didn't tell you people this, but I told the staff when we finished the program I had to record the Morning Update, and I said, "I gotta scram. I gotta go to Washington for dinner," and they didn't say anything. I got back about two in the morning, and my 16 gig iPhone had arrived yesterday, I'm thinking, "God, I want to get back and activate this thing." So I went to my library about 2:30 to start activating it and after a half hour, it wouldn't activate, and I think I got some incorrect instructions on switching SIM cards and so forth. I had two of them there, and I didn't have a chance to try the second one. I got it done this morning with my computer wizard actually doing it remotely, so it was just delivered, a 16 gig iPhone all synched up ready to go. Simple as pie, Brian, just how I told you to do it.

If you have an iPhone now, it's easy to switch over, but your old iPhone is going to become deactivated and you can reset it and give it to a family member or sell it on eBay or find your nearest homeless person. Anyway, I'm all excited, but now I can't use it 'til the program is over. Anyway, I get in here and the staff, "Washington last night, eh? So who was it, who did you meet with? McCain was in Washington last night," because he's getting ready for CPAC. And then everybody is saying, "We see some stories in the paper today that an emissary of McCain is being sent to you, that you are being targeted by McCain emissaries. So did you have dinner with McCain or an emissary?" I said, "No." "Did you go to the White House?" "No." "We don't believe you. Did somebody try to brainwash you in Washington last night?" "Yes." (laughing) But that always happens when you're on a social occasion. But, no, I flew in there, went to this fabulous restaurant, Citronelle, in Georgetown, 7:30 p.m., got out of there about 11 p.m., hit the spaceport, drive all the way out to Dulles, which is about 35 or 40 minutes, and jetted back, and voila, here I am ready to go with another three hours of broadcast excellence.

I've been doing a lot of show prep today. You know, it is amazing. Here is The Politico. Here is Kate O'Beirne and Ramesh Ponnuru at National Review Online. Here is Al Regnery in the Wall Street Journal. All over the place today are a bunch of people advising McCain on how to come across as a conservative today when he speaks at CPAC. Kate O'Beirne and Ramesh Ponnuru suggest that McCain come out and attack Democrats. (interruption) Yes, Mr. Snerdley? Question from the program observer. Yes, sir, what is it, sir? Well, nobody advises, that's my point, nobody advises me on, A, how to be conservative, B, how to sound conservative, or, C, how to convince people I'm conservative when I'm not. I don't consult anybody, and nobody would have the temerity to tell me how to be a conservative. What they're telling me now is how not to be one. That's what's really going on. They are telling me, drop it, drop it, for the good of the so-called cause, drop it. Senator McCain, by the way, is not soliciting this. This is not my point. I'm not even speaking of Senator McCain here. All these other people, many of whom are suggesting that you and me, just forget it, come on, get on board here, are advising Senator McCain on how to be a conservative. Does that not say it all?

All of these wannabe important people are trying to figure out ways for Senator McCain to be that conservative which he has repudiated for years. You can't miss it, National Review Online, the Wall Street Journal, the Weekly Standard, other places, "Please, John, say this. Please, Senator, do that. Please, Senator, really mean it this time." Al Regnery, he has a good piece, "He needs to sign a no-tax pledge. He needs to sign a pledge that he won't nominate judges like Souter, that he'll nominate judges that have a proven record." When you start asking somebody to sign pledges that means you don't trust them. True. Many of these same people continue to condemn us and those of us on talk radio and conservatives generally with name-calling and mischaracterizations and so forth, and it continues today. There must be three stories where my name is, one is Washington Post, one's Wall Street Journal, forget the third one, maybe The Guardian, three stories today where my name is the first two words of the story. (interruption) What story? Talk Show Hosts Voice Alarm at McCain, yeah, yeah, yeah. But, Snerdley, my name doesn't lead. I'm talking about three stories where my name leads.

So, anyway, so here's what's happening. McCain goes to CPAC this afternoon at three o'clock, conservative wannabe is advising him how not to blow it, how to sound sincere, "Here John, say it this way, do it this way, really mean it this time, Senator," and those same people are telling me and others in my talk show brethren how not to be what we are.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: There are still some things here that need to be addressed; based, again, on some of the things that have been said today and last night in the media. Basically the reason I want to go through this is to try to explain to those of you, why I feel the way I do, think the way I did, the reason I've been saying the things that I've been saying. It will resonate with quite a few of you, if not most of you. But I also want to lay down a marker, because I sense here that within the conservative movement, there is an attempt here to point the finger of blame. If there is failure of the Republican Party this year, to succeed in winning the presidency, they want to point the finger of blame at me and Hannity, Levin, Laura Ingraham, and all these other people on talk radio that have been singled out.

This to me is the big point. The failure of establishment Republicans -- whether they be members of Congress, Washington, or New York editorial writers, even some talk show hosts who live and work and socialize in that community, the failure of these people -- to uphold the principles of conservatism during the last decade or more has resulted in the mess that they now complain about. George Neumayr, writing today a column -- he used to be the editor of the American Spectator -- makes a great point. He said, "Once the Republican Party decided..." This was largely due to abortion, by the way. "Once the Republican Party decided to be a big-tent party, its days were numbered; its identity forever changed," because the definition of "big tent" was to bring in people who normally would not be in the tent, that there was no litmus test anymore for the party, and this was about abortion, because the establishment, blue-blood, country club-type Republicans were always embarrassed of the evangelicals and the hardcore conservatives to whom the issue of life mattered most -- and so we had to be big tent. And one of the reasons also for the big tent was to contrast ourselves with the Democrats who did have litmus tests.

But their litmus tests were aimed at maintaining the originality and the purity or whatever, the solidness of liberalism, and they didn't want it watered down, and they didn't want to let conservatives in. They didn't even want to let Bob Casey, the pro-life Democrat governor of Pennsylvania even address their convention back in 1992. Yet because Republicans felt all defensive and we felt all ashamed, and we were being shamed by the media, we adopted this "big-tent" strategy, and the big-tent strategy effectively eliminated the three legs of the conservative stool I've been telling you about: fiscal, foreign policy, cultural. Once in a while we allowed those legs of the stool to be whittled down and others added to the stool. Neumayr's point is: Hey, Republicans have only themselves to blame here -- and he's got a point. But who is to blame for this? If you want to assign blame, if you want to talk about it in terms of blame you can say, "Okay, how did it happen?" And that's what I'm telling you. The failure of establishment Republicans -- whether they're a member of Congress, Washington or New York editorial writers; even some talk show hosts who live and work and socialize in that community -- to uphold conservative principles during the last decade or more, has resulted in the mess that they are now complaining about.

They are complaining about us failing to join them as they have changed the party, as they have watered it down. This confusion, this mess -- contrary to the take of the Drive-By Media -- that conservatism, slash, Republican Partyism finds itself in today, is a reaction to the establishment Republicans who have ignored conservative principles and watered down their party for the last decade or more and their failures. This mess has resulted from them and their failures and their false promises. These very same people now who were the big-tent guys, which resulted in -- and, by the way, I'm all for big tent, but you bring people in as us; not as them. Don't misunderstand. There's nothing exclusionary about me. You want to expand the party? I'm all for it. It's what we've been trying to do here, in fact, with conservatism! Now, these very same people now who sought to expand the party by essentially marginalizing conservatives and bringing in their buddies (the moderates, the independents, even some liberals) are now demanding that the people they took for granted -- us, and the evangelicals and so forth -- continue to follow them, continue to be swayed by their demeaning and condescending lectures.

Dorothy Rabinowitz of the Wall Street Journal editorial board has referred to talk radio as semipsychotic, something like that. So we now have to listen to those who write today, say, "Here's what we need to do to get ourselves back in the fold. This is what McCain needs to do to make sure conservatives think he's conservative." It wasn't that long ago... You know, like Bill Bennett. Bill Bennett is one of the guys who wrote today in the National Review Online listing various reasons why McCain is worthy of support, conservative reasons and so forth. But, remember, it wasn't that long ago Bill Bennett was part of the open borders crowd. In 1987, he and Jack Kemp slammed Pete Wilson on Prop 187. Remember Prop 187 in California was a proposition that overwhelmingly was supported by the people of California. They were fed up with tax increases to pay for education, medical care, health care insurance, and so forth, for the children of illegal immigrants. You know, that's how long this has been simmering. Now, Bill -- who is a really good friend of mine -- is a leader in border security. He's changed his mind on this and wants us to accept McCain.

I'm not trying to pick on a single person here. I'm just saying that there are people who have been all over the ballpark in this party, and they come back and go forth and they change positions and so forth, and they're now trying to tell us -- who have been consistent all these years -- that we need to somehow now moderate for the good of whatever. But the truth is that none of this, despite all the media writing about it and media talking about it and televising it, this isn't about me. It's not about Rush Limbaugh. It's not about any single person. The same time people in Washington and New York who like to write op-eds and editorials to themselves to show how smart they are and how in touch they are, are missing what's going on here. I don't control. I want everybody in the Drive-Bys and liberals to listen to this. I don't control the real disaffection conservatives are feeling for the Republican Party and for Washington in general. I don't control that. This isn't some manufactured view that people didn't hold and all of a sudden they do because I have been saying it. This isn't some view that's turned on or off by me, or other talk show hosts. This is a result of years of contempt of the grassroots; years of negotiating, false promises, pseudo-conservatism here and there; a primary system put in place by the party and state parties intended to quickly choose a nominee, which benefits a Washington insider, on and on and on and on.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Another way to look at what's happening here, to put it in relevant terms -- and look, I acknowledge the fight that's taking place in the Republican Party. It's one of ideas. I'm going to continue to address this here today. This is irrelevant to Romney pulling out, if he does; to McCain being the presumptive nominee. This is about the riff: How it came about, who's going to get blame for it -- and that's where I eventually am headed here. Because I'm going to tell you something, folks: what's happening in our party today is not only do the establishment Republicans want amnesty for illegal immigrants, they want amnesty for Democrats. They want punishment... Well, they don't want punishment, but they want to try to humiliate, manipulate, whatever, us; to join them as they destroy the concept of the three-legged stool of conservatism. I think, especially now since Romney is going to get out, it still says "could withdraw during the speech." There are three Republican sources that TIME Magazine has says he's going to suspend the campaign. So let's assume it's true, and makes McCain the presumptive nominee. He was the presumptive nominee before this as Romney's imminent withdrawal indicates. But therefore it's up to Senator McCain to demonstrate leadership here, not browbeat people into following him out of fear or loathing for Hillary Clinton.

You realize, this is what they're counting on? They're counting on a reunification, or unification of the party based on fear and loathing of Hillary -- and it may not even be Hillary when all is said and done. It may end up being Obama. And you can't gin up fear and loathing of Obama. You just can't do it. If somebody tries to gin up fear and loathing of Obama, it isn't going to work. They're going to have a tough time criticizing Obama because, as Republicans, you start criticizing the first black presidential nominee and you're going to be tagged with racism by the Drive-By Media. I don't care what. So it's going to be kid gloves time if Obama gets it. You can't rely on the fear and loathing of Hillary, especially at this stage to unify the party. Besides, it already exists! To try to drum something up that already exists, is a waste of time. Leadership is a little bit more than being the anti-Hillary. That's the minimum that we expect. And all of our candidates fit that bill. A leader, folks, is someone who -- by his own convictions, personality, and vision -- can unite a party, a movement, a country behind him. Do you see instead what is happening? The leader of the party is not being told or it's not being said of him, that he will unify.

It's up to those of us who have problems with what's happening in the party to put our problems aside, our differences aside, and join up. This is the exact opposite of leadership. Leadership, on its own, unites a party or a movement or a country. It's not up to me or anybody else to unify the Republican Party, much to the Drive-By Media's exasperation. These are not my jobs. This is not our purpose. I'd be happy to tackle it, but that's not what happens here. I'm not the candidate. It's the candidates' jobs to unify a party, a movement, a country behind him. These talking point op-eds and editorials are no substitute for the candidate demonstrating leadership, and how much leadership can be there when there are all these advice pieces out there for Senator McCain on what to say and how to say it today at CPAC? By the way, telling people they've never served in the military, or that private enterprise and working for profit is bad, or that anybody who disagrees with him on campaign finance reform is corrupt, or that anybody who disagrees with him on amnesty must be racist and so forth, those are not leadership qualities. Senator McCain has not demonstrated leadership qualities, and he's not doing so now. The onus is on those who disagree to come board. The onus is on leadership to lead.

When you demean and smear the people whose support you need down the road, it's human nature that they're going to remember the personal insults and the abuse that you heaped on them not that long ago. You call them nativists and racists and so forth, insult the people personally, call them corrupt if you oppose abridging the First Amendment -- campaign finance reform. You call 'em deniers, if you don't buy into the hoax of manmade global warming. Ronald Reagan never spoke this way. He wouldn't have spoken this way, and he didn't speak this way; he was a leader. So the establishment Republicans have their work cut out for them. They can continue to attack the grassroots (that's you); they can pretend this primary shows that you have no influence, or they and their candidate can start to act like mature and seasoned, intelligent adults who will try to find a way to repair the damage they have done to the party and the conservative movement. How in the world can conservatives who have stayed loyal to conservative principles and concepts, be blamed for what's happened to the Republican Party? The people that have made the mess of the Republican Party are those who have attempted to expand it by including liberals and independents and Democrats so as to marginalize conservatives. And all of a sudden it's our fault. No, sir!

And that's the purpose of the monologue here today is to set down a marker, that this debacle continues and happens in November, I'm not going to sit here and get the blame for it by these people who are trying to shove it on me and others in talk radio. What I am saying here, folks, is that the responsibility for fixing what's broken belongs to those who broke it. We grassroots and conservatives did not break this. Yet we are being told that we are responsible for breaking it. We did not break this! They, those who broke it, do not accept that it is their responsibility. So they're lashing out and digging themselves into a bigger hole with the people who they've already turned off. It is important, folks, to understand here that we have to put the responsibility for this debacle back on them, so that we are not blamed for this months from now. They can try. We put our marker down now where it needs to be. Let me put this as simply as I can so that even David Brooks, from the New York Times, can understand. It is the Republican establishment that has taken the grassroots and conservatives for granted and has misled it for many years now; that is responsible for what's going on today, and what will happen in November.

The establishment of the Republican Party has let the Republican Party slide. You've used conservatives when you needed them. You've not led; you've not kept your promises, and now you're promoting a candidate who spent years leading the effort to marginalize the party and demean conservatives in a host of critical issues! You establishment Republicans created this mess. You created this scenario, and your tactics today -- with the name-calling and the demeaning of the base, which is really why you're attacking talk radio. When you attack me, you attack my audience. When you attack Levin and Hannity and Ingraham, you're attacking their audiences. You're attacking the base of the party. It's going to backfire on you, and you'll have yourselves to blame. Until you accept responsibility for what you've done and are doing to this party and take significant steps... Why do you think the Democrats are so happy to see what you guys are doing to the party? And why do we never see this happening to the Democrats themselves? You're going to be responsible for the election if you don't fix this. You establishment Republicans are going to be responsible for the election of a Hillary Clinton or a Barack Obama. It will not be us who are responsible. It will not be talk radio. It will be you.

Again, I look at all of these conservatives writing about how McCain can convince conservatives to vote for him. I guess they're acknowledging that he's not a conservative in his own right. Phil Gramm, a McCain supporter, said, "I want to make the point that a lot of conservatives are coming home to McCain, but some aren't. Some just don't seem to understand that if they don't do this it's going to hurt the party for a long time. They say they have principles, but some of it's their ego and power, too. They're well known and they're used to having power." It is they who crave power. It is the establishment Republicans who are trying to get power back at the party level from the grassroots who they have been embarrassed of for so long. I know. After Senator McCain and his team have said, "Yeah, we're going to reach out to these people, they can't stop insulting us." This is what Graham said. "Some conservatives aren't coming home. Some just don't seem to understand that if they don't do this, it's going to hurt the party for a long time." This is 180 degrees out of phase. We have to continue to compromise what made this party great and what made it a majority party. We have to compromise with these people who have changed it and altered it, in order for them to be able to acquire and seek their power. This is the kind of statement, the kind of thing that I'm talking about here. They're going to try to shift the blame on all of us when this debacle in November happens, if it does, and we're just setting down a marker here.

END TRANSCRIPT

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