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Moderate GOP Got the Campaign They Wanted and They Don't Like It

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Bill Kristol, writing today an op-ed in the New York Times, says it's time for McCain to fire his campaign. He says that what McCain needs to do is get rid of the whole campaign and start over these last three weeks and make the case for "a broadly centrist conservatism." Now, you know, Bill Kristol and I know each other and I've been a friend of Bill Kristol for a number of years. Bill Kristol, however, was one of the early supporters of Senator McCain back in the 2000 presidential race; and, of course, I was not. Moving on to this year, Bill and his friends like David Brooks and so forth (also at the New York Times) were constantly urging us to understand that McCain was the ideal candidate, because he could "cross the aisle."

He could pick off Democrats. He could pick off moderates. He could pick off independents with his honor and his story of heroism, and all of this. These are the people that said, "We need to redefine conservatism." What is "centrist conservatism"? I don't know what centrist conservatism is. I think centrist conservatism is probably what Senator McCain believes himself to be. I know he says he's a foot soldier in the Reagan revolution. Let me ask you a question. Throughout this whole campaign... Forget the primaries, 'cause what happened in the primaries is an anomaly. But throughout this whole presidential campaign, when was the one time Senator McCain surged? It was when he moved not to the center, but to the right! When he chose Sarah Palin.

What is it for the first time that actually excited people in the Republican Party about his campaign? It was the selection of Sarah Palin -- and then they hid her for a while. Now, what I hate to see about this... I am not gloating. What I hate to see about this is, this is the exact kind of thing -- this is the exact kind of campaign -- that those of us who had worries about Senator McCain a year ago, six months ago, nine months ago, eight years ago. This is exactly what we saw coming to fruition. But don't forget, there was and there is a battle in the Republican Party for its heart and soul. The country club blue-blood Republican media elites are trying to wrest control of the party from the conservative base that has made the party a dominant (and even landslide victorious) party since the 1980s.

So now exactly what you and I knew would happen, as was advocated by the original support of Senator McCain, now that it's happened they want to fire the campaign! These are the people ought to be so happy with the way this campaign is running, 'cause this is exactly what they wanted. This is the kind of campaign they wanted. They wanted somebody nice. They wanted somebody respectful. They wanted somebody with honor. They didn't want any negative ads. They didn't want any negative this or that. They didn't want any conservatism. They thought conservatism was a loser. They thought conservatism needed to be "redefined." They thought conservatism had worn itself out.

You and I know that conservatism will never go out of style because the fundamental and foundational building block of conservatism is liberty, individual liberty -- and in this country, individual liberty will never go out of style. Now, some of these 20% who think they're the smartest people in the room -- the so-called independent, moderates, undecideds, whatever you want to call them -- who get caught up in specious things to determine how they're going to vote. "Well, this guy sounds smart. He looks nice. He's suave," what have you. They have no idea what's in store for them. Forty percent of the country does have an idea what's in store for them. Our 40% says, "We don't want socialism." The other 40% does, and here are these 20% in the middle who are going to be stunned if they end up voting in a majority way for Obama.

They're going to be shocked to see what kind of country this is going to be, and then eventually somewhere down the road they'll come back and join us 'cause they are not going to like the encroachments on individual liberty and freedom (and income earning) and the punishment that will be aimed at people who take risks and who succeed. So the people on our side... Look, don't misunderstand. This is not gloating. It's not, "Nah-nyah-nyah-nah-nyah-nyah! See, I Told You So." It's just frustration. We could all see this outside the Beltway, and the architects of this are now the ones throwing up their hands in frustration, "God, this is horrible. What a rotten campaign. This stinks!" Well, the fact that it took 'em 'til three weeks before the election to figure this out. It doesn't matter, folks. Don't get depressed. We still have our chances here, and we're going to take 'em.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Bill Kristol has a column today in the New York Times lamenting the McCain campaign. Gotta fire the McCain campaign. That's how he opens it up: "It's time for John McCain to fire his campaign." Well, now, that got me to thinking about something. In the first place, David Brooks and Bill Kristol, when they both were at the Weekly Standard back in 2001, wrote a long piece. I have it here. I'm not going to read it to you. We'll link to it at RushLimbaugh.com for later this afternoon. They wrote a long piece redefining conservatism, what it means. What was wrong with American conservatism was there wasn't any America in it. Conservatism was elite; it was special; it was for a select few. We need to broaden it, is their point, and they were both touting McCain as the nominee in 2000 and in 2008. They got exactly what they were going to get. This is the campaign they wanted. They wanted a campaign reaching out to try to get Democrats to vote for Republicans. They wanted a campaign trying to get independents to vote for Republicans. They wanted a campaign that deemphasized the Republican base. They've got it and now they say fire the campaign. Fire themselves!

I've never met Brooks. I know Bill Kristol and I like him. I haven't seen him in a while, but I've always had a very civil relationship with him. He's come under fire several times in his career, and I took up for him. But this never made any sense to me. Now they've got exactly what they want, and it's not just these two. It's not just Brooks and Kristol. There's a bunch of people on our side, the so-called conservative media, who have been wanting to deemphasize Reagan conservatism. They said the era of Reagan is over. But notice the era of FDR is never over. Notice the era of LBJ is never over. But yet the era of Reagan is over and we've gotta redefine conservatism. I'm sorry, they got the exact campaign they wanted and now they don't like it. Well, what did they expect was going to happen when you have a campaign, a Republican campaign that is going to emphasize attracting Democrats and moderates in order to win? Now, I remember back earlier in this year when McCain pulled the nomination out of the fire, with the help of Huckabee, and I remember warning you, folks, "I'm not crazy about this idea of going out and attracting Democrats as Democrats and going out and attracting independents as independents. Reagan moved the country to the right. Reagan didn't get Democrat votes by telling Democrats they're going to be comfortable as Democrats in the Republican Party 'cause we're going to deemphasize conservatism. Reagan made several million Democrats like conservatism." So they attracted 'em.

But the McCain campaign's strategery always was to play off the fact of how well he reaches across the aisle. Okay, so where are we? Well, I'm looking into polling numbers and you got a spread anywhere from 11 to four-and-a-half or five points. As I look at the internals, I don't see a whole lot of Democrats voting for McCain. I don't see it. I never did see it, but others said they thought it was going to happen. Where are they? Where are these Democrats voting for McCain? Where are the independents that are voting for McCain? A story today, now this is the AP, so, you know, it's worth the toilet paper here that they write it on. "Independents Split Evenly Between Obama and McCain." Well, if that's true then they're a wash and it doesn't matter what they do. If they're split evenly, they ain't the answer, right? My guess is they're not split evenly. They're probably tilting McCain, which is why the AP Obama wrote this BS. "As Election Day approaches, though, independents are sounding more like Democrats than Republicans," well, that's because they are! It's because they are. Independents are Democrats-in-waiting.

What caused McCain's surge? It was the choice of Palin. Who's Palin? She's a conservative down the line, maybe a couple detours here and there, but she's a conservative. They're trying to, by the way, diminish her by saying she's a populist. The Drive-Bys today have stories, "If this woman's the future of the Republican Party then the Republican Party's dead." That's what they're writing today. Well, we can take that to mean just the exact opposite. If she or somebody like her is the future of the Republican Party, the Democrats have a lot to worry about. Okay, so McCain goes out and chooses Palin, surprise move. At that point you could say there aren't too many Democrats now that are going to cross the aisle, 'cause why would a Democrat, she's a rock-ribbed conservative, perception is, pro-life, Down syndrome baby. This is not the way you go out and attract Democrats, and McCain's been trying to do it, but apparently it's not working.

So what is it that these guys all learned too late in the game? And, by the way, I do not think it's too late in the game. I still think this is wide open, and that's why I'm talking about all this stuff today. There is a great chance if a full-fledged conservative twist, turn, whatever, in these last three weeks can make a huge difference, because if you're a Republican candidate you're not going to win without your base being fired up, and Palin's done that. And it's incumbent upon the campaign -- fire the campaign, I don't know. The candidate's the campaign here. But it certainly is not too late for this. Let's listen, this is this morning in Virginia Beach. Virginia is now a swing state. We used to own this state but Obama's running TV ads in northern Virginia, which is the populated DC suburbs. They're running campaigns about how wonderful his white mother is, his white grandmother, he's running as a Caucasian in northern Virginia, and he's been doing this with local TV ads all along. Palin today at a joint rally. We have two sound bites. Here's the first.

PALIN: We know that all across America right now there's a lot of anger. There's anger about the insider dealing of lobbyists and anger about the greed on Wall Street and anger about the arrogance of the Washington elite and anger about voter fraud. (applause) America, America let John McCain turn that anger into action. (applause) See, as a senator, John has confronted the corrupt ways of Washington and the wasteful spending and the abuses of power. As president, he's going to end those once and for all. (applause)

RUSH: Yeah, yeah, hubba hubba hubba hubba. Here's the second bite.

MCCAIN: We have 22 days to go. We're six points down. The national media has written us off. (booing) Senator Obama, Senator Obama is measuring the drapes and planning with Speaker Pelosi and Senator Reid to raise taxes, increase spending, take away your right to vote by secret ballot in labor elections (booing) and concede defeat in Iraq, and concede defeat in Iraq. (booing) My friends, I won't concede defeat. I'll bring our troops home with victory and with honor. (cheers) My friends -- (crowd chanting John McCain, John McCain) -- but you know, you know what they forgot? They forgot to let you decide. My friends, we've got them just where we want them.

RUSH: In a way, he's right. In a way, we do have them right where we want them because they think it's over. He's right. They're measuring the drapes. Pelosi and Hoyer are planning a post-Obama election special session of Congress. Any time somebody with three weeks to go is this sure that it's over, this sure it's in the bag, they are ripe. It's gonna take the right approaches to do so, but they are. It is not over by any stretch of the imagination.

END TRANSCRIPT

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