RUSH: Our buddies at Newsmax just posted the following story. ‘Peter King Blames Rush Limbaugh for Port Support.’ That’s the headline. Here’s the story. ‘New York Congressman Peter King, who sounded the alarm two weeks ago over the Bush administration’s decision to permit the sale of several dozen U.S. port terminals to a Dubai company, blamed conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh on Monday for softening the firestorm of opposition to the deal. Asked why some hard-line opponents of the Dubai deal seem to have changed their minds, King told WABC Radio host John Gambling: ‘I am very disappointed in that. It almost seemed that once the administration started to counterattack, you had people like Rush Limbaugh and others who have just been – ah – I think [they] have gone into the tank, quite frankly.”
So he says I’m ‘in the tank’ for Bush. We’ll have to go back and check the timeline. I think my initial reaction to this deal a week ago today, and even prior to that, was before the administration came out — at any rate. ‘Limbaugh had adopted a wait and see posture on the ports controversy early last week, saying that more information was needed. But by Friday he told his audience he was suspicious of the monolithic opposition.’ Then they quote me saying, ‘You remember the movie, ‘The Perfect Storm’? What do you suppose happens when 2006 politics and a liberal lust for power and longshoreman union power and Bush hatred and uninformed reporting and the GOP’s fear of losing power all get tossed into a stew pot, and then you add in a dash of xenophobia and a touch of racism, and what did you do get? Exactly what we had earlier this week: the perfect panic.’ Quoted me accurately.
“Still, despite their disagreement, Limbaugh never attacked King personally – a line crossed by the New York Republican with his Monday ‘in-the-tank’ reference. King complained that defenders of the ports transaction were trivializing the debate: ‘For them to ridicule or to trivialize the objections that we have – I mean, stand back for a second and look at this. What we’re talking about, you know, turning over the operation of our ports to a company which is owned by the government which was cooperating with our enemy just a few years ago. And they’re trying to ridicule and trivialize when you raise questions about that,’ he told Gambling. ‘I think you’re seeing something of a split, here, in the Republican Party between what I call the Reagan Democrats, you know, the ethnics from the cities and the suburbs, the middle income working people – and the big business wing of the party.'”
Oh, I’m part of the big business wing! Yes, I guess this explains my anger at this administration’s lack of doing anything to protect the borders when it comes to illegal immigration. I guess I’m in the tank with big business on that, too. I guess I’m in the tank when I’m critical of the president’s budgeting, and his spending, and I guess I’m in the tank when I’ve been critical of the president on Harriet Miers, and I guess I’m in the tank when I have been critical of the president on Ted Kennedy writing the education bill. Steel tariffs, I ripped the hell out of the steel tariffs idea, which was eventually withdrawn after not too long a period of time. I went to great pains not to take a personal swipe at Peter King. I praised him. I did. I went out of my way to praise him. I pointed out that he admitted that he’s being swayed a lot by constituent e-mail and phone calls, which he has to be. He’s an elected representative. He’s in New York, he’s out on Long Island. It’s Ground Zero for him. I understand where he’s coming from on that. I have not criticized him or any of these other people. I have just told people why I’m for it. You know, the more accurate thing to say is I have just explained why I’m not afraid of it. Let’s put it that way.
RUSH: Joe in Morristown, New Jersey, glad you called, sir, welcome to the program.
CALLER: Hey Rush, how you doing?
RUSH: Fine, thank you.
CALLER: Great. It’s been making my blood boil listening to Peter King talk about this port deal. This is a guy who for years has supported the Irish Republican Army who has all kinds of ties to them, has been an apologist, if you will, and for years. And, you know, you could almost turn it around on him and say, well, maybe he shouldn’t be in charge of homeland security based on that, you know, not to mention the IRA contacts with the PLO, with Bark from Columbia, well, I guess Khadafy, too, you could throw him in the mix. So, you know, he’s really — I don’t know — talking out both sides of his mouth on this because he —
RUSH: Wait. King is a supporter of the IRA?
CALLER: Has been for years. I mean, he’s recently with the bank robbery over there, oh, some 50 million pounds they took, he kind of — well, was whistling a different tune after that. I think primarily because of this gig he has now over at homeland security, or in charge of the subcommittee in Congress. But for years he’s met with Gerry Adams. You know, in truth maybe he can say that those were different times, but the fact remains, everybody has known the IRA has had contacts from Arafat to Khadafy. All those years he was supporting them.
RUSH: Yeah, but nobody’s linked the IRA with terrorism in this country, have they, or against Americans?
CALLER: Uh, well, not exactly, because the problem is they’ve never attacked us because financially, you know, they need American support, private American support, not government support. So, you know, it would have been quite foolish of them to attack us, but they’ve certainly attacked our allies, the British, repeatedly over the years. You know, and if any American happened to die in one of their bombings, and these were the original car bombers and these are the guys who invented the whole deal, you know, I don’t think they would have shed any tears over it. And certainly, you know, he’s known that all along.
So, you know, for him to come out and now and say that these people in the Arab Emirates are, you know, a threat to us, well, I mean I just can’t take him seriously. And I don’t think anybody else should, either. And it’s just driven me nuts because I know people over there who have to put up with this for years and years and years, and, you know, he’s always been an impediment to the British efforts to kind of get control of the situation over there. So I don’t know. You know, you could turn it around on him and say maybe he shouldn’t be in charge of that subcommittee based on his past with the IRA, and I think it’s about time somebody does that.
RUSH: You can say that if you want. I’ve tried during this whole affair to go out of my way not to personally indict Peter King at all. The only thing I guess that could be considered that is I think it’s not just the Democrats who see a political opportunity here. I think it’s the Republicans too. This is an election year and members of the House run every two years, so they’re all up for election this year and I think a lot of people are scared to death about the lack of progress in Iraq, they think, and the lack of progress on the war on terror and are looking for an opportunity to distance themselves from George W. Bush so that they don’t appear, quote, unquote, in the tank. And I think that there was a lot of original opposition to this among Republican politicians based purely on the calculation it could help them, and they saw it as everybody apparently did in the knee-jerk reaction first. ‘Whoa! We’re selling our ports and our port security to Arabs? We’re going to have Abdul and Sahib driving the forklift?’
That was the mental picture everybody had when this thing was first announced and ran around and started talking this way, and that ginned up predictable reaction from members of the public. I am not aware of Peter King’s support for the IRA, and if that gives him a problem with hypocrisy, that’s for somebody else to say. I’ve tried not to make this personal with anybody. I’ve just basically tried to explain why I’m not opposed to it and why I’m not frightened by it. For some reason this just doesn’t scare me after I looked into this. There are a lot of other things that are far more frightening than this. And I just tried to apply a little logic combined with the information that I learned when I started looking into it.
I think as more people did that, their original reaction to this changed, and it softened somewhat. I’m sure there’s still a lot of fear and still a lot of opposition to it. Congressman King is blaming me for that, blaming me for softening the opposition. Last I saw, I was the only talk show host taking this position. Everything I’m reading says all my talk show brethren are out there are on the other side of this. So he wants to blame me for softening the opposition, I will take it. But all those other hosts who have been out there beating the drums along with Peter King, I would think that — well, you figure it out.
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