RUSH: The Minnesota Republican Party straw poll Friday night, Newt Gingrich ran away with it, presidential straw poll, 40% of the 540 votes cast, and as the last percentages, the bottom of the barrel was Condoleezza Rice and John McCain, each with about 10%, and this “confirmed,” says the Minnesota Star Tribune, “once again, that party activists are considerably more conservative than Republican voters and the public in general.” It’s just the opposite of that, but I don’t want to go into their template and how it’s wrong. I did that in the last hour. What’s interesting about this is I was on the golf course yesterday, as I mentioned, and it’s not hard to run into unhappy Republicans out there. They’re everywhere, and all of them look, it’s like it’s my fault, or I have the answers.
“Why isn’t this going on? Why did that happen? Why aren’t they doing this?” as though I’m not giving them the right marching orders or something. As I patiently explain this to them, and it’s become a favorite theme of mine, and that is there’s no conservative leadership in Washington, and that retort, or that then gets the retort, “Well, there are a lot of conservatives in Washington. Why aren’t they leading?”
One guy cited Newt. One of my friends said, “Look at Newt. I mean, he might have gone too far on some things, blah, blah, blah, but look at what Newt was able to do.”
I said, “Well, there’s a key difference between Newt and any other conservative in Washington right now.”
“Well, what’s that?”
“Well, Newt was able to anoint himself the leader of the Republican Party because there was a Democrat named Bill Clinton in the White House, and so Newt was able to carve out that leadership role and produce an agenda and provide that leadership that got people in line behind it.” Today we don’t have a Democrat in the White House. We have a Republican in the White House who’s not — this is no complaint; it’s just the way things are. President Bush does not look at himself as leader of a conservative movement. He’s a Republican, and he’s the president, and he has his job description on his mind and he’s out doing what he thinks best in a number of areas, but not all of the things that he does are conservative, and certainly not representative leadership.
Republicans in the House particularly, are not going to go out and work against their own president. They may start to in the last two years of the second term when official lame-duckness sets in, but prior to that it just isn’t going to happen. In fact, just the opposite. Many of the House Republicans have had to advance legislation that they abhor. They weren’t crazy about the Medicare prescription drug bill. They weren’t crazy about all this spending. Certainly not crazy about the president’s stance on illegal immigration. They weren’t crazy about steel tariffs early on. They weren’t crazy about letting Ted Kennedy write the largest education bill. But they had to sit there and bite the bullet. But at some point you have a breaking point or a tipping point, the straw that breaks the camel’s back, and this immigration bill in the Senate looks like it’s it.
It’s tough for these guys to provide the kind of conservative leadership that we were used to all during the nineties because it was easy to do that with the enemy controlling the White House. But you can’t go off the reservation and sabotage your own president and survive, as a conservative or anything because you are in the Republican Party along with the president at the same time. But that’s going to go out the window here for the last two years of Bush’s term when official lame duckness sets in. Now, these results in Minnesota, and they’ve been pretty much the same, even in Tennessee when Bill Frist won, that’s favorite son-vote, but Frist, on a balance sheet, would be considered to be more conservative than he isn’t, and so he won in Tennessee obviously, but every one of these straw polls has taken place I think without exception, I’m not sure what happened here in Florida, but I think McCain is, you know, middle of the pack or down at the bottom. He’s not there. None of these moderates are showing great strength because this party is dominated by conservatives. And they, too, are hungry for this elected conservative leadership, and they’re saying so in these straw poll votes.
I think it’s just peachy keen if the media wants to misunderstand it. They’re trying to compare the Republican conservative base with the Democrat kook fringe, the blogosphere out there, the MoveOn.orgs and all that, and there’s no comparison. The Washington template is that most of the country is a bunch of reasonable, independents and moderates, and you’ve got your wackos on both sides, and candidates have to go out and first get the wackos and then move to the center and so forth but that’s not what’s been winning elections.
Do you think it’s any accident? I know it’s going to make some of you people mad out there, but do you think it’s any accident that all of a sudden we’re talking about gay marriage again and having a constitutional amendment banning it? Does anybody think there’s anything other than an attempt to rally the base going on here? It always happens. I’ll tell you what conservatives — some of the base — believe fervently in the amendment and they’re happy when it comes up whenever, and they want something done about it. But the idea that this comes up at opportune times, I could have predicted that there will be more of this as we get to closer to the election, there will be more attempts by every Republican in Washington to make him or herself appear to be conservative, because they know who it is that elected them.
They know who it is — I’m not talking about the Senate. The Senate is there, you’ve got a bunch of liberal Republicans there, but the conservative Republicans from states that have a predominantly conservative majority in the Republican Party are going to be doing the same thing, those senators that are up, and you can see it, you can see it in the immigration bill. And we’re not talking about primaries here, folks, coming up in November. You know, we’re not — these guys in Minnesota have to get this all wrong. The media up there. This is a presidential straw poll, and that would be looked at, perhaps the primary, but the real elections, these are not primaries coming up in November, the real thing, and the whole Republican majority and apparatus in Washington is going to shift itself now to try to make it appear as though they are conservative as they promised they would be the last election and the election before that.
Now, what all this means for Newt, I haven’t the slightest idea. Because I don’t know what his intentions are. I don’t know if he’s seriously contemplating a presidential run or not, and I don’t know how he ended up on the ballot. I don’t know if he got himself on the ballot on purpose, I have no clue how this happened. But it doesn’t surprise me that if he was on the ballot, that his name would come in first, because I know, because I have my finger on the pulse, I know what conservatives in this country want. And right now, the list of people that were on the ballot, you’d have to say Gingrich has far more name ID than George Allen, who came in second. He was a distant second, 40 to 15%. But nevertheless, the two big winners, the top two positions in that straw poll are conservatives without question, Gingrich and, of course, George Allen.
RUSH: I just want to say one more thing about all this. All these media people, the Drive-By Media look at the Republican Party, and they see disarray and they see tumult and they see chaos, and they say, “Wow, the Republican Party, it’s going to fall.” The AP had a story on Saturday listing all the new Democrat committee chairmen. I know we did it months ago but I didn’t do it in the context of (panting) panting away hoping for it to be true (panting). The AP salivating over (panting) all the new committee chairmen in the House (panting) and talking about how many of them would be black, oh, how fair are we (panting). Just excited as they can be. Only one little problem. They point out the Democrats have to win the election. Yeah, well, they figure that’s already happening. The tumult and the chaos and the real disorder and angst and even anger simmering underneath the cover of everything is over there on the Democratic Party side, and because they only recognize that when it gets to a breaking point in the Drive-By Media, and then they’ll start doing stories on vice, how to change fortunes and so forth. Because don’t you know, the whole point of the mainstream Drive-By Media is to get Democrats back into office. That’s the natural order of things.
RUSH: Simon in Albuquerque, I’m glad you waited, sir, welcome to the EIB Network.
CALLER: Hey, Rush, glad to talk to you. I’ve just become a big fan of yours recently. I basically called because I pretty much agree with you on everything, and I actually stopped listening to a lot of these other people over the Dubai Ports deal, but you were the only person who said basically what I felt in my gut, too, at the time. But the thing that I don’t agree with you on is that the rift in the Republican Party is somehow due to Bush, that he is a moderate and that they’ve gotten frustrated or don’t want to contradict him. I think that what the Republicans should have been doing is shooting to the right, or aiming to the right of him rather than to the left, you know. It seems like issue after issue falls in their laps, they don’t take advantage of it, it’s sort of what you were talking about not getting their agenda out, and if they had gone to the right of him the whole time, I think the media would have been a little easier on Bush. I mean, they’re still going to pummel him but they would have said, “Gee, this guy is a moderate compared to his party,” and they still would have gotten his philosophy out but they just seem like a bunch of divided Democrats right now.
RUSH: Well, Simon, let me step in here and analyze this because I’ve got limited time, I think I can squeeze this in. The basic point you’re making is that the GOP drift away from conservatism you don’t think is the fault of the president, it’s rather the fault of moderates in the party. Look it, this is a chicken or egg question, which came first. What is it that’s emboldening the moderates? What’s emboldening the moderates is that the conservatives are frustrated, and why are the conservatives frustrated is because there is no elected conservative leadership, and they can’t move to the right of Bush without being considered traitors and have the White House exact a whole lot of pain on them, plus the whole notion of party loyalty would prohibit them from doing that as well.
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