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RUSH: Bill in Poughkeepsie, New York, thank you for waiting. Welcome to the EIB Network.

CALLER: Hi, Rush. Dittos. Thanks for taking my call.

RUSH: Yes, sir.

CALLER: You’ve had some calls lately asking you to do more and asking what can you do, et cetera. I was thinking about that. It seems to me that 2008 is going to be about one issue. It’s the identity of the American nation. Who are we? What are we? How much control do we have over our own destiny? The Europeans think we should have none of that. I think the Republican candidate in 2008 is going to have to say, “This is what America is. This is what we stand for,” and we will make of ourselves what we want to be.

RUSH: All right. You’re confirming what I said yesterday. We need leadership. Reagan talked about America — the greatness of America, the goodness of America, the destiny of America. “We have a rendezvous with destiny,” he said. It may happen in this campaign. Right now what we’re getting is candidates talking on policy. Mrs. Clinton is just… In fact, even Dana Milbank at the Washington Post today writing a story how ‘trite’ Mrs. Clinton is being. She’s just going out there and making the right statement on the right issue to the right audience. When I look at the Democrat list of candidates, I don’t see them even being interested in the definition of the country. They are more concerned about what other people think of what we are rather than defining who we are — and when you’re concerned about what other people think, you’re letting them define you, folks.

Now, I had this big, long monologue about leadership yesterday. It was strictly a riff off the top of my head. There was no advance thought, no preparation, just utter, pure broadcast professionalism. Lo and behold, I get up today and I’m going through the news in the show prep, and I find a story here by our buddy Ron Fournier in the Associated Press. “Lies from the White House. Incompetence in treating wounded veterans. Irrelevance in Congress. Can’t anybody do anything right? It’s days like these that turn Americans sour on government, stoking a desire for leaders who actually lead. Exhibit A is the perjury conviction of I. Lewis ‘Scooter’ Libby, whose trial cast unflattering light on the Bush White House and the mainstream media.” Then he goes on to start talking about Walter Reed and so forth.

“It’s no wonder that 78 percent of Americans said in a CNN Poll a few months ago that government is broken. And the public’s lack of faith in leadership doesn’t stop with the government. Nearly three-quarters of Americans think U.S. society faces a ‘leadership crisis,’ according to a report by the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government late last year. It tracked a loss of faith in the people who lead businesses, churches, schools and the media as well as federal, state and local governments. … Could it be an economic populist like Democrat John Edwards, who talks of two Americas? A self-styled maverick like Republican John S. McCain 3rd, who calls Americans to sacrifice and service? … Perhaps the agent of change is in the current field of 2008 presidential candidates, but nobody has seized the mantle so far.”

What did I tell you yesterday? That the one thing we’re not getting from any candidate, I don’t care where they are, is no sense of leadership — and here’s a quote even from Joe Trippi. I actually think these people were listening to this program yesterday to put this story together. Here’s Joe Trippi, of Howard Dean’s miraculous campaign for the presidency in 2004: “It’s clear there’s a growing frustration with leadership and politics and everything. It started in the nineties, it’s been growing with a fever pitch now with Libby being found guilty, Walter Reed and other stuff, where the heck is leadership, any leadership? It may be the single most relevant question in the 2008 race.”

The Drive-Bys have it today. I had it yesterday.

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