RUSH: We’ll start in Pittsburgh in this hour, with Charles. Thank you for waiting, sir. It’s great to have you on the program.
CALLER: Professor Limbaugh, it’s nice to finally get on.
RUSH: Thank you.
CALLER: Okay, sir. I was online this morning, and I was reading an article about Mitt Romney and supposedly some flip-flop on something he said about his father having marched with Martin Luther King. Well, as I was reading the messages posted, there was like this raging battle between Huckabee supporters and Mitt Romney supporters online, and then the issue came up about you and some Huckabee ally basically bashing the show and saying, ‘It’s all about entertainment,’ or whatever. Well, I first want to say that I’m a registered independent, but I’m a conservative and I’m leaning toward Huckabee. But I read what the guy said, and I don’t recall anybody coming out, or Huckabee coming out himself, and saying that he approved this message, so I just wanted to know: Was there any evidence that this guy that said whatever he said about the show, or however he attacked you, was there any evidence that he’s actually from the Huckabee camp?
RUSH: No hard evidence. Just the reporter says that it is a DC Huckabee operative. I don’t know who it is. If you heard me when I first brought this up yesterday, I said this is incorrect. This is such a tabloid cliché. It’s more like what Democrats say about me. I said, ‘I wonder who actually told this report at this blog,’ Atlantic magazine or Atlantic Monthly in their blog. I speculated that it probably wasn’t somebody from Huckabee’s campaign, because it doesn’t make any sense. There’s no Republican in the world who has been paying attention to anything in the last 19-1/2 years that understands that this program is what they said it was, but the guy identified this person as a Huckabee supporter. The Huckabee people in Arkansas all deny it. The campaign had nothing to do with it. Then I start speculating, ‘Well, who says things like this?’ and then I thought maybe it’s McCain. I thought this last night because McCain, whenever he gets mad at me, says, ‘Hey, just an entertainer. You can’t take Limbaugh seriously. He’s good at what he does, but he’s just an entertainer,’ and that way —
CALLER: Well, what — what –?
RUSH: Wait, wait, wait, wait. Then this morning, Ed Rollins is in an interview with CBSNews.com and starts talking about me. The reporter says, so you got Rush Limbaugh calling your guy ‘huckster,’ which I haven’t. I’ve called his supporters ‘Hucksters,’ but I never called him ‘a huckster.’ And they asked Rollins, why do you think that Limbaugh’s being critical of your guy? And Rollins says, well, you know, these guys in their ‘studios,’ they never expected this; they never saw this, and they had their candidates chosen. I did see it. I was the first to see it. November the 8th on this program, I asked people because I looked at polling trends, and I said, ‘You people better start asking yourself a question on the Republican side: What if Huckabee wins Iowa?’ All the way back to November 8th. Now you’ve got Rollins out there saying I don’t know what I’m talking about. He didn’t mention me by name, but when you say ‘studios,’ and he was asked about me particularly, so I assume he is responding about me. That’s what I was responding to today, along with repeating what was said by — it is allegedly — somebody from the Huckabee Washington operation.
CALLER: Yeah, I know. What it says to me is that conservatives are out there bashing each other over the head, and every now and then some liberal would chime in on the board and mock the fact that we were all arguing amongst ourselves. But I tried to keep it positive even though I have my issues with Giuliani and Mitt Romney. Like I said, I do plan on voting for Huckabee, because I do believe he’ll win the nomination —
CALLER: Wait, let me finish. Okay, I know those that attacked him on his issue with taxes. Okay, everybody knows it. I’m not saying this guy is a Ronald Reagan, but Reagan had to raise taxes in his first term when he was governor of California to balance the budget. If you want to get on Huckabee about being soft on crime, talk to the 16 families of the men that were executed in the state of Arkansas. You know, if you want to attack him for what you’ve heard of his foreign policy not being —
RUSH: Charles, that’s what I want to tell you. I didn’t talk.
CALLER: No, no, I’m not talking about you.
RUSH: So you’re speaking generically. I said in another… We’ve had a series of brilliant monologues this week, Charles, and what I said was, ‘This is what a campaign is all about: examining the ideas of these people.’ I’m a conservative. I’m not a 75% conservative. I’m not a 95% conservative. I’m a conservative, and that’s what I’m looking at these guys for, and what I’m trying to find out about them. When they don’t want to talk about certain things and use other firewalls as a means of having to avoid discussing these things, red flags go up. Now, you can tell your little guys on these Democrat blogs that you’re sitting and going back and forth something. The response to those people is: ‘Hey, the Republican Party is where real honest debate is going on these days, the debate of genuine ideas, and there’s nothing wrong with it. That’s what campaigns are all about! Campaigns are not about conformity. They’re about ideas,’ and that’s where I head when I look at people, not personally. I’ve not attacked anybody personally. I’ve not attacked Huckabee. I don’t know him personally. The people that do say he’s extremely nice guy. My only real quarrel personally with Huckabee is he’s for exercise, and I’m not. But that’s it, and that’s not a political issue. But I don’t want to repeat the monologue here in the first hour. It took me about 45 minutes to go through this, and I don’t want to do it again. It will be on the website tonight when we update to reflect the contents of the program.
RUSH: Buster in Chattanooga, Tennessee, you’re next. Welcome to the EIB Network, sir.
CALLER: Thanks, sir. Mega Rocky Top dittos.
RUSH: Thank you, sir.
CALLER: Hey, it’s an honor to talk to you. I’ve been listening to you for, well, since I came back to the States. My parents were missionaries in Africa, and I came back in ’92. My oldest brother was listening to you there on WORD in Greenville a long time ago, and I follow you quite a bit. Hey, my comment is about this, Rush. I’m a preacher. I travel all over the States — and conservative, and up until Huckabee really came in the front, what I was hearing from 90% of the people were that we don’t have any conservative that really is a true conservative. The issues obviously were abortion, gun rights, and the homosexual agenda, and then Hucklebee (sic) really jumped up, and the whole mood has changed, almost like it’s been revitalized. They see a light at the end of the tunnel. The comment I have to make… I agree with you a hundred percent, 90% of the time, even more than that. Just the fact that something negative has come out against your show, which I like, I feel like you shouldn’t be so condemning to Hucklebee when it is against something about you being an entertainer, which we know you’re not. But, uh, I think — I think — you’re merchandising on that to build your reputation, not that it needs to be built, but it has to be maintained, and I think it will be more suitable, I think, for the Republicans and conservatives if we could just kind of support our guy. I think it does more damage to the Republicans getting the nomination. I think the Democrats like you slamming Hucklebee because I think Hucklebee is the most winnable candidate that the Republicans have.
RUSH: Well, all right. I learned. I’m not going to try to talk you out of it. I’m not going to argue with you about it, because you’re committed. It’s your life, it’s your decision-making process, and your vote, and it’s yours. I’m not here to argue with you about it. All I’m doing is raising questions about what I think are not even anywhere near conservative aspects of Governor Huckabee’s experience, and his governance in Arkansas. As to the fact that I am taking on Governor Huckabee here for my own marketing or ego? No. I guess what you mean is that I am doing this today to somehow show people that I have power. I want you to believe me; I’ve said this countless times. I may have power, but I’m harmless with it because I don’t walk in here every day thinking about that. I really don’t. I walk in here every day thinking to just be honest and tell people what I think, and that’s what I did today. I’m glad you called.
RUSH: Okay, folks, let me tell you what’s going on now. I sadly, and unfortunately, must make this point reacting to our last caller. What we have going on here is identity politics, I think, in a large swath of support for Governor Huckabee. Identity politics is what the left does. Do you know what I mean when I say ‘identity politics,’ Rachel? Okay. Identity politics is: You vote for the Christian. You vote for the black. You vote for the woman. This is traditionally how the left looks at people. We, as conservatives, don’t. We don’t see you, for example, in a political sense, and see a woman first. We might see a woman first because you’re beautiful, but we’re men and we can’t help it. In a political sense, we wouldn’t say, ‘You don’t qualify. You’re not smart because you’re a woman,’ and we wouldn’t say you deserve anything special because you’re a woman. We wouldn’t look at a black and say, ‘Oh! Poor, disadvantaged, slavery heritage, presidential material!’ without knowing anything about the guy. We wouldn’t if there was the first admittedly open gay running, we wouldn’t say, ‘Oh, terribly discriminated against, really has had no chance! We’re going to vote for the gay guy because it makes us feel better about ourselves.’
That’s identity politics, or a little strain of it, and that’s what’s happening in the Huckabee race. The identity of Huckabee is: ‘Christian, Southern Baptist minister,’ and that identity is covering and is being translated by supporters as meaning whatever they want it to mean, as opposed to actually looking at how he’s governed. Like the pastor who just called and said Huckabee is a light at the end of the tunnel. Pastor, the light at the end of the tunnel is the oncoming train, and you can’t get off the track! That’s the light at the end of the tunnel, and I think identity politics was a fundamental feature of the Perot campaign as well. People really didn’t even care what his policies were. He didn’t even have to articulate policies. Remember that? (classic Ross Perot impression) ‘I’ll tell you, Larry, here’s what we’re going to do! We’re going to get rid of all these 737s, going to hire a bunch of Lear 55s. We’re going to have smaller airplanes.’ He cares so much! ‘You own this country! You own it. This is your country. We’re going to give this country back to you.’ That’s identity politics, and this is traditionally not what conservatives and even Republicans, right-wingers, do.
We’re a little bit more serious about it, and this is also one of the things that I detect. Of course, one of the things that makes me convinced I’m right about this is that Governor Huckabee is doing what he can to avoid discussing his record and his policy beliefs and is, in fact, relying on his identity to keep people on his side, in his camp, and perhaps even grow it. In one way, you’d have to say it’s pretty smart because on the other side his opponents, you’ve got admitted conservative flaws — admitted conservative flaws which do trouble the Christian right, which is a large part of the Republican base. Either support for abortion or gay marriage, things that would be disruptive to the culture, and many people are very, very concerned about the culture. So with Huckabee, the identity is, Christian. That means hundred percent thoroughbred on social issues, the cultural issues. Yet you dig deep, and you find the policy on immigration. If you look at Huckabee in an identity sense and yet at the same time you really think illegal immigration is destroying this country, then your identity association with Huckabee as a Christian likely will make you overlook the fact that he’s opposite your belief on illegal immigration. Jimmy Carter was a Southern Baptist and he ran on that and he tried to capitalize on that. He ran on the religious identity, too. (rare Jimmy Carter impression) ‘I will never lie to you,’ except when I see the giant rabbit attacking my canoe. Remember that? (laughing)