RUSH: This is Doug in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Doug, I’m glad you waited. Welcome to the EIB Network.
CALLER: Hey, Rush. How you doing?
RUSH: Good, sir.
CALLER: Mega dittoes from snowy west Michigan here.
RUSH: Thank you, sir.
CALLER: Good deal. Hey, this wasn’t the reason I called, but I want to touch on it since you’ve been yakking about it for so long here, but I think Huckabee showed great restraint in responding to Mitt Romney’s attacks so I wanted to voice my opinion on that. If this is all he can do, that little jab right there —
RUSH: Wait a second.
CALLER: No! No!
RUSH: Wait a second. Wait.
RUSH: No, wait a minute. You can’t — Huckabee showed restraint? Have you heard what Ed Rollins said the other day?
CALLER: Oh, yeah. Yeah. But —
RUSH: No, tell me what Ed Rollins said. Tell me what Ed Rollins said.
CALLER: No, no, go ahead. Just go ahead. What I was going to say…
RUSH: No, no, no, no, no. I’ll let you get to what you want to say.
RUSH: But I can’t accept the premise of what you said that Huckabee showed great restraint. Tell me what Ed Rollins is quoted as saying.
CALLER: I didn’t hear. I didn’t hear. I didn’t hear what Ed Rollins said.
RUSH: He said, ‘I would love to punch Romney’s teeth out.’
RUSH: This is Huckabee’s campaign advisor! He said, ‘I would love to get down low and aim at the groin of Mitt Romney.’
CALLER: Well, maybe he can’t take him in a fair fight, I don’t know. Who knows.
RUSH: Look, I’m not commenting either way, but you said that the Huckabee people are showing great restraint —
CALLER: I — I — he — he didn’t — he didn’t ball up his fist and make the first punch. He was trying to run an above-the-board, clean campaign, and Mitt started to get creamed in Iowa by — by a guy who can’t possibly outspend him.
RUSH: Welcome to the real world.
CALLER: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah.
RUSH: This is politics.
CALLER: I know that. I know that. But, anyway, I’m just saying that Huckabee’s response — you know, as compared to other politicians — I think they showed quite a bit of restraint —
RUSH: Well, there you have it.
CALLER: by not turning immediately and going right after Mitt.
RUSH: My theory confirmed: Huckabee goes and produces a negative ad; announces he’s not going to run it and shows the ad, and you believe he showed great restraint. I told you!
CALLER: Oh, absolutely.
RUSH: I told you this is how the Huckabee people are going to look at it. Thank you. (applauding) You have confirmed once again my instincts extraordinaire.
CALLER: Well, anyway, here’s the gig. The reason — the reason I actually called, I think — I think that Huck is getting held to a fairly high standard compared to the other candidates out there. I started paying attention to Huckabee, oh, back in November, as I’m looking at the field and trying to figure out what am I going to do? I mean, my guy was going to be Fred Thompson and he came in with a big flop, and so I started looking around, and —
RUSH: Wait a second.
CALLER: — I read — read an article by Dick Morris. Go ahead.
RUSH: Wait a second. Thompson may come in third in Iowa tomorrow.
CALLER: He may. He may ultimately, but he’s
RUSH: Well, that’s not flopping.
RUSH: In fact, Thompson’s running around saying, you know, ‘I hate campaigning. I want to be president, but I hate campaigning and I’m not going to do it the way everybody else is doing it,’ and he’s trying to appeal to people on the substance of issues with 17-minute videos. He’s trying to appeal to people in a way that is different. I don’t know if it’s going to work, but he may show up in third place, which is not a flop.
CALLER: Yeah. No, I haven’t written Fred Thompson off by any means, but —
RUSH: Yes, you have! You’re a Huckabee guy. You can admit it.
CALLER: (laughter) Well, I like Huck. I have to admit I like Huck. What I’m saying is that compared to the other candidates out there, I mean you excoriated McCain a little bit ago. I enjoy that. But who else is there that has the conservative bona fides that you can look for? You have to mean conservative. I’m sitting here trying to pick this thing apart. Who else is there?
RUSH: Do you really want me to answer this?
CALLER: No, I’m just looking at it. Fill in the blank.
RUSH: Are you asking this rhetorically? Do you really want me to answer the question: ‘Who else is there that has the conservative bona fides that you can look for?’ Do you really want me to answer that?
CALLER: Well, if you want to go out on a limb and stake out a position.
RUSH: You asked. Do you really want an answer or is it just a rhetorical question?
CALLER: Well, it’s kind of a reject because I was going to fill in the blank myself here.
RUSH: That’s right, because you don’t want the answer.
CALLER: No, go ahead. Go ahead.
CALLER: Go ahead. I don’t care.
CALLER: I don’t care. I’m looking at Rudy. I’ll just jump in.
CALLER: I’m looking at Rudy, and it’s like — it’s like — it’s like, great. Rudy’s got some conservative things that I like about him. He’s strong. I’d like to shoot the bad guys in the head, all that kind of stuff.
RUSH: Shoot the bad guys. (laughing)
CALLER: You know, the thing that — it’s like abortion —
CALLER: It’s like the abortion and gun control issues, it’s like, well, a wink and a nod. It’s like I’m a vegetarian except I like beef and chicken. You can’t have it that way.
RUSH: Doug, I love you. We have just had conservatism reduced to shoot the bad guys. (laughing) Don’t point the gun at yourself, sir. (laughter) Just kidding, folks! Now, lighten up out there. This question: ‘Who else is there?’ He’s talking about Huckabee when he asks me this question. Who else is there with conservative bona fides? Let me ask the question again I just asked about Senator McCain. If somebody told you that a conservative was someone who supported amnesty for illegal aliens, who supported limiting free political speech (McCain-Feingold) who embraced the ACLU’s brief for terrorist detainees getting US constitutional rights. If someone told you that a conservative is someone who opposed tax cuts during the Bush administration, and has recently confirmed he would do it again, what would you say? Most likely you would say, ‘Hell no! That’s not a conservative.’ Yet I just described to you several of Senator McCain’s positions over the years. Now, the idea that he’s a great conservative in this race is an affront to conservatives. The media is pushing McCain hard now, particularly the local New Hampshire media. They are just going overboard with this love that they have for McCain. In fact, let’s go back to December 3rd, I just want to show you what it means to be listening to this program and being on the cutting edge of societal evolution. I predicted that the Drive-Bys had switched from McCain to Huckabee and that they would move back to McCain. I said this on December 3rd a month ago. Listen.
RUSH ARCHIVE: Right now it is obvious the media wants Huckabee, and the reason the media wants Huckabee is because they know they’re going to, down the road, be able to portray him as a nutcase, Bible-thumping evangelical who’s going to take his religion and God into the Oval Office — and they’ll use that to incite fear among liberals and progressives and so forth. […] They built McCain up. McCain loved it when they built him up. They tripped him up over the war, and now they’re trying to revive his campaign again.
RUSH: Are they not doing so? Did I not tell you? Yes, I did! They’re pushing McCain hard now. They were waiting to see what happened. Now they’re pushing. They are willing, the Drive-Bys are willing to tolerate his position on Iraq in exchange for all of his other views: opposition to tax cuts, limiting free speech, siding up with the ACLU. These are things they’re willing to tolerate in McCain as they overlook his position on Iraq — and, really, they don’t have to overlook much because his position on Iraq isn’t all that different from Rudy or Thompson. So it doesn’t matter to the Drive-Bys, anyway. It would mean that in November, there is no conservative — quote, ‘real thoroughbred conservative’ — running, and if we don’t have anybody on the ballot on the Republican side who is a conservative and who is willing to say he’s a conservative and espouse those principles, we are going to lose. The Democrats are going to win and win big. If our nominee is either not conservative and is pandering to the left to try to get some of their votes, or if our nominee is so afraid of his record that he’s relying on identity politics to get votes or if our nominee decides that the only way he can win is to go out and pick off some libs in the Northeast and out in the West, it’s going to be a bloodbath.
The Northeast liberal Republican elites are going to be loving the whole campaign because they think that their ideas have regained prominence and power in the Republican Party all before it goes down to defeat in a massive landslide. So the question that you ask is: ‘What do we want?’ Now, this notion — getting back to the question asked by the guy from Grand Rapids, Michigan — who else has conservative bona fides? Ladies and gentlemen (sigh), Governor Huckabee — who might be a fine man, and is a great Christian — is not a conservative. He’s just not. If you look at his record, as governor, he’s got some conservative tendencies on things, but he’s certainly not the most conservative of the candidates running on the Republican side. There are other aspects, too, which, if I wanted to, I could spend time getting into. But I didn’t start this program today on Huckabee because I didn’t want people to think that the whole point here was to focus on Huckabee, and I’m going to keep some of the powder dry here because I don’t want to be accused of piling on. But if people are going to ask me questions, I’m not going to shirk from them and try to hem-haw around. So there you have it.
RUSH: I want to go back to the call, Rick from Kansas City. I want to play 55 seconds of his call because I did not have time to respond. Had I known more of what he was going to say, I would have delayed taking his call, because I only gave him about a minute or a minute and a half. But let me now respond to it. Here again, 55 seconds of what he had to say, just a moment ago.
(replaying of phone call)
CALLER: Okay, well, first of all, I want to ask you, priority-wise, which is a more important issue to you, the abortion issue or the tax issue?
RUSH: See, I don’t separate ’em.
RUSH: You’ve got these people, ‘Well, I’m a fiscal conservative but I’m a social liberal.’ You’ve just described for me a northeastern Republican.
RUSH: A moderate Republican. Conservatism is what it is. You don’t pick and choose and say this aspect is more important, it’s a whole package.
CALLER: Right. Just real briefly, Rush, you know, I agree with you that if you give people the fruit of their labors, that technically this country should prosper, but I’m not a single-issue voter, but I am a priority issue voter. And to me, as someone who believes in God, I believe that if this nation allows the unfettered, wholesale slaughter of most innocent —
RUSH: Right, right.
(end phone call)
RUSH: Okay, that’s it. We had to interrupt the call. We’ve talked about abortion on this program countless times, the sanctity of life and how it is the root of many things. But in terms of electing a president, there are a couple things the president can do about abortion, one of them substantive, the other is somewhat ephemeral. The substantive thing that a president can do about abortion is to nominate judges, primarily Supreme Court justices. That’s it. Now, a president can lead, a president can try to inspire and motivate, change hearts and so forth, but, in a substantive way, there’s not much a president can do about abortion. Rick from Kansas City is a good illustration, a good example of what I mean when I describe Governor Huckabee as campaigning on identity politics. There are some people who will overlook every aspect of Governor Huckabee that is really something in total opposition to most of their beliefs, because all they will see is the Christian characteristic, particularly if it fits right with the abortion issue.
Now, my friends, I’m sorry here. I haven’t spent a lifetime, and particularly the last 23 years on radio, advocating conservative principles only to throw them away to embrace some candidate. I don’t support open borders and amnesty, as does Governor Huckabee. I don’t support the release of hundreds of criminals. I don’t support repeated increases in taxes. I don’t support national health care. I don’t care what you call it, whether it’s in the name of the children or not. I don’t support anti-war rhetoric that sounds as if it was written by Nancy Pelosi. And yet I’m being asked to put all that aside in the midst of a Republican primary. As I’ve tried to point out countless times, a primary is a time to sort these things out. Now, I, speaking for myself, am not going to put aside my principles to accommodate a single politician or campaign operative, period. Too much is at stake here. And being asked to do this, to put all this aside for any single issue is not the point.
Now, I don’t want somebody in the White House who has no problem with abortion. I don’t want anybody in the White House who thinks that it’s okay and that we ought not do anything about it. Don’t misunderstand. But I also don’t want anybody to misunderstand what a president can actually do about it and how far a president can actually take the issue. It’s about judges, if your concern is overturning Roe vs. Wade. If it’s not, if you realize that’s going to be a ways down the line and yet we want to do something about abortion prior to that then it’s about changing minds and hearts. There are several ways of going about doing that, and one of the ways is not wagging your finger in people’s faces and telling them they’re sinning or telling them they’re wrong, you’re just going to seal their resolve against you. I think we’re in the process of changing minds and hearts. I think abortion figures are falling. I think as generations grow and change, there’s a greater repugnance attached to the whole practice. It is not an 80% majority issue, pro-choice isn’t. It’s not even 50% now. Progress is being made on this. But I’m not going to sit here and put aside all of these things that I believe in and have worked for and that I know work.
One of the most frustrating things to me about this entire Republican primary is sitting out there right in front of us for all of us to see. I don’t care how far you want to go back, if you want to go back to Buckley and Russell Kirk, if you want to go back to Edmund Burke, if you want to go back to Goldwater, you can do that and you can find how conservatism has positively influenced change in this country. But all you have to do, if you don’t want to go that far back, all you gotta do is go back to 1980. Now, I realize a lot of people get sick and tired of hearing about Ronald Reagan because there isn’t another Reagan out there, Reagan was a unique individual and so forth. I’m not pining away for somebody to be Ronald Reagan. What I am asking some Republican to see is that Ronald Reagan won two landslides coming off of a Jimmy Carter four years of malaise. Following Ronald Reagan, in 1994 we took back the House of Representatives for the first time in 40 years, and we did this with conservative principles. What frustrates me is why the latest current crop of Republicans wants to ignore that and think that there’s a better way, when the evidence that shows progress, both economic, social, you name it, national security, defeating the Soviets in the Cold War, it’s all there. And why it is eschewed, why it is ignored, is something I’ve long told you this, in different ways, starting in the early days of this primary campaign. I’ve warned you that one of the things that concerns me most about all this is how conservatism is going to be redefined so as to fit whatever the current crop of candidates said it is. There’s a bunch of these guys running around saying they’re Reagan. None of them are. There’s not one Reagan conservative — well, I can’t say there’s not one, there may be one.
But the bottom line, the point is that the lessons are clear on whatever issue you want to raise: national security, taxes, economics, individual prosperity, domestic security. It’s all there: How to beat liberals; how to beat Democrats; how to take power from them. It’s all there. The frustrating thing to me is it’s being ignored. Or, some people are trying to redefine it. And I think I understand why, given some of the candidates here, based on the geography of their lives and where they live, it’s embarrassing to admit they’re a conservative because it causes them to be identified with a bunch of people they don’t want to be identified with when they go to parties or engage in their social life or what have you, all of which is profoundly frustrating to me, which is when I’m called an elite, I have to just chuckle. So that’s what’s frustrating to me. But I’ll tell you something else that’s frustrating to me. I’ve been behind this microphone 19-and-a-half years, behind a microphone during this type of show for 23 years, going back to 1984. And yet, identity politics, which is that politics practiced by the left, still is not seen through. Single-issue can cause people to end up choosing or supporting somebody, something, some candidate that is truly anathema to the rest of the lives that they lead. But we keep plugging away. But just don’t ask me to compromise my principles. You want to compromise yours, fine, but don’t ask me to make you feel better by joining you.