RUSH: Now, I want to call your attention to a piece written by, of course, my good friend Mark Levin. He’s posted this at National Review Online, and it’s ‘The Real McCain Record,’ and he starts by saying this is ‘a reason some of John McCain’s conservative supporters avoid discussing his record.’ Now, we’re talking about supporters here. The reason that I want to share this with you that ‘Flee’ wrote is nobody laid a glove on McCain last night, and he’s the quasi-, so-called Republican front-runner. If these other people, whoever want this nomination, ever hope to get it, they’re going to have to go after McCain at some point. But the ‘reason that some of McCain’s conservative supporters avoid discussing his record is that they want to talk about his personal story, they want to talk about his position on the surge, his supposed electability. But whenever the rest of his career comes up, the knee-jerk reply is to characterize the inquiries as attacks.’ This is a liberal trick. This is a Clintonista trick.
You tell the truth about liberal Democrats, they say, ‘That’s so mean! That’s attack politics! That’s the politics of personal destruction!’ It’s the same dynamic with Huckabee. If you tell the truth about Huckabee, ‘It’s the politics of personal destruction. These are attack ads,’ and besides, these guys are all adults. They’ve been in politics all their lives. Attack ads are part of the business. Acting like it’s offensive and hurtful, is just a joke. Levin writes here, ‘The McCain domestic record is a disaster. To say he fought spending, most particularly earmarks, is to nibble around the edges and miss the heart of the matter. For starters, consider: McCain-Feingold — the most brazen frontal assault on political speech since Buckley v. Valeo. McCain-Kennedy — the most far-reaching amnesty program in American history. McCain-Lieberman — the most onerous and intrusive attack on American industry — through reporting, regulating, and taxing authority of greenhouse gases — in American history. McCain-Kennedy-Edwards — the biggest boon to the trial bar since the tobacco settlement, under the rubric of a patients’ bill of rights. McCain-Reimportantion of Drugs — a significant blow to pharmaceutical research and development, not to mention consumer safety.’
McCain-Feingold alone. This isn’t Republican, to limit free speech. This is the Incumbent Protection Act, and, of course, the amnesty program, McCain loves to say (McCain impression), ‘It’s not amnesty! You hear me, sailor? It’s not…amnesty!’ But it’s amnesty. It was amnesty, and that’s why it went down to a scorching, blazing defeat. It’s not amnesty? McCain’s ‘stated opposition to Bush’s tax cuts in 2001-2003, largely based on…class warfare rhetoric.’ He said (McCain impression), ‘We can’t do this, it’s tax cuts for the rich. I’m not going to do tax cuts for the rich!’ ‘The public record is full of statements like these. Today he recalls only his insistence on accompanying spending cuts,’ and they didn’t want any spending cuts in there so he wouldn’t support tax cuts. But people have forgotten, in 2001 McCain was still steaming over 2000 and the South Carolina primary after the contretemps regarding Bob Jones University, the religion and so forth. He had it in for Bush. In 2003, his anger hadn’t dwindled much. So he was opposing Bush’s tax cut, using class warfare rhetoric. ‘As chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation…’ I know people are asking, ‘Rush, why are you doing this?’
I’ll tell you why I’m doing it — because no Republican in the debate last night did it. Somebody has to do it! ‘As chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, McCain was consistently hostile to American enterprise, from media and pharmaceutical companies to technology and energy companies.’ How many of us can forget the Gang of 14 debacle? Remember that, ladies and gentlemen? The Gang of 14 ‘prevented the Republican leadership in the Senate from mounting a rule change that would have ended the systematic use (actual and threatened) of the filibuster to prevent majority approval of judicial nominees.’ You never had to have 60 votes to get a judicial nominee approved. The Democrats started filibustering, you needed 60 votes. We were going to pull the trigger on the nuclear option to get rid of this once and for all and McCain rides in with Senator Lindsey Grahamnesty and others, to form the Gang of 14 — which, by the way, has expired, ladies and gentlemen. The Gang of 14 deal has expired now.
‘His supporters point to essentially one policy strength, McCain’s early support for a surge and counterinsurgency. It has now evolved into McCain taking credit for forcing the president to adopt General David Petraeus’s strategy,’ but I haven’t seen any ‘evidence to support’ that. But McCain’s supporters saying Bush wouldn’t have done it if it weren’t for the influence of McCain. McCain had it right? I haven’t seen the evidence.
‘Iraq is an important battle in our war against the Islamo-fascist threat. But the war is a global war, and it most certainly includes the continental United States, which, after all, was struck on 9/11. How does McCain fare in that regard? McCain-ACLU — the unprecedented granting of due-process rights to unlawful enemy combatants (terrorists). McCain has repeatedly called for the immediate closing of [Club Gitmo] and the introduction of Al-Qaeda terrorists into our own prisons — despite the legal rights they would immediately gain and the burdens of managing such a dangerous population.’ There will be other debates, and there’s a gold mine of things to hit Senator McCain on. His record. But there is a reluctance to do so. It’s the POW/MIA story, the hero status and so forth. But if these guys have a prayer of knocking him off the lead they’re going to have to get into this stuff.
RUSH: I just want to say one more thing about this McCain business. In explaining why there might be trepidation on the part of Republicans, particularly in South Carolina to engage him, and that’s because of South Carolina 2000. It was brutal. This program intimately involved in that, and South Carolina began the beginning of the end of the McCain campaign for president that year. Now, we were not involved spreading any rumors about McCain. Other candidate campaigns did that, we didn’t do that but it was just spelled out, ‘Hey, this guy is not conservative, look at what he’s saying here about various aspects of the Christian Coalition,’ and this sort of thing. It was bloody, Bush emerged, and that was the end of it. And as I say, you recall now, no Drive-Bys are saying McCain has to win South Carolina, it’s over. Or he has to win Michigan or it’s over. Not saying that about Huckabee, either.
All the other viable candidates, top-tier candidates, ‘If they lose this, they’re gone. If they don’t get there, they’re done.’ They’re trying to influence your thinking about this. But I think one of the reasons why the Republicans are reluctant to go after McCain is South Carolina, because there probably is a fear among some of their strategerists that McCain will pop up or his campaign will pop up and say, (doing McCain impression) ‘It’s South Carolina, it’s all over again. It’s where they got me last time, and they think they can do it again, which they can’t, they can’t, come on, come get me!’ They’re worried about history repeating itself. But they don’t have much time here, folks. It’s a political campaign, you know? It’s like Huckabee said, ‘If you can’t stand the sight of your own blood, don’t get into it.’