RUSH: This, to me, is fascinating to watch. Washington Post on Sunday: ”This Time, McCain Defused Conservative Attacks.’ From Rush Limbaugh to Tom DeLay, voices that once held sway over the Republican rank and file unloaded on John McCain over the last week, trying to use a conservative electorate in South Carolina to derail the Arizona senator’s quest for the Republican nomination. But though McCain failed to persuade many of the old Republican power brokers…’ I think that’s absolutely wrong. I think McCain’s become the machine candidate, the establishment, if you will. You know what’s happened here, for all this talk — and I’m sure you’ve seen it over the weekend, and I’m sure you’ve heard it. Brokaw was discussing it, all over the place. The Drive-Bys and the Democrats are just, in their minds, so happy. They think I have been neutralized. They think I’m no longer a factor, and yet all this time I’ve been portrayed as the Republican establishment. I was the guy that determined who the nominees were and all this sort of thing.
Now, all of a sudden, if you look, McCain really is the establishment guy, and I, El Rushbo, have become an outsider, if you follow their logic. Now, they say here in the Washington Post: ‘Limbaugh led the way with a verbal blitz, not just against McCain, but against his closest rival in South Carolina, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee. ‘I’m here to tell you, if either of these two guys get the nomination, it’s going to destroy the Republican Party. It’s going to change it forever, be the end of it,’ Limbaugh fumed on his radio show Tuesday. It was a line of argument that he kept up all week long.’ And then they go into what DeLay said and this and that and the other thing. Now, I happened to look at the election returns from Saturday night in South Carolina, and I saw some amazing things. (interruption) Well, I know. Independents and moderates led the charge, but that’s not what I saw. We knew that was going to happen. Independents and moderates led the charge. By the way, there’s a Rasmussen poll out in Florida that Romney is up by five over McCain. In Florida, independents and moderates can’t vote, only registered Republicans can vote in Florida — yeah, here it is. Romney has a five-point lead, 25%, McCain at 20%, and Giuliani at 19%. So Romney’s picked up seven or eight points here, and that’s over McCain. McCain and Giuliani went up one point each from the last poll. But let me stick with South Carolina, because we knew that independents and moderates were going to be voting there. That’s not what happened. That’s not what’s newsworthy about what happened there.
By the way, about this establishment business, I want to reiterate, Michael Graham had a post at National Review Online on Saturday. He points out that in 2000, you had McCain running against George W. Bush, and the whole Carol Campbell machine in South Carolina. McCain got 42% of the vote in 2000, and out of the 573,000 votes that were cast, 240,000 went to McCain. So Saturday night in South Carolina, McCain got 33% of the vote, less than he get in 2000. I would say, contrary to what the Washington Post — and by the way, I don’t like speaking this way, some thoughts on my being the guy who nominates Republicans. You nominate the nominee; I don’t. This notion that the Post puts out there that I’ve been overcome here, McCain’s beaten me back, that’s not the way to look at this, because that whole line of thinking relies on the fact that you people have to be perceived as mind-numbed robots and that all you are is a bunch of sponges and you sit out there and you have no brain, and you have no independent thoughts, you just listen to what I say and you go act on it. We know that’s not the case, it’s never been the case. You’re going to vote for whoever you want to, and even if you vote for somebody that I’m, quote, unquote, railing against, you still listen here.
The audience, we’re getting the fall rating reports coming, the audience is through the roof. The audience last fall going into this election season is through the roof, it truly is expanding by leaps and bounds. So once again the Drive-Bys totally miss the whole point. After almost 20 years of doing this show, they still misunderstand its appeal; they misunderstand why you listen; they misunderstand who you are; and they misunderstand what my objective is. My objective is not to get anybody elected or defeated, except when we get to the Democrats and Republicans in the general. My objective is to have the most informed, educated, participatory voting public that we can. You do with it what you want. But regardless, I think, since they want to talk this way, I think that we actually did end up suppressing some McCain support in South Carolina. In 2000, he goes from 42% to 2008 to 33% of the vote. His top challengers, Romney and Giuliani, were not even running there. They pulled out. They got 135,000 votes nevertheless, and they weren’t even really competing there.
As Michael Graham points out, it’s just the same people who voted for McCain in 2000, or if the same people had voted for him Saturday, he would have won 50% of the South Carolina vote. He lost votes from 2000 to 2008. However, that’s not the way the Drive-Bys and the McCain campaign look at this. It’s sort of like in Nevada where Obama won the majority of delegates but he failed to get that story out in time. Mrs. Clinton won the popular vote in the cauci. By the way, as far as those delegates in Nevada count, those were just delegates to some county convention; they’re not national delegates, those have yet to be assigned. Looks like Obama will get the majority of them, but the Drive-Bys put it out that Hillary wins Nevada, when he got the most delegates. Same thing in South Carolina: Well, McCain won, so he’s the front-runner, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Well, he still trails in the popular vote, all the primaries, still trails in delegate count, which is what this is all about. He lost support from 2000 to 2008.
Now, who did this? I would say to the Drive-Bys, if you’re going to sit there and write newspaper stories suggesting that McCain overcame me and overcame DeLay, if you’re going to set that premise, and that I can counter with some actual truth and facts about how Senator McCain’s support was down eight years later, I’ll give myself credit for it. If that’s the way you want to view me, I will say that I successfully suppressed McCain’s vote total in South Carolina. If you want to assign that role to me in the Drive-By Media, I will gladly, for the purposes of this example, accept the premise. I helped to drive down McCain’s support. See, the Drive-Bys, folks, cannot — and the pundits, too, cannot wait to pronounce McCain’s invincibility. But his numbers in South Carolina, like my voice, were very weak. McCain has won in two states with rather low pluralities. In New Hampshire, he had to win with independents and Democrats. Despite the efforts to portray McCain as invincible, he’s not. The circumstances of a cluttered field and a compressed primary schedule may help him, but he’s not the nominee yet.
I noticed that so many pundits who were originally on the bandwagon for Huckabee when he was perceived to be the front-runner, all these homers, now, guess who they’re on the bandwagon for is McCain. I’m talking about people on our side. They switched trains as fast as the trains change leads on the track. Now they’re trying to say, you know, Fred, get out, and Huckabee get out, it’s McCain’s and Rudy is gone, they want to anoint McCain right now, people on our side, as well as the Drive-Bys. Now, I want to reiterate a point that I made to a caller, I believe it was, on Friday. Here is a story from the Associated Press, and the headline: ‘Three Fla. Newspapers Back McCain, Split on Democrats.’ Here are the newspapers: The Orlando Sentinel, the Palm Beach Post, and the Gainesville Sun have all backed McCain, but they were divided in the Democrat field. The Palm Beach Post and the Gainesville Sun endorsed Obama. The Orlando Sentinel gave its nod to Hillary Clinton. Now, you hear McCain discussed as the Democrats’ favorite Republican. Does that not send up some red flags? What does that mean? The term maverick, maverick John McCain, have you ever heard of a maverick Democrat? Have you ever heard any of the Drive-Bys ever anoint and celebrate a maverick Democrat? No. They call them traitors. If there were a maverick Democrat, the Democrats — look at what they did to Zell Miller. Zell Miller, a maverick Democrat, joined the Republicans, campaigned for Bush, they destroyed him. He was a kook. Lieberman, too, drove him out of the party.
Now, when you have McCain as a maverick, all that means is, he divides Republicans, he goes against the Republicans. So you have all these liberal newspapers endorsing McCain in unanimity. They’re split on the Democrat side. Do you think whenever they get to their irrelevant endorsements, do you think that they’re going to endorse McCain over either Hillary or Obama? There is no way, folks. At any rate, let me take a break here. We’ll come back, start some of the audio sound bites and your phone calls. You people will be profoundly relevant today in helping me to save my voice and make sure I get through all three hours, which I have to do, because I did not call for backup today. I intend to get through this, just like Phillip Rivers yesterday playing on a sprained ACL against the Patriots, I’m going to get through this.
RUSH: You know, I have to chuckle. Are you observing here? The Washington Post piece, and even some people I thought were my friends in talk radio, are so eager for my demise. So eager. It is clear, ladies and gentlemen, that I have a lot of enemies who would like to see me flounder out there, and so when they think it’s happened, they write stories that it has. Washington Post on Sunday was trying to rip me and a few others, as the one who lost in South Carolina. Do you know what one of the big differences in 2000 and 2008 is? I remember back in the 2000 primary in South Carolina, it was basically a two-man race. In that circumstance, I violated my rule of not endorsing anybody. I had already chosen George W. Bush. For the same reasons today that I didn’t support McCain, I didn’t support him back then. So back in 2000 while behind the Golden EIB Microphone talking about the presidential primaries, it was easy not only to just tell you what I thought was dangerous and wrong, flawed about Senator McCain; I was also able to articulate something positive about what the guy was for. That’s not the case this time around. That is, I think a very key fact in this contest is that the Drive-Bys are having to pronounce the fact that I’m beaten. Do you know how many times I’ve been dead and buried and proclaimed so? After the ’88 presidential election, they said I was finished.
After ’92 they said I was finished, ’96 they said I was finished. Now they’re saying I’m finished again. In 2000, when I had an alternative versus 2008 when there isn’t, it’s a whole different field; it’s a whole different attitude. Now, you can look at the numbers — and I have — McCain is not the leading vote-getter among conservatives and Republicans, when you analyze the vote. He’s not the leading delegate getter, either. He is honing his record to conceal aspects of it, to pretend that he has changed parts of it and to speak openly of it — depending on the audience and the state that he’s in. Why is he running on so much of his record and pretending that it’s something that it’s not? He’s doing that because he has to cover it up, and not enough has been done to expose that. The media won’t do it because they support him, but they’re not going to support him in November. Also, I wrote a book, and one of the early chapters in that book, first book, was: ‘My Success is Not Determined by Who Wins Elections.’ It was as true in the early nineties when I wrote it as it is today. I’m not running for office. I’m not a campaign operative. I am a conservative and an all-powerful media figure; a powerful, influential member of the media.
I simply am explaining the consequences of nominating certain of these candidates. You can agree with me or not. But Senator McCain got 33% of the vote in South Carolina, far less than he got when he ran and lost to Bush in 2000. Now, the total number of Republican votes cast thus far are these: 987,298. I know numbers are hard to follow, but this won’t be hard. Romney has 30.1% of the total vote so far, McCain 27.3, Huckabee 23.3, Rudy 4.6. Now, the delegate count is similar. So however you look at it, McCain has not won anything yet. You know, my job’s not to pick these guys. My job is to tell you what I think about them and whether I believe they will advance the cause of conservatism and Republicanism, or not. So to Mr. Weisman at the Washington Post and all the rest of you who are eagerly analyzing the results in South Carolina as, ‘McCain won, Limbaugh lost,’ not any of the other candidates. It’s not McCain won, Huckabee lost. Huckabee’s still viable. ‘McCain won, Limbaugh lost.’ I will maintain to you that we helped suppress McCain’s vote, and actually reduce it from what it was in the year 2000. On Meet the Press Sunday, Tim Russert question: ‘Tom Brokaw, we have four Republicans, in a sense, still standing in a viable way, trying to grab onto the soul of the Republican Party and define their own persona.’
BROKAW: If there’s a big thematic issue here in this election, it’s the end of dogma which has dominated so much of our politics in the last — well, since 1980, really.
BROKAW: And people are rejecting dogma, as I see it —
BROKAW: — there’s this kind of nomadic herd of voters out there wandering the landscape looking for solutions, looking for a water hole, if you will, in which they can — can resupply themselves and find solutions to the issues that really trouble them. It’s going on in the Democratic Party as well as the Republican Party. I was listening to Rush Limbaugh for an hour yesterday, who is determined to not have this campaign, as he put it, redefine conservative-ism [sic]. And one of the Dittoheads, one of his followers, called and said, ‘Well, help me out here. What do I think now about Pat Buchanan and Newt Gingrich?’ And it’s one of the few times I’ve ever heard Rush Limbaugh kind of temporarily at a loss for words, and he ended up saying that they’re not true conservatives — and that debate is not going to help the Republican Party if they get bogged down in that. The country is hungry for solutions.
RUSH: I just love these liberals trying to tell us what we need to do to solve the country’s problems.
RUSH: About the Brokaw sound bite that we just played. He referred to listening to me for an hour and then said that he’d never heard me kind of temporarily at a loss for words. This was in response to the question I got from a caller, ‘What do you think about Pat Buchanan and Newt Gingrich?’ I remember that and there was a pause because that’s not easy. Both of these people have been profoundly instrumental in shaping the views of a lot of people in conservatism, and they both, from issue here to issue there, have, in my terms, wandered off the reservation. So I get somebody calling saying, well, what do you think about these guys? It’s tough to have to say these things. I know both these guys and I like them both. It’s just difficult to say these things, and that’s why the pause. Now, Peggy Noonan was the token conservative on Russert’s roundtable, and she replied to Brokaw with this.
NOONAN: You know, Tom, I would agree, except I would add this. The country is hungry for a sense in its leaders that they have thought it through, that they have a philosophy, that they’ve considered the relationship of man to the state, and considered the moment in history that we’re in, that philosophically they are coherent. That matters, too.
RUSH: Now, what she’s talking about — in fact, go back and play number one, and save my voice here. Listen to Brokaw at the beginning of this, talking about voters are a nomadic herd, and they’re just looking for solutions, that is his point. Are you ready Mike, with this? Here it is.
BROKAW: If there’s a big thematic issue here in this election it’s the end of dogma which has dominated so much of our politics in the last — well, since 1980, really, and people are rejecting dogma. As I see it there’s this kind of nomadic herd of voters out there wandering the landscape looking for solutions, looking for a water hole, if you will, in which they can kind of resupply themselves and find solutions to the issues that really trouble them.
RUSH: Okay, that’s enough. What he’s saying is that there’s just so much angst, there’s so much disgust, they just want some problems solved; they just want them solved. They don’t want to have bickering and arguments, they want the problems solved. And what Noonan said in her reply to Newt was, Tom, they’re hungry for a sense that they thought these problems through, that they have a philosophy that undergirds whatever solution they come up with. These guys in the Drive-Bys, this guy Brokaw, how many millions, gazillions of people did he talk to for how many years for a half hour every night, and how shallow does he come off here? They just want solutions. I listen to bites like this, and I get the impression — I know he’s liberal, and I know as a liberal none of these guys want conservatism to triumph, but to make no effort to understand what it is that drives conservatives and why these rifts take place is just shallow. Peggy Noonan is exactly right. Of course there has to be a philosophy, a guiding set of principles, and you use both of those things in order to get to a solution, because you don’t want just a solution, you want the right one.
It’s like Mrs. Clinton. Now, everybody’s going nuts on the Democrat side, because she’s pandering and she’s playing a little class envy politics, a little populism, and she’s out there saying, ‘I’m going to freeze mortgage foreclosures. I’m going to freeze foreclosures for 90 days, and I’m going to freeze whatever, I’m going to freeze mortgage interest rates,’ and the average consumer, ‘Wow, she really cares for the little guy. She’s going to make sure that he doesn’t lose his house and so forth.’ All right, now, Wall Street’s closed today. I got the latest numbers on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial futures trading overseas, in case you haven’t followed, don’t care, foreign markets are plunging today. The bottom has fallen out of the foreign markets. Overseas markets are always very volatile when we are closed. Dow Jones futures are trading down 420 points, and if the futures are correct, that would have us below 12,000 tomorrow on the Dow when we open. Gold is down 10, the euro is down 143, now down 187, gold has been down 15, I’ve been updating this. But, see, if you look at Mrs. Clinton’s solution, why, don’t worry, Mrs. Clinton is going to freeze stocks; she’s going to set a floor on stock prices, and no stock will be allowed to go below that floor. ‘Oh, Rush, she can’t do that.’ Why not, folks?
She’s going to freeze mortgage interest rates, she’s going to freeze foreclosures for 90 days, why not freeze stock prices? Hey, Tom Brokaw, is that not a great solution? Now, what philosophy and what common sense is that solution? Even the solution on mortgage interest rates and foreclosures, what’s the philosophy undergirding that solution, what’s good about that solution? See, Mr. Brokaw, it’s not solutions, it’s the right ones, and the right ones are guided by principles and a philosophy and commitment to both, and then leadership is to take people along. We’re not getting that anywhere. We’re certainly not getting it on the right, and certainly not getting it on the left. We’re getting no leadership anywhere. That’s why these people are wandering nomadic tribes and herds. By the way, David Brooks, New York Times last week, proclaimed that I’m the leader of a tribe and you people are member’s of the tribe, and I want you to know that as the chief of the tribe, Chief Wagawaga El Rushbo, I have applied for a casino license for us here in Florida, and I will be keeping you apprised of our progress here. We are the El Rushbo El Conservo tribe and we are going to get our own casino and we’re going to be able to sell cigarettes in there with no tax. Oh, it’s going to be a great day. We’ll be insulating ourselves from the future Democrat president and administration.
RUSH: Okay, folks, I think when this primary season is over, it is clear that we’re going to need a unity rally. We’re ‘a herd’ wandering aimlessly in the desert. We are a ‘tribe,’ and I am your tribal leader, and according to Brokaw, we’re just a bunch of thirsty hippopotami wandering the desert looking for a watering hole. This campaign is causing rifts, but, hey, this is what these things are about. This is where you settle these issues — and I’m going to tell you something. I don’t care if it’s Bill Kristol or David Brooks or anybody on our side at National Review Online. I don’t care where it is, or if it’s the Drive-Bys. After five states, I am not going to sit here and say, ‘Okay, this is over and it’s time that we just accept the inevitable.’ This whole process is for getting ideas out and solving these things, or at least getting the arguments on the table so people can hear what this is all about. Juan Williams on Fox News Sunday was again saying that McCain beat me in South Carolina. Chris Wallace says, ‘Romney and McCain come into Florida with some considerable momentum now.’
WILLIAMS: McCain is, as I would put it, nobody’s child. You listen to Rush Limbaugh. You listen to Sean Hannity. You read George Will. Tom DeLay was on Fox News Channel this week just dumping on McCain. They don’t like McCain, and the idea that he’s now the leader in terms of the Republican pack, I think is… (giggles). I think the Republicans must be pulling their hair out, because there is not this reassembling of the Reagan coalition, which is the way most Republicans talk about.
RUSH: Yeah. Um, we’ll see. That’s my whole point. It’s too early to know whether this is the truth or not. In terms of — what else did he say here? ‘Pulling their hair out because…leader in terms of the Republican pack.’ We can’t say that. The Drive-Bys are, trying to create that impression. But McCain doesn’t lead anything yet. He doesn’t lead in the delegate count. He doesn’t lead in the total vote, in the five states that we’ve had. He’s just been proclaimed now as the inevitable winner by the Drive-Bys.
RUSH: I’m sure you’ve heard this, too. I’m hearing — like Kristol was to Fox today, ‘McCain’s the guy! I think McCain can win. Everybody ought to just back off. These are fine candidates. All these guys are great candidates for the Republicans. Just back off, be quiet.’ Bill, why don’t you be quiet. Why is it up to us to be quiet? Why don’t you McCain people be quiet? Why don’t you Huckabee people be quiet? I don’t have a people to endorse yet. What are you telling me to be quiet for? What is this ‘be quiet’ stuff? That’s what liberals tell people: ‘Be quiet!’ You guys go be quiet if you like silence. I’m here even when I can’t talk.