RUSH: Jim in Kansas City, Missouri, I’m glad you called, sir. Welcome to the EIB Network.
CALLER: Hi, Rush. Thanks for taking my call.
RUSH: Yes, sir.
CALLER: Earlier you had mentioned that when the time comes, you’re going to announce or get behind somebody, and I’m just wondering, what’s your selection criteria for picking a candidate, and two, how do you decide when that time is that you’re going to announce? I’m more interested in how you pick a candidate. Because especially this year with — there’s really not a true conservative. How do you narrow it down?
RUSH: That’s an excellent point. I don’t have a time frame, just to address that first. I don’t have a time frame.
CALLER: All right.
RUSH: And I also, I can see possibly not supporting a Republican nominee.
RUSH: And I never thought that I would say that in my life.
RUSH: ‘But, Rush, but, Rush, what about Hillary?’ (sigh) By the way, the sigh is not aimed at you Jim.
CALLER: Oh, I know.
RUSH: This stuff is very tough.
CALLER: Well, maybe open it up to different years, where we do have — say you have two good conservatives, how would you go through a selection process? I know a lot of people, they say, well, if he’s pro-abortion and if he’s this and this. I was just wondering what your kind of selection criteria —
RUSH: I went through this in great detail mere moments ago.
RUSH: In a situation like this, where you don’t have a genuine, down-the-list conservative, you have to look at variables. It’s easier for me to support a Romney than a McCain, for example, because I believe his conversion is genuine and he’s not lying about past positions. He’s not trying to tell people that they’re wrong when they assess his past positions. He explains why he changed his mind and what it was that caused him to change his mind. And so I don’t want to go through that whole list again, but that’s pretty much how I would do it. It will be up when we update my website this afternoon to reflect the contents of the program. But this is really difficult. But depending — there are a couple people — I can’t take these endorsement calls, because I’m just —
CALLER: No, I don’t want you to endorse them. I was just wondering how you go about and decide. I mean, do you look at, you know, are they willing to cut taxes only, I mean is that your top — what’s your top-five things that you look at in a candidate for choosing them.
RUSH: Okay, top five right off the top of my head, not in any particular order: limited government. Get government out of people’s way. Number two, belief in the system that it’s people who make the country work, not government. Number three, don’t give me a laundry list of policies without a philosophical underpinning that explains the policies. Number four, don’t tell me that government is the agent of change and that you are going to lead the government. My brand of conservatism is based on individual entrepreneurism, rugged self-individualism, telling people that they’re the ones who make the country work. I think this is born out by history and people respond to it. And then, fifth, after all of those things that I would define as conservative, which includes the belief that people can triumph over the obstacles in their lives, that they’re not incompetent, they’re not incapable, and they’re not stupid, the fifth thing is, is there any leadership on any of this?
RUSH: Well, if somebody starts exuding leadership, I’m going to tell you, the race would be over. Nobody’s exuding any leadership in this primary right now at all. What we’re getting is a recitation of policies, we’re getting a defense of past positions which aren’t conservative, that run from (doing McCain impression), ‘You’re misunderstanding me, I never said it, it wasn’t amnesty!’ to people who were pro-choice, changed their mind to pro-life. We have people that said they’re now for FairTax and net tax increase. If somebody starts exhibiting leadership, if there were, even with this roster, if one of them had any kind of leadership persona, the race would already be more defined than it is now. I think the one thing that’s absent in all of this is take-charge leadership born of confidence and desire to lead the country forward according to the vision the candidate has. Right now the front-runners want it because it’s their turn. We tried that in 1996 with Bob Dole, and now they’re running the same scenario with McCain. You know what recommends McCain is so many people saying, ‘He got cheated, Rush, in 2000. He was cheated and we owe him! It was unfair.’ We’ve been down this road of owing people. We’ve been down this road, it’s their turn. That’s not what does it for me. So I guess in speaking aloud here and answering your question, the answer is show me some leadership here and you’re going to go a long way to impressing me.
RUSH: My friends, I’m going to repeat this one more time. I’ve said this countless times, but people are wondering when, how, who I am going to endorse. Please get away from that. That is accepting the notion that whoever I endorse is put over the top. You guys are demonstrating out there that you’re going to make up your own minds — and I, frankly, like that. I participate here in, hopefully, informing and educating, and you do back and forth. We do together. But you’re not mind-numbed robots. This endorsement business? Can I be bluntly honest? If I had this magical power to get everybody I supported elected, we wouldn’t have had Clinton. You know, people like me who do what I do, we’ve gotta be realistic about what this is. It’s a radio show that has an identity and a mission and a purpose, but it’s not to get people elected. It’s an ancillary thing, but that’s not why I’m doing this. If I really want to get one guy over another elected, I’d quit this then I’d become the guy’s operative and dirty tricks guy and whatever else it took to win. I’m not trying to diminish my role, don’t misunderstand.
I’m the one who has this in perspective. Now, you ask, on the one hand, you want me to endorse somebody, and I say no. Then you think I have, when I haven’t, and I get hell on the phones from people who think I’ve endorsed somebody. I haven’t. Now, you want to know why I haven’t endorsed anybody? Screw the word ‘endorsement.’ You know why I’m not coming out and saying, ‘I support this guy more than the other’ in those exact words? It’s because I can’t control these people. Let me give you a hypothetical. Let’s say that long ago I said, ‘Folks, I have surveyed the scene, and there’s only one guy in this race that’s worth supporting, and that man is Fred Thompson.’ All right. So I say it, and Fred runs along with his current position in the polls, and then decides to get out. What if Fred decides to endorse McCain, or throw his support to him? It’s entirely possible. Where does that leave me? I’m not going to put myself in this position. Tie your life to a politician, or link yourself to a politician? If you endorse one, you gotta defend everything they say, otherwise you gotta cancel the endorsement. Then, what the hell? When you have a roster where there’s no genuine conservative… It’s like I’ve been telling you.
Like I’m telling you: this is going to come down to who we dislike the least. It’s what it’s going to boil down to. That’s not necessarily good, but it is what it is. I can’t say, ‘I support Candidate X’ weeks out, and the campaign unfolds and have these guys put me in a bad situation. Because I guarantee you, if I were to say, ‘Candidate X! You know what, folks? I’ve decided today I support Candidate X,’ Candidate X is not going to call me and say, ‘What do I need to keep doing to keep your support?’ Candidate X is going to assume I will maintain support whatever he does because he’s just gotten it publicly. I’m not going to put myself in that position. So if I can’t come to you and honestly say I support one of these guys over the other, I’m not going to do it. Now, I can come to you and say, ‘I see real red flags with this guy, real red flags with that guy.’ I’ll tell you that, but always up front and honestly. Based on what? Conservatism! Because it wins. Anyway, I’ll squeeze in one more call here before we have to go. Who is it? Mike in Buffalo Grove, Illinois. Hi.
CALLER: Hey, Rush, thanks for taking the call. Some hot tea and rye whiskey in the same cup will help your throat. In the meantime, I wanted to weigh in on the issue you spoke of a little bit ago about the evangelical influence in the Republican Party. In my opinion, we need to excise the evangelicals from the Republican Party, because I really do believe that they are hurting the cause. And this is — and this is where my thought process is, that the Republican core value is to empower the individual and that the evangelicals, you know, with their social agenda seem to me to be empowering government just as much as the far left on the Democrat. They’re are all for — for —
CALLER: — you know, no. Letting your kids get abortions without letting the parents know.
RUSH: Time-out, time-out, time-out. I’ve got a minute. I can’t speak very fast. You’re raising a good point. I want to address it. I’ve heard this lament, ‘Social conservatives believe in Big Government as much as liberals do, Limbaugh. You know it. They want the government to stop abortions!’ In the first place, the Republican Party would be nowhere without them. That’s why I hate to see what’s going on here in the current field. But number two: the founding documents. The Declaration of Independence: ‘We’re all endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights, among them, LIFE, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.’ When a political party is doing its best to see to it that every abortion possible happens, there’s only one agency empowered by our founding documents to stand up for life. That’s the government. That’s considered a proper use of the government, to stand for life, and liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That’s not oppression, sir.