RUSH: Here’s Ann in Carrollton, Virginia. Hi, Ann, welcome to the EIB Network.
CALLER: Yes, thank you for taking my call. For weeks you’ve been telling us why we should not vote for McCain because he’s not a true conservative, or Huckabee because he’s not a true conservative, and you base that on their records as senator and governor. What I’d like to hear is why you feel that Romney is a true conservative, because I honestly don’t know a lot of about him. But I base —
RUSH: Before I answer the question, who are you for?
CALLER: Well, to tell you the truth, I’m not totally convinced about any of them. I really have not made up my mind. Honestly I haven’t. But my problem is, when I think of Romney, I think of someone who was elected governor, as he says in the bluest of the blue states, so to me that doesn’t equate with a conservative, and also he forces people to get health insurance, which doesn’t sound like a conservative. When he campaigns in Michigan, he says that when he becomes president, he’s going to pass governor mandates to help the auto industry, and that doesn’t sound like a conservative. So what I’d like to know is if you can tell us a few things he did as governor to show that he is a true conservative.
RUSH: In the first place, I have never said that he is the one true conservative in the race.
RUSH: I haven’t. And, in fact, I recoiled when I heard his $20 billion annual subsidy to the auto industry in Detroit and I said, ‘Jeez, that’s just flat-out pandering.’ My point on all this, Ann, from the get-go, and I even mentioned it today, and it’s an unfortunate position, but not one of these people totally fills the bill.
CALLER: No. Well, that’s one of Romney’s problems, is really we don’t know what did he do as governor to show us that he’s a conservative? You know, we never hear it. So is there anything that you can tell me that he did as governor to show me he’s a conservative? Honestly I’d really like to know.
RUSH: There are a couple things, and it depends on the credibility of somebody that, you know, what was their record prior to doing that, what is their record in the real world, as an entrepreneur and a businessman, what occasions are there from that record that you can draw conclusions. He cut taxes in Massachusetts, and he was amazingly able to get that done. He tried fighting this court business where they mandated gay marriage from the Supreme Court without going through the legislature. But, look, what you’re illustrating here is that nobody on our side fits the pure bill. But there are lessers. In fact, one of the lines I used earlier, not on today’s program, but in previous weeks, is this whole Republican primary is going to boil down to who we dislike the least.
RUSH: And that’s sad.
CALLER: So why do you feel that he’s more of a conservative than McCain, based on the record?
RUSH: Oh, that isn’t hard.
CALLER: What record would you have for Romney to show us that? Because I tell you, truthfully I’m not a McCain supporter. So I’m not saying —
RUSH: Of course not, probably a Huckabee supporter.
CALLER: (laughter) Well, to tell you the truth I’d like to know more about Ron Paul, because I’m for as little government intervention as we can have.
RUSH: Enough said. Wherever you go here in this roster of candidates, you’re going to be able to point out ‘not conservative, what he did there is not conservative.’ The one guy that has the least of that is Fred Thompson, that’s what I’ve said, but Fred Thompson was right in there supporting McCain on McCain-Feingold. That’s a red flag. I make my living with my mouth and what comes out of it, and that was a direct assault on what comes out of certain people’s mouths around election times. Once you chip away successfully the First Amendment, it’s easy to do it the next time, second time, third time, fourth time, and 50th time.
CALLER: Hm-hm. Well, maybe, when you get a chance, you could inform us a little more about Romney’s record.
RUSH: Well, sure, I’d be happy to. People have been asking me to go down every one of these guy’s records and do A-B — that’s not what I do here. I don’t have Romney’s record in front of me. Let me give you this. You mentioned McCain. I don’t see the left-wing media propping up Romney like they are propping up McCain. I don’t see them calling Romney a maverick, and the definition of a maverick is one who constantly goes against his party. McCain is a maverick, and he is loved and adored for that and he gets away with the straight talk stuff because, to them, the straight talk is ripping his own party, and ripping his own president, and it got him fawning press coverage. I haven’t seen any of that said about any of these people. Well, maybe Huckabee to a certain extent but the press and the Drive-Bys are trying to destroy Romney; they’re trying to destroy Fred Thompson; they’re trying to destroy Rudy. If you look at who they’re propping up, absent a list or a record of these guys, there are certain indications that you can get. The press is ignoring Ron Paul. That should also tell you something; they don’t consider him to be a serious contender for the ultimate prize.
RUSH: Let me speak generally here. She wanted to know, ‘Well, you tell me what’s conservative about Romney? What is his record?’ and, of course, I’ve not said Romney… She accused me of saying Romney is the only true conservative in the race. I haven’t said that because there isn’t one. But there are some in the race who are trying to destroy conservative while saying they’re conservative, and they’re trying to redefine it. I’m telling you, I’m not going to sit by and just shut up while that happens. There are other people who are not conservative down the line, but they’re not trying to destroy conservatism and they’re certainly not trying to redefine it totally to fit them, but there are those in the race who are. So let me speak generally, here. In order to have a change of heart on issues or a real conversion — because every one of these guys has had a liberal position or more at some point in their past, and they’re all out there saying they’ve changed their minds. Romney’s changed his mind. McCain says (impression), ‘Well, I get it now, Limbaugh. I get it! I gotta do enforcement! (grumbling) I gotta do the borders, and then we’ll make ’em legal. How’s that?’ And then, of course, Huckabee wanted to bring ’em all in and give them health care and welfare and Medicare, and now he wants to kick ’em all out.
So in order to have a genuine change of heart, a genuine conversion, you have to admit — at least I think you do — that you were wrong about your prior view. If you lead the effort — if you LEAD it, if you lead the effort — to grant amnesty to illegal aliens and now claim that you didn’t, how can you be believed when you say that you now believe in securing the border first? You gotta go back and remember. I understand a lot of people that I’ve talked to are McCain supporters and don’t care about that. They want to beat Hillary, or it’s the war on terror, or what have you. All this stuff is irrelevant to them. But if you lead the effort — and you not only lead the effort, you lead the effort to keep it quiet; you lead the effort to make sure nobody knows what’s going on in the amnesty bill — and then when you say that the amnesty bill wasn’t amnesty because we’re going to collect the $5,000 fine from these people and we’re going to try to register them all in one day? This is a bunch that couldn’t even get Katrina right in five months, and we’re going to rectangle all the illegals in one day? This is poppycock, balderdash, folderol! It’s flummery. How am I supposed to sit here and accept that a real conversion has taken place, if you lead the effort to grant amnesty to illegal aliens, and now claim that you didn’t do that.
Also, if you claim to be for the FairTax today but you were a net tax increaser in the past, how can you be believed as actually wanting to eliminate the income tax and replace it with a national sales tax? If you can’t admit what your record was as governor, if you have to say in answer to the question, ‘Were you a net tax increaser?’ ‘We built roads,’ it’s a deflection. Look, I say this because the best we can do here, folks, is to try to measure the candidate’s record and recent comments, and you have to judge whether what they’re saying today is expedient or serious. Let’s take abortion, for example, shall we? Romney was pro-abortion. He now says he was wrong. Says he was for it when he ran for governor. But he talks about the moment he changed his mind and why he changed his mind. He doesn’t claim to have been ‘misunderstood.’ He doesn’t claim to say that he was pro-life. He doesn’t say, ‘Well, I never was pro-choice. I have always been pro-life.’ He doesn’t try to obfuscate or cloud his record. He comes out and apologizes. You have to judge whether that’s a real conversion. It’s up to you as a voter, but it’s far easier to make that judgment when he says, ‘I made a mistake. I was wrong. Here’s why and how and when I changed my mind,’ and when he doesn’t say, ‘Look, you’re misunderstanding me.’ He’s not saying that.
The other candidates are saying (McCain impression), ‘You misunderstood. It wasn’t amnesty. It’s different with amnesty! Quit lying about it.’ Or: What about the fact you’re a net tax increaser? ‘We built roads. We built schools.’ You try to make the best judgment you can. Here’s the thing: All of us who are steadfastly trying to maintain a conservative, genuine conservative identity of the Republican Party, we’ve been lectured to forget about Ronald Reagan, and we have been lectured to forget about conservatism. We’re told it’s time to rewrite things, to adopt some new, revolutionary, adaptive thinking that takes those principles and applies them to the issues of today. Now all of what we’re told — lectured to forget about Reagan, forget about conservatism, understand it’s a new day and there’s a new role for government, new issues, all of this — is intended to ease the way for a McCain or a Huckabee. Romney, Rudy, Thompson supporters don’t talk this way for the most part. Romney, Rudy, and Thompson people are not telling us to shut up. They’re not telling us that we’re causing problems. They try to argue that their guy is the best when comparing their records and speeches to a true conservative template.
Whether they’re convincing or not is another thing, but that’s what’s going on. Rudy, McCain, and Thompson are trying to say, ‘We are going to continue the conservative tradition.’ The other two guys are saying, ‘We need to rewrite it. It’s old hat. We need to let go of it. We got new issues.’ Another example: Rudy does not claim to have been anything about pro-abortion. He’s not saying, ‘Well, yeah, I was pro-abortion, but I was a liberal in New York. I had to be to get elected.’ He’s not even saying that. He doesn’t even run around making excuses for it. There’s something admirable about that. We got other guys making excuses for their positions or telling us that we’re misunderstanding their positions, or that they never were what we think they are. Rudy is not doing that. But he says that he will appoint conservative judges to deal with the issue. Agree or not, that’s what he says. We do the best we can here, folks. There’s no litmus test here can get applied, because none of these people would fit it all. So we do the best we can in figuring it out. Then you have to ask yourself, ‘What can the president really do about abortion? He can lead, change minds and hearts, try and reduce the number that would take place.’
By the way, that’s happening. But legally, in terms of Roe vs. Wade there’s only one thing a president can do, and that’s appointment to the Supreme Court, and Rudy says he’s going to appoint guys that would do it. McCain… Now, this is really a stark contrast, and I want you to listen to this. McCain says (impression), ‘Look Limbaugh, I’m pro-life! I’ve always been pro-life. You can’t say that’s not true. That’s always been the case. I’ve always been pro-life!’ Well, what did he do to advance his pro-life belief? He joined liberal Democrats in filing a brief in the Supreme Court against the ability of the Wisconsin Right to Life committee to run ads about life and abortion prior to an election. This is above and beyond McCain-Feingold! He actually filed his own brief in the Supreme Court against the ability of Wisconsin Right to Life committee to run ads about life and abortion prior to an election.
‘I’ve always been pro-life, though, Limbaugh! You can’t say that’s not true!’
I’m not saying it’s not true. Where’s the leadership on it? It’s one thing to say it, then you stand in the way of pro-life people trying to get their truth out in an election? And then you tell us you’re going to appoint judges that will take care of it? We do the best we can, folks. We look at what they say versus what they do, what they say they’ve said versus what they are saying. We do the best we can. That’s not to get into the Gang of 14. That’s another story in itself. Senator McCain wants it both ways on pro-life. Rudy doesn’t. Rudy’s not denying highs pro-choice. But he also says he hates abortion, and will do what he can to stop it appointing judges. McCain says he’s pro-life, and stands in the way of people who are pro-life, trying to impact an election. He wants it both ways. Why did he file that brief? Maybe it’s to be consistent with McCain-Feingold. Who knows? Why did he do it? We do the best we can in sorting this stuff out.