RUSH: One closing thought from the previous hour: I’m noticing this in a lot of conservative media. Those of us who are opposing these McCain… Let me set this up a better way. When Huckabee was coming out of nowhere in Iowa, we had numerous pundits on the left who write their conservatism to be read by liberals, jumping on the Huckabee bandwagon. And then McCain came out of nowhere in New Hampshire, and then they jumped on the McCain bandwagon. Romney wins in Michigan, and they didn’t jump on the Romney bandwagon. They stayed on the McCain bandwagon. Then we go to Wyoming, and Romney won all the delegates there, and they didn’t jump on the Romney bandwagon. They stayed on the McCain bandwagon and hoped for Huckabee. And then we get to South Carolina and Nevada. In Nevada, Romney cleans up, and nobody talks about it. ‘Romney is nowhere. He’s off the charts. He should quit. Thompson should quit. He should get out of the race!’ They remain on the McCain bandwagon. Now the people on the McCain bandwagon are telling those of us who aren’t on the McCain bandwagon, to shut up. Just be quiet. We are supposedly damaging the Republican Party.
We are supposedly damaging the conservative movement. We should just shut up. Just sit by and watch all this stuff and let it happen and just be quiet. What is the point? By the way, it’s aimed at people in talk radio. Why should we in talk radio ‘just shut up,’ and start supporting the front-runner of the moment? Especially when you realize that’s what the Drive-By Media wants! Why should we in talk radio sit here and take our marching orders from the Drive-By Media and others in our movement who write what they write, for liberals in the Drive-By Media. Why should we do that. McCain, frankly, has shown conservatives little but contempt over many years. We had a caller from South Carolina mad at me in the last hour. He said, ‘You know what? They’re wrong in the Washington Post. They say you don’t have any influence. You have all kinds of influence. You endorsed Thompson.’ I didn’t endorse Thompson, but he thought I did, in a de facto way, ‘and you’re taking votes away from Huckabee.’ He was obviously the Huckabee supporter. The point is, McCain got fewer votes — 42% in 2000; 33% of the vote Saturday night, 2008 — and he wasn’t running against his two top challengers, once you get out of these states where independents can go in and vote in the Republican primary.
He should have cleaned up. McCain should have gotten over 50% of the vote if this McCain movement is for real, but he got fewer votes and a much smaller percentage in 2008 than he did in 2000. Now, I also find it amazing — it’s not amazing; it’s humorous, interesting, and a little funny. Over the course of the past six months, I have been urged — and you’ve heard it — by people calling this program to endorse somebody. ‘Come on, Rush. We know who you’re supporting. We can hear it. Just endorse him.’ I haven’t endorsed anybody. But when the perception is that I have endorsed somebody, all hell breaks loose, like the guy from South Carolina. He thought I had gone go out and was sending this secret, subliminal message to vote Thompson. So I’m in a no-win situation, it seems. I don’t endorse, you get mad at that. I don’t endorse but you think I do, but you get mad at the guy I endorse — when I haven’t endorsed anybody. It’s not my job to strategize for any candidate; it’s not my job to tell ’em what to do right.
I mean, if I endorse a candidate, I’ll know when the time is. I know how to do it, and I will endorse a candidate when and if I choose to. I’ve made no secret of my concern about this field of candidates from the get-go, and I have made no secret, here, of my intention to talk about their records. If a candidate is concealing their record, I don’t have to go along with that. If a candidate has something to say that I think is great, I will mention it if I choose to. To state the purpose again here within the context of this particular campaign, my purpose is to see conservatism triumph, both in the primary and in the general election. We have callers here projecting their objectives and support for or against a particular candidate, onto me. For example, if Huckabee doesn’t do well in South Carolina, it’s gotta be my fault because I didn’t come out for Huckabee and I was reporting stories about a possible Fred Thompson surge on Thursday and Friday. That’s not how it happens. You know, people vote, and they vote their own minds. People in this audience are not mind-numbed robots. I think to the extent that we gave them something to think about about McCain, I actually think we did help take some support away from him, contrary to the thoughts that we were outnumbered and overwhelmed and defeated.
Senator McCain’s domestic record is not conservative, and we’re being lectured by the media — some who are hostile to conservatism, some who wear the conservative label — to be quiet, to not be too hard on him, or whatever. Those of us who have been here since the beginning of the program in 1988, you know we deal here in ideas. Why should I be quiet about my ideas? Why should I be quiet, or anybody else on the radio who happens to espouse what I believe? Why should we be quiet? The primary is precisely the time to speak! That’s when this stuff gets aired and sorted out. Here’s what I’ve noted. Governor Huckabee has reversed course on taxes, on illegal immigration. He has reversed course on law and order. Why shouldn’t we discuss this? I mean, he made a major, major flip-flop on immigration. It didn’t help him in South Carolina, and look what happened when he did that. Many of you think Governor Huckabee is very conservative. Put when he did this flip-flop on immigration, what direction did he move? He moved right. His previous position was: tuition, illegals, kids stay, blah, blah, blah. He vowed to send ’em all home, right before the South Carolina primary. Huge, huge flip-flop. Why should we be quiet about that?
Because the media likes the guy and is pulling for him? Is that a reason to be quiet about it? If I think any one or few of these guys might ultimately damage the Republican Party or the conservative movement, should I not talk about that, either? You know, a month ago we had a caller who demanded that I address these issues more aggressively. Now we have a caller who says I should just go along. Now we have the Drive-By Media that says I should just go along. I have even pundits on supposedly my own side of the aisle saying, ‘Just be quiet! You’re causing problems. Just let it go! There’s going to be a rift. Just be quiet.’ Could it have anything to do with the fact that their guy happens to be winning in their minds right now, even though he’s not? Why don’t all of these people be quiet? You know what? Why does it not occur to me to tell these people it to be quiet, and yet it occurs to them to tell us on the radio to be quiet? I would never say to David Brooks, ‘You need to stop writing. You’re damaging things. You’re very harmful to what’s happening. You’re harming me; you are harming our movement. You’re supporting the wrong guy. You should stop writing.’ It would never even occur to me to suggest that.
What occurs to me is to engage him and discuss what he says and try to prove him wrong. It’s the same thing with whoever it is — Bill Kristol is one — who’s now on the McCain bandwagon. He’s been on the McCain bandwagon since 2000. By the way, McCain wants people to shut up. That’s called McCain-Feingold. McCain passed the first successful, major shut-up bill in the history of the country. McCain-Feingold was an abridgement of free speech. McCain wants people to shut up. Why should we shut up? Why don’t they shut up? It would never occur to me to say to Senator McCain, ‘Shut up about what you’re saying on the campaign trail. It’s not accurate. You’re not being truthful about your past positions on issues.’ It would never occur to me tell them to shut up. It occurs to liberals to tell people that they disagree with to shut up, but it doesn’t occur to me. I’m not afraid. This notion that we should shut up is insulting and offensive. If it’s such a great idea, they should shut up, too. They all like McCain and Huckabee, so they just want these guys to sail through here without any opposition. Why doesn’t Brokaw shut up? They like McCain and Huckabee, too: Why didn’t MSNBC just shut down and shut up?
Why didn’t CBS just shut down and shut up? Why doesn’t the New York Times just stop publishing for the rest of the primary? Washington Post? Go dark. Save some money. Recoup for the general. Don’t print anything about the election through the primary. Just shut up. You notice only one segment of the political spectrum is being asked — or told — to shut up, and that is me and my brethren and sisteren here in talk radio. Well, I’m not going to shut up. I’m even losing my voice and I’m not going to shut up. And, by the way, what kind of audience does these people who are telling me to shut up have? Zilch, zero, nada, compared to this one. How come there isn’t any…? How come when the Washington Post does a story, ‘McCain Defeats Limbaugh in South Carolina,’ we never get stories on ‘X Defeats the Weekly Standard,’ or ‘X Defeats some minor national or local talk show?’ Because their audience is not significant enough that anybody thinks they have the power to beat anybody, so how can they be a factor? It is precisely because of the size of this audience and the impact of you people in this audience, that makes it a target. Why do we get no analysis of the impact of the Weekly Standard or the New York Times op-ed page on conservatives and Republicans? Because there isn’t any to speak of.
There is among the intellectual class and the media class in the Beltway and in New York, the famous DC-New York corridor Huckabee’s talking about, but not outside that. Do you think the New York Times is a major factor among Republicans and conservatives, regardless who writes for it? Do you think the roundtable on a Sunday network show influences Republican and conservative votes? Why no discussion about how irrelevant the liberal media are to this process, on our side? Why shouldn’t they be made to just shut up en masse? Instead the Washington Post does a story on how conservatives are irrelevant to conservatives, twisting figures, twisting arguments. How about a story on how irrelevant the editorial page endorsements of the Washington Post and the New York Times have been the last two presidential elections when their guy lost? I don’t think anybody’s talked about that, either. So let’s talk about who has influence and who doesn’t — with real people, not a cadre of elites inside a beltway or inside a corridor in the Northeast. We know the Drive-Bys are backing McCain. Why is that? Only last week the New York Times conservatives were backing Huckabee and talking about a major realignment among conservatives. The guy won the caucuses in Iowa (hasn’t won since), and yet they were holding him out as some great new realignment. Now they’re back to McCain, homers, front-runners. They want us to shut up. It ain’t going to happen.
RUSH: Let me give you a quote, ladies and gentlemen, from the great Ronaldus Magnus, especially since the Drive-Bys and even some pundits on our side continue to hate hearing references to Reagan. ‘A political party cannot be all things to all people. It must represent certain fundamental beliefs which must not be compromised to political expediency or simply to swell its numbers.’ Let me translate. It must represent certain fundamental beliefs which must not be compromised to political expediency or simply doing anything to win. And that, I fear, is what’s happening to the Republican Party. Bring in anybody you think can beat Hillary. That’s really what this boils down to. I told you that the argument I had with the woman in New York at dinner on Thursday night was all about beating Hillary. Jeffrey Toobin, the legal beagle at CNN Late Edition said this about Senator McCain and me.
TOOBIN: Remember, this is a candidate, John McCain, whom Rush Limbaugh, a very important person in the Republican Party, calls unacceptable. So he’s got a problem.
RUSH: The lone voice (laughing). There’s one guy in the media who thinks McCain’s got problems because of me, and it’s Jeffrey Toobin. Here is a little excerpt from the PBS show that airs inside the beltway. I think it’s in their network, too, at PBS, Gordon Peterson, Inside Washington, talking to Washington Post columnist Colbert King about the Republican primary elections and Rush Limbaugh.
PETERSON: Radio talker Rush Limbaugh said this week that if either McCain or Huckabee won the South Carolina primary, it would destroy the Republican Party. Is he right about that?
KING: He’s absolutely wrong. I mean, the Republican Party will survive whatever happens, they will survive him as well. But the key is that Romney, if McCain wins, he will have the Republican Party behind him if he gets the nomination, there’s no question about it.
RUSH: And once again, we are being asked to listen to liberals who work at the Washington Post to tell us what our party will be and what it can’t be and what won’t happen to us, and we are supposed to listen to these people. By the way, I never said that if McCain or Huckabee won the South Carolina primary, it would destroy the Republican Party. Never said that. It’s worse than that. I said if they get the nomination. How could the party be destroyed on one primary? I didn’t say that. That had to be a slip of the tongue or a fact checker that gave Gordon Peterson the quote and got it wrong, but I didn’t say whoever won the South Carolina primary, McCain or Huckabee, would destroy the Republican Party. I said if they get the nomination. I said, to be factually correct, the Republican Party won’t be destroyed, it’s always going to survive, but it’s not going to be anything like it looks today, and it will not be the primary residence of conservatives. That’s my great fear.
RUSH: One more sound bite, then back to the phones. This is Margaret Carlson, and she was also on Inside Washington on Saturday night. Host Gordon Peterson says, ‘All right now, Margaret. Tom DeLay, former House majority leader,’ The Hammer, ‘We remember him.’ (snorts) Thanks, Gordon. I’m sure he remembers you, too. ‘…said that McCain had done more to hurt the Republican Party than any elected official he could think of. Why do the party regulars hate John McCain so much?’
CARLSON: Let me count the ways. He’s violated all ten commandments, uh, of the Republican Party by being against Bush’s tax cuts. Uh, he’s wrong on immigration as far as the base is concerned, although he’s modified his position to be in — in favor of, uh, strong border control first. Uhhhh, and we like him. The press likes John McCain, and that really ticks off the Republican Party.
PETERSON: Why do we like him so much?
CARLSON: Actually he does — he does talk straight. He told people in Michigan, the jobs aren’t coming back.
REPORTER: Yeah, and it cost him.
CARLSON: It cost him, but, you know, that’s why we like him, because he actually says an honest word.
RUSH: There we go. Look, you don’t need to hear from me on McCain; you just need to hear the liberals describe him. Well, he’s opposed to Bush tax cuts, he’s wrong on immigration — even though he’s tried to flip-flop on that. ‘We like him in the press. He tells the truth: The jobs aren’t coming back.’ That’s not the truth! Nobody knows, but what McCain essentially said to the people of Michigan was, ‘I’m not going to try to get the jobs back.’ When he says the jobs aren’t coming back, it means, ‘I’m not going to try to get ’em back.’ By the way, we’re talking about jobs, not certain types of jobs. What Michigan needs is employment, and if certain types of jobs are out the window… I mean, they no longer have people that manufacture the horse and buggy or the buggy whip. But there’s still people getting jobs as the economy grows. McCain sent the message he wasn’t even going to try — and the press, the Drive-Bys, love a message of doom and gloom and can’t-doism! That’s what they consider ‘straight talk.’ When they consider straight talk is anything they agree with. And the first item on the things they agree with is: ‘Bush sucks,’ and that’s what they have heard McCain say. That’s what has garnered him the ‘maverick’ label. Of course they love him! Folks, this is profound. Florida liberal newspapers endorsing McCain? (sigh) Oh, well, look, it’s up to you, and you know it.
RUSH: Eleanor in Arlington, Virginia, I’m glad you waited. Welcome to the program.
CALLER: Thank you. I’ve gotten nervous waiting. So I hope I express myself well.
RUSH: You sound better than I do.
CALLER: Oh, thank you. I just wanted to tell you that I think you have one mad Huckabee person on the phone, and I’m a recovering liberal, and 98% of my ethnic group votes Democratic. So obviously I think, you know, I think with my own mind. I have an elephant’s memory regarding John McCain. I know his record. I know what he’s done with the Gang of 14, taxes, et cetera, et cetera. What he says regarding his record is not always what the reality is.
RUSH: I want you to shut up. We’re not supposed to talk about those things anymore, Eleanor, don’t you know? You haven’t gotten the message.
CALLER: (laughter) I’m not shutting up, and I will never vote for him, and that is the bottom line. As far as Huckabee is concerned, they like Huckabee because he called the president’s policy ‘arrogant,’ whatever, and he’s a Democrat, actually, in Republican clothing.
RUSH: More than that, though.
CALLER: Yeah, that’s right. He has a little problem with the truth, which —
RUSH: But it’s more than that.
CALLER: What is that?
RUSH: Well, if Huckabee were the nominee —
RUSH: — the Drive-Bys and the Democrats would salivate. They’re licking their chops.
CALLER: Oh, yeah. They want him.
RUSH: They think they could win the White House —
CALLER: With Huckabee.
RUSH: — with Daffy Duck is the Democrat nominee against Huckabee.
CALLER: Right, exactly.
RUSH: And they think so because, see, they despise the Christian right.
RUSH: They hate it. They hate the evangelicals. They have wanted to neutralize the influence of evangelicals in presidential politics since the eighties.
RUSH: And they think they could take Huckabee out easily —
RUSH: — and, with him, the evangelical right, and they think further they could separate the evangelical right from the Republican Party, because the Republican Party would be so embarrassed and so teed off at the landslide defeat, that they would basically disown the evangelicals, and the evangelicals would have to form their own party, while the Republicans went on and told them to go to hell, just like liberals. That’s what the Democrats think would happen with Huckabee as the nominee.
CALLER: Right. Exactly. They and —
RUSH: Do you think the Democrats are right?
CALLER: What? Do I think they’re right about what?
RUSH: What I just said, that if Huckabee gets the nomination —
RUSH: — the Democrats think they would defeat him and evangelicals at the same time in landslide proportions, and that the Republican Party would tell the evangelicals, ‘We’re through with you. You caused us a loss that’s worse than Goldwater in ’64. We don’t want you in our party anymore. Look at what you did to us.’ (bullet sound)
CALLER: I could see that happening.
RUSH: That’s what the Democrats think would happen with Huckabee as the nominee.
CALLER: I tell you, because I listen to the press all the time, and I’ve watched the comments. Anybody the press is for usually I’m against because I know they have their — about the agenda. I’ve watched them downplay Thompson. I’ve heard from liberals, some liberals that I know that Thompson is of major concern to them against Hillary.
RUSH: Well, I don’t know that they think that, but they don’t want to take any chances. What you have noticed and I will articulate — and this is nothing new — I just think people don’t understand the depth and breadth of this, but if you look at who the Drive-Bys are out propping up versus who they’re trying to destroy, they despise us, folks. It’s precisely because of the reason a previous caller in the last hour gave us: They despise conservatives. They want to take out any conservative. They took out George Allen. Macaca. They’ll take out any conservative they can. They try and take me out. I don’t mean this in a martyred sense, but all these stories about how McCain beat me in the Washington Post, they would love for me to stop having influence. They don’t understand that the influence that exists here results from you. You people are independent thinkers, and that’s what they don’t like about conservatives. Conservatives are thinkers, and they’re not fooled. Conservatives don’t buy into liberalism on the touchy-feely emotional side, but if there’s nobody for conservatives to vote for, then that’s fine. So take out Thompson. Take out Rudy. Leave us with McCain and Huckabee, and they think conservatives will stay home — and then the Republican Party will face a realignment.
What the Drive-Bys and the Democrats desperately want is for there to be no conservative influence in the Republican Party at all, because they know that if that happens, the Republican Party will never beat them. Without conservatism in the Republican Party, the Republican Party is finished in terms of having chances, viable chances to win elections — if the conservative base is driven out of it. You can drive the conservative base out of the Republican Party by making sure that none of its candidates get nominated, that none of its candidates win primaries, or if they do win primaries, that big pieces designed to destroy them show up in the Drive-By Media. (whispering) You don’t understand how we are hated as conservatives by the media and by Democrats. They don’t look at us as opponents they don’t have to defeat. They look at us as however they wish to describe us. You shouldn’t be around. Debate us? That’s beneath them! We’re like Chihuahuas, except the Chihuahuas that were yapping at their heels are up to their throats now, and they want us finished. So when they start touting all these candidates that are not us, and that’s why we get concerned here, and that’s why we’re not going to shut up, ladies and gentlemen.
RUSH: One other thing, ladies and gentlemen, about this shut up business. Have you noticed that the people out there — and let’s keep this discussion to those of us on the right. Let’s forget the liberals for a second, the Drive-Bys and Democrats. We just discussed them. But have you noticed that the people who are advocating that opponents of Senator McCain just shut up, have you noticed that Rudy’s supporters, Romney’s supporters, Thompson’s supporters, they’re not telling their critics to shut up. This is awfully thin-skinned of these people on the McCain side of the aisle, just telling us now that they think he’s the front-runner, even though he hasn’t gotten the most delegates yet, he doesn’t lead in total vote count. We’re just now supposed to shut up? Have we heard any of the other candidates or their supporters saying to the rest of us to shut up, from Thompson, Rudy, Romney? Do we get editorials and opinion pieces and other lectures telling us, ‘Hey, stop talking about Thompson, stop talking about Rudy, stop talking about Romney,’ in ways that might hurt their campaigns? But the McCain people are awfully thin-skinned out there. When you have thin skin, there’s a reason. Thin skin is easily pricked. It’s also sometimes transparent, can be seen through. Don’t get too close. You might see the truth, what’s underneath. So shut up. You guys are just going to blow everything, just stop this. You’re destroying and you’re hurting. None of the other candidates have this thin skin.