RUSH: Let me get back to this Senator McCain business. I continually am — not so much lately, I must tell you, after last week, I think I’m getting fewer inquiries about this, but the one thing that people continue to pepper me on — CNN wanted me on today, this morning, I didn’t want to get up early enough to be on CNN, not enough audience there to warrant shortchanging my sleep. But they wanted me on to discuss the statement I made that if Huckabee or McCain get the nomination, that’s it, the Republican Party is finished as we know it because conservatives will sit home. They want to know what I meant by that. Some McCain people, I understand, are saying that comments like that made by me are no different than some of the fringe kooks and their comments at Democrat Underground and Daily Kos, some of these other left-wing blogs. I think what the McCain people don’t get here is that those of us who call ourselves conservatives also consider ourselves a movement. We’re not politicos. We don’t go issue by issue and say, ‘Okay, we support this, can it help us here, do this,’ we’re movement people, and we’re sick and tired of having Republicans elected who are not movement people.
We believe in conservatism. We believe in it as a governing ideology. We believe in it because it’s the founding principle of this country. We want it to take root, and we want it to soar because when it does, people soar, country soars. S-o-a-r-s. And to sit around here, we’re not making calculations on the basis of one political issue to the next. One of the reasons I think the Republican Party would be at least reshaped, is that I think it would lose big. I think that conservatives, some of them just won’t vote. I don’t think the McCain people understand just how deep the resentment for Senator McCain has been and is, based on his time in the US Senate. I don’t think they understand it, and I think that they think that it can be overcome with a little outreach here and a little outreach there, by saying he’s changed his position, changed his mind on illegal immigration. We got some audio sound bites that clearly indicate that he hasn’t done that. He was asked, for example, if the amnesty bill came up again, would he vote for it? Oh, sure, I’d vote for it again. He said what you don’t understand is, it won’t come back that way. But he says he’d vote for it. If he says he’d vote for it if he had a chance to, he would sign it as president if it came to his desk, then he hasn’t changed his mind. And who knows, it could come back. That’s the whole point. It could come back in that same form.
But let me elaborate a little bit here on the question I asked you before the previous hour ended. One of the points I’ve made throughout the past eight years, people have called here — and you know who you are, and you have weighed into me, and you have gotten extremely angry at me, ‘How come these Republicans in the Congress, why, they’re not governing as they said they would. They ran as conservatives and they get in there and they compromise.’ I ask them point-blank, ‘What can they do?’ If you are a conservative in the House, and your president is calling up Ted Kennedy to write the education bill, and the immigration bill, what can they do? It is death to go against your own president. You just don’t do it. So you either lag and let the legislation you disagree with go nowhere, but you certainly don’t go on television and rip your own president. McCain does, and has, and this presents a big problem for us.
Let me give you the counter view. Let’s play a little game. Let’s take the Bush presidency the past eight years and instead of having Denny Hastert and whoever the speaker of the House is, let’s put Newt Gingrich in there. Do you think Newt Gingrich would have been able to accomplish what he did with a Republican president who was not conservative? There’s no way, folks. It wouldn’t have happened. What I fear is what I know. What I know is if McCain is elected president, the Republicans in Congress are going to be helplessly hog-tied. They’re going to be hamstrung, hands tied behind their backs. They won’t be able to do anything. By the way, I should point out here that it will be even worse than that because McCain would be working with the Democrats against conservatives in the Congress just as he has during his time in the Senate. So you elect a President McCain, President Huckabee, who is more eager to work with Democrats, more eager to work with liberals, than he is his own side, and we’ve seen elements of this in President Bush. I would just as soon have conservative Republicans in the House of Representatives and whoever they are in the Senate to be able to be full throated and full voiced advancing an agenda of opposition. I think it would be easier to do that with a Democrat president, given our choices here if it’s McCain or Huckabee.
I don’t want a repeat here of the last eight years. Remember when I told you I’m through carrying water, last November of ’06? This is exactly what I meant. I’m through trying to say, ‘Don’t get mad at these guys, they’re doing the best they can.’ I’m through doing that. We’re not politicos. We are members of a movement. We want it advanced, and people who are not members of that movement who nevertheless are Republicans but want to make whoopee and friends with Democrats and thwart the movement, what’s the point in sabotaging my own belief? It really is no more complicated than that, and it isn’t personal. I’ve never met Senator McCain. It is not personal, nothing to do with anything of the sort.
RUSH: All right, back to Senator McCain. Before we get to this… John Fund has a great passage today in the Wall Street Journal piece. Let’s play audio sound bite 17. Meet the Press, Tim Russert interviewing Senator McCain. Russert says, ‘If the Senate passed your bill — S1433, the McCain-Kennedy Immigration Bill — would you, as president, sign it?’
MCCAIN: Yeah, but we — the — it — Look, the lesson is it isn’t won. It isn’t gonna come. It isn’t gonna come. The lesson is they want the border secured first. That’s the lesson.
RUSSERT: But you would sign your bill if it’s passed?
MCCAIN: It’s not going to come across my desk.
RUSSERT: It won’t pass?
MCCAIN: Like if pigs fly, uh then — then — buh, uh — look —
RUSSERT: So it’s dead?
MCCAIN: The bill — the bill is dead as it is written. We know that. We know that. And the bill is going to have to be — and I would sign it — securing the borders first, and articulating those principles that I did. That’s what we got out of this last very divisive and tough debate, and we have to get those borders secured. That’s what Americans want first.
RUSH: Wow. So he would sign it. (McCain impression) ‘I would sign it. I would sign it. But it’s not going to happen, Tim. It’s like when pigs fly!’ But he says he would sign it. People want the border secured. That’s what the American people want first. Look, you be the judge. You go ahead and decipher this as you want, folks. I’ve had my say here. Brenda in Sarasota, Florida, thank you for calling. Welcome to the EIB Network.
CALLER: Hi, Rush. How are you?
RUSH: Fine. Thank you.
CALLER: I gotta vote tomorrow and I don’t want to vote for McCain. I don’t like him. I want to vote for Mitt Romney but they keep putting these polls on the TV that the only person who could beat Hillary is McCain, and I think that’s why people are voting for him.
RUSH: I know those polls. I’ve run into that, when I had the argument with the woman in New York at the restaurant. ‘Don’t you want to beat Hillary?’ I just went through that. No! I mean, not if I’m going to end up with a (sigh) governing situation that’s going to destroy the country.
RUSH: I want the Democrats to get credit for it. But, look, what was it, six months ago that Giuliani was the only one that could beat Hillary nationally.
CALLER: Ah! You’re right. You’re right.
RUSH: Okay, so six months? All these polls ought to be meaningless. Giuliani ought to be the nominee, right?
RUSH: Don’t believe any of those polls on who’s going to beat who and who’s up nationally right now. That’s so far down the road, none of it is relevant. It may be an accurate representation of what people think now, but it’s not relevant because the election is not ’til November.
CALLER: Right. And you think Romney can do it? Honestly.
RUSH: Yes, of course. I just think Mrs. Clinton can be beat, and I think Obama can be beaten.
CALLER: All right.
RUSH: It’s not time to put the horse before the cart, cart before the horse, whatever the hell it is.
CALLER: All right.
RUSH: I’ve never had a horse or a cart so…
CALLER: (giggles) You know what? I think that’s why people have voting for McCain. I don’t know one person who likes him, at all.
RUSH: I don’t know about that. I think a lot of people…
CALLER: My family, who are all Republicans, no one likes him.
RUSH: A lot of people have respect for him because of the prisoner of war things.
CALLER: But that’s different.
CALLER: I have respect for him, but I don’t like him.
RUSH: Then they think he can beat Hillary. There’s a lot of McCain supporters, and that’s the reason why. I understand our side hates Hillary, and don’t want the Clintons back in there, for any reason whatsoever, and ‘whatever it takes to keep ’em out.’ Look, if Obama beats her, do you realize how happy this country is going to be that the Clintons are gone? Do you understand both sides are going to be delirious.
RUSH: Now, back to Senator McCain. We’ll get to your phone calls here in just a second. Senator McCain is referenced by John Fund today in the Wall Street Journal. Basically, it is that Samuel A. Alito — now, you wonder why I’m bringing this up. This is nominations to the Supreme Court, and McCain said, ‘I don’t care what you people think. I’m going to nominate guys like Scalia and Roberts.’ Now, McCain has told conservatives that he would be happy to appoint the likes of, say, John Roberts to the Supreme Court, but he indicated he might draw the line on a Samuel Alito because, quote, ‘he wore his conservatism on his sleeve,’ unquote. Well, I’m here to tell you that if that were true, if Alito had worn his conservatism on his sleeve, he wouldn’t have gotten the support of Arlen Specter — and he did get the support of Arlen Specter. But, see, this is the problem that movement conservatives have with Senator McCain. It’s just this nagging feeling that after all of his years of chummily bonding with liberal reporters and garnering favorable media coverage from them, that Senator McCain is embarrassed to be seen as too much of a conservative. I don’t want people who are embarrassed to be conservatives.
I’ve run into enough of those at parties in the Northeast. I have, and I don’t want people who are embarrassed about it, and McCain seems to be. Now, in fairness, Rich Lowry at National Review Online quotes Steve Schmidt of the McCain campaign, saying that this item in Fund’s piece is absolutely false. ‘Senator McCain was instrumental in helping confirm Alito. We relied on him a great deal during the confirmation process to reassure the American people Alito was the kind of justice needed. McCain was a warrior to get Alito on the bench.’ Uh… Uhhhhh, does that deny the claim? Nobody said that McCain didn’t work hard for Alito, but the claim is that McCain said that he might draw the line on the likes of a Samuel Alito because he wears his conservatism on his sleeve. So the question boils down now to, did McCain say this or not? John Fund can help us with this — and whether he worked for his nomination or not, would McCain have nominated Alito? That may be nitpicking to you. If you’re looking at this from the at some point standpoint of can we beat Hillary and so forth, you ask, ‘Why does any of this matter?’ Nominations to the Supreme Court matter. Somebody who doesn’t want to be seen with conservatives or supporting them because it might be embarrassing, that matters to those of us who are in the movement.
Alan, Jacksonville, Florida. It’s nice that you waited. Welcome to the EIB Network, sir. Hello.
CALLER: Hey, Rush, thanks for taking my call.
RUSH: Yes, sir.
CALLER: First of all, I want to say I appreciate that last caller. I’m also a Florida voter tomorrow, and I’ve been getting calls from McCain all weekend as people saying, you know, they’re the only one that can win the election in the fall. My response is, ‘We haven’t put our team together yet, so that’s just not true.’ But I had a meeting with my family Saturday night, especially after all the endorsements to McCain and how disheartening all of that was. I said, ‘Look, this is a two-man race.’ Florida is a winner-take-all state. If it wasn’t, I wouldn’t have even called you, Rush, because everybody could vote who they love and those delegates can go to those candidates, but that’s not going to happen in Florida tomorrow. Either Romney or McCain are going to get all 57 delegates. So, I told my family, ‘We have to derail the McCain train in Florida on this election,’ and what you gotta do is: You gotta vote Romney. I’m not saying Romney is the most conservative. I’m saying that if you vote for Giuliani or Huckabee or Ron Paul, those votes are not going to count because those candidates — right now the polls have Romney and McCain this morning about 30% each.
RUSH: Well, but there’s a Rasmussen poll. These polls, be very careful with them. There’s a Rasmussen poll that has Romney up 33, I think, to 27 over McCain. Look, I want to step in here. I don’t want anybody telling anybody how to vote. I am studiously avoiding that myself. I have not done that. I’ve not endorsed anybody. I’m not telling anybody how to vote and I really don’t want any of you to do it, either, because it’s going to get me in trouble. I’m going to have to grant some equal time here to McCain people who want to counter this. I cannot afford to have anything here that sounds like a campaign commercial or advocacy when it gets to that point, telling people, ‘You know, don’t vote for Huckabee.’ You vote for who you want to, folks. That’s what this is all about. That’s what primaries are for: We sort all this out. You vote for who you want to. I have full respect that the people of this audience have independent minds, will come to their own conclusions about things, and that’s what we want. We don’t want any mind-numbed robots here. You are free to vote however you wish, and we’ll go from there and deal with what happens as it does because that will be the reality.
But one thing to notice, and I do want to point this out, is this. The McCain camp thinks that the opposition to their candidate comes basically from me and a couple three others in radio, and perhaps some other elevated places in the media. I don’t think — even when I’ve been around people who are fervent McCain supporters — and when I say, ‘Well, what about this issue and that issue and what about always trying to undermine the conservative side of the party?’ They don’t care. None of that matters to them. They gotta beat Hillary and they think he’s the only one that can do it. I don’t think the McCain camp or a lot of other people understand just how betrayed a lot of genuine conservative voters in this country feel after eight years of Senator McCain interacting with President Bush on a number of issues; seemingly eager to undermine the conservative position on various pieces of legislation, and other items that may not even be up for legislation, or legislative consideration. There’s more out there of this nature across the country — I’m not talking about Florida, just across the country — than I think people understand, because most of the people who are assessing all this are the inside the Beltway, DC-establishment types, who are as unfamiliar with what’s going on in Tennessee, Missouri, Iowa, Arkansas, Colorado, as they are with what’s going on in Darfur.
RUSH: Here’s Jenny, San Antonio, Texas. Jenny, one of my all-time top-ten favorite female names. How are you?
CALLER: Hey, great. It’s just wonderful to talk to you.
RUSH: Thank you.
CALLER: I’ve been a fan for a long time. Listen, I just wanted to bring up this point. I just can’t believe how short people’s memories are, because in 1992, the press was continually telling us that Bob Dole was the only candidate the Republicans could run in the election, and —
RUSH: ’96, you mean.
CALLER: Yes. And, you know, that’s the same feeling I get when they’re telling us about McCain, you know —
RUSH: Yeah, what you’re saying is, really what it was in 1996, it was the old war horse’s turn. Dole, he’d hung in there, been a war veteran —
CALLER: War veteran —
RUSH: — he had stood by George W. Bush even though they had been enemies; it was his turn. That’s what it means, it’s McCain’s turn. He got so unfairly treated in South Carolina 2000. Great war hero, it’s his turn. That’s really I think what a lot of people think when — well, some people actually do think he’s the only one that could beat Mrs. Clinton, but there is a factor here that it is his turn, and that’s not a reason.