RUSH: As you know, ladies and gentlemen, and as I just said in my non-concession speech, the same media that could not call New Hampshire right is still shamelessly in the prediction game, predicting my demise; the same media losing circulation, losing readers, losing advertisers, losing viewers, predicting my demise. Let us go to the audio sound bites, start here with number two, Mister Broadcast Engineer. Cookie said to me, she’s putting these things together, she’s watching all the TV last night, she said, ‘You know what? You were being discussed everywhere in terms of you having lost, and how sad you were, and how you had to be the most disappointed guy in America last night.’ All the while I was having a great time last night, as I try to do each and every day. She said, ‘I could give you an hour’s worth of these sound bites. You were talked about as much as McCain was last night.’ I said, ‘Well, I don’t like this whole thing to be about me, just give me seven or eight of them.’ So we have seven or eight typical representative sound bites from the Drive-Bys last night. We will start with last night and this morning, a montage of Keith Olberdork at DNCTV and Harry Smith at the CBS Morning Show.
OLBERMANN: Rush Limbaugh’s touch screen freezes on him when he casts his Florida ballot.
SMITH: Rush Limbaugh went to vote, and his screen froze. Did you hear about that?
RUSH: That’s true, but do you believe what a big story that’s become? You ought to see the blogs on this. One of the wacko liberal blogs is saying, ‘You know the Diebold people that make those machines, it’s probably true that every time Limbaugh voted for Romney, he got McCain.’ They think I voted Romney and they think the machine voted it for McCain and they’re just having a blast, but I happened to mention the machine froze. I went in there, selected my candidate, hit next. There were just two pages, one of the constitutional amendment on property taxes, the other the presidential candidates. I selected my candidate, hit the ‘next,’ it didn’t go there. I have experience with computers freezing. I’m not an old person that doesn’t understand these things. I didn’t call somebody over to help. I said, ‘I know what to do, just go back.’ I went back to the candidates page, and my candidate’s name was still checked. So I unchecked it, which means I’m starting all over, rechecked it, hit ‘next,’ and it went on to the next page. I selected my preference on the constitutional amendment and hit ‘next,’ and I got the page to record the vote.
That’s been in newspapers all over the place. I guess the Drive-Bys are still obsessed with voter fraud and machines and when it happens to me (laughter) and I talk about it, they say, ‘Yeah, how does it feel? How does it feel to happen to you? You were laughing at everybody else.’ I know how to use the machine. I didn’t whine and moan and complain about it. I didn’t call my congressman. Some people down there in Broward County went and voted, didn’t understand the butterfly ballot, called Robert Wexler. Who does that? Certainly not I, ladies and gentlemen. Here’s Mort Kondracke, whose own candidate, Ron Paul, no chance, getting weirder by the day. Here’s Mort Kondracke last night during the Fox News Channel coverage of the Florida primary, and this is right after Fox called it for McCain.
KONDRACKE: It seems to me that the saddest person in the Republican Party tonight is Rush Limbaugh. Rush Limbaugh was spending half of his time on the air denouncing John McCain, trying to make sure that John McCain did not win the Republican nomination for president. Here in this primary, if Giuliani had not been there, the likelihood is that the moderates and the liberals, to the extent there are any left in the Republican Party, would have just trounced Romney, and that’s gotta be very sad.
RUSH: These guys are starting to disappoint me over at Fox. They really are. We do our best to stand up and support Fox, but these guys are making it really tough. Not because of the personal attacks on me, but because of the — what is this? If Rudy had not been there, the likelihood that the moderates and liberals, to the extent that there are any left — to the extent that there are any left? Who do you think is nominating McCain? It is not conservatives, Mort! I don’t mean to raise my voice here, folks, but look, this is AP: ‘John McCain solidified his status as the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination with a Florida triumph. ‘It shows one thing. I’m the conservative leader who can unite the party.” I’m the conservative leader who can unite the party? He thinks he has to proclaim — Mort, did you hear this? How is this a defeat for me? How is this a defeat for conservatism when all these candidates are suggesting they are the heir to Ronald Reagan, when they all stress verbally, not by virtue of action, mind you, but verbally, when they all stress their fealty to conservatism? How in the world can this be a defeat? McCain is getting the votes of moderates; he’s getting the votes of seasoned citizens; he’s getting the votes of the Latino community, particularly in south Florida. That’s a direct tie to immigration.
The Chicago Tribune today, Michael Tackett: ‘McCain Win Comes With an Asterisk — The Huckabee factor puts brakes on Romney –‘ that’s the dirty little secret. By the way, this is not a complaint. Romney’s running against three people. Romney is running against McCain, he’s running against Giuliani, and he’s running against Huckabee, and Huckabee is hanging in to tag-team with McCain precisely to take out Romney. They all hate Romney. I don’t know why they hate Romney other than his negative ads, but they do. They despise Romney, and now Giuliani, look, folks, I said this in my non-concession speech. There is tremendous anxiety among a lot of conservatives about Senator McCain. That’s indisputable. But there’s no figure, there’s nobody in the Republican primary field who rose up to challenge him or galvanize conservative support. All of our candidates — and I’ve said this over and over again — in terms of conservatism, for various reasons, are uninspiring or worse, or they’re flawed. They’ve all got something major wrong with them. In their past, as they worked in government or in their policy suggestions, implementations. Sixty-five percent of the people in Florida voted against McCain, you got 36% saying he’s a winner, he did win and it’s an important win, but if you take all these other guys out of the race who are splitting the vote, the Romney vote, you’d have a whole different story. But I don’t play the ‘if’ game and ‘if’ is for children. But don’t sit here and tell me that if Rudy hadn’t been there that McCain would have won even bigger. That’s fallacious, that’s wishful thinking. All right, here, back to PMSNBC, DNCTV, Morning Joe today with Joe Scarborough, Boston columnist Mike Barnicle said this about McCain and me.
BARNICLE: I firmly believe that each time, each day radio talk show hosts across America get on the airwaves and call McCain a liar, they say he’s not a real Republican, he’s not a real conservative, Rush Limbaugh with his huge audience when he’s stabbing McCain to death nearly every single day, I think it helps McCain. It helps the perception that he’s an outsider. He’s outside of the system. Some Republicans don’t like him and he’s always in trouble with his own party. I think that appeals to people.
RUSH: No, it appeals to moderates, it appeals to independents, and it appeals to liberals like you. You guys don’t like it when this kind of stuff goes on in your own party. You don’t sit around and talk about, ‘Oh, this is really good, all this criticism of Hillary. She likes it. All this criticism of Bill Clinton, yeah, they like this, and Obama, oh, he loves being criticized by the Clintons.’ That’s poppycock, balderdash. It is irresponsible commentary because it has no basis in truth whatsoever. McCain, the outsider? Romney had a great line. I’m afraid to quote Romney now, you guys are going to get the wrong idea, but he had a great line. He said, ‘How in the world does somebody in Washington, for all these number of years changing chairs mean anything different? How does it mean anything new?’ Outsider? I make McCain look like the outsider? Barnicle, would you check and see who’s endorsed him? It is the epitome of the old country club blue-blood Republican establishment who’s desperate to get the party back from the control of the Reagan conservatives about whom they’ve mostly been embarrassed to be associated with. I think I would be the outsider now. If anybody’s an outsider, I think it would be me.
Do we have time for this next bite? Oh, we do not. The next bite that we have — let’s see, this is last night also on DNCTV, it is an exchange between Tom Brokaw, whose candidate, Hillary Clinton, is floundering. Tom, what are you doing for Hillary? Everybody talks about how my candidates are losing or the guy I oppose is winning. We never do talk about how all these other pundits, they have candidates. You can tell if you read between the lines. We know who they are.
RUSH: Last night on DNCTV, Tim Russert and Tom Brokaw have this exchange about McCain, about Romney, and me.
RUSSERT: Look what’s happening with McCain and Romney. Romney’s getting the social, cultural conservatives. McCain is getting a lot of the foreign policy establishment — the Kissingers and Eagleburgers and so forth — and the economic conservatives, the tax cutters, are going with Romney. The deficit hawks are going with McCain. The Reagan coalition is fracturing between these two candidates.
BROKAW: John McCain is not running just against George Romney. He is running against those fiscal conservatives. Rush Limbaugh has devoted a lot of his radio time and his website, to taking on John McCain, and it was a very tough column just today by George Will indicating that — in his eyes, at least — John McCain is much more liberal than he is a conservative. So we are seeing a breakup of the old Reagan model for how to win.
RUSH: These guys have a lot of wishful thinking. By the way, it’s MITT Romney, Tom. George Romney was his dad. The candidate’s Mitt. M-I-T-T. There are no L’s in there. It should not be too tough. Mitt Romney. The Reagan coalition is breaking up, Tom. The Reagan coalition is going in different directions because there isn’t anybody from the Reagan coalition in the Republican roster of candidates — and yet I find it fascinating that they’re all claiming to be the heir of Ronald Reagan. Rudy tried it. Huckabee is trying it. McCain did it last night and in his acceptance speech in South Carolina. What about you people in the Drive-Bys? You know, you people in the Drive-Bys are sitting here singing the praises of Senator McCain, and we all know that’s because you know he’s not a conservative. How do you feel now that after South Carolina and after Florida, in both acceptance speeches, he makes a point to say he’s the conservative; he’s the genuine conservative. He’s the conservative uniter. I would think that if you guys were consistent you’d be very suspicious of this, and you would be attacking McCain’s lack of consistency. Because the reasons you like Senator McCain have nothing to do with him being conservative. It’s just the opposite, right, Mr. Brokaw? The Reagan coalition is fine. It just doesn’t have anywhere to go. So the Reagan coalition’s made up of social conservatives. It’s made up of fiscal conservatives. It’s made up of national defense conservatives — and it’s fractured.
The economic conservatives are where you find the less government and the tax-cut crowd, and, of course, all these candidates are talking about their tax cuts and how they’ve changed their mind on them and so forth and so on. McCain is not attracting very many Reagan conservatives. Romney did in Florida last night. McCain did not in South Carolina. Yet after all of these victories, he’s claiming to be the conservative uniter. Now, I have no problem with this. I’m just trying to analyze this. It must tell you guys in the Drive-Bys something. It’s got to tell you that those of us who are Reaganites have not lost anything. We still command a lot of influence, apparently, because all these guys are going out of their way to appeal to us on the basis of trying to tell us, ‘Hey, I’m conservative! I am conservative! I am conservative!’ McCain’s saying it. Romney is saying it. ‘We are conservative.’ Huckabee’s saying it. So if the Reagan coalition is fractured… You guys, you’re just dreaming. You’re whistling Dixie. You’re hoping against hope the Reagan coalition is gone — and one of the reasons you like McCain is because you think he personifies the fact the Reagan coalition is gone. You think McCain’s beating the Reagan coalition. You guys can’t fool me! I understand precisely what’s going on here. Here’s Brokaw again, and Chris Matthews said to him, ‘The Republican regulars have never been enamored of John McCain. When do they say, ‘Uncle. We go along with this guy’?’ The Republican regulars are precisely who’s behind McCain, Chris! Warren Rudman. Howard Baker. Who else? Look at the list. I mean, it’s a veritable list of the old country club blue-blood establishment. Anyway, Matthews says, Tom, ‘When do [all these Republican regulars] say, ‘Uncle. We go along with this guy’?’
BROKAW: I’m not sure that they’ll ever fully embrace him. If you read the Rush Limbaugh blog, for example, or listen to him on radio or read George Will just this week, they’ve been very critical of him. But they don’t have much else of a place to go, because they have really never warmed to Mitt Romney. They have never embraced him in the same way they did Ronald Reagan.
RUSH: You know… (sigh) I don’t know how many of you people were alive paying attention back in 1976, but there are so many parallels. Ronald Reagan was Ronald Reagan back then, and Ronald Reagan lost to the Republican establishment machine candidate, that would be Gerald Ford — and there was profound, I mean profound, depression all through the Reagan ranks, because it was so close. That convention was in Kansas City in 1976. I lived there then. Even after Ford won the nomination, the most popular guy at the Kemper Arena where the convention was, was Reagan — and you just knew, even though the establishment had won then, that the Reagan coalition was coming and four years later, bammo! There it was, after what? After whom? Jimmy Carter. One thing we know is that there are elections, and there’s another one after the previous one. They keep happening, which means there’s further opportunities. So, yeah, it looks like McCain’s pretty far down the line now in having wrapped this up. But you don’t know. But even so, we still have the election in November, and then there’s going to be another election in 2012, and this stuff is by no means over. To pronounce the finality of anything, to say it’s over, is shortsighted and wishful thinking.
I mean, you’ll never catch us — Tom and Tim and all the rest, you’ll never catch us — on this side pronouncing the death of FDR liberalism. We’re not that silly. We don’t sit around hoping and praying that it goes away, and we don’t misread tealeaves and suggest that when you guys lose elections, that liberalism is finished. We are constantly on guard for you people. We are always ready and waiting for what you’re going to try — and wherever we spot liberalism, whether it’s in our party, whether it’s in your party, whether it’s among a bunch of independent moderate Jell-Os — we’re going to oppose it, just like you guys are going to sit here and oppose conservatism. But I don’t have the guts to say it. You’re sitting around hoping and praying it’s dead, and frankly that’s comforting because if you think you have no enemy you’re not going to prepare for one. We’ll be happy to sit in the tall grass, in the weeds for a while, restrategerizing how to get hold of you guys and ring you around the neck politically with all of your arrogance and conceit and your cockiness; thinking now you’ve accomplished what you’ve wanted to accomplish since 1984, and that is the demise of anything to do with Ronald Reagan. Last night also on DNCTV, David Gregory said this.
GREGORY: John McCain has had difficulties with elements in the party, the Rush Limbaughs in the party who can be very influential. Apparently there’s some outreach going on even to Rush Limbaugh, by the McCain camp. And all of that consolidation, I think, begins to happen in earnest now.
RUSH: Apparently some outreach going on even to Rush Limbaugh by the McCain camp? Now, I better ask: You haven’t got any calls from McCain? Snerdley, you got any calls down there from the McCain camp? No, I have not gotten any calls from the McCain camp, not outreach phone calls. In fact, Senator McCain was asked by Stephen Hayes of the Weekly Standard, ‘What about Limbaugh? You think it’s time to reach out?’ (doing McCain impression) ‘No! I’m not going to reach out to anyone, but if they want to call me, it’s fine.’ He said, ‘I do think it’s time to put things together. But he’s not going to reach out to anybody. Why should he? He’s running the show here, and his ego is such that, as far as he’s concerned, he’s beat back all those opponents. Why should he reach out to them? I wouldn’t. Just silly. And then one more, Bill Bennett, with a unique — as Mr. Bennett always is; he is always unique. On CNN last night, the Clinton News Network, Anderson Cooper says to Bill Bennett, ‘McCain talked about Ronald Reagan.’ Yeah he did. He talked about Ronald Reagan. He said he is the new Reagan. He’s the unifier. He did. How can conservatism be said to have been defeated? ‘McCain talked about Reagan, talked about judges. What does John McCain have to do to reach out to conservatives?’
BENNETT: He has to talk to conservatives, and from the line about judges it sounds to me as if that was an effort to begin that conversation. The anger and bitterness at John McCain is extraordinary. But many of the talk show hosts and many of the people who listen —
COOPER: Rush Limbaugh famously.
BENNETT: Right. Rush Limbaugh.
RUSH: So I guess the theory that McCain was reaching out to me. That’s what Bennett thinks, is that McCain was reaching out to me in the speech — or maybe he was just saying that the bitterness and anger toward McCain is coming from people like me, what have you. Wanna hear a little bit of McCain speech? Oh yeah, we do. Listen to what Senator McCain said. Here’s a portion of his acceptance speech last night after winning the Florida primary.
MCCAIN: I stand for the principles and policies that first attracted me to the Republican Party when I heard in whispered conversations in tap codes, about the then governor of California, who stood by me and my comrades, and who was making quite a reputation for standing by his convictions no matter the changing political winds or thought and popular culture. When I left the Navy and entered public life, I enlisted as a foot soldier in the political revolution he began — and I am as proud today to be a Republican conservative as I was then.
RUSH: Yay! (applause) All right, now, he was obviously talking about Ronaldus Magnus in that remark. But again, in McCain’s own words, he’s trying to stake out: I’m the conservative. I am the conservative. I’m a Reagan conservative. Tom Brokaw, did you hear this last night? Because if you did, I have to wonder about everything else that you said after this, because McCain is clearly trying to claim he’s conservative. He knows who the Republican base is when you get to the presidential race. For anybody who thinks that those of us who are conservative are somehow losing influence when the winner of the South Carolina primary and the Florida primary, go out of their way to claim to be Ronald Reagan, Jr.? Here’s one more before we go to the break from Senator McCain.
MCCAIN: The judges we appoint to federal benches must understand that that is their only responsibility, and leave to elected officials their responsibility to make the laws they enforce.
MCCAIN: Our party has always been successful when we have, like Ronald Reagan, stood fast by our convictions. And we’ve only suffered when our allegiance to our principles has not been as steadfast as it should.
RUSH: No kidding! It’s just a shame there’s nobody on our candidate roster who can say they’ve done all that.