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RUSH: I want to clarify something that I said in the last hour. I had a caller who was talking about the three legs of the conservative stool, and I said that one of the reasons why voters on our side are going to three or four different candidates is because not one candidate embodies all three legs of the stool. The more accurate way to have stated that was that at the outset of our campaign, there wasn’t one who had all three legs. Well, there was one. Fred Thompson did, but he was never really a factor, for reasons we can only guess about. But after that, Romney, McCain, Huckabee, Ron Paul; each one of these guys had a strength on one of those legs of the stool, and so our guys, our side, went off on their single-issue preferences.

I think now, based on the way the campaign has shaken out, that there probably is a candidate on our side who does embody all three legs of the conservative stool, and that’s Romney. The three stools or the three legs of the stool are national security/foreign policy, the social conservatives, and the fiscal conservatives. The social conservatives are the cultural people. The fiscal conservatives are the economic crowd: low taxes, smaller government, get out of the way.

Of course, the foreign policy crowd is obviously what it is. I don’t think there’s anybody on our side who doesn’t care about national security, which is why I found it amazing that McCain gets the bulk of those, because the idea that Romney or Huckabee are going to punt national security? In Huckabee’s case, you might just say the things he’s saying about it represent an ignorance born of inexperience in the subject. I don’t think Huckabee has any deleterious intentions about the country. When it comes to the fiscal side, you cannot say — you just cannot say — that John McCain is interested. He’s even admitted he’s not interested in the social side. He’s not interested in the economic side. He said this, and when he has spoken up about it, he sides more often with liberal Democrats on fiscal issues than he does with his own side. That’s problematic. This is why I think — and why I have said — that the Republican Party, not conservatism, but the Republican Party is in big trouble if it is empowered and gets elected by attracting people who also hold liberal Democrat views simply because they like McCain because of his character, his honor, his prisoner of war story, and they don’t like Hillary or Obama.

Now, I’m going to just tell you, folks. If the Republican Party grows and spans by attracting liberals as liberals — and if we grow and expand because we have a candidate who’s going out trying to attract liberals by being like them — then the party’s going to be around, but you won’t recognize it. It’s going to be over as it exists now, if that becomes the reality. ‘Look at how McCain won. Why, he got liberals and liberal independents!’ Yeah, look at how he won! He ran as a liberal and won as a liberal. That’s really great for the Republican Party, right? So my take is, speaking for myself, I’m being honest here. All I do is tell you what I think. What you do with it is up to you. You are not mind-numbed robots, as you know. I’m not a Svengali, I’m not a pied piper, and you’re not lemmings running off the cliff. If I look at this roster of three candidates — if I look at Hillary-Obama, about whom there’s not a dime’s worth of difference, because they’re so far left it doesn’t matter which one of them wins. If McCain adopts economic policies that sound very much like what you’d get from Hillary-Obama, and if I think those policies are going to take the country down the tubes I’d just as soon the Democrats take the hit for it, not us. Plain and simple.

I think that’s pretty wise. I think right now Romney probably — as the campaign has coalesced and as the campaign has progressed on down the highway — I think the one candidate of the three still out there on our side that matter (and, actually, it’s just two, because Huckabee doesn’t, in terms of a chance to win) in saying who more closely embodies all three legs of this conservative stool, you’d have to say that it’s Mitt Romney. There’s actually no choice in the matter. It certainly isn’t Senator McCain.

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