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RUSH: To Memphis, this is Harry, you’re next on Open Line Friday, Harry, nice to have you here.

CALLER: Look, Rush, I would just like to have a brief debate with you in the arena of ideas. I am a moderate. I know what you think about moderates. You think we’re all liberals, but before I talk about issues, I’d like to say one thing about being a ‘moderate.’ I think the word is unhelpful, Rush, because it means different things to different people. You think it’s another way of people who are liberal denying it, and that’s not the case at all. I think ‘liberal’ and ‘conservative,’ too, are unhelpful as the word ‘moderate,’ because, if you think whatever the national party thinks this year, it’s not going to be the same thing they think next year, Rush. And I just want to make that brief point to you before I would like to debate you in the arena of ideas on just a few issues, Rush, as a moderate who leans right.

RUSH: Well, the one thing you said here about the parties will be different from year to year, nothing new about that, but in the case of the Republican Party, there has been a battle for control of the Republican Party for as long as I have been an adult, and it’s been between the country club blue-bloods, the moderate Republicans who are embarrassed of the Christians in the party, and of course the conservatives who finally wrested control of the party from the blue-bloods in the 1980s, and that irritated the hell out of the blue-bloods in our party, and they’ve now gotten it back.

CALLER: Well, you raise an interesting point, Rush, because even conservatism, conservatism today is not conservatism 20 years ago. And the same thing goes with liberalism —

RUSH: How so?

CALLER: — it’s constantly evolving.

RUSH: Wait a minute, well, I don’t agree with that at all. How is conservatism different today?

CALLER: I mean you cannot have principles that never evolve. That’s my point. I mean you can be grounded, but the grounding changes —

RUSH: But nobody —

CALLER: — all change, it’s part of life.

RUSH: No, of course the principles don’t evolve, but the issues to which they’re applied do. But the principles, this is the point, remain the same. Conservatism hasn’t changed. What’s happening, there are —

CALLER: In theory that might be true, Rush, but in actual practice in Washington, that is not the case.

RUSH: Well, that’s right, we’re not talking about Washington. Washington is where the competition for the definition of conservatism is taking place because most people think conservatives are the Republican Party.

CALLER: Well, in theory you’re absolutely right, but in practice it doesn’t play out that way.

RUSH: It most certainly does.

CALLER: You disagree with me. Can we just talk about a few issues, then?

RUSH: Yeah, I’m having trouble understanding what you’re saying. That’s why I’m going catch up with you on my transcriber here. Could you back off the phone — are you on a cell phone?

CALLER: I am, Rush. I’m on an iPhone.

RUSH: Okay. Well, I love the iPhone, so go ahead and use it.

CALLER: Okay. Rush, it was about three months ago you said the dirty little secret is that you can single-handedly pick the Republican nominee for president. When Mitt Romney’s campaign was tanking, you virtually endorsed him by encouraging people to vote.

RUSH: Yes.

CALLER: And it was last week or the week before that you said the dirty little secret is that you could single-handedly sink McCain’s campaign by endorsing him. You said two different things in the time span of three months.

RUSH: Yes.

CALLER: And you’re agreeing with that?

RUSH: Do I agree that I said those things?

CALLER: Yes.

RUSH: I do agree that I said those things. Of course I do.

CALLER: Isn’t that contradictory?

RUSH: Well, see, you’re getting back now to context, and you don’t know why I said those things. Do you actually think — I want you to honestly answer — do you actually think that I believe that I could single-handedly pick the Republican nominee?

CALLER: Absolutely, I believe you believe that, yes.

RUSH: You think I believe that?

CALLER: Yes. And I think you probably could, too.

RUSH: (laughing)

CALLER: And I think a lot of your listeners would agree so, too. You just can’t do it at the very end of the primary, you have to do it at the get-go.

RUSH: Perhaps. But the reason for saying it, I love tweaking media people, that is their image of me, and it’s like the other day when I said, ‘Hasn’t it been brilliant how I strategically inserted myself into the campaign to get all of this media coverage,’ as though I orchestrated this. I love tweaking these people. So, yeah, I say a lot of things here, but you have to have a regular contextual listening understanding of the program to understand.

CALLER: Hey, I have listened to you for years. I’m a subscriber of your newsletter and I regularly go to your website, so I understand the context.

RUSH: Well, good.

CALLER: I think you’re one of the best speakers in America today, but I also think sometimes that you get a little carried away behind the microphone and don’t realize the influence you have behind your microphone.

RUSH: It could be. Because I think of myself as harmless little fuzzball, actually.

CALLER: Well, that’s not the case. You’re not just a harmless little fuzzball. Because you —

RUSH: But I am.

CALLER: — you can impact public policy. You singularly stopped the immigration reform bill in Washington not too long ago, you singularly and your listeners.

RUSH: Yes.

CALLER: If it wasn’t for you —

RUSH: Yes.

CALLER: — that bill would have soared through —

RUSH: Yes.

CALLER: — and been law and we would have Mexicans running everywhere.

RUSH: You are absolutely right. This is totally true. It’s just that I don’t want anybody else to know it.

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