RUSH: Senator McCain, even as we speak, is on television speaking at the Florida Press Association. He’s going on and on and on about how much he loves town halls and he’s encouraged Obama to join him at these town halls — which is actually not bad strategic news because you get Obama off the prompter and he’s a different guy. There’s nothing soaring; there are no wild, cheering accolades and fans fainting and any of that sort of stuff. He’s not nearly as good on the stump. He’s okay in debates, but he’s not the same guy — and he’s certainly, in town meetings, in these off-the-cuff situations, which is what McCain wants. But I, ladies and gentlemen, have finally figured out what I think McCain is up to with this whole campaign. I think with his constant wooing of Democrats, his constant wooing of independents and with a lot of focus on the independents, and his — what appears to me — studied and purposeful ignoring of congressional races run by Republicans, he doesn’t appear to have any interest in having any coattails.
Now, why would that be? Why, if you’re running for president, and you’re Republican, why would you have no interest in having coattails? There’s an answer to it. I do not ask this rhetorically, and I think I’ve come up with the answer. I think the objective that the McCain campaign has is to win this election with a cross-section of votes that would end up giving McCain the ability to say it was independents that elected him. Not Republicans and not Democrats, but independents — and he’s got this Teddy Roosevelt streak that runs through his veins. And I actually think that at the end of the day what he wants is to be able to say that independents elected him. Now, why? Why would he want to be able to say that? Because he wants to place himself (doing McCain impression) ‘Above politics and partisanship! That’s right. Very smart, Limbaugh. Very smart. But I’m still going to fool you at the end of the day.’
Okay, fine. Go ahead and try. He’s going to have, he wants to be able to say that independents elected him as a way of staying above Republicans and Democrats and ‘politics as usual’ and so forth. This has been tried on a minor scale by Jimmy Carter, who came in as this outsider from Georgia, peanut farmer and all that. And, the members of his own party hated his guts. If you think back, the Democrats had no love for Jimmy Carter. It’s amazing how he’s rehabilitated himself. He’s now the figurehead of this party, which doesn’t really surprise me. I mean, failure is the biggest resume enhancement that you can have as a Democrat because it makes you a victim, a victim of evil Republicans. So there’s almost an honor in losing and can made a fool of if you’re a Democrat, because it allows victimology to take place.
But the problem with this strategery of McCain’s — let’s say it he pulls it off, say he wins and runs around saying it was independents that put him over the top — he’s not going to have any backing in Congress. He’s not going to have any support. Republicans are not going to be able to say they did it for him. He’s not going to give them credit. Democrats by the same token, and I don’t know how many independents there are going to be in Congress. I mean I don’t even think we have one anymore. Bernie Sanders is independent voting socialist. Whatever. He’s independent. Okay. Well, granted. There’s one independent in the whole Congress, Bernie Sanders in the United States Senate. Oh, I take it back. Lieberman. So there’s two of them. Okay, let’s say they both get reelected. I don’t even know if Sanders is up. I know Lieberman isn’t.
So they’ll probably be there. So McCain’s going to have a constituency of two out of 535 members. (laughing) This is just how it works. One of the things that gave me a heads-up on this is this little story from The Hill blog on Capitol Hill. ‘Democrats Accuse McCain on Climate.’ Now, get this. ‘Senator John McCain’s hesitation to endorse climate change legislation on the Senate floor this week has Democrats charging him with paying lip service to the issue.’ Very, very, very interesting. So he’s for the cap-and-trade bill that McConnell shut down yesterday by having the whole thing read. It took ’em ’til about midnight last night to read the whole thing, 492 pages. He’s out there saying he’s all for this. He’s made a number of speeches about it. He’s all for the cap-and-trade bill, global warming is manmade; gotta stop it. We gotta distance ourselves from the Bush administration policy on this, yada yada yada yada; then the bill shows up on the floor of the Senate this week and McCain is nowhere near there participating in it, voting for it, endorsing it, speechifying on it.
Democrats say he doesn’t really mean it. He’s just providing lip service. ‘Republicans, too, however are paying close attention to how McCain maneuvers in this debate, given that he’s at odds with many in his party on the topic.’ No, he’s not. The RNC guy said that nine out of ten Republicans have rallied to McCain. I just threw that in. ‘For some Republicans, McCain’s support for cap-and-trade policies is another example of McCain undermining conservative principles. Most Republican members and interest groups oppose the policy that allows companies to buy and sell the right to pollute, saying it would bankrupt the economy, send gas prices soaring to over five dollars a gallon. McCain has long advocated such a system but has not come out in support of this bill because of concerns it does too little to promote nuclear energy.’ Everything else is fine! (laughing)
All the price increases, all the attacks on the economy are fine, but there’s not enough here on nuclear energy. This is Senator Chuck Schumer from New York: ‘Senator McCain is going to have to make a decision whether he wants to be the forward thinking reformer that he wants people to believe he is, or pay attention to all the Republican interest groups who are pushing things back. I don’t know if it’s a flip-flop, but certainly I think a lot of people are disappointed that Senator McCain is not supporting this modest bill, which is supported by Senator Lieberman, Senator Warner. None of them are flaming radicals.’ So, McCain’s backing off on supporting this bill and this so-called weakness it has on nuclear energy. There’s far more than this going on in McCain’s strategy. (interruption) Yes? The program observer has a brief question. What is the question? (interruption) Mmm-hmm. Why aren’t the Democrats being nice to him? Well, it’s like Obama… Snerdley wants to know why aren’t the Democrats being nice to him. How come Schumer is being provocative and confrontational, contentious here with Senator McCain?
It’s a good question. I could refer you to Senator Obama on Tuesday night during his acceptance speech when he slammed McCain’s independence as being insufficient ’cause he hasn’t been independent from Bush enough this year. Independence is one thing, which, you know, the thing that got me about that is: ‘When have you ever been independent from the Democrat Party, Obama? What about your fffff-reaking independence?’ There is no such thing as independence on the Democrat side. And here he’s arrogantly demanding that McCain’s independence isn’t enough? McCain’s getting a taste of it here. Unless you are all in with the Democrats, nothing’s good enough. And even if you’re all in, and you still call yourself a Republican, you are still a target. You can’t give them enough. But, anyway, I think McCain’s strategery here is above and beyond getting accolades from Schumer and that kind of thing. I think there’s a strategery here to triangulate all this and be above it so that he can claim that it was independents that elected him, which makes him beholden to neither Republicans nor Democrats as president when the legislation train starts.