RUSH: Ladies, the Drive-Bys went nuts yesterday when they got wind of my analysis of what would happen to the Republican Party and the conservative movement if McCain chose either Lieberman or Ridge. I mean, they went nuts out there. On all these cable shows, Good Morning America, they just went nuts, and they got funny. It’s hilarious. Here is a montage with the Drive-Bys buzzing over my warning to McCain.
WOLF BLITZER: Rush Limbaugh making it clear he would not be very happy if a Tom Ridge or a Joe Lieberman were selected as John McCain’s running mate!
CAMPBELL BROWN: Rush Limbaugh says John McCain could destroy the Republican Party with his choice of a running mate!
RON CLAIBORNE: Today Rush fired a warning shot that McCain’s running mate better not be pro-abortion rights!
HEIDI COLLINS: Rush Limbaugh said picking a pro-life candidate would destroy the Republican Party!
DAN ABRAMS: A choice Rush Limbaugh today called suicide!
RUSH: There’s our buddy Dan Abrams, by the way, the last voice you heard there. Again, he’s been replaced by Rachel Maddow, or will be, in early September. He’s losing his show to somebody with more testosterone than he has. It’s just a shame. But anyway, you see? I said what I said yesterday. So it’s ‘a warning shot across the bow’ to McCain, and every damn media outlet picked it up! I hate to say they’re so predictable, but I know how to do this. I can play these people like a Stradivarius. They are so predictable — and once they get on something, they all get on something. Now, Wolf Blitzer got hold of Tom Ridge, and he confronted Tom Ridge with what I said.
REPORTER: Rush Limbaugh. He really went after the notion that Senator McCain should pick anyone as his running mate who supports abortion rights, as you do. Listen to what he said on Monday.
RUSH ARCHIVE: It just would be a shame — it would just be a sad thing — if he chooses a pro-choice vice president or even a Democrat, ’cause he could just obliterate all the success and all the progress that he experienced on Saturday night with the wrong choice.
RUSH: And Blitzer said, ‘Well, it looked like you were one of the guys that Rush was referring to, Mr. Ridge.’
RIDGE: Rush has never been shy about giving his opinion and I’m sure, uh, his point of view may be held by other people within the party. Uh, all I know is that my friend of 25 years, John McCain, is strongly and forever pro-life. He also believes that you shouldn’t be judgmental on other people’s point of view with regard to this and some other very difficult issues. And as I said before, I think he’ll make the right choice for his vice presidential nominee. At the end of the day, I think Rush and everybody else hopefully can see that there’s a clear choice, regardless who the vice presidential candidate, the choice that says John McCain is needed now as president of the United States in this perilous time.
RUSH: Now, Wolf wanted to throw Tom Ridge a little lifeline, so he said, ‘Well, if he did pick you, he’d be the president. He’d be calling the shots; you’d be the vice president. You’d be doing whatever the president asked you to.’
RIDGE: It’s an interesting situation. Everybody would be proud to serve as vice president, but at the end of the day, you’re only a private, independent voice giving your opinion and counsel to the president in a private way. But at the end of the day publicly you echo the president’s position, and I think every vice president understands that and appreciates that’s the rule.
RUSH: Nah. That’s a nice trick that Wolf played there, folks, but that’s not reality, that’s not how this shakes out. The actually making of the decision would be destructive of the whole effort to get elected because it would be so at odds with what McCain so plaintively has believed as a core value for all of his life. Then there is the possibility that the number two guy could always become president someday, you know, the old ‘heartbeat away’ business. So, these things do matter. Vice presidents don’t end up just as sycophants.
RUSH: The Drive-Bys yesterday driven to a tizzy over my warning shot, as they called it, to McCain not to put a pro-choicer on the ticket. Last night, CNN Situation Room, Wolf Blitzer talked to Republican strategerist Kevin Madden, said, ‘You heard Tom Ridge. Rush Limbaugh, and a lot of the base conservatives, the Republicans, they wouldn’t be happy. Can Senator McCain go against that base and pick someone who supports abortion?”
MADDEN: Rush Limbaugh speaks to a lot of the fears that many grassroots conservatives have that such a pick would really cause a stampede at the convention. It would essentially take us away from a major part of our identity as Republicans, which is that as a party that protects the sanctity of life. So I really think that if you’re going to make this an election about first securing your base and then going after those independents that are going to help you get to that 51%, it’s very problematic.
RUSH: And, Donna Brazile was also on this show. Blitzer said, ‘There’s been speculation even the man who was the vice presidential running mate of Gore in 2000, Lieberman, now a major supporter of Senator McCain, and he supports abortion rights, but there’s talk that he could be a potential running mate for McCain?’
BRAZILE: You think Tom Ridge is a problem to Rush Limbaugh, just add Joe Lieberman to the brew —
BLITZER: But there have been some major Republicans out there who like Joe Lieberman a lot.
BRAZILE: Well, because they think Joe Lieberman can go back and attack the Democrats. But Joe Lieberman is also pro-gay rights. He’s also pro-civil rights, and that runs counter to some of the Republican message.
RUSH: Yeah, see, the Republicans are opposed to civil rights. She is crafty. Donna, you’re very good, but you can’t get it past us here at the EIB Network. You know as well as I do, Donna, that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 would not have passed without a larger majority of Republican senators voting for it. The turnaround on this whole civil rights thing, all of the old segregationists, all the governors beating up poor black people were Democrats, from Lester Maddox to George Wallace, Bull Connor with the fire hose and the dogs was a Democrat. Now, Madden, who you just heard from, did not like what Brazil said.
MADDEN: The Republicans feel very strongly about civil rights. There are many Republicans out there who have been on the forefront of that issue. There’s one reason why that Republicans don’t believe in Joe Lieberman, because he used to be a Democrat and he practically still is on all social policies, the economic policies that we care about.
BRAZILE: Well, I would love to see the day that you all select Joe Lieberman. I’ll be here defending Joe Lieberman’s values while you’re sitting there defending Rush Limbaugh’s.
RUSH: (laughing) I love it, folks. I can’t tell you. I just wish my mom and dad were alive. They would not believe this, tweaking the Drive-Bys and the Democrat Party every day. Let’s stick with CNN. Campbell Brown speaking to their legal analyst there, Jeffrey Toobin. She said, ‘What do you make of Lieberman, whether it’s real or not, trial balloon? It’s clearly being floated.’
TOOBIN: It is, but I think this picking a pro-choice running mate is very realistic. The pro-life movement, frankly, have been a bunch of patsies. They always talk about how they’re going to leave the party, they always talk about how they are outraged that Roe v. Wade is never overturned but they never go anywhere. They are not going to sit home. Looking at Barack Obama or John McCain, they are going to vote for John McCain —
BROWN: They’ll sit at home.
TOOBIN: — no matter what. I don’t buy that.
RUSH: Jeffrey Toobin, another nonmember of the pro-life community, another nonmember of the conservative Republican community, telling us what we are and are not going to do, and he hasn’t a clue. We are aliens to these people. I’m not going to go through all this again. You heard it yesterday, you’ve heard it enough. The choice alone would cause so many of us to question everything else McCain has said about appointing the right kind of judges. It goes right to who McCain is. Plus, doing so would destroy the Republican Party. And, by the way, Ronald Brownstein, gotta give him a lot he credit here, Ronald Brownstein went out and did a little research and found out these unity tickets never succeed. When a president of one party picks a veep from another, it hasn’t happened in a long time, but it doesn’t work. It hasn’t worked when it’s been tried because all these people mistake what the American people supposedly want, and it ain’t a bunch of people compromising their principles to get along with the other side. That’s not what the American people want. Now, David Rodham Gergen, he’s all upset on CNN, thinks McCain might listen to me. Campbell Brown said, ‘Rush Limbaugh said if the McCain campaign chooses a pro-choice candidate they’ll effectively destroy the American party and push the conservative movement to the bleachers. Would it really be that bad, David Rodham Gergen?’
GERGEN: It won’t be that bad but it points out the dilemma that John McCain may be creating for himself and that is that Tom Ridge and Joe Lieberman would both be very striking choices and would appeal probably a great deal to independents, many, many moderate Republicans. But by floating these options right here at the last minute, it does raise the specter that if he does not go that way, if he does not go for a pro-choice candidate, if he goes for a pro-life candidate, in effect he will allow the Rush Limbaughs of the world to veto what he might otherwise have wanted to do. So I’m a little surprised they’re making this quite as public as they are.
RUSH: (laughing) I’ll tell you, don’t like me vetoing what McCain intends to do. And Mark Halperin was on the program again last night, Campbell Brown said, ‘Is this all a smoke screen, all this talk about Ridge and Lieberman?’
HALPERIN: I think that Tom Ridge and Joe Lieberman are people John McCain would love to serve with in the White House.
HALPERIN: But I think he’s headed towards picking Mitt Romney. Mitt Romney is pro-life now but he’s been pro-choice, and I think what this — these consultations are meant to do is to give conservatives a little bit of a scare, so when he picks Mitt Romney, people say —
BROWN: Everybody has a sigh of relief.
HALPERIN: — oh, at least we’ve got a pro-life guy, we’ve got a guy who is currently pro-life.
RUSH: I love the way this is being analyzed. I don’t think that’s what’s going on here at all. What I know about Romney is that Huckabee is out there trying to destroy him in the evangelical community. That’s what I know is going on. I know Romney would be an excellent choice as vice president. I would support it. But I’m not going to say that. I take that back, because then people are going to think that I’m leading McCain around on a chain and a leash, and I’m not. The Drive-Bys are all concerned that McCain’s going to do what I want. (laughing) Now, let’s see. The notion that they’re playing a game here to get all of us, ‘Oh, my God, oh no! Lieberman? Ridge?’ The choice is Romney we go, ‘Whew, all right!’ I think that there are two factions in the McCain camp. One is the RINOs, and there’s a bunch of them, and they’re led by Lindsey Graham, and I think that bunch would love to just shake — I think Lindsey Graham is so angry at Republicans and conservatives he wants to ram things down our throats, and that’s what picking a choice like Lieberman would do, and there are a lot of Republicans that want to get rid of the evangelical community, they’re embarrassed by it, but then there’s the other side. I don’t think those people are the ones making up the choice here or helping McCain choose. I think the other side knows full well this would be suicidal for McCain’s presidential prospects. There are places you could put Tom Ridge in your administration. Tom Ridge, you know, he came up with the color-coded alert system after 9/11, the homeland security. Lieberman, there are plenty of places for these good friends McCain to serve by his side. But vice president would be the wrong place for it. One more bite here, again from CNN. This morning the cohost John Roberts interviewed former Hillary Clinton press secretary Lisa Caputo, and he said, ‘Rush Limbaugh came out, warned him against picking Lieberman because of his pro-choice stance. Would you like to see him reach out across the aisle?’
CAPUTO: I think a selection of Joe Lieberman would be an absolutely bold choice. Lieberman, now an independent, would signal that McCain is going for those key swing voters in this election who are the independents. I think Tom Ridge would present a problem for McCain. Rush Limbaugh, as you said, has indicated he’d mount a campaign, and that would really be a signal that he’s not going to cater to the far right wing of his party.
RUSH: I did not say I was going to mount a campaign. Anyway, they all think that I would mount a campaign. Well, I’m just going to address that. Here’s the thing. Why would Lieberman be bold? I’ll tell you why Lieberman would be bold. And at the same time, I will tell you why it would not be bold for Obama to pick a Republican.
RUSH: Now this bold business. Folks, have you heard of any ‘mavericks’ in the Democrat Party? You haven’t. They’re not celebrated. They’re run out of the party, such as Lieberman, such as Zell Miller.
So why is it all the Drive-Bys now are just all excited as they can be about a ‘bold choice’ that McCain could make, and it would be Lieberman. Why, it would be bold — and they say it would be bold because it would get the moderates. Hey, Drive-Bys? We are not fools. McCain already has whatever moderates he’s going to get by being who he is. We don’t need somebody in the second spot of the ticket to be an echo of McCain in that way. Now, it might be bold if we had, say, a conservative at the top of the ticket — I mean a full-blown, down-the-line conservative. Now, that might be bold to get the moderates, but it would be stupid as well. Either way you make this out, it’s stupid. But the Drive-Bys — ha-ha-ha, yes, you Drive-Bys — want this mistake so McCain will lose. You want McCain to do this. Why wouldn’t it be bold, for example, for Obama to, say, go pick Bobby Jindal? Would you think that’s bold? They would have a fit! They would start panicking out there, and they would do something seriously about taking the nomination away from Obama if he chose a Republican.
RUSH: I got it. Folks, I’ve got it. A bold VP choice for Obama. South Carolina Senator Lindsey Grahamnesty. That would be something bold that I would support.
RUSH: The Drive-Bys continued. Last night on Hardball, Chris Matthews had Andrea Mitchell, NBC News, Washington, and Howard Fineman, and they’re saying about Lieberman, ‘Will he play in Peoria?’
FINEMAN: Well, I don’t know. First of all, I think a lot of conservative activists, including Rush Limbaugh, wouldn’t take Joe Lieberman, either. They respect him, they —
MITCHELL: They wouldn’t take him. They’ve already said they wouldn’t take him.
FINEMAN: They’ve said they wouldn’t take Lieberman.
MATTHEWS: ‘Cause he’s wrong on Title 20, full funding for higher education or what?
FINEMAN: They — they — they — they say —
MITCHELL: He’s wrong on choice.
FINEMAN: They say that except for the war, he’s wrong on cultural issues.
FINEMAN: But if they go that way, it’s a play for Florida, and —
MATTHEWS: By the way, Lieberman — Lieberman could not deliver Florida for Algore.
RUSH: Now, there’s two things about that. Lieberman could not deliver Florida for Algore. That’s true. But Matthews just admitted they genuinely lost Florida, didn’t he? I thought we ‘stole’ Florida from them! Chris! Welcome back, by the way, from pneumonia, but did you come back too soon? That is a major, major slip to a trained eye like mine — a highly trained broadcast specialist as well as political analyst. You have just admitted that you guys lost Florida. The whole reason for your existence the last eight years is to make up for the fact that we stole it from you. And then this exchange continued on.
MATTHEWS: Isn’t he handing out permission slips to vote against Barack?
FINEMAN: (talked over)
MATTHEWS: ‘Inexperience’ is my favorite. Because you could have all kinds of problems with Barack Obama ethnically, politically, culturally, class — I don’t know what the adjective is for class, but classily — and you could have every problem in the world with Mrs. Obama, but you can hide it all under — not hide it all. You could present it all under one word, ‘You know, I got nothing against him he’s a bright young man with a equality education, interesting new ideas but he’s not quite ready yet,’ and it’s a fair critique and it covers all your reasons for opposing him.
RUSH: So this is an absurd assertion about Obama’s experience. That’s rooted in racism. It’s rooted in racism. He’s such a poor victim! Everybody is ganging up on poor Barry.