RUSH: Let’s move to this whole notion here of what’s happening inside the Republican field and the fact that opposition research is now being conducted on Michele Bachmann. There is a little game — I don’t know if you’ve noticed this, but if you haven’t noticed it, don’t doubt me. Part of my job is to notice things before you do, and then tell you. It’s called the cutting edge. I’m on it. I own it. There’s a little game being played by the established Republican commentariate, what I call the inside-the-Beltway conservative intelligentsia, the Republican intellectual elite. It is aimed at muddling conservatism and discrediting, taking down, if you will, conservative Tea Party candidates in the Republican presidential primary process. The way to do it, by the way, is a page right out of the Democrat left’s playbook.
Now, last week I mentioned and discussed at some length the argument that some were making that if conservatives demand candidates who are too pure, they can’t win. I don’t know if you’ve seen that, but it is effervescing out there. And it always does. We can’t win with a conservative that’s too pure, that’s too rock-ribbed, that’s too rigid. We need a conservative who understands that raising taxes now and then is a reasonable and sometimes intelligent thing to do. We don’t want the kind of purity that says never raise taxes. We don’t want the kind of purity that gives us the social issues. We need Republicans who aren’t as pure, who will realize that sometimes you just have to stop talking about guns and abortion for the larger good of public policy. Well, today in the Daily Caller — that’s Chatsworth Osborne Jr.’s website, right? Tucker Carlson. There’s a guy named Matt Lewis, and it’s a takedown of Michele Bachmann in the Daily Caller.
In this case it’s not because she’s too pure. In her case it’s because she is too impure. In other words, let’s not support candidates who are unabashedly conservative because they can’t win. That’s the advice. Michele can’t win because she’s too unabashedly conservative. Palin can’t win because she’s too unabashedly conservative. On the other hand, there are no unabashedly conservative candidates in the field, when you get right down to it. This is what happens when you try to analyze politics and write about it, when you don’t really understand conservatism and the Tea Party movement, and instead you get swept up in the Washington way and the mentality of “gotcha.”
See, this whole notion of purity, the assault on purity is just another way of attacking mainstream conservatives. But conservatism — I would say, speaking for myself — conservatism is not about purity. It’s about a philosophy. People get sidetracked, purity and all these other aspects, but conservatism is a philosophy. And all conservatives do not agree on all things when it comes to every issue or policy. However, there are fundamental and defining principles and views on life that do define and unite conservatives.
Now, let’s look at Bachmann, just a quick peek here at Michele Bachmann. She is a favored target of establishment Washington. Now, that doesn’t come as a surprise to you, does it? I mean you know that she’s a target, you’ve seen it. It might perplex you as to why at this stage of the game. Look, I know we are in the Republican primaries and the battle is between ourselves now. It’s understandable. But in establishment Washington Bachmann is a favorite target, and even to the point of talking about she’s too short or she’s radical or what have you. But in this case, in the Daily Caller piece, the attack on her is that she supported earmarks and ethanol. So the argument here, this is the reverse purity argument. The argument here is that she’s not pure, and therefore not pure enough for Tea Party activists.
This is an attempt to alert the Tea Party that Michele Bachmann’s a fraud, that she’s really not one of you. She’s out there trying to create support, command support from all you Tea Party people, but she’s not one of you, she’s not pure, she’s voted for earmarks and ethanol. Okay, what else? Michele Bachmann has been a leading advocate for stripping $105 billion from Obamacare so that it cannot be implemented. Michele Bachmann was one of the early conservative leaders, along with Steve King from Iowa, trying to make sure that Obamacare was defunded. She heard the Tea Party, she heard everybody was taking it very seriously. We must not allow the thing to become law, or we must repeal it or defund it. Okay, here’s $105 billion put in there, stealth way by Pelosi. She identified it. She wanted to strip it out of there.
She’s a leading opponent of the continuing resolution theory of funding government. She steadfastly stood up and opposed the House leadership on funding the government two weeks at a time. She’s a leading opponent of amnesty for illegal immigrants. She’s a solid conservative on national security and defense. She’s a leading activist for the Tea Party, and she’s a major speaker at numerous Tea Party events. Now, all of that distinguishes her quite a lot from most of the candidates who are seeking the Republican nomination for president, or planning to. However, because she supported some earmarks and ethanol, she is said now by nonconservatives not to be pure enough for conservatives who are demanding purity and in another piece they’ll say, demanding purity is a bad thing. But right now, she’s not pure enough. Nobody can be everything to everybody.
On the big stuff, Michele Bachmann has flying colors when it comes to being defined as a conservative. It would be an incredible stretch to try to say that she’s not a conservative. I think we’ve talked about earmarks, ethanol, those two things, considering everything else we face, that’s chump change, but if you want to focus on those two things trying to say she’s impure, that’s what’s underway, people on our side.
RUSH: Okay, let me finish with this Bachmann business here, and I want to get to your phone calls. So now she’s not pure enough in the Daily Caller today because she has supported earmarks, and she’s supported ethanol. So you Tea Party people are supposed to think from that she’s not qualified; she’s not pure; she strays from the course. Virtually all the other candidates who are running or who are planning on running, and who have served in public office have supported ethanol and earmarks — whether at the federal, state, or local levels of government. In fact, some say you can’t win in Iowa unless you do support ethanol. (For example.) I’ve had my own run-in with people on earmarks.
I have never been one to base my entire view of a politician on whether or not they supported earmarks, ’cause it’s not that much money. I understand the moral aspect and I understand that earmarks open up the opportunity for blackmail and this kind of thing. I understand all the arguments about them. You know, McCain hardly a purist, made earmarks the centerpiece of a failed presidential campaign. It just ain’t that big a deal! It certainly is not enough to disqualify somebody from being pure. James Inhofe of Oklahoma, one of the leading conservatives in the Senate, insists that earmarks are actually a more responsive way to reach the voters — respond to the voters, the will of the people — than leaving such decisions to unelected bureaucrats. He wants to spend the money.
He says (paraphrased): “Look, this earmark money is going to be spent. I’d rather the elected representatives of the people do it than some faceless bureaucrat at some agency or some president.” That’s his view. My point is not to defend earmarks. As is the case with everything else, put everything in perspective. We are sinking in red ink — most of it to do with entitlements, much of it to do with Obama’s massive spending on domestic programs — earmarks in that scene play a minor role in the big scheme of things, just in terms of dollar amounts. The point is: Michele Bachmann fights the big budget items more relentlessly than most people do, which is why she’s being attacked. Michele Bachmann focuses on the stuff that really matters in terms of dollars and cents and that’s why he’s under assault now. Now, ethanol? It’s just a subsidy. I oppose all these subsidies where the government’s trying to set national policy in one industry or another, and I think conservatives have something to explain when they support it and so forth, I really do. But it doesn’t mean that Bachmann is not pure enough to be a good conservative, which is what they’re trying to say about her now.
RUSH: Now, I’m just using today’s attack on Bachmann — and it is an attack. It’s in the Daily Caller. I’m just using today’s attack on Bachmann as an example of the way the game is played in Washington: Tear down conservatives for the kind of superficial approach to governing and philosophy that too many people have. These are dangerous times for the country. People ask me all the time, “Rush, how can there be such divisions within the Republican Party over this?” and I think I’ve got the appearance. You know, you and I, folks — let’s be honest — we look at Obamaism and we see a threat to the nation.
We see this indebtedness, the uncontrolled spending. We know what it means for liberty and freedom, children and grandchildren. We are really afraid that the very structure of the country is under a purposeful assault. I don’t think that many of the inside the inside-the-Beltway Republicans — the Republican establishment people — think that’s the case at all. I think that’s the reason for the big divide. It’s no different than, “Okay, LBJ was president. He gave us the Great Society and a whole bunch of spending. We took over and we spent some, too, but not nearly as much,” and it’s just the normal cycle of things. Democrats run the show right now, and the objective is to get back in charge of spending the money.
I think that’s where the establishment Republicans are. They’re trying to get back in charge of spending the money. They don’t see the threat. They don’t believe the country is threatened, as founded. They drive around and go to Denver. They don’t see the strip mall that’s there ceasing to exist. They don’t see the destruction of the country taking place. They just don’t see it. They don’t think anything is that bad. It’s nowhere near that dire. “Yeah, we gotta get a handle on our spending. It’s a little out of control. We gotta do something here on the debt. Yeah, we gotta solve health care but, no, no, no, no, this is not about turning this place into the Soviet Union or any of that,” and I think that’s the divide. That’s my guess, anyway, and that’s what it is: A guess.
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