RUSH: I got the sound bite roster from Cookie at about ten minutes prior to show time, and the first 20 sound bites are about me, and most of them are from the Sunday shows, some are from last Friday. I didn’t watch any of the Sunday shows yesterday. So I didn’t know any of this, and nobody had sent me e-mails. I guess it’s so common now that I get mentioned all over the Drive-By Media that nobody sent me any e-mail. So I’m reading the roster here today, and I’m literally stunned at all of the questions that McCain and Huckabee and some of these other people, the Russert roundtable, that are about me. There was such glee on Fox and on the Meet the Press roundtable over my demise, all of this means my demise. I’ve had a lot of requests over the weekend, since last Thursday and Friday, from TV people, from newspaper people, from website people, to grant an interview, to appear on election night coverage tomorrow night. I’ve turned ’em all down. I have a friend of mine running for city council here in Palm Beach.
You met David Rosow. He’s been up here. Rosow is running for town council here, and his victory party is tomorrow night, because we vote tomorrow in the Palm Beach town council races and his victory party is going to be tomorrow night, and — (interruption) no, no, no, no, you’ve met him. He’s a great guy, one of my golf buddies, brother lives in — (interruption) How could I hurt his chances, Dawn? How could I hurt his chances? The election is tomorrow — (interruption) oh, because I’m killing Romney now, I’m going to kill Rosow? No, he’s going to win it, but he’s got his party tomorrow, and I told him that I would go to his victory party, and that’s going to be like at nine or 9:15 p.m. I’m going to stick with my friend. What are these Drive-Bys? I mean, here they are ripping me to shreds, and they want me on their news networks, to sit down and analyze this. I’m going to save my comments for you people. But I did one thing. I granted an e-mail interview to Howard Kurtz at the Washington Post. Howie has always been up front and he’s always been fair, and it was late Saturday afternoon, I got his e-mail, and I was prepping for the party, I said, ‘Howard, come on, it’s Super Bowl weekend.
You think I’m thinking about Super Tuesday? I’m thinking about super Sunday.’ He apologized, said those of us in the media focused on Super Tuesday. I said, ‘I know, but I can multitask.’
So, anyway, he sent me three questions and I gave him one answer for all three, and he wrote back and said, ‘Wow.’ It was originally going to run today, he said, ‘We’re going to move this to Tuesday. I think it’s going to cause quite a stir.’ And his questions were related to the kind of things that you’ll hear on the audio sound bites coming up. ‘Is this really a measure of your declining success and your declining influence, that your guy may not get the nomination?’ I chuckle at this. It’s been 20 years, and the people in the Drive-By Media still do not know how and why I do what I do and what my main objective and focus is. I kind of spelled it out for Howard, so we’ll see what he has — (interruption) Well, that’s true, if anybody knows what demise is, it’s the media. If anybody ought to be examining a demise, it’s them. They’re losing circulation; they’re losing viewers; they are losing advertisers; none of which is happening to me through any of this. Snerdley thinks there’s something else at work here, something other than the personal. They are trying to kill conservatism off, and I to them am conservatism, and they think that if I somehow fail to rally my robots in the audience to whoever it is I’m for or to vote against whoever it is I’m against, that conservatism is finished, and they’re, of course, eager for that, which is one of the reasons they love McCain. McCain will kill conservatism as a dominant force in the Republican Party.
RUSH: I want to get to these sound bites, there are a lot of them. I’m trying to space them out because they’re all about me and I’m trying not to make the show about me. This is Bill in Sioux City, South Dakota. Hello.
CALLER: Hey, Rush, great talking to you, and it’s a great show from my perspective today, too, by the way.
RUSH: Thank you.
CALLER: I agree with you that the Drive-Bys do not get you and do not understand why you do this show, and I agree that your audience is generally very intelligent and think for themselves, and that you do not give them marching orders and stuff like that. But I do think that there is something important maybe that, you know, you have missed about why it is that the Drive-Bys are so anxious to decide whether you’ve got any relevance anymore, and that’s because your natural humanity, and you have some, I know, I’ve listened to you long enough to know what you do regardless of what some callers may think, and that is that you overlook what it is that you have accomplished and where you find yourself at this stage in your career. I mean, when you started out in AM radio, it was dead. I mean there was nothing there. You have single-handedly caused a complete revolution in AM radio to the point where today, you have on local stations, national, syndicated talk show hosts who are all there because you paved the way. And, frankly, all of them are going to themselves, ‘God, I wish I could be Rush Limbaugh when I grow up.’ They look to you and say, ‘That’s what I want my career to look like someday,’ and because of where you’ve gotten, you are, whether you intend to or not, and I don’t think you intend to, but whether you intend to or not, you are something of a conservative Republican kingmaker, whether you intend that to be the case or not. I mean, how many other talk show hosts will routinely have the vice president of the United States on the air? You don’t get to be where you’re at without having a fair amount of influence at least in terms of articulating conservative values and conservative ideas.
RUSH: Well, that’s true. I’m not going to deny that. That’s one of the objectives here. That’s why I called this the Limbaugh Institute for Advanced Conservative Studies. The objective here, when you take the business objectives out, and this is a business, and this is one thing that nobody — the left or right — when they examine this program, none of them do so in terms of the career aspect of it. They look at me as a political figure who happens to be on the radio, while these other political figures are in the newspaper, and some of them are on television, and that’s just fine, because the longer they go not understanding what I do and how I do it — and, by the way, folks, don’t worry about any of this because the media did not make me. If the media doesn’t make you, they cannot break you. I can only break myself, and the only way I could do that would be doing something to destroy the bond that you and I have had here for 20 years. They can’t do that because they didn’t create it. Media buzz did not make this show a success, so media buzz and media criticism can’t destroy it. I don’t worry about it.
It’s a great luxury not to be concerned about what the media says about me, and they’ve tried. But the objective here, strip the business stuff aside, the objective here is to create a more informed, engaged, participatory public, and that’s happened. And one of the greatest — and there are many examples — one of the greatest examples of it was what happened with the amnesty bill. That was only last summer. Last summer, the amnesty bill, ‘Look at what talk radio did.’ I’m not saying this; the Drive-Bys were saying it. Now, all of a sudden, we’re irrelevant. Because a piece of legislation doesn’t pass or because some candidate doesn’t win a primary, all of a sudden, we don’t exist.
Here are the sound bites. If I don’t get started on this we’re not going to get to the meat of them. Bob Schieffer interviewing Senator McCain on Face the Nation yesterday. Schieffer says, ‘Rush Limbaugh says you’re an imposter. What do you say to that?’
MCCAIN: I understand that primaries are tough, Bob. You’ve seen them, and sometimes there’s some bruised feelings, but I’m the — I have a strong conservative record that I’m proud to run on, and I believe — I know that I can unite the party once we get through this primary, and again, I’m proud of my record and I know that we can unite and move forward and win in November.
RUSH: I’m going to throw myself out of this. I don’t think Senator McCain understands nor do I think the Republican Party establishment understand just how much disgust there is out there amongst their own voters, people like you in this audience. I don’t think they get it. But another thing, for those of you out there in the Drive-Bys and even the Republican establishment types on our side, here you are, conservatism is dead, it’s over, it’s finished, no longer has any impact, how come every one of these candidates is talking about how they are the heir to Reagan, that they are conservative. They know they can’t win this election without the conservative base supporting them, and that is not guaranteed here.
RUSH: Last Wednesday in Denver, Bill Clinton stumping for his wife, the most cheated on woman in the world.
BILL CLINTON: When Hillary went to the Senate, all the pundits said, oh, you know, she’ll never get anything done in the Senate, because the Republicans don’t like the Clintons. That makes her polarizing. I mean, Rush Limbaugh says bad things about her. Another reason you ought to vote for her.
RUSH: My name is the only thing that got any reaction from that crowd, nothing that he said. And they chuckled. You know what amazes me — and, by the way, Hillary cried again today. She did. She was in — (interruption) well, I’m sure there’s film. We’ll get it in a minute. She was in New Haven, Connecticut. ‘Sen. Hillary Clinton teared up this morning at an event at the Yale Child Study Center, where she worked while in law school in the early 1970s. Penn Rhodeen, who was introducing Clinton, began to choke up, leading Clinton’s eyes to fill with tears, which she wiped out of her left eye. At the time, Rhodeen was saying how proud he was that the sheepskin-coat, bell-bottom-wearing young woman he met in 1972 was now running for president. ‘Well, I said I would not tear up; already we’re not exactly on the path,’ Clinton said with emotion after the introduction.’ So she cried out there, again. Well, depends on how many people see it, Mr. Snerdley, as to how many points it’s worth in the polls.
And get this. This is from the Los Angeles Times of yesterday: ‘In a dramatic day of politicking, former President Clinton made a series of contrite appearances before African American churches in Los Angeles. … Sounding chastened, Clinton talked about the election as the proverbial embarrassment of riches, saying he had waited his whole life to vote for an African American for president and just as long to vote for a woman. ‘I say that to remind us that we have to find a way to choose without division. To disagree without discord. To celebrate the shattering of all these phony categories that have kept Americans apart too long.” (doing Clinton impression) ‘I mean, I have waited my whole life to vote for an African-American for president. Now the woman that I owe my entire career to is also running for president. I have to dump on a black guy and I hope you people here in the church understand that. It’s nothing personal. It’s about saving my testicles and a lot of other things.’ We understand, first black president, Bill Clinton.
Mitt Romney, Sunday, CNN’s Late Edition. Wolf Blitzer, ‘He came out of the Florida primary with some significant political momentum. What are you going to do to try to stop that from escalating, if you will, on Tuesday?’
ROMNEY: Conservatives across the country are saying, ‘Whoa, we have to get behind Mitt Romney.’ You’ve got the people like Rush Limbaugh and Laura Ingraham, and the list goes on and on and on. Conservative voices, both from radio and from publications, are saying, ‘You know what, we’ve gotta get behind Mitt Romney. We really can’t afford John McCain as the nominee of our party,’ and that kind of groundswell I think is what led me to win in Maine yesterday. We had Olympia Snowe and Senator Collins both fighting for John McCain, and I won 53% of the vote there. John McCain got 20%. And that was because conservatives, who normally would have stayed home, turned out in record numbers and gave me the win.
RUSH: All right, the Drive-By Media is still running my non-concession speech that I gave last Wednesday. On Friday night’s NBC Nightly News, the reporterette Kelly O’Donnell and the Southern Baptist Convention’s Richard Land said this about me.
O’DONNELL: Romney is counting on help from Rush Limbaugh’s megaphone.
RUSH ARCHIVE: There is a lot of anxiety among a lot of conservatives about Senator McCain.
O’DONNELL: But that’s changing for some influential conservatives, who see McCain as the likely nominee, and fear infighting will hurt Republican chances in November.
LAND: Rush needs to get out and talk to average folk more.
RUSH: That was Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention. Now, I need to get out and talk to average folk more? Now, here we go. I can’t believe this. I’m an outsider. Now I’m back to being an elite. Dr. Land, with all due respect, I speak to 20 million people a day, and they call me, and they e-mail me — and I do, Dr. Land, speak to countless people in my travels around the country and so forth. Where does this come from, the assumption that I now am an elite? They can’t keep it straight from one day or from one week to the next. But do you notice again who’s supposed to cave here? According to this report, ‘That is challenging for influential conservatives who see McCain as the likely nominee, and they fear infighting will hurt Republican chances in November.’ I’m just going to ask this point-blank. If the Republican Party’s gonna nominate a liberal, how is it that anybody opposing him is going to cause the Republican Party problems in November? The Republican Party is not a Liberal Party, and if we’re going to have a nominee who’s going to reach out to liberals and is saying they got more positive polling on their ideas than we do, how is it that somebody like me is going to destroy Republican Party unity?
How can it be said that I, one who remains loyal and practices fealty to the principles of conservatism, how is it that I who don’t waver — and people on my side of this, we do not waver; we stand firm; we haven’t wavered in 20 years — are going to get the blame for the Republican Party going down the tubes? These people think it. They already know it. There’s going to be a unity problem. Dr. Land, let me tell you something, these average folk you’re talk about, there are a whole lot more of them that think the way I am on this than are thinking the way you elites in the party are thinking, that any nominee who can beat a Democrat is better than any other nominee. That’s simply not right. People who have loyally supported the Republican Party, people who have given money to it do not want to sit around and see that money used to expand the party on the basis of attracting liberals with a liberal candidate — and, furthermore, they’re not going to take kindly to being told they’re to blame for it by not compromising their principles for the sake of party unity.
The Republican Party for too long has asked this of conservatives: ‘Sacrifice a little there, sacrifice a little here. Party unity is what matters.’ A lot of Republicans are fed up with this. You can go back to November 2006 and look at those returns if you doubt me. I am not alone when I say to you elites in the Republican Party, punditry and elsewhere, party officials and whatnot, ‘If you’re going to go out and move this party to the left, you’re going to take the hit for what happens to it. We are not going to sit here and take the blame because we wouldn’t capitulate and unify. We don’t see the point of unifying with the left when they are making no compromises whatsoever. So screw it! You want to take the party your direction, you take it there and you live and die by it; if you believe so strongly in going that direction. We don’t, and most in this audience don’t, either.’ I say that with confidence and assurance.
RUSH: This is Fox News Watch, their media analysis show, and this is how they started the show. Eric Burns, the host.
BURNS: I’m Eric Burns. Fox News Watch is on right now.
MCCAIN: My friends, in one week, in one week, we will have as close a national primary as we’ve ever had in this country. I intend to win it and be the nominee of our party.
RUSH: I will not retire. I will not concede. I will not drift away. I will not fade away until every American agrees with me.
RUSH: You hear that? Fox News Watch starts the program as though I am a candidate against McCain. They play McCain saying (doing McCain impression), ‘I’m going to win this nomination. I’m going to be the party nominee. I tell you it’s going to happen.’ They play me with my little non-concession speech from last Wednesday, and then they got down to the analysis. Eric Burns said to Jane Hall, ‘Jane, are you also seeing it reflected in mainstream media outlets as some people say are liberal by predisposition and are immensely enjoying a serious problem for these talk show people?’
HALL: I wouldn’t characterize all mainstream media as liberal. I do think that media of all ideologies like a fight, and it is ironic that people were invoking the Fairness Doctrine and saying that Rush Limbaugh was too powerful about a year ago, and now they’re saying he’s on his way out. I think there’s a certain glee at a split because it’s a more interesting story.
RUSH: Yeah, there’s a little bit of glee. It’s not just about that, Jane, that there’s a split and it’s exciting and interesting. There’s glee for other reasons. But occasionally old Jane will swerve into a good point. A year ago it was I who stopped the amnesty bill. They were all talking about the Fairness Doctrine. Today, I’m finished, I have no influence. The guy I oppose is winning. Who needs the Fairness Doctrine? Make no mistake, if the Democrats win, they’re going to go right after the Fairness Doctrine. That’s another subject for another time. Meet the Press, the roundtable, Mary Matalin, Bob Shrum have this exchange about Senator McCain.
MATALIN: Senator McCain would be strengthened in the long run by having to go after the conservatives. What he did in a serendipitous process here was he went from the outside in. You can’t have Democrats and crossovers in lieu of conservatives. You have to have a base plus, because the crossovers are going to go to Obama. He would be strengthened to go back home.
SHRUM: He’s being strengthened for the general by people arguing that he’s too moderate. Every time Rush Limbaugh attacks him, he picks up half a point.
RUSH: This is so cool. This is Bob Shrum (0-8), who has yet to be able to claim victory in any presidential candidate that he has worked for, whose campaigns he has run. Most recently, it was the campaign of the haughty John Kerry, who served in Vietnam. So Shrum, big liberal Democrat excited that McCain picks up a half point every time I criticize him. Mary Matalin is exactly right. McCain is drifting to the left trying to pick up liberals and independents at the expense of conservatives. Democrats and crossovers in lieu of conservatives. That’s exactly what’s happening, and we conservatives are being told that we’re not necessary and so forth and we’re the problem. We’re being asked to shelve our principles, put ’em aside for the sake of party unity. The Republican Party had better understand that there’s enough people in this country who feel like they have done that for too long and it hasn’t gotten them anywhere. I’m talking about conservatives who have donated money. Those days are over. You’re not going to have a whole lot of people say, ‘Okay, conservatism doesn’t matter to us. We want to win instead,’ and go ahead and welcome the expansion of the Republican Party by bringing in liberal Democrats and independents. If the Republican Party wants to go that way, they can go that way, but they’re going to do it without conservatives, and Mary Matalin’s point is no Republican nominee can win without the conservative base and the Republican Party. McCain and all of his endorsements make it clear that the conservative base doesn’t matter to them, that they’re more interested in liberal Democrats and independents.
And, of course, why wouldn’t Bob Shrum be excited about that? If I were any liberal Democrat, I’d be excited to see the Republican Party basically urinate on its conservatives. I’d love to see the Republican Party get fractured this way. I would love — if I’m a liberal Democrat — by the way, do you ever hear liberal Democrats say they need to expand by bringing conservatives in as conservatives? You don’t see any of this. They would love it if this were to happen, because they know that the party is going to get shellacked in the general election without the conservative base showing up. Don’t think for a minute that this liberal Democrat support for McCain is about McCain winning the general. It’s about McCain losing it. Do you think these Drive-By types and Bob Shrum types who love McCain are going to vote for him in November? You’ve got another thing coming if you do. They are not going to sabotage their own party. They may sabotage their party by doing stupid things, saying stupid things, but they’re not going to sabotage it by leaving it or trying to change its structure. Of course, I think they’re in trouble anyway, liberals are, but, moving on. The roundtable, Tim Russert and Democrat strategerist James Carville have this exchange about me.
RUSSERT: Here’s Rush Limbaugh on his radio program on Thursday.
RUSH ARCHIVE: I was watching the endorsement of Senator McCain by Governor Schwarzenegger in California. What a picture this was. And I’m looking at the picture, and I’m seeing McCain surrounding himself with the left wing of our party. These guys are Republicans, but they’re the left wing of our party. So he just got the endorsement of a big taxing, big spending, socialist, health care, eco-extreme governor who says the Republican Party needs to follow him to the left.
RUSSERT: Mr. Carville?
CARVILLE: McCain started out by sucking up to these right-wing guys. He looked ridiculous; his campaign went nowhere. He abandoned that strategy. He went back to being the old John McCain. He now is going to win the Republican nomination. And a lot of these people are sort of exposed for not being that sort of powerful within the Republican Party.
RUSH: (laughing) So James Carville who — does anybody have any doubt who he hopes wins? Do you think James Carville is going to support McCain over Hillary or Barack Obama? Anybody really think this? If you do, you need to call a psychiatrist. It isn’t going to happen. And yet, Mr. Carville all excited here that McCain, it being back to old John McCain, the maverick. What does that mean in real terms? He’s going against his own party. That’s what makes liberal Democrats happy. Of course, it would make liberal Democrats happy. Mike Murphy, Republican strategist, then said this about me.
MURPHY: A lot of conservative potentates with a mailing list or a radio microphone, and they’re important, but they don’t rule the Republican primary. In the regular primary voter world, McCain’s been very competitive with the conservatives. He never would have won South Carolina. So I think it’s easy to talk to a small group of self-referencing potentates to talk about the conservatives as opposed to what conservatives are actually doing on primary day and we’re going to find out on Tuesday, and I think McCain will perform very well and then in the general election, I agree with Mary, there will be a unity behind it because there’s a very simple decision for conservatives for a pro-life leader on the war fiscal conservative John McCain versus Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama. That’s going to be an easy-as-pie choice for Rush Limbaugh and everybody else.
RUSH: No, Mr. Murphy, it’s not going to be an easy-as-pie choice because there isn’t going to be any difference. There isn’t going to be any difference. Anyway, I’m now potentate. What did I start out as? I started out as tribal leader, went to tribal chief, then I became what? Yeah, ran a herd, I was leading a herd, and now I’m a potentate. Do you know what a potentate is, folks? That’s Ernest Hollings lingo. A potentate is a ruler, a monarch, a potentate. What’s next? Tribal leader, tribal chieftain, leader of a herd, potentate
RUSH: This is Tim Russert’s PMSNBC show on Saturday. He’s talking to E. J. Dionne, Jr., and Joe Klein of TIME Magazine and they’re talking about McCain, and E. J. Dionne, Jr., says, ‘Yeah, he’s fought them on a few issues, but he’s also never been part of the organization.’ This is about McCain. The conservative organization, they’ve always fought him, kind of a grudge match, rooted deep, rooted in the past. And Joe Klein says…
KLEIN: You listen to Rush Limbaugh, and it’s always fun to listen to Rush when he’s desperate. When he’s riding high, you know, I can’t handle him. But listening to him, as I did last week, he sounds wounded. You know, ‘McCain isn’t a real Republican. He runs against the party.’
RUSH: Yeah, that’s why you love him, Joe. He’s running against the party. Maybe I’ve lost touch. It was just six months ago that when liberal media members started singing praises for somebody we were instantly suspicious, especially if they like them a lot. Now it somehow seems, you know, so many people — I just thought of something, Snerdley — how over the 20 years that we have been doing this, how many times have we taken calls from people who want to say, ‘Rush, maybe the media’s getting it. I saw something on TV last night, NBC, ABC, whatever, and X, and they thought that the media was –‘ and I would say to them, ‘You are setting yourself up for disappointment if you think you can measure the success of conservatism by whether or not liberal media members all of a sudden get persuaded. It isn’t going to happen.’ But look what’s happening. We’ve got Drive-By Media members having orgasms over McCain, and that might be telling somebody, ‘Hey, man, the media likes McCain.’ And that might be enough. Rather than it be a red flag, like it should be, maybe because so many conservatives have this terminally defensive posture and are seeking acceptance from the Drive-By Media and they see the Drive-By support for McCain as progress. They’re not looking at it wisely, shall I say. I’m trying to understand this. Verbal regurgitation of my thought process, the little gray cells and the fertile activity that’s going on. Snerdley is upset because Joe Klein called me desperate. We had so much fun last week with my non-concession speech. He mistakes passion for desperation. That’s all it is. These guys, it’s wishful thinking, Snerdley, you know this. Here’s the next one, and this one is E. J. Dionne, Jr., after Klein said that, you know, yeah, Limbaugh, he sounds wounded, McCain isn’t a real Republican, he runs against the party, Dionne, Jr., chimed in.
DIONNE: This will be a divorce between the conservative movement and the leadership of the Republican Party, a divorce after a 28-year marriage since 1980. John McCain, if he wins this nomination, will be winning it against organized conservatism, not just Rush Limbaugh, but the whole movement. And if you look at his base in the primaries, it’s been moderates, liberals, anti-Bush voters, pro-choice voters. McCain is pro-life, but it’s pro-choice voters. And so, you know, in a sense, Rush Limbaugh does reflect something that’s deep inside this movement.
RUSH: Yes. E. J. Dionne, Jr., from the Washington Post, salient, correct analysis. E. J. — oh, I don’t want to applaud too loud, it could harm his reputation with his friends. But he is right on the money with this. It is pro-choicers that are voting for McCain. I mean that’s who liberals are. Independents and moderates, that’s who they are. They’re scared to death to be pro-life because they’ll be identified with those creepy Christians. He’s exactly right. While McCain is out there saying he’s pro-life, he’s getting the pro-choice vote. And this, folks, is said to be good, this is said to be a way to expand our party. Let’s see. Fred Barnes, and this is what? Special report on Friday night, the guest host here Bret Baier, and they had Barnes on there in the roundtable, one of the all stars, and Baier says, ‘Fred, what does McCain have to do to reach out to the conservative base? Does he have to extend a hand out to somebody like Rush Limbaugh or whomever?’
BARNES: A top Republican strategist told me the thing he needs to do is call the top conservative radio talk show hosts who don’t like McCain and tell them and say, look, I know you don’t like me, you have an independent mind, but just watch the way I’m campaigning. I’m going to campaign as a conservative. If you have complaints or something, here’s my cell phone number, call me, I’ll answer.
RUSH: Okay, so Barnes says McCain’s supposed to come by for dinner, come by and say hi, call us up and whatever. McCain says he’s not going to do that, but he will answer the phone if we call. Now, Barnes has his latest piece in the Weekly Standard entitled, ‘Let’s Grow Up, Conservatives, and Defeat the Democrats in November.’ Let’s grow up, conservatives. Fred, you used to be one of us. You used to be, Fred, but now you seem to be all for the party having its liberal wing, too. Anyway, he writes, ‘Republicans are in a sour mood, especially the talk-radio mafia that regards McCain as anything but a reliable conservative. (They harbor qualms about Romney, too.)’ So potentate, tribal chief, tribal leader, leader of a herd, talk radio Mafia, Don Limbaughleone, and, of course, mullah will be next.