RUSH: It’s Sam in Rochester, New York. Hi, Sam. Great to have you with us. Hello, sir.
CALLER: Yeah, thanks, Rush. I know President Bush 2 when he left office said he would not campaign. He would not get involved in politics anymore.
CALLER: Even though there are pockets in the country where he’s still very popular and he could have helped House candidates on the Republican side or Senate candidates, he chose not to do so. And the thing is, he brought the party down by his refusal to defend himself.
RUSH: Let me see if I can get to the question I think you’re going to ask. The country is hanging by a thread. George W. Bush clearly, in your mind and your way of thinking, doesn’t want the country to go in the direction Obama’s taking it. So why doesn’t he speak up, as former president, with the influence he would have? Why doesn’t he speak up? Why doesn’t he join us? Why doesn’t he speak out about what Obama’s doing?
RUSH: Is that pretty close to your question?
CALLER: Yeah. But the only time he spoke out, remember, Rush, was a couple years ago when his book came out. He made the rounds. He was on every program and the Fox News network in promoting his book. And while he was promoting his book, instead of criticizing Democrats, he attacked — he viciously attacked — the Tea Party crowd because they were against, according to him, “immigration,” when the fact is we were not against “immigration.”
RUSH: Wait a second.
CALLER: We were against ILLEGAL immigration.
RUSH: Wait a second. Did he…? Because I don’t remember that. Did he criticize Tea Party by name?
CALLER: I don’t think by name, but by implication he did.
RUSH: Well, look. (sigh) All I can tell you is what I was told when Bush was president. ‘Cause people asked the same question when he was president: “Why don’t you defend yourself? Why don’t you attack these people in the same stage and arena they’re attacking you?” And his answer always was, “I have too much respect for this office. I am not going to politicize the office of the presidency. I am not going to respond in like fashion. I’m not gonna take the office of the presidency to the gutter where my critics are. I’m gonna stay above it.” I would assume that I would get much the same answer now that I got then. I don’t think he was attacking the Tea Party during the book tour. He didn’t do that. He wanted the Tea Party to buy the book. He wanted everybody to buy the book.
CALLER: Thank God that Cheney was the only one in the party who defended the president and the president’s policies. Remember, Cheney? I mean, Cheney was virtually on his deathbed and he went all over the country.
RUSH: Look, I share your frustration. I don’t know what to tell you. You know, I’m not Bush, and I don’t have a pipeline to him in this way. I know what you’re thinking. You had Bill Clinton out there during the 2000 campaign and the 2004 campaign. You got Bill Clinton in Europe in Abu Dhabi, in Dubai, ripping this country and its president to shreds — violating every tenet, every custom, every bit of decorum. You had Algore doing the same thing. You’re wondering, “Why is it just Cheney? Where are the Bushes? Where’s 41? Where’s 43?
“Clearly, they don’t want the country to go the direction Obama’s taking it. Are they just gonna sit by and be quiet and let it happen?” I wish I had an answer for you. But I can just tell you that neither one, Bush 41 nor 43 want to have anywhere near a reputation like Bill Clinton has. But I can understand the yearning that people have. “Bush was president! He’s got a record. His tax cuts are being besmirched all over the place. He’s got 59 months of job creation in a row. Where is he out defending and speaking for himself?”
I hear you.
But as has been the case for 23-plus years, I still do not have an answer that will satisfy you when you ask me, “Why don’t the Republicans do X?” You ask, “Where’s Rumsfeld? Where’s Condi Rice?” I don’t know. I wish I could tell you. (interruption) Well, yeah, but I’m doing it. If people… (interruption) No, no, Snerdley. (interruption) Snerdley’s theory is that President Bush and the former members of his team don’t have to do anything because I am. That’s not why they’re not doing it.
It’s a question I know that many of you have. ‘Cause you look at Clinton running around trashing whoever — Bush in 2000, 2004, and trashing McCain 2008 — and you wonder, “Well, why doesn’t Bush return the favor? Why doesn’t he get out there and trash these Democrats? I mean, it’s the country that’s at stake here!” I don’t have an answer for you. Wish I did. All I could do is hazard a guess, as I just did. Anyway, I appreciate the call.