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RUSH: We’ve got a couple of sound bites here. First up is Jim VandeHei, the executive editor of the Politico. This is on Slay the Nation on CBS Sunday during the roundtable. It’s a conversation here between VandeHei and Dana Milbank and I think Gwen Ifill’s even part of this.

VANDEHEI: What’s different this time around that in — if you think back to that ’96 debate, there were actually moderates in Washington. Even today when you talk about a Republican moderate in the House, we need to find a new word. They’re not moderates —


VANDEHEI: — they’re not pro-life, they’re not pro-environment, they’re not pro-labor.

MILBANK: Yeah, I think —

VANDEHEI: That’s what a Republican —

MILBANK: I think that —

VANDEHEI: — moderate used to be. You could say slightly less conservative Republican who might be willing to wheel and deal, but it’s just a different world in Washington.

RUSH: Yeah, damn it. There aren’t any liberal Republicans. There aren’t enough of them that will cave with us anymore. It’s not like in 1995 when we could scare their pants off. Now they won’t cave. Now they won’t agree with us. Not enough squeamish, linguini spine Republicans left. That’s what they’re saying. And Helen Thomas, if she were alive, would know I’m right about this, just like I was right about JFK. JFK tried, I’m telling you. Don’t doubt me on this stuff. I don’t know what she did, but I’m telling you there wasn’t any dating JFK. It was get in, get it and get out, folks. Come on. What are we talking about here? And I know you’re thinking, “Rush, not possible, Helen Thomas.” Media folks, media. It’s called influence, buying, whatever you want to call it. I mean, blindfolds, I don’t know. Eyes wide shut, there’s any number of ways this can happen.

So anyway, they’re bemoaning the fact there just aren’t enough Republicans we can scare. There just aren’t enough moderate or liberal Republicans. And then that became there weren’t enough reasonable Republicans willing to lose for the good of the Democrats. That’s really what they mean. There aren’t enough reasonable Republicans willing to lose for the good of the Democrats. Here’s Dana Milbank.

MILBANK: I think that’s the dynamic and that’s the difference from ’95 and ’96 is you’re not necessarily dealing with reasonable people. They’re rational because they are following their political self interest, but you’ve got, you know, maybe 50 diehard conservatives in the House and you’ve got 150 Republicans who are terrified of being primaried by one of those and they have no reason to budge even if it’s doing something bad to their own party and to the country.

RUSH: Folks, I can’t tell you how perfect this is to illustrate the way this town thinks. There aren’t any good Republicans anymore. And what is a good Republican? One who will compromise and give away his own side to help the Democrats. That’s a reasonable Republican. A reasonable Republican is one who agrees with the Democrats at the moment of truth. There just aren’t enough of those anymore. And 50 Republicans, these holdouts, these Tea Party people, and they’re extremists, they’re nut cases, they’re wackos. And the real reasonable Republicans are afraid of being primaried by these people.

So most Republicans are cowards. The 50 other Republicans holding them hostage are raving lunatics. And in that group of 200 there isn’t any of them willing to compromise to make the Democrats look good and so congress and Washington suck as far as these people are concerned. Moving on, Dana Milbank again. We’re still on Face the Nation and Bob Schieffer’s moderating this. You haven’t heard him yet but he said, “Well, talk to me about Ted Cruz. This is really unusual in this town. It’s built on seniority. Here you have a freshman senator not only emerge as a leader of this in the Senate but is actually leading the House Republicans, sometimes against their own leader.”

MILBANK: He’s a complete phony. I met Ted Cruz 15 years ago. He wasn’t some Tea Party guy. He was an ambitious kid working for the Bush campaign, Ivy League debater, and basically what he saw is, “Hey, Sarah Palin can do that in 2010; I can ride this Tea Party. I can take it to town and I can get really famous, really fast.” He’s absolutely right. He’s a real smart guy. He’s playing this game very well.

RUSH: He’s a phony. That’s Dana Milbank of the Washington Post: “Ted Cruz is a phony. He doesn’t really mean it. He’s just using us. He’s using us. All he wants to do is be famous like everybody on Facebook and Twitter.” You know what really bugs them about Ted Cruz? He is one of them. He went to Harvard. He went to Yale. He did win the debate contest. His grades are better than theirs.

He has their pedigree and he’s not one of them and they can’t stand it. They literally can’t stand it. It’s sort of the same way they hated Bush. Bush had a Harvard MBA, Yale, Skull and Bones, and all this. But he wasn’t one of them. They just couldn’t handle it. So now Cruz? “Yeah, he’s just an ambition, a complete phony! He saw what Sarah Palin did.” You know, we’ve all heard of Ted Cruz’s father too.

I guess Ted Cruz’s father is a phony. You know, Ted sounds just like his father, if you ask me. His father is a great orator as well. His father is a great illustration. They can’t handle this. They don’t know how to absorb this, and so it’s time for the personal destruction to begin. He’s a phony. He doesn’t believe any of this. It’s just, he’s a smart guy. He’s just trying to get famous.

Here’s Jim VandeHei from the Politico reacting to that.

VANDEHEI: Cruz is a political genius to some extent. Like, he is one of the few people who’s recognized that politics today is so different than it was ten years ago. Nobody cares what leadership has to say. We have lots of weak leaders, and the grassroots… If you’re clever about intervening in primaries, if you’re clever about exploiting campaign finance laws, which very much work to the favor of outside groups at the expense of the establishment —

IFILL: Well, then the question —

VANDEHEI: — you can have awesome power.

RUSH: We don’t know what Gwen’s question is. The guy interrupted her and didn’t let her finish. “Well, the question is…” and we never heard from her anymore. The guys didn’t care, apparently, what her question was. So VandeHei, “Oh, he’s a genius. He’s a political genius,” and Milbank says, “Oh, absolutely. He’s a phony, but he’s a genius. It’s like one of the few people who’s recognized that politics today is so different than it was 10 years ago.” Anyway, I… (interruption)

I know they fawned over Obama who had done nothing. But you know why they fawned over Obama. (interruption) Come on! Why did they fawn over Obama? (interruption) You tell me. (interruption) Well, so’s Cruz. They said he was “clean and articulate.” Cruz is every bit as clean and every bit as articulate as Obama is. Why’d they fawn over Obama? He gave a speech. He gave a speech. He had Mario Cuomo-itis. They fawned over Cuomo in the Senate.

Cuomo never was able to capitalize or parlay it, but Obama did. He gave a speech at the 2004 convention, and then somebody came along… The Democrats hadn’t realized, “You know, this guy is immune to criticism! We can’t lose if this guy gets the nomination because nobody could ever criticize anything he does. We can destroy anybody who tries and call them racists.” (interruption) No they can’t do the same with Cruz even though he’s Hispanic.

Because Cruz is Canadian, and the rap on Cruz is he really isn’t even qualified. He really isn’t Hispanic. He’s not a minority. He’s a conservative! There’s really no such thing as a conservative minority. It’s just not possible. Here’s Cruz. This is Sunday morning, State of the Union on CNN. Candy Crowley said, “Do you think that some facet of the president’s health care plan should be attached to an increase in the debt ceiling?”

CRUZ: The debt ceiling historically has been among the best leverage that Congress has —


CRUZ: — to rein in the executives.

CROWLEY: So yes?

CRUZ: Yes. Yes. There’s great historical precedent. Since 1978 we’ve raised the debt ceiling 55 times. A majority of those times, 28 times, Congress has attached very specific and stringent requirements. Many of the most significant spending restraints– things like Gramm-Rudman, things like sequestration — came through the debt ceiling and so the president’s demand, jack up the nation’s credit card with no limits, no constraints, it’s not a reasonable demand.

RUSH: This is why he ticks them off. He knows what Gramm-Rudman is! He can talk about Gramm-Rudman in a sentence as though he was there. Guys like VandeHei and Milbank say, “He’s not supposed to be able to do that! He’s an idiot. He’s a phony.” However, I’ve got to tell you something. I’m not sure I agree with combining these two things. Now, Ted Cruz knows far more what he’s doing on this than I do because he’s there and this is his job and I’m but a mere pawn commentator in the game of life.

But the debt limit thing, if not done right, we could squander all of the positives we have picked up on Obamacare because this business that Republicans “refused to pay the debts,” people care as much about that as they care about negotiation. Now, if Cruz can find a way to combine these two and make both of them pay off, fine. I would love for that to be the case. But I would just as soon kick this debt ceiling thing down the road a month or two. Just get a little spending bill, pay the bills. “Here, Obama, here’s your bill,” and make him veto it as piecemeal.

Just like they’ve made him veto every other little so-called piecemeal thing. I’d keep the pressure on myself.

But again, I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m so pathetic anyway, I don’t know what…

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