RUSH: Now, yesterday, ladies and gentlemen, I mentioned to you that many of the sound bites that I had in the roster were about me. And I don’t like the program becoming about me, ’cause I’m talked about everywhere else. I like to stick to the issues here. So I purposely did not use any of those sound bites yesterday in favor of, in lieu of, focusing on things that were both current and that had happened while I was away. But popular demand has reared its head, and so now we’re going to get into some of these sound bites that I purposely did not air yesterday. I told you about them, but I didn’t use them.
We’re gonna start with Haley Barbour, the former chairman of the Republican National Committee, and to set this up, I’ve known Chairman Barbour for years. He’s not a close friend. Don’t get the wrong idea here. But I have seen him on several issues, and he’s always been convivial, nice. There has never been any acrimony whatsoever. But he is Republican establishment, there’s no question about it. And I told you one of the times that I ran into him I was having dinner at the famous New York speakeasy, 21.
I was dining there and consuming adult beverages, smoking cigars when you still could do that, with Roger Ailes, who was the executive producer of my TV show. Haley came in and he saw us, he sat down and he said, “Rush, I got a great idea.” And he started pitching me on the sharing of mailing lists. My newsletter. I didn’t have a website yet. They wanted to tap into my massive subscriber base, the largest political newsletter in the country. It never happened, but he was just throwing out an idea. We don’t sell the list, period. Never have. Well, I can’t say we never have. Back in the old days before I was in charge of what was going on, there were a few little sales here and there, and I heard about, “What are you doing? I just got a penis enlargement pitch.”
“I’m sorry, I didn’t do it.” We went and shut it down. ‘Cause I’ve never wanted our mailing lists here to be sold or rented or what have you. But back in the formative days when all this was new, “Hey, Rush, it’s a new income stream.”
“How much is it?”
“Well, it’s like a dime per –“
“A dime a subscriber? We’re gonna risk our image for a dime a subscriber?”
“Well, you know, every dime counts.”
“Well, it doesn’t here.” Anyway, I got it shut down. But the second time I ran into Haley was he was toying with the idea of running for president. I guess this would have been 2012, and there was some event going on here in Florida that many Republican big shots and bigwigs were attending. I don’t know what it was. I don’t think it was Horowitz’s thing. Anyway, Haley Barbour came by the estate and mentioned he was thinking about running.
And I’ve mentioned he made the point, “We cannot criticize Obama, Rush, as a party. We can criticize his policies. We can criticize his policies all day long, but we can’t go there.” He didn’t say why, but it was the unspoken, you can’t go there ’cause he’s African-American, will be called racist, and it was the same old song and dance. I didn’t say anything. I just sat there and nodded. I set all this up simply to tell you I’ve never had a strained or acrimonious relationship with Barbour, just to set up the sound bites, rather than play them cold.
They happened last Thursday on the Fox Business Network with Neil Cavuto on his Coast to Coast show. Charlie Payne was sitting in for Cavuto and he had Haley Barbour on, and his question was, “Has your party been changed forever now with Trump? Trump now controls the platform, he controls the message. Will things never be the way they were when you, Mr. Barbour, had more clout within the party?”
BARBOUR: One thing that has changed tremendously, when I became chairman 20 years ago, it was the rise of conservative news media — Fox News, Rush Limbaugh — and they were very, very supportive of Republicans and conservatives. But in the last three years the biggest critics for Republicans have been the conservative news media. May I add because, you know, they say the Republicans aren’t pure enough, Republicans don’t fight hard enough, Republicans cave in. And I really think that has had more effect on the standing of the party.
RUSH: What does he mean by the standing of the party? You mean the reputation of the party? Standing of the party? Well, he’s right. I mean, this program started in 1988, and for four years that was it, and then it boomed. Then my guest hosts started getting their own shows, and some got national shows. Fox came along in ’97. The bloggers and the websites, and it just exploded out there. And it was. It was a conservative, slash, Republican media. And it was amplifying Republican ideas.
And back in those days, the Republicans were opposing the Democrats. Back in those days Newt Gingrich and the Contract for America ended up winning the House for the first time in 40 years for the Republicans. They were actually balancing budgets. They were implementing the conservative agenda as best they could. It lasted three or four years or longer. They haven’t been doing that. There’s no mystery here. And so Charlie Payne said, “Well, what changed, what brought all this about?
BARBOUR: I became chairman of the Republican National Committee about the time of the rise of Rush Limbaugh. I loved it. We were finally gonna get some conservatives out there telling our side. And it worked that way for a while. But in the last three or four years, the most bitter, the most harsh, the most negative critics of Republicans have been the conservative media elite, the Rush Limbaughs, some of these people are friends of mine. But the fact of the matter is — and it may be just because of ratings — but they are the leaders, they are the agitators for the purity cause.
RUSH: It’s not about purity. Snerdley thinks it was — what was the cheap shot? Oh, the ratings thing. Well, that’s always a fallback for: “These guys are just doing it for ratings. They don’t care. They don’t really believe what they believe. They’re just saying what they say for ratings.” That has followed me from day one, and it never has been the case. Haven’t needed to. Anyway, that’s the excuse that, you know, lay it off on us, as though we’re the ones that changed.
Folks, I’m gonna tell you something. For better or for worse, I am the same guy believing the same things today that I believed on August 1st, 1988. I have not moderated, I’ve not modified, I’ve not wimped out, I’ve not loosened up, I have not changed at all. They have. That’s the difference. I would never stand up with Barack Obama or some Democrat and condemn the Republican presidential nominee, not after he becomes presumptive, like they did yesterday. There’s no way under the sun that I would have ever — and, believe me, they tried.
I can’t tell you the number of times emissaries from Washington were sent down here to try to get my mind right on immigration and amnesty. And it would have been the easiest thing to fall in with it. It would have been the easiest thing. I could have sat here and said, “You know what? This is Washington, this is the White House, this is real big coming to see me. Boy, what’s in it for me if I become an ally?” I could have looked at it that way. It would have been easy to side. It actually wouldn’t have been because there’s no way I believe in amnesty.
There’s no way I believe in any way, shape, manner, or form the Democrat immigration policy. But the Republican Party at some point shifted and became no different than Obama on that. I don’t chase ratings or dollars. I try to just be the best every day and let everything fall in as a result of that. But it would have been easy.
And I’m telling you, folks, it was seductive. You wouldn’t believe. It’s not that I was offered things, not in a direct way, but, I mean, implications were all over the place. But I would be looked upon very, very favorably. But then even when I didn’t join, they still tried, and they came down, and they were polite about it. They tried to make their case. And, in fact, perhaps the most persuasive attempt — when I say “most persuasive,” it wasn’t close to persuading me.
But the most persuasive attempt when they sent somebody down (I’m not gonna name names) who said, “What this is really all about is wiping out the Democrats. We’re trying to establish a supermajority of the Republican Party across this country, and we’ve got to do it. We’ve got to get the Hispanics, and we gotta get this group, and we gotta get that group.” I said, “Well, that’s fine, but be who are you when you do it?” That was my problem with it. They weren’t being who they are. They were being…
They were trying to be what they thought the people wanted them to be, from group to group to group. But I haven’t changed. That’s why, you know, I refer to myself as old reliable or as a bulwark. I mean, you’re never gonna tune in here and start scratching your head and ask what’s happened to me, at least not when it comes to ideological belief. I have literally not changed. If anything, I have become even more committed to conservatism and the defeat of liberalism. And if I had to cite one thing, that’s what I don’t see the Republican Party interested anymore is defeating the left, defeating liberalism.
Yeah, they want to win elections by beating Democrats, but I don’t see them out there attacking the ideology of progressivism or liberalism, and that’s what’s tearing this country apart. And that’s what they’re to do, the opposition party. So I don’t look at it as my problem. If they hadn’t changed, we’d still be right in there. We would have been. So would you. There wouldn’t be Donald Trump if the Republican Party was actually doing what they say they’re gonna do during campaigns.
Mitch McConnell is up next. This is last Tuesday, so eight days ago. American Enterprise Institute. Matt Lewis, who is an author, was interviewing McConnell, talking about politics in America today. Question: “Seventy percent of the Republican base voted for an outsider or an anti-establishment candidate. What could the Senate do that could resonate with those Republican base voters who don’t appreciate the importance of, say, entitlement reform?”
Now, this guy, Matt Lewis, is asking McConnell, “Look, what could you do — what could you and others in the Senate do — that would reach Republican base voters angry at you who think that you’re either selling out or you’re not standing firm enough? What could you do? What could you say to them that would win them over on, say, entitlement reform?”
MCCONNELL: A lot of base voters have been really misled by a lot of talk radio hosts and others —
RUSH: There it is again.
MCCONNELL: — about what’s achievable when you don’t have the White House. I think the reason people are unhappy is because of the condition of the country and because they’ve been fed the notion that somehow a Republican Congress can overcome a Democratic president and completely bring him to his knees when it’s not possible.
RUSH: You know, this is it, in a nutshell. When they didn’t have the House or the Senate and we were complaining about Obamacare in 2010, they couldn’t have stopped anything. He’s right. They didn’t have the votes. They said, “We need the House! You gotta give us the House. You gotta put us back! We can do things when we get there!” So we put ’em back. They won the House. And then nothing happened. “Well, we can’t do anything ’til we get the Senate. Gotta win the Senate! Then we can stop Obama.” We gave them the Senate. Then they said, “We can’t stop Obama. We don’t have the White House yet.”
They just kept saying, “We can’t, we can’t, we can’t, we can’t.”
Democrats manage to stop us when they’re in the minority. It can be done.
RUSH: Okay. One more. This is unrelated to Mitch McConnell or to Haley Barbour, but back to McConnell for just a second here. The idea that there’s nothing you can do to stop a Democrat president? Well, of course not when you announce you’re not going to! Mitch McConnell said they’re not gonna oppose Obama. “This whole year, we’re not gonna stop Obama. We’re not gonna do anything, because we don’t want upset or nominee’s chances to win the White House. So we’re not gonna oppose.”
They said two years ago, “Don’t worry, Mr. President. We’re never gonna impeach you.”
Obama’s message that he’s received from the Republicans is, “Do what you want, man! Have at it. Change the Constitution. We’re not stopping you. We’re not gonna deny you the money. We’re not gonna deny you anything! We’re gonna agree with every budget you want. We’re gonna give you more than you asked for,” which they did. They’re not even making an effort, that’s the thing. Last Saturday on Smerconish, CNN, Jeff Lord is the guest, and Smerconish said, “Jeffrey, you served in the Reagan White House. You have his portrait behind you as we see it right now. But what about Michael Reagan’s point that Donald Trump is not Reaganesque?”
LORD: That is something I have said repeatedly on CNN, that they are not the same. Ronald Reagan isn’t coming back. Ronald Reagan was unique. Donald Trump is not Ronald Reagan. Are there aspects of their campaigns and this moment that are similar? Sure. Ronald Reagan’s enemies said at length that he was a racist. I’ve spent the last day or so taking a look. If you type in “racist” and then next to do the words Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Mitt Romney, Rush Limbaugh — you name the Republican or conservative — you will find that this is more or less the go-to for the American left with all these people. So, Donald Trump is really just the latest.
RUSH: Right. His point there is that Reagan… Put my name in there, search my name, Rubio, Cruz, Romney, and Google’s gonna show you something like Hitler or racism or some such thing. And they’re doing it now with Trump. So his point is that the left is using the same playbook that they have always used. They used it against me. They’ve used it against Republican nominees. It’s really amazing when you stop and think about it: They use it against me. I mean, I’m just a guy on the radio. They treat me like they treat elected Republicans.
RUSH: No, no, no, no. I remember. It’s coming up. I remember Mitch McConnell on the campaign trail. I remember Mitch McConnell when he won reelection in… When was he reelected, 2014? I think so. I remember that number. I remember his acceptance speech whenever it was, ’12 or ’14. I remember McConnell talking about stopping Obama and stopping what Obama was doing, and that’s why he was elected. He was pledging, and it sounded he was one of us, and he sounded that way in the campaign trail.
I’ll never forget his acceptance speech. I guess he was in Louisville, where he was in Kentucky on Election Night. I’ve never forgotten it. I said, “Boy, this is different! This guy really sounds like he’s one of us, here.” But he was spelling it out, line by line, where Obama was going overboard. Now they were gonna stop him. It sounded like he was a tried-and-true, dyed-in-the-wool conservative. And that’s the point: They all sound that way in the campaign trail.
RUSH: I went back and I got a piece by Andy McCarthy at National Review. This is from the 12th of March of 2016. It’s just this year. “‘In the House and the Senate, we own the budget.’ It was August 2014, the stretch run before the midterm elections, and Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell was making promises to voters about how he and his party would face down Barack Obama’s lawless presidency. Put us in charge, he explained, and a Republican Congress would defend Americans by using the main tool the Framers gave them, the power of the purse.”
That would be the power of the purse. This is my point. Mitch McConnell, in 2014, was campaigning as many of these Republicans do, as a strident, true, ardent conservative, saying it all. And even the night of his election, he was spouting it. He was promising people to go to Washington to put the stops to this. And it’s the last we heard of it! Here is what he said in his campaign back in August, 2004. Quote:
“That means we can pass the spending bill. And I assure you that in the spending bill, we will be pushing back against this bureaucracy by doing what’s called placing riders in the bill. No money can be spent to do this or to do that. We’re going to go after them on health care, on financial services, on the Environmental Protection Agency, across the board. All across the federal government, we’re going to go after it.” That’s his campaign pitch. And, of course, the natural reaction was, “Wa…? Wa…? Wait a minute! Couldn’t that lead to a government shutdown?
“Isn’t that what you said Ted Cruz was gonna do?” Ted Cruz was gonna shut the government! The worst thing could happen is shut the government down. That’s why you couldn’t oppose Obama, right? You can’t stop Obama ’cause if you shut the government down, Republicans will get blamed ’cause Americans love their government functioning every day. And if the Republicans are seen as shutting it down, it’s the same thing as canceling checks, and we can’t afford it!”
But the point is, there’s McConnell promising all this action to stop Obama using the power of the purse, and yet we just had the sound bite where he says it’s talk show hosts that have gotta learn. Here, grab 21, sound bite 21 again. I’m gonna read this to you. We can pass… This is August 2014, Senator McConnell. And I’ve got nothing against him. He’s been very nice to me. None of this is personal, folks. I don’t think that’s what they understand. It’s not personal with me. I don’t know what other people think. None of this is personal.
This is all about winning and losing, to me, and I’m tired of losing. And I’m tired of hearing we can’t win. That’s all it is with me. I’m tired of losing to these people when they are the minority. I’m tired of being misled, and I’m tired of being falsely promised and all this. In 2014, campaigning in August, McConnell said, “[W]e can pass the spending bill. And I assure you that in the spending bill, we will be pushing back against this bureaucracy by doing what’s called placing riders in the bill. No money can be spent to do this or to do that.
“We’re going to go after them on health care, on financial services, on the Environmental Protection Agency, across the board. All across the federal government, we’re going to go after it.” Last Tuesday, McConnell said this, answering a question about how he could reach out to the base and make them understand what’s going on. (replaying of sound bite) Why didn’t he say that in the campaign then? Why didn’t he tell voters, “Look, I don’t want to give you the wrong idea. We can’t stop Obama, because we’re not gonna have the White House. Even if I win, even if you send me back to be your Senate majority leader, we still can’t stop Obama.”
Why didn’t he say that in the campaign?
But more than that, who says you can’t stop Obama? They stop us. Look what they did to George W. Bush. I know they would say, “Yeah, but they’ve got the media, we don’t.” Well, you’ve got a conservative media here that would love to support you. You have a conservative media that would love to be championing what you’re doing. There is all kinds of support out here, truth be known. And that hasn’t changed. None of this is personal.
But when you announce that you’re not going to oppose Obama at all in 2016 because you don’t want any acrimony, because you don’t want it reflecting on our nominee and his campaign, you’re sending a signal to Obama that there’s no breaks, there’s in guardrail, he can do whatever he wants. You’ve already taken impeachment off the table. Then you say you’re not gonna use the power of the purse, meaning you’re not gonna deny him the money. And not only have they not denied him the money, they’ve given him more.
You know why? Because they’re hoping the press will stop ripping them. I don’t know, if it’s that, that is so immature and childish to be worried to actually take the future of the country and throw it away because of what the media’s gonna say about you? But every new senator I’ve talked to that says honest things like, “It’s amazing what I’ve discovered when I got there. The only thing that matters is getting reelected,” which I have come to believe.