RUSH: The death of Senator McCain has provided an opportunity for the Drive-By Media. I will explain that. I’m gonna warn everybody here. It might be perceived by some — that just don’t know — but it might be perceived by some that comments I might make about some aspects of Senator McCain’s life could be controversial. Imagine that. I just want to prep everybody that I have my own theories about witnessing the Drive-Bys and how they are reacting to it and why.
And, by the way, just to take the pressure off of me, to show you where I’m thinking, among many other things about this, grab audio sound bite number 19. Sunday morning, CNN, State of the Union during discussion of the death of Senator McCain, Jake Tapper.
TAPPER: I can’t help but think that like part of the reason why there’s such reverence for him today is because of who’s in the White House right now because they are polar opposites.
RUSH: Okay. So there you have it from none other than the Never Trumper network, CNN making it clear that part of the reason why there’s so much reverence for Senator McCain is because of who is in the White House right now. What that means is — and he’s admitting it. He’s admitting it — one of the reasons there’s reverence for McCain is the opportunity it provides to continue to savage Donald Trump, to continue to rip Donald Trump by setting up these comparisons between Trump and McCain and showing Trump coming up short on virtually every measure the Drive-Bys make.
The truth of the matter is — and I’ve got an example of this, and there are many — you go back to 2008. Actually, you have to go back before that. If you go back to the nineties during the Clinton years, Fox News starts in 1996, ’97, MSNBC gets going, and the Clinton impeachment saga is being discussed every night on TV. And a media darling develops on MSNBC, John McCain. MSNBC loves Senator McCain because Senator McCain, for which he is being honored and recognized since his death, had the courage to criticize his own party, had the courage to criticize his own party’s policies, his own party’s presidents. He had the courage. That’s what made McCain a really great guy to the Drive-By Media.
And McCain sought the presidential nomination in 2000. It was open. George W. Bush got the nomination eventually, but it was a really knock-down-drag-out primary fight in South Carolina. Some of the tricks played on McCain by the Bush campaign were considered to be unconscionable, unacceptable, I mean so below the belt that you needed to get down to the sewer to see the result. McCain was livid at the time. A lot of people supporting McCain were livid at the time.
Bush goes on to win, and in the ensuing years McCain remains the media darling. I mean, the Drive-By Media loved John McCain. He was practically a regular guest on MSNBC. It got to the point, folks, for those of you who don’t remember, that John McCain would frequently refer to the Drive-By Media as his base! As his base voters! As his base supporters!
And all during this time — well, not all during it, but as we approached the year 2008 and it became clear that Senator McCain was going to seek the Republican nomination, I remember issuing a warning I don’t know how many times, but too many times to count here to Senator McCain and his campaign team, that the minute you seek the Republican nomination you are going to be cast aside by this media that has been fawning over you and loving you. You are going to become the enemy.
And, boy, did he, especially when Obama got the nomination and McCain got the Republican nomination. People have forgotten the long knives came out for McCain by all of these people in the media who had made it look like they loved and revered him — and they did. And the reason they did was because of the maverick personality and McCain’s willingness to criticize his own party. McCain’s willingness to talk about crossing the aisle, shaking hands, working together to get things done, the politics of compromise, because that always meant Republicans losing.
In those days, when we talked about Republicans compromising, what it meant was Republicans forgetting their agenda and signing on to the Democrat agenda. And it’s always been that way. There was nothing new about it then. And it was very frustrating for a lot of people that Senator McCain didn’t see it, or, if he did, thought that he could overcome it.
Well, then when they made the decision to pick Sarah Palin, folks, that ended any pretense of love and respect for Senator McCain. And then you make the Democrat nominee Obama, the first African-American presidential nominee, and McCain did not have a chance in the Drive-By Media. The people who had made him think they respected him, made him believe they loved him, cast him aside.
And it wasn’t that he remained in their eyes a good guy and friendly. They went after him and the Democrat Party went after him as though he had been a rock-ribbed conservative forever and had never had a flirtation with the Drive-By Media at all. It was easily predictable. It was sad to see, I have to tell you, because it was so predictable. And let me give you just one example. And there are a plethora of these if you want to take the time to go get ’em.
John Lewis got beat upside the head on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma during the great civil rights march. John Lewis tweeted on Saturday, “Senator John McCain was a warrior for peace. He will be deeply missed by people all around the world.” Well, let’s go back to Politico, October 11th, 2008, basically three weeks away from the presidential election. There’s a Politico story, and the headline is: “John Lewis, Invoking George Wallace, Says McCain and Palin ‘Playing with Fire’ —
“Civil rights icon and Georgia congressman John Lewis is accusing John McCain … of stoking hate, likening the atmosphere at Republican campaign events to those featuring George Wallace, the segregationist former governor of Alabama and presidential candidate. McCain’s campaign has responded with a statement in the candidate’s name, urging Barack Obama to repudiate Lewis’s comments. ‘What I am seeing reminds me too much of another destructive period in American history,’ Lewis said in a statement issued today for Politico’s Arena forum.
“‘Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin are sowing the seeds of hatred and division, and there is no need for this hostility in our political discourse.’ Lewis didn’t accuse McCain of imitating Wallace, but suggested there were similarities.” Okay. This is one example, and it’s one of a plethora I could surface if I was to take the time, if I wanted to. But it makes the point. It provides the illustration. So after Senator McCain passes away, he becomes a good guy again in the eyes of John Lewis. “Senator John McCain was a warrior for peace. He will be deeply missed by people all around the world.”
Well, during the 2008 campaign he wasn’t a warrior for anything but hate and racism, according to the same guy. Now, you might say, “But, Rush, come on. It was a presidential campaign. You have to forget that stuff. You have to look past it.” See, that’s what I don’t do, folks. I think in the heat of battle is when Democrats say what they really mean, and John Lewis’ example here is one of many. You go back and look. I mean, the viciousness for McCain, the viciousness for Palin? It was bad. It was bad enough for McCain alone before he chose Palin.
After he chose Palin, it just became worse. It rivaled some of the mean-spirited and viciousness that we’ve seen against Trump. People have just forgotten about it, and I do believe that Jake Tapper is right. I think Jake Tapper has a point. The death of Senator McCain has provided the Drive-By Media with a brand-new reason to go after Donald Trump. The death of Senator McCain… As Jake Tapper said here: The reason why there is such reverence for McCain… He’s admitting it. The reason there’s such reverence for McCain is because of Trump.
That means the reverence may not be all that genuine. It may be that it is timely and serves a purpose. Here’s another little bit of hypocrisy. How do you square this? The Drive-By Media supports all of these people who protest against America, protest against the American flag, take a knee and kneel during NFL games, some of the players that do. The general disrespect shown for the flag by anybody who comes along — especially any minority group that has anything negative to say about America — they focus on it, they love it, they promote it.
How does that jibe with promoting and having such reverence for such an obvious hero and patriot as John McCain? If you wanted to, you can spend all kinds of time noting the hypocrisy that is all over the place. The left finally finds a war hero they love while supporting the disrespecting of the flag by NFL players. Yeah, I think a lot of what we see in the Drive-By Media is not real. It’s not genuine. It is agenda oriented and agenda related. The Drive-By Media… Senator McCain was very valuable to them.
He was a ranking Republican for whom there was universal respect and admiration around the world, around the country, and when he criticized his own party — and I’m not just talking about Obamacare and Trump. I mean, when he disrespected, when he criticized George W. Bush, when he came up with this campaign finance reform business — whenever McCain did anything that was perceived to be anti the Republican Party — they just showered him with love and affection and respect, and that was Senator McCain’s value to them.
The proof that it was not real is when they had a chance to get behind the man that they revered? When they had a chance to get behind the guy they thought was the best example of politics in Washington? When they had a chance to get behind this man when he ran for president twice, they did not do it. He became like every other Republican: A target with a target and a bull’s-eye all over him and his campaign. It was frustrating to watch this, to be able to predict it and know that it was going to happen.
There are other things, too, about this that we’ll get into as the program unfolds. But there are other things happening. For example, did you hear the controversy? Trump didn’t leave the flag at half-staff long enough. Trump put the flag at half-staff for the… If you go look at the law and at federal regulations for a member of Congress, the flag flies at half-staff for a day or two, and that’s it. The flag flew at half-staff for the appropriate amount of time, and then it was raised, and the Drive-Bys are livid!
Because it’s yet another opportunity to attack Donald Trump as some savage, as unsophisticated, as some cretin.
RUSH: No, no, I’m serious. Isn’t lowering the flag for somebody to half-staff an insult given what that flag represents? I mean, whenever the left has anybody… NFL players, I don’t care who they are. When they trash the flag, when they disrespect the flag, when they disrespect the national anthem, any symbol of America and patriotism? The media applauds it. The media thinks it’s great, the media promotes it, and the media encourages more behavior because that’s what really dissent is and that’s what real freedom of speech is!
So if it’s so worthwhile — if it’s so valuable, if it is so meaningful, if it is so important — to trash the flag, to disrespect it during the national anthem prior to sporting events, then why is it an honor to lower the flag to half-staff to honor a great hero’s death? Yeah. It’s media.
RUSH: We’ll start in Connecticut. This is Matt. Welcome, sir. You’re up first today. It’s great to have you here with us.
CALLER: Mr. Limbaugh, thank you greatly for taking my phone call, especially in the first hour. I just wanted to point out that maybe Mr. McCain’s death proves again that the only good type of Republican is a dead Republican.
RUSH: Hang on. Hang on just — (coughing) Sorry for the spasm there. What was that you said?
CALLER: It seems that Mr. McCain’s death might prove again that the only good Republican is a dead Republican.
RUSH: And you’re saying this because of all the accolades and reverence for Senator McCain after he passed away?
CALLER: The only time that Republicans or conservatives seem to get praise is when they’re betraying their party. And if you’re dead long enough, like Reagan, maybe eventually you can actually be somebody that can be emulated or agreed with when the time’s right.
RUSH: You know, interesting you bring up Reagan. Even when they start praising Reagan, they do it after a bunch of history revision. They claim that Reagan did and said things, believed things that he didn’t. And they do this after enough time has passed, they’re banking on the fact that a lot of people won’t remember. But that’s a good point too. Look, some people will think that your statement there is a bit extreme, but if you just take it at its basic, the only good Republican’s a dead Republican, is what you said.
CALLER: Yes. I’m just calling it the way I see it, sir.
RUSH: Yeah. Oh, I hear you. I believe that. Well, look. I’m glad you got in the first hour too. So rare to take calls in the first hour. I’m glad you made it in here, Matt. It’s along the lines of what I just said. The only good conservative is a conservative who can’t be conservative anymore.
Look, for those of you bothered by the statement, there’s one thing, if you are not aware of it, the media for years lavished praise on John McCain like no other Republican, like no other Republican in my life. There may be some that I forgot, but McCain in the modern era was the beneficiary of more positive, adoring, fawning media coverage.
I’ve never seen a Republican get that kind of coverage. And it was when he was being critical of his own party, when he was crossing the aisle to work with Democrats on issues they cared about, like campaign finance reform and a number of other things which were considered to be against his own party. The media just loved it.
But the point is, when McCain — and he, sadly, I think really believed it was genuine, by calling the media his base. Now, he was joking a couple times when he said this, but there was no question that he was trying to cultivate them. He knew he was gonna run for office for president, higher office, he knew he wanted the media on his side. Who wouldn’t? And I think that there is ample evidence to believe that he believed he had succeeded, at least in taming them a bit, that he was gonna be getting a better break than most Republicans.
But when he got the nomination and then Obama was the Democrat nominee, it was over. And McCain and Palin became the archenemy like all Republicans have been. And all of that fawning and all of that reverence just seemed to fade away, as though it had never existed. I knew it was gonna happen. And it was one of those times I hate being right.
RUSH: You gotta hear one more. The Drive-Bys bringing back from Jurassic Park, Tom Brokaw. Tom Brokaw on Meet the Press Sunday with F. Chuck Todd, where they’re still steaming over the fact the Democrats are gonna drop threat to impeaching Trump from their campaign rhetoric. F. Chuck says to Brokaw, “At least 70 people, nominees for the United States Senate this November, what lessons do you hope they take…?” (deciphering) Seventy people nominated for the…? “What lessons do you hope they take away from what they learned about John McCain’s life this week?”
BROKAW: That there’s something greater than the party label, that there’s something greater than a kind of ideological, if you will — an ideological attachment for whatever the mood of the day is —
RUSH: Ah, come on.
BROKAW: — that you have to service the needs the country, and the needs of the country are not just the domestic issues, but where we stand internationally. And have courage whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat to take a stand against what you know is not the best interests of the country, but it happens to be the ideology of whoever is in the White House at this time. We need more people who will sail against the wind.
RUSH: When is the last person like this they passed away they praised this way? They never praise Democrats this way! They never praise most Republicans this way. What Brokaw is saying here is, “We need nor Republican sellouts! We need more people are gonna trash the Republican Party. That’s what we need. We need help in destroying the Republican Party from other Republicans! That’s what we need. That’s a great statesman.
“That’s something we can count on, somebody that will put country above party.” I’m telling you, folks, they’re taking the occasion of the death of an American hero to advance their own agenda while accusing everybody else of doing it! They are the ones doing it! They are using of Senator McCain to trash every nearby Republican they can, either directly or by implication. Here’s Brokaw hoping that future Senate candidates learn that there’s something greater than the party label.
You mean like Senator Kennedy?
Senator Kennedy was greater than the party label?
They never say this about Democrats, because the Democrats are the country. The left is the established order, and the right and conservatism are not. The right and conservatism stand in the way of the liberal order ruling each and every day. So when they find a Republican that they can hoodwink into criticizing and ripping his own party and his fellow Republicans, the guy becomes a hero. Except when that guy runs for office, and then he becomes just like every other piece of Republican trash.
We’ve seen it, folks.
We have seen it.
And this is another avenue to rip Trump that’s been handed to them.