(coverage here, here, here, here, and here) . . . THIS IS HUGE FOLKS!!! RUSH'S DENUNCIATION OF HUCK WILL SOLIDIFY THE HUCKABUST AND HE WON'T BE ABLE TO SLOW HIS DOWNWARD TRAJECTORY.
Check out these quotes from the Friday 12/21 show (first segment here):
I think Rollins and his candidate need to stick to the issues. They need to stick to the record. They need to stop with this Clintonesque spinning that they're doing out there. You know, McCain's starting to look better to me than this guy -- and that's saying something! More I see what Huckster's -- Huckabee's (laughs) record was in Arkansas, there's a lot of liberalism in there. There certainly isn't a lot of Reaganism in there, and I think that the Huckabee campaign is trying to dumb down conservatism to comport with his record, and now they focus on me, challenging me on a personal level here like the libs do.
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So, I see some similarities here in the Huckabee campaign and Perot. You know, Perot, Whitman, Ed Rollins? I guess if you listen to the Huckabee people, Bill Buckley has been read out of the movement by Huckabee as well since he's lived in Connecticut and he's worked in New York. Who is this campaign to be defining who is or who is not a conservative? I never heard of Huckabee in an important ideological way before this campaign got going, and believe me, I know who the conservatives are out there. So this elitism they keep talking about... When they're talking about the New York-DC axis, the codeword there is for "elites." It's the elites who want open borders, not middle America. It's the elites who want higher taxes -- and this is Huckabee's campaign. It's elites who want to talk to the Iranian regime, not middle America. It's the elites soft on crime, want to release criminals from prison, not middle America. Look at what Schwarzenegger is doing out there, because of a budget shortfall. If we can choose a candidate... This is my only point, folks. If we can choose a candidate who is pro-life and anti-same-sex marriage and good on national security, illegal immigration, taxes, and spending, why shouldn't we choose that candidate? Why do we have to choose somebody who's trying to get a redefinition of conservatism to comport to his views? By the way, this is not just about Huckabee. This has been my lament from the moment this campaign began, if you recall.
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RUSH: We'll start with last night's Hardball with Chris Matthews on PMSNBC. He was talking to Romney senior advisor Ron Kaufman, and the new Huckabee national campaign chairman Ed Rollins, and Matthews said, "Ed, does faith bring you guys together or separate you?"
ROLLINS: Well, first of all, you and I are Catholics and our candidates are different, and, uh, Ron, are you still an atheist, or have you basically converted?
KAUFMAN: (nervous laugh) Okay.
ROLLINS: Now that you're rich. (laughs)
MATTHEWS: We've had a Mark Penn moment on this show already, Ed. We don't need another one.
ROLLINS: He's my -- He's my very dear friend.
MATTHEWS: I know, but you just accused him of being an atheist.
RUSH: That's the Huckabee national campaign chairman Ed Rollins asking if one of Mitt's guys, Ron Kaufman, is an atheist. So then Matthews says, "Relevant to this campaign, is there any religious difference between Romney and Huckabee. Relevant to this campaign, is there a religious difference? Ed Rollins, you know exactly what I'm asking."
ROLLINS: I know exactly what you're asking, and I think the bottom line is that the voters themselves will make that decision.
MATTHEWS: Whoa! Whoa! Ron Kaufman, he just dodged on the question of whether there's a religious difference between the two candidates and what they're offering in terms of policy!
RUSH: Yeah, he just did. So there's the latest in the campaigns. You know, the Huckabee campaign is apparently very thin-skinned. There are a lot of stories out there, one of the AP headlines: "Huckabee: Woe is Me," a couple of others that I have here in the stack. I just want all of you to know: I have nothing against Mike Huckabee personally other than he is for exercise, and I'm not. I don't know him. But the purpose of a primary is to try to take the measure of a candidate, to try to discern what kind of president he would be to try to cut through all the clutter, determine what kind of record a candidate has and so forth. This is how elections have worked since there have been elections. It's an important process. The president is very powerful. These are very critical times in our history. If the candidate wants your vote, he has to earn it and convince you why he's worthy of it.
As you know, as a general and practical rule I do not endorse primary candidates, but I do take a careful look at the candidates and comment on what I think their strengths and weaknesses are, and it appears that in doing so, the Huckabee campaign has taken offense. Maybe Huckabee himself, I don't know, . . .
. . .
This is where I'm coming from and where most of you are coming from in this audience, and we want a candidate for president -- and ultimately a president -- who shares these fundamental understandings. So when I raise questions about public reports regarding a candidate's record or position, I'm comparing the record and position with our founding and conservative principles and my own beliefs. It is not personal. When I talk about Huckabee's illegal alien position, tax increases, the release of hundreds of criminals, the rhetoric about our war effort, it isn't personal.
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RUSH: Again, when I raise questions about public reports regarding any candidate's record or position, what I am doing is comparing the record and position with our founding conservative principles. I am a conservative first. I am not a Republican first. It matters. When I raise questions about, say, about Governor Huckabee's positions on illegal aliens, tax increases, the release of hundreds of criminals via pardon and his rhetoric about our war effort, sorry, I'm trying to develop an understanding of the guy so I can determine for myself whether he is in fact the kind of conservative you and me want as our president. I've not "attacked" him. I have studiously avoided it. But I've raised questions -- and, of course, in this climate, questions will be considered an attack, but I'm going to keep asking the questions if I believe it's warranted to do so. Yet the mere fact that I have commented on his record appears to have caused great anguish in his campaign. They accuse me (and apparently others, too), who are going through this process of being part of the DC-Manhattan axis. Last time I checked, I was born and raised in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Now, it may not be Arkansas, but it is Middle America.
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I mean, individuals who have fought immigration for years are not happy with his open borders positions as governor. They're just not. Anti-tax groups are unhappy with his tax increases when he was governor. Conservatives who helped defeat the Soviet Union under Ronaldus Magnus are troubled by his statements about our war effort and his desire to negotiate with Iran, for instance -- and it raised eyebrows among longtime school-choice advocates when the New Hampshire NEA endorsed Huckabee. They endorsed Hillary on the Democrat side; Huckabee on the right. The NEA is not interested in conservatives getting any kind of power anywhere. So it seems to me that it is Huckabee's record that is well suited for the axis of liberalism that he decries. Huckabee's record is a better fit for the Wall Street-DC axis that he is criticizing. At a minimum, it deserves scrutiny, doesn't it? And let me be blunt about this: Since Huckabee has raised it, or his campaign has, how is questioning such a record an "attack" on Christians and evangelicals in particular?
I find that offensive, as if raising questions about such a record is said to be raising questions on somebody's faith or the faith of an entire community? That's a deplorable tactic. You people know I oppose abortion. I oppose same-sex marriage. I oppose the left's war on faith. I oppose the Supreme Court's effort to ban religion from the public square. I oppose the left's war on all those things, and I do not take a backseat to Huckabee or anybody else on these issues, and to suggest otherwise is to attack the character of anybody who dares to question your political and policy positions, and that's what the libs do, because the libs can't debate the issues. The libs don't want to debate the issues because they can't win. I'm getting the sense that Mike Huckabee doesn't want to debate the issues, and he's relying on other things as a firewall to keep the issues from coming up. Folks, we have to force a debate on the issues, our issues. That has to happen. Conservatism is what unites a lot of us together, you and me in this audience.
Any candidate who doesn't want that debate and is trying to dumb down conservatism and attack those who raise questions about that debate, that's a red flag to me. So I, again, wish that this had not come up. I wish that this didn't happen. I did not attack Huckabee. I don't know him. I don't dislike him. I have nothing personal whatsoever against him. I have not made one comment about his record as governor, other than to ask questions about some of these policies he engaged in as they relate to what kind of president he would be, and if you're not entitled to ask those questions without somebody in the campaign launching out with some personal BS, then that campaign seems to be a little thin-skinned. So it is what it is, ladies and gentlemen.
Another segment of the show
RUSH: Buster in Chattanooga, Tennessee, you're next. Welcome to the EIB Network, sir.
CALLER: Thanks, sir. Mega Rocky Top dittos.
RUSH: Thank you, sir.
CALLER: Hey, it's an honor to talk to you. I've been listening to you for, well, since I came back to the States. My parents were missionaries in Africa, and I came back in '92. My oldest brother was listening to you there on WORD in Greenville a long time ago, and I follow you quite a bit. Hey, my comment is about this, Rush. I'm a preacher. I travel all over the States -- and conservative, and up until Huckabee really came in the front, what I was hearing from 90% of the people were that we don't have any conservative that really is a true conservative. The issues obviously were abortion, gun rights, and the homosexual agenda, and then Hucklebee (sic) really jumped up, and the whole mood has changed, almost like it's been revitalized. They see a light at the end of the tunnel. The comment I have to make... I agree with you a hundred percent, 90% of the time, even more than that. Just the fact that something negative has come out against your show, which I like, I feel like you shouldn't be so condemning to Hucklebee when it is against something about you being an entertainer, which we know you're not. But, uh, I think -- I think -- you're merchandising on that to build your reputation, not that it needs to be built, but it has to be maintained, and I think it will be more suitable, I think, for the Republicans and conservatives if we could just kind of support our guy. I think it does more damage to the Republicans getting the nomination. I think the Democrats like you slamming Hucklebee because I think Hucklebee is the most winnable candidate that the Republicans have.
RUSH: Well, all right. I learned. I'm not going to try to talk you out of it. I'm not going to argue with you about it, because you're committed. It's your life, it's your decision-making process, and your vote, and it's yours. I'm not here to argue with you about it. All I'm doing is raising questions about what I think are not even anywhere near conservative aspects of Governor Huckabee's experience, and his governance in Arkansas. As to the fact that I am taking on Governor Huckabee here for my own marketing or ego? No. I guess what you mean is that I am doing this today to somehow show people that I have power. I want you to believe me; I've said this countless times. I may have power, but I'm harmless with it because I don't walk in here every day thinking about that. I really don't. I walk in here every day thinking to just be honest and tell people what I think, and that's what I did today. I'm glad you called.
RUSH: Okay, folks, let me tell you what's going on now. I sadly, and unfortunately, must make this point reacting to our last caller. What we have going on here is identity politics, I think, in a large swath of support for Governor Huckabee. Identity politics is what the left does. Do you know what I mean when I say "identity politics," Rachel? Okay. Identity politics is: You vote for the Christian. You vote for the black. You vote for the woman. This is traditionally how the left looks at people. We, as conservatives, don't. We don't see you, for example, in a political sense, and see a woman first. We might see a woman first because you're beautiful, but we're men and we can't help it. In a political sense, we wouldn't say, "You don't qualify. You're not smart because you're a woman," and we wouldn't say you deserve anything special because you're a woman. We wouldn't look at a black and say, "Oh! Poor, disadvantaged, slavery heritage, presidential material!" without knowing anything about the guy. We wouldn't if there was the first admittedly open gay running, we wouldn't say, "Oh, terribly discriminated against, really has had no chance! We're going to vote for the gay guy because it makes us feel better about ourselves."
That's identity politics, or a little strain of it, and that's what's happening in the Huckabee race. The identity of Huckabee is: "Christian, Southern Baptist minister," and that identity is covering and is being translated by supporters as meaning whatever they want it to mean, as opposed to actually looking at how he's governed. Like the pastor who just called and said Huckabee is a light at the end of the tunnel. Pastor, the light at the end of the tunnel is the oncoming train, and you can't get off the track! That's the light at the end of the tunnel, and I think identity politics was a fundamental feature of the Perot campaign as well. People really didn't even care what his policies were. He didn't even have to articulate policies. Remember that? (classic Ross Perot impression) "I'll tell you, Larry, here's what we're going to do! We're going to get rid of all these 737s, going to hire a bunch of Lear 55s. We're going to have smaller airplanes." He cares so much! "You own this country! You own it. This is your country. We're going to give this country back to you." That's identity politics, and this is traditionally not what conservatives and even Republicans, right-wingers, do.
We're a little bit more serious about it, and this is also one of the things that I detect. Of course, one of the things that makes me convinced I'm right about this is that Governor Huckabee is doing what he can to avoid discussing his record and his policy beliefs and is, in fact, relying on his identity to keep people on his side, in his camp, and perhaps even grow it. In one way, you'd have to say it's pretty smart because on the other side his opponents, you've got admitted conservative flaws -- admitted conservative flaws which do trouble the Christian right, which is a large part of the Republican base. Either support for abortion or gay marriage, things that would be disruptive to the culture, and many people are very, very concerned about the culture. So with Huckabee, the identity is, Christian. That means hundred percent thoroughbred on social issues, the cultural issues. Yet you dig deep, and you find the policy on immigration. If you look at Huckabee in an identity sense and yet at the same time you really think illegal immigration is destroying this country, then your identity association with Huckabee as a Christian likely will make you overlook the fact that he's opposite your belief on illegal immigration. Jimmy Carter was a Southern Baptist and he ran on that and he tried to capitalize on that. He ran on the religious identity, too.
Yet another segment from 12/21:
RUSH: Bozeman, Montana. This is Greg. You are up first in this hour. It's nice to have you, sir. Hello.
CALLER: Hey. Merry Christmas. Dittos, Rush.
RUSH: Thank you.
CALLER: Hey, I'm a Huckabee guy, but I'm thinking about switching.
RUSH: You're a Huckabee guy, but you're thinking about switching. Why?
CALLER: Well, I don't know. All my people -- Ann Coulter, Peggy Noonan all those people -- are, I don't know, they don't like him, and I don't know. All the stuff is starting to come out against him. It's starting to make me nervous. (nervous laugh)
RUSH: Well, that's what campaigns are for: examining people's positions on things. But I would make up your own mind. I wouldn't listen to influential figures to shape and form your mind for you. It might send you in a direction your curiosity would take you, but I think maybe some people that you think and respect were not on board when you were caused to actually start looking, and that's why you know what some of these positions are that you now think, "Wow, I didn't know that." Right?
CALLER: Right. I think some of it is like the last campaign where everybody bailed out on Howard Dean because they thought he was kooky -- well, he was kooky. They thought he was unelectable, and I don't want to do that. I don't want to just jump at somebody that I think can win but doesn't necessarily line up with what I believe.
That quote about getting a candidate "who is pro-life and anti-same-sex marriage and good on national security, illegal immigration, taxes, and spending, why shouldn't we choose that candidate?" is golden for Mitt. Only Mitt, Fred, and Duncan Hunter meet those criteria and, among them, only Mitt has a credible path to win the nomination.