RUSH: I want you to hear more of President Bush’s press conference. A question today from CBS News’ Thalia Assuras. She said, “Mr. President, you talked on your reelection about having political capital, your campaign about political capital. You have a Republican Congress. How, then, do you explain not being able to push through more of your agenda, especially when it comes to Social Security reform, which the public does not seem to be accepting and your own party is split on?”
BUSH: A couple of months ago around this town people were saying, “This is not a problem. What’s he bringing it up for? Nobody sees it as a problem except for him,” and then, all of a sudden, people began to look at the facts and realize that in 2017 Social Security pay as you go system will be in the red and 2042 it’s going to be bankrupt, and people then took a good hard look at the numbers and realized that Social Security is a problem. My second goal has been to convince and assure seniors that nobody is going to take away their checks.
As a veteran of American politics, I have withstood the onslaught that said, “When George W. talks about reforming Social Security, that means he’s going to take away your check.” Over the last four years seniors didn’t have their checks taken away, so hopefully they’re beginning to realize that some of this politics is ringing hollow. I view my role as the president as somebody who puts problems on the table and then calls people together to solve them.
RUSH: Now, once again, I doubt that CBS will take a look at the latest Zogby poll because it doesn’t fit the template. The template is that the public hates the Social Security reform plan, doesn’t want any part of it, but the Zogby poll with differently phrased questions shows massive support for not only Social Security reform, but private accounts. So therefore the premise of her whole question thus becomes flawed. CNN’s Bob Franken, “Are you worried, sir, that you’re losing some of your push?”
BUSH: I don’t worry about anything here in Washington, D.C. I mean, I feel comfortable in my role as the president, and my role as the president is to push for reform. The American people appreciate a president who sees a problem and is willing to put it on the table. Listen, admittedly I could have taken the easy route and said let’s don’t discuss Social Security till somebody else shows up in Washington. But that’s not what the American people want from their president — and we have a serious problem in Social Security.
We can permanently solve Social Security, and should permanently solve it, and I’ve laid out some initiatives to get us on the way to permanently solving Social Security. I look forward to the day of sitting down with Republicans and Democrats and congratulating both political parties on doing what’s right for the American people. A day, by the way, the American people expect to come as well.
RUSH: I don’t know about that. I don’t know that he’s ever going to be sitting down with Democrats and congratulating them for helping on anything. I don’t think that’s their agenda at all. I think what the Democrats are doing — I had an e-mail exchange with a friend on Saturday before I headed out to play golf. I played golf three days in a row. It was so hot yesterday I have to tell you something. Actually Sunday and Monday, it was so hot — and I liked it; I’m not complaining. For those of you in parts of the country where summer is late in arriving or spring might even be late in arriving, it was so hot and steamy on Saturday and Sunday that by the eighth hole, the bill of my cap was soaked with sweat. I would lean over my ball to put it, and the bill of my cap would drip on the ball. Or drip on the putter.
But I love it. I just think it’s fabulous. You guys didn’t see this last night because you don’t live on the beach, but there was the most fantastic lightning show offshore last night that I’ve ever seen. The biggest one. The best one I’ve ever seen was back in 1998, and it was the Memorial Day weekend then too and we sat around and stayed up till 2:00 in the morning watching this thing but it was just maybe one-third of the sky out there. There’s stars above us but there was some storm out in the east, and it was just lighting up, last night, 80% of the eastern sky was just lighting up and illuminating the ocean and the clouds. It went on and on and on and on and on and there was no thunder, it was so far away. The thunder sound never reached us but man, it was just stunning. Humidity was so high last night, the windows were fogged up in the house because of the air-conditioning. That’s when you know it’s really humid out there and I just loved it. Absolutely, absolutely totally, totally loved it.
But anyway, I was having an e-mail — see, you thought I was going to lose my place — having an e-mail exchange with a friend on Saturday, trying to figure out what the left is doing. Is the Democratic Party screwing up politically or is the liberalism imploding ideologically? And I think it’s one and the same. I think they’re both the same thing. The behaviors may be a little bit different, but as I explained last week, Bush is going to have been president for eight years, and of those eight years, two-and-a-half years will be all that he has had to shape the Supreme Court, because the last year nothing happens. He’s got 3 1/2 years ago but the last year of any president’s second term, nothing happens. Everything slows down. That’s institutional and you can expect it to happen here.
But the president basically, therefore, has two-and-a-half years to reshape the Supreme Court, out of eight years in office. Now, granted, there haven’t been any retirements, but part of the reason for that is, some of the lib justices are hell-bent on staying there until there’s a new president and that typifies what the Democrats are doing. Their whole policy, their whole plan is to obstruct everything. Win the White House back in ’08, and when they win the White House back in ’08, basically say to themselves, for eight years, they stopped Bush from doing anything substantive. Their whole policy is to simply live through these eight years so that nothing happens, so that the eight years will have been wasted under conservative control — and so the president, sitting here shaking hands with participating Democrats in a bipartisan way to solve problems, it isn’t going to happen which is why there needs to be some party discipline on the Republican side and they better work on Trent Lott.
RUSH: All right. We’re all agreed. We’re all agreed that the Democrats’ policy is to try to effectively render these eight years as having not happened. These eight years, if they succeed, will simply be an interruption in their dominance of America. That’s their dream, and so they’re just making sure that nothing George W. Bush wants to happen is going to happen to the best of their ability. They can’t stop it all, but they’re trying to stop the big things and particularly things like Social Security, which they consider their birthright, and the lone link remaining to the big government that they were bequeathed by Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Of course the judges and the judiciary attempt to institutionalize liberalism because they can’t win at the ballot box. They can’t win legislatively, so they get their judge buddies on the court to invent liberal law and disguised as court rulings — liberal policy disguised as court rulings — and take it out of the arena of ideas. So that’s what they’re trying to do. So the president has this dream of sitting down one day in a roomful of Democrats and Republicans, thanking everybody for their bipartisan assistance, and I guess he may really think it’s possible.
I mean, he believes a lot of tough things are possible and I’m not going to take that away from him. I’m not at all optimistic. I’m not even sure I would want that to happen. Democrats in the room sitting around taking partial credit for this or even getting partial credit? No, in one sense, it would be okay but in a number of other ways… I just can’t see it. I’m a general optimist but I just can’t see it happening based on the way they’ve acted up till now. So for anything to happen, the Republicans are going to have to be held together, particularly in the Senate, where we know they’re not being held together at all.
So the question is, “Well whose fault is this? Does this come from the White House? Is the White House not doing a good enough job enforcing party discipline? Or is it just a bunch of renegades in the Senate out for themselves and the president can’t do anything for about it?” and it appears to be the latter. I have an interesting piece today from the American Spectator Online. It’s their Prowler column, and it starts this way. It says, “‘It hasn’t been the best week,’ says a Republican leadership aide. ‘But Senator Frist isn’t the one conservatives ought to be attacking.’ If not Bill Frist, then who? Well, for starters, Sen. Trent Lott, who, true to his reputation as true Senate Operator, was pulling the strings on the Gang of 14 nuclear disarmament team.
Knight Ridder last Friday reported on a secret meeting between Lott and Sen. John McCain in the hours leading up to last week’s compromise. Lott apparently made a production of entering McCain’s office space through a side door, but then, later spoke to several reporters about his meeting. According to several Lott staffers involved with his management of the Rules Committee, Lott actually handed off his negotiations — as well as the various proposals he had been working on with Sen. Ben Nelson — after it was reported that Lott was trying to cut the legs out from under his Republican colleagues.” Now remember, we heard about this, that Lott and Nelson were working on this compromise that basically then did happen. This story says that Lott went into McCain’s office and said, “Here, you do it. Heat’s too heavy with me. You get this done.”
Now, why? Well… “Lott was in almost constant contact with McCain and several other allies, including Sen. Lindsey Graham, who joined the coalition later in the negotiations. Throughout, however, Lott refused to sit in on further meetings with Democrats, leaving that to McCain.” The rules committee aide said, “Hey, look…” and this is Lott’s committee. “…said, ‘McCain was already on board, and Lott knew that he more than anyone would be willing to work the media in a way that Lott could not,’ says a Rules Committee aide. ‘But we were all working on this. When you have an opportunity to move into leadership, you don’t pass it up.’ Leadership, you say? As previously reported by the Prowler, Lott has his eye on the majority leadership once again, after mismanaging the politics and the policies of the GOP Senate for several years. ‘Lott knows how to work a caucus for a vote, but he just has lousy political instincts,’ says a Senate colleague. ‘The Strom Thurmond mess was just the capper.’ Along the way, Lott was singularly responsible for the 50-50 split Republicans had to deal with after the 2000 election, when he allowed Sen. Connie Mack of Florida to retire from his safe seat with no clear favorite to replace him in 2000. Lott has been looking for ways to undercut both President Bush and Sen. Frist, as he blames both — though Bush more — for his political purgatory out of leadership.
But Lott intends to challenge Sen. Mitch McConnell for Senate leader after Frist’s retirement in January 2007. ‘This coalition is more than just about judges,’ says the Rules Committee staffer. ‘It’s a Republican group that the Senator believes will give him his leadership slot back. These independents won’t support McConnell. At least that’s what we think now.’ Lott, apparently, isn’t stopping at the judge deal. According to a Senate Democratic leadership aide, the man from Mississippi has been speaking with Sen. Joe Biden about brokering a Bolton vote, again pulling an end run around Frist and his leadership team. ‘He isn’t trying to help the President,’ says the leadership aide. ‘He’s working the caucus in a way that would damage Bolton’s chances for confirmation. Every conservative should be worried about this.'” So apparently Lott’s working behind the scenes to sink Bolton as his way of getting back at Bush and also reclaiming the Senate leadership when Frist retires in 2007. So that’s the latest on all that.
I told you last week when this all happened that there were so many subplots to this, Republican primary, presidential politics as a subplot. The Republicans in the Senate, who’s going to lead them? That’s a subplot, and you get to the point where, after awhile, there’s just so much Frist can do. Without any assistance coming from elsewhere, it gets harder and harder and harder to hold these guys together when they all have individual ambitions and desires.
It’s all about the future for them individually. By the way, has anybody ever seen John McCain and Howard Dean in the same room? (Clearing throat) I’m just asking a question. Has anybody ever seen them in the same room? I haven’t. I haven’t, which makes me suspicious. By the way, let me go to sound bite 11 as we bounce off this story from the American Spectator about Trent Lott actually being the one who got the negotiations with the gang of 14 going and brings his work to McCain and trying now apparently — according to the American Spectator — trying to sabotage the Bolton nomination. Fox News Sunday yesterday, Chris Dodd is the guest, and Chris Wallace said, “Now, as we said, a group of Senate moderates made a deal on Monday to avert the so-called nuclear option and people said that this may spur a new era of bipartisanship.
But as we also said just three days later, you were one of the leaders of the forces who held up the Bolton nomination. Now, I know you want some classified documents and we’ll get to the details of those in just a second, but is that so important that it’s worth jeopardizing what might have been a new era of goodwill in the Senate.”
DODD: I don’t think it needs to jeopardize it at all and I commend the 14 senators who were able to avoid what would have amounted to eliminating the extended debate rule on judicial nominations. They deserve a great deal of credit for sticking with that and working that out. But it was never intended that this would eliminate entirely the right of senators to raise important issues when it comes to certain information we need on judicial nominations or ambassadorial nominations.
RUSH: So Dodd admits the deal was basically BS. It was never intended to smooth things over in the Senate, never intended to apply to appointments Democrats really want to filibuster. So extraordinary circumstances just mean whatever Democrats want. Remember, now, one of the things that many of the gang of seven on the Republican side said, “Well, hey, now. We got kids dying in Iraq and we got to get the Senate back in business and this deal does it.” Then the Bolton thing came three days later and the Senate ground to a screeching halt — and, by the way, you know, we got one more Dodd sound bite I want to go to before the break, but I’m hearing some of this ridiculous BS now that moderates are dictating things. Let me put it this way: Maybe I have one of the stories in the stack here, and if it is, it’s a Washington Post story or a New York Times story. I forget which.
But they’re just excited as they can be over the fact that this deal now represents the fact that the great center in this country is finally represented, the great center which is actually the group responsible for making things happen in this country, now has responsible leadership again in the gang of 14. And I just want to tell you, if you run into this or if you hear about this, nothing could be further from the truth. I know you moderates love yourselves. Being a moderate requires that you love yourself. Moderates are obsessed with self-love. Moderates shout their own names during sex. Moderates think that they’re smarter than everybody in the room. They’re not extreme. They’re not hard-core, black-and-white, certainty. They have nuance and they’re open minded and they’re smarter than everybody else in the room.
Well, let me just tell you something. Despite all of the conventional wisdom from all the templates constructed by the mainstream press and the left in Washington, moderates get nobody elected in this country. Particularly George W. Bush. You can say whatever you want, but moderates had nothing to do with electing George W. Bush. Conservative Republicans elected George W. Bush. Conservative Republicans elected Ronald Reagan. Conservative Republicans will be the ones that elect the next Republican president, whoever it is — and it isn’t going to be McCain, because moderates don’t elect anybody. Contrary to the conventional wisdom, everybody would have you believe that moderates are the biggest group of individuals in the country.
That it’s just the conservatives and liberals that are on the two extremes but the great sentiment– Why do you think the mainstream press wants that known or wants that to be understood? Because they want to define themselves as moderates. Liberals are moderates. Liberals are open-minded. Liberals are the ones who have nuance. Liberals are the smartest. They’re calling themselves moderates when they say that.
But moderates don’t get anybody elected. There are 14 of them. There were 48 Republicans who didn’t participate in this gang of 14, and yet we’re being told the moderates are running the show, the moderates represent the majority. It’s all a crock, folks. Just don’t fall for it. Now, next sound bite here, FOX News Sunday with Chris Wallace. He said, “Let me make sure I understand because what you seem to be saying — and I don’t want to put words in your mouth — is that you believe or you’re wondering whether the names of the Americans he was seeking were some of these intelligence officers. Now, if he got the information [this is Bolton] if he got the information, these people that he had a grudge against, that he might have used that to blackmail them or force them out?”
DODD: There’s a pattern of behavior that raises the question — again, I don’t know that. And as I say, this has become a bigger issue because of the resistance to share this information. Remember what I said a minute ago. Intercepts and the information in those intercepts have been shared with the intelligence committee on numerous occasions in the past. This is not an unprecedented request. It’s not 100 senators looking at it. It’s as many as four. Maybe as little as two, but as many as four that would have access to this information.
WALLACE: But do you have any reason to believe that it was those specific intelligence officers he was trying to get information on?
DODD: No, I don’t know that, but remember —
WALLACE: So this is a fishing expedition?
DODD: No, it’s not a — this is a coequal branch of government under our Constitution. This is an important confirmation hearing. There’s information that senators would like to have.
RUSH: Ah, BS. The senators already have it and, by the way, if two senators got it, the other 39 or 38, whatever, would have it in short order. It is a fishing expedition and notice that, hey, we’re coequal branch. Minority rights, president should come to us to tell us who his nominees for the Supreme Court and the Circuit Court are going to be, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. I’m telling you, folks, it’s just an attempt by these guys to effectively render these eight years as not having happened by the time we get to 2008. That’s really what the strategy is. But, again, let’s go back to the Clinton book by John Harris.
Here we’re worried about John Bolton, what he might have said to somebody in a bully atmosphere that he created and a bully personality that he exudes and so forth. And yet we’ve learned that Bill Clinton, who wants to run the UN, not be our ambassador to the UN, Bill Clinton who wants to run the UN and Hillary Clinton who wants to run the United States are ten times the bullies John Bolton ever dreamed of being.
RUSH: To the phones we go to Avon Park, Florida. This is Greg. Nice to have you with us, sir. Hello.
CALLER: Rush, dittos from the center part of Florida where, in 2000, we elected the president by 7,000 votes and even more in 2004.
RUSH: Attaboy. Attaway to be.
CALLER: Let me tell you something, Trent Lott is out of his ever loving gourd if he thinks he’s going to retain control of the Senate. I want to remind him of one thing and you were such a great person about teaching young people about the history of this country. Most people forget that in 1992, you had a race between Ross Perot, George H. Bush, and Jefferson Clinton. Well, what they forget is, at that time we were calling for the ouster of the entire Congress, and it got all caught up in this close race between Perot and President Bush and Clinton slid in. You know, it can happen again — and I’m not speaking off the cuff. I’m involved in our local politics in our county and that’s the grassroots where it starts.
RUSH: Well, but the thing is — I mean, I’m not trying to pour cold water on your passion, but unless you move to Mississippi, you’re not going to have anything to say about whether Trent Lott is in the Senate, and then even if you lived in Mississippi, you’re not going to have one bit of influence on any of the other Republican senators who are going to vote for a leader when Frist retires, unless your plan is to defeat every Republican that’s in the gang of seven, and even then they’re not all up for reelection in 2008, or even 2006. So, it’s entirely possible it could happen. I know it seems like a long shot, but if story in the American Spectator is true, and I just saw a similar story from Roll Call. If it’s true, then, you know, the long knives are out for Mitch McConnell, as well.
You know, and as the story says, “You know, Lott’s pretty good at managing the caucus and he’s got lousy political instincts, such as…” I mean, let’s not forget who Trent Lott was. Trent Lott, after the disputed election of 2000, and this has nothing to do with Connie Mack, gave the Democrats an equal number of committee chairmanships because of the fisticuffs practically, going on after the Florida aftermath. People were just fit to be tied. The Democrats were out there saying, “Bush is illegitimate. He was selected, not elected.” They’re still saying that, by the way, and so Lott, to try to extend a hand of friendship and to show his Democrat buddies that he’s a good guy and a reasonable guy, split committee assignments. Now, he didn’t need to do this because with Dick Cheney on any tie vote, we could break it with the vice president, 51/50.
And then after Lott did that, Tom Daschle, to show his appreciation for the magnanimity then went over and convinced Jumpin’ Jim Jeffords to leave the Republican Party so it became 50/49 won and the Democrats ran the place without Cheney’s tie vote. That’s Trent Lott.
Now, I don’t profess to have enough of an understanding of each individual senator as to whether Lott could get the leadership back if he wanted it or not. I have no clue, but I don’t think it’s out of the realm of possibility. I don’t think it’s out of the realm of possibility at all because not every senator wants it. It’s a job that very few really, really want to have, and want to do — and Lott, by the way, was instrumental in making sure that the Senate trial of Bill Clinton was just a sideshow that had no real substance to it. So, you know, I understand your angst out there, Greg. I just don’t know what you or anybody in Florida or anywhere else would be able to do about it.