RUSH: All right, folks, the left is out there salivating over what is happening in the conservative world over the Harriet Miers nomination. Two things here: Robin Toner’s piece in the New York Times today, and a Howard Fineman column titled, “The Conservative Crackup.”The subhead is: “How the Neocons Have Developed a Political Exit Strategy,” and I just know that Howard was sitting there drooling over his keyboard as he was typing this piece — and, remember, Fineman had a piece recently that was two years late in discovering the influence that the extremist left-wing bloggers have on the mainstream Democratic Party. This is a piece that is steeped in hope and it grossly… Well, it’s just full of just wrong analysis. It’s incorrect analysis. But let me just say this before we get into it in great detail. What is happening here — and I’ve tried to say this over and over a number of times this week and last week. What is happening here is not a conservative crackup. What is happening is a conservative crackdown, and there’s a huge difference. There’s a conservative crackdown going on here. This is rooted in optimism. This is rooted in being the best. This is rooted in doing the right thing. This is not rooted in pessimism or defeatism or selling out or, “Oh, woe is us. This always happens to us.” Some guy wrote a piece. I don’t remember his name right now. He wrote a piece for Human Events, and he advocates a theory. He says the mainstream blue-blood country club Republicans treat conservatives the same way the Democratic Party treats blacks. They wine and dine ’em and promise the moon during campaigns, but when it’s time to govern, they ignore us.
Well, maybe at some point that was an analogy that might have had some weight. The problem is, the conservative movement is the Republican Party today at the grassroots — and you know, I had a great idea yesterday for the next issue of my newsletter with Mike Pence, congressman from Indiana about the efforts in the House of Representatives to toe the line on spending and to finally get something done on set-asides so that we don’t break the bank, start borrowing more money for whatever disaster relief comes up after hurricanes Katrina and Rita and the flooding up in New Hampshire and all the rain that’s going on in the Northeast right now. It’s very uplifting to hear him talk about things. Can I tell you one thing he told me? Just one thing, I don’t want to give the whole thing away. He said that to this day what remains of the most powerful influences on members of Congress — outside of this program, of course — is legitimately made and legitimately written phone calls and letters from the same ZIP code of the district of the congressman. He says you would be surprised at the number of congressmen who wanted no part of cutting the budget; they wanted no part of sounding like they were going against the grain here to reduce spending, but then when their constituents started telling them that they wanted them, these congressmen, to get on board. Some of them came to Mike Pence and said, “I want to hear more about what you’re doing. I might want to join your effort here.” It’s what I’ve always said: You inform the people and you get them educated, get them participating, as you people do, and that’s the way things happen.
We want a triumph here that’s based on the triumph of ideas, the triumph of ideas in the minds and hearts of voters. That gives it legitimacy and that creates mandates, and majorities that are real not via spin and fakery and so forth, which is what the left is into. So right now — and you can see by what happened with the ABC World News Tonight report last night. Take me out of context, make it sound like I’m anti-female and that’s why I’m opposing Harriet Miers, when I wasn’t even talking about me. I was talking about what Jim Dobson says that Karl Rove told him! This is what the left is doing. They’re salivating. They’ve got Karl Rove in jail. They’ve got “Scooter” Libby in jail. They’ve got the conservatives cracking up. They have the conservative movement falling apart. It’s over, according to Fineman. Here in the New York Times. The headline is: “Democrats See Dream of ’06 Victory Taking Form ? Suddenly, Democrats see a possibility in 2006 they have long dreamed of: a sweeping midterm election framed around what they describe as the simple choice of change with the Democrats or more of an unpopular status quo with the Republican majority.” I want to remind you they thought the same thing in 2002, and they thought the same thing in 2004. “That sense of political opportunity has Democratic operatives scrambling to recruit more candidates in congressional districts that look newly favorable for Democratic gains, to overcome internal divisions and produce an agenda they can carry into 2006, and to raise the money to compete across a broader field. In short, the Democrats are trying to be ready if, in fact, an anti-incumbent, 1994-style political wave hits.”
So they think that 1994 is about to be repeated, and this is one of their big problems. They never look forward. They always look backwards. They’re always looking into the rearview mirror and their old playbook to find out how things are going to happen as they once did, and they continue to miss the importance of what it was that caused 1994 to take place, and they will not factor in the fact that most people in this country at that point in time were fed up with the Clinton administration policy of trying to nationalize health care. There was all kinds of scandal with the House Bank and this sort of thing, and the post office. The Democrats think that they have recreated that “culture of corruption,” and they keep talking about that, and just because they say it, they believe it. They think they’ve already sold that to a majority of the American voters. For example:
“Already, the response to Hurricane Katrina, the war in Iraq and soaring gasoline prices have taken a toll on the popularity of President Bush and Congressional Republicans; new polling by the Pew Research Center shows the approval rating for Congressional Republican leaders at 32%, with 52% disapproving, a sharp deterioration since March. The ratings of Democratic leaders stood at 32% approval, 48% disapproval.” This is margin-of-error stuff. It doesn’t show them having gained anything. There may be problems in the Republican world here, but there aren’t any gains being made by the Democrats — and that’s what Jim Carville has been running around trying to tell these people. You know, you can sit there and wail and moan and complain all you want, but you’re not advancing yourselves at all. You’re just watching the other guys — what you think is — destroy themselves, and that is not what is happening here. “But for Democrats to step into the void, many strategists and elected officials say, they must offer more than a blistering critique of the Republicans in power, the regular attacks on what Democrats now describe as a ‘culture of cronyism and…’ Oh, I see! It’s now three C’s. CCC: The culture of cronyism and corruption. Why not just put a P after it and use the Russian hammer and sickle and adopt it as their own logo for the Democratic Party? The CCCP? They can revive the long, lost Soviet Union which they so essentially and desperately miss.
Culture of cronyism and corruption? Yeah, okay, just put a P in there. I’ll come up with a word for it here in just a second. “What they need, many Democrats acknowledge, is their own version of the ‘Contract With America,’ the Republican agenda — tax cuts, a balanced budget, a stronger military and an array of internal reforms — that the party campaigned on in the 1994 landslide election, when it won control of the House and the Senate. ‘I think Democrats understand we have a great opportunity,’ said Senator Charles E. Schumer… ‘We’ve gotten much better at blocking some of the bad things the Republicans would do, but we know you can’t be a party of long-term majorities unless you put forward the things you would do.’ … Charles Cook, the influential nonpartisan analyst of Congressional elections, said: ‘Right now, if I had to bet would the Democrats take the House and Senate back, I’d say no. But are the odds a heck of a lot better than they were three months ago or six months ago? Heck, yes.'” I’ll give you a little reality spin on this. There are 435 seats in the House of Representatives, and all of these districts out there in the states, you’ve heard the term gerrymandering. What has happened here — and this happens whoever the majority is — is every ten years you rewrite the districts and so forth. You know how many of these 435 seats in the House are competitive? At most, 20. By the way, a lot of that is thanks to campaign finance reform (the Incumbent Protection Act of whatever year it was authored) 20 seats in the House — 20, out of 435 — may be competitive, and the Democrats would have to win almost all of them to get their majority back, and what their thinking is that the number of competitive seats is now on the rise, because there is so much anger and sadness and distrust at the Republicans. Now, if you go back and look at all these things, “the response to Hurricane Katrina, war in Iraq, and soaring gasoline prices,” none of these things were ever as bad as they were portrayed, and that is becoming more and more known as the days pass.
RUSH: All right, let’s move on here to Howard Fineman, who, as I say, is no doubt drooling over the “conservative crackup” that he writes about — and again I remind you, folks, what you’re watching here is a conservative crackdown. You’re watching a fired-up conservative base. You’re watching a motivated and inspired conservative base. These guys are just sitting there and hoping and praying so much that this crackup is real that they’re writing about it as though it is. “President George W. Bush may have no military exit strategy for Iraq, but the ‘neocons’ who convinced him to go to war there have developed one of their own — a political one: Blame the Administration. Their neo-Wilsonian theory is correct, they insist, but the execution was botched by a Bush team that has turned out to be incompetent, crony-filled, corrupt, unimaginative and weak over a wide range of issues.” Now, this lead here is based on the fact that the Weekly Standard — that’s who the neocons are. The Weekly Standard and Charles Krauthammer and a number of other conservatives are the ones that convinced Bush to go to war in Iraq. Bush didn’t come up with the idea on his own. Bush was sitting there minding his own business, reading a book on goats or whatever, and here came the Weekly Standard and the neocons and told him to go to war, and Bush said, “Okay, because when the neocons snap their fingers, I go to war,” and now the neocons are all upset, and so Bush doesn’t know how to get out of it but the neocons are going to get out of it by blaming him because they’re not going to take the hit. Now, folks, this is symptomatic of inside-the-Beltway culture.
These people all think that they influence presidents and cause policy directions to change, or even make policy, and they live in this dream world that they run the country, but they never have to run for office or get elected. They are permanently appointed the Media Party, and then there are conservatives who have this view of themselves as well in certain circles, and it just flavors and shades virtually everything they write. “The flight of the neocons — just read a recent Weekly Standard to see what I am talking about — is one of only many indications that the long-predicted ‘conservative crackup’ is at hand.” I’m going to talk about Iraq in a second because you know what? They’re going to vote on the constitution Saturday, and there’s an interesting piece I’m going to share with you by a man from North Carolina named John Armor who draws a direct parallel to what’s happened in the fight for the Iraqi constitution with what happened in the fight for ours, and he points out what happened this week in order to get the constitution to a vote on Saturday is exactly the same kind of thing that James Madison did in putting together the US Constitution. I’ll share all this with you. That is going to equal good news out of Iraq. We have this letter from al-Zawahiri to Abu Mussab Zarqawi — and, by the way, the Al-Qaeda people in Iraq are now saying it’s a fake. This was predictable, too. The next thing we know, Karl Rove wrote it and sent it over there to distract attention here from the grand jury investigation. They’re saying the letter is fake.
It’s just like the Hurricane Katrina was not nearly as bad as it was reported. The aftermath was not nearly as bad. The media got everything about this hurricane wrong from before it hit, after it hit, three weeks in the aftermath . Nothing they wrote about this hurricane was right, and yet they’re out there celebrating themselves as doing some of the finest work they’ve ever done, giving themselves awards, giving themselves plaudits and pats on the back. It’s laughable. Now, here they come describing our crackup — and now they actually think that the Weekly Standard is responsible for the war in Iraq, but the Weekly Standard doesn’t have the guts to stand up and take the hit so they’re going to blame Bush for it. “The ‘movement’ ? that began 50 years ago with the founding of Bill Buckley?s National Review; that had its coming of age in the Reagan Years; that reached its zenith with Bush?s victory in 2000 — is falling apart at the seams.”
Wait ’til you hear some of the analysis in this piece. “In 1973, Karl Rove met George W. Bush, and became the R2D2 and Luke Skywalker of Republican politics. At first, neither was plugged into ‘The Force’ — the conservative movement. But over the years they learned how to use its power. By the time Bush was in his second term as governor, laying the groundwork for his presidential run, he and Rove [R2D2] had gathered all of the often competing and sometimes contradictory strains of conservatism into one light beam. You could tell by the people they brought to Austin. To tie down the religious conservatives, they nudged John Ashcroft out of the race and conducted a literal laying on of hands at the governor?s mansion with leaders such as James Dobson.
“For the libertarian anti-tax crowd, they brought in certified supply-sider Larry Lindsey as the top economic advisor. For the traditional war hawks they brought in Paul Wolfowitz, among others, to get Bush up to speed on the world. For the traditional corporate types ? well, Bush had that taken care of on his own. But now all the constituent parts are — for various reasons — going their own way. Here’s a checklist…” All right, well, let’s take this item by item. So Bush and Rove never were conservative but they realized they’re going to have to once again fool conservatives into thinking they were. So they brought in people that they really didn’t believe in but that they knew would placate people. So they brought in Larry Lindsey, a “certified supply-sider.” They brought in Wolfowitz just to get the pro-war side, the national neocon movement. Bush, he already had these corporate people nailed down. That was easy and, “To tie down the religious conservatives they nudged John Ashcroft out of the race and conducted a literal laying on of hands at the governor’s mansion with leaders such as James Dobson.” So the point of this is that Bush and Rove were never conservative but they knew they couldn’t get anywhere without the conservatives so this was the window dressing to fool conservatives. Item by item. He says to religious conservatives Harriet Miers’ “nomination was the final insult. Religious conservatives have an inferiority complex in the Republican Party.
“In an interesting way, it?s the same attitude that many African-Americans have had toward the Democratic Party over the years. They think that the Big Boys want their votes but not their presence or their full participation. [W]hat really frosts the religious types is that Bush evidently feels that he can only satisfy them by stealth — by nominating someone with absolutely no paper trail. It?s an affront. And even though Dr. Dobson is on board — having been cajoled aboard by Rove — I don?t sense that there is much enthusiasm for the enterprise out in,” Dobson’s office. “I expect that any GOP 2008 hopeful who wants evangelical support — people like Sam Brownback, Rick Santorum and maybe even George Allen — will vote against Miers’s confirmation in the Senate.” What’s wrong with this whole thing? What’s wrong with this whole analysis of religious conservatives? Well, the primary thing is that they’re not frosted! The religious conservatives are full-force behind Harriet Miers. The religious conservatives are not angry about anything being stealth. I’m talking to religious conservatives on this program who, if they’re angry at anybody, it’s people like me. They’re angry at what they think are the elitist inside-the-Beltway conservative intellectuals. They’re not mad at Bush. The idea! Howard, how can you miss this? How in the world can you miss it? He must think that everybody in the Republican Party is a religious-right conservative wacko and that all those people who oppose Miers are no different than the religious right anywhere else. You know, they fear the religious right on the left. They fear conservatives — and with good reason — and this fear has caused them to construct a view of religious conservatives as just dangerous knucklehead hayseed NASCAR hicks, and you can’t talk to those people.
You can’t reason with those people, and even Bush knows that, but these people are smarter than we knew because they recognize now that Bush didn’t really mean it. There’s nothing stealth about this, as far as that goes. Bush even said yesterday that her religious views played a role. I’m at a loss to understand how somebody with as great a reputation as Howard Fineman has can so miss who is not supporting the Harriet Miers nomination and who is. If it weren’t for the religious right, the nomination would already be dead, if I may be honest. The religious right is who’s saving it. He thinks they’re killing it! Enough said. “Corporate CEOs,” is the next item of support Bush is losing. “For them, Bush?s handling of Katrina was, and remains, a mortal embarrassment to their class, which Bush is supposed to have represented — at least to some extent. These are people who believe in the Faith of Management — in anticipating problems and moving mass organizations. They also like to think of themselves as having a social conscience. And even if they don?t, they are sensitive to world opinion. The vivid images from the Superdome were just too much for these folks. Recently, a prominent Republican businessman, whom I saw in a typical CEO haunt, astonished me with the severity of his attacks on Bush?s competence. And Bush had appointed this guy to a major position! Amazing.” Howard, you’re missing this one, too. CEOs upset with Bush? Over Katrina? The pictures from the Superdome, all those things?
Those were lies, Howard! All those things that “went on,” didn’t. We now know why people didn’t go in there, because there was reports. There were reports in the media of mass murder, rape and anarchy, people with guns firing them into the air at relief workers — and these CEOs know this!
“For them, Bush’s handling of Katrina, was and remains a mortal embarrassment to their class,” meaning their class of existence, not their style, but like you have the CEO class, then you have the upper middle class; you have the middle class. It’s an economic and social designation that he’s talking about, and he claims that they’re all embarrassed about this, and are peeling away with one anecdote. “A prominent Republican businessman, whom I saw in a typical CEO haunt…” What the hell is that? What is a typical CEO haunt? A golf course? A hunting club? A restaurant on the top floor of the tallest building in town? What is it? “…astonished me with the severity of his attacks on Bush’s competence, and Bush had appointed this guy to a major position.” Well, had appointed. Obviously he’s not there now. Wonder who this could be and why he might be upset. “Main Street, smaller government deficit hawks. This is an old-fashioned but important core of conservatism. People who think federal spending should be relentlessly reduced and that we should always view with suspicion any proposals to increase the role of the federal government in local and private life. After binges of spending and legislating, back-benchers in the GOP especially in the House are in open revolt having gathered around Mike Pence of Indiana and Senator McCain. They tend to view the leadership’s spending habits with alarm.” Then he goes on to talk about the isolationists and the neocons and all these other groups that are pulling out, and the supply-siders. He said, “This is the one faction that the president has yet to disappoint in a major way. He pushed through two major tax cuts, and is pushing more — targeted ones — in the wake of Katrina.” Well (sigh). This, again, he describes as the conservative crackup, and what this is, is a conservative crackdown, and the thing that’s spurred all of this is not Katrina response. It’s not Iraq and all that. It is the Harriet Miers nomination. That’s where the real divisions have finally opened up a split, but this crackdown is simply all these groups essentially saying, “We’re not going to put up with this kind of thing anymore and we’re going to unite and we’re going to finally produce what we want.” I just want to remind you the last time this happened it led to two landslides in 1980 and 1984. This is a hope and dream that the conservative movement is cracking up, and I am here to tell you, it isn’t — and I hate to keep overusing this, but it is cracking down, folks. It’s cracking down and it’s letting people who have gone astray know that they’ve gone astray one way or the other, and we’re going to put it back together.
RUSH: I want to go back to this Fineman piece where he says that one of the groups that’s deserting the conservative movement, i.e., the president is CEOs, and he’s got this one anecdote with one disgruntled ex-Bush appointee who is the CEO, and that establishes the case. Now, everybody knows that all CEOs do not vote Republican. This is one of the biggest myths in American politics, that big business is pro-Republican. Most big business give equally to both parties to cover their bets because it’s an extortion racket! Look at Microsoft. They learned the lesson. You don’t give enough to the Democrats, when you get in power, we’ll sue you, anti-trust and all that. Bill Gates has opened an office in Washington, I think, now to deal with this. He didn’t have one before that. The idea that CEOs are monolithic and always Republican, and are fed up is silly. Look at the Hollywood left CEOs. There’s so many CEOs out there that are liberals and left-wing, it would stun you. But then, the further notion that they are embarrassed because of the response to Hurricane Katrina? Most of the CEOs I know already think the federal government’s too big; they couldn’t manage it if they ran it. It’s not something that can be managed. We’ve added layers and layers of bureaucracy, which CEOs do not do, and to sit here and say — I mean, they don’t trust it anyway. They’d much rather have themselves in on the action working on this, cleaning this up. To say they’re embarrassed, this is just such asinine analysis. It’s so sophomoric, given who’s engaging in it.
“Well,” you say. “Okay, what’s causing this? What’s really lighting the fires of the left?”
It has to be the falling poll numbers, and it has to be what they think is dissension in the ranks over the Harriet Miers nomination. Those two things have got them all fired up on the left, the Democratic Party and the media. “It’s ours. We own it; ’06, ’08, ours!” Well, the people at the Power Line blog have done some interesting research — actually Real Clear Politics and Power Line. Bush’s average, his approval-disapproval average right now to 41.7% approval at this point, and Power Line says, “Are they really that bad? That is at or about the low point in nearly five years in office. How does it compare to other presidents’ lowest poll ratings? Actually it isn’t that bad. Here are the low approval ratings for the last seven presidents. Johnson, 35%.” Remember now Bush is at 41.7%. “Nixon, 24%; Ford 37. Carter 28. Reagan 35. Bush One 29. Clinton 37%,” and you heard right. Every president since 1963 has had approval ratings at one time or another during his administration at least five points lower than Bush’s current low point. Bush has a higher low point approval rating than any of the seven previous presidents that I mentioned. Now, you don’t see Howard Fineman remembering Bill Clinton’s 37% or Jimmy Carter’s 28% or Ronald Reagan’s 35%, do you? No, because none of that matters, because Bush is the worst there’s ever been! “Bush is horrible! Bush stinks! Rumsfeld stinks! Rice stinks! Everybody stinks, and we’re finally going to get rid of them, thanks to the conservative crackup,” which again, folks, is a crackDOWN.
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