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RUSH: Now, the Drive-Bys, when it comes to McCain, are all excited that he might actually choose a pro-choice and/or liberal pro-choice running mate. Last night on PMSNBC, Dan Abrams spoke with Jonathan Alter of Newsweek. Two Drive-Bys, speaking to one another. Abrams says, ‘We don’t expect McCain to announce his decision until next Friday.’

ALTER: A real distinct possibility — or at least something not to be ruled out, um — that McCain could go for a pro-choice, uh, running mate. He doesn’t care about ticking off, uh, you know, uh, a few loudmouths in the base. We saw he floated Tom Ridge’s name to kind of see how big the reaction would be.

ABRAMS: Yeah! Mmm.

ALTER: It wasn’t really that big.

ABRAMS: Yeah! Right!

ALTER: You can’t rule out Joe Lieberman, either.

RUSH: It wasn’t really that big? See, the Drive-Bys are just hoping for this. They’re just hoping for it because they know it’s not just a few loudmouths in the base. They know the base will totally turn on McCain if this is the case. It’s not that they want somebody pro-choice on McCain’s ticket. They’ve got pro-choice in Obama. They got more than pro-choice; they got somebody believes in infanticide running at the top of their ticket! They couldn’t be happier. You know that Obama’s not going to pick some pro-lifer. So it’s not about them being true to a belief. It’s about finding a way to persuade McCain to make a decision that will guarantee his defeat.

As I had yesterday: McCain, if he does this to please the Drive-Bys or for whatever advice he’s getting… I can’t imagine the people around McCain are this dumb, but they might be a bunch of yes-men. But if he picks a pro-choice running mate, it’s not going to be pretty, and the Drive-Bys know it, and they’re trying to encourage him to do so. Last night on Hardball, we had John Harwood from the New York Times talking with Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post. And Robinson said, ‘I can’t imagine the Republican convention is going to be very interesting if he picks Tom Ridge because he’s pro-choice. Is that a deal breaker?’

ROBINSON: What’s the fallout going to be? Look what’s happened to James Dobson. James Dobson, over the last several months has gone from saying, ‘There’s no way I could ever vote for John McCain,’ to, ‘Oh, well, maybe I will after all.’ I think the McCain campaign might be able to calculate that the same thing would happen if they pick Tom Ridge.

RUSH: They may be calculating that, but it’s a severe miscalculation. The question here, folks, really, is how to you get the message to McCain. McCain is 71 years old. He’s who he is and his personality is what it is, and you don’t get in McCain’s face and say, ‘Don’t do that. That’s a dumb thing to do.’ I think maybe the way to go about this, is say, ‘Senator McCain, we know you’re smart and we know you’re going to do the right thing here and we know you do not want to lose.’ But I’ll tell you, it’s amazing, all of these Drive-Byers — who, by the way, folks, as you well know, know nothing about us. They don’t know what makes us tick. We’re aliens to them, and they think that we’re going to, at the end of the day, sit around and vote for McCain regardless — and this is where the miscalculation is huge. How about somebody like Rick Santorum, other than Tom Ridge?

How about some discussion from the McCain campaign about a conservative who could be counted on across the board who can help lead the country in the right direction, who can help rebuild the Republican Party (Lieberman can’t do that) and rebuild the conservative movement. Neither McCain nor Lieberman nor Ridge can do that. What is this? This is crap! What is this about picking a liberal Democrat or a liberal Republican? McCain has already seen to it that he can walk across the aisle. He’s the top of the ticket. If anybody’s going to attract moderates, it’s going to be the top-of-the-ticket guy. He’s not going to help himself any additional way. He’s going to hurt himself by putting a liberal or liberal Republican on this, particularly pro-choice.

If they do that, if the McCain camp does that, they will have effectively destroyed the Republican Party and pushed the conservative movement into the bleachers — and there are a lot of people who believe that’s been the aim of the Rockefeller wing of the Republican Party for many years. Now, if all this stuff is not just a trial balloon — and a lot of people now think that all this is just a smoke screen to set the table and set the stage for Rudolph Giuliani as the vice president. Meanwhile, Mike Huckabee is out there trashing Mitt Romney to as many evangelical groups as he can. We’re committing suicide in the midst of two events that could launch the party to sweeping victory in November!

One: the energy and gasoline price debate — and the Democrats are nervous on that. They’re starting to abandon Pelosi on it. We own that issue, if played right. Two: McCain’s performance Saturday night with Rick Warren out there at the Saddlesore Church . One wrong selection as vice president can wipe all that out because everything that McCain said Saturday night… The reason he’s getting such rave reviews is why? ‘Cause he was a conservative! McCain’s conservatism — sometimes hidden — surfaced loudly, proudly, and valorously Saturday night. It could be undone by choosing a liberal, Democrat pro-choice or a liberal Republican. People will say, ‘Well, what was all that Saturday night? If he really believes that, how can he put a pro-choicer on the ticket?’

Especially his answer on abortion, ‘life begins at conception.’ He’s going to nominate somebody that could become president, who differs from him on such a core issue as life? It makes no sense! I just don’t understand the thinking on this, no matter how I look at it. But you know there is thinking. There are people thinking strategically, there are people thinking this would be a good thing to do. For what? To destroy the Republican Party? ‘Cause it certainly is not how they’re going to win the White House. This would be somewhat more understandable if McCain had not done so well Saturday night. Why are the Drive-Bys so scared of what McCain did? Why are the Drive-Bys trying to say he cheated?

It’s not just that he did well. It’s what he did well. He articulated core conservative values and principles. He’s been doing it all summer, and he’s two points away. He has closed the gap on The Messiah! The Drive-Bys know it. See, the dirty little secret is that everybody but the Republican Party seems to know what it is that wins for them: values-based, free-market based conservative principles. McCain’s been focusing on those all summer long. He’s pulled to within two points. In some places he’s tied. He came out way on the top Saturday night. The Drive-Bys and the Democrats know it. They know that they can’t compete with conservatism when it is articulated the way McCain did on Saturday night. So that’s why they’re urging him on to pick somebody who would just totally cancel the effect among Republican voters of what they heard from McCain on Saturday night.


RUSH: By the way, there’s a new poll out today from Survey USA. It was conducted August 13th through the 14th. Polls about now do matter. A year ago polls were irrelevant. If the polls a year ago were accurate, we’d have Hillary and Rudy as the two party nominees. But now going into the conventions, this is when polling data starts to take on some relevance, at least with me. The Drive-Bys rely on polling every damn day for every damn thing. Most of it’s meaningless, but there is a new poll from Survey USA today between August 13th and 14th that shows McCain has pulled to within two points of Obama in Minnesota. He is also closing the gap on Obama in New York. I’ve got a story with a funny headline here that says Obama is not doing well in Oklahoma, which is no surprise. The Drive-Bys know he’s not going to do well in the South, much closer race. So as far as the vice presidency is concerned, we’ve heard the name Tim Pawlenty being bandied about. One thing about Pawlenty, a lot of people are not convinced of his conservative bona fides. But you put him up against any of the other people being named, and it’s a stark contrast. Pawlenty is a solid pro-lifer. Minnesota is in play. He’s the governor there. Tim Pawlenty has appointed a pro-life majority on the state Supreme Court. He might be able to deliver a toss-up state like Minnesota. You never know. But that is another name that has been bandied about as a potential vice presidential running mate for McCain.


RUSH: I have been referring today to the possibility that Senator McCain would choose Senator Lieberman as vice president as perhaps floating a trial balloon. I have since been informed that it is far more than a trial balloon. Apparently, the McCain campaign is having delegates to the Republican convention polled on the issue of Lieberman on the ticket. Also, the highest-level donors, those who have given $2 million or more are getting calls from Carly Fiorina and Schmidt, the new guy brought in to run the campaign of Charlie Black. It’s not a head fake, apparently, it’s a serious float. McCain’s trying to gauge, take the temperature of delegates to the convention and these high donors. This is tough because I like Joe Lieberman a lot. He’s a fine guy. I met him a couple times. Last time I saw Lieberman was last April. It was in New York at The Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation annual dinner. Of course, I was there to receive a little award here for the Harry Reid Smear Letter that generated a total of $4.2 million for The Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation, and Senator Lieberman was also being given an award because he’s great on the war and he’s great on national defense. And as such, somebody tell the McCain campaign he’d be fine as a secretary of defense or secretary of state, he’d be perhaps better at defense, but he’d be fine there.

But Senator Lieberman got up on stage and said, ‘This is the weirdest political season of my life. Here I am an independent from Connecticut, at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel addressing a room full of military people, and I have to ask Rush Limbaugh also in the audience to support the Republican candidate for president. Who would ever believe this?’ Senator Lieberman, and that brought the house down. Everybody started laughing, and as soon as the event was over I made my way to the door because I had to get out of there, fly back home for big weekend guests coming in. I stopped by Senator Lieberman’s table and talked to him. He said, ‘We need to talk. We need to talk.’ We have never gotten around to talking, but if what I’m told is accurate, serious float, and they’re talking to these big donors and the delegates are taking a poll on this, it’s a very serious thing. It could just destroy everything McCain gained on Saturday night. I cannot emphasize this enough.

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