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RUSH: Let’s go to the audio sound bites. As you know, on yesterday’s program, it was either a caller here or something I was reading in the news, something that happened on the program, I just reacted in a semi-visceral way to the idea that all of a sudden Marco Rubio has become this establishment candidate, which to me means that he’s a RINO, a moderate Republican tending toward even maybe a liberal Republican and all that. And that’s just not who Marco Rubio is, to me.

I think I made the point analyzing the results in Iowa that Rubio is heavily influenced by Reagan, as was Ted Cruz, as was Dr. Carson. Three of the four top finishers in Iowa — and I think it’s momentous. I think it’s remarkable. ‘Cause the Republican Party establishment they are trying to tie Rubio to is actually the group that wants to get rid of Reagan and Reagan influences, the Reagan fetish, the era of Reagan is over. And I think Rubio’s a Reaganite.

Rubio is somebody whose life story and ideology are much closer to Reagan than, say, a Mitt Romney or a McCain or take your pick of whoever, Bob Dole, the establishment people happen to love. And I know that a lot of people are very nervous about Marco Rubio because of the Gang of Eight and Rubio’s out there saying (paraphrasing), “I don’t think we have enough support in our party alone to get elected president. We’re gonna have to branch out.” Some people look at Rubio as an interventionist in foreign policy, which, to them, means globalist.

I understand the fears people have of Rubio. And I understand the conservative contrasts that can be made between Rubio and Cruz. There’s no question that you can make that contrast, that one, Cruz is top to bottom, checkmark after checkmark after checkmark no doubt is Ted Cruz a conservative. I understand Rubio’s given people reason to be less confident, Gang of Eight bill alone, the argument over whether or not he does favor ultimately, at the end of everything, amnesty. I understand all of that.

I would, too. If the New York Times came out and said this is the best talk show in the country, I would panic. I would think it’s over. I would say, “What am I doing wrong?” That’s exactly right. If the New York Times came out and started treating me the way they treat — I don’t know, take your pick of any liberal personality or actor, if they started treating me that way, I’d say what in the world did I do wrong? I would think it is about over if I’m being praised by the New York Times. That’s exactly damn right.

Look, I’m walking on eggshells all day today. I’m trying not to crack the eggs. But, friends, I just, at some point I know we need to run against the establishment. I’m leading the charge. But Marco Rubio ain’t them. Now, I don’t doubt that they are trying to make him them. I don’t doubt that they’re putting pressure on him. They don’t have anywhere else to go.

Their guy isn’t gonna go anywhere. Their guy is Jeb. Then their next guy is Christie. They’re not going anywhere. They’ve gotta find somebody. And they’re glomming on to Rubio. But let me tell you something. You know what really made it reality for me? I’m listening to people analyze Iowa, and they’re tabulating the votes by percentage and leaving Rubio out when discussing the percentage of the Iowa caucus vote that went to conservatives.

And they would say something like, “If you look at it, 51% of the caucus-goers in Iowa tended to conservative.” That would be the total of Cruz and Carson, and somehow Rubio got left out of that. Which… That’s what made me start scratching my head. “How can you not count the support that Rubio got?” Rubio, in many people’s minds, is a conservative. He clearly is not a RINO. He’s not the kind of Republican you think of when you hear “establishment Republican.” To me, anyway.

And so I think you have to add the votes that Rubio got, the percentage that Rubio got, and if you do that, you’re well over 60% of the Hawkeye Cauci electorate that chose conservatism. Trump, you would not throw in that mix. Trump himself doesn’t want to be identified that way, or it’s not that he doesn’t want to be, but that’s not his… It’s not the angle from which he’s coming. That’s the only point that I was trying to make here. We have Politico story here. “GOP Establishment Rallies Behind Rubio — Top Republicans are urging several of his rivals to drop out.”

And from Breitbart: “Republican Establishment Candidates Go Full-Throttle After Rubio in New Hampshire — Republican establishment presidential candidates Jeb Bush, John Kasich, and Chris Christie have focused their fire on as part of the GOP nomineesÂ’ campaign to…” This is all about a quest for money. The donor class of this… I understand that. But when you get down to discussing ideology? I don’t know, folks. I don’t know how else to say it. I know Rubio. I don’t know these people intimately well.

I’m not what you would call best friends with them, but I know them. I’ve spent a lot of time with them, a lot of time talking to them about any number of things, not just their careers and not just politics. But whereas Jeb Bush, I would have no qualm with anybody describing Jeb as establishment. He is the definition of it. He is the poster boy this year. I think the establishment really has nowhere to go. They’ve gotta go get somebody here. Everyone in this race that the establishment…

By that I mean the RNC, the GOP, the elites, inside-the-Beltway cadre, whatever. If they had their druthers, it would be Jeb, and then after that it would be Christie, and after that it would be… I mean, some of them might even want to glom onto Kasich. But Rubio is the last chance they got to have a horse in the game. I don’t know if Rubio wants to take it and run with it as that, but I’m just talking about in a vacuum. Vacuums don’t exist. But Rubio just, as he stands and is. I listened to his speech after the Iowa caucus.

I did not hear somebody embarrassed of or afraid of conservatism, conservative ideology. I heard somebody, on the contrary, who understands it, who can articulate it cheerfully, happily, confidently. The idea to peg this guy as an establishment type, knowing what that really means, is just something that doesn’t compute with me. But I’m not even finished with this.


RUSH: Linda in Tampa. I want to squeeze a phone call in here before the half hour expires. How are you, Linda?

CALLER: Hi, Rush. Nice talking to you.

RUSH: Same here.

CALLER: The sad thing is, I’m gonna have disagree with you. I can’t believe it.

RUSH: (sigh)

CALLER: But on Rubio, I disagree.

RUSH: Okay.

CALLER: I think he’s nothing more than an opportunist who will say and do whatever it takes to get elected. When he was testing the waters here in Florida for his Senate run, we held a meet-and-greet for him with lots of grassroots in attendance. He introduced himself and immediately started in on the immigration plans he had. And, you know, “out of the shadows,” “pathway to citizenship,” all that stuff.

We all rose up and let him know that we did not approve; we were not interested in that. He said he heard us, he understood, and a lot of us went out of our way, did everything we could for him to get him elected. He got to DC and the first thing he did? Gang of Eight. Now we’re hearing the same slick talk and speeches that he said in Florida, and we think amnesty has always been his first priority. And now we find out there’s been over two dozen immigration enforcement plans introduced up in Washington, and he has not cosponsored even one.

RUSH: Okay. Okay. Okay. I’m out of time. The guy’s horrible. The guy’s rotten. All right. Fine.


RUSH: I want to apologize to the last caller. Linda, it was just a quick stab at humor. I had five seconds left when you finished. I was not trying to be flippant and not take your comments seriously. I do take your comments seriously. In fact, you expressed them fabulously well. You didn’t hesitate or stutter or pause at any point. I don’t doubt you. I’m not saying Marco Rubio is perfect. I’m just saying that I do not believe that Marco Rubio is representative of what we all mean when we talk about “the establishment.”

I know he’s got a lot of things to explain on immigration and amnesty. I know it’s something he may never be able to get past because the issue is too important and people don’t want to take a chance on it. I understand that. But I’m not… I just don’t want to sit by… I don’t like throwing people overboard. I don’t like throwing people out and getting rid of them on the basis that somehow they’re impure. The guy is not a liberal! He’s not a squish moderate. He’s not the kind of person that’s responsible for the messes we’re in.

Not even close.

But I also am not seeking perfection because, aside from me, it doesn’t exist. And I say that flippantly with attempted humor, too. I watch the forces here that are attempting to take Rubio and plug him into that hole. I don’t think he’s seeking it. Look, I had a conversation with him Monday morning for a half hour here, and I asked him if I could talk about the conversation. He said I could. And he didn’t put anything off the record or any disclaimers. One thing he told me was how frustrating it is to be in the Senate, and I’ve heard the exact thing from Ted Cruz.

Not word-for-word, but thematically I’ve heard the same thing, how frustrating it is that the only thing anybody in the Senate cares about from morning to night is reelection and maintaining their position. He said, “I’m not staying there. I’m out. If I don’t win the presidency, I’m going to the private sector. Not politics. I don’t want to stay in the Senate 30 years. I don’t want to have to stay there that long to acquire any power. The place is just not built for somebody that wants to move as quickly as I do.” It’s what he told me.

Now, there isn’t an establishment person in the world that wants out of it. There isn’t an establishment power broker that wants out. The reason for their existence is to be in the club and to climb the ladder of success in the club and to be anointed by your betters and elders in the club and be given a hand up. And Cruz has told me the same thing. Cruz has talked about it publicly. Cruz took it public with his direct criticism of McConnell and the claim that McConnell lied to his face about a number of things. They can’t get anything done there.

They can’t get anything done there as conservatives because the place doesn’t have very many. But besides that, it doesn’t have an agenda anyway, other than self-preservation. So they said. Both of them have said this to me, and they’re not the only ones. I’ve heard it from members of Congress. The Republican freshman class of 1994? Those are the people that made me an honorary member. Within, what was it, four terms, they were all gone? They were all dynamic private sector successes, and they showed up with fire in the belly and they were gonna reform the place –and after two terms, they got out.

Allen West. I remember being at a cocktail party in Washington after a very important vote when Allen West was serving in his first term. And he shows up just beat up. He’d been told by whoever runs the House, “You Tea Party guys? You’re nothing! You don’t get a vote unless you vote the way we want.” He said, “It’s just…” They show up eager. They show up with fire in the belly, they show up motivated and inspired, and they get beat down and beat back. And it’s not that they don’t have the stick-to-itiveness. It’s that the prospect of hanging in there and making change…

Thirty years is what Marco Rubio said to me. That’s how long he figures it would take him to acquire any kind of genuine power, in terms of the institution — which, you know, it’s its own universe in there. He did not sound like a guy who can’t wait to be adopted by the establishment. He didn’t sound like a guy who can’t wait to do their bidding. And every time I’ve spoken with him, he has sounded like he’s talking to me. It’s like I’m talking to myself. I don’t know what else to tell you. Now, I have a piece here, David French, National Review. This is from yesterday.

Marco Rubio and the Difference Between Being ‘Establishment’ and Someone Establishment Voters Can Support.” Here’s his take on it: “‘Let’s begin with a simple proposition — unless a candidate is seeking to fundamentally transform the GOP coalition (see, for example, Donald Trump), then winning a general election means uniting every GOP constituency under one banner, and happily so. Thus, we want a candidate whom establishment voters will want to support, along with populists, Tea Party conservatives, and every other wing of the GOP. It’s one thing to campaign against establishment politicians. It’s another thing entirely to shun establishment voters.”

French’s point is: Throw the establishment politicians out left and right, but you can’t throw away their voters, even though they will throw us away. Establishment people will throw conservative voters over left and right. In fact, they can’t wait to do it. So don’t think I’m naive about anything here. French writes, “[T]his brings me to the persistent allegation that Marco Rubio is nothing but yet another ‘GOPe’ stooge, a loser in the Dole/McCain/Romney mold and the tool of the Washington political class. As I’ve noted before — along with my colleague Jim Geraghty — in many ways Rubio is an odd fit for the ‘establishment’ charge.

“After all, he’s the original Tea Party senator who [beat] Charlie Crist, he’s been the target of tens of millions of dollars of negative ads from the ultimate establishment candidate, Jeb Bush, and his voting record — with the notable exception of the Gang of 8 — has been not just reliably conservative, but extraordinarily so. Indeed, [Rubio]’s the architect of the single-most effective legislative assault against Obamacare since its passage.” He says, “There is a difference between an establishment candidate and a candidate whom establishment voters can happily support.” David French, National Review writer, in his view, “Rubio is the latter. … a candidate whom establishment voters can happily support.”

Now, that, I can imagine, would scare a lot — “We don’t want somebody the establishment likes, Rush, don’t you get it?” We’re talking about establishment voters out there, not in Washington. We’re not talking about the donor class. We’re talking about your daily, regular, run-of-the-mill GOP registered voters. Rubio is the latter. “That’s why talking heads speak of Rubio filling the ‘establishment lane’ going forward. And that’s why the Bush Super PAC is spending tens of millions of the Republican donor class’s money attacking Rubio. If a Tea Party senator can fill the establishment lane, then millions of establishment voters are moving right, and the traditional political class truly is losing its influence.”

Now, this is opinion. You may think it’s all wet. You may think, “My God, Rush, I can’t believe you’re falling for this. There’s no difference in an establishment voter and an establishment politician.” Well, Mr. French thinks there is. By no means through with this, folks. And there will be many more phone calls on this, and again, I didn’t mean to shut Linda out or be flippant. I had three seconds to come up with a quick reply, so I thought I would let her think she convinced me.


RUSH: Now, if some of you are saying, “Well, that explains it. Rubio called Rush on Monday.” Folks, they all call, I talk to them all. You think that, “No wonder Rush is supporting Rubio. Rubio called him.” They all do. I just never talk about it because most of the time it’s off the record. But I asked Senator Rubio specifically if I could mention this, and he said, yeah. So there.

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