Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Bob Dole to Rush Limbaugh: Lay off McCain.

Below is the text of an open letter former Republican presidential candidate, Senate Republican Majority Leader and long-time Kansas Senator Bob Dole sent to radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh. I appreciate Bob Dole for speaking out. It is time someone with good Republican credentials publicly stood up to that blowhard windbag Rush Limbaugh. Rush does not speak for all Republicans and no one gave him the authority to define who is and who is not a conservative.

I am disgusted by the attempt of Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, and the Internet bloggers and chatters who are demonizing John McCain. They want to narrowly redefine what is “conservatism” and want everyone to march in lockstep to a narrow agenda. I doubt Ronald Reagan, Barry Goldwater, or William F. Buckley could pass their purity test.

Like Bob Dole, I do not always agree will the policy positions of John McCain, but John McCain is an honorable man and has served his country, party, and the conservative movement well. He has a lifetime rating from the American Conservative Union of 82.3%; hardly a liberal. We need to be trying to mend the splintered Republican coalition and not reading people out of the party. Thank you Bob Dole for coming to the defense of John McCain and standing up to Rush Limbaugh.


I have not seen you in a long time but I do hear you frequently and I know that you have serious reservations about Senator McCain. Not that many care but I have not been involved in the Republican Primary contest because Elizabeth, a good conservative, is running for reelection in North Carolina where Romney, McCain and Huckabee each enjoy considerable support.

I was the Republican Leader from January 1985 until I left the Senate voluntarily in June 1996. I worked closely with Senator McCain when he came to the Senate in 1987 until I departed. I cannot recall a single instance when he did not support the Party on critical votes.
(At my age, I cannot be entirely certain but here are a few key conservative examples:)
1. Consistent pro-life record
2. Strong advocate for strict constructionist judges (We were misled on the Souter nomination)
3. Supported voluntary school prayer
4. Supported Constitutional Amendment for a Balanced Budget (needed two-thirds and lost by one vote - 66-34)
5. Strong advocate for reducing spending and opposing pork barrel “ear marks” which has, I might add, angered some of his colleagues
6. Consistent on defending Second Amendment rights
7. Opposed “Hillary Care” which would have been devastating
8. Probably the Senate’s strongest advocate for strong national defense

Of course he has cast many votes since I left. I totally disagreed with the McCain-Feingold legislation. On immigration, Senator McCain was not in the Senate when Congress passed President Reagan’s immigration legislation which passed overwhelmingly. It granted amnesty to 2.7 million illegals. It was not much different than the 2007 McCain, Kennedy, Bush effort.

I disagree with his votes against the Bush tax cuts but I believe his pledge to make them permanent and I do not agree that Governor Romney ever suggested a timetable for troop withdrawals in Iraq.

McCain is a friend and I proudly wore his P.O.W. bracelet bearing his name while he was still a guest at the “Hanoi Hilton.” I believe our major candidates are mainstream conservatives and that our nominee will address our concerns by keeping taxes low, reducing corporate taxes, protecting and assisting the vulnerable, strengthening our traditional values, and above all, keeping America strong militarily, whatever the cost.

Whoever wins the Republican nomination will need your enthusiastic support. Two terms for the Clintons are enough.

Gob Bless America,

P.S. Rush, I just came across a document from the Senate Library which shows Presidential Support scores. Let me give you ratings for “Mr. Conservative” Senator Helms through 2002 (Helms retired in January 2003) and Senator McCain through 2004.

[To see the year by year data, click here: " Bob Dole" . The evidence is clear that John McCain's record stacks up well against that of Senator Helms, the senator often regarded as the most conservative man in the Senate. Rod]

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