Less than a week after Rush Limbaugh claimed that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's letter to President Bush contained "Democratic talking points" and "even some liberal Hollywood Jewish people talking point[s]," Limbaugh hosted Vice President Dick Cheney on The Rush Limbaugh Show.
Less than a week after nationally syndicated radio host Rush Limbaugh claimed -- as Media Matters for America documented -- that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's letter to President Bush contained "Democratic talking points" and "even some liberal Hollywood Jewish people talking point[s]," Limbaugh hosted Vice President Dick Cheney on the May 16 edition of The Rush Limbaugh Show. Cheney agreed with Limbaugh's claim that Democrats "are getting away with being total bystanders and spectators" on the issue of illegal immigration, stating that Democrats prefer "to sit on the sidelines and take potshots." Neither noted that numerous Democrats have taken positions on the issue, including Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA), a co-sponsor of an immigration bill currently pending in the Senate. At the conclusion of the one-on-one interview, Cheney said that Limbaugh "render[s] a great service out there by hosting these debates."
Cheney has appeared on The Rush Limbaugh Show several times in recent years, despite Limbaugh's consistent use of his program as a vehicle for spreading extreme, hateful speech and falsehoods, as Media Matters for America has documented.
From the May 16 edition of The Rush Limbaugh Show:
LIMBAUGH: [Sen. Richard] Durbin [D-IL], last night, couldn't decide whether he agrees with Bush or not, but he definitely has no alternative. They didn't know what to do with this last night. So, they're just taking their usual potshots.
LIMBAUGH: Let me ask you a quick, political question -- two prongs to it -- the Dubai Ports deal -- American people spoke out loudly against it: "We don't want any part of it." It got killed. The illegal immigration deal is generating just as much negative response, but the American people are not getting the -- the reaction -- the same reaction from government to that -- that -- that they got on the Dubai Ports deal. A little confused. Asking questions. What's different here? We're still talking security.
The second thing is: Democrats, Mr. Vice President, frankly, are getting away with being total bystanders and spectators on this. They offer no solution themselves, yet they continue to sit around and criticize the administration and the Republicans over this. Is there a plan to deal with them politically on this?
CHENEY: Well, we're -- it is a very tough issue. There's no question about it. You mention the Dubai Ports deal, Rush. That was created a -- a firestorm of controversy, and so Congress quickly backed provisions that would have made it impossible to go forward. And of course, the folks at Dubai Ports withdrew their -- their proposal. The fact is that from the perspective of -- of United Arab Emirates and so forth -- I worked closely with those folks -- they've been very good allies of ours.
And I don't want to go back and redo the whole Dubai Ports operation, but the fact of the matter is, I thought there was a -- a very strong emotional reaction there. I can understand the emotional reaction but it didn't -- didn't bear much resemblance to the basic fundamental facts. What we have here, I mean, is it -- I suppose there's a difference between trying to govern and solve a major problem -- which is what the president and those of us who work for him are trying to do versus the Democrats, in this case, who don't have any responsibilities or at least aren't willing to take any responsibilities. They want to sit on the sidelines and take potshots.
This is an important problem for us to -- to deal with. We've got some 11 or 12 million illegals in the country. It is a national security problem. It's also an economic problem. If you could round all those folks up tomorrow and put them back over the border, you'd have a big hole in your workforce. It -- it is not an easy, simple proposition. If it was, it would have been solved a long time ago. It's one of those tough, impractical problems where you're going to make progress 3 yards in a cloud of dust.
We need to get started. We need to get the borders secured. That's our top priority. But then we need to also deal with these other aspects of the problem.
LIMBAUGH: Mr. Vice President, thanks for your time. I wish we had a little bit more, but I know you're on a tight schedule and it's -- it's a thrill with -- with whatever time we have with you, whenever. So, thanks very much for being with us now, and we look forward to the next time.
CHENEY: All right. It's good to talk to you, Rush. You render a great service out there by hosting these debates.