A Theory on What Newt's Doing
May 17, 2011
RUSH: I have evolved a theory on what Newt's up to. My theory is based in my belief that Newt knows he's going to lose this. So this is about positioning after he loses it. Now, I should tell you that -- and I might have mentioned this before; I don't remember -- six weeks ago, eight weeks ago, I had breakfast with Newt. Long before he officially announced his presidential run, he told me he's gonna run; he went through his agenda bullet point by bullet point.
And at that lunch, he practically said, "Now, I think I've already got the nomination wrapped up. I'm not worried about that. I'm looking beyond that to vice presidential running mates, policies and so forth and so on." He was very, very confident that he'd already had it wrapped up. This is the midst of Trump. I asked him about Mitch Daniels. "Ah, Mitch not don't know about run. Conventional wisdom is Mitch isn't gonna run; his wife doesn't like politics." So Mitch wasn't gonna run. "Romney can't survive Romneycare." He went through all of this as to why he was almost the de facto, default winner of the nomination.
But my theorem actually evolves from a belief that I have that he thinks he probably gonna lose. Look, Romney is obviously the front-runner now with all the money. They're saying Romney's gonna be able to raise a billion dollars, too. Romney raised something like $10 million in eight hours. So you got Trump (who was never in) out of it. You've got all the others. Santorum, I think, is a dark horse. I think Bachmann, she's talking about getting in. I think Bachmann could stir things up, too, in a fascinatingly interesting way. What's gonna happen...
It's already happening. There's a website that loves Sarah Palin, and that website is already trashing Michele Bachmann, and we've always thought that Bachmann and Palin are buds. They've shown up together at different places, introduced each other, but now this Palin friend's website is launching broadsides at Bachmann (using that Daily Caller piece that I shared with you yesterday as ammo). This is what happens in primaries.
RUSH: I mentioned yesterday the phenomena known as niche marketing, niche programming in terms of radio programs. There's a lot of that going on. I think it goes on in politics. I think people seek unexploited areas and try to fill a void that exists. For example, if the Republican field is already viewed as chock-full of middle of the road mainstream conservatives, does it make sense to enter the field as one of those, or maybe find a niche where you are in your mind a mainstream conservative, but you differ in two or three areas, enough so that you are not called in a derogatory way a typical right-winger?
Now, as far as the theory involving Newt I evolved, I got a note from a friend of mine who mentioned parts of this to me, got me thinking, energize the little gray cells. You know, it really isn't new what Newt has done here with the throwing of Paul Ryan under the bus, suggesting the mandate, individual mandate as something that has to be considered here in health care. It's not unprecedented behavior for Newt, not the first time. We had the Newt and Hillary show. We've had the Newt and Pelosi show. And don't forget we had the Newt and Dede Scozzafava show. If you've forgotten, Newt was right down the line with the party apparatchiks in New York 23, Dede Scozzafava, I mean as RINO, liberal Republican as you can get. And there was Newt right in there supporting her over the conservative alternative in that field.
Now, of all the things we know about Newt Gingrich, we know that he's not stupid. What do you think as he looks at the Republican presidential field and the whole prospect here of the presidential election, what do you think he really thinks about his prospects? The rule of thumb is, the conventional wisdom is that people that do this, people that actually subject themselves to the media anal exam, people that subject themselves to the lifestyle change, the never ending energy required to not only run a campaign but then if you win it your life changes forever, for at least four years, and you hope eight. People that do this don't generally do it hoping to lose.
Now, some of them do it knowing they're not serious. They're using it for other reasons, to make themselves known, to have on the resume "former presidential candidate" so they get invited as never ending revolving guests on cable shows and so that the graphic will be, "former presidential candidate." But people who enter the race who are serious about winning it are a different breed. They believe that the country cannot do without them. Their egos are massive. It has to be that way, the people who are serious about it. The people who are serious about it are genuinely disciplined people as well. They understand that you can blow the whole thing wide open in a matter of seconds with one ill-timed, ill-fated comment. They understand this.
Now, my theory is based on the belief that Newt knows his chances of winning the nomination are tiny. If I'm wrong about this then the rest of the theory falls apart. And I have to remind you, I've spoken to him about this, and when I spoke to him about it six weeks, eight weeks ago, he was of the mind that it was already done, winning the nomination was a formality. The field was weak. He was head and shoulders above anybody in the field, in his mind, so had to go through the nomination process, but in his mind that was a fait accompli. He was already planning his campaign and life as the nominee at this breakfast, and he went down a list of things issue-wise for me that detailed his stance on various issues and ideas. But what if he isn't serious about winning it?
RUSH: Okay, so what's the niche? What is the niche right now in the Republican presidential field that Newt might see needs to be filled or that he wants to fill? What's the niche? What's missing in the Republican field right now, announced? The McCain wing, the moderates. (interruption) Don't smirk at me! (interruption) Pawlenty does not fit them. Pawlenty is trying to move away from that. You might want to say Pawlenty is RINO. Daniels is not officially in yet. You might want to say Pawlenty is RINO but he's moving away from it.
He's apologizing for cap and trade, he's apologizing for a number of things he had to do as the governor of a liberal state. Pawlenty is clearly aiming at aligning himself with the Tea Party, with conservatives. (interruption) Romney? (interruption) No! Romney's not out trying to be McCain. There's nobody out in the field right now trying to be McCain. Okay, stick with me on this, now, 'cause, again, this is all predicated on my belief that Newt doesn't expect to win. If I'm wrong about that then all of this is, of course, worthless. So I do have that caveat.
If he's really in this to win, then this that I have evolved or developed here is not so much accurate. But he is running a campaign... That stuff he said about the budget and the mandate and Ryan and "right-wing social engineering" and stuff? That is not intended to resonate with Republican primary voters, and he knows now that it doesn't. He got taken to the cleaners by somebody. Where was he yesterday? I've got the bite here somewhere. It was in Iowa, and he got taken to the cleaners by an average voter. Here, let me play it. Audio sound bite three. This is in Dubuque, Iowa, yesterday. On the campaign trail, an unidentified guy and Newt had this exchange about Newt's criticism of Paul Ryan's budget...
MAN: Speaker Gingrich, what you just did to Paul Ryan is unforgivable.
GINGRICH: I didn't do anything to Paul Ryan!
MAN: Yes, you did. You undercut him and his allies in the House.
GINGRICH: No, I said --
MAN: You're an embarrassment to our party.
GINGRICH: Well, I'm sorry you feel that way.
MAN: Why don't you get out before you make a bigger fool of yourself?
GINGRICH: I'm sorry... I'm sorry. I'm sorry you feel that way.
RUSH: Okay, so, that's what he ran into in Iowa yesterday. So he has to know now after that, that his belief on not being a part of "right-wing social engineering" (which is a slap at Ryan) is not gonna resonate with the Republican primary voters. He knew it before he made the statement. But who does resonate with that? Who has the potential to like that? The power elite in 2012 and beyond. The establishment. The DC ruling class. They'll eat a statement like that up!
You know, somebody criticizing left-wing extremism, right-wing extremism, social engineering. If Newt can provoke attack from the conservative Republican contenders (and even from the rank-and-file voters) by trodding on their sacred cows -- which is what he did. There's no denying it. He trod on some sacred cows as defined by this campaign. So be it if he does that. It gives him visibility.
Who's talking about it? In some people's eyes, it makes him "reasonable." With this crowd that I'm talking about, it's a resume enhancement to be criticized by me, and he rises above the field with this kind of stuff. Now, he's not gonna win the nomination with this strategy. We all agree on that, right? He's not gonna win the nomination with it. So what's he doing? This gives him a slim chance at something else, and in his mind it could have him perfectly hedged.
When he loses, he could end up being like McCain used to be: The darling of the establishment, media, corporate academic. McCain was, until he ran and then abandoned them. You know, he was out there proudly saying the media is his base, until it came time to run. When it came time to run, McCain abandoned all that and tried to become one of us. Newt's doing the exact opposite. When it comes time to run, Newt is heading to that place that McCain used to be.
He could end up, for example, on the Aspen Institute board. He might get a professorship at the Kennedy School. He might be added to the board of directors at IBM or what have you. Remember, McCain got spanked big time in 2000; made every effort he could to be more of a conservative Republican in 2008; and that's when the media turned on him.
Now this deficit, government spending issue has become the battleground -- and Newt just broke ranks and moved himself right into this open niche where nobody is. Being attacked by the right is a feature when you are thinking beyond the party nomination to your post-primary job prospects. Just saying. Everybody's asking me, "What do you think is going on here?" So this is as good an explanation as I can come up with if -- if, again -- he's not serious about winning.
RUSH: An e-mail: "Rush, what are you doing? Newt is using a brilliant strategy! To take Obama down, he needs to carry the whole Republican ticket. He's in the process of uniting Tea Party and Country Club Republicans for a massive takeover. Stop shooting him down unless you're part of the misdirection campaign. If you are, congratulations."
RUSH: Modesto, California, next. Hi, Len. You're on the Rush Limbaugh program. Great to have you here.
CALLER: Rush, glad to talk with you. I've been listening to you for many, many years.
RUSH: Thank you, sir.
CALLER: Listen, on Newt Gingrich, you know, they took the Ryan bill in the Senate and shelved it, you know, and I don't think they're gonna get to it and discuss it in any way, and there's a lot of things in that bill that's really, really, really good. But if you listen to MSNBC and some of these other stations, they're cutting us up pretty bad on disassembling Medicare, and I think Newt is just taking a big picture, a more micromanagement of it. In other words, he's looking to get beyond just Republicans. I think he's looking for independents and Democrats and everyone else. I think he's taking a good stand on it, you know?
RUSH: Okay, that's another way of just articulating my theory, that he's trying to take the moderate view. He sees a niche opening there, that the conservatives have that side locked down on this. He's seeking the approval of Democrats. He's seeking the approval of moderates. He's seeking the approval of the media. He knows full well that the way you get the media on your side is to rip conservatives. He's seen McCain pull that off.
CALLER: Yeah, yeah.
RUSH: But that's not how you win a Republican primary. Republican primary voters do not reward that.
CALLER: You're right there.
RUSH: So then what's Newt actually doing if he knows that and you know that and I know that, what's he actually doing?
CALLER: Well, I think there's more to come, you know what I'm saying? But, you know, for a very smart man that he is I think he's out there with the right things that he's saying.
RUSH: All right. Well, we'll see. We'll see.
CALLER: And you also, Rush.
RUSH: Well, you know, I'm just a guy on the radio here. I have the luxury of merely theorizing and commenting on it. I'm not running. Look, any number of ways to describe what Newt's doing here, playing to the bookers at MSNBC and CBS. But my theory -- again, if you missed it, too bad -- but it really depends on Newt expecting not to win this. If he really is in this to win it, my theory is full of it, my theory is irrelevant. My theory is based on the fact that I believe Newt looks at it and says he can't win but he wants big things as a result of trying. I'll tell you what I'm gonna do.
I mentioned that one of the things he might be doing -- and of course this is all theoretical -- that one of the things he might be angling for is a full time position on the board at the Aspen Institute. I mean everybody likes to go to Aspen, they have a lot of intellectual meetings, conversations out there, seminars and stuff. He's spoken, in fact, at the Aspen Institute. It's run by Walter Isaacson, who used to run TIME Magazine and CNN. And at one of the speeches he gave in Aspen he called the war in Iraq silly. I'll go back, I'll get the text of it, share with you some excerpts of what he said during that speech at the Aspen Institute, 'cause it all fits in with my theory.
RUSH: Here's Newt at Aspen. August of 2007, Newt Gingrich at the Aspen Institute, calling the War on Terror "phony." Oh, and, by the way: I had a couple of e-mails, too, from people who are (quite naturally) telling me that I'm full of it with my Newt theory. Again, my theory on what Newt's doing here by trashing Paul Ryan and suggesting that there needs to be a mandate to buy health insurance: I'm simply suggesting he's setting himself up for post-campaign, oh, riches or employment or what have you.
My theory's based on the fact that he's planning not to win. Not that he... (interruption) What? No, no, no, no, I haven't gotten any e-mail from Newt yet on this. I'm sure I will some point, but I haven't. But one of the theories is, "No, Rush, you're missing this. Newt simply knows that talking about Medicare is a loser no matter what you say about it during the campaign, so he's simply taking it off of his table."
But he's not taking it off of his table. When he's suggesting that any attempt to fix it is either left-wing or right-wing "social engineering," then he's talking about it; he's not avoiding it. (interruption) No, Snerdley, I think this is a good lesson for people who not only listen to this program but call here. I listen with my brain as well as with my ears. For example, a guy calls here and says whatever he says that Obama said with the assumption that Obama's saying that there aren't any manufacturing jobs.
Well, I know that there are, so I immediately throw out the idea that Obama's talking about no manufacturing jobs because we have plenty of them. That's what I mean by hearing with my brain and my ears. Now, I have an ABC version of Newt's speech at Aspen. There is also an AP version which differs from the ABC version. Here's ABC. "The potential GOP presidential candidate told attendees of the National Conservative Student Conference that 'We're about to enter the seventh year of this phony war…and we’re losing.'
"Gingrich added, 'None of you should believe we are winning this war. There is no evidence that we are winning this war.' Instead of the current strategy to fight terrorism, Gingrich said we should focus on energy independence. 'We have to have a national energy strategy, which basically says to the Saudis, "We're not going to rely on you."' Gingrich also attacked the current [regime] and former Republican Congressional leadership in saying 'We were in charge for six years…I don’t think you can look and say that was a great success,'" meaning the Republican leadership.
So ABC is reporting here that at the Aspen Institute, Newt attacked the War on Terror at the Aspen Institute in 2007. Here's the AP version written at the same time: "Newt Gingrich: U.S. Fighting 'Phony War Since 9/11' -- Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich charges that the United States has been waging a weak and 'phony war since 9/11' and continues to lose ground to radical Islam. In a speech to the annual conference of Christians United for Israel, Gingrich charged that instead of fighting to win, President Bush is now pursuing appeasement through a proposed Mideast peace conference.
"Comparing that to the attempted appeasement of Nazi Germany at Munich before World War Two, Gingrich said, 'We don't have a peace process. We have a surrender process.' Gingrich said the United States and Western civilization are in a global conflict with radical Islam, and must choose between victory and surrender." Now, the second version, the AP version makes Gingrich sound to be more of a hawk and he ABC version makes him sound like a dove, but both versions quote him as being critical of a sitting Republican president in terms of how he's fighting not just the war in Iraq but the War on Terror.
And that's important because that happened at the Aspen Institute. So the question would be: Why would you do that? I leave it up to you to answer. I'm just throwing the question out. Why would you do that? Why would you take on a sitting Republican president and essentially echo what Democrats are saying, when you go to a place that is founded and organized and run by liberal Democrats: The Aspen Institute? "Gingrich also attacked the current administration and former Republican Congressional leadership in saying 'We were in charge for six years…I don’t think you can look and say that was a great success.'"
So he clearly took on Republican leadership, Republican ideas, Republican strategy at the Aspen Institute. He supported Dede Scozzafava. He sat on the couch with Pelosi. He did a health care dance with Hillary, who wrote a book: It Takes a Village to Satisfy My Husband. That's why I put all of that to work in my theory explaining what Newt's doing here. Remember, now, there's a niche to be filled. The prevailing opinion on the Republican side is, "It is pedal-to-the-metal conservatism! Tea Party conservatism, anti-Obama conservatism. That's what wins."
There's no McCain in this campaign yet. Now, Daniels, some people say, will fill that bill if he decides to run in certain ways, and right now Daniels hasn't announced. Pawlenty is trying to run away from anything and everything in his tenure as governor that would tie him to that. So why go for that niche in a primary? This is just simply not how you win Republican primaries, campaigning against or running against or having positions opposed to rock-ribbed conservative issues. Ergo, my theory.