El Rushbo Runs the GOP (Again): Boehner Rejects, Obama Caves
September 1, 2011
RUSH: It is interesting to go through the Drive-By Media headlines on what happened regarding John Boehner's refusal to agree to the date September the 7th for Obama's political speech, a campaign speech before a joint session of -- (interruption) no, it wasn't a jobs speech. It was never gonna be a jobs speech. We already know what his jobs plan is. Jim DeMint had the best idea on this. Did you hear what Jim DeMint said? He made a great point in the middle of all this scheduling nonsense. DeMint said, (paraphrasing) "Look, if President Obama has a jobs proposal, put it in writing and give us a cost estimate, send it up here. I want to read the bill. I don't want to listen to talking points off a teleprompter." Now, that's the way a serious job proposal would be presented, but this isn't a serious job proposal. It's just another political stunt from Obama and the opticians.
By the way, greetings, Rush Limbaugh, the reason radio was invented, here at 800-282-2882.
From the AP: "Obama Bows to Boehner -- Jobs Speech Will Be September 8th." And that was one of the dates that I suggested to Boehner that he offer Obama. Washington Post editorial: "Obama-Boehner Speech Spat Should Worry Democrats." This attempt to make Republicans look unreasonable failed spectacularly. That's the Washington Post. They're not happy out there. There's only one guy, Chris Cillizza at the Washington Post: "Why Obama was Smart to Reschedule His Jobs Speech." He gives three reasons. "Obama and his political team were smart to reschedule the event for (at least) three reasons. One, nobody wants a process fight. Number two, get the last word. And three, pick your audience."
Now, Charles Krauthammer is out there saying it was a tactical mistake by Boehner, that Boehner should have gone ahead and said "yes" to September 7th because it would have made Obama look petty and small. And I, with the most profound respect, must disagree with that. I don't think a president looks small in a joint session of Congress. I don't care what he's saying, I don't think he looks small, and I don't think he looks petty. The other element to the argument that Boehner shoulda gone ahead and said, "Okay, you want September 7th? You got it," is that later the Republicans, during their debate, could have ripped Obama's jobs plan to smithereens.
Now, you want to talk about the press talking about people looking petty, here you have the president, who's gonna automatically look big doing his joint session Kabuki dance, and by the way, Obama coulda timed this thing so that it was up against the debate. There's no guarantee that the Republican candidates would have been able to hear the whole speech and thus been able to prepare remarks about it. But even if they had, let's look at the optics here. Obama, joint session, speech on jobs. The imagery, the optics are here's a guy that cares, the media and the hype leading up to it. Obama cares about jobs. He's desperate. He wants America back to work. He cared enough to request a joint session of Congress. So he goes up there and he makes a speech, whatever the speech is it's gonna be hailed as a great speech. And then moments later we shift to the Reagan library in Simi Valley and these seven or eight Republican presidential candidates start ankle-biting and that's how they would be portrayed. There's no way Obama looks small or petty. The Republicans would look small or petty in this scenario if you ask me, and that's why I think Boehner did the right thing in saying "no."
Besides it logistically turns out not to be possible to do on the 7th. That's their first day back, and they're not scheduling any votes 'til 6:30 on the night of the 7th. Obama would want to go in there and speak about eight. So now as it works out Obama's up against the National Football League. Now, the Thursday night National Football League opener is a big deal because the NFL schedules music concerts and all kinds of stuff for hours leading up to the kickoff. The kickoff is either 8:20 or 8:30 Eastern time. So now at some point during NBC's pregame, Obama's gonna do the joint session. NBC has the game. NBC has already sold all of their advertising availabilities for all the pregame stuff, much less the game. NBC is also 49% owned by Jeff Immelt. So what are they gonna do?
They have to figure out how they're going to cover Obama and still carry the football game and still get all their avails in for the pregame. You know, the pregame, they've got musical acts, bands, it's a big thing. At least in the city of the game in Green Bay, this stuff's gonna be going on all day, and it'll intensify by four o'clock in the afternoon leading up to kickoff. In the middle of this, here comes Obama. That's where he's gonna look small. I guarantee you, with the lockout in the NFL and the doubt throughout the summer that there might not be a season, the status of the economy and the real existence for sports, and that is to distract people, give them three hours of fantasy time away from the reality, the last thing that anybody looking forward to watching this game wants to see is a president interrupt it for a job speech that doesn't have anything new in it, that is gonna be politically critical of Republicans. These guys, people watching the football game are not gonna want any part of this, and yet NBC is gonna feel obligated to carry some of it.
So the White House is gonna have to get together with NBC to coordinate a timing for Obama's speech. Now, normally Obama would like to go eight or nine o'clock. Can't do that. Kickoff Eastern time is 8:20 or 8:30. Now we're talking 5:20 or 5:30 on the Left Coast. If Obama goes 7:30 -- he can't go eight o'clock. That's the official pregame. That's when Al Michaels and Costas and Collinsworth and the whole gang, that's when they start the official pregame, that's eight o'clock eastern, five on the Left Coast. So Obama's gotta be finished by then, which means he's gotta start at 7:30 or 7:15 which is 4:15 to 4:30 on the Left Coast, which means he's blowing that entire audience.
So this was a great move. Obama should have selected Friday night the 9th. But they don't want to do Friday night 'cause that's document dump day. That's when they let go of all the bad news late in the afternoon nobody wants to hear about. Congress doesn't want to be there on a Friday night. They've just come back from six weeks of recess, Friday night's a big, long weekend for Labor Day, they go back home. So frankly, folks, I like this. In fact, if it were up to me, if it were up to me and the media -- wait 'til you hear the sound bites that thinks that it is. Media think I made this call. If it were up to me, Boehner would have refused to let Obama address a joint session of Congress at all. Now, I know it's not gonna happen. That's why I say if it were up to me, 'cause it's a campaign speech. We're not gonna hear anything new. We haven't been attacked, other than by Obama. I mean there's no national urgency. No hurricane's gonna have hit and destroyed anything. And even if one does, presidents generally don't do joint session speeches after hurricanes or natural disasters.
Obama's not gonna say anything important; he's not gonna say anything new; he's not even gonna say anything helpful. And he certainly is not gonna be bipartisan, which is usually what joint session addresses are supposed to be. Now, some people think that by agreeing to move the speech back by a day, that Obama gets to look magnanimous and bipartisan, and that allows the Democrats to say, "Look how Obama's always bending over backward to accommodate the Republicans. He's willing to compromise, Republicans aren't." That's not the way this is gonna play. And even if it does, it still isn't the truth, and it's too late for that now because too much of the press, you got AP: "Obama Bows To Boehner." Washington Post: "Obama-Boehner Speech Spat Should Worry Democrats." This attempt to make Republicans look unreasonable failed spectacularly.
So how could the Washington Post now go back and say, "Wow, this guy really succeeded in making the Republicans look unreasonable." I'm not saying they couldn't do it. Audio sound bites to illustrate here. I'm back now to running the Republican Party. A few days ago I was an irrelevant satirist, jokester, entertainer. Now I'm back to being a titular head of the Republican Party. We have a montage from PMSNBC. The Reverend Al Sharpton and some radio host Mike Papantonio and Lawrence O'Donnell.
SHARPTON: Is Rush Limbar (sic) calling the shots here? Did Rush go on radio and Boehner respond?
PAPANTONIO: Boehner -- who is the voice of the Republican Party, he's part of that echo chamber. Rush Limbaugh wants this president to fail.
O'DONNELL: Speaker Boehner ultimately took the advice Rush Limbaugh gave him.
RUSH. I say to you, ladies and gentlemen: I once again have become a titular head of the Republican Party, calling the shots. (chuckling) Did you hear Sharpton say "Rush Limbar"? Al Sharpton. It wasn't finished there on MSNBC. On the Last Word, Lawrence O'Donnell speaking to the author Richard Wolffe who's just a... If they ever do a colonoscopy on Obama, they're gonna find Richard Wolffe's head there. Richard Wolffe is a big author and just a big Obama apologist. Anyway he's talking to Lawrence O'Donnell about me saying yesterday that Boehner should tell Obama that he can't have September 7th to speak before a joint session. O'Donnell says, "Is this the night I have to begin this program by saying, 'Rush Limbaugh is right, the president was trying to upstage a Republican debate'? Is there any real working theory to the contrary?"
WOLFFE: No, you don't have to say the -- Rush Limbaugh is right. Duhh, this is obviously a campaign season, and the next day was a football game and -- and who really cares, anyway? You can schedule both on the same day. Doesn't have to be the same time. The interesting question is, "What is it about this president that has stripped away the veneer of respect that normally accompanies the office of the president? Why do Republicans think this president is unpresidential and should dare to request this kind of thing?" It strikes me it could be the economic times, it could be that he won so big in 2008, or it could be -- let's face it -- the color of his skin.
RUSH: Now, Mr. Wolffe, if you hang in there and be tough -- if you listen -- I've got a great piece by Shelby Steele here that explains this, and I love the piece because it expands on things that I have said. "Obama and the Burden of Exceptionalism," and basically what he says Mr. Wolffe is that Obama as a child of the sixties views this country as sinful, that its exceptionalism was ill-gotten, that it didn't deserve -- this country never deserved -- its exceptionalism and that it's Obama's job to preside happily over the decline of this country. That is the answer to your question, "What is it about this president that has stripped away the veneer of respect?" We don't respect him because he doesn't respect the country!
We don't respect him because he's trying to reverse centuries of greatness in this country. You know, I said yesterday, "They would never ask Bush or Clinton any of these questions, because Bush or Clinton would not have suggested a joint session on the night of either a Democrat or Republican debate, respectfully. So there's your answer, Mr. Wolffe, although I'll have more detail for you as the program unfolds. But basically the people of this country understand that they have elected a president who doesn't believe in its greatness, who doesn't believe in its exceptionalism, who thinks this country deserves to be in decline because our exceptionalism was ill-gotten.
That's why. As a Brit, I don't expect you to understand that. Continuing now with The Last Word on PMSNBC, the host Lawrence O'Donnell this time speaking with New York Magazine National Affairs Editor John Heilemann about me saying yesterday that Boehner should tell Obama that he can't have September 7th for his joint session. O'Donnell says, "How would Democrats react if we had a Republican incumbent president, if he announced a reelection campaign, and the campaign was underway being funded -- as this one is -- and he wanted to give a speech? How would Democrats have reacted if we just reversed this whole thing?"
HEILEMANN: Rush Limbaugh was right in one respect at least: The White House clearly was playing politics here, clearly intended to upstage the Republican debate; thought that it was doing something smart and clever and tough politically, thought that Boehner would fold, and now is in the middle of this fight.
RUSH: Yeah. Remember what I told you yesterday. After this all happened, and we learned about it, I said, "In the White House they are yukking it up and slapping each other on the back and they're popping champagne corks and they're having a grand old time 'cause they think they've pulled a great stunt here. They think they really pulled something over on us. 'Hey, we're gonna schedule a joint session. Who could turn us down? Nobody's gonna turn down the president on joint session. Never happens! We're gonna do it the night of that Republican debate, the first debate Rick Perry's in and we're gonna upstage it,' and they're slapping themselves on the back and laughing," and I said I gave 'em credit. This is a great, great stunt. This is something that you do in high school and college and it's a great thing. It's not presidential, but as a practical joker (laughing), I love this, looking at this as a practical joke. Unfortunately this is not the kind of behavior you want from the President of the United States and his staff, and it is nevertheless what we got.
RUSH: Let's stick with the audio sound bites here for just a second. This is a media montage. You know, it's interesting, the only place we get media montages are MSNBC. It's the only place anymore. The only place for reliable left-wing socialism is MSNBC. At any rate, this is a montage of how what Boehner did is "unprecedented."
CHRIS JANSING: John Boehner makes this unprecedented move...
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Speaker Boehner's refusal to grant the request for the joint session by the President on the day that he wanted is unprecedented.
TRACIE POTTS: That was unprecedented, rejecting the President 's original request.
JON ALVON: Literally unprecedented.
JON ALVON: There's never been a request for a President to hold a joint session congressional speech and be refused, in effect, by Congress.
LARRY O'DONNELL: An unprecedented public conflict between the President and the Speaker.
MICHAEL ERIC DYSON: It is unprecedented that Boehner, as Speaker of the House, has refused the president his request. We know it's unprecedented.
RUSH: If it's so unprecedented, why did Obama cave? Why didn't Obama fight for it? Why didn't Obama stand up and say, "I'm not gonna tolerate this. This is unprecedented? I want this date, this is important, jobs are at stake." Why didn't he do that? Have you seen Boehner's letter?
"Dear Mr. President: Thank you for your letter requesting time to address a Joint Session of Congress next week. I agree that creating a better environment ... must be our most urgent priority. ... As your spokesperson today said, there are considerations about the Congressional calendar that must be made prior to scheduling such an extraordinary event. As you know, the House of Representatives and Senate are each required to adopt a Concurrent Resolution to allow for a Joint Session of Congress to receive the President. And as the Majority Leader announced more than a month ago, the House will not be in session until Wednesday, September 7, with votes at 6:30 that evening. With the significant amount of time ... that is required to allow for a security sweep of the House Chamber before receiving a President, it is my recommendation that your address be held on the following evening, when we can ensure there will be no parliamentary or logistical impediments that might detract from your remarks. As such, on behalf of the bipartisan leadership and membership of both the House and Senate, I respectfully invite you to address a Joint Session of Congress on Thursday, September 8, 2011 ... at a time that works best for your schedule."
So that was very respectful. It was very business-like and to the point, and Obama caved.
RUSH: Let me just say one more thing about this. This is not even a joint session speech. This is nothing more than a political ploy, and it has now backfired. The focus this week has been on whether or not Obama speaks before Congress on Wednesday or Thursday. That's the focus. The media's focused on that: Is he going to speak on Wednesday or Thursday?
This contributes to the view of Obama as a lightweight who plays political games. I mean, he supposedly has this grand jobs plan -- and this grand jobs plan, remember, would indicate until after his vacation. No, look at me. For the second year in a row, he goes on vacation and says when he comes back from vacation (Martha's Vineyard both years) he's gonna have his major jobs plan. So the jobs plan could wait for his vacation. He only came off that vacation one day early to lead his nation in the response to Hurricane Irene. Big whoop! Because he didn't lead anybody in anything. But the important thing to remember is that he kept that jobs plan under wraps and gave precedence to his vacation.
So his jobs plan can wait for two weeks, can wait for ten days 'til this vacation is over, but now it can't wait until the day after a long-scheduled Republican candidate debate? He's got to go that night, or had to? It had to be September 7th after being able to wait two weeks for Obama to come off the vacation. Obama is the reason people cannot stand Washington or politics right now. The United States of America is in serious trouble, thanks to him, and he's playing scheduling games. Got this massive jobs plan. "The country can't wait for this! We gotta get it done now. Uh, sorry, it can wait for ten days for my vacation." So I don't care how you people at MSNBC or AP or anywhere else want to try to characterize this.
Obama just got smacked down.
In the process Obama looks stupid, and he looks childish. His supporters can keep whining about how this is "unprecedented," but the people of this country get it. The polling data indicate the people of this country finally get it where Obama is concerned. So now Obama has to compete with the National Football League opener, and he can't win that fight because the National Football League opener is gonna be on NBC, and it is going to outrate every other network carrying Obama by a factor of five. It's simple mathematics. The president's doing his joint session speech, and six or seven networks are gonna cover it, so people have a choice.
Or they can watch the football game.
And I guarantee you, when it comes to the Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers playing the two-years-ago Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints when people thought there might not be any football, I have no doubt who's gonna be watching what. I will be watching football. I will make... (interruption) Well, move the joint session to the afternoon? Hmmm. Let me see, now. Let me see now. Let's see, now. A joint session on jobs at 12:05 p.m. Thursday, September the 8th, one week from today. A joint session at about now, a week from now. Well, I don't know what the Wizards of Smart in this regime are gonna do, but now they're up against the NFL, and now they've gotta somehow finagle and massage this with NBC.
Don't doubt me on this. NBC has sold every commercial availability for three to four hours prior to the kickoff of this game. Well, not three to four. NBC can probably start at seven, so in that hour they've sold every avail. Their Nightly News will no doubt take place from there. Or will it, now, with Obama doing his joint session? Where will they send Brian Williams? Let's see. He can't win this. He literally can't win it. This was a bully. You know, we got all this anti-bullying legislation being proposed? It needs to be aimed at Obama because Obama is the bully, who attempted to force his way to the front of the line at the US House of Representatives chamber and he got smacked down. His advisors blew it, and they blew it big.
Especially after you know they're sitting up there yesterday afternoon after they announce this laughing and just having a grand old time thinking, "Boy, how we screwed everybody! Yeah, we screwed Boehner. Yeah, we screwed up the Republicans. Man, we screwed that debate," and now look. Obama didn't even fight for the date! So now maybe he could say, "Well, I'll do my joint session speech at halftime." Halftime is ten minutes. That's not even enough time for the teleprompter to get up to full speed. So maybe they do a joint session in the afternoon. Remember it's the optics that he wants. He knows he's not gonna have an audience now. He knows his chance for an audience is finished, not like he thought and hoped he was going to have on the 7th.