Analysis of Chris Christie's Speech
September 28, 2011
RUSH: We'll talk about the Christie speech at the Reagan "liberry" -- that's for those of you in Rio Linda -- library, for those of you who are not, last night Simi Valley. Boy, I'll tell you the reaction to this Christie speech is fascinating to me. I got an e-mail from a friend of mine in California who would not travel two blocks to hear me speak, and this friend grabbed a good friend of his and their wives and they drove all the way over to the Simi Valley to hear Christie. Snerdley's reaction was identical to my friend's. "Eh, speech was okay. Parts of it I didn't quite understand, but the Q&A, that was gold plus. That was AAA. Q&A, that's a talent you either have or you don't have. Spontaneity, Q&A, nailed it."
The ten-minute Q&A, from people I've talked to, was the high point of the Christie speech. I looked at some of it. I will withhold my review until I hear from some of you what you think, because when I say what there is to be said, there's generally nothing left to be said. I don't want to influence what some of you might think by telling you right off the bat what I think. Now, we don't do this much. It's very rare that I reserve my comments in deference to you, but this time I'm a little fascinated because there's a lot of stuff rolled into this.
For example, the media would love the perception out there that there's genuine widespread unhappiness with the Republican field, and that's what Christie and the reaction he's getting represents. And depending on where you go, there probably is unhappiness with the field. If you go to the Republican establishment, if you go to the people in the establishment who are really singing Christie's praises today, you can conclude that the Republican establishment is not happy with the field, think it's weak. The media of course would love for that perception to be furthered.
Byron York has a piece today in the Washington Examiner where he talked to a bunch of pollsters who were talking to Republican primary voters and he's not finding much sentiment among voters for unhappiness with the field. This whole notion that the field is weak, in other words, is not something that the voting public thinks; the Republican establishment thinks it according to Byron York's piece. He talked to pollsters who have come to this conclusion. The reaction that some people are having to Christie is, "Oh, God, please get in," and then that does indicate an unhappiness with everybody else that's in the field. It boils down I think to people wanting somebody they think can win, and it boils down to people wanting somebody that talks tough, and talks straight, from the gut.
But, gee, I almost started telling you moments ago what I thought of Christie's speech, and I'm gonna withhold that 'til I hear from some of you. We'll play some highlights from it and see what you all think about it. I think I got a pretty good idea the reaction we're gonna get, but we'll see. I don't want to taint it in any way by prejudging it, i.e., caller reaction to Christie's appearance at the Reagan library.
RUSH: Janet in Shiloh, Illinois. Go ahead and tell the audience what it says here you were gonna tell me.
CALLER: Well, first I want to say hello "last son-of-a-bitch standing." (giggling)
CALLER: I am so delighted they haven't taken you out. (giggling)
RUSH: (laughing) Ah, that's... Look at how the Democrats are corrupting even this program!
CALLER: (giggling) Yes, but they haven't corrupted you and that's what we must celebrate today. Rush, you've been right. I did not listen to Chris Christie last night because I didn't need to. I've listened to you long enough to know that you are the one who has accurately, honestly, forthrightly carried on conservatism since Reagan and Buckley stopped -- and it was only age that stopped them; it wasn't a fault of conservatism -- and what we are watching with the Republican GOP nomination process is we're watching conservatism be reframed properly in this time period. Tina Brown said you were wrong to say you hoped that Obama failed? Well, what we don't get yet -- what this country kinda gets; you're right -- is Obama didn't fail. He got everything he wanted. He got it all, and now the country's failing. That's called "nuanced thinking." That's the kind of thinking that you give out every day. I'm one of your best students. I know this.
RUSH: Okay, so what she's leading up to here, folks, is that you're waiting for my take.
RUSH: You don't want to hear what everybody else thinks of Christie's speech.
RUSH: You want to know what I think of Christie's speech.
CALLER: Yes. And you want to know something else?
CALLER: If you had been in your desk Friday instead of off having fun, Rick Perry would have been doing better, but you know what? You did Herman Cain an enormous favor by not being there.
RUSH: I wish to heck I was having fun Friday.
RUSH: I'd give anything to have been having fun Friday.
RUSH: Anyway, so, are you gonna beg me to run?
RUSH: 'Cause I gotta tell you something: I'm sitting here, my feelings are a little hurt. Everybody is out there begging Christie to run and nobody's begged me to run. And you just said it: I'm Mr. Conservative, I'm Mister Big, and nobody's begging me to run. I have to sit here and listen to all these other schlubs get begged?
RUSH: There's not enough time to do the Christie sound bites in this segment. I want to move the Christie speech sound bites to the top of the next segment, 'cause there's not enough time. I want to be able to do 'em all rat-tat-tat. I got five of them here and I don't want to have to separate 'em by the top-of-the-hour break. So just couple of other things here. All of these people begging Christie to run, who are they? Now, I know you've got voters like the woman during the Q&A last night, begged Christie to run. I think that's the exception. The people who are begging Christie to run were the same people begging Mitch Daniels to run. Republican establishment. The same people begging Paul Ryan to run. But why?
My friends, do not doubt me. I know this is going to shock many of you, and maybe disappoint a lot of you. But when you talk about the Republican establishment -- and you've read their pieces today -- you know what I'm talking about: The columnists, the magazine directors, editors, publishers, whatever, they are reaching and searching for a counter to the conservatives. They don't want Herman Cain getting the nomination; they don't want Perry getting the nomination; they don't want Bachmann getting the nomination. The Republican establishment does not want a conservative getting the nomination. If Chris Christie can come along, catch fire, see to it that Palin, Bachmann -- Palin not in, she might get in, who knows, doubt it, but still too soon to say -- if they can co-opt any conservative getting the nomination, they will do it.
Nothing's changed. "But, Rush, but, Rush, Christie's a big conservative." I will reserve my comments for later on in the program. I'll just give you one little hint. I heard a lot of John McCain in that speech. Well, maybe not a lot, but I heard enough to send up a red flag or two.
RUSH: Let's go to the audio sound bites. Here's Governor Christie on American exceptionalism last night.
CHRISTIE: A lot is being said in this election season about American exceptionalism. But for American exceptionalism to truly deliver hope and a sterling example to the rest of the world, it must be demonstrated, not just asserted. They will be more likely to follow our example and lead if they see what we're doing and are allowed to emulate it. Unfortunately, through our own domestic political conduct of late, we have failed to live up to our own tradition of exceptionalism. Today, our role and ability to affect change has been diminished because of our own problems and our inability to effectively deal with them.
RUSH: Okay, folks, there's a lot there. I mean there's a whole lot there in that 42-second sound bite. You want to hear what I think about this or not? That's a foreign policy comment. And everybody says, "Foreign policy, wait a second here. You're the governor of New Jersey. The only reason you would bring up foreign policy is if you are setting the stage for a presidential run or maybe being selected as a veep. Because as governor of New Jersey you really haven't spoken out much on foreign policy. It's not required." But he spent a lot of time on things that could be construed as foreign policy last night, and this bite contains a lot foreign policy.
Also in this bite, coupled with other things I heard in the speech, Christie's unhappy with the partisanship that exists in the country today. That's what this all means here. There isn't any American exceptionalism going on because we're not demonstrating any. There's nothing for anybody out there to emulate because we're not doing anything very well. "Our domestic political conduct, we've failed to live up to our own tradition of exceptionalism." I'm sorry, folks, but my definition of American exceptionalism has nothing to do with how the Republicans and Democrats get along with each other in Congress or in Washington. I have a whole different concept of American exceptionalism which I have explained and defined on this program countless times previously. Here's the next bite on what Ronaldus Magnus would do.
CHRISTIE: If Ronald Reagan faced today's challenges, we know exactly what he would do. He would face our domestic problems directly, with leadership, and without political calculation. He would take an honest and tough approach to solving our long-term debt and deficit problem through reforming our entitlement programs and our tax code. We would confront our unemployment crisis by giving certainty to business about our tax and regulatory future. We would unleash American entrepreneurship through long-term tax reform, not short-term tax gimmickry. (applause)
RUSH: Right on. Oh. I can tell Cookie is for Christie. She left in more applause than she usually does. You can't fool me, Cookie. Cookie is the producer of the audio sound bites, and, you know, there's several dictates under which she operates from me. One is no bite can be longer than 60 seconds unless I approve it, and cut the applause just for the sake of brevity. Now, normally we get a second and a half of applause, maybe a second if we are lucky. This we get three seconds of applause. He-he. I know Cookie lives in New Jersey or grew up there. (laughing) She's responding now on instant message: "Damn right, love him, he'll smash the Democrats, love him," it's in all caps. Okay, so that's a pretty good bite there, what Ronaldus Magnus would do. Here Christie calls Obama a bystander in the Oval Office.
CHRISTIE: We continue to wait and hope that our president will finally stop being a bystander in the Oval Office. We hope that he will shake off the paralysis that has made it impossible for him to take on the really big things that are so obvious to all Americans and to a watching and anxious world. Each and every time the president lets a moment to act pass him by his failure is our failure, too. The rule for effective governance is simple. It's the one Ronald Reagan knew by heart. It's the one he successfully employed with Social Security and the Cold War. When there is a problem, you fix it. That's the job we've been sent to do and you cannot wait for someone else to do it.
RUSH: Okay, now, this bite's interesting to me. I myself have referred to Democrats and Obama specifically as a spectator. And what I've meant is here's Obama, I'll give you a great recent example. Obama with Porkulus and TARP and all the spending has added $4 trillion to the national debt, and then goes out and makes a speech about how we need to get our financial house in order as though he's just been a spectator. Same thing with Katrina. The Democrats were in charge in New Orleans, in Louisiana, in Washington, and it was they who were supposed to fix the levees. Money was appropriated to fix the levees. The levees didn't hold after Katrina. The Democrats get to act like spectators, demand hearings, demand investigations. They want Bush strung up. They want Mike Brown of FEMA strung up. They're the ones who were to blame. They're the ones who didn't get the job done. They get to act like spectators, demand all these investigations, hearings, everything else, when they were the architects of all the problems.
Now, that's what I mean by spectator. Maybe Christie doesn't mean that when he says bystander, but I think he does. I think Obama's basically trying to make it look like none of this that's happened has anything to do with what he's done, and now he wants to set himself up as the repairman who wants to bring a little sanity to this, he wants to be the adult in the room. But paralysis, Obama... I'm sorry. Obama's not paralyzed. This guy has been on steroids attacking the private sector. Obama has been on human growth hormone in attacking the private sector and destroying job opportunity. Obama's been taking steroids and shooting up HGH when he goes out and does everything he can to grow government, take money and capital out of the private sector.
I don't see him as a bystander in that sense. He's got all these czars. Who knows what the hell's going on that we are not being told by all these czars who are not accountable, they don't have to be confirmed by the Senate. He's a grandstander, there's no question about that. Was FDR a bystander? Was LBJ a bystander with the Great Society and all that? This guy has been pretty active as far as I'm concerned. Here's one more bite. This is Christie saying that Obama came to divide.
CHRISTIE: President Obama prepares to divide our nation to achieve reelection, telling those who are scared and struggling that the only way their lives can get better is to diminish the success of others, trying to cynically convince those who are suffering that the American economic pie is no longer a growing one that can provide more prosperity for all who work hard, insisting that we must tax and take and demonize those who have already achieved the American dream. That may turn out to be good reelection strategy, Mr. President, but it is a demoralizing message for America. What happened to state Senator Obama? When did he decide to become one of the dividers he spoke so eloquently of in 2004?
RUSH: Right on with this. We all know that Obama came to divide. He didn't just start dividing with this latest iteration of his campaign. Obama showed up dividing. Obama's intention has been to divide. But that's just me. I don't think Obama's divisive character is recent or new. I think he's just doubling down on it. He's doubling down on it because he's in trouble, and again it goes back to the fact... I had somebody tell me that life never escapes high school, that we all never escape high school. You know, I was analyzing why Tina Brown's mad. The theory is as expressed to me, "Look, Obama came along and made all these people -- the most popular kids in New York, the most popular kids in Washington -- happy. He comes around and wins and they're the big clique again, and now he's destroyed that. Nobody wants to be in the clique, everybody's running to get the hell out of the big clique." Clinton did the same thing, but Clinton was able to hold on for eight years. Clinton still has the ability to do that. Obama has squandered it. He's making their side look bad. Now to the Q&A. This is the woman who begged Christie to run.
WOMAN: We can't wait another four years 'til 2016. I really implore you as a citizen of this country to please, sir, to reconsider. Don't even say anything tonight. Of course you wouldn't.
WOMAN: Go home and really think about it. (laughter)
WOMAN: Please. Do it for my daughter, do it for our grandchildren, do it for our sons. Please, sir. We need you. Your country needs you to run for president.
AUDIENCE: (cheers and applause)
RUSH: Ah! Three seconds of applause there. Cookie left it in, a little bit longer than the directive. Here's Christie's reply...
CHRISTIE: I'm just a kid from Jersey who feels like I'm the luckiest guy in the world to have the opportunity that I have to be the governor of my state. People say to me all the time now, "Why don't they just leave you alone? You've already given your answer. Isn't it a burden?" What I say to you tonight and say to everybody else who's nice enough to applaud what she said is that it isn't a burden. Anybody who has an ego large enough to say, "Oh, please! Please, please, stop asking me to be leader of the free world."
CHRISTIE: "It's such a burden. If you could please just stop!" It's extraordinarily flattering. But by the same token that heartfelt message you gave me is also not a reason for me to do it. That reason has to reside inside me. I know, without ever having met President Reagan, that he must have felt deeply in his heart that he was called to that moment to lead our country.
RUSH: He was. Reagan was called to run for president. He really was. That's the famous Reagan kitchen cabinet, an arrangement that because of election law would be illegal today. However, you know, the thing about Christie saying, "I don't know. I just don't think I'm ready, don't think I'm qualified." I've never run for office, I've never had the desire to. There's one thing about it that I think I do understand -- and that is, you have to really want it; and if you don't, then don't even get close to it. This is not something you do without a full-fledged, 150% self-commitment. This is a life-changing, a forever life-changing event, to run for president. If you go and get the nomination, to actually to be your party's standard-bearer, it changes your life forever; and it's something that you have to have an ego that says, "Country and world cannot survive without me." That's almost what it takes. It is so arduous, the media anal exam you're gonna get as a Republican. So if he really is being truthful when he says he's not into it yet, that he doesn't think he's ready, he ought to be listened to. Otherwise, he would know. The fire in the belly, you know whether you've got it or not -- and if you don't have it, this is not something you do on an, "Ah, let me give this a shot." This is something that you have to be full-fledged, 150% committed to. Besides, the leader of the free world job is actually taken: I have it, titular or otherwise.
RUSH: Sarah Palin last night was on Greta Van Susteren's show. And Greta said, "Well, it's sort of interesting, always the people who are not in the race. Sometimes they get a lot of encouragement from others, a lot of glowing reports, and Christie has certainly been pushed by many Republicans."
PALIN: Many Republicans -- but also just many in the media because, for many in the media, this is like a reality show. I think a Newsweek article that came out the other day really nailed it when they said that there are media outlets that kind of create this reality show; this intrigue and, "Who's gonna be the next flavor of the week?" and they prop somebody up -- in order to crush the person, it seems, later on.
RUSH: So Sarah Palin says the media is building up Christie just so they can crush him later on. I think there's something to that. But, again, I'm gonna tell you: The Republican establishment... Now, you're gonna get mad at me at this. The Republican establishment is looking for anybody who can see to it that a conservative, a genuine conservative will not be nominated. "But, Rush! But, Rush! Are you saying that Christie is not a conservative?" As far as the Republican establishment's concerned, yes. Herman Cain is a conservative that worries 'em. Perry, he's a conservative that worries them. Bachmann is a conservative that worries them. Santorum is a conservative that worries them. Reagan was a conservative that worried the Republican establishment.
Christie is not. Now, some people say that, "Well, Christie's more conservative than you think, Rush. He's just governor of New Jersey. He has to say certain things. I mean, look at who the voting base is there. A bunch of lib Democrats. He's gotta work with a Democrat legislature in that state. He's a governor of a liberal state. He's gotta say some things to appease those people. So if he ever broke out of that you'd see the genuine full-fledged, 100% conservative Chris Christie." Okay, that's fine if that's what we want to do, roll the dice that that's what we're gonna get when we breaks free of New Jersey.