Electability and Qualifications: Don't Be Imprisoned by the Perceptions of Others
January 06, 2012
RUSH: Grass Lake, Michigan; that's next, and Shelly. It's great to have you on the program. Hi.
CALLER: Hi, Rush. Mega dittos from Michigan.
RUSH: Thank you.
CALLER: I was listening yesterday and getting increasingly frustrated with a lot of people calling in to support Romney but they seem to have a short-term memory when it comes to the behavior of the press just prior to the national election in the fact that we saw the press systematically support John McCain. They praised him for being a "maverick," going against his party. He was all buddy-buddy with the press until right before the election, and the New York Times came out with that hit piece that just ripped him.
RUSH: What does that have to do with Romney and the callers yesterday?
CALLER: The fact that they keep insisting that Romney is the only one who is electable. We keep hearing...
RUSH: Yeah, but they're not... I don't think they're saying that because they think the press is gonna treat him fairly.
CALLER: You think they really believe he's the only one that's electable?
RUSH: Yeah. No, they really do. They really think Romney is the only guy that's electable because he's the most handsome and because he sounds the smartest. I mean, a lot of people on our side have really lowered their requirements this year.
CALLER: I know. I know, and it's sad that we have --
RUSH: They're so fed up with stupid sounding Republicans that somebody that looks like a Ken Doll and can put three words together grammatically correct is enough for 'em, and so that means he's "electable" as opposed to Perry who sounds like a hick. These people think that Perry can't win because he's from Texas and sounds like a hayseed. They think that Paul can't get elected 'cause he sounds like a lunatic bond villain. They think that Cain can't get elected 'cause he can't talk. This is what I hear. I hear this and that Cain never had a chance 'cause he can't talk. Perry didn't have a chance because he sounds stupid and too much like Bush. Santorum, before Iowa, never had a chance 'cause he never got over 2% in the polls. Who else am I leaving out? There's somebody. Oh, Huntsman never had a chance 'cause he's too phony. Bachmann never had a chance 'cause she was too sing-songy. This is what I heard from my friends and people I know. That Romney was electable because the only guy that looked handsome and could speak. It has nothing to do with the way the media is gonna treat him.
CALLER: Does it really...? I'm to the point that I'm wondering: Does it even matter anymore if we get Romney in there? And frankly I'm from Michigan; Romney is probably gonna take Michigan. I do not trust him based on his history of --
RUSH: But do you trust him more than you trust Obama?
CALLER: That's not saying much.
RUSH: Oh, now. Come on now.
CALLER: I know, I know. I'm just so frustrated.
RUSH: Ah, Shelly, that's a bit much. There's a huge difference in Romney and Obama.
CALLER: I will be at the voting booth on Election Day voting against Obama.
RUSH: That's what I think everybody knows. This is why I say, "Let's get the best conservative we can." Since we already have so much anti-Obama sentiment, why settle? Why not go for the whole ball of wax? (interruption) No, I am not kidding. It's time. I tell you, it's time to strip this bare. I have just alluded to this. I'm gonna tell you again. This whole business of "electable," I've been hearing about it for weeks, months. We all have our circle of friends. I too have a circle of friends. Contrary to what you think, my circle of friends are no smarter than you. They're no smarter than you. Just because they're my friends doesn't mean they're smart. They're not stupid, but I'm saying is they're just like anybody else. This is the point.
That's a good thing. I get frustrated at this "electability." That's how the Democrats chose John Kerry, by the way (who served in Vietnam). When Howard Dean failed in 2004 in Iowa, they panicked. "We've gotta get somebody who can win!" They thought Kerry could. This "electability" reason to nominate somebody is flawed from the get-go because the reasons that people think somebody can win are flawed, as evidenced by what I just told you. Let me tell you something, folks: I wouldn't have one ounce of doubt about Rick Perry. I've been hoping Rick Perry would catch fire, but I have people in my sphere who don't want to vote for Perry (and largely they're women) because he sounds too much like Bush. He's too stupid. He's too hesitating in his speech and Obama will clean his clock in a debate.
I look at 'em and I scratch my head. "Have you looked at what he's done as governor? Do you looked at what his tax policy is?"
"I don't care! He embarrasses me."
"Okay, fine. Let's move on. What about Santorum?"
"Too extreme. Cares too much about abortion."
"Okay, let's see... How about Cain?"
"He can't talk, either." This what people around me say. "He can't talk either."
"Okay, what about Bachmann?"
"She's too shrill, she's too short, she's a woman. She's only been in Congress for five years. She doesn't have a prayer."
"Okay, write her off. What about...? Let's see... How about a Huntsman?"
"He's a phony! Plus the guy worked for Obama. He was a ambassador to China! Come on. Let's be serious. This guy's not a conservative!" You get to Romney and these people all said, "Now, there's a guy who sounds smart. He's seasoned, he's been at this for a number of years, he's composed, he looks good and he could beat Obama in a debate," and in every one of these instances, folks, what's been frustrating to me is not one reason rooted in policy has been cited as a reason to support or not support somebody. It has been very frustrating to me to see how surface -- how "undeep," if I may use that term -- people are about this. I know why it's the case, but it still burns me.
RUSH: Frankly, I've opened a can of worms now. I knew this was gonna happen. I'm sitting here, I'm frustrated as heck over things I don't even know about, folks. I got so many distractions going on today, you can't possibly believe it. I'm not bleeding on you. I'm not gonna tell you what they are, but now I've opened a can of worms on this whole qualification business, so let me just go all in. All right? Let me just bare it all. I did not mean to leave out Newt Gingrich. I was having trouble remembering everybody in the field. Let me go through now, without having to rush this because of the constraints of time, this whole business of electability.
The first thing I want to ask you is, "Where does it come from?" and the second thing I want to ask you is, "Why in the same of Sam Hill where we not talking about Obama's unelectability?" Now, the reason we're not talking about Obama's unelectability is because too many of us are scared and defensive -- and also because he's incumbent, and that carries with it some reelectability power. But in terms of performance on the job, if there's anybody ever unqualified to be reelected, it's Jimmy Carter II: Barack Obama. (big sigh) All right, ever since this whole thing started (you know it and I know it), everybody been out for me to endorse somebody.
The pressure's been on: "You choose somebody and it will be over with," and that's not how I operate. So when I don't choose, I hear about it from people. And, like you, I have a circle of friends; and as our candidates got engaged and a debate started happening and so forth, I started hearing about it. You know, everybody wants me to know what they think -- everybody! -- and everybody wants me to know that they're just as smart as I am, and maybe smarter. This is one reason why when I go places, I don't talk. I just sit there and listen and then try to figure my exit plan. But let's go down the list -- and this is not in any particular order. Santorum.
Talking about Republicans, conservatives, the objection to Santorum was -- and these are randomly remembered; and, by the way, when I go through this, I want you to be cognizant of something. I want you to ask yourself: "Who or where did your definition of "electability," as applied to all these candidates, come from? Because remember, now, the lady that called, she basically said we got rope-a-doped into McCain. Her point was the media went on and on how much they loved McCain, love McCain, love McCain; and admit it: There are way too many voters on our side who still seek media approval of our issues and our candidates.
So a lot of people thought, "The media loves McCain! We have a chance! So I'll support McCain," and it was a rope-a-dope. Okay, McCain gets the nomination -- and I told you it was gonna happen: His biggest enemies were gonna become the media; and it happens -- and he was blindsided. He didn't believe it. None of his people believed it. He thought the media was "his base." He's even out there joking about it on TV! So my contention is that for most of you... There are going to be exceptions. (Sigh) I have to collect myself here. For most of you, your opinion of somebody's "electability" is not yours, not entirely.
Whether you know it or not, you are subject to what the media says about these people, whether you actively fight it or not. I just want you to be honest with yourselves. So, for example. If I'm describing you when I tell you of some friends of mine who didn't like Rick Perry 'cause, "Rush, he sounds stupid. He can't put three words together without pausing to think about it. He sounds just like Bush. He's from Texas, and I'm sick and tired of people on our side looking and sounding stupid." Okay. Who put that thought in your head? Is that actually your assessment of Rick Perry or is it the media's? (interruption)
Yes? Yes to both? It's...? (interruption)
Okay. All right. So that's Perry. Now, me, see, I don't care. I'm looking beyond this. Frankly, since I don't care what people think... If there's one thing I could do for people, the greatest gift I could give people is to have you not care a whit when anybody thinks of you. You do not know liberation until you are able to master that, but I'm gonna maintain that a lot of people are choosing or not choosing to align themselves with a Republican candidate for fear of what people are gonna think of them when they say, for example, "Oh, yeah, I like Perry."
"You do? He's an idiot!"
"Okay, you're right. Yeah, I don't want him."
I don't choose these people based on people are gonna think of ME because of my choice. I choose them 'cause: Do I think they're good? Do I think they'd be good president? Do I think they're gonna fight for this country, fight for the things I believe in when they get there every day? That's my sole criteria. I don't care what they could do well in a debate or not 'cause I don't think the debates matter in a presidential race, and I don't get depressed after our guys lose. Did George Bush ever win a debate, in your mind? One out of how many, six? He got elected twice. I rest my case. (sigh) Slow down, Rush.
This stuff gets me really ticked off, folks. I can't. (big sigh) Gerald Ford did not lose the presidency because of a bad debate. I refuse to believe that. That's not why Gerald Ford last the presidency. Gerald Ford lost the presidency because of Chevy Chase! That's a whole different thing. Gerald Ford lost the presidency 'cause of Saturday Night Live, 'cause he was made fun of as a bumbling idiot who couldn't even go up a flight of steps without falling flat in his face. I didn't mean to leave out Newt. The people I know who objected to Newt objected to him because, "I don't like him personally. I don't like what he did to his wives."
"What did he do to his wives?"
"Well, delivering that divorce decree to his wife while she's in bed with cancer."
"Well," I said, "That never happened."
"Well, I don't care."
"You don't care? It didn't happen!"
"I don't care. He still looks mean. He never smiles."
"Okay. All right. Fine. Could you tell me anything about Newt's policies?"
"Doesn't matter! I don't like him."
This is what I quickly learned, and... (interruption) I'm being asked if these are principled conservatives. Well, yeah. They're conservatives. They're donors. They raise money. They're active -- and they think they're very smart. All those things. Santorum I went through. Huntsman I went through. Just did Newt. Bachmann. Oh, yeah. The objection to Bachmann, "You know, she's really courageous, Rush. I really like her, but you see how short she is? You can barely see her over the podium, and her voice is sing-songy, and she's just one-note samba how she's doing this and she did that and she fought Obama." I'm just telling you, this is what I heard.
"Her eyes, she doesn't look smart." I tell you, folks, this whole business of our nominee either having to look smart, sound smart or whatever, it's has come to occupy an inordinate amount of importance or attention. So you get to Romney and the people that don't like Romney, to me, will say, "Ahhh, you know, he's just not real. He's like a Ken Doll. I don't think he's conservative." The people like him say, "He looks great, sounds smart, seasoned, and is the only guy that can win." When we get to this electability business, I say, "Who put this notion into everybody's head? Who became the expert on electability?"
Who knows? Here we are, it's December the 6th of 2012. Who knows who's electable and who isn't? Now, you might think that Candidate A, you wouldn't vote for; but what kind of hubris do you have to suggest nobody else would either? (interruption) Yes, I did. I asked a very salient question one time: Do we want to watch...? There was a picture of a female candidate; I flashed it up here. "Do we want to watch this woman age in office?" It's clear these things matter. But, see, what bothers me is this, I guess (to cut to the chase, here): I've met Rick Perry. I know he's not stupid, and it ticks me off that that's his image. It ticks me off that people on our side think he is, and I want to know who puts out that thought. How many...? (interruption) Yes! Well, Snerdley asks, "Isn't it his job to convince us he's not?" Stupid, you mean? (sighs) Yeah, but why is it that the sole basis for determining whether he's stupid or not is how he appears in a debate?
Why don't you look at what he's done as governor of Texas? You're not gonna do that? (interruption) Ah, don't throw this on me, don't throw this on me. I can't say that, Snerdley. (interruption) I cannot say this. It doesn't matter. I can't say it. I know it's frustrating, these one way conversations, folks. 'Cause now you're wondering, "What's Snerdley saying?" I'll tell you what he's saying and you'll understand why I can't put him on. He's saying that the only reason -- I can't say this. Snerdley, my manners. All right. Give him a mic, he's hell-bent on saying this. You go ahead and say it and after you say it we're gonna go to a break. Say it slow so people don't think you're stupid and so people don't think you can't talk. Make people think you're not unintelligent; make it sound like you're smart. Gonna put the same load on you that you're putting on all these candidates.SNERDLEY: Fine, I can do it. This is a legitimate question that people are asking. For 20 plus years we have been listening to you. We have watched liberals try their best to derail you. And what you do day after day, year after year is out-articulate them. You throw it right back in their face. You don't take their guff. You explain conservatism; you articulate it, and you persuade people to conservatism. And we want the same once in our lifetime from one of our candidates. Thank you very much.
RUSH: Okay. We'll be back.
RUSH: It is. I was being honest. It was one of my most fervent desires. And, by the way, I will agree with the notion that suck-upism can often be the truth. There's no question suck-upism can often be the truth. I don't dispute that. But I really wish -- I know I don't have the ability 'cause this has to come from within each individual -- but I really wish each and every one of you could get to the point, and those of you who have know what I'm talking about, where you don't care what is said about you or you don't care what is thought about you, particularly you don't care what is thought about you or said about you after you've chosen a candidate.
But if you're going to choose a candidate and be public about who your choice is based on what people are gonna think of you, that's being in prison. I was there for a long time. We all are. We're all raised to be totally obsessed with what we're thought of. Our representation's wrapped up in it, or so we think. I'm telling you it's just a prison. My contention, whether you agree with me or not, a lot of you may think that your thoughts, analysis, on who is electable and who isn't are entirely your own. I am here to tell you that the media (not our friend) has played a role in it to one degree or another in your thinking, whether you know it or not. It's subliminal. You can't watch the news as often as people like you and I do and not be affected by it.
How many of you ended up -- and there are gonna be justifications for this, too. It's not totally wrong, but how many of you after eight years finally started buying into all that you were hearing about Bush? Stupid, war in Iraq was a disaster, overstepped in the war on terror, causing a depression, causing a recession. I submit to you it's impossible to be immune to it when we were subjected to it every day for five years. I submit that a lot of this requirement that we have a nominee that sounds smart and can beat Obama in a debate is the direct result of the media telling us for so many damn years how smart Obama is when we know he's not. And you just want somebody in the public arena who in comparison is as smart as Obama, or sounds as smart, 'cause you're just sick and tired of being lied to about what a brilliant guy Obama is when you know he's not, you're fed up.
My only point here is that the media plays a far greater role in shaping your thought on who can win and who can't than you may even be aware of. Not your fault. Even I, El Rushbo, it's a daily effort to fight and beat these people back. Look at media mind control, go search on Google for Romney and electability, you'll get 5,110,000 results. Romney and electability in the media. We have been beaten over the head with this, that only Romney can win, and a lot of it has come from Republicans, meaning the Republican establishment. You Google "Perry" and "too much like Bush" and you'll get 1,500,000 results. Who puts the thought out there first? Did you first have the thought that Perry's too much like Bush or did somebody else? Obviously it's a media phrase 'cause it's in the Google search database.
Michele Bachmann and "too short," 1,840,000 results. Do you have control over the Google search engine? Do you? Do you find it odd that maybe you might have an opinion that agrees with 1.8 million hits in the Google search engine about Michele Bachmann being too short? And what the hell does that have to do with whether or not she'd be a good president? But there are a lot of people that cast her aside simply 'cause of that. It's my only point. (sigh) Here I was looking forward, I really meant this, to this being like a half day.
RUSH: All right, get this one. Google "Obama" and "smart," 390 million hits, nearly half a billion hits, "Obama" and "smart," 390 million. It's my only point here, folks, my only point. I know perception is reality in politics. It frustrates me, too. Really does.