The GOP Establishment in Abject Panic: They Don't Understand Their Own Base
January 23, 2012
RUSH: Folks, the Republican establishment is in a full-blown panic. And I -- and I'm not doing an I-told-you-so. This is a giant I-told-you-so. This is a reminder that I will illustrate. I told you this in almost the exact words you heard on television from Republican consultants and establishment people. I told you this was their fear back on November 10th of last year. They are in an out roar, a panic. They are secretly trying to get Mitch Daniels to get back in the race. There are entreaties being made to Bobby Jindal to get in the race. They are panicked. They are scared to death they're going to lose the House and not win the Senate, and I told you on November 10th that's their primary concern. That's why they were apoplectic at Christine O'Donnell and Sharron Angle getting Tea Party nominations.
It's about the Senate. It's about being in charge of the money. It's not about cutting spending. The Republican establishment is not signed on to the cutting spending business. People ask me, "What do you mean, who is this Republican establishment?" Two things. They don't like conservatives and they're not really all that concerned about spending. They want to be in charge of it. That's who they are. And they are not gonna be in charge of it if they don't hold the House and if they don't pick up the Senate. And that's what they really want. They're not and never have been convinced that Obama can be beat.
Now, Newt has thrown this thing into a tizzy. They don't know what to do. They wanted this wrapped up. They don't understand why it happened. They're blaming all the wrong people. They're blaming their own voters. They're blaming the media. They're blaming stupidity on the part of the voters. They haven't the slightest idea why this happened in South Carolina. It's not too much democracy going on in their minds; they just don't understand it. They don't understand the base of their own party. They resent the base of their own party. They don't understand the passion. I was telling Snerdley this morning, 'cause he came in here, gave me his theory, which I promptly shot down. His theory is that we all owe ABC this, 'cause if it weren't for ABC and John King asking the questions, Newt woulda never been -- and to a certain extent, that's true. But why?
Why did those questions tee Newt up, and why did Newt know what to do with them? Very simple. I've been doing this show for 23 years, and one of my themes from the beginning, from 1988, has been that the American conservative middle class are the ones playing by the rules. They are the ones that obey the law to the best of their ability. They raise their kids. They try to shield their kids from cultural rot and depravity. They try to keep them off drugs. They try to get them into college. They follow as best they can all the rules and they're laughed at and made fun of and they are impugned everywhere they look. They go to the movies, they're mocked and made fun of. They turn on the radio, listen to music, they're laughed at, mocked, and made fun of. They turn on television, watch an average television show, they are laughed at, mocked and made fun of. They open the newspaper, same thing. They've had it. They've been dealing with this for over 20 years, and nobody's fought back for 'em. Not one person ever has fought back for 'em.
The last time somebody actually spoke up in this large a forum, a presidential forum, would have to be Reagan; and Reagan did it not so much by what he said (although he had his moments). He did it by winning. He did it by skunking these people! Since then, the Republican leadership has not seemed focused so much on winning and they sit there and they take it. Whenever their own voters are insulted -- when their own voters are laughed at and impugned and called racists, sexist, bigot homophobes -- the Republicans don't defend them nor themselves because they're scared to death the independents are gonna be upset, or the media is gonna be upset.
So the base of the Republican Party, the voters, have been bottling up for 25 years, a resentment -- an anger, if you will -- that their own party won't fight for them, won't fight for itself, won't fight for what's right. So when Newt gets teed up with these questions from Juan Williams and John King and whoever else and simply says what they've been thinking for 25 years, they say, "Finally!" What they want right now is fight-back, what they want is push-back, what they want is kick-back, what they want is smack-down! What they want is for these people who have been laughing at them and mocking them and impugning them, put in their place.
They're tired of the cultural rot taking place in the country. They're tired of the incessant growth of government and spending. They're tired of it, and they're frustrated as they can be that members of their own party who get elected can't seem to articulate their own passions. Politics is about passion, and the Republican Party doesn't seem to have it! There's always fear of somebody. Fear of the media, fear of Democrats. Well, Newt doesn't act like he's got any fear. So how many wives does he got? "I don't care!" What did he do for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac? "I don't care." What are his national disapproval ratings?
"I don't care! Finally somebody's telling the bad guys who they are, what to do and that we're not gonna take it anymore -- or that we don't want to take it anymore." Now, you can sit there and you can say that that's cockeyed, that elections aren't won that way. Uhhhh, they aren't? Who just won? Who's already leading in the polls in Florida? George Will had a fascinating statistic over the weekend. Mitt Romney -- Mr. Electability, according to the Republican establishment; Mr. The Only Guy That Can Give Us the Senate -- is 9-and-16 in his election career. He's won nine and lost 16. He's nine out of 25. That, they tell us, is Mr. Electability -- and they're sitting around, the base is, and they're saying, "We don't care about this traditional stuff that you care about that's kept you in second place all these years."
It really isn't complicated. But the resentment for the base that the Republican establishment has is obvious, and of course the Republican establishment knows that. They know that the Tea Party is not embraced, that the Republican establishment's trying to marginalize the Tea Party. So really, at least for me, is not hard to understand. Now, there's an abject sense of panic that has set in over, "Oh, no! You mean this race is gonna go on? Oh, no!" Yeah. The race is gonna go on. See, they thought that this would be over before it started. Remember what I told you: They're gonna split the conservative vote and elect the moderate. They were gonna stand traditional theory on its head.
The traditional theory is: In the primaries, you play to your base, you win the nomination; then when you win the nomination and go to the general, that's when you go push moderates like McCain does -- and you lose. They decided, "We're gonna lose from the get-go. We're gonna nominate a moderate. We're gonna take conservatives in our party that we can't stand and we're gonna have as many of them up there as possible splitting vote," in this case splitting the polls, because there weren't any votes until January. But they were hoping the polls would end this race before a vote had been cast. So they welcomed Perry getting in and Ron Paul and Herman Cain and all these people, because it allowed them the opportunity to ridicule them.
I'm talking about our own establishment. Forget the media and Democrats. I'm not even talking about them yet. (We'll get to them in due course.) So the more conservatives the better. The more you can criticize 'em, impugn 'em, but the more important thing is you split the support. Romney versus all the others; Romney by default wins. They were hoping to create psychological attitude that said, "You know what? There's no way. 'Cause if all these guys stay in, Mitt's it. The conservative vote's gonna split itself when the votes finally start being counted and blah, blah, blah." Now look at what happened when you actually start voting! This is why they wanted to make sure the vote didn't count. They wanted it over before this.
Now, if you happened to watch cable TV on Saturday night -- if you have as boring a life as I do and you were watching cable TV on Saturday night (laughing) -- what did you hear? You heard the same pundits. I don't care what network you went to. You heard the same pundits lamenting the same things, worried about the same things (primarily their predictions being wrong), talking about how, "This can't go on. The longer this goes on the worse it is for the Republican Party," and I'm sitting there saying, "What's so bad about this?" There was total shock. Why was there shock? The polling data before South Carolina told us what was gonna happen.
The shock was that Newt won the women vote, he won the independent vote, he won every congressional strict in South Carolina. That was the shock. Everything that they told us Newt couldn't do, he did. Everything they told us a conservative couldn't do, he did. Every bit of conventional wisdom was stood on its head. Every bit of "electability" conventional wisdom from the so-called experts was stood on its head Saturday night, and so pundits and the analysts and the consultants are trying to analyze it and figure it out -- and the best they can come up with is, "We've gotta put a stop to this! If this goes go on, it's gonna kill the Republican Party. Oh, no."
I'm watching this and I say, "Wait a minute. Do you people understand yet you can't control this? You gave it your best shot; you can't control this. In fact, you may be affecting this in ways it wouldn't be happening just by the way you're handling yourselves." I'm talking about media. My question is -- and, look, I'm getting my shared of panicked e-mails, too. Oh, and I'll tell you something else I'm getting. I'm getting e-mails with my own words (not attributed to me) sent to me. That's one of the reasons I'm gonna go back to November 10th and remind you when all this was first predicted. "Rush, there's panic out there! Newt? We're gonna lose the Senate if it's Newt."
"Oh, yeah, really? Yeah? Where did you hear that?"
Now, ladies and gentlemen, for me, a protracted primary that goes on to the convention? Bring it on! The fact that conservatism is gonna be debated? Romney, if he has a prayer here, is gonna have to figure conservatism out. He's gonna have to able to articulate it like he believes it, loves it, and understands it. The one thing Mitt Romney has trouble doing is connecting with his audience. That's why the jokes of him being a Ken doll. He just doesn't connect. The campaign places look great, the flags and the banners and the popcorn and the peanuts are all good, but the, "I believe in an America founded by the founders, and I want America to believe in America that America believes in America and founders believe in America..."
What, what, what? Platitudes aren't gonna get it, and I don't know that... Romney obviously has decided to go after Newt on Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac. It worked in Iowa with the super PAC ads, but I don't know. I think Romney's problem is really not so much Newt as it is what it's always been: The base just doesn't think he's conservative! That's all it is, and of course that ticks off the establishment. Let me ask you... Oh, you know, we did Operation Chaos. Oh, do you know what? I didn't know this. Nobody tells me anything. Have you seen the George Clooney movie Ides of March? Well, it was up for Academy Awards. (George Clooney, the actor.) It's about Operation Chaos.
The subplot, the first 40 minutes of that movie is about Operation Chaos and how ticked off the Democrats are. Nobody told me. It ends up being a subplot to the movie. Don't worry, I'm not gonna spoil it if you haven't seen it, but Clooney is an incumbent Ohio governor running for reelection and his opponent is gonna register a bunch of Republicans and independents in the primary to come in and vote for anybody but the incumbent. They even have Chris Matthews, a clip of Chris Matthews on MSNBC saying, "Yeah, Rush Limbaugh calls it 'Operation Chaos'" and explain it. It's clear that whoever ran this movie put it together is ticked off at Operation Chaos, so the first 40 minutes of the movie are about that.
It turns out that's not what the whole thing is about. I'm watching this, but my question is: "Did a long, protracted fight hurt Obama in 2008?" Did it hurt him? Did it hurt him? Now, you might say, "Yeah, he started making these bitter-clinger comments. If he hadn't had the media behind him..." If, if, if... The fact of the matter is that thing went down to the superdelegates toss-up and Obama wins and Hillary lost. So it's another bit of conventional wisdom. "We've gotta stop this campaign. Oh, my God. How? We can't have this. Can't have Newt out there. Why, Newt's gonna turn everybody off before it's all over! Newt's just gonna destroy the party. Newt's gonna destroy the party! We've got to stop this."
(interruption) What argument about the general election? I just got through saying... (interruption) Well, what do you think my point is in asking if it hurt Obama? That was a long primary. Did he win? He won! Operation Chaos, we kept it going. We were trying to have Obama exposed; we figured Hillary was the only person in the campaign with the gonads to do it. The press weren't vetting Obama. The whole point about Operation Chaos was to have the truth about Obama come out -- and to have a greater chance of that, we wanted to have the campaign go on. The campaign went on and on and on, a long campaign, and it didn't hurt Obama, did it?
So why is it that a long primary campaign is gonna hurt the Republican nominee? If the result of a long campaign is that this party finally figures out that the only way they have to win this is conservatism, it's a win-win. Let it play out! Don't panic! If Newt is a flawed candidate, it is a long campaign that's gonna show. Everybody is saying, "Newt can't win in the general. He's too flawed." Fine, then don't worry about it! He'll implode sometime in the primary. If he's gonna implode, he's gonna implode! The longer it goes on, the longer he has to implode. I'm just taking their theory and throwing it back at 'em. Why panic here, folks? Everything's okay!