Establishment Shocked by Santorum Sweep
February 08, 2012
RUSH: Rick Santorum, one night, three victories. CBS has the story: "Santorum Stunner: Sweeps 3 GOP Contests." I've taken a gander throughout the Republican media, conservative media, and all over the place, and they are shocked. They're literally shocked. The Republican establishment had no idea this was percolating out there. I can't believe how insulated they are. I mean I know they're insulated. I know they're "inside-the-Beltway." I know they have their own world in which they live, but to look at the reaction they're having today, to see how shocked they are that Rick Santorum has come out of what they thought was an impossible position equivalent to nowhere, is an incredible thing. And we're gonna look at this in some detail.
Of course, the Drive-Bys are crediting me for this. You know, it's about time to put a stop to this. I know why they're doing it, and the real reason they're doing it is because they think they have this kind of power. They think they have the power, and in some cases they do with certain audiences. But they think they have the power to launch Obama from nowhere to the presidency, and it could be argued that they did play a significant role here, and so they think that of themselves. So a Republican candidate comes along out of nowhere. First it was Newt, now it's Santorum. It can't be the candidates. It can't be that Santorum's connecting with voters. It can't be that, no, no, it can't be that Santorum's resonating with Republican voters, the conservative base. It can't be that the conservative base just isn't happy with Romney. It can't be any of that. No, no, no.
It has to be that the Republican base is a bunch of mind-numbed robots sitting out there waiting for marching orders from me. (interruption) Well, while it's fun, Snerdley, while it's fun to sit here and tweak these people, and while it's fun to listen to their sound bites, which we're going to do today, and it's fun to listen to them talk about how I'm responsible for it, never forget that I have the most profound respect and admiration the people in this audience. I know full well that conservative voters, by and large -- there are always exceptions to things -- are intelligent, they're engaged, and they're clearly able to make up their own minds, and they do. It may be a mixture of both. But still, it's fascinating to watch because all of these conservatives sneak up.
The one thing, it's never gonna stop bothering me, this notion, this template, if you will, that conservative voters are a bunch of idiots and can't make up their own minds. They sit around and wait for marching orders. That's been one of the templates to describe this audience ever since this program started in 1988. It's insulting, it's demeaning, and it impugns these people, and I think it's a mistake because the Republican Party had better understand here that the people who are not voting for Romney are not doing it because I'm telling them to, or because anybody else is telling them to. They're doing it because they genuinely have a problem with Romney. And they're doing it because, in Santorum's case, as I've been saying the past couple of weeks, if you're looking for a conservative who is the least corrupted, who has the least number of periods of wandering off the reservation, if you're looking for a conservative who's never sat down with Nancy Pelosi on the couch for any reason, you get Rick Santorum. And people know this.
Now, one of the things that could explain Santorum's sweep yesterday -- there are a number of things, but one thing that could explain it is people have to think that the guy can win. That's what the base is telling us today. They think Santorum can win. There may be some protest votes in this, but the establishment had better wake up and understand that Republican primary voters are doing this not just to stick a finger in the eye of the establishment, not just to be frivolous here. They're sending a message. They sent a message with Newt in South Carolina, and I told you then that Newt was the vessel for that message and that vote, the South Carolina primary victory that he had after the confrontation in the debate with Juan Williams.
RUSH: We'll take a brief time-out, come back and listen to a bit of Santorum's speech last night in St. Charles, Missouri. And after that we have a bite from Trump, who says, "I don't get this whole Santorum thing." Just last week he goes out and endorses Romney, and now this! Santorum sweeps three states.
There are a lot of people scratching their heads. And... (interruption) No, I wasn't surprised by this! I'm not surprised by this. It's one of the reasons that I haven't been panicking throughout all of this. I think I have a pretty good understanding and idea where the Republican base is. If they're given the opportunity to vote for what they think so important, they'll do it. Coupled with, "Is my vote gonna be cast where somebody can actually win?" I think people thought Newt could win. It's one of the reasons they voted for him. People are gonna say, "Well, you know, Santorum can't win. Everybody knows he's unelectable." We've been hearing this. Every one of our candidates is "Unelectable! Can't be elected!" It doesn't matter who, other than Romney. We've been told this by our side, our establishment, and by the Democrats and the media as well.
RUSH: When you see somebody running for office, I don't care who it is, for the presidency, do you think you know why they want to be president? Isn't it amazing -- (interruption) you don't wonder? (interruption) Well, okay. Well, that's the point. We're left to assume why these guys want to be president. The last time I can think anybody was asked was when Roger Mudd asked Ted Kennedy back in 1980, and we got the forerunner of that gibberish at a Clinton fundraiser in the nineties. He had no answer for why he wanted to be president, no answer for why he was running. It strikes me that there aren't very many candidates who are asked that question point-blank. So we're left to assume. Like Snerdley was just shouting at me in the IFB. "I know why Obama wanted to run. He wants to totally change this country. He doesn't like the way the country was founded. It's his job to transform it." Yeah, we're left to assume that, and I think we're right. But he wasn't asked. At least not that I recall.
Now, sometimes they'll say, "I want to be president of this country for X, Y, Z." But put on the spot with the question, it doesn't happen. So when you look around, do you know why Newt -- I'm just asking, I don't have an answer here. These are rhetorical questions. I'm asking you, this audience as voters, when you watch a Republican debate, do you have any idea why Ron Paul wants to be president? Do you have any idea why Newt wants to be? Did you know why Bachmann wanted to be president? Did you know why Rick Perry did? I'm just asking. The reason I'm asking is because I think when you listen to Santorum, you know. He's answering the question without being asked, and it's in that little quote that I read to you about freedom and what's at stake in this election and this country. That's his "why."
That's his answer to the question why he wants to be president. It's a powerful thing. Here's what he said, "I'm not the conservative alternative to Mitt Romney. I'm the conservative alternative to Barack Obama. I care about the very rich, the very poor. I care about a hundred percent of America. Ladies and gentlemen, freedom's at stake in this election. America's honor is at stake." When you hear that, you have very little doubt what it is that's motivating or inspiring Santorum. Let's go to the sound bites. We have four of them here from St. Charles, Missouri, at Santorum headquarters last night.
SANTORUM: Wow. Conservatism is alive and well in Missouri and Minnesota! Thank you all so very, very much it is great to be here. I just can't thank the people of Missouri. We doubled 'em up here and in Minnesota! Let me just thank God for giving us the grace to be able to persevere through the dog days and blessing us and blessing our family. My wife Karen here, what a rock. I mean what a rock through these last few weeks. We have had more drama than any family really needs, and she has just been an amazing rock and a great blessing to me, and I just want to thank you in particular, my sweet, for all you've done. Thank you.
RUSH: Here's the next excerpt.
SANTORUM: I wouldn't be surprised if he isn't listening. Why would you think he would be listening now? Has he ever listened to the Voice of America before? (crowd yells "No!") No, why? Because he thinks he knows better. He thinks he's smarter than you. He thinks he's someone who is a privileged person who should be able to rule over all of you. But we have a different message for him.
RUSH: Rick Santorum talking about Obama. Obama, he's not listening tonight. He thinks he's better than we are. I think that nails it, by the way. I think Obama is one of these narcissistic egomaniacs, superiorist who actually does think he's better. The bitter clinger comment is an example. When Obama looks at everybody he has to look down his nose to see us. In the next bite, this is Santorum saying he's not the conservative alternative to Romney. He wants to be the conservative alternative to Obama.
SANTORUM: I hope you have been listening to our message, because if you listen to our message and you found out that on those issues -- health care, the environment, cap and trade, and on the Wall Street bailouts -- Mitt Romney has the same positions as Barack Obama. And in fact would not be the best person to come up and fight for your voices for freedom in America. Ladies and gentlemen, I don't stand here to claim to be the conservative alternative to Mitt Romney. I stand here to be the conservative alternative to Barack Obama. (crowd chanting)
RUSH: It's the standard slogan at these rallies, "We pick Rick," that's always the slogan, got all fired up. Santorum is also very fluent in the language of conservatism. It's natural. It pours out. And explaining, for example, the theory of limited government is second nature to him. He doesn't have to be taught it. He doesn't have to have it written for him. He doesn't have to be briefed and he certainly doesn't have to be tutored right before he goes out to speak about it.
SANTORUM: The president over the last few years has tried to tell you that he -- in fact, the government -- can give you rights. The government can take care of you and provide for you. They can give you the "right" to health care like in Obamacare.
SANTORUM: Well, look what happens when the government gives you rights. When the government gives you rights, unlike when God gives you rights, the government can take them away. When government gives you rights, the government can tell you how to exercise those rights. And we saw that just in the last week with a group of people -- a small group of people: Just Catholics in the United States of America.
RUSH: Yep. It just flows out of there. Now, there was a piece today from the Independent Women's Forum, Charlotte Hays. I am familiar with this group. Members of this group have often referred to me as Braveheart in a political sense, although it was not Charlotte Hays. But they're a conservative bunch. They sorta created themselves as the alter ego of the feminazis. They appreciate strong men. They want strong men. They desire a role for strong men in relationships and in the world, in politics and all of this. They're a good bunch of people. So this is from Charlotte Hays, posted at eight o'clock this morning.
"If you think Rick Santorum can get independents, go for it, folks." So once again, here we have this notion that we can't win this without winning the independents, and conservatives can't win the independents. It's a group called the Independent Women's Forum, and they identify themselves as conservative. "If you think Rick Santorum can get independents, go for it, folks. Senator Santorum, who enjoyed a magnificent triumph in three states last night, deserves a lot of credit, as he would no doubt be the first to tell you, for hanging in there. He has been impressive in recent debates. And a grateful nation thanks Mr. Santorum for seemingly having dispatched Newt Gingrich back under his bridge..."
That means he's a troll. Newt's a troll. He's lurking under the bridge there, comes out every now and then for a debate. (interruption) It is snarky. That's my point. But "at least for the time being" we thank Santorum for dispatching Newt "back under his bridge." "But last night was not good for the Republican [P]arty," writes Ms. Hays. "I think the voters last night were acting like my favorite Cousin Harry," she says, "who yearns for a 'real conservative' and refers to Mitt Romney as McCain," and then she writes in parenthesis: "(a McCain presidency is looking pretty good right now; it was during the campaign, not a presidency, that McCain lost his nerve)," end parenthesis.
So this little paragraph here is chock-full of stuff. She's ripping people (paraphrased): "Oh, yeah, yeah! A McCain presidency is looking pretty good right now!" I actually could make the case that the party, the Republican Party would be far worse off today with McCain having won. But that's for another time. Back to Ms. Hays here. "Mitt Romney speaks conservatism like a second language -- that is because it is a second language for him. Is that such a bad thing? Sure, he needed somebody to tell him not to flaunt that coveted Bob Dole endorsement.
"He needs to quickly absorb some of the language and ideas that are first nature to movement [conservatives] (e.g., Walter Williams is good on the minimum wage, Mitt). I hate it when others beat me to ideas that I’ve been playing with, but William Tucker did the other day, proposing that Romney, with his temperament, could be another Ronald Reagan. With a conservative Congress, the sky is the limit. In a way, Santorum has replaced Gingrich as the conservative feel-good candidate. As I said, if you think he can win in November, be my guest. I worry that he doesn’t have the kind of broad appeal needed to beat even a disaster like Barack Obama."
Now, you might ask yourself... By the way, I said I "know" the Independent Women's Forum. I don't know Charlotte Hays. If I've met her, I don't recall. Rick Santorum is not rallying support because of a cult of personality. As I pointed out in the previous 45 minutes of this program, he's rallying support because he's the last real conservative still standing. He's running enthusiastically as a conservative. The issue is not whether he has "broad appeal." It's whether conservatism has broad appeal and can win over converts with the strength of its arguments, which get clearer.
RUSH: This whole thing with Charlotte Hays here: Either conservatism is what it is and you support it, or it isn't. Santorum is out... I don't care if you can say, "No delegates assigned." Three states! He swept three states. If the establishment's right, Romney should be winning everything now. It should be over, folks, and it's not. Romney's not sweeping everything.
So now the latest is, at least from Ms. Hays... Again, I don't know her. This is really not even a criticism of her. This is more an opportunity to illustrate a point. Santorum is out rallying support because he's the last real conservative still standing, and he is running as a conservative. He's not cloudy about it at all. There's no doubt about what and who Santorum is. So the question isn't: Well, does he have broad appeal? The question is: "Does conservatism -- properly explained, cheerfully proclaimed have broad appeal? Can conservatism win over converts with the strength of its argument?" And there's no question that it can! It does every time it's tried.
The problem is it's not tried enough in electoral Republican politics. But the last time it was overwhelmingly successful was Reagan. We've been through time and time again how much the establishment doesn't like that. They just don't like conservatives and they don't like conservatism, for all the reasons that we've stated. But in times like these? One of the reasons you want down-the-middle, straight conservative is because of the opportunity to contrast it with Obama. Times like this are when conservatism becomes crystal clear to people that don't understand it or have never had it explained to them or don't quite think ideologically in their lives. It's the greatest opportunity ever to explain conservatism to people. It explains itself! As times get more dire, and as Obama becomes more stridently left, conservatism comes into focus.
Now, if you are a conservative and you don't believe that that's true, then why be a conservative?
If conservatism has to be modified or moderated somehow, why be a conservative? So there's a lot going on with this. There is a lot that establishment types could learn and go ahead and use from this experience and this example. I know it gets frustrating, folks, having to constantly teach. You look at the left, and they don't have to teach it. Liberalism is the most gutless choice you can make. You see some suffering and go, "Oh, gosh, I hate that!" Oh, you're a liberal and you've got a big heart. You got compassion. You've done nothing but see it. You've done nothing but say you saw it. You come along with ideas to fix it, and that's when you get opened up to all these charges and you have to take an intellectual foray into understanding what this is about.