The Left Explores "Likability"
April 18, 2012
RUSH: Go back to this radio program yesterday. Yesterday I raised a question, 'cause the conventional wisdom is that... Oh! To put this in perspective, there's another poll out today. CBS/New York Times: Obama and Romney are tied. The media is fit to be tied!
The media is panicked.
The media doesn't understand.
It's their own poll! CBS/New York Times: Obama, Romney tied.
See, you have to understand, the way they look at this Romney is the biggest blithering idiot, insensitive, rich, out-of-touch, 1950s guy. He has nothing in common with anybody you've ever heard of; there couldn't be one person in this country who wants to vote for Romney. On the other hand, Obama is The Messiah. Everybody loves Obama. His likability numbers, popularity? Look at him in the polls! And then they see Romney ahead by five yesterday in the Gallup Daily Tracking Poll and ahead by two the day before that. We get CBS/New York Times: Dead heat. ABC poll: "Romney Close to Obama!" They're beside themselves. I asked the question yesterday: "Where is it written -- where is this notion -- that Obama is so likable and everybody else in politics isn't?" And this is how I asked the question.
RUSH ARCHIVE: Every one of these polls where Obama is losing to Romney, every one of them, the network reporting it says, "But Obama's popularity is at an all-time high," or, "Obama's likability numbers are skyrocketing. People really like Obama. But they just are not hip to his policies." Where, on the other hand, Romney's looked at as this mean-spirited, uber-rich guy. My question is, I want to know what is there so much to like about Barack Obama? This guy says cold, mean things.
RUSH: That's right.
RUSH ARCHIVE: He has policies which are destructive and very harmful to individuals and institutions.
RUSH: That's right.
RUSH ARCHIVE: He's not a warm and engaging personality. What is this likability? Where does it come from?
RUSH: That's right.
RUSH ARCHIVE: If Romney is not liked, why is Obama liked? None of this makes any sense to me. ... I think it's another one of these things the media just says. Romney has not told nor has he instructed his campaign people to disregard a certain segment of the voting public. Obama's doing that. I just don't believe this likability stuff. I just... I'm sorry.
RUSH: "Show prep for the rest of the media." I say it yesterday, and here is Diane Sawyer last night on ABC's World News Tonight. This is during a report about these polls that have come out lately showing Romney ahead of Obama. Diane Sawyer and the correspondent, David Muir, have this change. They're trying to figure out why the "less likable candidate" is winning. (Diane Sawyer impression) "Loooooook, recycliiiiiing! Romney is winniiiiiiing, hoooooooow?"
SAWYER: Historically, we do elect the president we think is most likely -- likable. But could this be the year that personal popularity is not a reason we cast our votes?
MUIR: With new polls tonight showing Mitt Romney already in a tight race with President Obama, it begs the question: "In this presidential election, does who you like matter?" Because the race is close, even with Mitt Romney facing a huge gap against the president when it comes to favorability. From the Romney team tonight a strategy that concentrates far less on who you like.
ROMNEY: He's a nice guy. I just think he's misguided and over his head.
MUIR: Expect to hear that from Mitt Romney: "He's nice but in over his head." The campaign believes they're on to something with that. And about the favorability number being so low, they make the argument that that number is always low, particularly after a primary battle as bruising as the one we just witnessed, they say watch the number in and out without incoming fire from fellow Republicans. They say also watch the president's job approval number.
SAWYER: So we have to see how quickly he turns that favorability around.
RUSH: Yeah, see? "How can it be that the least-likable guy is winniiiiing? How is that possible?" And so now Diane Sawyer says, "So we have to see how quickly he can turn the favorability around." What she's saying is: "We have to see how quickly we can turn the favorability around for him." But this is a classic illustration of how you are on the cutting edge of societal evolution if you listen to this program. I mention it yesterday, I bring up the whole subject: "Where is this idea that Obama is so likable, so popular?" And that night, on ABC's World News Tonight, they explore that very thing. Because they can't believe that in their own polls, this dud, deadbeat, boring Ward Cleaver Mormon is anywhere near The Messiah.
RUSH: Look, let me be honest here. How did Richard Nixon win two landslide elections if likability matters? I'm not denying likability is important, but it can be overcome. I mean, let's face it, Nixon was not all that likable, but he was considered to be what was needed at the time. David Axelrod, who is Obama's consigliore, his modus operandi, when he's not out creating Astroturf projects, has always been defined, or -- he's a consultant and political consultants have their own signature identities and strategies. One of Axelrod's signature identities has been to find or create a likable candidate out of somebody who is essentially an empty suit, somebody that nobody knows anything about, which is the key.
When nobody knows anything about 'em, you can make them what you want people to think they are. You can manufacture them. It's like a canvas, and you can paint whatever you want on it and say, "This is who this guy is." And if there was ever an empty suit that came along in terms of experience, it was Obama. He didn't have any. I think about this and I still ask myself what in the heck has happened here? How does a guy with no experience at anything pass himself off as an expert in health care and have people believe it? Well, that's Axelrod's modus operandi. You create the empty suit, or you find one, and then you make him likable. And then the key to that is you have to hope that voters don't notice that their elected representatives are governing entirely against their wishes because the candidate's so likable.
He's such a nice guy, such an engaging guy. He wouldn't possibly want to take away your freedom. He wouldn't possibly want to change the way the country was founded. He's too nice a guy. When you think of somebody who doesn't like the country, you think of somebody who's angry, enraged all the time, and privately Obama probably is, within his own mind he probably is, but he never shows this. That's how we got Deval Patrick, by the way, as the governor of Massachusetts. That's how we got Obama.
Here, I'll give you an example. Audio sound bite. This is CBS This Morning, Charlie Rose. Charlie's making this show a lot lately since I banned MSNBC. We have Charlie Rose here and Erica Hill, the cohost and cohostette, along with the CBS political director, John Dickerson. They are in crisis over Obama's poll collapse, in their own poll. Obama and Romney, this dull, boring, Ward Cleaver-like Mormon who puts his dog on the roof of his car to drive around town. They can't understand anybody that could possibly vote for that. Just a dull dryball, an empty suit, and this guy has tied The One, and they talk about it.
HILL: The race between Romney and President Obama is now dead even, according to a CBS News/New York Times poll released just this morning. Forty-six percent of registered voters say they will vote for the president. The same number say they'll vote for Romney. Meantime, more Republican primary voters are now backing Romney. Thirty-three percent say they enthusiastically support him. That's up five points from January.
ROSE: What's happening with these numbers?
DICKERSON: Well, the Republican Party is slowly gathering behind Mitt Romney. You do see the Republican Party coming behind Mitt Romney, and he's basically reminding them, we're all in this against President Obama.
RUSH: What's happening with these numbers? Why are we even doing this story? Why did we even release the poll? If the poll shows them tied, what are we even doing releasing our own poll? Why didn't we wait for a poll that showed Obama way ahead? Now we gotta sit out here, we gotta talk about it. We gotta make it look like Republican Party is coming together behind Romney. That wasn't supposed to happen, either. According to these guys.
Let's grab a quick phone call here, since -- by the way, folks, programming note. I'm out today -- no, I'm here today. I'm out tomorrow and Friday. (laughing) No, I'm here. It was a lo -- it was a night of revelry, is all I'm gonna tell you.