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Why NY-23 Isn't a Third-Party Race

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: In NY-23, Real Clear Politics: "Doug Hoffman, plus five." Doug Hoffman may in fact win this with nowhere near the amount of money the two Democrats have. I know there's a Democrat called a Republican, but we actually have two liberal Obama Democrats, one calling herself a Republican, and you've got the Reagan conservative Hoffman in there. Tim Pawlenty threw in with him today, by the way, so you have Sarah Palin, Fred Thompson, Rick Santorum, who else? (interruption) Sue Collins endorsed -- so? Is that a surprise? That's going to sway a lot of votes. Susan Collins from Maine -- who? Endorsed Scozzafava? You know, the Republican Party, I really do not know what Newt Gingrich was thinking. Maybe he hasn't gotten over the budget battle of 1995. I don't know, but this is stunning. I ruined two hours of my day when I saw that the Republican Party was running ads against Hoffman. They have a death wish. The Republican Party has a death wish. Gallup: 40% of Americans now say they are conservative, 20% say they're liberal, 36% say they're moderates. And of those three groups, which one is being ignored -- not just ignored -- which one is being attacked by the Republican Party? The conservatives!

It's worse than I thought. I thought this was just based on elitism and Northeast moderate liberalism, and embarrassment of the people that the social issues attract to the party. But now it's just plain stupidity. The Republican Party, as constituted is as dangerous to this country as the Democrat Party is. "But, Rush, party loyalty is party loyalty, and the local Republican committee up there has endorsed Scozzafava." So? I'm saying the two parties are the same. I guess I need to amend it a little bit, but, man, when I saw that they were running ads, as I say, ruined two hours of my day.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: All right, folks, we'll get to your phone calls in the next hour, really getting beat up in the e-mail over my third-party stance here. I'm going to try to explain to you why this is not a third-party example what's happening in NY- 23.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: You people are beating me up here over my stance at the third-party business. I want to try to walk you through this as I see it. Now, this is from PoliticsDaily.com by Matt Lewis. "'Newt Gingrich Takes Heat From the Right, but Will It Stick?' -- A few days ago, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich irritated many movement conservatives when he endorsed liberal Republican Dede Scozzafava over Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman for the upcoming special election --" and that's key to remember here. "-- in New York's 23rd congressional district. Running in a conservative district, where the incumbent went off to be secretary of the Army, all three candidates have the distinction ... of seeing their race attract national attention and national surrogates. Hoffman had previously earned the backing of prominent conservative organizations such as the fiscally conservative Club for Growth and the socially conservative Concerned Women for America PAC. In the end, Gingrich's endorsement may not matter to the outcome of that race -- Scozzafava seems to be losing steam anyway -- but down the line it may matter to Gingrich.

"The former House speaker drew immediate fire from popular conservative blogs like RedState and MichelleMalkin.com, who cast him as an apostate. Erick Erickson of RedState.com wrote that Gingrich's endorsement of Scozzafava 'aligns Newt with ACORN, which has twice endorsed Dede [and] with Planned Parenthood and NARAL, active supporters of Dede.' ... In response, Gingrich invoked Big Tent Reaganism, saying, 'If you seek to be a perfect minority, you'll remain a minority. That's not how Reagan built his revolution, or how we won back the House in 1994.'" This revisionist history is upsetting to me. This is not how Reagan won. Reagan was not out there talking about a big tent. If I recall correctly Reagan publicly invited liberal Republicans to go their own way. His tent was a little narrow but it was crowded. His tent was just mainstream conservatism, the kind of conservatism that founded the country.

Now, this little article here says: "Make no mistake; this special election in New York is not just one mere congressional race. As Erickson himself Tweeted, for conservative activists it is 'a hill to die on.'" Now, this is a teachable moment here, and it's nuanced, gotta be careful. In New York, the rules allow for very strong third parties in certain elections. The Conservative Party in New York generally, now, only runs candidates when the Republicans are liberal. Otherwise they don't work against the Republicans to help the Democrats, but here, you have an off-year election, you have an extreme liberal Republican. This is not a RINO. This is not a Republican-in-name-only. This is an extreme liberal Republican who may as well be a Democrat. You also have a far-out, wacko, lib Democrat, and then people say this is a real chance for a third party. But this is not the same as running a third party in a national election against a Republican-in-name-only like McCain. This is a totally different circumstance.

Let me see if I can explain this. NY-23 is a special election. There was no primary. Doug Hoffman would have challenged Scozzafava in the Republican primary had there been one. He would have had the backing of New York's Conservative Party as is often the case there. You have to understand that the Conservative Party does not look at themselves as a third party. Only do they get in gear when the Republicans nominate some liberal. Ronald Reagan opposed third-party races because he believed that conservatives needed to take back the Republican Party and not surrender it to liberals. He told the liberals, "Go your own way." He didn't go his own way and form a Republican Party. It took a while. He narrowly lost to Gerald Ford in '76. He was the most popular Republican emerging from that convention, but Ford, the establishment Republican, the fix was in. Reagan didn't slink away and start a third party. He began to take over the Republican Party.

Third parties lose. Speaking personally, I am not interested in creating another Reform Party like Perot did, like Buchanan did. It's a losing proposition. I want to defeat what's going on. Now, if Hoffman loses he can run again in the GOP primary next year, a primary that did not happen this year. If there had been a primary, he would have run, and he would have had the backing of the Conservative Party. I'm sure that the Republican Party would have backed Dede Scozzafava, and then you would have ended up with a traditional two-party race against a Democrat whoever that would have been in their primary. But there wasn't one. He can run as the Republican candidate if the Democrat, the guy's name is Owens. If Owens wins he can come back and run a year from now. The Congressional Campaign Committee is out there saying there's no clear path to victory for Doug Hoffman. Now, the Club for Growth is running polls up there, and they've got Hoffman up five. Everybody watching this race admits that Dede Scozzafava has lost steam. I mean she's a pretender. It's a teachable moment here.

Forty percent of the public now, according to Gallup, identify themselves as conservative, 20% as liberal, and 36% as independent. Now, Hoffman wanted to run as a Republican. He is a Republican. He was passed over by the GOP, who picked Scozzafava instead. So he's running on the Conservative Party ticket because the GOP passed him over, but this is a wake-up call for both parties. Look what's happening in Virginia now. Last Friday the Washington Post comes out with this front-page story dumping on Creigh Deeds, Obama White House dumping on him. "It's their fault, they didn't use Obama wisely enough, didn't use Obama enough." The Democrat Party has no clue. Well, maybe they do have a clue, which is why they're trying to rush all this stuff in so quickly, but I don't think they understand just how much the people oppose what they're doing. Corzine in New Jersey is down three points. Now, that's margin of error. But this is a corrupt Democrat state. This Chris Christie guy ought to be nowhere close. And he still may not win but as close as it is, and the Democrats are already sensing a Creigh Deeds type situation in New Jersey, "Well, you can't blame this on Obama." Of course not.

Obama will not be blamed for anything. He'll only take credit for things that go well. But if you fail, it's your fault, if you fail aligning yourself with Obama's policies, it's not Obama's policy or him, it's you, and he'll throw you under the bus as fast as you would kick a paper cup under the bus as soon as pick it up and put it in the trash can. I know the temptation for a third party is tempting, but right now conservatism is on the ascendancy, it's actually good to be a conservative, and this is the time to reassert control over the Republican Party. It's not going to be easy but the Democrats, the far left didn't go out and form a third party. They took over the Democrat Party. Anyway, gotta take a break. I know a lot of you are still looking at this and seeing a third party here, but this is not the way a third-party candidacy, a third party would actually operate. It's really key to understand there was no primary here.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: By the way, just to remind you, Sarah Palin, when she endorsed Hoffman in this race, she said it was a message to the Republican Party, not a third-party movement. And something the Republican Party needs to ask itself: do you people running this show actually think that Doug Hoffman is not going to vote with the Republicans in the House when he gets there? What in the world are you thinking? Scozzafava will vote with the Democrats just like Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins do, more often than not. She's an Obama Republican. She is such a liberal the Democrat has run ads being critical of all the tax increases she is for. This is absolutely absurd. It doesn't surprise me. It made me mad when they ran an ad against him. Running ads against a conservative? Run the ads against the Democrat for crying out loud.

Kirsten in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Great to have you. You're up first today on the Rush Limbaugh program. Hi.

CALLER: Hi, Rush. I just want to talk about Newt Gingrich and how I lost all respect for him since he endorsed Scozzafava and basically, on Fox News, implied that the rest of us who aren't from upstate New York need to butt out of it.

RUSH: I didn't hear him say that, but I have only been tuned in sporadically over the course of the past couple, three days.

CALLER: He said something about the rest of us think that we know what's best for upstate New York are wrong or something like that.

RUSH: Well, there's a little subtext here, and to me it's disappointing. Arguably the architect of the conservative revolution, the Republican revolution in the House in 1994 has drifted so far away from what it was that got him there, but if you recall the 2008 presidential election, one of the Republican Party laments was, "Oh, no, oh, no, we don't have one elected Republican from the Northeast." Christopher Shays lost in Connecticut. "Oh, no, we don't have a single Republican from the Northeast. Our constituents aren't being represented. We've gotta understand that people who live in the Northeast are liberal to moderate, and if we want our party to be strong we've gotta --" and when Newt says, I'm just guessing, but when Newt says, "We don't understand NY-23," it's a solid Republican, almost conservative district, and that's why putting Scozzafava in there is just an insult.

But lots of e-mails, like your call, from people who are just mystified by Newt who don't think he's reliable anymore. Nobody denies his intelligence, nobody denies his ability to think strategically, but this is not the first time, joining Pelosi in a global warming commercial and joining Hillary in a health care commercial or a health care appearance, people are scratching their heads over this. I remember seeing him on Hannity's show one night about six months ago or four months ago, maybe three, sometime this past summer. I forget the exact news cycle that was going on, but it was clear by now what a radical Obama was and Newt was apologizing to Hannity for not recognizing it as soon as Hannity had, which was a year-and-a-half ago. Beltwayitis, I don't know what it is, but it's something.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Got another endorsement for Doug Hoffman, NY-23, the former chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee. This is the bunch running ads against Hoffman, but Tom Cole does not run the thing anymore. Tom Cole is a Republican from Oklahoma. He's former chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, a member of the GOP steering committee, "A deputy GOP House whip says that he will be endorsing Doug Hoffman in the New York 23 race." So a lot of prominent Republican conservatives are stepping up here and look, I want to emphasize on this third-party business again, in a functioning two-party system the primary system is the check on the worst impulse or impulses of the party bosses. That's the theme here that I think people need to understand because it's easy to understand, and it's right on the money.

If it weren't for the primaries -- let's look at Reagan, 1976 and 1980. It was the primaries where Reagan got the chance to show the strengths that he had. Reagan would not have gotten the nomination in 1980 without the primaries. The Republican Party did not want Ronald Reagan in 1980. People have forgotten this. I have not. They didn't want him in 1976. They didn't want him in 1980. If there were no primary system, and if the party bosses in the smoke-filled rooms as they used to do, picked the nominees, you'd have had some hack that the Republicans would have picked and in 2000 had there not been a primary system I guarantee you McCain would have been the nominee because the media wanted McCain. Remember the Straight Talk Express? Remember all the stuff that went on in South Carolina? All the crossover Democrats in the primaries, they were crossing over and voting for McCain because they wanted McCain 'cause they knew they could beat him, and McCain was the media's favorite candidate in 2000.

If it weren't for the primary system, Bush might not have gotten the nomination in 2000, because the media and the party bosses would have preferred McCain. When you have primaries, the rank-and-file cannot only overrule the party bosses, they can actually make the party bosses behave better. If Scozzafava had had to face a primary and the prospect of getting drubbed in the primary, people like Michael Steele and Newt might not have supported her because they don't want to be associated with a drubbing by the base. They tried to get away with one this time because there was no primary, so they sensed an opportunity to show everybody how nuanced and centrist they are so they can attract respect and love and adoration from the Beltway media and so forth. They run around, "Oh, we don't have any elected representatives in the Northeast." That's right, because they've all run as moderates and liberals and been shellacked. If you're going to be a moderate and liberal, be a Democrat. If you want to be a Republican and you want to win, be a conservative. That's the message. But these guys are all missing it.

They've been in Washington too long, and they get the sense that Washington is America 'cause it's their world. This happens to Republicans and Democrats alike. You go back to 1980, can I ask you if you remember who the number one challenger to Ronald Reagan was in 1980? That's exactly right, Snerdley, it was Bush 41, voodoo economics. Charge H.W. Bush, voodoo economics. And had there been no primary system, George Bush 41 would have been the nominee. Now, the relevance here is that there was no primary in NY-23. It's a special election. Had there been a primary, Hoffman would have run as a Republican against Scozzafava, as a Republican, and he would have shellacked her. And then the Republican Party would be supporting this guy because he had won the primary. Now, they might have still thrown in with Scozzafava because they think they have to show that they're sophisticated and not closed-minded by being able to support moderates or even liberal Republicans.

But it's a huge error, ladies and gentlemen, to think that what is happening in NY-23 is a portend of third-party success. Hoffman tried to get the Republican nomination. He is a Republican and he's going to be voting with the Republicans in the House of Representatives if he's elected there. The primary system is key here and it was not present in this race. Had it been, none of what's happening now would be happening, the party bosses woulda stood back. You'd have had two Republicans running, they woulda stood back, they wouldn't have gotten involved and endorsed one. But now Hoffman says screw it, you guys don't want me in the Republican Party, fine, there's a conservative party that gets in action when the Republican Party goes liberal. The conservative party is not active all the time. They're a stopgap in New York.

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