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Is It Really a Two-Man Race?

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: The Republican debate... By the way, these things are increasingly not debates -- and they haven't been, I guess, for actually a long time. They're more like extended press conferences or expanded Sunday morning shows with a few tweaks in the rules that allow people to respond for 30 seconds if their names happen to be mentioned in the course of somebody else speaking. But it was a disappointing night for Rick Perry. Actually, it was a disappointing night. I thought Santorum did well and Herman Cain did well. The rest of the people, folks, it was to me sort of pathetic and sadly disappointing.

As rich as the target is, with as many things that are happening in this country and around the world -- financial circumstances, the world financial circumstances, the situation with Europe as a shining example of where we ought not go but yet we're on that path -- it was a great opportunity to draw a profound contrast between our position and that of Obama and the regime. I just thought it was disappointing. A lot of people were expecting much more out of Rick Perry, and he didn't come through. So now here's what I've learned about Rick Perry. (This is, I guess, the spin or the explanation.) "Rick Perry just never does well in debates. He never has. He doesn't win debates, but, boy, does he win elections!

In fact, the last debate Perry was in before this series began was in 2005. It's just not one of the things that he does well." Okay, look, I totally understand spin, but these are not "debates." This is just Q&A. You gotta have some facts at your command, you have to be able to parry (p-a-r-r-y), have to be able to go back and forth, but if you're gonna go out and try to illustrate Romney's flip-flops, rehearse it, or know it. I don't know about you; I just thought it was a little disappointing. And, in fact, I made an observation about Perry last week where he seems to get tired, seems to wear down. The sentences get slower, the words get put together slower. In fact, the Perry campaign has said that it was a product of being tired in these debates.  In fact, last Thursday, this is in Orlando, here is Perry responding to Romney's defense of Romneycare.

PERRY:  I think Americans just don't know sometimes which Mitt Romney they're dealing with.  Is it the Mitt Romney that was on the side against the Second Amendment before he was for the Second Amendment?  Was it was before he was for these social programs from the standpoint he was standing up for Roe v. Wade before he was against Roe v. Wade?  He was for Race to the Top. He's for Obamacare and now he's against it.  I mean we'll wait until tomorrow and see which Mitt Romney we're really talking to tonight.

RUSH:  So they said, "Ah, he was just tired. He had a long day out there, long day of fundraising, long day of campaigning, a bunch of speechifying, and just a little tired out there."  And I'll tell you why this matters.  It's because within the conservative base, call it the Tea Party base, what have you, they just do not want Romney.  There is an active anti-Romney sentiment and Perry represented perhaps somebody that could wrest all this away from Romney.  Romney's the presumptive nominee, based on money and media trying to make this into a two-man race and so forth, it's getting late for anybody else to get in. 

All this talk about Christie maybe getting in now, I don't know that I believe that.  But if Christie did get in, you know what would happen?  It wouldn't hurt Perry.  It would hurt Romney.  If Chris Christie gets in this race, he's gonna split the Romney vote because they're going after the same vote.  You might not understand it and you might not agree with me, but don't doubt me on this.  Actually, one of the best things that could happen to Perry is if Chris Christie decided to get in this 'cause he would take support away from Romney.  That's where it would come from.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Debbie, Naples, Florida, great to have you on the EIB Network.  Hi.

CALLER:  Hi, Rush.  I wanted to speak with you about the comment you had made earlier that you felt that the Tea Party was unhappy with Romney as the candidate and then you went on to say that there's some pressure being put on Chris Christie to come into the race --

RUSH:  There is, but not by Tea Party people, not by Tea Party people.

CALLER:  Okay, then I misunderstood you because I consider myself to be a Tea Party person. I'm a very staunch conservative, and I think that Chris Christie is not electable in a general election, and I think his demeanor would be very off-putting to a lot of people.

RUSH:  Yeah, no, the people pushing Christie are the same people that pushed McCain.

CALLER:  Right.  Exactly.  He's another northeastern kind of quasi --

RUSH:  Yeah.

CALLER:  -- conservative-liberal person whose ideology I'm not really clear on, to be honest --

RUSH:  Right.  Republican establishment types.

CALLER:  I've heard stories that he's anti-gun and a lot of other things that are concerning to me.

RUSH:  Yeah.  No, no, I did not mean to say that Tea Party people are pushing Christie.  Far from it.

CALLER:  Okay, 'cause I like Romney as a candidate.  I do think he would clean Obama's clock.

RUSH:  You know, everywhere I go people ask me about this, and sometimes just to get a conversation started I'll come up with the weirdest answer I can, because that's really sometimes a great technique for drawing people out, find what they really think about something.  What I've learned from people I talk to who like Romney, it's not really that they like him, they just think he can win.  It is so much about beating Obama, and I find that a lot of people don't think very many people in that Republican debate stage can beat Obama, and that's why it's come down to this two man race business.  It's either Perry or Romney --

CALLER:  I think Perry is terrible.  I don't like what he believes in. I think his performances have been getting worse.  It was so embarrassing to watch him.

RUSH:  Yeah.

CALLER:  That clip where you played where he was trying to, you know, come up with these flip-flop things that Mitt Romney has said, that was so uncomfortable and embarrassing I almost couldn't watch it.

RUSH:  Right.  So you like Romney, why? 

CALLER:  Well, I'll be honest with you.  I had an opportunity to meet him and speak with him at quite some length, and he came across to me in a personal situation --

RUSH:  Yeah.

CALLER:  -- as a lot more conservative, a lot more down to earth, and a very, very warm, friendly person.  For whatever reason I don't think that's coming across in his public performance.

RUSH:  It never does.  You could say that about every one of those.  If you met Rick Perry in person I guarantee you you'd have an entirely different opinion of him.  It's just the way life is. 

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: I did have a chance, and I do this more and more now, talk about the Republican primary, the debates, trying to goad people -- they're unaware I'm doing this, by the way -- into being honest about what they think of who.  And this is from not just conservatives, but from across the spectrum.  And I have found that there are lot of disaffected Democrats who like Romney.  And I have found a lot of squeamish Republicans who like Romney.  And in both cases they tell me it's because Romney can beat Obama.  Now, who is it that's putting that thought out there, what are they saying?  What they're saying is, the Democrats, "Yeah, I like Romney, he's a centrist, he's a moderate."  To a lot of Democrats Romney is not a conservative.  But you start talking Santorum or Michele Bachmann, those are conservatives, Herman Cain, those people can't win.  And it's those people who can and will win. 

We've already gone the centrist route.  The Republican establishment tries that every cycle.  They try to give us a Bob Dole, God bless him, I know him, he's a nice guy, but McCain, same thing.  Nothing's changed.  The Republican establishment, which is now trying to deny that they exist, by the way.  There is no Republican establishment.  This is a little Inside Baseball.  They're trying to co-opt the word conservative.  The Republican establishment wants you to think that they are conservatism today, and of course they're not.  The reason these people tout Romney and they follow it up, "Yeah, Romney can win."  Why?  "Well, you know, centrist, he's not extreme and this sort of thing."  And I'm telling you, folks, those are the people that have the greatest likelihood of losing. 

I'm telling you, this country does not want from the Republican Party a centrist or a moderate or anybody that is looked upon favorably by that group of people.  This is a time and a place that calls for unabashed, unapologetic conservatism.  And if such a candidate wins the nomination, this candidate could win the general election in a landslide.  The Tea Party is portrayed by both the Republican and Democrat establishments in Washington as kind of fringe right wing.  If you wanted to say that there is a centrist position in American politics today, and by that I mean a majority position, the Tea Party is it.  Tea Party conservatism is the majority position in America in terms of reflecting not only the way people live their lives, but the way they think. 

It's hard for people to believe this if their primary exposure to media is with the three networks, either news or their primetime entertainment offerings.  The pop culture and the news culture is dominated by liberals and it makes it look like that's what the whole country is, but it isn't.  And we talk about this a lot.  It's an effort to stay confident, even in circumstances like this.  But if there was ever a time to be confident, this is it.  The challenge remains, though, nevertheless, nothing in the Republican Party is different today than it was in '76 or 1980.  A conservative nominee is considered a threat to the Republican establishment, must be done away with. 

I saw, what was it, the days run together, might have been Friday, the day that I was out. 
Ken Langone, one of the cofounders of Home Depot with Arthur Blank, who is the owner of the Atlanta Falcons.  Ken Langone is lining up donors to do everything he can to influence Chris Christie to get in the race.  Now, Langone is a great guy, you'd like him, he's a take no prisoners Republican.  But he's not a conservative Republican, although he probably thinks he is.  I ran into him when I was not endorsing anybody back in '08, I ran into him at a golf club clubhouse.  And he came up, "Look, you are gonna get on the McCain bandwagon, I mean we're gonna need you.  You are gonna be there, aren't you?"  I said, "I don't know, certainly not in the primaries." 

I remember I had gone out to Palm Springs and I was asked to address a group out there.  One of McCain's chief money guys was in the audience, and I launched.  I said this is not how we're gonna beat Barack Obama, trying to make excuses for ourselves and go moderate, go centrist, go tippy toe, like we have something to excuse ourselves for or to apologize for.  The Tea Party now represents the majority of thought.  But it's like every other similar circumstance in the Republican Party.  Reagan, just for the simplicity here of explanation, Reagan was the equivalent of the Tea Party in '76 and '80.  And the Republican establishment was as lined up against him then as they are against the Tea Party today. 

The Republican establishment, which they hate being called that, by the way.  I'm since learning this.  They hate being called the Republican establishment. That's why they're trying to co-opt the term "conservative." But regardless, there is an effort underway here to get Christie in this.  I don't know where his thinking is, I don't know if he's changed his mind from what he's said all along, that he's not ready, he doesn't think he's quite qualified yet and all that.  He might be looking at the Perry situation.  Perry got in late compared to others, and he might be saying, "Yeah, it's getting a little late.  Maybe I'll wait."  I think there are other reasons if Christie doesn't get in, there are other reasons why he won't.  But even within the establishment side the fact that there is now an effort being made to get Christie in this means there's some nervousness about Romney in terms of his being able to win.  And it's I think justifiable. 

We've done the centrist route.  We've gone the moderate way.  We've gone with the guy who could cross the aisle and work with the other side.  It is never gonna win, particularly now.  Boldness, fearlessness, while at the same time being filled with optimism and good cheer, that's what's called for right now. 

More Americans... See, the one thing the Republican establishment does not get, and I don't even think they think it: I don't think they think the country's threatened. They don't think they look at it nearly the way you and I do in terms of the future for your children or grandchildren. The fact is you know, for example, that your grandchildren's lifetime income has been spent -- not just what they would be taxed. Your grandchildren's lifetime income has been spent the last two and a half years with the debt that this country is in; and you know that it's going to get almost insurmountably worse if Obamacare is fully implemented.

The Republican establishment is not of that mind. It's, "Government's always there, it's always going to be big, and we want our turn to run it. We're not interested in making it smaller. We'll talk about it getting smaller on the margins but we're not really interested in making it smaller. We're interested in running it. We're interested in having control of it, power over it, being in charge of it. We want to be the ones that can buy votes! We want to be the ones that can buy elections," and they trade off with the Democrats -- and that's every four years, sometimes every eight years -- whereas we are not interested in the seesaw of politics.

We're interested in saving the country because we think it needs to be saved. The country's at risk. Still, efforts are underway to undermine those of us who think this way. (interrupting) What was your question, El Snerdbo? You had a question for me? If I had my way, yes? (interrupting) I'm not gonna fall for that question. Why do you want to set me up that way? Why? You want to come in here and you want to stir the pot. Snerdley just asked me if I could wave a magic wand, if I could have my way and get rid of half the Republican field, who would it be? (laughing) Maybe down the road I'll clue you in on that. The time will come for that.

It is already overpopulated, overcrowded, but I'm gonna tell you something: One thing that Perry did with his poor performance was elevate everybody else. Everybody else came off a little better. Santorum came off great, Cain came off great, and in previous debates they didn't stand out. They did in this one. (interrupting) Well, see, that's another thing: Here's Perry who everybody thinks is a rock-ribbed conservative and here he comes with the language of the left: "If you oppose my immigration policy, you don't have a heart." What is that? It's not about that! It's not about that at all. That's the same as George W. Bush back in the 1990's saying, "I'm not gonna balance the budget on the backs of the poor." You know, you don't need to go out and use the language of the left on our side, and we don't. 

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