RUSH: Happy New Year, everyone, from all of us here at the EIB Network. I probably ought to begin by wishing everybody a Happy New Year here in the vast EIB audience. I, of course, El Rushbo, the all-knowing, all-caring, all loved Maha Rushie, most listened to and most talked about. I cannot believe how much I was talked about even when I wasn't here. I'm going through the sound bite roster and it's hilarious. You know, they're crediting me -- Snerdley, I don't even know if you know this -- well, you probably do know it. They are crediting me, the media is crediting me for Santorum's rise. The media is saying that I did it. Well, I don't know whether it's true or not.
Just a second. (sipping drink) Now, I'm not being rude when I sip. A lot people ask, "Why you do that?" I'm doing that to avoid dead air. Dead air causes people to panic. I had a little frog in the throat here right at the start of the show so I had to take a sip of something here and if I did it quietly you wouldn't know what was going on. So it's not rude. I'm just making sure that people didn't panic with dead air out there. So here we are, folks, just to put things in perspective -- by the way, the telephone number, 800-282-2882. You know we ran a -- (interruption) what was that? Somebody playing noise so that I don't have to slurp? Somebody did a survey, what is the average number of phone calls that we take in a week on this program. It's surprisingly few. The number is surprisingly few.
At any rate, this is the Iowa caucus, the Hawkeye Cauci, and it has been fascinating all morning and during the day yesterday to watch the media. My gosh, they are so excited. They are ten times as excited as anybody else is about this. It's funny to watch. Now, to put this in a little more perspective -- and this is not to disparage the Hawkeye Cauci -- but there's not a single delegate chosen tonight. Nothing that happens tonight really leads to votes in terms of delegates at a convention. It's a glorified straw poll. And I'm not putting it down, don't misunderstand. I think it's one of the greatest marketing schemes ever, otherwise who would go to Iowa in January, who would ever do that? But because of this, once every four years, the world goes there in January. That's a great marketing thing, you have to give 'em credit. Since 1979, only three Hawkeye Cauci winners have gone on to win the Republican nomination.
Now, you would never know this from the breathless coverage out there, ladies and gentlemen, but the Hawkeye Cauci don't even start until eight o'clock tonight Eastern. That's seven o'clock Central time. I don't know what most Iowans do. Do most Iowans go home and have dinner and then head to the caucus location or do they -- (interrupion) well, I know most don't participate, that's true. But the actual cauci participants, do they go home and have dinner and show up all filled up, waddling in there or they go in empty? (interruption) Well, this is something I would think about if I were gonna go to the caucus, do you eat beforehand or do you eat afterwards. But it runs until about ten o'clock Central time. I don't think probably too many restaurants are open at ten o'clock, eleven o'clock eastern. Well, you know, in January, Iowa, happy hour before the cauci sounds like a great day to me. What a great Tuesday, happy hour, cauci, go home, see who won.
By the way, we want to send a shout-out to David Yepsen. This is the one time every four years that he gets his name on TV. He's a former reporter for the Des Moines Register, who once every four years was on every show every day leading up to the Hawkeye Cauci. Then the other three years and 11 months of the cycle nobody cared, nobody knew what he was doing. He's moved on now to the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute, which is a left-wing think tank, but he's still the go-to guy in Iowa, David Yepsen. I just saw him, first time I've seen him since 2008. He's an expert. So it's a big deal for him. But the media, you know they hate this. The media really hate having to pretend to care what people in Iowa think. You know these inside-the-Beltway types, they're out there, they're putting on a good face, but there's a lot of resentment that people in Iowa have anything to say.
So, as far as the media is concerned, the more kooky or extreme the Republican nominee, the better, because they think they're in a foreign country today. They have visas. They are ready at checkpoints to show that they are legal entrants into the state of Iowa. Then you got New Hampshire down the pike, and here they are pretending to care about all of this. And that's why they love the fact that Ron Paul's doing well in Iowa and Santorum, the kookier -- not that Santorum's kooky, but Paul clearly in their mind is and so the most extreme wacko result in Iowa, the better, as far as the media is concerned.
Now, something else about this. Again, only three cauci winners have gone on to win the Republican nomination since 1979. So it is not axiomatic. It is not automatic that whoever wins the Hawkeye Cauci is going to be the Republican nominee.
RUSH: The record -- the record -- for a GOP Hawkeye Cauci is 119,000 (119,000 people turned out). That was in 2008. That was a record, and the party officials expect that that will be broken tonight. The weather is okay in Iowa. It's chilly. It was 13 degrees this morning, but no precip' is in the forecast. But still we are talking about fewer than 120,000 people. I don't know what percentage that is of the entire state population. But it is a relatively small turnout -- and, you know, there are people, both parties that run around and say, "Why is it that Iowa and New Hampshire always have such influence over the election of a president? What is it? Why don't we do this all on the same day?" Every four years, these same complaints surface.
It's the political system; it's the way it is. It's the way it has been, a lot of tradition that is involved here. But you'd have to say since 1979... And, by the way, I don't want anybody in Iowa to misunderstand. I'm not of the school of thought that says Iowa should not be first. I don't think that. That's not my point. I'm not going there. Even if I thought so, it's about that big a deal. For people who say that Iowa and New Hampshire have way too much influence, how can you when only three Hawkeye Cauci winners since 1979 have actually ended up being the Republican nominee? Just how much influence has there been? How many elections: '80, '84, '88, '92. It's not every year that who wins Hawkeye Cauci gets the Republican nomination. (interruption)
Well, that's true, but that's a large function of money, too. It all works out, you know, people will decide to get out after a poor showing in Iowa. But that wouldn't matter if it was a poor showing in Wyoming, if Wyoming happened to be first. Whatever is first, whoever doesn't do well there -- and, by the way, you look at Iowa and there's some interesting things, issue-wise about Iowa. For example, the economy is not the number one issue there. The economy in Iowa is not bad. Unemployment in Iowa is only 5.7%. Agriculture is doing well in Iowa. In fact, CNNMoney.com has a story about this fact: "Iowa's Economy: Not Issue No. 1? -- If there is one state where the economy might not be issue No. 1, it's Iowa."
So you could say, "Well, then why we doing Iowa first?" because the economy clearly is a number one issue. The economy clearly is the number one issue to far more people in this country. But Iowa has, according to CNNMoney.com here, "emerged relatively unscathed from the housing bubble and financial crisis ... [U]nemployment is relatively low. Farmland -- and its edible bounty -- are in high demand. Home prices are stable. ... Compared to those other early-voting states, Iowa's economy is in good shape." It's not issue number one, and it hasn't been. In fact, "Only five states have lower unemployment than Iowa's 5.7% rate. (New Hampshire ... is one of them.)
New Hampshire is also a state where the economy -- and particularly jobs -- are not number one at the top of the list. Now, some people might say, "Well, that's no good! For crying out loud, that is the issue with everybody around the country." Jobs... There are so many myths: The income gap getting wider? It isn't. The rich getting richer? They aren't. You know, people move in and out of all these financial categories constantly. They're all fluid. But you've got the first two states here that do not fit the mold of what the presidential campaign's gonna focus on, and that's the economy. So Obamacare is an issue. Government size, government reach, have been issues in Iowa. But the economy isn't. Well, how relative is that, then, since it is in the rest of the country? It all works out over time.