RUSH: My Stack of Queasiness. Not a whole lot yet, but it's starting to effervesce out there, if you know where to look. The first example is the American Spectator. Now, the American Spectator, I would never lump them in with the establishment or the establishment media. Nevertheless, this piece by Matt Thomas could be written by one of them. It's called, "Mitt's Masquerade -- During the election season of 2010, there was a schism in the Republican Party between populist Tea Partiers and more politically sensitive establishmentarians. Today those two factions have been reshuffled into the Romney voters and the Anyone-But-Romney voters.
"The media is still gawking at the volatile Iowa caucuses where the two camps did battle for the first time, resulting in a hair-breadth victory for Romney over the insurgent Rick Santorum. But in New Hampshire, it's a much steadier affair. Polls have consistently crowned Romney." He ended up winning. "New Hampshire is the Mitt Romney Show. This doesn't mean that Romney will win the nomination. The quirky, occasionally eccentric alloy of libertarian and moderate politics that is the Granite State Republican primary has produced presidential candidates and has-runs. But it will give him significant velocity going into other states. "But what happens if Romney gets the nomination?" This is where this gets good. And this is where the queasiness is starting to come, and these other two pieces I have in the stack. And this, by the way, is a Stack that's going to grow.
Let me explain at the outset what is happening here within the sacred hollows of the establishment, the ruling class. Their objective, since this campaign began, was to make sure a conservative nominee did not get the Republican nomination. That has been the number one objective of the Republican establishment inside the Beltway, the whole Northeastern corridor, to make sure -- not to beat Obama, not come up with somebody that can beat Obama despite all this electability talk. The main objective of the establishment has been to see to it that once again a conservative does not get the nomination. So, after New Hampshire and after Iowa the establishment now, you hear 'em, they're out there touting, "Why, this is historic. Why, this hasn't happened since 1976. Why, a Republican's never won the Hawkeye Cauci and New Hampshire primary, that's never happened since 1976, that's power."
So now that is being used to solidify Romney's inevitability. They think they're this close to have successfully vanquished any possibility of a conservative nominee, which was their number one objective. When that happens they then really for the first time face what they have given themselves. For the first time they then start examining the genuine chances of Romney's electability. Up 'til now, they have just been trumpeting the notion that he's the only guy that can win, just as a rhetorical device, just as a campaign strategery. The purpose has been to vanquish all the conservatives, split that vote so that a conservative did not get the Republican nomination.
But now -- now that they believe that Romney's the guy -- now, for the first time they're gulping, and they're looking at what they've wrought, and now they're examining, "Okay, what do we have to do now?" Because their objective -- don't doubt me on this -- their objective up 'til now has not been to win the election. It's not been to come up with the best candidate to beat Obama. It has not been that. I don't care what they say. The purpose, the objective has been to see to it that a conservative doesn't get the nomination. They think they're there now. And you will see more and more pieces being written, and there will be more and more commentary and pundit punditry on the cable networks, and for the first time the very people who have been hawking Romney and singing his praises, you're now going to hear them start to discuss his shortcomings in terms of their fears. They haven't looked at that before because that hasn't been the objective.
RUSH: Okay. American Spectator piece, "Mitt's Masquerade," by Matt Thomas. "[W]hat happens if Romney gets the nomination? That question has been stubbornly elusive in media coverage," exactly as I said. They haven't even been talking about that. Coverage "instead focused on the lothario innuendoes surrounding Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich's grandiosity. Meanwhile, Romney slips by relatively unscathed, the beneficiary of the perfunctory conventional wisdom of political strategists," which is: "Well, he looks good on television and doesn't say outlandish things," extremist conservative stuff. He's the only guy that can be elected! He's the best candidate, leave him alone.
"He's the flag-carrier for hardheaded realists who will compromise generously for a win over President Obama. But he's also a patrician flip-flopper from Massachusetts," and the rest of this piece goes on to compare Romney to John Kerry (who served in Vietnam). It does. "When Kerry won the Democratic nomination in 2004, the historical moment was rooted in the tumult of the Middle East and in smoldering memories of 9/11. But Kerry's political genealogy traced back to the 1960s counterculture, found in war medals chucked over the White House fence and accusations of monstrous crimes against his fellow soldiers in faux committee rooms. ...
"Kerry's political life wasn't any more helpful." They go on to describe that. "Thus Kerry was transformed into a barrel-chested war hero" who retook Boston Harbor on the night he went to the convention! I'll never forget that. He got his ol' swift boat buddies and they sailed across the Boston Harbor and conveniently conquered it again, and then he shows up (impression), "I aaaaaam Joooohn F. Kerry repooooorting for duuuuuty," when everybody knew the guy hated the military and threw his medals over the White House wall! This is the point that they're making here: He's a flip-flopper, had no prayer, wasn't genuine. This piece goes on to draw some comparisons to Kerry and Romney, in the flip-flopping, what's real and what isn't -- and it's one of our guys, okay?
Next, Jonah Goldberg. (interruption) What's pretty slick? Yeah. I'm gonna get to the sound bites. I'm going to get to the sound bites. I promise, I'll lead the next hour off with sound bites. I'm doing what I think is more important first. The sound bites happened last night. This is the now. I live in Literalville. Next up, Jonah Goldberg in his column in the Los Angeles Times -- Jonah Goldberg at National Review, which has many people there who aspire to be in the establishment. It's a great desire they have there, some of them. Not all, but some of them do. "Romney's Authenticity Problem" is the headline that the LA Times has assigned to this piece. "It feels less guaranteed every day that rank-and-file Republicans would vote for their nominee in huge numbers no matter what."
Now, National Review has been for Romney. I don't know about Jonah personally, but National Review, his magazine, has been for Romney. Here we are on what everybody thinks is the eve of Romney wrapping it up, and now, a column at National Review worries: He may not be electable. It "feels less guaranteed every day that Republicans will vote" for this guy in large numbers no matter what. "Mitt Romney is the most improbable of presidential candidates: a weak juggernaut. He is poised to sweep every primary contest -- a first for a non-incumbent. And yet, in Republican ranks there's an abiding sense that he should be beatable -- and beaten. It's not that Romney doesn't have fans.
"His events in New Hampshire were packed to the rafters and felt like general-election rallies. He's surging in polls in South Carolina and Florida. And yet the non-Mitt mood just won't go away. Indeed, it's intensifying," writes Jonah. "One reason for that is people are starting to doubt whether he is in fact the best candidate to beat President Obama." When did this doubt begin at National Review? My only point here is -- and again, I do not know where Jonah Goldberg comes down for Romney or against Romney. I don't know. I don't know where he's been up 'til this piece. All I know is where National Review has been, and they did have an unsigned editorial that just raked Gingrich over the coals and everybody else.
It was obvious to conclude that, by process of limitation, Romney was the guy. Now, Jonah's not writing for National Review here, I should say. This is his syndicated column. So may be nothing to link this piece with the editorial position at National Review. Now, he goes on to say he thinks that Romney's unelectability is a little overdone. He's got his faults, but he's nonthreatening. "He seems more like a super-helpful manager at a rental car company than a fire-and-brimstone preacher. The White House would dearly love the opportunity to run against a culture warrior. It seems many in the media would like the same thing. Hence the absurd grilling of the candidates in Saturday night's ABC/Yahoo/WMUR-TV debate" about contraception and so forth. The bottom line is, you have somebody saying, "Wait a minute, wait a minute!" Now, on the verge of getting the nomination, all of a sudden now we're starting to hear pieces on this. (interruption) It did appear in National Review. I know it appeared in National Review, but not... I've gotta take a break, time here. But I'm just saying.
RUSH: I'm just saying: If you look at the right places in the wannabe or real establishment, Republican establishment media and other places, you're going to find examples of the little buyer's remorse starting to form. The focus has been making sure a conservative doesn't win this.
RUSH: Now, just want to go to the end, the conclusion of Jonah Goldberg's piece here: "The most persuasive case for Romney has always been that, if he's the nominee, the election will be a referendum on Obama." That's why we couldn't have Newt because the election would be about him and we don't have it about Santorum because it would be about abortion, and we couldn't have it about conservative because it would be about conservatism and abortion and Christians and so forth. So we can't have that, so we have Romney and that will make the election about Obama.
"But," writes Jonah Goldberg, "that calculation always assumed that rank-and-file Republicans will vote for their nominee in huge numbers no matter what. That may well still be the case, but it feels less guaranteed every day." Well, what a hell of a day to start feeling that! This is my point. Here in the establishment there are now qualms. Up until today, they've been telling us, "We only have a chance with Romney. The only way we can win, the only guy who can win is Romney!" Today: Well, that's if all the Republicans show up, and that may not happen. When...? When did that realization hit? Even John Podhoretz, the affectionately known
"JPod," who writes in the New York Post, has been big on Romney throughout this entire process.
It's Romney's to lose, Romney's, Romney's the guy! He's got a piece in the New York Post today: "Never Has a Winner Looked so Beaten." Folks, I'm telling you: The establishment's now saying, "Ohhhh, wait a minute, what have we done." Now, when Jonah Goldberg says, Oh, "that calculation always assumed that rank-and-file Republicans will vote for their nominee in huge numbers no matter what. That may well still be the case, but it feels less guaranteed every day," and JPod says, "Never Has a Winner Looked so Beaten -- Perplexing but true: Mitt Romney is on the glide path to the most easily secured nomination a Republican presidential candidate has ever had -- while being one of the weakest major candidates either party has ever seen."
Sorry, I'm not trying to stir anything up here, but this has been the model candidate. This is the guy they've all been pushing! Now all of a sudden he's...? What does this mean? Why are they saying this? I'll tell you what it is. One word that explains this. It's passion. There just doesn't seem to be any. There doesn't seem to be any. For example, there's passion for Tim Tebow. What these two guys are saying... They're out there on the stump, they're watching this; they're going to these rallies and the rallies are filled with people, but there's something missing and they're trying to put their fingers on it. The nominee they've all been pushing and this is the guy who can win, and they get close to it and they sense something not right about it.
What they're sensing, I believe, is lack of passion -- and that lack of passion is what explains the desire for a non-Mitt. Ron Paul's got passion. His supporters are damn well passionate. They may be lunatics, but they are passionate -- and Sarah Palin's supporters were passionate. These two guys are sensing that there's not any of that, is my guess. Now, final example is Bill Kristol at the Weekly Standard. He says, "There’s a lot of silliness on all sides of the Bain Capital debate. On the one hand, Newt Gingrich’s attacks (and the follow-on assaults by Jon Huntsman and Rick Perry) on Mitt Romney’s career at Bain Capital have been unfair, over the top, and, for that matter, all over the place.
"Gingrich, Perry, and Huntsman deserve much of the criticism they’ve received from conservative commentators. On the other, Mitt Romney’s claim throughout his campaign that his private sector experience almost uniquely qualifies him to be president is also silly." Well, now's a time to tell us! It goes on to raise questions about Bain and say it's a little silly here. It closes this way: "Bain Capital shouldn’t be demonized. It may not even deserve to be criticized. But in laying out a way forward, conservatives might remember that Bain Capital isn’t capitalism, that capitalism by itself isn’t freedom, and that there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in the Gospel of Wealth."
So essentially all the reasons that Romney was the only guy electable are now, "Uh, wait a minute. That may not be the case." Just pointing this out. By the way, I just want to, for the record, say it again: I think "The Gospel of Wealth," as referred here by Bill Kristol, is everything inside the Beltway! I think the gospel of Rush is as equal to ideas and perhaps more important to more people than you would believe. Everything to practically everyone who works in Washington, the Gospel of Wealth is why they are there. The Gospel of Wealth is why they want to get the Senate and the committee chairmanships! They want to be in charge of the money. The Gospel of Wealth does not just include personal wealth -- although you're not subject to insider trading laws, and you write that you're not, and you're the congressman writes the laws, what are you hoping to get?
Rich! And we know that a lot of these guys show up as paupers and retire multimillionaires on salaries of a hundred-plus thousand dollars a year. Don't tell me that there's no Gospel of Wealth here. I think this new-found concern for Romney (that you can spot if you know how to read the stitches on the fastball, as I do) is rooted in the ultimate dissatisfaction they are feeling at having vanquished a conservative alternative. That's what's motivated them for all these months. Don't doubt me on this. I'm talking about establishment, Northeast corridor, inside-the-Beltway types. You know it, I know it. It's what motivated them all these months, and now they think they've done it, now they think they've made sure that not possible for a conservative to get the nomination.
Now the reality of that is setting in, and they are facing the possibility that Romney could lose -- and with that possible defeat of Romney, the missed opportunity to get hold of the Gospel of Wealth. It's a factor that cannot be denied. I don't mean to be simplistic about this, but I have learned over the course of my life: Where money and wealth are involved, practically no one who pursues it is honest about it. The last thing people will tell you they're interested in is earning a lot of money when, in fact, it's the first thing.
A lot of people don't care if they earn it if they can just find a way to finagle it -- and when you live and work in the town that has the biggest dump of dollars in the world, just there for the taking however you can manage it? It's a prime motivator. Folks, I'm telling you, it's the single biggest factor. There are two things that make the world go 'round. Two things that make the world go 'round: money and lust. The thing you feel when you think you're in love at first, those two things -- there may be others but those two things -- have the power to make you behave in ways you otherwise wouldn't, and both of those things are inexorably tied together in Washington -- and somewhere in that mix is ideas, but it's not as high atop the list as you and I would hope.
RUSH: One more thing before I get to the audio sound bites later, just one more thing. I forgot to read the last paragraph of Jonah Goldberg's piece because it illustrates something else going on out there that you may not know about or you may know about it and you may hope it yourself. Mr. Goldberg concludes his LA Times column, nationally syndicated, thus: "Every four years pundits and activists talk about how cool it would be to have a brokered convention (if no candidate has 50% of the delegates by convention time). This is the first time I've heard people saying it may be necessary." Now? Where was this three months ago? Where was this uneasiness about Romney? Look, I can understand this, if this stuff were coming from me or the American Spectator. It's interesting to me. It really is.