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Rush Limbaugh: The Man Who Ruined American Politics (for Liberals)

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: We got Jon Meacham, by the way, formerly of Newsweek, on Charlie Rose last night, claiming that I have ruined politics in America. You want to hear that? Grab sound bite number two. I, your host, El Rushbo, have ruined politics. The guest was also Michael Beschloss, the presidential historian, and they're discussing the American presidency on Presidents Day on the Charlie Rose Show. And Beschloss says, “You know, money has taken on this awful role in American politics.” Now, you know why he said that? Did you see what Obama's PAC raised in January, his super PAC? Obama's super PAC... Folks, Sheldon Adelson, the Las Vegas guy, the Venetian guy, has given Newt $21 million and is talking about dropping another hundred million.

Did you see that? Sheldon Adelson is thinking about dropping another hundred million for Newt and somebody else, he doesn't say who. In Obama's super PAC, there is a total of $59,000, and $50,000 of it came from one donor. One donor put in 50 of the 59,000. Now, how many of you have been (and me, too) believing this silly notion Obama was gonna have a billion-dollar war chest? A lot of people believed it. Fifty-eight thousand in the super PAC! In the super PAC, there are no limits. If Sheldon Adelson wants to put $100,000,000 in, he can do it, for example. And he's put 10 and 11 million, in Newt's campaign, super PAC. Obama: $59,000. So here's Beschloss. (impression) “Oh, gee, money has taken on this awful role in American life!” This is a presidential historian.

We are told this is the foremost, on the most renowned, the person with the most expertise, the highest regard. This is the go-to guy on the presidency in terms of history. And he's lamenting that money has taken this awful role? Where's he been? How long have people been complaining about money in presidential politics? My whole life. So what is it all of a sudden now money has taken on some awful role? Could it be that he's just upset Obama's not raising as much? That would be a very cynical view, but what else can it be? Anyway, that's what he said, and Meacham, formerly of Newsweek... Where is he now? Meacham is Random House executive editor, which means he's the executive editor of novels, right? Books. What does Random House do? They publish books, right? Okay. So, anyway, here's what he said...

MEACHAM: To be “primaried” is my favorite new verb. “I'm getting primaried.” It's this Rush Limbaugh astroturf all around the country where -- where every district has their talk show host. And if you're an incumbent member of Congress when you reach out and you don't stick president orthodoxy, you're gonna get killed every afternoon. And that's gonna encourage somebody to “primary” you.

ROSE: Sure!

MEACHAM: It becomes expensive, it becomes embarrassing. So suddenly you find that why the hell straightforward orthodoxy when I'm just gonna pay for it?

RUSH: So I, your host, El Rushbo, have ruined politics by spawning thousands of local talk show hosts who hold politicians' feet to the fire. There's a way to translate this: I, your host, El Rushbo, having spawned thousands of local talk show hosts, have finally created discipline in the party. You campaign for election, you win, and if you don't govern that way, you are going to be held accountable! To Meacham, this is a problem. It's a problem because there's not enough latitude to lie, not enough latitude to spin and flail and get away with not doing what you said you were going to do.

Damn, Limbaugh, and damn these talk show hosts, and damn this accountability!

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: This was Morning Joe today, Mark Halperin was on from TIME Magazine and they were talking about Newt's remarks that defeating Obama is an issue of national security.  Mike Barnicle, the co-host, said, "Talk about the degree of difficulty selling that argument out in the country when this president has arguably been tougher on terrorists than George W. Bush ever was."  This is Mark Halperin.

HALPERIN:  Tens of millions of Americans find that argument about the president compelling, even though his overall foreign policy and national security ratings are high. So Gingrich is saying what viewers of Fox News and listeners to Rush Limbaugh and other parts of the Republican base believe, even if it's not particularly supported by too many facts.

RUSH:  What do you mean it's not supported by too many facts?  We got a guy who wants to reduce the nuclear arsenal to 300 warheads, a guy who wants America cut down to size.  Anyway, I'm responsible for local talk show hosts that hold candidates' feet to the fire, and now I'm responsible for this silly notion that Obama is a national security threat.  

END TRANSCRIPT

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