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George Will Gives Up on the White House, Urges GOP to Focus on House and Senate

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: We have columns today from the Washington Post.  George Will with a column suggests the Republicans need to face reality.  The "reality" is the likelihood that either Romney or Santorum could beat Obama is unlikely.  And, instead, the Republican effort needs to focus on the House -- maintaining control of the House -- and winning the Senate.  Mike, grab audio sound bite number one, if you will.  I want to take you back to November 10th last year on this program when I was explaining to the audience what the real desires of the Republican establishment -- back then, back in November -- before a single primary vote had taken place.

RUSH ARCHIVE:  I think they are more concerned, our consultants, with holding the House and winning the Senate. I think they believe (deep down in the depths of their souls) that Obama can't be beat. I think they look at Mitt Romney as the single only hope we have of taking the Senate even if he loses the presidential race. ... O'Donnell and Angle were opposed because they wanted to win the Senate. They didn't care about anything else. Remember, it was the midterms, and they wanted to win the Senate. They wanted their committee chairmanships. They wanted to be in charge of the money. When you're a Senator, it can be said that you're in charge of one one-hundredth of $3 trillion or $4 trillion, whatever amount we're gonna spend that year. It's a lot of power; and you run committees, that's even more power, and they were ticked off 'cause they didn't think that the Senate was gonna go our way with those two candidates. So I really believe that they're looking at Romney not because he can beat Obama, but because he can limit the damage in the Senate and House races, which is what they really want.

RUSH:  Now, George Will is out with a piece today saying that this is exactly what ought to happen now. So, I warned you of this back in November.  By the way, George Will also has written and said on the Sunday ABC show This Week (with whoever hosts it that week) that there is no Republican establishment. There isn't one.  The members of the establishment routinely deny that there is a Republican establishment.  But George Will's piece today says, "Uhhh, really," and he quotes Bill Buckley before the Goldwater election in 1964.  Buckley was speaking at Young America's Foundation, and said, "You have to accept reality, you have to be prepared for reality and learn that we're planting a seed here that, if nurtured properly, will grow." 

I'm paraphrasing what Buckley said to the youngsters back in 1964. This is in September before the landslide defeat of Goldwater.  So citing Buckley, George Will's point is: We ought to be realistic here. We have to know hour limitations, and neither Romney nor Santorum can likely beat Obama.  But we can focus on holding on to the House and winning the Senate. We know we're not gonna get 60 votes in the Senate, but we can get enough votes in the Senate to stop Obama and put the brakes on. Throw sand in the gears of his machines. And that's probably the best thing we could do while we then look forward to 2016 where the Paul Ryans and the Marco Rubios will by then be seasoned, nurtured, experienced and ready to go. 

On the same pages in the Washington Post, Robert Samuelson, one of my favorite columnists as well as George Will, has a piece called, "Is the Election Over?"  It starts this way, "If you believe the conventional wisdom, the presidential election is virtually finished. Barack Obama will win. Perhaps in a walk. Game over. I don't say this as a preference one way or the other -- I have reached the stage in my journalistic career when I disapprove of most politicians -- but simply as a matter of fact and logic. The conventional wisdom, as I read it, rests heavily on the following propositions. (1) The economy is improving and will continue to improve, depriving the Republicans (and particularly the front-runner, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney) of their most powerful issue.  ... (2) Romney and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, now his closest rival, are -- each in his own way -- alienating crucial independent voters."  I read that, that's part of conventional wisdom. "(3) The leading Republican candidates can be counted on to commit regular gaffes..." This is Samuelson saying all these things in his piece.  This is what he's reading.  "[T]he Republican House of Representatives will serve as a priceless foil for Obama." The conventional wisdom seems compelling.

And yet there's something that troubles him about all of this, and I'll tell you what that is when we come back.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: So, Samuelson goes through all of the conventional wisdom: the things that he's seeing, the things that he's hearing, the things that he's reading. Let me go through them very quickly again: All the reasons the election's over, all the reasons that are part of the media conventional wisdom.  "The economy is improving and will continue to improve. ... Romney and Santorum are alienating crucial independent voters. ... Romney is a wealthy businessman out of touch with most Americans ... Santorum is a religious fanatic."  Both of these guys, according to media conventional wisdom, "can be counted on to commit regular gaffes," say stupid stuff, and the Republican House of Representatives "will serve as a priceless foil for Obama because everybody hates Congress, and that means everybody hates the Republicans who run the House." 

That's the conventional wisdom, and it all seems very compelling.  And Samuelson writes, "As a card-carrying member of the mainstream media ... I'm inclined to accept it. And yet there's one conspicuous gap in the-election-is-already-over story: the polls. While the Republicans have been destroying each other and embarrassing themselves, the polls for a general election should have shown a collapse in Republican support. They haven't..." In fact, if anyone's collapsing, it's Obama! "Go to Real Clear Politics... The average of the polls it follows shows (for the period from Feb. 10 to Feb. 29) Obama beating Romney by 4.6% points (49% to 44.4%).

"Obama's margin of victory over Santorum is slightly larger (49.3% to 44.2%). If these were the final outcomes, they would be near-landslides, but at this point in the race -- when the Republicans are attacking each other and Obama is also attacking them -- the differences are fairly modest and not unusual."  And then there's the Battleground poll which shows Romney (this just out yesterday from Celinda Lake) beating Obama straight up.  "Real Clear Politics gives him 227 electoral votes against 181 for the Republican nominee, with 130 in doubt; 270 are needed to win. So it's a puzzle. Logic and most evidence suggest the election is over. But the polls seem to dissent.

"Could it be that the real story is that Obama's not a shoo-in even when he should be?" That's how Samuelson's piece ends.  That piece could be written by a member of the Republican establishment.  That piece could be written by any defeatist on the Republican side.  I'm not saying George Will's a defeatist. No.  He's bouncing off a William Buckley story. See, the Goldwater election, for the Republican establishment, is law. That's the lesson for them. That's the animating factor for them, not 1980 and Reagan's two landslide ('80 and '84), but Goldwater's landslide defeat.  So that's where we are.  And that's why some of you sense it, and you're down in the doldrums.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Now, one thing about this notion that it's over. George Will says (paraphrased), "We gotta be honest with ourselves. These two guys aren't gonna beat Obama. Let's face it. Santorum? Romney? Eh, not gonna happen.  But we can stop Obama.  We win the Senate; we hold the House."  Just this week Obama met with Democrat governors to discuss ways of getting things done over the heads of Congress. Without using Congress. By dictate, by executive order, by fiat.  Here is a man who has already violated the Constitution with this contraception business! By the way, I'm just gonna tell you again. All of you scratching your heads over why is this even in the news, you must understand that your president put this in the news. 

Your president started all of this along with his Democrat hack over at ABC, George Stephanopoulos.  Nobody was talking about contraception anywhere, any time -- particularly stopping it, banning it.  Obama was polling poorly with women so they go to page 1-B of the Democrat Party playbook, which is devoted to how to turn the argument against Republicans by making them out to be the enemies of women.  And you throw in this unconstitutional mandate that Catholic churches and schools provide contraception and abortifacients against their teachings, their morality, and their desires.  He doesn't have the right! The First Amendment prevents Obama from mandating any such thing. 

He can't mandate that the insurance companies provide it. He can't do any of this.  But nobody's stopping him, so he's doing it -- and that's my point.  If nobody's gonna stop him with this and if people are gonna sit around and willingly let him define the terms and set the premise... It's not the Republicans trying to deny anybody their contraception. It's not the Republicans are even thinking about it.  But somehow that premise had to be established, because Obama's faring poorly in the polls with women.  So let's go to page 1-B and bring out the "Republicans Hate Women Lesson," and start teaching that all over again.

So while we think, using Civics 101, that Republican majorities in the House and Senate could stop Obama, he doesn't care what the Constitution tells him he can and can't do. And he's going to care even less in a second term when there will be no accountability, no election to win, no base to hold, no independents to worry about.  He's not gonna worry about Congress. He's not gonna have one care in the world, in a conventional political sense, that would put limits on his desires and behavior.  The only thing would be Michelle. 

Did you see what he said?  "Obama: The 'One Thing' that Michelle Allows Me to Do is Watch ESPN -- In an interview with ESPN's Bill Simmons, President Obama talks about how he is able to sneak in watching sports during the day. "'Well, first of all, I don’t watch network news or cable news. So in the morning, when I’m working out with Michelle, it’s on SportsCenter. This is the one thing that she allows me,' Obama told Simmons." Now we know why he has to sneak out to burger joints when the Russians come to town, if she's in town. 

But the point is: With no guardrail, and with no concern for the Constitution, Republican majorities in the House and Senate are no guarantee to stop Obama.  You know, Obama is making recess appointments when there are no recesses!  Nobody in the Senate is taking steps to stop him.  We have laws against murder, but if we stop pursuing people who kill people, guess what's gonna happen?  The law isn't gonna mean anything and the murder rate's gonna skyrocket. 

Same thing with any crime.  If we have a president who willingly ignores the Constitution and behaves extraconstitutionally and nobody calls him on it, and the victims of his maneuvers don't stop it, then he's going to keep doing it.  And as long as the Republicans remain afraid of criticism from the media... See, they don't want to be on the receiving end of what I am on the receiving end of this week.  They don't want that. They don’t want any part of it. They have no desire. They have no stomach for it. No matter what. No. Matter. What. 

So while it sounds great in Civics 101 context, "Yeah, we'll have the House and we'll win the Senate and we'll have majorities and stop Obama!" He's meeting with Democrat governors as we speak to plot ways to advance his agenda even this year, over the heads of Congress, not involving them. Because he knows that they're not going to stop him.  In fact, he knows that in many cases they might actually acquiesce and go along.  If we win the Senate and hold the House, how do we stop Obama from loading the courts, specifically the Supreme Court, with wacko-radical leftists?  How do we stop Obama from ruling by fiat, issuing more and more killing regulations? 

Impeachment?  That's one of the recipes.  Anybody think that's gonna happen?  I don't think so.  I also think, as a practical matter, it helps to have a fight over the presidency to ensure victories in the House and Senate.  How are these House and Senate victories gonna happen if attitudinally you think you've lost the presidential race?  What would the consultants say?  "The way to win the Senate is to go out and say to the American people, 'We know that we're not gonna beat Obama, and therefore we still have to find a way to stop him, and that's what we need you for!

"We need you and your money and your votes to vote for your Republican Senate candidate and your House candidate.'" Is that the campaign?  Well, obviously, not.  Even if somewhere in the bowels of the RNC they actually decide to proceed on the assumption that Obama can't be beat, they obviously will not say so publicly. But the fact that they believe it will have to have some impact attitudinally on the campaign... Do they have a meeting with Romney or Santorum, whoever gets nomination, and say, "By the way, we really know you can't win this. We're gonna be behind with you and we're gonna fight for you, but we really need your help here in shoring up the House and maybe winning the Senate"?

Now, how does that happen?  How do you run a presidential campaign that in your head you have conceded, while at the same time campaigning to win the Senate and hold the House?  Maybe there are expert consultants who can tell me this, but at the top of my brilliant mind here, I don't see it.  And then, you know me, folks. The conventional wisdom? Pshew! I get as far away from that as possible.  Conventional wisdom is groupthink.  It's what everybody else thinks.  It's safe territory.  You articulate the conventional wisdom, and you're considered wise, reasoned, restrained, refined, intelligent.  Outside the conventional wisdom, you are (pick your favorite insult), and that, of course, is where I happen to reside within the realm of politics. 

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