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The Economy Alone Doesn't Equal an Automatic Win for Republicans

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Fox today discussing a point that I made earlier in the week.  The guests are Dick Morris and Kirsten Powers.  The fill-in host today was Clayton Morris, and Clayton Morris said to Dick Morris, "There's some interesting questions being raised by Rush Limbaugh the other day as to whether or not Romney can break through and connect with voters because of all the handouts, all the entitlements.  Maybe you're creating a bit of a safety net for people. They're not really feeling the economy as badly. There really isn't that much suffering out there, Dick.  Does Rush have a point, Dick?"

MORRIS:  I think that he's not completely right.  Certainly it's a factor.  In 1980, 30% of all Americans got a check from the government.  Now it's 49% that do.  Actually, when Obama took office, it was 44.  So this isn't entirely his doing.  But, come on, they tend to be relatively small checks, and, you know, our media-driven society, people always want to have decent lives and move on, and I don't think that people are content with the entitlements.  But certainly it makes it politically harder.

RUSH:  Okay.  Now, this is, to me, the interesting thing about this.  The checks are not insignificantly small.  The checks are sufficient that you can survive with comfort without working, because there's all kinds of checks, and then there are food stamps.  You have your unemployment compensation check.  Then you have disability after that.  Maybe at the same time.  Then you have food stamps.  And who knows whatever else you can latch onto.  So I think it does and has created a different dynamic.  I'm not saying you don't campaign on the economy.  I'm simply saying the traditional assumptions that 8% unemployment equals a guaranteed victory for the challenger is not the case.  It's all I'm saying. 

You've heard that stat, no president's been reelected with the unemployment rate above 7.9% or something.  I think that's probably out the window is all I'm saying.  The tradition has been dealt a little bit of a blow.  Sure, it still matters.  I'm just saying there's a different way to go about campaigning on the economy than simply assuming that when you tell people the economy's bad, which they already know, and that you're gonna fix it.  They're gonna have to go after Obama.  Obama is gonna have to be gone after the same way Romney went after Newt. The same way he went after Rick Santorum.  That's what's called for here, as far as I'm concerned. 

But don't misunderstand.  I'm not saying the economy is not a factor; it's just different.  And by the way, 44% get a government check when Obama sits down in the Oval Office; 49% today and growing.  That is significant, too.  Because we're approaching 50% here.  You combine that with people that aren't paying any income taxes... By the way, did you see this, the CBO, the Tax Foundation says this every year and a couple other tax organizations, but the nonpartisan precious and beloved Congressional Budget Office yesterday said that the rich are paying more than their fair share in taxes.  And as they define the rich, they said the rich are paying 70% of the tax burden, which is true, by the way.  It just the CBO's never said it like this.  The rich are paying more than their fair share.  It didn't get a whole lot of coverage.  It's out there in, quote, unquote, right wing newspapers, but it's out there. 

So, anyway, Clayton Morris then said to Dick Morris, "Can't you argue that Rush is right to a certain extent, because how else can you explain Obama neck and neck in the polls with Romney with these kinds of unemployment numbers?"

MORRIS:  Because they're counting a lot of people that don't vote.  We've been through that.  That's a demographic that Obama's clobbering Romney in, people that don't vote.  But if you look at people that do vote, who tend to be a majority of people that don't get the entitlements, Romney, I think, has a nice lead now.

RUSH:  Dick thinks it's gonna be a landslide.  I've heard him say it, he's written it, and he's trying to not sound overly confident here.  But he thinks that this is gonna be a landslide, like I do.  But yesterday afternoon after the program, I did an interview for the next issue of The Limbaugh Letter, spoke with Artur Davis, the former Democrat congressman from Alabama, who is conservative.  He's African-American, and I asked him about all this polling stuff. His theory on the polling -- I'll just throw it out there; and I'm not gonna give away the whole interview, not gonna cannibalize the whole interview, but it was fascinating. 

He said most polling -- I didn't know this because I don't think I've ever been polled; if I have, I don't remember it, and if I were, I woulda lied -- he said most polling takes place between 5:30 and 7 p.m.  Now, he would know.  He was a member of Congress.  He's not any longer.  He's moved to Virginia.  He said between 5:30 and 7 p.m. entrepreneurs aren't home answering the phone.  They're working, particularly in bad economic times like this.  So his theory is somewhat similar to Dick Morris,' and that is the people who are answering the phone when these pollsters call are not the ones that you really want to talk to if you're a pollster. Well, depending on what you want with your poll, they could be the ones you want to talk to.  But his point was that entrepreneurs and people who are making the country work are not at home to answer a pollster's call, on average, between 5:30 and 7 p.m.  Now, they next went to Kirsten Powers at the Fox & Friends show today and asked her what she thought.  "Kirsten, it's not just the economy. Is Rush right?"

POWERS:  No, Rush is exactly right.  You can't just say, oh, because the economy is doing badly, you know, therefore Obama will lose.  And the polls bear that out.  You look at the polls and you think, the economy's doing so badly, it hasn't turned around the way that it was expected to turn around or even promised to turn around, and yet he's neck and neck with Romney.  He does have an advantage being an incumbent, obviously, but Romney's gonna have to do something more to break through.  The debates are really, I think, gonna show us what's gonna happen.  I think we'll see one way or the other after the debate.

RUSH:  That was Kirsten Powers.  That was Fox & Friends this morning.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: I mentioned the precious, beloved, nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office a moment ago. Here are the details. They looked at tax returns from 2007, 2008, 2009. And they found that the bottom 20% of American income earners paid just three-tenths of 1% of the total tax burden. The bottom 20% of earners paid just three-tenths of 1% of the total tax burden. The richest 20% paid 67.9%. We'll round that up to 70% for the fun of it. The top 20% are paying 70%; the bottom 20% are paying or three-tenths of 1%. That's 2009. That's before Obama was immaculated into office.

I also mentioned Carville and Greenberg and the Democrat polling unit that they run. And remember, earlier this year, Carville went out there with a warning. He told Obama, "Don't run out there and talk about how great this recovery is. It ain't gonna work because people aren't feeling it; they're not living it. Don't talk about it." Now they've done a 180 and they're saying, "What you need to focus on is, class warfare." Here's Greenberg first. It was on CNN's Starting Point this morning with the hostette, Soledad O'Brien, who said, "Stan, you say social mobility and looking at other nations' social mobility, that's really the key here, right?"

GREENBERG: It's a wake-up call, because it... When we did in '92, "It's the Economy, Stupid," you know, we didn't realize -- and President Clinton didn't realize -- that this was gonna be a three decade phenomena, that America really had changed. We thought we'd... You know, we'd come back from that. Then we did in the nineties, we're good. But we have three decades of income decline. Struggle, struggle, struggle. Jobs being exported. The country in debt. People in debt. And people are in pain out there. But they know it's a long-term problem. So they want to see long-term solutions.

RUSH: So Greenberg is saying, "Twenty years ago we were saying, 'It's the economy, Stupid.'" And they said, "No, no! It's not that anymore." He's essentially saying what I said. You can't win an election saying, "It's the economy, Stupid." That's over. That's gone. So then they turned to Carville. Soledad O'Brien said, "In the book you say 'income is now destiny.' What do you mean by that?"

CARVILLE: You know what? In America, if you work hard, and you do what you [are] supposed to do and you play by the rules, you're gonna have a good life. You're gonna be able to buy a car. You'll be able to educate your children. But you gotta work hard. Ah, you still can do it, but it's a little harder than it used to be. And we don't have the mobility that we used to have. And when you don't have that, when you don't have that, and the middle class is shrinking, then -- and -- and -- and incomes are going up only at one level and not another level. Then there's something else other than the country that you want to be. You're losing something that is central to what it is to be the United States.

RUSH: What he's advocated... The middle class shrinking. It isn't upwardly mobile. It isn't happening. So he's advising the Democrats that class warfare has replaced economic growth as the issue they can win on. That's what he's saying. I'm not saying I agree with him. I'm just telling you they've done a 180. It's not the economy. Now, also, we must factor that they think they own "It's the economy, Stupid," and they don't want that working for anybody else. Just for the sake of their resumes and reputations.

And I also believe that Carville and Greenberg would love to divert people off into a direction that is not really the direction they ought to go, meaning us. I think, for example, they would love for us to stop talking about the economy after having tried to convince us (impression), "It ain't gonna win for y'all. It ain't gonna win for y'all anymore. You need to give it up 'cause it won't work." I think there's a lot of fakery going on here.

So don't misunderstand.

I'm not suggesting we drop the economy as an issue. I'm just saying it's not an automatic. It has to be approached in a different way. Of course, it's real. Of course, it's devastating. Of course! And that's the problem. America's being transformed in ways that nobody wants. America's being torn apart. That's what this economy means. We're in the midst of a transformation that is gonna grow government like it's never grown before, and we never get that back.

So please don't misunderstand.

I'm not saying abandon it.

These guys want us to abandon it. They also want Obama and the Democrats to really focus on class warfare. But they also would love for Republicans... By the way, you have to admit that the Democrats have been very successful in intimidating Republicans. For example, this whole notion, "Don't criticize Obama! The independents don't like that." Look at how many of our consultants believe that garbage. Look at how many Republican consultants fell for that.

"You don't want to be critical of the president. You really don't want to be critical of Obama or any Democrat. The independents don't like that. They want compromise, 'Can't we all get along?' And all of that rotgut." It's a trick to get us to stop criticizing Obama, and our people have fallen for it, and I think there's another trick going on here. Because any poll... Any poll... I don't care if it's a poll that shows Obama up by six like Reuters does, which is a crock. Even that poll shows Obama losing big way down with the public on the economy.

That's what they'd like to paper over. 

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