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Message to GOP: The Problem Isn't Who You Are; It's What People Say About You

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: I want to get to this Republican analysis sound bite stuff.  I just want to start with this.  First up we're gonna start with CNN.  It was this morning with Carol Costello on her program called CNN's Newsroom, and she had Amy Kremer from the Tea Party Express as the conservative strategerist, and Maria Cardona, the Democrat strategerist, and they were talking about yesterday's release of the RNC report looking at the loss of the 2012 election, how they can change things for the future.  The most important thing about what was said yesterday -- I think it may be hard to synthesize one thing. 

My primary point yesterday, before we get to these sound bites, I heard Ari Fleischer say that conservatives don't have to change their core principles. They have to change the way they talk.  I think if the Republicans misunderstand something crucial, they're never gonna fix this.  I'll use myself as an example.  Now, I'm not politics here, we're not getting politics, and I acknowledge that, it's not the same business, but we're still attracting people.  I haven't done one dime's worth of advertising over 25 years. It's the most listened to show for 23 or 25 years.  I haven't done a dime's worth of advertising. I don't have any PR people. I have never analyzed what I say and how to say it and change it. I've never moderated. It's just who I am. 

I have not tailored what I say to try to attract this group or that group.  I just show up every day and do what I do, follow my heart, be honest, and it attracts an audience. 

Now, I understand that there's specific different needs, but the point that I was making yesterday was the Republican Party's gonna make a mistake if they think that it is the substance of what they say that's causing the problem.  It's not.  It's what people say about them that is the problem.  For example, you who listen to this program every day, or even just some days, you know that I am not at all as I am characterized by people that don't listen to this program.  This is not a program of hate, for example.  This is not a program of extremism.  This is not anything that it is said to be by its critics or people that don't listen to it.  You know this. 

My point is that, for me to change the way I approach this program because of what is said about me, would be folly.  The way to approach expanding the audience would be to deal with it from that standpoint, but not to change me.  Now, the Republican Party's overall problem is it's gotta problem with expressing conservatism.  The mainstream of the Republican Party doesn't like it, they're a little bit nervous about it.  If they could just come to grips with there's nothing wrong with conservatism.  People love conservatism. 

I've got a story in the stack today, and it's a fascinating headline. I'll paraphrase the headline, but it illustrates the problem, illustrates the point.  People are given a list of issues and solutions, and they love the conservative solution to every problem until they find out that they are Republican ideas.  Then they reject them.  And not because of the ideas.  So why are they hating Republicans?  It's not because of who the Republicans are.  It's because of what's being said about Republicans to them.  The Republicans have an image problem and what they're gonna have to do is change the way they are talked about.  They don't have to change who they are.  This is the biggest point I was trying to make yesterday.

Now, there's an assumption I'm making here. I'm assuming something just for the sake of this discussion. I know that it's not actually totally true, but I'm assuming in the political spectrum that the Republican Party's conservative. I know the establishment isn't. But the Democrat Party's liberal, far-left extremist. The Republican Party is, by comparison, conservative -- without getting into the bowels of the arguments within the Republican Party. It's not conservatism that's being rejected by people, is point.

The Republicans think it is.

The Republicans in the establishment think that conservatism is what makes people nervous. If you give people, in a focus group or a poll, a conservative solution to a list of problems, they go for it, they love it; then they find out that they're "Republican ideas," quote/unquote, and they reject them. So they're not rejecting ideas. Voters are not rejecting ideas. They are rejecting who they think Republicans are. That's the problem the Republican Party has. I started yesterday, as an illustration, something.

There's a real world example of this taking place right now. I said, "I know many people get nervous and get crazy when I start talking about Apple." It's like people used to get nervous when I talked about golf a lot. But there's a real-world example with what's taking place. Apple and the Republican Party are not completely analogous because Apple still is the giant, number one, runaway business. No question. But what's being said about them is the exact opposite, and what it's affecting is people who are not yet Apple customers.

Now, the existing Apple customer has profound loyalty and is not gonna be talked out of it, but Apple's ability to grow is what's being attacked, and what's being said about them is being said by design. Is the nature of capitalism. It's highly competitive, so I'm not complaining about anything here. Apple's gonna have to figure this out. Their big problem is how they are being characterized in the tech media and in the mainstream media with their falling stock price. The image is being created that it's over for Apple.

They're finished. They're done. They're yesterday's news. They may not survive. Don't doubt me. This is the news about Apple in the tech community. Samsung is running advertising spots making fun of Apple customers. Apple doesn't know what to do. They've never been in this position. They're used to being up on the pedestal with everybody loving them -- and the criticism never working, never sticking, never amounting to anything. Now their stock price is falling. I'm convinced they don't know how to deal with it -- and, in that sense, it's the Republican Party.

They do not know how to deal with what's happening to them. My point is, I don't think they really understand what's going on. They think they're losing elections because Hispanics don't like 'em. They think they're losing elections because they're not open-minded enough on amnesty or abortion. So what are they about to do? They're about to agree to amnesty that will forever secure their defeat. It will automatically give the Democrats nine million (minimum) new Democrat voters, overnight, for doing nothing.

The Republicans are being manipulated and tricked into doing this, and who's manipulating? Democrats, other Democrats, and the media! Republicans are being tricked into agreeing to this under the guise that they're mean. They're seen as extremist. "The people on talk radio are giving them a bad image. As long as the people on talk radio keep doing what they do, nobody's gonna like the Republicans," blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. "Republicans have to reach out to women. Women don't like 'em! They've gotta reach out to Hispanics."

Who's telling them to do this?

The Democrats.

Who obviously want to share their voters with them, right? Democrats want to give away some voters. I can't tell you what a big mistake they're about to make, and it's because, like every political party that loses an election, they're in a funk. They've lost their confidence, but more than that -- well, it's tough to say more than that. But one of the factors here is right now they're just hell-bent on doing things to be liked, rather than sticking to principles. I mean, if you show them the data...

Look: People overwhelmingly oppose what Obama's doing and support conservative solutions, until they find out it's a Republican idea. Now, what would you do to change that? Well, the first thing you'd have to do is assess. Why is that the case, and is it because of who they are or is it because of what's being said about them that they haven't successfully refuted? I would suggest to you it's the latter. Now, there are some Republicans who are wishy-washy moderates who are their own worst enemy, and they think that they're the answer.

The Republican Party thinks the answer is abandoning social issues, abandoning Christian conservatives, abandoning conservatism, and that is their solution. But they see that as a solution because the Christian conservatives, the social-issues crowd, and talk radio people are the ones attacked, ridiculed, and made fun of and accused of being the problem. So the Republicans think that what they have to do in order to stop being criticized or mischaracterized is to get rid of what people are criticizing.

They don't understand that they're being suckered into participating in their own official demise. It's a tough thing, 'cause it boils down to some basic human nature. Everybody wants to be loved. Nobody wants to be criticized. When you respond to the criticism, you make the critics love you, particularly in a town like Washington. But the good news for the Republicans is it's not conservatism that's turning people off.

It's the word "Republican" and what people have been made to believe that means, and it's been going on for a while.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Can anybody out there name for me one time a Republican effort to rebrand something has worked? Ever? Let's see. We've tried "kinder, gentler nation." That was George H. W. Bush. He did not win reelection. Plus he also agreed to raise taxes. Kinder, gentler nation. Then there was "compassionate conservative." That was George W. Bush. Of course, these rebranding efforts are all made from a posture of defense -- or embarrassment, if you will. I remember George W. Bush in the 2000 campaign actually use the phrase, "I'm not gonna balance the budget on the backs of the poor."

I said, "Whoa! What is that? Why are we talking like Democrats?"

Because everybody was accepting the branding issue that conservatives are racists, sexist, bigots, homophobes, and all that. Nothing could be further from the truth. But every time you try to rebrand yourself, you are accepting that accusation about yourself. That's what the Republican Party has been doing. I don't. I don't know any other rock-ribbed conservative who does, but these rebranding efforts never work. They never fool anybody -- and do you know why?

Because they're unnecessary.

The party supporters do not think of the party that way. The party supporters are upset that it's not conservative enough. That's the solution for the Republican Party. It really isn't complicated. Here's that story was referencing. I have it right here in my formerly nicotine-stained fingers. It's by PJ Media, and it is a poll in TheHill.com. Here's the headline to the story: "Majority Back Republican Ideas Until They Hear that the Ideas Come From Republicans."

Conservative ideas, conservative solutions are always in favor when people hear about them, when people have it explained to them. But the Republican Party isn't conservative. It's afraid to be, because it is responding to all of the criticism from people who do not have its best interests at heart. I refuse to believe that the Democrats or the media are telling Republicans, "Hey, you know what? You need to be more accepting of Hispanics" to help. They're not doing that for our benefit. They're not trying to help us.

Yet the party bigwigs act like, "You know what? They're right! We need to reach out more. We need to be more for amnesty." For what? It's a trap! It's a trap just like the, "Don't criticize Obama; you're gonna send the independents right back to the Democrats." It's a trick. So the reason there's a disconnect with the voters and the Republican Party is that the party isn't conservative. Every time the Republicans win an election they stop teaching conservative principles. Now, that's my take on that.

The author of the story, that's not his take here. It's Bryan Preston, PJ Media. It's a poll. "Respondents were asked choose which of two approaches they would prefer on the budget. The question's phrasing included no cues as to which party advocated for which option. Presented in that way, 55% of likely voters opted for a plan that would slash $5 trillion in government spending, provide for no additional taxes, and balance the budget within ten years." People said, "Yep, that's what we're for." But when they found out it was a Republican idea, and they ran away from it.

They did not run away from the principle, the idea, or the solution to the problem.

They ran away from a name.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Let's just get started.  I don't want to get too far away from repeating in the first half hour here what I said yesterday.  We're gonna listen to cable news yesterday and last night analyze what I said and see if they get it.  Up first, Carol Costello.  She's got Amy Kremer and Maria Cardona, and they are reviewing my take on Republican rebranding.

COSTELLO:  After the Republicans released their much anticipated autopsy, at least one prominent Republican has a problem with the findings.  His name would be... Rush Limbaugh.  Rush seems to be putting the blame on Mitt Romney, who suddenly became a severe conservative after being a moderate Republican.  Still, let's take a look some of the true conservatives who were in the running for President in 2012:  Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, and Rick Perry.  All three made an appearance at CPAC, the influential conservative gathering, so we believe these are true conservatives.  Would any of those true conservatives really have beaten Barack Obama?  Amy?

RUSH:  Now, okay, we'll get to the answers here in just a second, but I want to just go back to the way they're characterizing me.  Did I put the blame on Romney?  My putting the blame, if you want to put it that way, I did say that the party nominated somebody who didn't get the conservative base out.  Things I've said about Romney are ultimately positive, character assessment and all of that.  Anyway, let's get on to the answer here from Amy Kremer and Maria Cardona.  Santorum-Gingrich-Perry.  All three were at CPAC, good conservatives, could any of them have beaten Obama?

KREMER:  Carol, I don't think anybody was gonna beat Barack Obama.  He's a pop culture icon, and he's tapped into that generation that all they care about is pop culture.  But, you know, when Rush is talking about people being conservative, he's actually not talking about the social issues, I don't think.  I think he's talking about somebody that's fiscally conservative.  And while I come from a red state, and I didn't think Mitt Romney's conservative for me, he was for his state.  So it's all relative.  But that's really what he's talking about.

RUSH:  And here's Maria Cardona.

CARDONA:  I do agree with Rush that I think the reason -- one of the reasons why conservatives didn't come out is because Mitt Romney was not a principled conservative. He wasn't a principled politician, period.  I hope to God that the Republican Party listens to Rush Limbaugh's advice and they go even more to the right, because the problem was that they were so out of the mainstream, and Mitt Romney was not convincing anybody.

RUSH:  Now, this woman's trying to be too smart by half.  What she's saying is, "Oh, my God, I hope they listen to Limbaugh, because she's such an extreme right-wing kook that if the party emulates him, we can't lose," and it's just the exact opposite, folks.  And this is exactly what I'm talking about. This is how we all, the Republican Party conservatives, are characterized and said to be things that we are not to people that do not listen, or are not paying attention, don't vote, what have you.  It's classic the way this works.  But I don't even know if she realizes how she contradicts herself here. 

"Yeah, I think Rush was right.  Romney was not a principled conservative."  Then she goes on to say that a principled conservative is not what the Republican Party needs.  By making some sort of a joke.  Bottom line is, folks, conservatism does resonate with people.  When it's explained, people overwhelmingly, even now, the polling data, every Obama agenda item the American people disagree with.  And every proposed solution to it that is rooted in conservatism, they support.  There just isn't a single person articulating those policies that they support.  It's not the principles. It's not conservatism. It's not the ideas.  That's not the problem.  But too many Republicans think that it is.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Let's now go to The Five, The Five at Five, on Fox News Channel. Here is cohost Eric Bolling setting up their segment on the GOP and its navel gazing...

BOLLING: My man Rush Limbaugh had a few thoughts on the state of the GOP. Listen.

RUSH ARCHIVE: The Republicans are just totally bamboozled right now, and they are entirely lacking in confidence, which is what happens to every political party after an election in which they think they got shellacked. The Republican Party lost because it's not conservative. It didn't get its base out in the 2012 election.

RUSH: That's it. Four million Republicans that did vote against Obama in '08 sat home in 2012. Do you realize that if those four million had shown up, Romney would have won? Question: Why didn't those four million show up? Is it because of amnesty? Is it because of abortion, immigration, contraception? No way! Well, it might be. It might be the fear that the Republican Party was gonna go in that direction. Those four million said, "The hell with it!" More likely it's that. The party wasn't conservative enough in its messaging. Now here's Dana Perino and Greg Gutfeld reacting...

PERINO: I agree on the point about every party goes through this.

GUTFELD: Yes.

PERINO: What Rush was saying... I remember talking to President Bush 41 and asking him if he worried about the future of the Republican Party. He said, look, in 1992 after he lost, he said it took a while for the Republicans to get their footing. But then they did after, like, two or three years -- and they come back in 1994 to win big time. The same thing happened in 2010, and it was a little bit shaky. Clinton wins again in '96, comes back, and then the Republicans come back; they have the White House for eight years.

RUSH: Yeah. But in that period of time, we didn't have the assault on the country going on that we have now. I mean, they were trying. The Clintons are the Obamas Lite, to a certain extent. But, I mean, Hillary tried for this health care business. They gave it their shot. Because of Lewinsky and a bunch of stuff, Clinton had to appear as a conservative to get reelected, or he had to abandon extreme liberalism in order to get reelected. So now Beckel, Bob Beckel, weighs in after Dana Perino agreed with me about the state of the party. Here's Beckel weighing in on Hispanics and the Republicans...

BECKEL: I suggest to you that for Republicans, long-term immigration reform is not only good policy, it's good politics for the Republicans. Your assumption that more Democrats come in if you allow these Hispanics in is belying the fact that there are a lot of Republicans if you took away the issue of immigration. George Bush has proved this point in Texas and running for president. The angst in the Hispanic community goes back down to the Republicans' refusal to deal with immigration, and when you have people like -- whether it was Bush or others who see the light on this stuff, their policies are in match with an awful lot of Hispanics.

RUSH: Then why do 70% of Hispanics vote Democrat?

God love him. Everybody loves Beckel. But is Bob Beckel really trying to help the Republican Party win elections? That's not what Beckel's alive to do. That isn't Beckel's job. Beckel's not interested in Republicans getting the Hispanic vote. This is part of the trickery taking place. "You know, you Republicans, the reason why you lost is 'cause Hispanics don't like you -- and you know why they don't like you? It's not just because you're a bunch of racist pigs. It's because you're against amnesty! If you come out for amnesty, they'll support you."

Nobody asks, "Why are the Democrats so eager to let us have their voters?"

Why does nobody see that what the Democrats are doing is taking advantage of the insecurity and the -- I don't know; what's the word? -- defeatist attitude the Republicans have about themselves right now. They're playing to their fears, and the Republicans are reacting to it. It just boggles my mind, especially when the solution to all of this is just so simple. It works every time it's tried. I know why they don't want to go conservative. They like big government. They just want to be in charge of it. Where are we going next?

Barry in Key West, Florida. Great to have you on the program. Hello.

CALLER: Hi, Rush. Good to talk to you. The reason why I called today is I'm a member of the Tea Party, and the Tea Party had maybe over 50% approval rate at one time. Then it started dropping, and it's very similar to what you're saying about the Republicans. We have allowed ourselves to be defined by the left, okay, in terms of the Hollywood, the news media, the Democrats, et cetera say. I've made the statement that what we need to do is create a super PAC rather than going on any more travels to Washington. Spend that money in a super PAC and start reintroducing ourselves with ads on TV. They can be just generic ads where we just... You know, where we start... You get people to realize that --

RUSH: I think you're on to something. There's no question that the Tea Party came out of nowhere and shocked everybody. It's real people. There was not a leader that they could demonize. They're just average, ordinary people who -- for the first time in their lives in most cases -- were showing up at town hall meetings. Political establishment types did not know how to deal with this.

The Republicans were, at times, ashamed to embrace them 'cause they're such amateurs. The Democrats were scared to death of 'em and started demonizing them. So, you're right. You had a pretty high approval number. It starts plummeting exactly because your enemies started ripping you and mischaracterizing you as racist, sexist, bigots, homophobes, and mean-spirited. You know all the stuff they said about you.

CALLER: Right.

RUSH: But not on your policies. They never attack your policies or mine because they can't. They always assassinate your character and that of everybody else that's in the Tea Party. So what is missing? One thing you are right about is we never take it to them. We never run ads telling everybody who they are for real. We do not have to lie about who those people are. We just don't do it, and it's partly because we're afraid of enraging the independents -- and I'm not making that up.

That's still a big fear in the consultant class of the establishment in the Republican Party. But to this day we're into the fifth year of Obama, and there are people who do not yet know who this guy is. The press hasn't done their job, and the Republicans haven't done their job in telling the American people who he is. So it's up to the media to craft his image for people, and that's what's happened. 

END TRANSCRIPT

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