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Conservatives are Winning on Policy

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Now, I understand -- I just know -- that a lot of you are down, depressed, forlorn, hopeless, wondering where the heck do we go now, particularly from this point.  You may have seen Obama spiking the ball at his little presser minutes ago -- where, again, I live in his head.  He told everybody, "Stop listening to these talking heads on the radio.  Stop listening to those people and stop listening to the bloggers and stop listening to the lobbyists," and stop listening to everybody but him. 

Now, folks, I have had an ongoing theory for the last two weeks. And I know that many of you have wanted to believe it, but you wondered whether I was just trying to keep you up, whether I was ignoring reality.  That ongoing theme and theory was that through all of this, two things were happening: The media was covering this in their standard horse race, "How does this help Obama?" narrative.  That's the only thing they care about.  The inside-the-Beltway narrative is, "How does this help Obama and how does this destroy Republicans?"

So they go do polls, and they get the polls they want, and they show that the Republicans are supposedly hated and that Obama is supposedly loved, and now everything's right with the world because the government's back up and running. Did you see this tweet from this Jim Acosta guy at CNN?  This is hilarious...  Oh, another thing.  In explaining this theory, which I'm going to detail coming up here. I'm gonna tell you where the media narrative in Washington is wrong.  They're missing the big story.

I got a call yesterday or maybe it was two days ago.  "Rush, why are you still laughing? How are you so not affected by this or seemingly so?" I don't want you all thinking that I'm coming in here all holly jolly and so forth and not affected by it, but I mentioned to you yesterday, "Life goes on, and this isn't over."  The battle for freedom and liberty really never is over, and there are really low points in it, but I'm not giving up, and I'm not gonna engage in phony pep talks, either. 

All I do here every day is tell you what I think about things, and I get my own share of grief from it, even from my friends.  I've had some of my friends say, "Would you stop it? You know, you're not making this sound bad enough.  You gotta make this sound really bad, because that's what it is, and that's what your audience wants to hear."  I said, "Well, I don't live that way.  I don't. I don't go home and huddle away in the corner, cower in the corner, and worry about how bad things are.

"Because we can always change everything, or at least we can try."  This theory that I've had the past two weeks is that when it comes to policy, just like the '95 budget shutdown, the Republicans actually came out of that -- in a substance and policy sense -- very strong, and it's the same thing here.  The case can be made, and I'm gonna try to make it.  In fact, our old buddy Peter Beinart is a well-known leftist journalist that writes at The Daily Beast and a bunch of other places.

 I used to think of Beinart and Fareed Zakaria GPS in the same league.  They're a little distant now.  They're both leftists, they're both pro-Obama, but Beinart has a piece today in The Daily Beast (which is in the belly of the beast) and it dovetails exactly with the stratagems and the theories that I have been trying to share with you for the past two weeks, and that is that it was the Republicans who were winning here.  In fact, there's some stuff in this piece; it's almost word-for-word from what I said. 

I'm not charging plagiarism, but he makes the point just as I did two days ago -- and I got grief from some of you in the e-mail.  I made the point that Obama's agenda, since he was reelected, has basically stalled.  We haven't gotten anywhere on amnesty. (Now, they're trying to gin it pick up.)  They haven't done anything on gun control, even though they've tried.  That went the other way for 'em in Colorado.  In a sense of policy and substance, the Republicans are winning.

The sequester was not given away. The sequester staying in place means that there is a new baseline from which all budgeting will now come and the level of spending is now at 2008 levels in terms of baseline budgeting.  It's a victory.  The sequester holds.  I'm gonna explain all of this in great detail -- well, I don't know about great detail.  I'm gonna get into it as the program unfolds today before your very eyes and ears.  But at the same time, I'm not in denial.

I don't want anybody thinking that I'm in an artificial place here just trying to keep you up. I'm not artificially laughing. If I sound like I'm enjoying myself, it's not artificial. It's real.  I try to do that with life ever since it really hit me once long ago that there's only one of these, and it's really easy to get caught up in the day-to-day.  The day-to-day has a lot of depressing things happen.  Day-to-day has a lot of downers in 'em.  But most people do not employ all the leverage they have over their own lives. 

It's just standard, ordinary human nature.  I've always tried to just do what I want to do and as I define happiness and contentment, pursue it, and do the best I can within that framework.  Especially I try not to get depressed over what people I can't control do, and we really can't control what these people in Washington are doing.  We can't really, day to day, control it.  We can have an impact on it other ways, and it's engaging in that where optimism can be found, I believe. 

I'm just trying to share a little of that with you.  I really think intellectually, morally, substantively, there's no question that we occupy the best place.  We're not lying to ourselves.  We're not destroying anything.  We're not engaged in hero worship of anybody. I think our place is not that bad, especially as the future presents itself, coupled with the unknown that the future always contains, and within the unknown are always going to be surprises on the upside, positive, as well as negative. 

It's all what you make of it. 

So don't think that I'm doing anything artificial here.  Don't even think of it as a pep talk.  I'm just... It's a great thing I have with this show. I turn on this microphone and I can just unload, as I actually am.  That's a great liberating thing, not have to act, not have to say what I think you want to hear and do what I think you want to do.  I look around, and I find all kinds of things to laugh at in this.  For example, Jim Acosta, CNN. He went to work today, and he was so excited!

He was so excited that the government's not shut down anymore.  He was so excited.  Here's what he tweeted, and I'm not making this up.  This is word-for-word, is a verbatim quote for a CNN info guy. This is Jim Acosta.  He's a senior White House correspondent.  "Hearing the roar of the federal government coming to life. Our WH crew tells us NPS employees are back w[ith] their leaf blowers."  Aw.  Be still my beating heart!  All is right with the world. 

A CNN info guy is rejuvenated, life is worth living again because the federal government has come back to life, as typified by leaf blowers being used by the National Park Service.  Right.  They're probably aiming them at World War II vets as they try now to get into the World War II Memorial.  They probably turn off the leaf blowers when the illegal aliens show up to protest the World War II vets.  Can you imagine, folks? This guy's dead serious.  Can you imagine that kind of life?

Being happy, ecstatic -- being Twitterifically happy -- that the federal government has come back to life?  It was never dead.  It was never even on life support.  I'm telling you, these people... I don't care whether they're called media, politics, lobbyists. This inside the Beltway mentality is so distant, it's so removed from all of us outside of the place, the flyover country or whatever you want to call it.  I wonder how people today think.

Just like the day Obamacare was signed into law, I wonder how many people think today that since the government is back in business, that health care is free and it's okay to go to the exchanges and sign up for free health care.  I wonder how many people thinking that.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: The CNN London thing?  All right.  All right.  All right.  Let me find it.  It's sound bite number one.  This is CNN's Newsroom, and it's the TIME Magazine London bureau chief on CNN International.  The coanchor is Hala Gorani, and she's speaking with former TIME Magazine bureau chief Jef McAllister about how the government shutdown was seen throughout the world, and Gorani said, "We've heard from China, we've heard from Russia, we've heard from other European countries, we -- we heard from other global financial organizations saying, 'Washington, get your house in order.'  Is this more symbolic than substantive?"

MCALLISTER:  It's the right question, and it depends on whether it happens again and again and again.  Do the Republicans take from this, as they seem to, that this tactic of trying to hold the government hostage to get their way isn't going to work? The Rush Limbaugh-Fox News kind of echo chamber where conservatives think that they're doing the right thing, that everybody supports them, when in fact it turns out in this case that it's not the case, those factors are still there.  Will there be change in the elections next year? Will, uh, Republicans lose?  That's the kind of thing that has to happen to really change the political dynamic.

RUSH:  See... Look, I don't want to spend a lot of time deeply analyzing this, but that's typical. Even though this guy's a former London bureau chief, this is typical analysis that you get from inside the Beltway, which is totally absent any recognition of other reality.  I mean, inside the Beltway, there is a reality. It's theirs, but it is far removed from ours.  They exist on templates and narratives, and that is, "The Republicans are losing and they're almost out of existence and it's because of Ted Cruz and Rush Limbaugh," and so forth.

They look at it strictly poll by poll, horse race by horse race. "Did Obama win?  Oh, my God, did Obama win?  Oh, I hope Obama won!" That's the only thing that matters to them.  But throughout all of this, I honestly said you could make the case that Republicans are winning this on matters of substance, winning this on matters of policy.  I don't know. If Fox News and me are an "echo chamber," what is the Drive-By Media?   They're the Grand Canyon of echo chambers. 

These people... This is another thing, I and Fox News, me and Fox News, we're echo chambers?  What?  What are they?  They're mind-numbed robots!  They're actually puppets.  Somebody's yanking their strings each and every day.  They're not independent actors at all.  They're not independent thinkers.  They're not independently curious.  They're all programmed, from journalism school all the way through to the casket.  They're purely programmed. 

There's no critical thinking, no independent thinking, no curiosity -- and, as such, they're not journalists.  They're hacks!  They're pure party hacks.  But there are exceptions.  This is a perfect time to tell you about this Peter Beinart piece in The Daily Beast, "Why the Shutdown is a Republican Victory."  Listen carefully to this.  I'm gonna excerpt parts of this.  Here's the subhead of the story:  "Thanks to the shutdown, the press and the public can't stand the GOP. But, Peter Beinart argues, Republican ideological influence is increasing."

Wait a minute.  How can that be! 

I mean, Ted Cruz is hated; Mike Lee is hated.  I mean, there are two prominent conservative columnists today who write essentially the same piece.  Do you know what it is, if I can summarize it?  "It's okay, kids," meaning Cruz and Lee and those who supported 'em. "Okay, you better not do this again! You better not break this window again, or there's gonna be a real price to pay.  You've had your fun, you went in to fantasyland, but you better not ever do it again.  We are not going to commit suicide with you."

This is the haughty, know-it-all, snarky, arrogant condescension from the right, from so-called conservative columnists on the right who themselves are prisoners of the inside-the-Beltway establishment thinking.  More and more, in order to rank in inside-the-Beltway thinking, you have to believe the Republicans are doofuses, stupid, blowing it every time they do something, making grand mistakes. That gets you in the club -- and more and more of our so-called conservative media people have walked right in the door and filled out the membership form. 

But there is another reality. 

"Republican ideological influence is increasing."  Now, I can imagine some, "Come on, Rush, don't lie to us.  Don't try to phony, falsely buck us up."  I'm not.  This guy happens to write what I have been trying to say the past couple of weeks.  Here's how he starts:  "The news from Washington is all about President Obama's impending triumph in the government shutdown/debt ceiling standoff. 'Boehner Blinks,' declared a recent headline in The Washington Post.

"'Republicans,' explained ABC's Jonathan Karl, 'are working out the terms of their surrender,'" and then Beinart writes, "If this is Republican surrender, I hope I never see Republican victory."  This guy is not a Republican, he's not a conservative.  He's card-carrying, Fareed Zakaria-type liberal.  He writes here, "To understand how upside down the current media analysis is, you need to go back a couple of years.

"In 2011, with Republicans threatening to provoke a debt default, President Obama signed the Budget Control Act of 2011," the sequester, "which cut government spending by $917 billion over 10 years. The agreement also created a congressional 'supercommittee' charged with finding additional cuts. If the committee failed to do so, cuts totaling $1.2 trillion over ten years would kick in automatically at the end of 2012, via a process called 'sequestration.'" 

So Beinart is simply reminding everybody of actual American history -- and, by the way, this deal includes another super committee charged with doing the same thing.  These committees never sit.  They don't find anything.  This committee that was set up in the Budget Control Act of 2011... If you'll recall, we had another crisis, they failed to come to an agreement, and the sequester kicked in, and we're living under its terms today.  This is what Beinart is essentially calling a Republican victory.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH:  Now, by the way, folks, in this deal that opened the government and whatever else the hell it did, whatever it stopped, there's another super committee in this deal, and this super committee is supposed to come up with a new way to negotiate a real budget.  The super committee back in 2011 was supposed to come up with another budget that had real cuts in it -- and if it didn't, sequestration would kick in. 

The super committee in 2011 didn't do anything -- they never do -- and so sequestration kicked in.  Sequestration, don't forget, was an Obama idea.  It's something Obama doesn't want to claim credit for, but it was his idea.  He believed that the Republicans would never, ever allow the defense department to experience such large cuts. But they didn't blink, and so the sequester kicked in.  This deal now contains another super committee that's supposed to (now, get this) come up with a way to negotiate a real budget. 

We already have that way.  It's called you sit down and talk.  What do you mean a new way to come up with a real budget?  It's in there to address the complaint that the Democrats never produce or allow a real budget.  But nothing's gonna come of this.  As long as Obama's president, there's not gonna be a budget.  They might do one if they win the House, 2014, but they're not gonna spell out their policy agenda in a budget before 2004; they'd lose.  They're not gonna do that. 

Now, I can summarize without reading Beinart's whole piece, but I'm still going to read excerpts.  I can summarize it for you.  He's upset over really one thing, and that is that in all of this, the Republicans managed to slow the increase in spending via the sequester, and this deal didn't kill the sequester.  So in the liberal world, the world's still upside down, and that's why Beinart is saying: What do you mean Republicans lost?  They instituted some spending cuts in 2011, and we haven't gotten rid of 'em!

So the Republicans, on policy, are not losing. 

Now, the cuts are minuscule, I understand, but they are still are cuts, maybe even reductions in the rates of growth.  But this sequester ticks the Democrats off like you can't believe, and they are not able to get rid of it. So right now, agenda item number one is going to be killing the sequester along with amnesty.  Those are the two things that are gonna tick up here.  But let me continue reading some excerpts of this.  You know, I read the paragraph where he explained how the sequester happened back in 2011. 

"Fast forward to the beginning of this year. Despite months of negotiations, the supercommittee failed to reach an agreement, and so this March, automatic sequester cuts kicked in. ... If Democrats disliked the 2011 Budget Control Act, they disliked its bastard stepchild, the sequester, even more. ... Republicans, being less supportive of federal spending on things like 'education, energy and medical research,' were more supportive of the sequester.

"Indeed, as recently as last month, GOP leaders described locking in the sequester cuts -- via a 'clean' continuing resolution (CR) that extended them into 2014 -- as a major victory. In a memo to fellow Republicans on September 6, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor boasted that by 'signing a CR at sequester levels, the president would be endorsing a level of spending that wipes...'" This is key.

"Cantor sent a memo out, and he bragged in "that by 'signing a CR at sequester levels, the president would be endorsing a level of spending that wipes away all the increases he and Congressional Democrats made while they were in charge and returns us to a pre-2008 level of discretionary spending,'" and that lowers the baseline. Lowering the baseline is blasphemy, and the Republicans have done it, whether they intended to or not. I think they did, because they held firm on this.

In the real world, folks, this is a real victory.  The Republicans were not talked out of this sequester, and then Beinart writes, "Most of the press is missing this because most of the press is covering the current standoff more as politics than policy. If your basic question is 'which party is winning?' then it's easy to see the Republicans as losing, since they're the ones suffering in the polls. But the partisan balance of power and the ideological balance of power are two completely different things," and in this situation, Republicans are winning. 

Then he details here the following: "Despite overwhelming public support, gun control is dead. Comprehensive immigration reform, once considered the politically easy part of Obama's second term agenda, looks unlikely. And the other items Obama trumpeted in this year's state of the union address -- climate change legislation, infrastructure investment, universal preschool, voting rights protections, a boost to the minimum wage -- have been largely forgotten."

Exactly the point I've been making the last two weeks! 

Sorry to yell. 

Obama's agenda has been stalled, and that's because the Republicans held firm on the sequester -- and Ted Cruz and Mike Lee. 

Now, I'm up against it on time.  But I will be glad to answer any questions you have about this, 'cause there's more to explain.  Sit tight, my friends.  We'll be back and continue after this.
BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH:  "Wait a minute, Rush! Wait a minute! Didn't sequester spending a new trillion dollars raise the baseline?"  Yeah, it did, but the sequester took it back down below 2009, and they can't do anything to change that with continuing resolutions, which is why they're gonna be targeting the sequester to be gotten rid of next.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: I got one more story here.  I shared with you the Beinart story.  After this, I'm gonna get to your phone calls.  The Beinart story is... Well, yeah, we learned also that we have just gone into debt another trillion dollars. 

That's how much the debt limit was raised, $986 billion, $14 billion shy of $1 trillion.  That'll just take us through whatever, 'til the next continuing resolution, 'cause we don't have a budget -- and the Democrats don't want a budget because of a political reason. They don't want to lock in their agenda, don't want people to see what it is.  Remember, now, with the sequester, discretionary spending has been taken back to 2008 levels, which lowers the baseline.  I can't tell you how that frosts them. 

The baseline is where the guaranteed 5 to 10% annual increases occur without a single vote.  In 1974, they instituted a new way of budgeting, baseline budgeting, and they just automatically wrote that every year, every budget line item baseline is elevated five to 10%. Whether it's needed or not, regardless how much or how little was spent in that budget area the year before, automatic increase, without a single vote. 

That's how you get a spending increase called a "cut."  If the budget baseline says that Health and Human Services is gonna go up 8% next year, and in the budget deal, it actually only goes up 4%, they call it a cut!  Yet there's 4% brand-new money, through baseline budgeting.  Well, the baseline here, because of the sequester, has been taken to 2008 levels on discretionary spending, and this frosts everybody.

See, one of the great things for Obama and the Democrats about the stimulus was that it was gonna raise the baseline by whatever that amount was -- $800 billion -- forever.  Once you spend it, the baseline goes up forever.  But the sequester took it back prior to, and as long as there are continuing resolutions, you cannot raise it. This is the double-edged sword that the Democrats are faced with.  Because they won't do a budget, 'cause they're simply relying on continuing resolutions, it's kind of convoluted.

But they can't do anything about the sequester taking the baseline back to 2008 on discretionary spending.  All continuing resolutions do is approve the current services budget for the next year.  The current services baseline is not part of the continuing resolution, I don't think.  Pretty sure.  Continuing resolutions do not mean the same money will be spent next year as this year, but that the same level of services will be maintained, which is worse. 

That means entitlements, pay increases, inflation adjustments, government programs still get their built-in increases based on population growth but not on the baseline budget, and that's why this raising of the debt limit had to have a specific rider raising government worker salaries next January.  In a budget, that would be automatic, it would be part of the baseline.

When you go to continuing resolution, the automatic doesn't happen.  Everything has to be negotiated and kicked in, but not for a full year.  So the continuing resolution locked in the 2012 budget, which included the sequester cut, which took the discretionary spending back to 2008 levels.  I know it's kind of hard to follow all these numbers on the radio.  But that's why the Democrats and the media are now hell-bent on getting rid of the sequester.  'Cause they're stuck. 

Now, the continuing resolutions are a detriment in that sense, but on the other hand they have their positive aspects.  That is, they get to redo the budget every number of months, and they don't have to spell out what their agenda items are, budget-wise.  Plus, they get to constantly have a crisis every three or four months, debt limit crisis, government shutdown crisis, and on balance they think they're winning on this.  But they're frustrated that they don't have it all, and the sequester has screwed up lot of things. 

Now, Ron Fournier, used to be the head honcho at AP. He now writes for the National Journal, and he says (paraphrased), "Oh, yeah, yeah, no question Obama won.  Big whoop!  He won.  He always does.  Big deal.  Can Obama lead now?"  And Fournier is afraid that Obama isn't serious about victory.  Fournier is concerned that Obama likes the win for the sake of it, as a notch in the belt, but after that, let's go play golf. 

He really wants Obama to use this victory to do the rest of his agenda, which is what Beinart wrote that is stuck.  Beinart wrote that Obama's agenda is stuck because the Republicans, on policy, have had some success here.  But Fournier writes, "There is already a lack of seriousness in the air. On Tuesday, the president declared immigration reform to be his top priority after the fiscal crisis. It's a curious choice, given the magnitude of the debt and the durability of the size-of-government debate.

"Does Obama really think immigration is a more serious problem? Or is it merely the best political issue for Democrats?"  Really what he's upset about here, he thinks -- and this is where, folks, I'll never forget something. I wish I could remember the specific instance.  I was listening to journalist question another journalist, a journalist questioning an analyst, and the assumption in one question was, "Of course, now, the president must do something about the debt level. 

"He's got to do something about the debt levels; he's gotta do something about the deficit.  What do you think the president's policy is gonna be?"  I'm watching this with incredulous disbelief. "What do you mean he has to do something about the debt? He doesn't care about the debt! He doesn't care about the deficit.  He's trying to raise it! It's part of his transformation of the country.  He's trying to grow the government, shrink the private sector." 

The guy, as we said yesterday, considers himself a victim of this country -- and it's time this country paid him back.  You're a victim if you're a minority and it's time this country paid you back.  This country has victimized way too many people. Obama's not concerned with lowering the debt, and that is what bothers Fournier.  Fournier apparently is one of these guys who believes that Obama should be and is concerned about the debt.  How can anybody think that?  He just authored $7 trillion of it!

It's $7 trillion added national debt in less than five years, with this deal yesterday.  So here's one man -- $7 trillion of the $17 trillion national debt, tied to one guy -- and reporters are saying, "Now, is Obama serious about debt reduction?"  My... I mean, the mind boggles.  Anyway, Fournier is all concerned that Obama's not gonna do entitlement reform and raise taxes -- and, as such, he's not "serious" in his victory.  And, as such, and he may not make this win worth anything.

So it's not sweetness and light and hunky-dory and everything happy as a clam out there on the left, either -- and don't think for a minute that it is.

END TRANSCRIPT

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