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Why Can't Republicans Focus on Obama?

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: We now go to Jerry.  We have a trucker here on the way to Oakland.  Jerry, I'm glad you called.  How are you, sir?

CALLER: (road noise) I'm doing great.  My point was that the sequester put a spotlight on how incompetent back home is, and this last thing put a spotlight on how absolutely mean-spirited he is, that he would literally let people die to get his own way -- and the people could see it, because we know who shut down government and who shut down the mall.

RUSH:  Jerry, thanks for the call.  I appreciate it.  A little bit of a bad line, so I'm gonna continue talking to you here on the radio.  This takes me back to then I said in the first of the program.  What he's saying is we out here see what's going on.  We see a guy who is incompetent talking about Obama.  We see a guy literally letting people die to get his own way.  He said, "We know who shut down the government -- and it wasn't Ted Cruz and it wasn't the Republicans."

It's like I was sharing, and I interrupted myself. I'm glad Jerry called and reminded me. At dinner last night, the conversation was typical, "Why don't the Republicans do X?"  I can't avoid those discussions, and one of the guys at dinner said, "Look, they don't have to warn people that Obama's a socialist.  They don't have to talk about Obama trashing the Constitution.  Why don't they may not say the guy's incompetent and then point to Obamacare?  We're right here in the middle of an absolute disaster of a rollout. 

"All they gotta do is say, 'He doesn't know how to do this.' You know, even if you behave under the premise that Obama's serious, that he wants to do good and he's really trying, do it that way. 'He's failing big time 'cause he doesn't know how.'  Look at our foreign policy," the guy said. "It's an absolute embarrassment, what has happened in Egypt, what's happened throughout the Middle East, what's happened in Syria, this reset with Russia. It is embarrassing! Obama's a national embarrassment, and he's incompetent. 

"Nothing that he has said he wants to do is working." 

He said, "Why don't they go at it that way?" 

I gave him the usual answers that suffice every time the question is asked, and you know what they are. 
BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Once again, why I think conventional wisdom in Washington is missing it on Ted Cruz and Mike Lee, and the shutdown.  I don't mean to be picking on Ross Douthat here. He just happens to have a piece in the New York Times today that fills the bill.  So does John Podhoretz in the New York Post today.  This portion of a paragraph from Douthat today sums up well the inside-the-Beltway thinking about what just happened.  In his opening paragraph he acknowledges that they're good and they're decent and they're nice and that you need to respect their philosophy and their strategy and thinking about what they're trying to do.

But then after you do that, after you accord them the proper respect, then,  "However you slice and dice the history, the strategery, and the underlying issues, the decision to live with a government shutdown for an extended period of time -- inflicting modest-but-real harm on the economy, needlessly disrupting the lives and paychecks of many thousands of hardworking people," who are now going to get a raise in January, "and further tarnishing the Republican Party’s already not-exactly-shiny image -- in pursuit of obviously, obviously unattainable goals was not a normal political blunder by a normally-functioning political party.

"It was an irresponsible, dysfunctional and deeply pointless act, carried out by a party that on the evidence of the last few weeks shouldn't be trusted with the management of a banana stand, let alone the House of Representatives."  That excerpt is fairly representative, I think, of -- Mr. Douthat considers himself a conservative, by the way -- the conservative thinking inside the Beltway, the New York/Boston/Washington corridor, if you will. 

That establishment's thinking is exemplified here.  Okay, look, we've analyzed what you did, we've listened to your explanation of it, but my God you guys are stupid, and you're not qualified to do anything, and don't you ever try this again.  (That comes later in the piece.)  Don't you ever do this again!  As though you would speak to your kid who broke a window by accident at first, then did the second one on purpose, and that's when you took him seriously, and then you sat him down.

"Don't you ever, ever do it again, Little Billy, or then I'll get really mad," or whatever parents today say when their kids act like absolute reprobate heathens.  I wouldn't know.  Here's what they're missing: Not only did we in flyover land learn that one guy could bring all this to a screeching halt, one guy can get media coverage, one guy can draw attention, one guy can draw the media off of Obama -- one guy could do it, the right guy, and then we said to ourselves, "What if there are five or 10 of 'em? What if there are 45 of these?" 

Now, makes the inside-the-Beltway types just shudder in fear, that concept, but we have not learned our lesson.

Here's the thing.  Mr. Douthat says if you read RedState -- that's Erick Erickson -- and talk radio... What's his actual line here?  I didn't highlight it, so I'm having... Ah, here it is.  "The mentality that drove the shutdown -- a toxic combination of tactical irrationality and the elevation of that irrationality into a True Conservative (TM) litmus test -- may have less influence in next year's Beltway negotiations than it did this time around, thanks to the way this has ended for the defunders after John Boehner gave them pretty much all the rope that they’d been asking for.

"But just turn on talk radio or browse RedState or look at Ted Cruz’s approval ratings with Tea Partiers and you’ll see how potent this mentality remains, how quickly it could resurface," and that means: Yeah, they might not actually go away even we're telling them to go away! "[I]t could resurface, and how easily Republican politics and American governance alike could be warped by it in the future."

Mr. Douthat is typifying the Beltway thinking inside conservative mainstream: We respect you, we've examined what you did, but you're fools.  Don't ever do this again, but we know that you might -- and then it's gonna be all over.  Well, here's the truth -- aand, yeah, I'm on talk radio telling you this.  I don't know about you, folks. I'll speak for myself, but I think I'm speaking for a lot of you.  What do you mean, "learn our lesson"?  We haven't learned the lesson the establishment hopes that we have learned. 

The lesson they hope we have learned is that we are not qualified to play in this arena, that we really don't know what we're doing.  We're not qualified to run a banana stand, much less the House, and we hope we've learned that.  They hope we've seen what a mess we made.  They hope we have seen how dangerously close to the end of the world we brought people, and they hope that we see this and we'll never, ever do it again, that we will leave this to the adults next time: Them.

But instead of learning that lesson, what we have learned is, we've got to come back stronger next time.  We've gotta come back with more than just one Ted Cruz.  Instead of never, ever doing it again, the answer is coming back stronger.  I sense, by the way, in talking to people that there's a mind-set for that, a positive mind-set.  Speaking of Ted Cruz's poll numbers, how about Obama's? 

You know, with all due respect for those of you inside the Beltway, those of us out here don't understand why you look at Ted Cruz as your number one enemy and not Obama -- and why you look at Mike Lee and Cruz and maybe even Sarah Palin or talk radio or RedState or whoever. Why are we the enemy?  We're not doing anything.  Barack Obama has got the wrecking ball.  Why can't you people focus on Obama? 

That's the question we ask, like my friend at dinner said last night, "If for no other reason the guy's incompetent."  Can you not even say that?  Can you not say he's incompetent because of his pedigree?  "Well, he came from Harvard! He was Law Review. So you can't be incompetent." Is that it? So the fact that he doesn't know what he's doing on foreign policy and is an abject embarrassment -- the fact he has no clue about websites, building they will, maintaining them or operating health care? 

What else does this guy want to run that he's totally unqualified for?  Are you not even prepared to go that route because, "Well, he's the first black president. We can't go after him. I mean, charges of racism would flow! Call the first black president incompetent?  No way!  We're not gonna do that.  Besides, the guy went to Harvard.  He's one of us.  He's got the same pedigree and education we've got.  We're not incompetent, so how can he be?"  But he is. 

In the real world. 

If you don't want to go after Obama on ideological grounds, go after him on the fact that he's simply overwhelmed by the job, outmatched by it, and hasn't the slightest clue.  Now, I don't happen to believe that, but it would be a way to persuade people. I mean, we out here are wondering why you are so afraid of us and Ted Cruz, and you don't even get anywhere near criticizing Obama the way you do Ted Cruz and Sarah Palin and other upstarts. We scratch our heads over this, 'cause we don't look at ourselves as the enemy. 

We think we want the same things you do.

Well, maybe we don't. 

Maybe you do want a big government with yourselves in charge.  We don't.  But, as I say, speaking of polling data, Ted Cruz's numbers? Yeah, whoopee! A Ted Cruz poll is irrelevant.  For six weeks we get nothing but news stories, "Ted Cruz is an idiot! Ted Cruz is mean! Ted Cruz is selfish! Ted Cruz is dumb! Ted Cruz is anti-whatever," and then we're gonna do a poll on Ted Cruz, and then the poll is gonna show that his approval numbers are way down. 

Well, big whoop. 

Why don't you do six weeks of anti-Obama news and then take a poll of him and see what you can do, instead of five years of fawning hero worship and even with five years of hero worshiper, five years of fawning, five years of being practically Obama groupies?  In Obama's Gallup daily approval poll after the deal was reached, Obama dropped a point.  He has forty-two percent approval rating in Gallup, their daily tracking poll, October 14th through the 16th.

So it would include yesterday when the magic of the deal was done, and Obama's approval dropped a point, and they want to tell us what Ted Cruz's numbers did after they and everybody else in the media beat Ted Cruz up for six weeks or longer, and then take a poll and think you've made news with it.  This is news.  You build up Obama, you fawn over Obama, you're a groupie over Obama, and you can't get him up a point instead of down a point, at 42% approval.

What are mainstream media polls but echo chambers?  You go out, you do six weeks of trashing Ted Cruz, and then you take a poll, and the poll says 27% like Cruz, the rest think he's an absolute, totally lunatic, insane.  Then you publish the poll, oh, no, my God, Cruz is destroying the Republican Party.  No, he's not.  You guys are sittings around let the media do that for you.  So obvious to those of you out here.

END TRANSCRIPT

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