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Trump Teachable Moment: How Come Liberals Can Savage McCain's Service?

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

RUSH:  No, no, no, Trump can survive this.  Trump is surviving this.  You know, this is a great, great teachable moment here, this whole thing with Trump and McCain.  But it's not the most important thing happening out there today.  Now, you wouldn't know it by looking at the Drive-By Media.  If you're looking at the Drive-By Media, you think the only thing happening is Trump-McCain. 

I just got my audio sound bite roster.  You know how many audio sound bites I have today?  I've got 18.  Sixteen of them are about Trump.  I have 18 audio sound bites, 16 are about Trump.  

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Now the McCain situation.  You know, the McCain situation is interesting to me for a whole lot of reasons.  There's a conventional wisdom out there, and this is generally how it goes.  Public figure, slash, candidate, slash, political figure, makes politically incorrect statement that offends somebody. 

The Washington establishment and media react in outrage.  The media then replays whatever the offensive comment was over and over and over, news stories never ending about the outrageous statement that the public figure made.  And then the establishment gets together with the media, and they all demand that the public figure immediately apologize, beg forgiveness, and either withdraw from whatever the public figure is seeking to accomplish, or to stay in properly chagrined and rendered irrelevant. 

That conventional wisdom plays out practically every time this circumstance happens.  And the reason it does is because people make the mistake of assuming one thing, and that is this.  They make the mistake of assuming that the collective outrage of the Washington establishment and the media is reflective of American public opinion.  That's an automatic conclusion that everybody draws. 

So let's use Trump as an example.  By the way, I'm no apologist for Trump, but I've looked at this.  Sharyl Attkisson has written a great analysis of this, and it is a fact that Trump did not say what he's being reputed to have said.  He said it one time, he was answering a question, and he said that McCain's not a hero, captured, and he changed and said four different times he is a hero, he is a war hero. McCain is a war hero. He said that four times. 

The Washington Post, for example, did not report that at all, never reported that Trump said it once, much less four times.  Anyway, see, the facts don't really matter in a circumstance like this.  That's another thing.  What actually was said by the offending party and the context in which it was said are purposely blurred, lied about, or ignored.  Much like my ill-fated attempt at commentary on the ESPN Sunday NFL pregame show.  I mean, that was a classic illustration of this.  Take something that wasn't said, pretend it was said, blow it way out of proportion, attach a meaning to it that was never intended, blah, blah, blah. 

Anyway, so Trump says what he says about McCain following McCain's insult of Trump's voters, or supporters, calling them crazies, people in his own state.  This ticked Trump off.  He doesn't want to think that people support him on immigration or anything else are a bunch of crazy wackos, and McCain characterized them as that.  And nobody suggested McCain apologize to the American people.  Nobody suggested McCain apologize for that characterization of American citizens, "crazies." 

So the convention wisdom erupts into full bloom.  The media, the Washington establishment, conservative and liberal both, immediately demand that Trump apologize.  And then they add that Trump can't survive this, that we were all just waiting for this to happen.  We knew it was gonna happen. We knew it was gonna happen 'cause Trump steps in it all the time.  So now all these people are saying, "We knew it was gonna happen.  We knew it was too good to be true.  We knew Trump didn't have what it really took to run a campaign.  We knew he was gonna say something totally embarrassing.  He embarrassed himself and everybody that supports him.  He's gonna have to apologize, and have to withdraw." 

Except one thing hasn't happened.  Trump hasn't apologized.  Not only has Trump not apologized, he has doubled down and he has to added to his original criticism of McCain.  He's calling McCain a bad guy. McCain's a lousy politician. McCain talks a lot but doesn't do anything, Trump says.  The VA is a mess. Illegal immigration's a mess. Everything we hear McCain say he supports or cares about, it's all going to hell.  He's a bad guy.  He's not a good politician.  I'm trying to save America.  I'm not gonna apologize.  This is Trump. 

Well, now the architects of conventional wisdom don't know what to do, because by this time they've gotten their scalp.  By this time, the guilty party has apologized, is begging for forgiveness.  And Trump is not.  Now, remember, there's a common assumption made every time one of these things happened.  You know, I myself have stepped in it a couple times, folks, and each time -- oh, yes, I have.  I've stepped in it a couple times.  And each time, the point is that each time I did the Drive-Bys thought they had me, right?  I mean, I can go through: Michael J. Fox, Sandra Fluke, whatever it was, they thought that they had finally gotten rid of me. 

But they didn't.  They didn't even come close.  They never have come close.  They're still telling lies about advertisers lost.  They're still telling lies about every aspect of these incidents where they thought they had me.  Why were they wrong?  Because they made the assumption that the whole country was outraged at me as they were.  And that's the key here with this Trump thing.  This is the fascinating thing to me.  This is something we're gonna learn. 

When the reaction of outrage over Trump's comments came, Washington establishment, Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives, the media, accompanying it is the assumption that the American people, a majority of the American people also find what Trump said unpalatable, unforgivable, unacceptable.  That's one of the things that makes these work, is the assumption that the media is simply reflecting public opinion.  But we never really know. 

Now, in my case we know that the media is not reflecting public opinion, and I've said it countless times, folks.  You know, I have survived all these controversial moments because of you, because you hang in there, because you know the drill.  You understand this technique that the left and weak-kneed Republicans use to destroy people that they find objectionable or too effective, their opposition.  You hung in there.  You always have.  That's why I owe you more than I ever will be able to repay you. 

You have stayed tuned in.  You have remained loud, admitted members of this audience and defied the conventional wisdom.  Well, we're gonna find out now if Trump has made a similar connection to his voters.  The polling data on this is gonna be fascinating in a week or two, or less, maybe, because, remember, the real key to this is this automatic assumption that everybody's outraged; that everybody wants Trump gone; that everybody finds this objectionable; that everybody thinks it's over the top; that everybody thinks Trump has gone too far.  And that assumption is always erroneous, I think.  But nobody stops to think about it.  

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH:  Now, we do have some really early polling data out of Iowa, Monmouth College, that shows that Trump has not been hit yet.  Scott Walker's still in first place at 22%.  Trump is next at 13. It's not showing any damage to Trump on this, but it's early.  I just want to see what happens here, because, again, the conventional wisdom is that Trump is finished with voters.  That's what the media's trying to convey. When they claim they are outraged, and the establishment claims they are, they're really saying the American people are. 

That's the thing that's always gotten me is this presumption that the media speaks for a majority of the American people.  I know for a fact that's not true.  A majority of the American people don't trust the media.  A majority of the American people consider the media a problem.  And, yet, here is this automatic assumption every time something like this happens. It's pretty much the case in every story they report. There's this presumption... Now, let's take gay marriage. Let's take a story in Indiana with that little pizza shop that got shut down.

largeThere's a presumption reporting it that the entire population thinks that that little pizza shop ought to go away.  And it's part of the reporting.  It's just as though this is what's normal, as though this is what is.  By the same token, massive nationwide support for gay marriage.  Anybody who doesn't is a kook, a minority so visible you can't even see 'em.  That's how small they are.  So, I want to see what happens here, 'cause they're doing everything they can to destroy Trump by acting like he's destroyed himself with voters.  

Conventional wisdom is that Trump is finished with voters. 

That is what presumes this new political reality, and I don't think it's the case.  But it won't take long to find out.  And just think how the conventional wisdom is going to be shaken upside down if Trump is not damaged.  Polling data was by this. Can you imagine? I don't know what they'll do publicly.  Maybe they'll talk about how stupid the American people are, how gullible, or maybe it's white angry men.  They'll fall back on some caricature that they've used of crazy voters in the past to explain why Trump is still doing okay.  They can't let this incident show them as being wrong about the fact Trump has to go, because he's just unacceptable. This is over the top, just don't let people talk this way, is not done, and so forth. So we'll see.  

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH:  Okay.  Time to check our own version of public opinion on the EIB Network.  We head to the phones.  This is Richard in White Plains, New York.  Welcome, sir.  Nice to have you. You got a heat wave up there today, right?

CALLER:  Yeah, it's pretty hot and humid up here, Rush.  Look, why is it that Joe Biden, aka Joe Bite Me, can get away with sticking his foot in his mouth and it's just Joe being Joe. Or Harry Reid can lie about Romney's taxes and the Drive-Bys ignore it. Nancy Pelosi can say, well, we gotta pass the bill to find out what's in it, and people go, "What did she say?"  And Obama, you know, is called Liar of the Year by Politico, and all that goes by, you know, the wayside, but everything Trump says is Kryptonite.

RUSH:  Well, now, I think you can answer that question.  You sound like a reasonably smart guy.  I know you're asking rhetorically and you're making a point by asking, but why don't you give it a shot here and answer your own question.

CALLER:  I think that we are seeing something that we have never seen before, where you would normally see the liberal media and the Democrats beating up on the Republican candidates, you're also seeing, if you want to call them Republican media, pundits, whoever, beating up on Trump also, is there anybody who isn't?

RUSH:  Okay. I'm gonna answer the question, because it's a great question.  I mean, Joe Biden has insulted everyone.  Joe Biden looks at a guy in a wheelchair, says, "Stand up, Chuck!"  If a Republican did that he'd be Mr. Insensitive, Mr. Unfeeling, Mr. Boor.  I mean, they would humiliate some poor Republican who told a guy in a wheelchair to stand up.  And the same thing with insulting Indians that work at 7-Eleven and how you can't get a job there unless you are one, he knows 'em all, whatever.  I mean, you can make an endless list of truly offensive, stupid, insulting things articulated by Democrats. 

The answer to your question, why they're never called on it, there is a presumption again.  And it's very, very simple.  The Democrats are nice people and Republicans are mean people.  Liberals are nice and compassionate, and conservatives are mean-spirited extremists, and they're mean.  That is the presumption that exists before Donald Trump even gets in the race.  Before any Republican gets in the race, they're all mean, they all care only about the rich, they don't care about the little guy.  And if any party's become that, it's the Democrats. 

So that's the opening presumption.  And so when Biden says whatever he says, "Ah, that's just Joe.  He didn't mean anything by it.  He's a nice guy."  But no conservative or Republican will ever get the benefit of that doubt because the Republicans are all mean people.  It's really no more complicated than that.  They're mean, mean-spirited, extremist, whatever, but they're mean people. 

So a motive is always attached to these Republican faux pas that is never attached to liberal Democrat statements.  As far as the left is concerned, there's not a mean bone in any leftist's body.  There's not an ill intention in any leftist's body.  But in every conservative, every Republican, they want to hurt people, they want to be mean to people, they don't know how to be compassionate. 

Now, you mention the Republicans that are piling on Trump.  There are quite a few.  Wall Street Journal, not only piling on Trump, but piling on conservative media people that are defending Trump.  And there have been some.  There have been some media types on the right that have attempted to, you know, not join the bandwagon of savaging and criticizing Trump, and Wall Street Journal came down on all of them today. 

So on the Republican side, it's no different than when you hear Republicans say, "I'm the guy that can cross the aisle. I'm the guy that can show the Democrats that I can compromise with 'em, work together with 'em."  The translation for that is, "I'm not your average mean Republican like all my other guys are.  I'm a nice Republican."  That's what that means.  And so Republicans piling on Trump -- and there are many facets here. Some of them are genuinely ticked off.  Some of them really think this is horrible that this could ever be said, even if it is about McCain. And others are just taking this as an opportunity to tell everybody, "Hey, I'm a nice Republican, look at me, I think Trump's a (blank) too. That makes me a nice guy, so leave me alone next time.  Don't attack me.  See, I'm joining you.  I'm agreeing with you.  That makes me a nice guy, see?" 

largeThe Republicans are always on defense on things like this.  It aids this conventional wisdom I was describing in the previous half hour.  The convention wisdom is that a statement like this is made by Trump, and everybody in the country's outraged by it, not just the media, not just the Democrats, not just Washington politician, but everybody.  They're outraged in Boise. They're outraged in Tuscaloosa. They're outraged in San Francisco. They're outraged in Tijuana. They're outraged in Juarez. They're outraged in Mexico City. They're outraged in New York City, everywhere, Trump is hated universally, is the presumption, and therefore he's got to go. 

He doesn't have a prayer because, as a Republican and as a confident braggadocio, he's a mean guy.  The fact that he doesn't have a lot of public humility makes him a mean guy.  Democrats are all nice people.  Look, McCain has called Tea Party people hobbits, crazies, and in fact, let me find something here.  I've got a Stack on all this stuff.  Maybe it's the bottom one here.  It's not the one I'm looking for.  In 2008, seven years ago, Politico.  Right here my formerly nicotine-stained fingers.  "Some on Left Target McCain's War Record." It's by Ben Smith. 

"On Sunday, McCain's campaign issued a pair of outraged statements after retired general and Barack Obama supporter Wesley Clark," also known as Ashley Wilkes, "said he didn't think that McCain’s service as a fighter pilot and prisoner of war was relevant to running the country. ... But farther to the left -- and among some of McCain's conservative enemies as well -- harsher attacks are circulating. Critics have accused McCain of war crimes for bombing targets in Hanoi in the 1960s.

"A widely read liberal blog on Sunday accused McCain of "disloyalty" during his captivity in Vietnam for his coerced participation in propaganda films. ... 'A lot of people don't know ... that McCain made a propaganda video for the enemy while he was in captivity,' wrote Americablog.com's John Aravosis. 'Getting shot down, tortured and then doing propaganda for the enemy is not command experience.'"

Al Franken back in 2002, before he was running for anything, Al Franken said almost exactly what Trump said.  There hasn't been any outrage at any of this that has been said about McCain by leftists, proving my point.  When leftists attack McCain, they're perfectly warranted 'cause they're nice people, and they are compassionate people, and they're politically correct people. 

Huffing and Puffington Post blog -- again, this is 2008 -- a former editor of Mother Jones magazine, Jeffrey Klein, wrote: "Some of the unreleased pages in McCain's Navy file may not reflect well upon his qualifications for the presidency." As to why, Klein speculated that from day one in the Navy McCain screwed up again and again, only to be forgiven because his dad and grandfather were four-star admirals.  But here comes Trump, and you would think that nobody has ever said anything like this before about the revered and respect John McCain, and you would think that it's the end of the world. We can't tolerate this kind of brutal conversation.  We can't permit this to happen.  Trump has to apologize.

largeThen you have a bunch of Republican media types writing that finally, we knew this was gonna happen, now the end of the McCain campaign, our party is spared, our campaign is revived, Trump has to go.  There's just one problem:  Trump is not following the rules that targets are supposed to follow.  Targets are supposed to immediately grovel, apologize, say something like, "You know, it wasn't me.  That wasn't me.  That's not the real me.  That's not who I am.  And I forever apologize. I have the utmost respect for Senator McCain, and I really regret saying it, and I don't know that I can go on." 

And then everybody cheers that the target has seen the light and is now going to shrink away from public life, never to ever be heard from or seen from again.  And that usually means another Republican has been taken out.  And again, guiding all of this is the arrogant presumption that the majority American people are as outraged as all these media types are.  So we shall see.  Not only is Trump not following the rules, he's doubling down on the criticism. 

The American people haven't seen something like this in a long time.  I'm serious.  They have not seen an embattled public figure stand up for himself, double down, and tell everybody to go to hell.  What they've seen is an embattled public figure apologize and shrink away.  

END TRANSCRIPT

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