RUSH: Well, I think part of that is they also think that they believe this, you know, Kerry has this track record of always coming from behind, apparently moving from the caboose to the engine, and nobody knows how it happens, it just always does in these elections. They’re sitting around expecting that that is to happen, but I think you’ve nailed something. They’re not even covering Kerry. The news media is not covering Kerry because they can’t afford to broadcast some of this stuff this guy says. So the prison photos are the big news, Bush’s approval numbers are the big news, whatever they can do to keep the focus off of Kerry. I mean, I think it’s a concerted effort, so much so the Washington Post had this — Howard Kurtz on the front page Wednesday had this list of details of how few broadcast minutes the Kerry campaign’s getting.
MATALIN: Well, you are correct, it is a rational strategy. Why should they attack Bush when, as you’ve said, all the media is attacking Bush all the time, and Bush is having to respond to real-time problems, and he’s doing it. I mean, I just think their whole thing is going to backfire, though, because their strategy is also predicated on a continued uninformed electorate and one that chooses not to become informed, and as someone who continues to campaign, I work for the campaign but I also do a lot of events for targets, just down in Florida as a matter of fact, Tallahassee for Brad Kilmer. Normal people who are active in politics, at the grassroots level are striving to get the right kind of information to make the best decision. They understand as you’ve been saying how historic this election is. They understand that the economy is improving, and they are, just give you an anecdotal suggestion here, they are very upset about the over-coverage of this prison scandal and they’re wondering why it’s never reported, however gruesome and these things are, why are they doing it? Are they doing it because they’re sadists, because we’re ugly Americans? No, it was buried in a Washington Post story deep today that one of these prisoners gave us the information of a planned attack, gave up a lot of good information on the finance network. I mean, the purpose of war and the kind of things we have to do in war is to secure ourselves. Do you see any balance on that kind of stuff?
My point is, I’m windy here as we always are in these discussions, but I think they think the electorate is stupid and that they can count on continued bad coverage which connotes no progress, no progress in the economy, no progress in Iraq, and it’s just not the truth. I think people are going to speak the truth in this cycle as they did in the mid-terms which were a big surprise.
RUSH: I agree with all that, I just phrase it differently. I think that, as you mentioned with James’ increased volumatic ranting, which is omnipresent throughout the party, it’s not just James, I mean they’re all — Ted Kennedy and this insane accusation that we’re no different than Saddam Hussein in running this prison. I think it’s a sign of desperation. I think, Mary, they expected Kerry to be up 15 points by now. After all they’ve done to George Bush in a coordinated effort, 9/11 hearings, Richard Clarke, Bob Woodward, the campaign, the primary campaign, which is “all Democrat news all the time,” and they’ve been hammering Bush in any number of ways besides that. They expected Kerry to be up 10, 15 points, and he’s not. And I think they’re panicked, and I think they’re starting so shout louder because they think they’re not being heard. It goes without question they think people are stupid, because liberals by definition are arrogant and condescending. That’s why they’re liberals; people can’t take care of themselves without their guardian angel liberals.
But I’m so optimistic. You quote what’s in the Washington Post: 99.9% of the American people don’t know what’s in it and don’t care what’s in it, and more and more Americans are now not getting their news from what was conventionally known as the mainstream media, and I think the evidence of it. Look at Bush’s approval, it’s 48%. Look at his personal popularity, it’s over 50, he’s loved, he’s respected, he’s liked. This is a snapshot here of basically Iraq. These prison photos are really not even hurting, when you take a look at what ought to be happening, if you look at the timeline of events after events after events, this should have been the icing on the cake. I’m sure the Democrats thought it would be, the fact that it’s not is why they won’t give it up, it’s why they keep showing more pictures. And you’re right it’s getting to the point now overkill, and more and more people are saying, wait a minute, aren’t we going to win a war? We’re not going to beat ourselves up.
MATALIN: This is another reason you’re my hero of all the reasons. I have to read these papers every day because I have to do the defense to them.
MATALIN: And it’s not until I listen to you that I actually can crack a smile for the first time in the day. And the reason that they’re — I know most of the country doesn’t read them, but they do drive a lot of the coverage. As a for-instance, not to pick on the New York Times, but they are particularly egregious when it comes to the Bush administration. There was several running front-page stories — and I still work for Dick Cheney — one of them was Tenet to had to tell Cheney — I think the vice president was on right after this — three times to back off on, whatever, you know, on intelligence, that he was stretching the intelligence or whatever.
Well, I am apoplectic. Before eight o’clock in the morning, I’m calling over there, and, you know, the vice president is like, what are you talking about? That never happened. A, it never happened. I said, well, I’ve got to get this story out. Then I read the entire testimony. Tenet never said that! The New York Times put a title on a testimony that didn’t occur, an event that never happened, and something that Tenet didn’t say happened. But that drove several stories after that.
RUSH: Well, I understand. The Times and The Post get amplified because all of these other lesser journalistic organizations feed off of them for their news items every night, especially the networks. But I guess here’s my point. You have no choice. You said you have to, you’re inside the Beltway. You are, you know, as somebody who works for the vice president or worked for the vice president, that’s your universe, and God love you for doing it. I mean, it’s necessary. But I really have evolved a whole new — and I was just explaining it in the last half hour to my audience here — I think there’s a whole new media universe out there. I don’t think the Washington Post and the New York Times even have in their minds informing the American people. I don’t think that they have as they put those papers together, I don’t think that the journalists, the editors, whoever it is, are actually thinking what their readers are going to think. I think they’re trying to influence events. They know that you’re reading it. They hope that Bush is reading it, or his staff is reading it. They hope the other news people are reading it, other journalists and they want to shape what is said and effect thought that way. In the case of me and others, we’re actually trying to connect with people whereas I don’t think big three journalism does this anymore. It’s the only business where the customer is always wrong.
MATALIN: You’re right, and you inspired me this morning. There’s no reason that I have to do that. And I think I do, but when I listen to you I get all the information I need, and I have a confidence in the president, in the policies, in the goals. I know his conviction. I know he’s right, and I know he has the leadership to do it. What I don’t have and what I could only get from you, is the cheerfulness of your confidence. And that other stuff just wears you down so I’m not going to do it anymore, you just inspired me. Just another quantum growth leap listening to my bud.
RUSH: Thanks. One more thing on this and I got to take a break and I want to ask you about your book. It’s not just that Bush is right and they’re wrong and so the Democrats — maybe this is Reaganesque sort of optimism — but when you look at the issues that Bush is championing what we’re trying to do versus what the Democrats, the Democrats are trying to make people believe a lie or a series of lies, the economy is not good, there are soup kitchens and soup lines, that there are going to be global warming, all these disasters and crises are just around the corner, it’s all Bush’s fault. The American people are living their lives. They’re living their lives know knowing the economy is coming back. They’re living their lives knowing gas prices are going up, but they’re still planning on driving more than ever this Memorial Day weekend. They know we’re right about terrorism. They know that Bush doesn’t lie to them. They know that Bush does not try to deceive them.
The Democrats are not going to be able to make a national victorious case out of a series of lies. And if they do, they’ll do it once, maybe, but it’s all going to come crashing down around them at some point, and the long-term view; and this is why I think we’re so fortunate to have Bush and that’s what he’s taking, he doesn’t get down in the muck in this stuff unless he absolutely has to. He stays focus on his vision, people see that. Let me take a quick time out so we’ve got some time left on the other side. We’ll be back and talk to Mary Matalin some more right after this.
RUSH: Welcome back Mary Matalin. You know what? What?
MATALIN: You make me laugh.
RUSH: Oh, you heard the stuff we played on James during the break.
MATALIN: Oh, God that’s so how he is, too, and it makes no sense. But you’re like, yeah, yeah, let’s go.
RUSH: (Laughing.) Look, you have this book, and I know it’s called “Letters to My Daughters,” and I just have to tell you, it’s the greatest picture of you and your daughters and I am so happy, Mary, they look like you.
MATALIN: They survived the gene pool?
RUSH: (Laughing.) Anyway, in all seriousness, you did this, I know you did this because your mother died early, right?
RUSH: And you’ve had a fear that you don’t want — if that were to happen, you want your daughters to know who you were, what you did, and that’s what this book is about, right?
MATALIN: Kind of, but also as it turned out, that was the motivation, because it’s hard to write, as you know, and I did it all longhand, but it turned out to be how great my mother was, how great that generation of mothers were. Thought a lot about Millie during that time and, you know, not to go back to politics, not a political book, but I think that why we are an exceptional country is because our moms and dads just make us exceptional people. It’s scary if you’re doing it, but when you look back on, you know, what Millie gave you, what my mom gave me, it’s just like, whoa, that came with some real effort and concentration and love.
RUSH: Yeah. Well, I’ve always said the older I get, of course, I’m in more and more awe of that, as I watch other people raise their kids and see how precarious thing it is to do today. But, you know, the value base that they all had back then and the formative events in their lives are what shaped them. They had to grow up a loot sooner than we did.
MATALIN: Well, it’s hard to raise kids now, but my parents, your parents, grew up in a depression. I mean they went to bed hungry. They are the offspring of immigrants. They came to this country for all the reasons that people still want to come to this country, and they made something of their lives. And, you know, that’s actually, in the end, what I wanted them to get from it is the connection, the generational connection, particularly now since we had to make a generational commitment to our future to be secure here. It doesn’t happen by accident.
RUSH: Now, this may sound like a weird question, but your daughters are young. When you wrote this, at what age did you expect them to be when they read it?
MATALIN: That isn’t a dumb question. That’s why it’s hard to write because they’re now at the eye-rolling stage.
MATALIN: They’re at a cross between the hug me stage and the eye rolling stage. You probably went through that with Marta’s kids. I think probably when they are teens and it gets complicated and, you know, they need that kind of guidance. I think it really gets complicated, but some of it is lifelong. I still think of things now that my mom and dad, who just turned 75 tell me about character development and that stuff, can last with you forever.
RUSH: Is there anything about you in this book? I know that’s what you intended it to be for your daughters to know you.
MATALIN: Well, when I started writing, my mother was so fantastic, most of it’s about — well, if it’s about me, it’s her channeling through me. There’s a couple of really bad jokes and some good stuff about their father and how much he loves them no matter how weird he may seem to be at times. Some really bad Cajun jokes, and, yeah, there’s an occasional —
RUSH: Any recipes? (Laughing.)
MATALIN: I love the whole Cajun culture. It’s a real joy to be there. But it is more about my parents and about how, you know, no one loves you like your mama, Rush.
RUSH: Yes, I know. Ever so true. Well, give me an example. Did you have a theme from beginning to end and each chapter continued on the other, or are these self-contained chapters each with its own theme?
MATALIN: They are self-contained, and some are just for girls. I don’t know if boys really care about how girls should deal with boys at that —
RUSH: No, no, no, no, let me tell — Mary —
RUSH: — I wish, if I had have had an older sister, I would have made a fool of myself so fewer times in my life.
RUSH: This book, boys, maybe some things to learn by reading this book.
MATALIN: Rush, I remember you pre-marriage. You’re quite the debonair guy.
RUSH: Oh, yes, but —
MATALIN: You had your rap down.
RUSH: Yeah, but — (laughing) — the point is that you have a unique — like all of us have — you’ve lived a unique life. Are there any of your life experiences that you know are unique that not everybody is going to have because of the jobs you’ve had and the people you’ve met?
MATALIN: Well, actually I do try not to go into that because — but I did say this. People do think it is, and it is a privilege and an honor to work in the White House, but I did not work as well in the White House as I worked one on one with the vice president or I work with the president or I work on campaigns, because different people work better in environments suited to them, and that one was too many meetings for me. It was, you know — I’m just more of a get-it-done person, and my point to them was no matter how glamorous or how extraordinary something looks, if it’s not right for you, it’s not right, you know, which is more of kind of what your mothers tells you, be true to yourself and think for yourself and measure your success, you should measure your success against yourself.
RUSH: How old are your daughters now?
MATALIN: The baby just turned six and the big one turned nine. You know, I can already see how you start so early being measured by others and if we can teach them to stay true to themselves early on —
RUSH: I don’t want to say good-bye here in only five seconds, so if you could hang on for just one more break for a more formal and justified good-bye, I’d appreciate that. Can you hang on? I knew she would. I have that way.
RUSH: We are torturing Mary Matalin here in our commercial breaks, we’re feeding down her phone line all of our James Carville parodies for her. Are you crying, or are you laughing?
MARY: It’s just so funny because that’s exactly what he says. It makes no sense and he says it with such conviction, people are like, ‘Yeah, yeah, let’s go, let’s go.’ I want to say good-bye to you by saying this. What you said to Jeff yesterday, I hope you understand, since you’re so under assault from so many quarters here, how much you mean to this country, how much you mean to the history of this country, and not just how much you mean, but how happy you make people every day. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
RUSH: Well, you’re making me blush here.
MARY: Well, I mean it.
RUSH: You’ve always had the ability to do that, too.
RUSH: More ways than you know. I’m glad you were able to make some time here. It’s always a thrill to talk to you, and, you know, we really don’t talk enough. That is one of the problems with e-mail, plus I mean, this has to be your busy season, plus you’re mothering, plus you have Serpenthead to fit into your life as well.
MARY: Well, there is that.
RUSH: You’re one of the greats. You’re one of the greats. And everybody always when they’re exposed to you loves what you’re doing. I mean, this inspiration business is not a one-way street. You hold up the end we all believe in as well as anybody does when you’re out doing it, and there’s a lot of people that I think take a lot away from it, get a lot of inspiration from it and it’s needed because they’re still bombarded with all this stuff that’s out there that is still being discussed as mainstream media, although I think they’re losing their grip as well, but all that aside, thanks for what you said. Great to talk to you, and best of luck with your daughters and this book. I hope it goes great, and the people that have read it that I’ve talked to absolutely are moved by it.
MARY: You’re the best, Rush. You’re my inspiration and my hero. Thank you for what you do every day.
RUSH: Thanks, Mary, have a great afternoon and a great weekend.
MARY: Hugs, love you.
RUSH: Talk to you soon. Mary Matalin on the phone from the house she shares with Serpent Head talking about her — I don’t know where she was. We did torture her. We’ve got all these Carville parodies. You’ve heard them all over the course of the years. We just pumped them down the phone line to her during the commercial breaks. She doesn’t have to listen to the whole show all day, all day every week. Some of them she may not have heard, and even if she had, some of them are very old.
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