RUSH: Well, Rudy Giuliani has made it official. He has filed the necessary papers to signal his candidacy for the presidency of the United States as a Republican. So there’s now a new breathlessness out there, as yet another hat has been tossed into the Republican ring — and, of course, I don’t do Sunday morning TV shows, but I still appear on them, ladies and gentlemen — grab cut seven, if you would, Mister Broadcast Engineer — proving that all you have to do as a conservative to get on a Sunday show is to be un-Republican, here is Chris Matthews talking to Michael Duffy at TIME Magazine.
MATTHEWS: With all these guys angling for the job of Mr. Conservative, the base is under-whelmed. Here’s conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh.
RUSH ARCHIVE: There’s nobody out there that revs me up, so why should I pretend that there is?
MATTHEWS: Limbaugh isn’t impressed by Brownback, by Huckabee, by any of these people.
DUFFY: It makes me nostalgic. It used to be you were a conservative Republican in the primaries, you backed a loser. You got behind the loser. That was part of being a conservative. But ever since 2000 when they backed Bush, now they expect to back someone who can win. But they don’t like McCain; they’re not crazy about, of course, Rudy Giuliani. So, of course, if they nominate Giuliani, they’re going to call him a conservative.
RUSH: It’s interesting. We got behind Reagan twice. Reagan lost? What is this we support losers? That’s wishful thinking on these guys’ part. I’m going to tell you something about Giuliani. He’s a smart cookie. Fox is running a poll that says that it’s either 83 or 87% — I’m not sure which I remember seeing, one of those two numbers — of Republicans are comfortable with the notion of Rudy Giuliani in the White House, and not as a visitor but as president. Here’s the thing about Giuliani. Everybody’s got problems with him. Conservatives have problems with him on the social side. He’s pro-gay marriage, pro-gay rights, pro-abortion, pro-choice, whatever, these kinds of things. But when you start polling him on judges, he’s a strict constructionist. He’s out there saying this. He likes Scalia, likes Clarence Thomas, likes John Roberts. That will count for quite a bit. He can fix the abortion thing if he goes out there and says, “Look, I actually think this ought not be something decided by courts. I think this is something that should be decided by the people, in a democratic fashion, at the state level,” and he can ameliorate some of that.
So I think he’s got potential, particularly, folks, since we’re still going to be at war somewhere in 2008 during that campaign, and the Democrats are still going to be who they are, and they’re still going to be acting as they are, if not worse by then. Mrs. Clinton, “I will get us out of Iraq!” Whatever they’re saying that they’re going to do, they’re still going to be who they are and somebody like Rudy who has a huge advantage in competence during crises when you poll that, he could overcome some of these shortcomings that conservatives have. Duffy saying rather smugly, “Well, even if Giuliani gets the nomination, he’s not a conservative, the conservatives will call him a conservative.” That’s not how conservatives work, Michael. Yeah, he’s potentially good on economics. I think obviously there’s been a lot of strategy going on here with Rudy and whoever is advising him on various ways to ameliorate some of these problems that he is said to have with social conservatives that would surface during a primary appearance.
So, anyway, it’s still way early, and at this point, I’m not revved up. Now (interruption) What? Oh, Dittocam bars. Sorry about the Dittocam bars. I thought I hit the button and missed the button. There’s a real panic out there. Its’ just an unfortunate accident for Dittocammers. They have been watching the bars, not me, for the last five minutes. That infuriates them. Anyway, no refunds. It was an honest mistake. Now, where was I before I was rudely interrupted by the bars? Oh, yes. I’m still not revved up. But let me be more specific. There isn’t a Reagan out there, and I’m a purest and an idealist, and I know there’s not going to be a Reagan, because there was only one Reagan. By that I mean, I don’t see somebody willing to lead a conservative movement as president in our ranks. I see some people who are conservative here and there on some other things and not on others, but more accurately, I should say that the process isn’t revving me up yet — and just to be specific about that, what is this? It’s February the 5th in 2007. The campaign is going to be upon us very, very, very, very soon. The Democrats are already, in fact, campaigning against each other and throwing darts and so forth.
I know it’s there. At this stage, it’s just too soon for any of it to really, really matter. What’s going to happen more than anything else is these people are going to make gaffes that get them out of the race, like Biden did, with his Barack Obama being the first “clean,” pure whatever African-American mainstreamer. That’s the first eliminating thing. Then there’s always going to be somebody that nobody thinks has a chance that’s going to pop up out of nowhere and surprise people. It could be somebody like Huckabee. There are some other what they call second tier people right now. I can’t even think of all the names, but one of them is going to surface as a surprise, and when that happens, it’s going to change the dynamic of everything. So to look at polling data right now and to draw any substantive conclusion from it, to me, is ridiculous! Let me put it this way: to succeed as a radio talk show host, one of the requirements is to have empathy with the audience, and I will tell you this. My empathy tells me that if I start talking about the presidential race every day — for a significant length of time every day — you are going to get so sick of it for the precise reason that it doesn’t matter.
Once the primaries get going and the Hawkeye Cauci and all that, and some of the polling data on the eve of some of these things — yeah, the fund-raising is important and that’s a factor, but just in terms of the way the race is being discussed, to pick a guy, I guess, right now to me is not something I’m prepared to do because one thing I’m not going to do (unlike this idiot Michael Duffy), I am not going to back a loser just for the sake of backing a loser! Who knows who the nominee is going to be? He may be tough to support. It depends on what the Democrats do, what’s happening. So many things can happen between now and then, real-life events! (interruption) Well, if I don’t like the nominee, then it’s my problem — and his, too. (laughing) I don’t know. If I don’t like the nominee, I can’t envision looking down the road and having no interest in the presidential race, so don’t think that. That’s not the case here. It’s just too soon. Something else, folks. I am not going to get sucked in to the daily media bubble on “the race for the White House in ’08,” and right now, that’s who’s primarily interested in this because they have this desire to get Bush out of there as quickly as possible; destroy the Republicans any which way they can.
There’s also a third reason, and I mentioned it Friday. Well, it was last week, more than Friday. Somebody called, “How come you don’t talk about Brownback? You could really help Brownback if you talk about Brownback!” Look, Brownback is out there on the wrong side of the anti-war resolution. He’s doing some things here that have me scratching my head. He’s not a thoroughbred conservative, like I think he once was. But the point is it’s up to these guys to get noticed themselves! I’m not going to sit here and build these guys up. They gotta do it themselves. Does that make sense? I want to see if they can go out there and get themselves known and get themselves liked and get themselves some positive reaction and so forth, because the whole country is going to vote on them, not just me, and I’ve only got 20 million votes. So, we’ll see, folks. I just want to take some time to explain all this, because every time I say, “I’m not revved up,” I get on the Sunday shows. Ha! Ha! Just like McCain does.
I’ve been thinking even more about this Michael Duffy of TIME Magazine talking to Chris Matthews saying that conservatives only support losers. What was John Kerry? The Democrats, how long is it? They haven’t held the White House in a long, long time other than Clinton, and Jimmy Carter, one term. They haven’t had a two-term president in I don’t know how long. [FDR] Talk about losers! As I look at the Democrat lineup right now, they look like a bunch of losers to me. These guys are so smug and so arrogant. Democrats are all natural winners and so forth! They continue to go bonkers over Barack Obama. We played you a sound bite last week of Barack Obama’s speech. In fact, let’s do that. This is Obama. This is last Friday in Washington, Democrat National Committee Winter Meeting. This is the “phenomenon” that the Democrats are talking about. This is fresh. This is new. This is a new way. This is unique! We have not had somebody this electrifying (a-hem) or special or different, this fresh, in politics, in decades.
OBAMA: It’s going to be cynicism that we’re fighting against. It’s the cynicism that’s born from decades of disappointment, amplified by talk radio and [the] 24-hour news cycle
RUSH: Stop the tape!
RUSH: There’s nothing new here! The talk radio bit, that’s a Clinton bit! Go back to the top of this so I can maintain the continuity on this. My point is there’s nothing new here. This is not electrifying. This is not unique; it’s not fresh. It’s not what the image and the hype of Barack Obama has been.
OBAMA: It’s going to be cynicism that we’re fighting against. It’s the cynicism that’s born from decades of disappointment, amplified by talk radio and [the] 24-hour news cycle, reinforced by the relentless pounding of negative ads that have become the staple of modern politics. It’s the cynicism that asks us to believe that our opponents are never just wrong, that they’re bad; that our motives in politics can never be pure, that they’re only driven by power and by greed. It’s a game. It’s a blood sport, with folks keeping score by who’s up and who’s down. At best it’s a diversion. With such cynicism, government does not become a force of good, a means of giving people the opportunity to lead better lives. It just becomes an obstacle.
RUSH: Okay. There’s nothing new there. It’s rehash, recycle. It’s nothing fresh. There’s nothing remarkable about it. (interruption) Well, it was “articulate” and “clean,” I know, but there’s nothing here that says, “Wow! The hype is accurate,” but I want you to listen to Donna Brazile. She was on This Week with George Stephanopoulos on Sunday and said this about Obama’s speech at the DNC winter meeting.
BRAZILE: Barack is a phenomena. I’ve never seen anything like it in my life in terms of the type of appeal, the — the broad support. One of the things about being in the room is that — you’re right — everybody just hushed and listen. It was like having a church service without the choir.
RUSH: Okay, so what we heard there was a church service. I didn’t hear a whole bunch of energy. Anyway, the broad-based appeal? Mrs. Clinton is cleaning his clock in all these polls even in Iowa now. They can talk about all this broad-based appeal, but she’s got twice or two-and-a-half times the level of support he does, at least in these polls right now.