RUSH: I had a long weekend with my golf buddies in town, and I had a chance — I even got some solitary time, and I’ve been thinking, because I have detected, even to myself — I was examining how we dealt with Obama during the campaign and how we dealt with Clinton during the campaign in 1992, and both methods of dealing with both candidates didn’t work. Direct criticism of Bill Clinton did not work; Bill Clinton got elected. Direct criticism of Barack Obama did not work; he got elected. For whatever reasons, direct criticism did not work. The question is, we’ve gotta find a way to be effective here in being critical of some of these dramatic changes that we know Obama wants to bring about.
Now, let me give you a brief overview of some of my ruminations here prior to giving you the, I think, what the effective way to do this would be. As with Clinton, attacks on Obama didn’t work. I don’t care what — and by ‘attacks,’ I don’t mean anything vicious or mean, just attacking Obama personally. ‘This guy is going to do this; this guy is going to do this. His friends are these. What he said in San Francisco with the bitter clingers. The coal industry, he’s going to bankrupt it.’ It didn’t work. I remember in a debate, Obama’s reaction when Hillary went after him for his relationship with Louis Farrakhan. He didn’t really distance himself from Calypso Louie.
He did, but he didn’t. But he did not ‘renounce’ Calypso Louie. Hillary, in the debate, who was doing anything she could here to save her campaign and her candidacy, started savaging Obama’s previous statements — and what did he do? He just sort of laughed. He just shrugged and made her attack look like it was infantile, like she was just some screeching woman just attacking him. He just smiled and he just shrugged, and he said to Tim Russert, ‘You know, I have to say, I don’t see a difference between ‘denouncing’ and ‘rejecting.’ There’s no formal offer of help for Minister Farrakhan that would involve me rejecting it, but if the word ‘reject’ Senator Clinton feels is stronger than the word ‘denounced,’ I’m happy to concede the point. I’ll reject and denounce.’
He smiled and said, ‘Okay, look I’ve said X but if you want me to say Y, I’ll say Y; and if you want me to say Z, I’ll say Z, too.’ You know, she was boring in. She was accusing him of this and that and he just kind of smiled and laughed and said, ‘Okay, whatever you want me to say, I’ll say.’ Every broadside that was directed at Obama was pretty much dealt with by him in that way, because they were broadsides. What you had here with Hillary and Obama you had two Alinskyites going at each other and Hillary proved to be the lesser of the two able Alinskyites. Also, have you noticed that the late-night comedians are saying that they are just having a tough time making fun of the guy — and it’s not just because of race.
You know, we found ways to parody the guy here. We can laugh at him and make fun of him here, but a lot of people don’t think that he’s funny. Other than his ears, what is there to caricature about the guy? You can caricature the way he… You know, even the stuff with The Messiah didn’t work, even when he’s out there acting like The Messiah. My point is that none of this stuff worked. We have to be honest. None of it worked, even when we attached to it specific details of Obama’s plans and his proposals. It just didn’t work. These comedians are finding it difficult to make fun of the guy, not just because of racial reasons.
Look at Ted Kennedy. He’s easy to make fun of and laugh at. Bill Clinton was easy to laugh at and make fun of, because both of them live their lives to great excess in many funny ways. Obama seems not just Mr. Cool, he’s Mr. Cold. He’s just Mr. Cold. There just isn’t a whole lot there to make fun of. Nothing about Obama inspires laughter. Bill Clinton inspired it left and right. Ted Kennedy inspired laughter, left and right. When you’re Ted Kennedy, you name your dog Splash. Obama promised the dog, but they’re going to have to wait on the dog. But how do you make fun of that because he still promised to get the dog? Also, because of how cold Obama is, passionate criticism of him really doesn’t work because when you have the passion as the critic and he’s Mr. Cold and just never loses his cool and so forth, it makes the passionate critic look like a zombie.
It makes the passionate critic look like an out-of-control, deranged, unhinged individual. So that doesn’t work. So what does work? Just, my best thinking about this, to this point, and I don’t know if it’s going to bear out, even, but the only times that Obama was really in trouble in the campaign was when he did it to himself: the bitter clinger comment in San Francisco, the Joe the Plumber stuff. But even that didn’t end up hurting him. But those were the two instances that the Obama campaign got in gear to try to limit the effectiveness of what he had done to himself: spread the wealth around, the bitter clinger comment coming out of San Francisco.
These self-inflicted wounds are about the only opportunities that you have. We don’t want to sit around and wait for those because we don’t know how often he’s going to say things. Another one was when he said that abortion, you know, determining when a human being gets rights, at what point does life begin, when he said this to Rick Warren out at the Saddleback Church. That was a big problem. That was a big self-inflicted wound. Remember how among everybody who saw the debate at the Saddleback Church, it was clear that McCain had smoked Obama. Everybody knew it. So what are we left with to do, then? ‘Well, okay, Rush, you haven’t talked about Bill Ayers being on Good Morning America Friday.’
I know. On purpose. Others are going to talk about Bill Ayers. The election’s over. You can do it from a See, I Told You So kind of point of view, if you want. What I think is going to be the most effective way to criticize Obama is to criticize his ideas without criticizing him. To criticize collectivism, to criticize giant growth of government. Call it Obamaism or whatever, but the way to go about this, I think, is, if you don’t want to wait for these self-inflicted wounds, is to ignore Obama the man. When you ignore Obama the man, we do not run the risk of inflicting our own self-inflicted wounds that would create sympathy for the guy, ’cause right now he’s a beloved figure with four million people headed to Washington at the inauguration, they say.
He’s got everybody in the country enough behind him for all of the mythological reasons, for all of the public image reasons, the historical reasons and right now people don’t want to hear anything bad about Barack Obama. They just don’t want to hear it and if they do they’re not going to believe it and they’re going to resent anybody who runs around talking about Obama. He’s going to have to do something first that illustrates that the criticism that we have mounted up ’til now is accurate. You know, we talk about Reagan-ism. We talk about social-ism, collective-ism, commun-ism. Obama-ism is the way to go after this.
Obama equals collectivism, and when you stop to think about this, this is really the opportunity of many of our lifetimes, because we haven’t really dealt with full-bore collectivism as an ideology identified with a political party up ’til now. Yeah, we’ve had liberalism, but while we’ve had liberalism, we’ve always had some Democrats that were not totally on board that, and certainly we’ve never had such a radical collectivist as a president-elect or even a nominee of a particular party. So who are we? Well, we’re the capitalists. Once he gets into office, and once he starts doing things, we’re going to have a chance then to define Obamaism without mentioning him per se.
I think for however long is necessary ’til the bloom goes off the Obama rose — ’cause it at some point is going to and this whole image thing will give way at some point to political reality, and until that happens — personal criticism, or not even personal, but attacking Obama’s ideas by attacking him is not going to fly. It’s not going to stick. It is not going to persuade anybody. So we just have to bide our time here but attack what he stands for, attack what his belief system is, and name it. Obamaism. Collectivism. It was epitomized by what he told Joe the Plumber. You know, we all know who he is, and we all know what he wants to do, and we all know that he wants to do as much of it as possible as quickly as possible.
We don’t know what constraints he’s going to find once he actually takes office, what with the economic circumstance and situation. We can all guess, we can all speculate that maybe he won’t care. The worse the economy is, the more power he will seek to take as quickly as he can. I’m still working my way through this, but all I know is that attacking Obama and attacking Bill Clinton did not work, even though every bit of the criticism was true, even though everything said about them was true. It didn’t work. Why it didn’t work, I can explain that when I have more time to do it, but it has to do with the cult of personality and it has to do with a whole bunch of factors; the Drive-By Media and the collective education of the American people, the voting population here.
There’s a whole bunch of factors about why it didn’t work, the psychological reasons, too, such as white guilt. The Drive-By Media covering up anything that was deleterious or harmful to Obama — and especially, see, in that circumstance, where the Drive-Bys are covering everything up and pretending that there’s nothing but angelic messiahnism about this guy; then you have the loyal opposition coming out with all these critiques — his associates, his alliances, his socialism, what have you — it just doesn’t fly. Because the Obama people are able to segregate the critics and categorize us as, ‘Ah, just a bunch of the vast and the Republican hatemongers,’ or what have you. Their job is to discredit conservatism criticism and so the less criticism of him personally instead what he’s doing and what he’s going to do and what he believes, then I think the more powerfully effective the criticism will be.
RUSH: Paul in Pittsburgh. Hello, sir. Nice to have you on the Rush Limbaugh program.
CALLER: Hey, Rush. I just wanted to comment on the fact — on the comment you made regarding bashing Obama and Clinton, how it didn’t work. You know, I just feel that the average American, they just didn’t know enough about what McCain would do. Even with all the bashing of Obama, that was just getting his policies out there and hearing about what his plans were — and even if you’re going to bash him, that just isn’t enough of a rebuttal. I think the American people, you know, they got a good feel for the personality of both candidates, but they just didn’t hear enough about McCain and what was he going to do. What was he going to do with taxes, you know, and different policies.
RUSH: Well… (sigh) I don’t think it would have helped. McCain wasn’t able to tell anybody what he was going to do, McCain wasn’t running on a set of ideas. McCain was running on a resume, McCain was running on heroic life stories. Love of country, honor, this sort of thing. There was no identifiable set of core beliefs that you could peg on Senator McCain. But as to the notion that the criticism of Obama didn’t work, there are a couple elements here that I didn’t mention, and it didn’t work… By the way, Clinton didn’t really start getting into trouble until a couple days after he was inaugurated when he announced ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell.’ That was in 1993, and then when the, ‘I worked harder than I’ve ever worked in my life, but I can’t find a way to come up with the middle-class tax cut. You’re going to have to trust me on this.’
That’s when it started falling apart for him and that’s when the media started getting doubts and started treating him in a different way. We’re just going to have to wait for the same kind of thing to happen with Obama. Self-inflicted wounds are it. You add to it McCain was not willing to criticize Obama. McCain was not willing to criticize the things about Obama that make Obama dangerous, or at least make him risky. McCain wasn’t willing to go there for a host of reasons. It doesn’t matter now. All I’m telling you is that those who did engage in it, it didn’t work. And it didn’t work beating Clinton, and it didn’t work for beating Bill Clinton in 1996, either, for a host of reasons. I’m not bashing the critics, and I’m not saying don’t be critical.
I’m just saying going after Obama the way we went after Clinton didn’t work. The evidence is clear, it didn’t. There needs to be an alternative approach, because, whether it worked or not in the campaign, we’re still going to have to do everything we can to stop this onslaught of collectivism, and it’s going to be serious. I mean, this is a guy who wants to define the American dream as over, and I don’t know what the figure is today. It’s anywhere from $120,000 a year to $150,000 a year to $250,000 a year. At that point, the American dream is over, because your tax rates are going to go up so high that your ability to amass serious wealth beyond that is going to be difficult.
And if they do mess around with this 401(k) stuff and they take away the tax deductibility of your annual contribution, which they’re thinking about doing in the Congress, there’s any number of flash points coming up that give the opportunity to point out, ‘Okay, this is collectivism. This is Obamaism.’ Look at Mark Cuban. I go back to this. We had it yesterday. Mark Cuban is just… I mean, you couldn’t find a more rabid Obama supporter. And I’m convinced that he has no idea who Obama is, and if he ever heard anybody criticizing Obama he would tune it out. He didn’t want to hear it. For some reason, he assumed Obama was just like him. He’s an entrepreneur. He made six billion or so (I think that’s the number) selling an Internet company called Broadcast.com.
I think he was one of the first guys that streamed video and audio on the Internet, and sold it. Now he owns the Dallas Mavericks, and he thinks of himself as the epitome of an entrepreneur. So he sees Obama’s economic team at last Thursday’s or Tuesday’s big deal in Chicago, where Obama announced what he’s going to do to fix the economy (hardy-har-har) and he wrote a piece at the Huffington Post, Cuban did, about how troubled he was he didn’t see any entrepreneurs. He said, ‘Obama’s gotta know that the fix to this economy is going to bubble up from these entrepreneurs taking risks,’ and I’m reading this and I’m incredulous.
Those are his enemies, Mark! These entrepreneurs, the risk takers, those are the people Obama wants to punish ’cause they’ve done too well. When he talks about, ‘The economy’s gotta get fixed from the bottom up,’ he’s talking about wealth transfers. He’s talking about ‘spreading the wealth around.’ He’s not talking about inspiring entrepreneurial activity. Obama, in his big acceptance speech in Grant Park after he had kicked Michelle and the girls backstage, he said, ‘We are not a nation of individuals. We’re not a collection of individuals.’ Well, yes, we are. The individual and his freedom and liberty is precisely what gives this nation an identity unlike any other.
Obama wants to come along and he openly says, ‘We’re not a nation of individuals. We’ve gotta come together and work for the common good.’ Collectivism! But until he starts doing it, all the criticism in the world isn’t going to have much effect, and why would it? He’s not doing any of it yet. But the time will draw near. And I just think there are going to be a lot of people like Mark Cuban who have seen it earlier than most, that are going to be genuinely shocked that this guy is not who they thought he was. Because remember, all of his supporters were able to make of him whatever they wanted him to be. He was a blank slate; he even said so. It was ‘creepy.’ It was creepy to watch this. It was creepy to go out and talk to Obama supporters and find out how little they actually knew, but how much they thought they knew. It was creepy!
RUSH: This is Barbara in Starkville, Mississippi. Nice to have you on the EIB Network. Hello.
CALLER: Hello. Good to talk with you finally. I have a question. You mentioned before that the criticism didn’t work against Obama, and hearing Bush talk this past week at the UN, he mentioned that his faith and prayer had helped him in getting through his presidency, which I’m sure meant his criticism and everything. And I wondered; it brings two questions to mind. Why did the criticism against Bush work so well and what will happen to Obama when the criticism finally comes because I don’t see him as being rooted in faith and prayer.
RUSH: Now, this is an interesting question. Let’s take the second one first, because basically you’re saying how come the criticism of Clinton, criticism of Obama didn’t work, but how come criticism of all Republicans does work?
RUSH: Right? You’re saying that.
RUSH: Well, in the first place it doesn’t always work. We just think it does. They tarred and feathered Ronald Reagan, but it didn’t work, two landslides. And again, how did Reagan deal with it? He just laughed at it. He did not have an alternative media. He didn’t have anybody defending him every day. All he had was the power to connect with people to go over the heads of the media and make them look like idiots.
CALLER: Hmm. Okay.
RUSH: We haven’t had our own version of a charismatic leader in electoral politics in a long time. But beyond that, you’re right to ask. Bush didn’t defend himself, and Karl Rove has said recently that they learned a lesson. They were trying to be presidential, just be above it, to protect the vitality and the legacy, the image of the office, not politicize it so much, but they now realize they should have been more forceful in defending the outright lies and distortions that were told about Bush personally and politically.
CALLER: What about Sarah Palin?
RUSH: Yeah, why did it work on Palin? Why did the criticism work on Palin? Well, did it? See, we just assume because McCain lost the election that the criticism of Palin worked. However, I saw nothing but teeming crowds. I saw nothing but love and support, ambition, all kinds of passion for Sarah Palin. I saw election poll results talk about that Republicans loved her. Had they tried to make it out that she was a drag on the ticket. Now, it’s no news that the left and Democrats are gonna hate any effective conservative Republican. You can’t take the Drive-By Media factor out of this. The Drive-By Media loves to show what they think is the hypocrisy of Republicans. For example, let’s take John Edwards, the Breck Girl. When they heard that he was having an affair, they ignored it. They did everything they could to sweep it under the rug because oh, they had so much hope in Edwards, wonderful family, he was going to someday have this brilliant national political career. They just couldn’t bring themselves to be critical.
But let a Republican, a family values Republican, a conservative, social conservative Republican encounter some sort of moral failure and bammo it is like a hurricane descending on that person and it’s seek and destroy because of hypocrisy and so forth. The reason for this is the left knows they cannot defeat our ideas. They have to destroy as many of our leaders as possible professionally, personally, and their credibility. They didn’t just say no to Robert Bork; they tried to destroy him, they tried to ruin his life. Same thing with Clarence Thomas. You see, we don’t do this. Our criticism of Obama was not aimed at destroying him. It was trying to alert people to his ideas. But when we’re the lone voices and the Drive-Bys are not joining in that chorus, if you will, and if Obama is thus able to ignore the criticism and not respond to it, then you’ve got the old question, well, if a tree falls in the forest and nobody’s there, does it make a sound? You know, if Obama’s running around saying all kinds of weird, strange things and nobody is criticizing him for it, did he say the strange things?
RUSH: Look, it’s an unlevel playing field. You know, we can sit here and bemoan the fact that Sarah Palin was mistreated, and we can bemoan the fact that McCain might have been mistreated, and all kinds on our side get mistreated. It’s the way it is. I’ll bet you that if Sarah Palin were left alone, and I’ll bet you if she were not coached and if she were not constrained by the McCain campaign, I’ll bet she could have dealt with it on her own inside of a week and deflected it and gotten rid of it and made her critics look to be total buffoons. But instead, you know, she’s second on the ticket, so they sent her out there to do things that were supportive of McCain. I cringed every time I heard her call him a maverick. I wanted to shout, ‘This isn’t going to get him a single vote. The maverick days are over. Nobody cares about him being a maverick.’ But, you know, they were stuck in a time warp. Newt Gingrich didn’t respond to the criticism much ’cause some people just think that it’s not going to affect ’em, or you try to befriend the media in the first place to try to deflect it. That doesn’t work, either. It’s a great question, Barbara. I’m glad you called.
RUSH: Mr. Snerdley (who is not the boss today, by the way) told me in no uncertain terms that he thinks I’ve overstepped here in saying that criticism of Obama, as the criticism of Clinton, didn’t work. I simply mean by that that both guys won despite (sighs) voluminous information that should have disqualified both of them from ever being president. The criticism didn’t work in defeating them.
Now, that is not to say it didn’t work. After all, how many people voted for McCrazy, 58? Uh, McCain. Fifty, 58 million people? It was a seven million-point win. The point is, a lot of people voted for McCain, a lot of people voted against Obama. Obviously the criticism worked for some; and look, I’m not a dunce here, folks. I know it really boils down to this: Our standard-bearer not only did not have any charisma; our standard-bearer didn’t have a campaign, did not have a core theme, did not have a core set of principles and beliefs that he was articulating. He’s running as a war hero with a heroic story, and it didn’t work.
Look at all the war heroes that can’t win elections anymore. We have George Bush 41. I’m going to go through this list here. Bush 41, was great war hero, 1942, ’44, whatever, World War II. He was shot down over the Pacific. He got back on the aircraft carrier. He lost to a draft dodger! He lost to a guy who wrote in his past, he ‘loathed the military.’ Now, the draft dodger only had 43% ’cause Ross Perot was in there. Ross Perot himself in his own way is a military hero, given his support. So maybe if Perot’s not there and George Bush 41 gets those votes, but some polling data indicated he wouldn’t, that Clinton would have still won even were Perot not there. We go forward to ’96. Another war hero, Bob Dole. Skunk city!
We get to 2000, and we don’t really have a war hero. They tried to make Gore a war hero by saying he was a journalist in Vietnam. In 2004: another Vietnam era war hero, the haughty John Kerry, versus a guy that the Democrats tried to claim lied about going to National Guard duty and serving. Yeah, McGovern. McGovern’s a war hero. He got blown out in 1972. He was a war hero. He was a pilot in World War II. Now, we come forward to 2008 and another war hero. (snort) We had a war hero lose to the most unknown, the most inexperienced, the most unqualified and perhaps the most opposed-to-America-as-it-was-founded Democrat candidate ever. So the war heroes, it’s not… God love ’em, God bless ’em, but they’re not the ticket to victory anymore. Now, why is that? Very simple.
I warned you people of this not long after I began to serve this nation from behind the Golden EIB Microphone. Vietnam ends when, ’72, ’75. It’s 30 years ago. That’s a generation. In 30 years we’ve had a whole generation born that has no direct experience or knowledge with an America victorious in war other than the four-day Gulf War, and that was over so fast it looked like a video game to a lot of people. So we have a lot of people who have no knowledge of an America victorious at war. In fact, our war heroes in 2004 and 2008 came out of the most hated war in our adult lives. That’s Vietnam. War hero from Vietnam? Yip yip. Whoop whoop. We had a war hero run in 2008 from the most hated war in American history, after six years of the American people being told how lousy and rotten the US military is — unfairly.
Of course it was unseemly what was done, but we had the Democrat Party, the Drive-By Media praying for defeat. The military is immoral; the military is unjust. So we ran a war hero against all of that, but it was not the war hero stuff that doomed McCain. It was that, ‘What’s he going to do? What’s he stand for? Earmarks and he’s a maverick. Okay, next.’ Certainly he had no charisma. But also, about this criticism business, McCain wouldn’t criticize Obama. So we being really don’t know if criticism would have worked. Now, Dole did try to criticize Clinton in 1996. He said, where’s the outrage over all this? Where is the outrage over the way this country is being run and who this guy is? He’s a moral reprobate. ‘Where’s the outrage?’ And of course Clinton’s answer was, with a smile on his face, ‘Ha-ha-ha-ha! No attack ever fed a hungry child,’ and people just marveled.
Well, Dole said he wanted to take us back to yesterday. Some Americans do want to go back! (laughing) I guaran-damn-tee you, they’d love to go back to August. (laughing) Some Americans, yesterday would be just fine to a lot of Americans, Mr. Snerdley. Last month would be fine; two months ago would be fine. (laughing) Can we do this over? But regardless, I’m not saying that criticism should be taken off the table, I’m saying it should be redirected, especially now. It’s a waste of time to criticize Obama now. He hasn’t done anything. Wait ’til he does something. He stands for something. It’s going to be very easy to explain it once he starts doing it, and therein lies the opportunity. I know full well that because McCain was not criticizing Obama because most voters in the country were chomping at the bit for somebody to get the truth out there because the media wasn’t. So it would not be totally accurate to say it didn’t work.
It did generate a significant number of votes for Yosemite Sam, but since he wasn’t joining in it, Yosemite Sam couldn’t get the dynamite to go off. You know, you remember what Yosemite Sam looked like when the dynamite failed to go off. He was prancing around there not having a clue what happened there. I don’t care if he was trying to kill the Road Runner, if he was trying to kill Wile E. Coyote, whoever, Elmer Fudd. The dynamite never went off for old Yosemite Sam. It was the same thing in this campaign. I’ll give you another example. The economic crisis, the bailout. Oh, they were worried. ‘This is horrible! We’re not going to be a country in two days if we don’t do something about it.’ McCain says (impression), ‘I am suspending my campaign, and I going to go to Washington to deal with,’ and Obama said, ‘I can multitask. If they need me, I’m here on the phone.’
We laughed at it at the time, but it turned out that Mr. Cool — Mr. Cold, actually, but there’s Mr. Cool versus, you know, Mr. Grandstander. ‘I’m going to go back and I’m going to fix this,’ and then the meeting happened, and the cabinet room informant at the White House, we heard that McCain didn’t say diddly-squat ’til the end of it, and the word came out of there was that Obama ran the meeting. (laughs) It also came out that the meeting fell apart with Obama running it, but we didn’t hear about that enough. We just heard that Obama ran the meeting. Everybody can look at these things in hindsight and find out what you did wrong and what you’d like to do over again. I’m just telling you, I think going after all this personal stuff, personally criticizing Obama — even if it’s policy oriented — isn’t the way.
Just wait for his inauguration for something to actually happen and the way to go about it then will be to go after Obamaism, collectivism. Don’t go after him personally, even. He’s going to have a honeymoon with his supporters. He’s going to have a while. You’re not going to persuade anybody that’s for the guy to change their mind right off the bat. It just isn’t to happen. But you can frighten them about what he’s going to do. You can frighten them about what’s going to happen because he’s president or because the Democrats are running the show or what have you. It just seems to me to be a better bet.