VAN SUSTEREN: Rush, nice to have you here. What do you think about all this noise about Governor Palin, people complaining and attacking her?
RUSH: Hey, Greta, great to be with you. I just got back from a séance, trying to reach Ronald Reagan, but I couldn’t get through.
VAN SUSTEREN: (laughing)
RUSH: Some guy named Obama’s got the astral plane blocked. You know, the bottom line with the Sarah Palin stuff is, of course what they’re saying about her — and it’s McCain people — is contemptible. But what it represents is what’s more important, and there’s a huge battle for control of the Republican Party. By the way, thanks for showing a good picture of me. You’re the only one on FOX who does.
VAN SUSTEREN: Happy to.
RUSH: (laughing)The battle in the Republican Party is for who’s going to control it, and the people that just lost this election are the people trying to control it. The architects of this defeat — you know, ‘Go out and try to find Democrats and go out and try to find moderates and carve up the electorate and say, ‘Well, we got to appeal to that voter group,” like the Wal-Mart voters, ”and we got to appeal to this group and that group, and we’re really not going to stand for much of anything, other than we’re going to do liberalism better than they do and the liberals do. We’re not going to quite do it as extensively.”
Sarah Palin represents a severe threat. Her effectiveness, her drawing of crowds, the excitement and the passion that she engendered among people is a threat. She has to be taken out for 2012, and it’s the Republicans doing this to her. We know the Democrats did their own number on her during the campaign, as well, but this is reprehensible. But it represents what I think is the coming big battle in the Republican Party for who’s going to define it and who’s going to run it, and she represents a great threat. Bobby Jindal is probably a great threat to them. If he ever got serious on the national stage, you’d probably see some similar attacks on him.
VAN SUSTEREN: Why don’t the Republicans like her, though? Because she drew those giant crowds. You would think that they would be happy to have her, well, you know, in the party.
RUSH: Greta, Republicans love Sarah Palin. Rasmussen Reports put some news out today. Let me give you some numbers. I know they’re hard to follow audio-wise, but these are pretty profound. Exit polling data: 69 percent of Republicans say Palin helped McCain. Of course, the Drive-By Media and the Democrats and these Republicans leaking say that she was a drag. McCain was the drag; she was the spark. Only 20 percent of the voters, according to Rasmussen, say that Palin hurt the party’s ticket. Ninety-one percent of Republicans have a favorable view of her, including 65 percent who say that their view is very favorable. See, that’s my point. Republicans love Sarah Palin. It is these moderate people — and by the way, the architects of this defeat are trying to save their jobs for the next campaign, these gutless wonders who will not go on television, whoever they are. Instead of leaking to reporters and having it come off like a gossip show, instead of going on and saying these things from their own mouths, they leak it to reporters and it gets out. These people, the architects of this defeat for the Republican Party are trying now to save their jobs and blame everybody but themselves, and they think that Palin is a convenient target. It’s reprehensible but it’s quite instructive.
VAN SUSTEREN: What do you think Governor Palin should do if she wants to be president in 2012 — or in 2012?
RUSH: Not change. Sarah Palin, I think what she did’s incredible in the sense that: What was she on the campaign for, nine weeks? She was plucked out of obscurity all the way from Alaska, flew down on Ohio, did the introduction thing with McCain and did everything that was asked of her. She fired up the base, fired up the party, made this a campaign that gave McCain a fighting chance. And you know, people that… I mean, she’s been in the rough and tumble her whole life, but these kinds of things affect people in different ways. Some of the people, it can
make them bitter, these kind of attacks. It can make them defensive. The worst thing that she could do, I think — and I’m only saying this since you asked because I would not be presumptuous enough to try to tell Sarah Palin what to do without being asked.
But the worst thing she could do is to mollify those who are criticizing her. She has got to remain who she is, and if she wants to continue in this, she needs a rapid-fire response team next time this kind of thing happens to just basically go out — every time one of these false accusations is made, go out — with a smile on her face and say, ‘It simply isn’t true,’ because two people ganged up on her — or two groups ganged up on her here, the Democrats, which is predictable — actually, three groups. The Democrat media backed up on her, and then, of course, these Republicans. And there was a fight in the McCain campaign over who the veep choice would be. You know, Lindsey Graham was running around thinking it should be Lieberman — and they were leaking early on that it was going to be Lieberman, and that got the base all, you know, bent out of shape, and so forth.
So the McCain campaign had a lot of warring factions inside. Some of them lost, and the ones that lost are probably now saying, ‘Well, see? We told you association. She’s a ditz. She’s this or that, and so forth.’ But the truth was for everybody to see. She was very effective. She’s, I think, enthusiastic. She’s charismatic herself. She’s infectious. But more than that, she inspired people. You know, she got them involved. Look at those crowds that she inspired. That’s what kind of excitement the Republican Party needs because right now, the Republican Party has no identity even to the members of the party.
VAN SUSTEREN: What’s going to happen with the media now that President-elect Obama is in office? Because I know that you and many others thought the media was rooting for President-elect Obama.
RUSH: You know, I am so happy you asked me that. Last Friday night, a week ago tonight, Tom Brokaw — they dragged him out of (Jurassic Park) he shows up there with Charlie Rose on PBS. I put together the funniest montage of their discussion. Both of them were talking about they don’t know who he is, that he’s only written two books, that all he’s done is give some speeches. They don’t know what his views on China are. And I said, ‘What the hell is this? Tom, you’re at NBC. Dispatch a reporter, my man. (laughing) Find out who Obama is.’ I think that was CYA. They’re setting it up. They don’t know much about him. In case he goes off the tracks left, they can say, ‘Hey, well, we didn’t know about it.’ Read Newsweek. Meacham and Evan Thomas, some of the most amazing stuff. They were on Charlie Rose Wednesday night. They described Obama as ‘creepy,’ as a ‘creation,’ a ‘creature ‘who’s not really who he is, that after his speeches, he ‘ascends and watches everybody watching him.’ I mean, they’re the ones — Meacham and Evan Thomas over at Newsweek — who call him ‘creepy.’ I got the impression that they were saying, ‘We’ve seen this before.’ They sounded like they were frightened. So I think they’re at arm’s length but I think at the end of the day, they’ll do whatever they can to prop the guy up and keep him in this image of Messiah because they’re the ones that put him there. They’re the ones who had a role in this historic outcome, and they’ll do everything they can for as long as they can to protect him.
VAN SUSTEREN: What about the media and Governor Palin, reporting the, essentially gossip, anonymous sources; people saying, you know, that she doesn’t know that Africa is a continent, but always anonymous sources?
RUSH: Well, I think some McCain campaign people have come out and said that that’s not true. And she’s, of course, said it’s not true. It’s patently absurd. And it was fascinating when this stuff all first hit, everybody was speculating, ‘Okay, who’s leaking this?’ And a bunch of names were floated around. And then McCain camp people started e-mailing a lot of us, ‘No, it’s not that person. It’s not that person. We don’t know who it is,’ and so forth. I have no idea who it is. It doesn’t matter to me. I mean, the bottom line is it’s the McCain campaign. Somebody in the McCain campaign was doing this, and it boils down to trying to make her out to be an idiot and a dolt and a hick. Look at that comment about the ‘Wasilla hillbillies running through Neiman Marcus, snatching…’ I mean, that was just… I wish our party — I really wish the Wizards of Smart in our party — would learn to criticize Democrats and try to take them out politically the way they’re trying to take each other out. This is frankly absurd. But in a way, Greta, it’s all good because we’re finding out who the frauds and the pretenders and the people that don’t have the party’s best interests, who the losers in the party are. We’re finding out who they are, and we can banish them and rebuild the party in such a way that it has a chance to win again on a straight-down-the-road conservative identity and agenda.
VAN SUSTEREN: But it’s the media, though, that’s so willing to report the gossip. I mean, this isn’t whistleblowers about some, you know, government illegal conduct. This is about, basically, someone saying something nasty about a candidate. What about the media’s role in this?
RUSH: Well, I think in a lot of ways, it’s culture. I think the media despises her because she’s not an elitist. She didn’t go to the right schools. She’s not geographically correct. I think they resent the fact that she draws the crowds. But look, what happened to Sarah Palin where the media is concerned is not all that much different than what happens to other conservatives in the media. And I think that the treatment that she got is similar to some of the treatment Republicans in Washington have always gotten, and that’s why they end up caving. They want the approval of the media. They want to get along with them, want the media to like them, and so forth — and that’s death.
And that’s why I advised earlier, when you asked, for Sarah Palin not to go that route because there’s no way that they’re ever going to like her. They’re always going to resent her. I mean, I spoke to the Republican freshman class in ’94, and I remember there at their orientation at Camden Yards in Baltimore, I said, ‘Do not think that the media loves the fact that you won, and don’t think that they’re happy that you’re here. They’re not going to treat you as the majority. They’re still going to go to their Democrat buddies every afternoon before the newscasts and ask them what they think of what happened today. You’re going to be the oddballs. You’re going to be the kooks and the freaks, the circus acts,’ and she’s going to be that simply because she’s a Republican and a conservative.
I mean, look at the way they made fun of her for having a Down Syndrome child. I mean, the mean-spiritedness and the extremism. We found out so much about who the left is in this party with the treatment of Sarah Palin. I was expecting a lot more women in this country to be outraged over her treatment and to hold that against somebody, but apparently not this election, and I have my theories as to why. They didn’t feel comfortable voting for the ticket for other reasons. But nevertheless, that kind of thing is going to continue for her. That’s why she’s got to have a stiff upper lip and be able to laugh at it and realize that it’s a testament to her effectiveness.
VAN SUSTEREN: Who is the leader of the Republican Party now?
RUSH: There isn’t one.
VAN SUSTEREN: (pause0 Well, that’s not good for the party, then.
RUSH: No, it’s excellent for the party because now we have a chance to — they. The Republican Party is still a ‘they’ to me right now. There’s a chance for the Republican Party to coalesce around somebody who wants it, who wants to be the leader. I don’t think anybody right now is defining it. I could ask you, ‘Who do you think defines the Republican Party today in electoral politics?’
VAN SUSTEREN: I don’t know, but it seems to me that Governor Palin would be the first choice, since 48 percent of the people in the country voted for her. I would think…
RUSH: Oh, well, obviously. I mean, yes, but she’s still a governor. She hasn’t let us know if she has further national aspirations. If she did that, then, yeah! But the same thing is going to happen to her. You know, presidential politics in primaries, both parties, is cutthroat; and it’s only after the primary season that there’s this semblance of unity that takes place. But yes, other than Sarah… Bobby Jindal, but again, we don’t know what these people’s national aspirations are. So to take a governor or a couple of governors and say that they represent the party right now is a bit of a stretch. But their ideas are certainly the ideas that this party could rebuild itself on and become a majority again. There’s no question about that.
VAN SUSTEREN: Rush, as always, thank you.
RUSH: Thank you, Greta.