GRETA: Rush, thank you for joining us — and today in your third hour on your radio show you talked about the news about Governor Palin starting a bus tour. Do you think this is the beginning of a campaign for the White House?
RUSH: Before I answer the question, Greta, can I address something here of always or mostly appearing on your program on the phone? I told some people I was gonna be on the phone. They said, “Why are you never on camera? Why don’t they want you on camera?” I said, “It’s not them, it’s me.” I said, “I’m looking so good these days that people would not hear what I say, they’d be so blinded by my appearance.”
RUSH: So I choose to be on the phone to actually be heard. Yeah, I think this bus trip is certainly designed to get people speculating that she’s in — and it’s clear, Greta, the thing about Sarah Palin to me is that she has now learned to relish and to profit from all of the attention, be it negative or positive. She certainly knows negative attention. She suffered slings and arrows; she’s got the media anal exam unlike any other Republican candidate. I’ve never met her. I don’t know, but it appears to me her skin is very thick, and I think that she now has come to grips with the fact that that’s part and parcel of the process, and I think one of the things that she enjoys is just rubbing it right back in their face. She knows that they are trying to intimidate her into silence — not running, perhaps — being quiet or shutting up; here comes the bus tour. I think she’s mastering the things that she’s going to have to master if she indeed decides at some point to run.
GRETA: You have the Gallup poll, you talked about that today, and it says that she’s two points behind Governor Romney, and she hasn’t even indicated she’s jumping in the race. Does that show a particular strength, and how is the Republican Party going to embrace her?
RUSH: Well, it’s interesting. That poll, that result shocked me. The way the Gallup people wrote it up, they say since that Governor Daniels is out, since Trump is out — he was never in — and since Huckabee is not running, that this has opened it up. To just launch her to number two, she’s only two points behind Romney, I think that was startling. But, Greta, you’ve asked the question of the day. You’ve asked the question of the campaign. The Republican Party is really roiled right now. It’s inside-the-Beltway intelligentsia and power base is not oriented toward conservatism. Conservative Republicans make them nervous.
The inside-the-Beltway Ruling Class, the elites, they’re more oriented toward candidates they can attach the word “serious” to, which is another way of saying somebody that’s boring, somebody that doesn’t ruffle feathers, somebody that exudes an air of formal education and sophistication. She doesn’t exude that, and I think it’s gonna shake a lot of people up. You know as well as I do — you’ve followed her; you’ve traveled around the country in various states with her; you know the effect that she has on establishment Republican people. They’re just as frightened in their own way as the Democrats are of Palin.
One thing that I think is inescapable, particularly when looking at the Democrats, is the Democrats will always — and the media, will always — tell us who they’re afraid of by virtue of who they spend time trying to destroy. By the same token, when Mitch Daniels was flirting with possibly getting in, Washington Post, New York Times were all quoting Democrats and Republicans saying, “Yeah, this is who Obama really fears! The White House really, reeeeally fears Mitch Daniels.” Really? Would they tell us that if they really thought that? Is that who they’re really afraid of so they’re trying to goad him into the race? Ruth Marcus in the Washington Post wrote (summarized): “Please, Mitch, run, so we have serious campaign that makes Obama better!” It was really convoluted thinking — weird, weird thinking. The bottom line is, she scares ’em. She also scares the Republican establishment, but so do some other potential Republican candidates, too.
GRETA: Like who else scares them? How about Santorum or Bachmann or Gingrich?
RUSH: Well, Santorum and Bachmann are great examples. Bachmann especially is somebody who would frighten them. Anybody who is Tea Party oriented is going to send some chills down the spine of both the Democrat and Republican establishment. There’s something about the Tea Party that frightens them, and I think it’s a direct connection with the American people that the Tea Party represents — and you go back, even Reagan, Greta, was not that embraced by the Republican establishment; particularly during the campaigns of ’76 and ’80. After he was elected they kinda had no choice, but it’s always a battle in the Republican Party for conservatives to overcome.
GRETA: To what extent do you think the political journalists and the political pundits are so far removed from the Tea Party that they don’t understand them and don’t realize their impact?
RUSH: Well, I think they do understand. I think that they’re far removed by choice. I think they don’t want to be in touch with middle-class, hardworking people — the kinda people who make the country work. We really are seeing a class division politics in this country, and there are people who are elites and people who aren’t. Elites are always gonna be afraid of the people who aren’t because there are far fewer elites than there are non-elites. The non-elites happen to relate to each other, and so it’s a threat more than anything else. I think if you have a Tea Party candidate who’s victorious in terms of running for the presidency, you have a possibility here of upsetting the entire DC power and social structure that exists.
They’re outsiders; they’re considered outsiders. They’re not considered genuine political professionals. By definition, Tea Party people aren’t. They’re people, in many cases, who have never even been involved in politics. They started going to town hall meetings a couple summers ago and have simply come to life because they don’t like the direction the country is going and they don’t see their attitudes, their views, their wishes, and their desires passionately defended or represented in Washington. So they’re taking matters into their own hands, coming up with their own candidates, and that’s what propelled the Republican Party to victory in November 2010. You know, the Republicans have got to realize they did nothing to win that election except not be Democrats.
GRETA: Well, today you talked on your radio show about the GOP having a “message program.” Does that play into this?
RUSH: Well, yeah, but that was, I think, specifically in a conversation about Ryan and health care, Medicare reform, and this kind of thing. I think the overall Republican message problem is simply a fear they have. I think that the liberal aspects of the Democrat Party — the social and political structures — run Washington. I think people never really get out of high school. You always want to be in the big clique; you always want to be approved. You have to be approved by the people who run the big clique if you want to get in the big clique — and I think Republicans bought into the notion over the years that moderates are the key to victory. “The 20% who are undecided, let’s go get those people. We know 40% are gonna go Democrat; 40% are gonna go Republican.”
But that 20% — the great, great moderates, the open-minded, the people supposedly non-ideological — everybody who is a professional political consultant targets those people, and one of the rules that’s been established about getting moderates is, “You cannot be argumentative, and you can’t appear partisan, and you can’t appear extreme. You can’t appear mean-spirited. You have to be reasonable and calm, and you can’t be critical of your opponent and so forth,” and I think Republicans have bought this. I think they’ve bought it. All it is is a very clever trick by the left to get Republicans to shut up and not be passionate about themselves, defending what they believe, and advancing their cause. It keeps them always on defense.
The “message problem” stems from Republicans, more often than not, allowing the premise of any issue to be set by the Democrats and then reacting to it, always on defense. That’s what that discussion was about, and I think that’s always gonna be a problem for the Republicans until there is a nominee who is conservative, who is proud conservative, who ispassionate conservative, who believes it, who doesn’t need a note card and doesn’t need a prompter and can’t wait to talk to people about it, can’t wait to try to persuade them, can’t wait to get people to follow him or her in whatever quest they have. You see that in Bibi Netanyahu. Benjamin Netanyahu is one of the greatest lessons the Republican Party has. Benjamin Netanyahu is lighting the way, showing the Republican Party the way back in terms of national presidential politics.
Donald Trump. I said from the get-go that the real value of Trump — and the reason why there was so much interest and excitement about Trump — is because he was taking it to the opposition. He was taking it to Obama. Not just on the birth certificate. He was taking it to him on the future of the country. He was taking it to him. “Mr. President, you are destroying job creation. You are destroying the opportunities that our kids and grandkids should have for prosperity in the future.” You have to throw all of this moderate, don’t-offend-anybody kind of speech out the window. These are desperate times. If you really believe they’re desperate times, and if you believe the future of the country as founded hangs in the balance — and a lot of people do and a lot of voters do — you’re not gonna reach them by being milquetoast.
GRETA: Isn’t that…? I mean, didn’t President Obama, though, I mean, didn’t he reach out to those moderates, and he was sort of the calm, the professorial type? Isn’t that how he got that 20%?
RUSH: Well, yeah, but that’s 2008. This is an entirely different time now. He’s got a record to defend, which he can’t. He’s got a totally indefensible record. See, I think Obama is easily beatable. Now, what the Democrats and the media are trying to establish is that he’s unbeatable, that he’s so powerful, that he’s so authentic — he’s got such a wonderful way of communicating — that this is not the time to try to beat him. And the Democrats are gonna say, “Look, this was much worse than we thought it was. This economy was much, much worse. When we got here, we had our policies put in place and normally they would have worked well by now.
“But they’re just starting to have effect now. Three years, two-and-a-half years, this is gonna be a much longer process than even we thought, and it’s gonna be a big mistake to change horses in the middle of the stream.” That’s their campaign. “The policies to fix this are just now really taking hold. It would be a total mistake to turn this country over to the Republicans who want to go back to the failed policies…” You can hear the same old cliches. That’s what the campaign’s gonna be. The truth of the matter is, the Democrats have an indefensible record. Their record is so indefensible, they will not even propose and defend a budget that outlines what their ideals and their opinions and their views are for the future.
There has never been a greater time, a greater time than now for the Republican Party to genuinely contrast itself against the Democrat Party and the American left and show the American people a genuinely different direction for this country that takes us in a direction of genuine, real prosperity on the part of people who work and make this country work. It’s such a golden opportunity. There’s no reason to be frightened of Obama. There’s no reason to be afraid of the Democrats. There’s no reason to allow them to make us timid and to shut up and only try for 20% of the electorate, which is a bogus premise anyway.
I think if it’s Palin, for example, or if it’s Santorum, Herman Cain, if it’s Rick Perry, whoever, you watch how these people be genuine conservative in a campaign for every vote. They are not gonna try to get the Hispanics with this message; they’re not gonna try to get women with this message; and they’re not gonna try to subdivide the American electorate into a bunch of different groups, some victimized and some not. They’re just gonna go for America. “Here’s our message: We’re American. We love America; we love the country. Here’s how we make it better. Here’s how we save the country from current policies. It doesn’t matter what kind of an American you are. If you’re with us, then you want a better country and you want a place in it. We’re the way to go.” That’s the message.
GRETA: If you were President Obama, who would be the Republican you would not want to run against, and why?
RUSH: If I were Obama, I would not want to run against Palin. Contrary to what everybody says, I wouldn’t want to. You know, when they tell us that’s what they hope for, it’s just the opposite. I wouldn’t want to run against Chris Christie, if I were them. I wouldn’t want to run against Santorum. I wouldn’t want to run against Rick Perry. I think the truth of the matter is in the White House — the truth of the matter is — if you could get hold of their internal reelect polls, I will bet you that they are bad; and I think what they believe is that they have gotta do everything they can to make sure that whoever the Republican nominee is is not a conservative. They think they can beat a moderate Republican. They know they can beat a liberal Republican. They know they could beat a Republican who’s afraid to be Republican. But they are mostly afraid of a genuine, full-throated, passionate, articulate conservative.
RUSH: Well, you know, I really… These are tough questions for me because I don’t like saying — I don’t like thinking what I think. I just… Greta, he’s outclassed. He doesn’t know what year it is when he signs the guestbook? (sigh) He gives wandering, aimless answers in joint press conferences. He has a problem with his trip. Everything Cameron is doing in Great Britain and UK is working, so Obama can’t in any way, shape, manner, or form agree with him. He has a problem right there, so he has to wander and meander and not give credit to Cameron, whose policies are starting to have an effect.
You know, Europe is doing a 180 and going the exact opposite direction that Obama is trying to take America. They’ve had their experience with well-intentioned, big-hearted socialism. It doesn’t work. You always run out of somebody else’s money. It is just impossible to work, but Obama hasn’t learned it yet. So I think the more he goes overseas and speaks, the more obvious it is that he doesn’t have all these great skills; he doesn’t have all that much experience — and his life skills are not enough to compensate for it. I think it’s obvious: Here’s a guy who spent 153 days in the US Senate; prior to that, a lot of time in Chicago “organizing” the community, rabble-rousing and so forth; you know, a few years in the Illinois statehouse — and it shows.
GRETA: And in terms of…? Do you give him credit for doing anything in terms of his administration? Is there anything that you think he’s done particularly well?
RUSH: Well, I always get this question: “Can’t you say one nice thing?” I think we’re in really serious times, and I think the country faces a serious crossroads. I’ll also tell you, Greta, you were talking earlier about messaging the Republican Party. Let me tell you there are many in the Republican Party establishment who do not see it at all the way I’ve described it. They don’t think the country’s future is threatened; they don’t think all this spending and this indebtedness portend dire consequences. There’s that division in the Republican Party in and of itself. So a lot of people, you know, would not agree with me how dire the consequences are. I don’t think the country, as founded, can withstand four more years of this. With no waivers from Obamacare, four years of this stuff being implemented it will be really, really difficult to get the country back if there’s four more years of Obamaism inculcated throughout society. So, yeah. Look, I’m sure that there are some positive things overall. Those wouldn’t change my mind about supporting him or his policies.
RUSH: Oh, yeah. I don’t know if he’s recovered yet, but anybody can. Look at this IMF guy. One day he is the fait accompli next president of France. Five minutes later he’s in the same situation as Eliot Spitzer, Client No. 9. That’s how fast things can change in politics. Any poll right now really is worthless. The election is not for 18 or 19 months, whatever it is. Polls, in terms of who would win the nomination or the presidency right now, don’t mean anything. There’s still way too much that can happen, particularly things that are unpredictable. So, yeah. I mean, it would be silly to say that Newt can’t recover from that. Time will tell.
GRETA: One last question. Who’s your dream candidate to get into the race? Not necessarily someone you would endorse or support, but who’s your dream candidate to get into the race?
RUSH: I would love for Rick Perry to get into it, or anybody like him that would fire up the base. The more conservatives in this race — the more full-throated, unapologetic, pedal-to-the-metal conservatives in this race — the greater the opportunity one of them is gonna be elected.
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