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RUSH: Steve Schmidt’s out there again. This is the guy that ran McCain’s campaign. Let me find it. It’s audio sound bite number nine. Last night, PMSNBC, special coverage of the Hawkeye Cauci. Steve Schmidt’s the guest, and the question: “Would the old conservatives who hold a lot of money embrace Rick Santorum? They can’t stand Romney. Richard Viguerie told me, ‘Not Mitt now or ever,’ so who?”

SCHMIDT: There will absolutely be a constituency of people out there that rally around the alternative to Mitt Romney, and you saw it absolutely in, uhh, 2008, uhh, with Senator McCain. Ironically, a lot of those people were rallying to Mitt Romney, endorsed him as the conservative candidate. Didn’t make a lick of difference. Rush Limbaugh was on the radio every day lambasting Senator McCain, and he still wound up winning South Carolina. (gasp) He wound up winning Florida. People don’t turn over their voting franchise to talk radio hosts and to the activist leaders of the base.

RUSH: Yeah, I tell you: These guys are saying this so much, they’re clearly worried about it. Every week we got some political consultant going on television saying, “Talk radio doesn’t change anybody’s votes! These guys don’t have any influence. Limbaugh and these people, nobody bases their votes on what they say. In fact, everything Limbaugh wanted didn’t happen in 2008.” Of course, they conveniently leave out that I didn’t get involved or endorse anybody, but it’s neither here nor there. Now, there is a countervailing view in the American Spectator today. There are actually two articles — one article, one blog. Jeff Lord has a blog post.

Jay D. Homnick of The American Spectator “And the Winner in Iowa is…” dadelut dadelut dadelut dadelut dadelut dadelut! “Rush Limbaugh,” and his claim that I’m the winner is that the winner, Santorum, actually mentioned me, actually cited me — and, frankly, I, in my ignorance, never even considered this. But Mr. Homnick points out that Republican consultants advise their clients not to mention me because it’ll irritate the independents. It’s the same thing as, “Don’t criticize Obama! If you criticize Obama, the independents gonna run away from you, they’re gonna think you’re racist and a bigot,” and apparently the consultants are advising their candidates saying, “Don’t quote Limbaugh. If Limbaugh supports you, don’t say so. You don’t want to go anywhere near Limbaugh! Limbaugh will kill your campaign, because Limbaugh will send the independents running away from you.”

This is apparently what Mr. Homnick says in his article, but Santorum didn’t listen to this. Santorum actually cited me and quoted me in a couple of ads and on the stump and ends up doing well. Mr. Homnick says the opposite of what Steve Schmidt says. Regardless, I sit here and what am I doing? I’m minding my own business like everybody else, trying not to bother anybody (which is hard to do, but I still try not to bother anybody) and at least once a week some Republican consultant goes on MSNBC to point out how voters don’t care what I say or any other talk show host — not just me — that we don’t move votes, that we don’t influence thinking. We’re just a bunch of entertainers or what have you. If we’re so inconsequential, why keep talking about it? (interruption)

It’s an article in the American Spectator. I just told you what’s in it! It’s a long article. I don’t want to read the whole thing. You know I don’t like talking about me. All right, here we go”Despite the fact that Republican candidates have always vied to get some air time on the show, the political consultants they hire have steered them away from quoting Limbaugh by name in other venues or using his name in advertising. The fact that he generally refrains from openly endorsing particular candidates has enabled them to get away with this brand of disloyalty. They can’t very well be expected to cite him in an ad if he has not specifically expressed his backing, can they?

“Thus the paradox. Five minutes on Limbaugh is worth more than all the campaign ads put together, yet mentioning him in a commercial is seen by campaign managers as taboo. It will anger the independents, they say, and the moderatesÂ… and the womenÂ… and the minoritiesÂ… and on and on. The consequence of this strategy is that we wind up with colorless compromisers like Bob Dole and John McCain as presidential candidates, and elections are written off as losses before the first lever is pulled in the voting booth for a Republican or in the mortuary for a Democrat. This time Santorum broke the mold.

“He ran a bold ad quoting accolades tossed in his direction by Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee and Rush Limbaugh. That willingness to name names sent a powerful signal, electrifying the fence that most Iowa Republicans had been sitting on. There are an awful lot of conservative voters who have been waiting a long time to hear their heroes acknowledged. In my estimation, that single advertising spot put Santorum over the top in Iowa.” So Mr. Homnick’s point here is that, contrary to Mr. Schmidt, Republican voters do want to hear the candidates acknowledge their other heroes. It cements the notion of “team.” Mr. Homnick points out the consultants, even though they admit getting five minutes on this show would be great, say, “Don’t dare mention Limbaugh by name,” because they’re defensive and scared.


RUSH: Yeah, tell you what now. Now we’re getting into an area of the program where I’m genuinely uncomfortable, and that is where I am the subject. I’m the subject everywhere else but we try to keep this program focused on the ideas and the issues. But let me just say: Since I’ve come up now — since they’re out there savaging me — let me just ask you all a question. Why was Barack Obama’s first words as president, “Don’t listen to Rush Limbaugh”? He had the Republican leadership, the House and the Senate. He had Boehner and the boys up there and he said, “You gotta stop listening to Rush Limbaugh! That’s not how things get done in this town,” right? On the other hand, Steve Schmidt said, “Nobody listens to Limbaugh! He’s not influencing anyone.”

Obama, first thing out of his mouth to the Republicans: “You gotta stop listening to Rush Limbaugh.” So, according to the political consultants, Obama should tell everybody to listen to me so I would run ’em off! If Steve Schmidt’s right, all I do is harm Republicans. So Obama ought to be telling everybody, “Listen to Limbaugh! Quote Limbaugh!” But that’s not what Obama’s doing. Obama is telling people not to listen to me. Here’s another thing: If having the primaries go on so long is so bad for the Republicans — which is what the media montage we had at the beginning of the program: “Oh, this is good! Obama’s the big winner! The longer this goes on, the better for Obama, the longer the Republican fight.”

If that’s true, how come with each passing day each Republican candidate scores higher in polls against Obama? Right now Romney, to cite an example, is ahead of Obama by more than six points, according to Rasmussen. Really? How can that be? Because the Democrat media is telling us that the longer the Republican fight goes on, the better it is for Obama, and Obama’s the big winner! Last I looked Obama is tanking, even if nobody has the guts to say so. Now, there aren’t too many Republican consultants who have the guts to say so because they’re just scared to death of any criticism of Obama. Here is last night a guy named Jon Jacobson, a supporter of Santorum. This is during the Hawkeye Cauci, and this is before the votes, and all the cauci attendees show up. This is a Santorum supporter, Jon Jacobson.

JACOBSON: Rick Santorum has taken arrows for our cause, leading Rush Limbaugh to say, quote: “If Rick Santorum were elected president, I wouldn’t have one doubt any day what he would be fighting for, not one.”

RUSH: Yeah. That’s somebody trying to gin up votes at the Hawkeye Cauci for Santorum quoting me. Now, the Republican consultants say that that’s gonna drive voters away, quoting me. Santorum came outta nowhere and finished in a dead heat. You could say he’s the winner last night.

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