RUSH: Wayne, Charlotte, North Carolina. You’re next. Great to have you on the program, sir. Hi.
CALLER: Yes, sir! That’s where I am, sir. I — I — I am livid with you today. It’s the first time I’ve ever been livid with you in over 20 years, Rush! You know, you’re negatively painting Speaker Gingrich when you just perfectly delineated my whole point, or at least part of it. At one point, sir, Newt Gingrich came into this campaign with a campaign of ideas — positive ideas, criticisms of the Obama administration and only criticisms of the Obama administration. You said earlier with that other caller that was tired of the negativity in the campaign, “Well, some people have been being positive.” The only person, sir — the only person — who created a positive agenda in the campaign and in the debates was Speaker Gingrich. He refused to attack other people. He always said, “Everybody on this platform would be better than what we have in the White House.” That was the tone he set. It wasn’t until Mitt Romney and it wasn’t until Ron Paul came out with the attack dogs. At what point, how many millions of dollars need to be spent broadcasting live against you until you’re able and allowed to defend yourself?
RUSH: What in the world are you disagreeing with? I’ve said all of this! I’ve said all of this all day long. I’ve gotta take a break, so you hang on. You got time to hang on through the break?
CALLER: Yes, sir.
RUSH: I knew you would.
RUSH: Back now to Wayne in Charlotte, North Carolina. Wayne, thank you for holding on during the break.
CALLER: My pleasure, sir.
RUSH: Now, I’m gonna tell you something. I have said everything that you made a point of saying right before the break. I have pointed out precisely why this is happening, and I explained to everybody that this is because of what Romney did to Newt, and I even asked, what would you do if you were faced with millions of dollars in the — when you didn’t have any dollars, and it happened in two weeks and you were the frontrunner, what would you do?
CALLER: It’s beyond that, sir, it’s not because he didn’t have any dollars.
RUSH: And I have practiced remarkable restraint in face of these Newt sound bites. These ads that Newt’s running are more negative than anything I’ve seen in a long time on the Republican side.
CALLER: Look, you’re now trying to cast Newt to be a spoiler, you know, and you give historic references that he’s a spoiler like Perot was. You know, that is just nonsense. Newt has come up with — he’s been working for years to develop strategies and ideas. Why can’t he be allowed to bring his ideas to the table without being ripped apart personally by his fellow Republicans? The whole idea was supposed to be to compare ideas, to compare concepts on how we can improve this government, how we can answer the Obama administration abandonment of the Constitution and abandonment of capitalism, and you want to cast Gingrich as the villain here.
RUSH: I didn’t.
CALLER: You vilified him for his talking about Bain Capital. Well, why is that not legitimate? Because Romney is using Bain Capital to bolster his record of job creation. Well, if that’s why he’s doing it, then the job creation that Bain capital achieved, not after he left, which was what Romney wants to take credit for, but while he was still there should be fair game, and if he’s liquidating companies and taking all the money out, and leaving entire towns unemployed, that should be fair game.
RUSH: But that’s not what happened. It happened in two of the over 100 buyouts that Bain Capital was involved in.
CALLER: During Romney’s tenure.
RUSH: And it happens to be the same two things that the New York Times is writing about in trying to take out Romney. Where do I fit into this anyway? I’m trying to do what I can here to maintain a field where ideas are discussed, but at some point this has devolved to where it is. I’ve tried today to explain to people why.
CALLER: I don’t think you can blame Speaker Gingrich for defending himself. And when 45% of all television ads in Iowa over the month of December were anti-Gingrich ads mostly from Romney’s PAC —
CALLER: — and also from Ron Paul’s PAC —
CALLER: — when that’s the case, at what point — how many candidates did we have then? Bachmann was still in the race then. We had a lot of candidates and 45% of all aired television ads in Iowa were attacking Gingrich. At what point do you say, “You know what, I didn’t want to answer these charges. I didn’t want to devolve the campaign into this, but at some point I have a reputation to uphold. At some point I’m going to defend my ideas and my ability to express them.”
RUSH: Look, Romney had the money. Newt was in second place. Why is this so amazing? This is what happens in politics.
CALLER: Well, it should be happening after the convention, not before. We should be able to express ideas, and if Mitt Romney can’t expect to win by exchanging ideas and comparing his record fairly, then he doesn’t deserve the nomination. But, you know what, Rush?
RUSH: Why the attacks from the right? These attacks are coming from the right. Newt is not sounding like a conservative when he’s making these attacks. He’s not giving people reason to vote for him. Trust me on this. Not because of what I’m saying. I’m practicing restraint. Do you realize how many people in this audience are livid when they hear these Newt bites? They think it’s what Obama says. This is what Chuck Schumer says. This is what Harry Reid says about us.
CALLER: And there you go again —
RUSH: No. I’m telling you what — I’m telling you what — (crosstalk)
CALLER: — Newt should have Obama at the end of his commercials. Come on, Rush.
RUSH: I’m just helping people translate.
CALLER: Yeah, well, you know, obviously with a very broad bush, and I think unfairly, and that’s not like you. You know, but like your caller earlier in the day, I still love you, Rush.
RUSH: Thank you.
CALLER: I still do love you.
RUSH: Who do you think I’m for in this race, can you tell?
CALLER: I can’t really tell, but I think you’d be very happy with Mitt Romney. I think you’d be very dissatisfied with Newt, because otherwise I can’t explain why you’re unfairly attacking him today and —
RUSH: I’m not.
CALLER: — you’re trying to couch it by saying you’re just explaining, but you’re doing more than that. You know that.
RUSH: I think more than anything here I’m defending conservatism. And I’m defending capitalism. Capitalism is under assault here in the Republican Party. I’m telling you, I don’t care how much you love Newt, that is not good. Capitalism being under assault in the Republican Party is not gonna help us at all. It’s what Michael Moore does. Michael Moore makes his career attacking capitalism. We don’t need to do that on our side.
CALLER: Job creation is a fair concept, it’s a fair topic.
RUSH: Who defines fair? What is fair job creation?
CALLER: Wait, what I’m saying —
RUSH: Who sits in judgment of that?
CALLER: Job creation is fair to talk about, and when Romney talks about job creation, his record on job creation, he talks about Bain Capital. Now, he wants to take credit for jobs created at Bain after, way after he left. Jobs created yesterday. He hasn’t been there, but he wants to take credit for all those jobs. But the jobs that he actually threw away, the jobs that he took huge profits for, and then lost, he doesn’t want to take the blame for. That’s not fair suddenly. Well, it should all be fair.
RUSH: Oh, this fair business, that’s another thing. There’s no enforcement mechanism for fair.
CALLER: You’re right. But it should be fair to bring up, and, you know, I’m bringing it up with you —
RUSH: You are.
CALLER: And it’s fair —
RUSH: You are.
CALLER: And it’s fair for you to bring it up with me.
RUSH: You are.
CALLER: We should be to talk about it.
RUSH: We are.
CALLER: And if Romney would take that plastic perma-smile off of his face and actually answer some of the questions he’d be better off as a candidate.
RUSH: (laughing) Plastic perma-smile off his face, I love it. (laughing.)
CALLER: Plastic perma-smile.
RUSH: I know you think he’s a Ken doll.
CALLER: Well, I do, I really do. Because I don’t think he has any core beliefs other than, you know, beliefs that guide him in his personal life. He’s a politician.
RUSH: I’m worried that we’re looking at Richard Nixon II. I’m worried that we’ve got a moderate here, there’s no question. But Newt is taking himself out by doing that. I’m telling you, he’s not helping himself here.
CALLER: Well, and you’re not helping him to help himself, either, let me tell you.
RUSH: Well, but that’s not my job.
RUSH: (laughing) What do you want me to do, say, “Screw you, Romney. You SOB. You GDP,” whatever the word. What do you want me to say?
CALLER: That was good enough. I’ll use that as a sound bite.
RUSH: All right, there you go, okay.
RUSH: Let me try to ‘splain this in another way. I don’t even know that I’m letting you in on a little secret here. I have quoted a great column by Daniel Henninger in the Wall Street Journal about Romney. I’ve mentioned this a number of times. It has appeared that the establishment wants Romney, and Romney’s been leading in every poll, and don’t get mad at me for saying that he’s the presumptive nominee. That’s the case that everybody’s been trying to make and that’s what the polling data has all showed. Okay, so you deal with what you got.
Henninger’s column was about the fact that Romney was gonna have to be pushed to the right if he was gonna get there, that his natural inclination is not conservatism. Despite what he says, his natural inclination, his core, is not conservatism. He’s going to have to be pushed toward conservatism. I don’t mind Gingrich attacking Romney. I am not defending Romney. What we have known, what we have said, is that Mitt Romney needs to be pushed to the right. He needs to be made a little bit more conservative, to run as a conservative, to campaign as a conservative. Which the elites do not want him to do.
Newt is not pushing Romney to the right. Newt is coming at him from the left. We’re seeing Newt now running to the left of Romney. That’s what’s going on. That’s what’s so mind-boggling about this. In a conservative Republican primary, we got Gingrich, and Perry, too, running to the left of Romney. Gingrich and Perry running to the left of Romney. Now, since when do Republicans hate capitalism? When did that start? I don’t hate capitalism. Now, I know we’ve got some squishy moderates and some establishment types in our party that are afraid to defend it. And we’ve got some squishy types who are afraid to even defend the whole profit motive and concept. And, frankly, I have no patience for them. But we as Republicans, we as conservatives do not hate capitalism. We don’t oppose capitalism and we do not want to talk about capitalism the way the left does. And we’re certainly not gonna push our candidates to the right in the process of coming at them from the left like this. We’re pushing them to the left.
Now, in the case of Romney, Romney supported TARP and says he supports capitalism. Those two don’t go together. So it’s tough to find anybody here who’s got clean hands. Who of these candidates would you say has obvious conservative core beliefs? Isn’t it true, folks, isn’t it true that when we look at the field of those remaining, that the full-fledged pedal-to-the-metal conservative isn’t there? They’ve all got one degree or another or a series of degrees of flaws. They all in one way or another end up thinking that using government to advance their policies is a good idea. We don’t think that. So what are we left with? We don’t have the ideal conservative. So whoever’s gonna win this thing has got to be pushed to the right and has got to be reminded that if they win this thing it’s because that’s how they did it, and they’re gonna pay a huge price if they abandon it after they’re elected.
You deal with what you have. It’s like Rumsfeld said, “You go to war with the Army you have,” and they raked him over the coals for that, but he had no choice. Same thing here. So who has clean hands? I mean that’s the issue here when looking for a candidate, that’s the big issue. Who’s got clean hands? Nobody wants to say it. Romney people out preaching capitalism now and their supporters would never say Santorum deserves another look even though he opposed TARP. I mean there’s hypocrisy all around. I wouldn’t have voted for TARP, but I would not have attacked Romney over Bain. So what does that leave? Will the Romney supporters answer that?
Nobody’s got clean hands here, but whoever ends up with this is going to have to have won it by being pushed to the right. And you’re gonna have to admit with me here, folks, the past couple days that’s not happening. What is Romney supposed to do to defend? He’s gotta move left if he’s gonna defend himself from this stuff. That’s not what we want.
RUSH: So there’s hypocrisy everywhere in this campaign. There is hypocrisy all around. I would not have voted for TARP, but Romney did. Practically everybody else did, too. Santorum was opposed to it, though. I, at the same time, would not have attacked Romney over Bain. So who does that leave? Will the Romney supporters have an answer for that? Bottom line is this, folks. The Republican nominee, whoever it is, is only going to win the general election by being conservative. You know it and I know it. The Republican establishment does not know it. The Republican establishment is going to have to be pushed to the right. Whoever the Republican nominee is, is going to have to be pushed to the right in the campaign, if we are to win. We are not going to win when we say things about ourselves that the Democrats are also saying. There will be no difference. Since when do Republicans hate capitalism? We don’t. And we’re not gonna start now. Not on my watch.