Another Conservative Victory Bubbles Up from the Grassroots in Nebraska
May 16, 2012
RUSH: There was an election in Nebraska, and another establishment Republican went down the tubes. Nebraska State Senator Deb Fischer won the Republican nomination for US Senate in a race against the Attorney General Jon Bruning last night. She rode a burst of late momentum to pull off an unexpected victory. And it really was stunning. I mean it was a major surprising come-from-behind victory, and as it’s reported here in The Politico, it “amounts to a warning flare about the volatility of the primary season and the unintended impact of outside groups,” like the Tea Party.
Deb Fischer is a rancher, a little known state lawmaker, endorsed by Sarah Palin. It’s reported that Deb Fischer “maintained a positive, above-the-fray tone while Bruning and state Treasurer Don Stenberg,” who was the Tea Party candidate, “consistently traded blistering barbs. But she also benefited from a flurry of outside spending against Bruning, the front-running establishment favorite for more than a year who watched his polling lead evaporate during the final week of the campaign.” And Bruning, the Republican establishment chosen candidate, he’s the one who lost. The primary opponent before Deb Fischer surfaced was the state treasurer, Don Stenberg.
Now, there are some potentially misleading aspects of this. Deb Fischer began her surge last week. Palin then endorsed her. Sarah Palin late in the race, endorsed Deb Fischer. After that, Herman Cain endorsed Deb Fischer. Now, some people are speculating that Governor Palin endorsed Fischer to be in solidarity with the mama grizzlies coalition, women. Others are saying that she wanted to wait to see if Deb Fischer really had any legs here and did have a possibility of winning this thing. You know, Palin gets criticized even by people on our side. She endorsed the winner, but to some people it’s par for the course. The Republican Party here is in a state of… well, at the establishment level they might think they’re in some turmoil.
But Herman Cain also endorsed, and Herman is trying to say that his endorsement put Deb Fischer over the top as well. Other people involved in this were people like Jim DeMint, the Tea Party, the Club for Growth, FreedomWorks, our great Tea Party sponsor here. A lot of other Tea Party and taxpayer groups had tried to help Stenberg. Stenberg was the Tea Party candidate, not Deb Fischer. Now, I’m not condemning anybody here. I’m not condemning Palin. I’m just trying to fill you in on this because this is way off the radar. Nobody had heard of Deb Fischer before this last week. Nobody was paying much attention. Everybody, of course, was focusing on Indiana, Richard Mourdock versus Lugar.
But here you have another effervescent bubble-up from-the-bottom-up, not from-the-top-down, victory. It’s emblematic of what’s happening throughout the country on the Republican side. This is why it’s so exciting for a lot of people. This is happening, bubbling up from the grassroots. The top down from the establishment ordering results isn’t going their way. There are a variety of motivations here among all of these people. But the establishment candidate, Bruning, lost, and that’s what the Tea Party and others are taking note of.
RUSH: Read to you a little bit from The Politico on this election in Nebraska. “Democrats argued that Deb Fischer’s surprising win provides them a better chance at holding the seat.” It looks like she’s gonna be up against Bob Kerrey, the former Senator from Nebraska. So the Democrats think that Fischer will be a weak candidate providing a better chance at holding the seat mainly because she’s untested and undefined. However, public polling taken ahead of the primary has shown Deb Fischer defeating Kerrey by double digits. Double digits. Polling. It’s gotten so bad for the Democrats that they are now out attacking samples, attacking the veracity of polls and polling data, particularly the New York Times poll from yesterday.
“Republicans outnumber Democrats by about 170,000 and presumptive nominee Mitt Romney is expected to rout President Barack Obama in the state.” So with 170,000 more Republicans, double-digit polling lead for Deb Fischer before the election over Kerrey. The Democrats are running around, “Oh, man, we’re glad this rookie woman won. Gives us a great shot.” Now, a brief question. If these troglodyte conservatives hate women so much, why do they keep voting for them? You know, Republicans have this War on Women going on out there. Well, how in the hell do they keep electing women like Deb Fischer in Nebraska, if there’s a major War on Women?
Now, just to review this, Deb Fischer began surging last week. Sarah Palin endorsed her late. Herman Cain then endorsed Fischer after Palin did. The Club for Growth, Jim DeMint, FreedomWorks, other Tea Party and taxpayer groups had tried to help Stenberg win the nomination. So some people are saying that the Tea Party candidate finished third in this race. That would be Stenberg. And that’s not the way to look at this. And don’t fall for that in the media because what’s happening is, of course, the Tea Party is feared by the media and by the Democrats. There are 47 different Tea Party organizations all over the country. They do not have a single leader. This what FreedomWorks does. They do have a connector website that puts all these people together. They help share information and resources.
The really wild thing about this Nebraska election, the establishment candidate was Mr. Bruning, and he lost. That’s the news. Both Stenberg and Deb Fischer are conservative. The way to look at this is, and the really wild thing about the Nebraska election is that there were actually two candidates supported by conservatives and Tea Party types, and still there were enough conservative votes to beat the establishment guy. In other words, in the old days, with two conservatives up against the establishment guy, the conservatives would split the vote, water it down, dilute it, both lose, the establishment guy would win. In this case, even though the conservative vote was split between Stenberg and Fischer, one of those two won, Fischer. And it reminds me of what happened in Wisconsin last week during the primary there to recall Scott Walker.
You got two Democrats on the ballot vying for the, quote, unquote, opportunity to oppose Walker in the real election on June the 5th. More Republicans showed up to vote for Scott Walker, and he didn’t need any votes that day. He was on the ballot, that’s clear. But there wasn’t any need for him to win anything that day. He was going to be the candidate on the Republican ticket, the June 5th election anyway, and despite that, more Republicans showed up to vote for Walker, who didn’t need a single vote, than Democrats who showed up. Now the DNC has taken all the money out of Wisconsin. They’re ceding this, essentially. And look what we were told going into this. All of this union money, and all of the organization and the White House and the DNC, Scott Walker’s toast, we’re told. Again, conventional wisdom from the inside-the-Beltway types.
You know the Obama ad that he’s running against Romney, Bain Capital, which even Democrats are saying is a bad ad because it’s misleading? It attacks Romney for things that Bain did when Romney wasn’t even there. That ad is not running in Missouri. Missouri was considered to be a swing state. The Democrats are deciding not already to spend any money in Missouri. People now are asking, maybe Missouri’s being taken out of the Obama column. Missouri being a toss-up or swing state, maybe it’s gone. The Tea Party, slash, conservative vote is so strong in Nebraska, it can’t be diluted. And in each of these elections, what I’m seeing is a passion and an energy to show up and vote and be counted on the Republican, slash, conservative side that we haven’t seen in a while.
You look at the what happened to Wisconsin, you look at what happened in Indiana, I’m telling you, the one thing I know — well, I practically know everything, but among the many things I know is the grassroots of the conservative movement in this country. I know how ticked off they are. I know how scared they are about where this country has been taken and where it will go. I know that these people are fed up with the Republican establishment. They are fed up with the go-along-to-get-along. They’re fed up with hearing about crossing the aisle. They’re fed up hearing about all this talk of compromise. They want to beat the Democrats. They want to shellac the Democrats. They want the Democrats to be a minority party in as many places in this country as that is possible. And they are willing to show up and vote to make that happen. And in primaries, wherever, whatever opportunity that they have, they’re doing that.
They’re not winning everything. Nobody does. But the statements that they are making are profound.
RUSH: Here’s Brad in Providence, Rhode Island, as we start on the phones. Hi, Brad. Glad you called. Great to have you here.
CALLER: Thanks for taking my call. Listen, it seems like Palin has the golden touch. First knocking out RINO Lugar in Indiana, and now at least greatly contributing to the Deb Fischer long-shot victory in Nebraska. Yet, the GOP establishment and Team Romney and even some conservative media seem to be doing everything they can do to distance the 2012 campaign from Palin, even rewriting history that Palin was a negative for McCain in ’08. While in reality, as you probably know, Palin was the only thing McCain had going for him —
RUSH: I tell you, it’s worse than that. (crosstalk)
CALLER: — were it not for the financial meltdown and bad advice by Schmidt. Now the thing is there’s even repeated stories in the media that Romney’s looking for the anti-Palin as VP —
RUSH: Well, what’s really going on is that the consultants from the ’08 McCain campaign are trying to protect their reputations.
CALLER: Yeah, they’re looking for somebody like a loser Dole, Pawlenty. Now, I’m not saying Palin would even accept, but Romney should publicly consider Palin for veep.
RUSH: Well, no, no, I can’t see that. What’s happening is the consultants — this ’08 McCain campaign, the consultants tried to make Sarah Palin into something she’s not. I’ve seen this in my own business. I can’t tell you — well, you see it in every business. You particularly see it in talent businesses. They tried to plug Palin into establishment Republican holes, and they didn’t let her be Palin. You’re right. She’s the only reason the McCain campaign had any energy. But these consultants are trying to protect their reputations and their paychecks, because they don’t want to be tagged with the reason McCain lost. They want to dump that off on Palin. They want to blame Palin.
I don’t want to name names here, but there’s a whole lot of Republican consultants that ran the McCain campaign, botched it.
RUSH: The only War on Women that I have seen being fought in the Republican Party is the GOP elite war against Sarah Palin. That’s the only War on Women I see being conducted.
RUSH: We’re talking about Palin, Romney’s VP, the Republican establishment. Folks, I don’t know what the word is. It’s not criminal, but what’s being done here to Sarah Palin, what continues to be done, I tell you, it’s gonna come back and bite these people who are doing it. Here’s an example. Mike Allen at The Politico kicked off this whole story last week by writing this. “One Republican official familiar with the campaign’s thinking –” meaning Romney, the Romney campaign’s thinking “– said it will be designed to produce a pick who is safe and, by design, unexciting — a deliberate anti-Palin. The prized pick, said this official: an ‘incredibly boring white guy.'” That’s the prized Romney pick.
I’m gonna tell you where this is coming from. This is coming from consultants who ran McCain’s campaign who are trying to make sure they don’t get the blame for McCain losing. By the way, one might say that in the ’08 campaign, was it not the boring white guy who lost? Might it also be said that it was the boring white guy who wasn’t able to engender any passion or enthusiasm among voters for his own campaign? Might it be said that it was Palin who did all that? So these people who mismanaged Palin in the first place are now trying to protect themselves, their reputations, their future paychecks within the Republican Party by blaming the ’08 loss on Palin, not them.
Now, look. Sarah Palin knows this. This is the way politics works. That’s the business. This is not the first time that a defeat has attempted to be passed off to people so that blame doesn’t attach to the real culprits. It’s just happening, and what the real meaning of it is, is that the Republican establishment remains distant and detached from the voters of the Republican Party who are going to be the instruments of change, gonna be the people that really make things happen here. I want to go to audio sound bites. We’ve got a little clip here of Deb Fischer last night in Lincoln, Nebraska, at her campaign headquarters. She spoke to supporters, and we have a little bit of her victory speech here.
FISCHER: So why did I run for the Senate? Well, I wasn’t happy with what was happening in Washington. And I don’t think anybody in here is happy with what’s happening in Washington, either. We don’t need the same type of person who supposedly is gonna represent us in Washington. I pledge to you tonight that I will roll up my sleeves and I will fight for you in Washington.
RUSH: Now, here’s the thing. In Nebraska, for those of you that weren’t with us in the first hour, what happened, we had a three-way race on the Republican side. Bruning, the state treasury, was the establishment guy. He was up against a Tea Party candidate named Stenberg, and out of the blue in the latter weeks of the race came Deb Fischer. She wins. Now, everybody wants to claim credit. All kinds of people claiming that, well, the Tea Party pulls another one out. Other people saying, wait a minute, Deb Fischer is not Tea Party. Stenberg was Tea Party. Don’t get caught up in that. Don’t get caught up in who wants credit for this.
Nothing frustrates me more than a bunch of people trying to glom on and take credit either for their fundraising purposes or for their ego or what have you. The bottom line is that the establishment candidate handpicked, went down to defeat, and there were two conservatives opposing him. The conservative vote was split and yet it still was enough for one of the candidates to win. Whether Deb Fischer’s a Tea Party candidate or not and Stenberg was is to miss the point. The Tea Party’s not gonna win every race. They’re not gonna magically have the best candidate every time.
But the thing to take out of this, normally in a race like this where you’ve got a three-way split of the votes, the establishment candidate in the past would always win with the other two splitting the opposition vote, which in this case was the conservative vote. And look what happened. Deb Fischer and Stenberg split the conservative vote, and yet she still got enough votes to beat the establishment guy. That’s momentous, if you ask me. Here’s Deb Fischer’s opponent, Bob Kerrey, former senator of Nebraska who is going to be her opponent again, last night in Omaha.
KERREY: Every politician that gets up and gives a speech talks about our children and our grandchildren. So are you putting your money where your mouth is, or are you just being another windbag talking about something you’re really not gonna do anything about?
RUSH: What in the world? Did you understand that? Please. Translate. I know it’s an excerpt and I don’t have the context, but still. “Every politician that gets up and gives a speech talks about our children and our grandchildren.” Okay, I guess that’s a swipe at us. Because we’re worried about all the Obama and Democrat Party indebtedness and what it’s doing to our children and grandchildren. So he gets up and he rips that. “So are you putting your money where your mouth is, or are you just being another windbag talking about something you’re really not gonna do anything about?” So is he saying that Deb Fischer is not gonna do anything about the debt? Is that what he’s saying? (interruption) He’s talking about tax increases? Okay. Oh, right, right, right. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. Democrat, raise taxes, yeah, yeah, yeah. Okay.
You can talk all you want about your children and grandchildren, but are you gonna be there when it’s time to really do something about it, and that’s raise taxes. Okay, well, he’s history; 170,000 more Republican registered voters in Nebraska than there are Democrats and energy out the wazoo on top of that. So Bob Kerrey wants to talk about tax increases, let him go ahead. Now, last night on Greta Van Susteren’s show on Fox, Mitch Daniels, the governor of Indiana. She said, “I know that you were chief of staff way back when for Senator Lugar. He lost to a man supported by the Tea Party. What do you do make of the Tea Party movement in the country right now, Governor Daniels?”
DANIELS: It would be a complete misunderstanding to label this a Tea Party phenomenon when in fact the winner had a very strong majority with rank-and-file Republicans who felt they knew him, have seen a lot of him, he’s been elected twice statewide in just the last six years, so he’s a Republican regular himself, and that was the decisive factor.
RUSH: Okay. Mitch Daniels wants everybody to know that Mourdock, he’s a Republican establishment guy, he’s an elected Republican. All that’s true, by the way. He’s been elected, statewide office. But the Tea Party people in Indiana are kind of chuckling at this right now because, as far as they were concerned, Mourdock was indeed their candidate, the Tea Party was who was behind him. The Republican Party was behind Lugar! So I guess the Republican Party was supporting both of these guys and so no matter what happens, the Republican Party wins. Don’t believe this Tea Party stuff. Republican establishment types are rightfully worried about the Tea Party. They are. I mean the Tea Party is real, it exists, it has genuine energy, and the reason why the establishment Republicans are a little concerned is, the Tea Party has almost equal amounts of purpose to displace Democrats as much as establishment Republicans. Dingy Harry yesterday, Capitol Hill, in Washington. He also took a swipe at the Tea Party.
REID: It’s pretty clear to me that the Tea Party direction of the Republican Party is driving them over a cliff.
RUSH: Really? How’s that? How do you get there? Mourdock wins. It’s Lugar that’s over the cliff. It’s Mr. Bruning, who by the way, I have no beef against the guy in Nebraska, the state treasurer, Jon Bruning. I don’t know him. Don’t misinterpret any of this as, you know, applauding with glee over this. But this is Republican intramural politics. When the Tea Party wins how is that driving over a cliff, unless Dingy Harry wants people to believe that these Tea Party victories guarantee Democrat wins in the general elections, which is clearly their message and what he’s hoping for.
RUSH: Kevin in Lincoln, Nebraska. Hi, sir. Great to have you on the program. Hello.
CALLER: Hello, Mr. Limbaugh. This truly is an honor.
RUSH: Thank you, sir, very much.
CALLER: Everything you do for our country, I really appreciate it.
RUSH: Thank you.
CALLER: Hey, this election that we had here in Nebraska with Deb Fischer is very telling on two accounts. Number one, it should show establishment candidates that they should be very afraid and they should listen to conservatives. I mean here you have Jon Bruning, he’s pro-life in a pro-life state, he’s leading the fight on health care, and he gets beat. Well, how does that happen? Because he’s establishment. We here in Lincoln just did not trust that he was gonna do things. And the second thing it illustrates is how open-minded the Tea Party constituency really is. I mean you had the Tea Party endorse Don Stenberg, but we’re free thinkers. We look at Deb Fischer and we say, no, she represents the ideals of the Tea Party way more than Don Stenberg does, so we vote for her. We don’t just follow marching orders like the left does.
RUSH: Both of those are excellent observations. If Bruning is pro-life and all, what makes him establishment? I got ten seconds. What makes him establishment?
CALLER: The biggest thing is he’s just been there too long and people don’t trust that.
RUSH: Okay. Says he’s this and says he’s that, but people don’t trust it. Okay. Glad you called.
RUSH: Andrea in Omaha, you’re next. I’m glad you waited. Welcome to the EIB Network.
CALLER: Thank you, Rush. It’s good to talk with you again. The last time we spoke was right before the Iowa primary. I am the pharmacist who works over in Atlantic, Iowa, but I live in Omaha, and I called to tell you that in the past I’ve met Don Stenberg and Jon Bruning and have not met State Senator Deb Fischer. But she served in our unicameral legislature for many years, and is from western Nebraska. I think she’s got a better perspective about the state in general, because Bruning and Stenberg are kind of urban guys, I think. And the thing that really —
RUSH: Ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, if I may, there really isn’t an urban in Nebraska.
RUSH: It’s not an insult. Okay, I take it back. There are large cities. I say this with love and affection. But what you’re primarily pointing out is she’s from the western part. She’s a rancher.
RUSH: She is of the dirt. She is of the soil. She is grassroots up. That’s what you’re saying.
CALLER: Yes. And it made a difference for me. This is the first time I ever really took into account someone’s endorsement of a candidate, although I did know that Mark Levin endorsed Don Stenberg. But when Palin came out for State Senator Fischer, I said, “That’s it, I’m voting for her.”
RUSH: So Palin was your moving factor?
CALLER: It was. Because I don’t think people realize, she has a lot of respect among people out here in the Heartland. And as a mom and a working mom I just have the greatest respect for her. I don’t care about her gaffes. I don’t care about what people say about her. I relate to her as a mother.
RUSH: Her gaffes. There haven’t really been that many Palin gaffes. Many of them we have come to learn have been made up, or blown out of proportion, exaggerated. Such as, how many of you to this day think that Palin actually said to Katie Couric, “Oh, yeah, I’m an expert on foreign policy, I can see Russia from my backyard.” She never said that. Never said it but people end up believing it and so forth. Well, look, Andrea, I’m glad you called. Thanks much. I appreciate it.
Now, the Palin endorsement came in late. And there are some people — and look, I don’t want to get in the middle of these internecine battles, but some people are claiming that Palin waited to get the lay of the land and then made the endorsement. She did it the last two weeks. Some people are saying Palin is mostly endorsing women, the mama grizzly thing. This is all part of the competition. Herman Cain endorsed Deb Fischer, after Palin did. There are a lot of people, when you have a victory like this, say, “Well, I did it.” The candidate is not to be taken out of the equation. No, Herman’s back out there.
Herman’s a big Two If By Tea fan, by the way. He was in South Carolina, a Republican leader there gave him a bottle. I didn’t know this was gonna happen. Herman’s an honest guy. He coulda said, “Rush, I think you need to work on this.” If he thought it wasn’t any good, he woulda said that. He’s an honest guy. But he loved it. So we sent him some and a bill. The bill said “comp” on it.