RUSH: When I got home yesterday, I started immediately into show prep and no matter where I went everywhere on the Internet… I even turned on cable news. I don’t do that much anymore ’cause it’s on all day during the program. I kept seeing that Obama was on “a charm offensive.” Everywhere I said, “What is this? What did I miss? What charm offensive? There’s no such thing! He’s not a charming guy.”
So we dug deep, folks, and do you remember the media and gravitas?
It’s happened again.
“Charm offensive” is the latest media thing.
RUSH: Let’s go back to the Grooveyard of Forgotten sound bites. This is July of 2000. This is what happened after George W. Bush decided that Dick Cheney — he hired Cheney to do his search for a vice presidential nominee, candidate, a running mate. And after not very long, Bush said, “You know what, to hell with this. I’m just gonna ask Cheney. Cheney is the right guy.” And the media had a reaction, and it was identical. Every media person. It didn’t matter. Every Democrat, every media person all had the same one-word reaction.
Now, this is 13 years ago, and when we played this at first it was to illustrate how there is no original thinking, and somehow a reaction to a Republican or conservative event is established, and they all fall in line and repeat it. And that word back then was “gravitas.” I know you’ve been listening for a long time, but as I said last week, folks, please indulge us here. I mean, indulge me. There’s no “us” here; it’s me. We have people tuning in for the first time every day to this program. It’s a neat balancing act here to move the program forward and not bore those of you who know some of the things I’m going to repeat for the new arrivals. I appreciate you being patient. Here is how this sounded in 2000. This is in July.
AL HUNT: He meets all of George W.’s weaknesses, lack of gravitas.
JUAN WILLIAMS: We see the son, who is seeking some gravitas.
CLAIRE SHIPMAN: They were looking at candidates with gravitas.
STEVE ROBERTS: But he has the gravitas and you can sum it up in one word, stature.
VIC FAZIO: It may go to the gravitas.
JEFF GREENFIELD: We’re to use the favorite phrase, gravitas.
LESTER HOLT: This is a vice president who bought gravitas.
WOLF BLITZER: This will give some gravitas, add some credibility.
ED ROLLINS: I think the gravitas that Cheney brought to the ticket.
JONATHAN ALTER: What he gets is gravitas, a sense of weight.
BOB KERREY: He does not need anybody to give him gravitas.
MARGARET CARLSON: It means that, you know, gravitas.
MIKE MCCURRY: I think he also needs some gravitas.
SAM DONALDSON: To give gravitas.
ELEANOR CLIFT: Well, he brings gravitas.
WALTER ISAACSON: He does seem to bring some gravitas.
AL HUNT: ItÂ’s called gravitas.
MARK SHIELDS: A little gravitas!
JUDY WOODRUFF: You certainly have gravitas tonight.
SAM DONALDSON: He displayed tonight a certain gravitas.
MARIO CUOMO: I think gravitas is the word, Unfortunately for the Governor you canÂ’t graft gravitas. He has gravitas.
RUSH: That was Mario “The Pious” there, Governor Cuomo of New York way back then. You heard them all describe Cheney’s selection as bringing gravitas to the ticket. It was funny then, it’s hilarious now, but it illustrates the groupthink. So I get home yesterday, and I start diligently catching up. I didn’t pay much attention to the news on Sunday. I was out most of the day yesterday. So I came in, I started ramping up for today, and no matter where I turned, no matter what I read, no matter what I saw, I learned that Obama is on a charm offensive.
WOLF BLITZER: President ObamaÂ’s wrapping up his GOP charm offensive.
MARK CRUMPTON: President Obama’s charm offensive.
CAROL COSTELLO: Will the Obama charm offensive work?
JOHN BERMAN: President Obama begins a charm offensive.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Charm offensive from President Obama.
DON LEMON: Launching a charm offensive.
STUART VARNEY: His charm offensive continues.
JOHN MULLER: We begin with President Obama’s so-called charm offensive.
CHRIS WALLACE: The president’s so-called charm offensive.
CANDY CROWLEY: The president’s so-called charm offensive.
BOB SCHIEFFER: This so-called charm offensive.
LIBBY CASEY: President ObamaÂ’s so-called charm offensive.
KATE BOLDUAN: Being described as the charm offensive.
DOUG LUZADER: What some are describing as a charm offensive.
HOWARD KURTZ: What’s being called the Obama charm offensive.
JENNA LEE: Some call it a charm offensive.
DAN HARRIS: A major charm offensive.
KIM STRASSEL: The charm offensive.
BRIAN KILMEADE: The president, still on his charm offensive.
JULIANNA GOLDMAN: The charm offensive.
WILL CAIN: This charm offensive.
HARRIS FAULKNER: The president’s charm offensive.
DOUG SCHOEN: The charm offensive.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX: The charm offensive.
JON SCOTT: The charm offensive.
STEVE CENTANNI: An ongoing charm offensive.
JAMES PINKERTON: A quote charm offensive unquote.
SUSAN MCGINNIS: It’s being called the president’s charm offensive.
RUSH: Now, I could give you all the names there, but it doesn’t matter. Not one of those were repeated. Now, I didn’t know that any such thing was going on. So I said, “What is this?” And I learned, I read a piece by Ron Fournier, the National Journal, by the way, the charm offensive isn’t working, bottom line. But the charm offensive was Obama inviting Republican establishment types out to dinner. The night that Rand Paul was doing his filibuster, Obama took, who was it, McCain and Lindsey Graham and Bob Corker and Tom Coburn, a bunch of Republicans to dinner in that 20-car motorcade for a half mile trip, and that was Obama’s charm offensive.
And, by the way, there are some White House staffers who were not happy about this. They don’t like the charm offensive. They’re being forced to do this. They think that this whole thing’s being drummed up — get this — for media approval. Now, why would this be taking place? It appears, ladies and gentlemen, that Obama’s in some kind of trouble. Either in the polls or in the arena of public perception. There is a polling story out from yesterday. McClatchy-Marist has a poll and the headline of their story here says “Obama Tumbling in Voters’ Eyes.”
They start the story this way: “If President Barack Obama had piled up political capital with his impressive re-election, it’s largely gone.” These are the same people that said Obama had a mandate after his reelection to go grow the government, whatever he wanted to do, he had it. The people elected him open-endedly. Well, man, it didn’t last long. We’re just barely here the middle of March, he needs a charm offensive, political capital is largely gone. What was impressive about his reelection? He won reelection.
You know, these kind of facts only serve to further irritate me. Because we didn’t have to be here. Obama’s election victory was by a much smaller margin than his first victory. He won in 2008 the 7.2% margin over McCain, a 2.8% margin over Mitt Romney. And had four million Republicans shown up to vote, who did vote in ’08 but didn’t vote in 2012, we wouldn’t be talking about an Obama victory.
But the Republicans for whatever reason just went silent. You know, after Romney scored big in the first debate, that was it, that was the end of offensive and they just went into the prevent defense mode where the objective was, “Okay, we’ve done it now. We’ve catapulted guy. Let’s not blow it. Let’s not make anybody mad. Let’s not say anything provocative. Let’s not be critical of Obama.” And, of course, it all just petered away and the Republican base didn’t even show up. But I don’t know what was impressive about the win, 2.8% victory. Which is the first time it’s ever happened to any two-term president where his margin of victory shrunk from first term to second term.
Then the McClatchy story here says that Obama’s approval rating has dropped to the lowest level in more than a year, and we have been chronicling that last week. And I think in three different polls now Obama’s approval number is under 50. This is when the slaves in the media start getting worried. They start getting worried that they’re not able to carry the guy’s water and that he’s not able to do it alone. That’s why they’re all talking about how he’s now on a charm offensive. Why does he need one? I thought he was the nicest guy ever. I thought Obama was messianic. I mean, the low-information voters, Obama’s wonderful. He’s the greatest guy in the world. He’s cool. He’s hip. I mean, he’s already booked Michelle’s 50th birthday party.
He’s got Beyonce coming. He’s got Adele coming. I was asked the other day, “Can you remember a president more eager to hang around celebrities than Obama?” I can think of two that are maybes. One’s Clinton (Clinton invited ’em to the Lincoln Bedroom) and the other is JFK. JFK had Hollywood people all over the place, Sinatra’s Rat Pack. They were all over the place. Marilyn Monroe, too. I mean, when the celebrities weren’t coming to the White House, JFK and RFK were coming to them.
But the Democrats do fashion themselves as on the same plain as Hollywood celebrities. Music industry top dogs. I’ve often thought, you know, Obama is seen by many, particularly low-information voters, not even as the president. He’s just the biggest celebrity in the country. Celebrity of the United States. So when his approval rating drops below 50%, everybody starts getting alarmed, ’cause they know, in the back of their minds, that this is all built on the flimsiest foundation.
Obama’s administration, his success, it’s all built on the flimsiest of things, and that is media buzz. It’s all built on false images. It’s all built on false stories, PR, buzz, whatever you want to say. So when the approval numbers drop, it’s tough to stay on the same level. You can’t revive those numbers with the unusual dose of celebrity stuff because the drop in polling data is rooted in substance. The drop in approval is rated in substance.
It’s rooted in the condition of the country.
It’s rooted in the direction the country’s going.
Obama’s approval falling below 50% is rooted in the fact that people are not happy and they’re uncomfortable. They’re at unease. They just don’t like the path the country is on. So the approval rating has dropped to the lowest level in more than a year. More voters now turning thumbs down on Obama’s performance than thumbs up. The measure of how much people like him also has dropped, and the likeability has been his strong suit.
The likeability is what has kept the approval number high. If you take the likeability number, and you average it with job performance number, you could elevate the approval. It’s just like an average of two numbers. One of them’s very, very high. Well, the liability number’s what’s kept Obama up there. The liability number’s plummeting. Ergo, everybody now says he’s on “a charm offensive,” ’cause they’re desperate to get back the old Obama.
Look, I’m not trying to be funny or even disrespectful, but “charming” is not how I would describe Obama. That’s neither here nor there. The admission that he’s on a charm offensive, or the fact that he’s on a charm offensive is an admission that he isn’t charming, or that the charm that he had has worn off. Now, they say here, “He’s still vastly more popular than Congress, particularly congressional Republicans. But in the biggest political clash of the year — over the federal budget and how to curb deficits — voters split 44% to 42% between preferring Congress or Obama.”
Now, you note out artfully that’s worded. In reality, people think congressional Republicans have a better plan to handle the debt than Obama, and the number’s 44-42. Now, if you didn’t have me translating this for you, you might think it’s Obama 44 to 42. “[I]n the biggest political clash of the year … voters split 44% to 42% between preferring Congress or Obama.” Well, it’s 44% prefer Congress and their approach, even though the Republicans are unilaterally unpopular.
This, by the way, is a forerunner.
This is sort of what was happening leading into the 2010 midterms, and the Democrats’ objective is the 2014 midterms and winning the House so they have one-party control. That’s why they’re getting worried here, folks. That’s the big objective, and that’s why the charm offensive. This and other recent polls are the reason for Obama’s sudden charm offensive because the scuare sequester isn’t working. Scaring everybody to death, “The world’s gonna come to an end!” and all that sequester fearmongering didn’t work. The birds are chirping, the sun comes up, and global warming isn’t even happening.
RUSH: A related story from CBS News in Washington: “The Pew Research Center in Washington, D.C. has found that fewer Americans than ever trust the decisions made by the government. Data collected from a survey taken in January of this year indicates that all demographics and partisan groups experienced an increasing lack of faith in government leadership…” Now, you might say, “Well, it’s too little, too late, Rush,” and I might understand you saying that.
“Obama’s been reelected. Obamacare is here. It’s all in motion. There’s nothing we can do to stop it. It’s just too bad. Ah, it’s too late,” and you might have a point. Except people like Ted Cruz, people like Mike Lee, people like Marco Rubio, are hell-bent on seeing to it that Obamacare is not fully funded and Paul Ryan’s budget, which we haven’t gotten to yet. Paul Ryan’s budget calls for the full repeal of Obamacare.
“Now, my point to you is that there are newly arrived conservative Republicans in the Senate and some Tea Party Republicans and some old reliable conservative Republicans, Paul Ryan being one, who are not sitting idly by and saying, “You know what? The Democrats won. They get to do whatever they want. I don’t know if you’ve heard this or not, but more and more conservatives — so-called conservatives — are saying, “Well, look, Obama won.
“He gets to do what he wants! Obamacare is the law of the land. We can’t do anything about it and we shouldn’t. We’re conservatives, and we abide by the law.” No. Sorry. Democrats never just sit idly by. They fight every one of our judicial nominees. They fight everything we ever tried to get done. We’ve got some people still trying to defund this monster, and there appears to be public support, and public opposition to Obamacare continues to rise.