RUSH: What number is the Chris Christie bite? Grab sound bite number 17. This is from yesterday afternoon. It’s on CNBC Power Lunch. John Harwood, chief correspondent — he’s been the New York Times, Wall Street Journal. Now he’s at CNBC, and he may still be at the New York Times, for all I know. He did a quick little interview with Governor Christie at the CNBC Delivering Alpha Conference, and Harwood says, “Governor, do you think we need less government?”
CHRISTIE: What I think is we need less government being intrusive in our lives in every way that it is. Now, there are absolute fundamental roles for government, which is protecting the health, safety, and welfare of its citizens. And so I believe in a strong and vigorous national defense. I believe that government has an appropriate role in regulating different activities that go on in the country. But I think what’s happened is that there’s a divide between the two parties where, who can do most of that best? It’s not that Republicans don’t believe government has a role.
RUSH: Well, there you have it. That’s exactly what I’m talking about. The argument is no longer a big, intrusive, too large government; the argument is who’s gonna run the Big Government better. Governor Christie is trying to make the case that the Republicans are better at running a big monolith than the Democrats are. “Hey, we Republicans, it’s not that we don’t think government has a role!
“We just think the question is: Who can do the most the best?” That’s what he said. “Who can do most of that best? Who can do the most of the best?” That’s what the arguments come down to, and the Weekly Standard editorial position is: The American people have voted for Big Government. They want it. We have to tell ’em we’re better at running it.
Among the Republicans inside-the-Beltway, there’s no desire to fight for a smaller government. There’s an acceptance of what is, and they claim it’s rooted in this is what the American people are voting for. “We’re silly if we try to oppose this, Mr. Limbaugh,” they tell me. “You’re never gonna win an election running on small government. Look, way too many people need it. Too many people depend on it. Too many people want it.
“We cannot just wish that away. We wish it weren’t the case, but it is. So our strategy has to be that we’re smarter and that we’re better and we’ll be less intrusive as we.” Well, that’s not a choice. That’s not really a choice, because a Big Government can’t be run efficiently. A Big Government can’t be run smarter. That’s the old argument modern day liberals make to explain away the failures of Gorbachev and Stalin and Lenin and Mao.
“Well, you know what? They weren’t the right people to really close the deal. We are the ones you’ve been waiting for! We’re the ones to make it happen. We are the ones smart enough to run big. We’re the ones that really are now on the scene. We’re the ones can make socialism work.” That’s the leftist argument. The Republicans have modified that.
“We’re the ones who can run a Big Government better!”
(interruption) Why does the left never abandon their…? ‘Cause they’re committed to it. I’ll tell you why the left never abandons their ideology is because public opinion’s irrelevant to them. Public opinion is meant to be manipulated, bent and shaped, fooled. They’re into fooling the people. If you listen to Republicans, the American people are voting for Big Government.
“I mean, they say they want it. We can’t change that!” When people vote against Democrats, do the Democrats change? Do the Democrats say, “Wow, you know what? The American people don’t want a Big Government. We better come out for a smaller one.” Do they ever do that? They never do. It’s more complex than saying the Republicans listen to the people and the Democrats don’t, but there is some truth to that.
The Democrats have their agenda, their ideology, and it’s their religion. So just as you’re not going to be able to talk a Christian out of Christianity, you’re not gonna be able to talk a liberal out of liberalism. Well, it happens. I know it does. I know it. In both instances it happens, by the way. But the Republicans don’t approach… The Republicans, I think they exemplify — you know people like this.
They’re just totally obsessed with what people think of them and try to satisfy them. Can somebody tell me what the Republican agenda is? I know what the Democrat agenda is. I mean, I know what Chuck Schumer wants. I know what Obama wants. I know what Biden wants. I know what Harry Reid wants. I know what they want. Can somebody tell me what the Republican agenda is today, other than what Chris Christie just said here?
No, you can’t.
That’s one of the problems, I think.
RUSH: This is Henry in the Washington area. Henry, welcome. Glad you called, sir.
CALLER: Hey, Rush. Great to talk with you. Yeah, I’m glad you grabbed that clip. I heard it a little different. You cut it off just before the end. Preface: I’m not a big Christie fan, but I think that he was about to say, “Who can do…? Who can…?” He said, uhh, something… The government can ensure peace and health of the citizens and the security of the citizens, and then he said the question is, who can do it better? And I think he was about to say, Democrats — Democrats think the Democrats can do it better and the public thinks the private sector can do it better.
RUSH: Well, I don’t have that. The only thing I know what he said is what I have here on the roster.
RUSH: Do you know that he continued to speak after this? Let’s play the bite. I’ll just play what we have here. This is on CNN yesterday afternoon, and he was asked by John Harwood if he thought that we need less government. (replaying of sound bite) So he continued speaking? You heard him say that he thinks that private sector could do most of this better?
CALLER: Well, I’m gonna have to research it, but I just thought I’d bring it up because what I know of the guy, he wouldn’t be a guy that would be saying, “I think Republicans can do Big Government better.” But I’m amazed I got through. I just thought I’d make that point.
RUSH: Well, but —
CALLER: Tell you what. I will research it and send you an e-mail.
RUSH: Well, we’ve got the whole bite. We edit this stuff just for brevity. We never edit things to take people out of context. We don’t do that here. So I’ll find out if there’s anything additional here that would change the context, but I would be shocked to learn that that happened in this case. All I can tell you is, you may wish that Republicans would say what you think they were going to say.
I used to think they would say it, too.
I used to think that they believed this stuff, but more and more — and it’s not just Republicans. So-called conservatives in the media. I’m not making this up. Here’s the thing, Henry. I think everybody’s gonna come to grips with the fact that the Washington establishment — the establishment Republicans have made it very clear, they like government. They like Big Government.
They want to control it.
They want the levers of power in Big Government.
I don’t hear, as a campaign message or as a mission statement or anything representative of an agenda, from the Republican Party about smaller government. If they do say it, it’s tossed in as an afterthought. It’s not something that they lead with. Now, here’s something. The New York Times wrote this story up, and here’s something else that Christie said.
I don’t have it on tape. I’m just gonna read this to you from the New York Times. “I for certain believe itÂ’s wrong to say government needs to spend more money on education. In my state, we spend $17,700 per pupil on average on K-to-12 education. We do not have a spending problem in education in New Jersey. We have a quality problem in many parts of our state. Infrastructure is uniquely a governmental role.
“Well, where’s the money coming from exactly? We do need at some point to say thereÂ’s a bottom to this. But do I think that infrastructure is something the government needs to invest in and needs to partner with folks on? Absolutely I do.” So most of what he was talking about here was government spending, and he was saying we don’t need anymore government spending on education. It clearly isn’t working.
But we do need more government spending on “infrastructure.” He didn’t say the private sector would be best capable at dealing with that or more suited at dealing with that. I think I’ve come to grips with the fact that this is not the Republican Party I grew up in. This is not the Republican Party that automatically… Look, where has the opposition to Obama been? Where’s the push-back been?
In my lifetime, we’ve never had a greater opportunity to contrast the supposed differences in the two parties than last 5-1/2 years. We have Big Government, we have expansive, we have the redistribution of wealth, we’ve got liberalism on steroids — and it’s not just theoretical anymore. It’s real, it’s happening, and it’s destroying things. Where’s the push-back? Where is the contrast? Where is the Republican Party saying, “No, this is not the answer. The answer is the exact opposite of this”?
It would be so easy to say.
It happens to be true.
It’s exactly what the Republican Party base wants to hear. You see all these stories every day. I’ll give you another illustration of this. Every day, ladies and gentlemen — I don’t care what the story is, be it the impeachment of Obama or immigration, you name it — the focal point of every story in the media is what the Democrats are doing to keep their base happy, what the Democrats are doing to get their base out.
Even if it includes tricking the Republicans into impeaching Obama, even if it includes amnesty for illegals or what have you. If it includes making it sound like every woman needs a birth control pill 25 times a day, whatever it is, everything they’re doing is oriented toward turning out their base. Do you ever see such stories about the Republicans? You don’t.
The stories you see about the Republicans and their base is how they are embarrassed by their base. You see stories about the Republicans and their base and it’s about how they’re trying to avoid their base or about how they don’t want their base (i.e., the Tea Party). You never see stories about the Republican Party doing what it can to solidify its base. It seems like everything the Republican Party’s doing either is intended to (or it just happens to) provoke their base.
On the other hand, every story about the Democrats and their base is how the Democrats are trying to please them, to stoke them, fire ’em up, keep ’em happy, get ’em it turned out. You never see that about the Republicans, and you would if the Republicans were actually opposed to what’s going on. Now, could well be that they are, they’re just afraid to say so, and that may hold a grain of truth, too.
Don’t forget, Obama’s race acts as a great paralyzer. It just shuts down any legitimate criticism. People are afraid that it’s gonna be chalked up to racism. It’s gonna be discounted, ridiculed, personalized and then people are just terrified. So they shut up. But regardless. Whatever the reason, there is no push-back. There is no opposition. There is no effort to contrast the difference in the two parties, and the Republicans do not make it look like they’re interested in their base being happy.
RUSH: One more. I don’t have the audio, but I have the transcript. One more thing that Governor Christie said in the interview on CNBC with John Harwood.
Harwood said, “Let me ask about the macro division between the two parties. Essentially, what you hear from Republicans in Washington is government needs to do less, spend less, we need to borrow less, get out of the way. From Democrats you say we need, as Hillary Clinton said recently, the building blocks in the 21st Century industry; more workforce training, more science. Where are you on that,” Governor?
Governor Christie said, “The fact is the difference between Republicans and Democrats, Democrats believe the government are the people who could be doing those things that Mrs. Clinton mentioned and Republicans believe the private sector is better to do that. That’s the fundamental core disagreement. Now having run a government for five years, I agree with my party even more than I did before.”
HARWOOD: “You see her as a big-spending Democratic liberal, who wants to grow government?”
CHRISTIE: “No. I think you said that.”
So he does not see, or he refused to call, Hillary Clinton a big-spending liberal. Now, he did say here, as the caller thought he might, that Republicans believe the private sector is better to do things like science and whatever the hell else Hillary’s talking about, but Harwood asks: “You see her as a big-spending Democratic liberal, who wants to grow government?” and he says, basically: “No, no, no. I didn’t say that. You did.”
(interruption) What are you shaking your head for in there? You know why he said this? (interruption) Why do you think he said…? (interruption) Why will he not…? (interruption) Why will he not take the opportunity to agree that Hillary Clinton is a big-spending liberal? (interruption) He doesn’t want to what? (interruption)
I don’t think it has anything to do with not attacking the girl. I think it’s a tantamount admission that he comes from a liberal state. I mean, the people that elected him believe in Big Government. Who knows? The people in New Jersey may love Hillary Clinton. He may not want to be on the wrong side of Hillary because he’s gonna need the people of his state later on.
This is what, I mean, though. I mean, if you can’t distinguish yourself in terms of the role of government and big spending versus small, if you can’t distinguish yourself from Hillary Clinton, then what are you doing? She is the epitome of what we oppose. So is Obama. And if you cannot say that, or if you won’t say it, what are people to conclude? You leave it open.