RUSH: I have here in my formerly nicotine-stained fingers a piece written by Stuart Rothenberg that is published in Roll Call. Stuart Rothenberg is considered one of the eminent personages of the inside-the-Beltway political class. When Stuart Rothenberg speaks, it’s sort of like the old days of E. F. Hutton. “Oh, really?” and people pay a little closer attention.
Stuart Rothenberg has posted a piece at the Roll Call website that says, “Obama’s Midterm Loss Record Could Make History — President Barack Obama is about to do what no president has done in the past 50 years: Have two horrible, terrible, awful midterm elections in a row. In fact, Obama is likely to have the worst midterm numbers of any two-term president going back to Democrat Harry S Truman.
“Truman lost a total of 83 House seats during his two midterms (55 seats in 1946 and 28 seats in 1950), while Republican Dwight Eisenhower lost a combined 66 House seats in the 1954 and 1958 midterms. Obama had one midterm where his party lost 63 House seats,” in 2010. They lost 700 Democrat seats across the country. Seven hundred elective office seats, state and local — national — they lost.
Sixty-three of those were in the House of Representatives. “Democrats are expected to lose another 5 to possibly 12 House seats (or more),” next Tuesday, “taking the sitting president’s total midterm House loses to the 68 seat to 75 seat range. Most recent presidents have one disastrous midterm and another midterm that was not terrible.
“The GOP lost 30 House seats in George W. Bush’s second midterm, but gained 8 seats in his first midterm for a net loss of 22 seats.” You know, I will never forget that first midterm in 2002. You know why? Tim Russert. Tim Russert and I were fairly close. I was a guest on Meet the Press a lot, and he’d bring his son Luke down here for golf lessons, PGA National, and on occasion we’d have dinner at Shula’s steakhouse.
Tim was a… I mean, he was a hard-boiled Democrat, but he wouldn’t fit in with what’s going on now. He died right around the time MSNBC really began to tack extreme lunatic, and — I don’t know for certain — I think he was troubled by it. But he was the Washington bureau chief. He was not the head of the news division. But he invited me to do election coverage on NBC in 2002, with he and Tom Brokaw.
It was not to embarrass me. They weren’t expecting a Republican win, but at the time they wanted the most articulate conservative analysis that they could get. Folks, you should have been there. Now, you have to remember what had preceded this. I always like to remind people of things. This is fairly recent. I mean, this is 12 years ago, and 2002 followed 9/11, 2002 was right before we went to Iraq in 2003, 2002 was right after the Wellstone memorial.
Do you remember the Wellstone memorial? The Wellstone memorial, I think, was the first precursor of what the Democrat Party has become. Paul Wellstone, senator from Minnesota, died in a plane crash, and the Democrats held a memorial for him. He died a month before the election. They held a memorial for him, and they hijacked it, and they turned it into a blatant…
It was essentially… It not a funeral. It was a memorial. But it had the solemn air of a funeral, and they hijacked this thing and they turned it into the most reprehensible political event. At that time the country was repulsed by this stuff. At that time, we were heartened that the country was repulsed by this stuff. They no longer are. The country apparently… Well, I don’t know. I may be speaking too soon.
We would hope so.
But without getting into great detail, Republican colleagues of Paul Wellstone were forced to walk out. They attended the Wellstone memorial because they thought it was a memorial to honor Wellstone, and the Republicans have always been obsessed with showing they can cross the aisle and work with Democrats and be bipartisan. They were booed. They were heckled.
They were insulted not only by people sitting in the stands at the event, they were insulted by Democrat speakers from the podium, who questioned their true intentions in being there, questioned their integrity, their honesty. They said, they really didn’t love Wellstone, didn’t really like Wellstone. That’s not why they were there. And they were shamed into leaving.
Well, not shamed. It became a security thing. I mean, Trent Lott getting up shaking, walking out of there. That’s when Tom Harkin stood up and did one of the most partisan speeches I’ve ever heard at what was a quasi-funeral, and had the place rocking. I mean, it was a typical lunatic, radical, extremist audience. Oh, yeah. It was a get-out-the-vote effort. It was (Harkin impression), “Do it for Paul! Do it for Paul!”
The man had just died in a plane crash, and they made it look like the only thing Paul Wellstone cared about was beating Republicans. Anyway, the midterms come along. And, by the way, there was one other seminal event leading up to those midterms, and that is the Democrats at first had voted against the use-of-force authorization to go to war in Iraq, which took a year and a half.
We didn’t just decide to go to war in Iraq like we just decided to go to war with ISIS. Bush spent a year and a half drumming up support at the UN, his coalition of nations, and support from the people of this country. He gave speeches all over this country. He took a year and a half, almost two years to put it together. The first time it was voted on, the Democrats voted against it
Then public opinion came out, and it was totally for what Bush wanted to do. The Democrats asked for a second vote on the use-of-force authorization, and Bush — the first of, I think, many mistakes. Rather than saying, “No, you guys own it. You voted opposed to it. You’re gonna stick to opposed to it,” he let them have their second vote, because he wanted the appearance to be that the United States was unified behind the effort in the War on Terror.
And I remember thinking: They’re not unified with you, Mr. President. They’re simply scared of public opinion. And, lo and behold, they came in, they all voted for it, and Mrs. Clinton’s still paying the price for it, by the way. Obama did not vote. Well, he wasn’t able to, but on the campaign trail he said if he had been there he would have voted against it. But Hillary was one of those, and John Forbes Kerry, who served in Vietnam, he also voted for the use of force after they both voted against it the first time, and it’s been used against Hillary ever since.
Well, in midst of all this came the 2002 midterms. The sitting party never picks up seats in a midterm election. It’s so rare, and it happened. Bush picked up, the Republicans picked up eight seats. I remember that night. The studios at NBC are right where Fox News’ studios are, the same building, whatever that building is, across the street from the Capital, and you should have seen the attitude of all the NBC producers, directors, makeup people, the employees, they were just in stunned disbelief.
That was the night that Tim Russert had asked me to come in and do occasional — I wasn’t on full time. They brought me in and other people. I think I was on camera three times. Russert was fine with it, I mean, he was a consummate pro. You could even see Brokaw was not quite understanding what had happened. This is so rare that the sitting party gains seats. I’ll never forget that because it was, well, kind of fun. They had me in an office building watching the returns, preparing whatever remarks I was gonna make while watching the coverage. They’d come and get me, say, “You’re on in five.” So I’d go down to makeup.
It was like a tomb in there. And of course my analysis was I wasn’t surprised at all and I explained exactly why it had happened. I cited the Wellstone memorial, and I cited all these things. You could just see all these people. They were flummoxed. They had no idea. The Wellstone memorial, they thought it was a huge upper, a big positive.
I’ll tell you what they’re doing. Mary Landrieu and Chuck Rangel and all these other guys, they’re redoing the Wellstone memorial in this campaign. It’s exactly what they’re doing. They’re that out of touch. They are that lost. And so Stuart Rothenberg says (paraphrasing), “This could be so bad, Obama could stet a record for the total number of House seats lost, two-term Democrat presidents in midterm elections.” We’re close enough now that the polling data that a guy like Rothenberg would rely on is probably pretty close to being accurate, at least as accurate as they can make it.
But, on the other hand, you remember yesterday on this program I had a story from the New York Times by Nate Cohn. And that story was how the polls always undercount and undersample Democrats. Remember that story from yesterday? It was a designed get-out-the-vote piece. It was a piece in the New York Times that was supposed to be written as an upper for Democrat readers. “Hey, hey, we’re gonna win. Hey, just show up and vote. Hey, it’s not nearly as bad as the polling data says because the polls are not properly counting Democrats.” First time I’ve ever heard in my life where polls undersample Democrats.
Well, the guy is back today with another story. “Early Voting Numbers Look Good for Democrats — Democratic efforts to turn out the young and nonwhite voters who sat out the 2010 midterm elections appear to be paying off in several Senate battleground states. More than 20 percent of the nearly three million votes already tabulated in Georgia, North Carolina, Colorado and Iowa have come from people who did not vote in the last midterm election.”
He admits later on in the story that despite that, that the early voting lead that he cites here is not enough to overcome the overall Republican lead. But don’t forget what we had to open the program with. The AP, the story is now out, by the way. It was not out when I first told you about it, when the program opened. “According to the latest data from the Associated Press’s election research team, Republicans have a 10 percentage-point lead in ballots cast in early voting. Independents have cast about 25% of the total. In Florida, for example, the early vote total already exceeds the total early vote in 2010.”
Meaning the turnout is likely gonna be even higher. The turnout’s gonna be even angrier. The turnout’s gonna be even more passionate next week than it was in 2010. And 2010 was over the top. And here’s this lone guy at the New York Times writing his piece: Hey, you know what? The early voting Democrat, they’re leading, and, hey, Democrats are undersampled in the polling data. So there’s abject panic setting in.