RUSH: I’m not trying to pick any fights. It’s not my point here. That does not thrill me. I’ve never been one of these broadcasting-feud people. I remember when I started this program back in 1988, and we started with 56 small radio stations who took the program and didn’t even know what it was.
They were taking a program that preceded it and they just took it ’cause it was the easy thing to do. Little did they know what was about to happen to them. And then it became time to branch out and start getting major market affiliations, and we got one in Los Angeles, KFI, and immediately it was suggested to me.
“You know, you need to start a rivalry with one of the local hosts there.”
I said, “Why?”
“Well, that really gets people fired up.”
I said, “I don’t even know the guy. I’ve never heard the guy. Why?”
“It doesn’t matter. Doesn’t matter. You know! You insult him, he’ll insult you back, and you get a big feud going.”
I said, “What’s the point of this? Are we not on the same radio station? Why in the world would I be ripping somebody on the same radio station? What is the business model for that? Why should I be telling the audience what a rotgut somebody on the same station is?”
“Well, it’s just cool, man, these rivalries.”
“Not if they’re fake and contrived,” I said. “I’m not interested in that.”
So my point is, there have been these constant pressures made, brought upon your host here to engage in these time-honored techniques, and I don’t do techniques like that. So if I pick somebody here that says something that I want to react to, I’m not trying to pick a fight with anybody, and I’m not trying to get into a knock-down-drag-out. It’s just that it makes me think of something.
So we just had the sound bite of Karl Rove and Brit Hume in which they were lamenting the government shutdown a year ago. They were talking about how no matter what happens, no matter who’s really to blame for it, the Republicans always get the blame. Yet after getting blame for the government shutdown 10 months ago, the Republicans just came back here and won a landslide election.
Karl Rove said, “Yeah, yeah. But at the time of the government shutdown, there were like 18% of the people who approved of the Republicans and 59% of the people who disapproved of the Republicans, and it took us a year to build it back.” That comment, well… intrigues me. It took the Republicans a year to build back the Republican Party reputation after being blamed for the government shutdown last December.
So, uhhh… How to say this? Is the Republican reputation built back? I don’t know that it is, but if it is, what did they do to build back the Republican reputation? And that takes us to the election ten days ago. What did the Republican Party run on? I’m talking about national Republican Party identity, political identity. What did they run on?
Now, I know that individual Republican candidates — and this is quite noteworthy. Practically every one of them, every victorious Republican candidate in the Senate, ran opposing Obamacare. Practically every victorious Republican also ran against executive amnesty. They ran against it, and in running against it they implied that they were going to stop it. That’s part and parcel of mentioning it in the campaign.
You oppose it. That must mean you’re gonna fight it.
Okay, if you get elected, there’s a mandate there. Now, the national Republican identity was what? Nothing. The national Republican strategy was silence. Their strategy was the Democrats and Obama are committing suicide, political suicide, and we are going to stand aside and not distract from it. So we, at the national level, are not gonna criticize Obama, and we’re not gonna mention any policies.
Because these people at the national Republican level — and, I guess, in certain quadrant or sectors of the Republican consultancy — really do believe that the Republican Party is hated and despised. They believe that the media has done lasting damage, and the only way to deal with that lasting damage is to not say anything. Because if they say anything, then the media will call ’em names and further establish the brand as Republicans are a bunch of (you know, the drill) racist sexists.
So they didn’t say anything. However, there was an implied… If you take the message of the individual candidates, the Republican Party set themselves up as the bulwark. They were going to stop. The American people were fed up. The polling data indicated it. The Democrat candidacies indicated it. They wanted nothing to do with Obama. It’s no mystery. The American people are fed up with the Obama agenda.
They don’t want any more of it. The only way that voters in this country can express that and say, “Do something about it” is to elect the other party. There is a concurrent expectation in voting for the other party, that the other party is gonna stand up and stop it. And the Republicans encouraged that line of thinking. Therefore, the Republicans allowed it to be thought that they were going to stop Obama.
That’s a no-brainer.
The American people, the voters that showed up are fed up with the direction country is going. They don’t want any more of it! It’s six years and they’ve seen the light and they vote Republican. There’s only one message that you can take, and it isn’t the voters want Republicans to help Obama by compromising with him so that Washington works again so that his agenda happens smoothly.
That’s not what they wanted.
They didn’t elect Republicans to go into town and make Washington work once again. Washington’s out of control! They want Washington stopped. I do not know how anybody can conclude otherwise. Obama even complained about ’em doing nothing. They were “the party of ‘no.'” They were the party of gridlock. They were doing nothing. And they won.
With the media calling them “the party of ‘no,'” with the media calling them the party of gridlock, they win in a landslide. What other message can there be than we were elected to stop this? That’s what they ran on; they won. Now the rubber meets the road. Now it is time to stop Obama’s abuse of power. Now, all of a sudden, they insist that if they do that, they’re going to be blamed and impugned and criticized, and so they can’t.
It would be political suicide to stop Obama because somehow that equals a government shutdown. I still… (sigh) I know, but I don’t. We’re losing control of the language here. Net neutrality is not net neutrality. The Affordable Care Act’s not Affordable Care Act. There’s nothing affordable about it. There’s nothing neutral about net neutrality, and opposing Obama’s agenda item by item is not a government shutdown.
(GOP consultant impression) “It doesn’t matter, Mr. Limbaugh. The media will call it that, and when the media calls it a government shutdown, then it’s a government shutdown.” Okay. So now we’re gonna assume the American people are just as stupid as Gruber thinks they are. “We can’t do the right thing ’cause the American people aren’t smart enough to support us and see that we’re doing.
“Even though we’re gonna be doing what they elected us to do.” This is very frustrating for me, because to me it seems not only a win-win, it seems like real reputation building is at hand by stopping Obama since that’s what the message in the election is. The story is, though, that the government shutdown 10 months ago destroyed the Republican reputation; it took them a year to build it back.
By doing what? Help me out, H.R. What happened in the ensuing 10 months after December 2013 that got the Republican Party reputation back? What’d they do? (interruption) I don’t know. (interruption) Yeah, I don’t know what we did. I don’t know that it did. I don’t know the reputation came back. I mean, Republicans are still as hated and reviled in the media as they always have been, and yet they won.
How does that happen?
How does a party so hated and despised and impugned win the landslide that it won? “Well, Mr. Limbaugh, that’s very simple to explain. See, the voters are simply tired of the party in power, and simply want the other guys to be given a chance.” Oh, so there’s no real message here; it’s just the voters are tired. So they voted for the people they hated. They voted for the people they don’t like. They voted for the racist, sexist, bigot, homophobe just ’cause they’re tired of Obama.
Is that the message? So then we’re left to ask, why don’t they want to stop this? They were elected to stop it. They know that polling data is polling data. They live and die by polling data. The majority don’t support Obamacare, in fact support the repeal. Fifty-five percent majority, 60 in some polls, and likewise numbers in amnesty, executive action amnesty. Where is the danger here? And as always, the danger lurks in what the media will say. And you see, what the media says affects donors. Dirty little secret. What the media says affects donors.
The media says Republicans are racist, sexist, bigot, homophobes, and donors say, “I can’t be seeing giving to racists, sexist, and bigots. I can’t be seen propping up racists and sexists.” So the Republicans, in order to keep the donors dollars coming, have to limit that kind of characterization about themselves. And the way to limit that kind of characterization is to not stop the implementation of all this stuff they were elected to stop. But to me, I don’t know, again, politics isn’t my business. It’s easy to sit from outside and say what you would do if you were there. I mean, it’s probably not easy.
But forget it’s Obama. We have the president, the executive, who is totally abusing and usurping the power of the Congress. Okay, we’re members of Congress, and we’re not gonna stand for that. We’re not gonna sit here and let the executive trample our constitutional power. What about that? Okay, maybe Republicans aren’t gonna stop Obama. What about Congress standing up for itself? I’ll tell you what I think. I actually think, and I’ve heard some people advance this idea, and I don’t think it’s all that out there.
I don’t think it is inconceivable that you could get enough Democrats to join you in the Senate to override an Obama veto of a repeal of Obamacare. Based on what happened to these Democrats in this election, it’s a long shot, but I don’t think it would be impossible to come up with 67 votes in the Senate to override an Obama veto. It’s a long shot, admittedly, but this stuff is certainly worth trying, for this is what they were elected to do. And if they’re not gonna do it, Republican versus Democrat, why not Congress versus the executive? You’ve got an executive trampling all over congressional power.
Now, there’s another explanation here, and it’s not a good one. But maybe it is that there really isn’t that much opposition in Congress to what Obama wants to do when you get right down to it. You hope and pray that’s not the answer to this. You hope and pray that’s not the explanation for it. That would be bad. That the reason they don’t really want to stop Obama is ’cause, hey, you know what? We kind of like the cheap labor with amnesty. And we’d kind of like the chance to go for those new voters ourselves, and, hey, we’d kind of like to make some inroads with the Hispanics.
But, I mean, if Congress isn’t gonna defend its fundamental power, its constitutional power, forget Republican versus Obama, just Congress standing up for itself. If you’re not gonna fight for that ’cause of what the media might say about you, then what are you going to fight to defend? The public does not support what Obama’s gonna do. The public wants no part of the Obama agenda. It’s abundantly clear the public doesn’t want any more of this. And the idea that that public would punish the people they elected to stop it, somehow just doesn’t jibe with me. What am I missing?
RUSH: No, I don’t dislike Karl Rove. Snerdley said, “Boy, you must really have a problem.” No. Karl Rove has been overwhelmingly nice to me over the course, particularly the Bush presidency years. I have nothing personal with Karl Rove whatsoever. There are just some things I don’t understand. I have my own thoughts, I don’t express ’em. But as I say, I’m not picking fights here. I leave that to other people. It’s not a broadcast technique here.