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RUSH: Just a couple of more sound bites here related to Ted Cruz. Now, this is interesting, too. Two sound bites here from Jeffrey Toobin, who is the legal analyst at CNN. He was on Fresh Air, a program on NPR yesterday, the host Terry Gross, and said to Toobin, “For your New Yorker profile of Ted Cruz, you interviewed him several times. Tell us more about your conversations with Ted Cruz and what you learned about him through these conversations.”

TOOBIN: He’s just a very smart guy. He is a very polished speaker. I think people who watched his announcement speech on Monday, you know, here was a guy who spoke for 30 minutes, theater in-the-round style, without referring to a note, speaking in clear paragraphs, without any teleprompter. This is someone who was an extremely good political communicator. Now, obviously you have to be receptive to his message, which is extremely conservative.

RUSH: Wait, why the qualifier? We gotta give Toobin credit here, though, because what Toobin’s doing is nuking this idea that Cruz is dumb. This is Thursday. It was Tuesday that I pointed out to you that this is what Drive-Bys and the Democrats do. They take this guy who is at the top of his the class in Harvard, and Alan Dershowitz said may be the smartest student that he’s ever had there — great debater, championship debater, has won several elections.

They come along and they call him dumb and they come along and they call him stupid. Their willing accomplices everywhere else in the media pick up on it, and it becomes, “He’s the next Sarah Palin! He’s dumb, he’s stupid, he’s an idiot,” and that is all because he’s a conservative. So even Toobin here, in praising Cruz’s intelligence and intellect, says, “Now, obviously, even though he’s a great speaker and all of that, you have to be receptive to his message, which is extremely conservative.”

No, you don’t.

We all agree that Mario Cuomo was a great speaker. I didn’t agree with a thing that he said, but I understood why it was accepted as gospel by his acolytes. I could watch Mario Cuomo. I did not have to be receptive to his message to understand it or to appreciate his skill at speaking. What is this, “You have to be receptive to his message”? No, you don’t. Toobin’s not receptive to it, and yet Toobin still recognized Cruz’s innate intelligence and talent in a performance sense. Anyway, here’s one more sound bite from Toobin about this. There was no other question asked. He just continued on his opinion here.

TOOBIN: One of the things that I find, frankly, offensive when I hear discussions of Ted Cruz is they say, “Oh, he’s just Sarah Palin.” You know, he could not be farther from Sarah Palin. This is someone who has a completely thought-out political philosophy, and you can agree with it or disagree with it, but it holds together. And, you know, he is someone it’s very easy to have an intelligent conversation with.

RUSH: Oh, that’s not gonna stand Toobin in too much good stead with his buddies, ’cause this is in direct contradiction to the narrative. The narrative is that Cruz is an idiot, and he’s an idiot because he’s a conservative. It doesn’t count that he went to Harvard. You know, Bush went to Harvard. Bush has got a Harvard MBA. Obama doesn’t have that. Wait a minute, Bush’s MBA may be… He’s got an MBA and a Yale degree. And still Bush was this biggest cowboy idiot.

They got away with that on Bush because of the way he speaks. By the same consequence, Obama is said to be the smartest president ever. Brilliant! He’s got that great crease in his slacks, makes him presidential, thank you, David Brooks. And yet Obama thinks we have 57 states. He’s one gaffe after the next with Obama that everybody just looks past. “Oh, he’s smart. He’s so smart.” Now, grab audio sound bite 17. Since we’re talking about intelligence and talent and not being fooled by it, let’s subject ourselves to what…

Well, you decide.

This was this morning, today, on Capitol Hill. It’s the hearing of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Diplomacy and National Security. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee. This is where the money gets spent. This is where the money gets allocated. It’s an important committee — subcommittee, actually — on diplomacy and national security. The chairman is Lindsey Grahamnesty, and he is speaking with their noted expert witness, the actor and director Ben Affleck, about security in Congo and central Africa.

Senator Graham said, “Mr. Affleck, you have been, I think, very involved in the security environment.” (interruption) I think he did. He had a security team around his trailer on the movie set. “Now, all of these developmental programs, Mr. Affleck, private sector, I mean, you’ve gotta have enough security so the people from outside the region come in and help. What is your evaluation, Mr. Affleck, of training the security forces as an American role?”

“What’s your opinion of our responsibility to train security forces in Congo and central Africa? In other words, Mr. Affleck, what benefit do we have, not just on the hard side, the soft side, but actually training…?” Wait a minute, now. What benefit? This is the question: What benefit do we have not just on the hard side, the soft side…”? What’s the hard side, soft side? (interruption)

What is he talking about here? Hard side, soft side? Asking Ben Affleck about the hard side, soft side? (interruption) Okay. “Well, in other words, Mr. Affleck, in your experience in Congo, central Africa, what benefit do we have not just on the hard side, soft side, but actually training indigenous forces, and how important so that to you in terms of your potential success?”

AFFLECK: This is an area that we’re working in, but really this is a top-down area, requires leverage from United States and local regional actors to say, “You know, include sort of trying to end corruption, trying to get soldiers paid,” and those are difficult things. But one of the hardest things about that is to train soldiers properly, and we’re uniquely suited to do that.

RUSH: Well, okay. Well, there… (interruption) Did you understand that? (interruption) We’re talking about intelligence and brilliance, competence, and we gotta… (interruption) Well, the question itself could be said to be convoluted. But Mr. Affleck here is being asked his opinion as an actor and a director — well, I think it’s implied he’s a diplomat, security expert, all that — for his evaluation of the training and security forces as an American role. In other words, “Congo, Central Africa, do we have a role in this?

“Is it our responsibility to train security forces?” In other words, “What benefit do we have not just in the hard side, the soft side? What benefit do we have in actually training indigenous forces, and how important is that to you in terms of your potential success?” I’m assuming this means, “Mr. Affleck, if you’re gonna go film a movie there sometime and you need to be safe while you’re there, what do you think we need to do,” and Affleck…

Here, play the answer, ’cause that’s the question. That is… Now, I… Now, okay. That is the question. Now we’ll play his answer again. Mr. Affleck is an actor. You’re gonna go to Congo, you’re gonna go to Central America, filming a movie at some point. What do we need to do to make your experience there safe? You’re an expert. What can we do? (replaying of sound bite)

RUSH: And he took another stab at it.

AFFLECK: You have areas in the north where we’re doing work with coffee collectives that are under threat from the ACL, which is an Al-Shabaab-associated militia out of Uganda. When you have a state that in parts is failing, it’s more vulnerable to that kind of extremism. I hear folks like you say let’s spend money this way before we spend money on bombs. But this kind of training is something that — that we can do. It’s — it’s relatively inexpensive and we’re the greatest in the world, without exception, at knowing how to build and train militaries.

RUSH: All right. Speaks for itself. There you have it. Ben Affleck testifying before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Diplomacy and National Security on training the indigenous forces of Congo and Central America. Time for us to regroup. I have… I don’t know. We’re surrounded here by such brilliance with all these sound bites from Ted Cruz and Ben Affleck, I need to ratchet it back and chill out here just to get back to normal.


RUSH: You know, this Toobin comment, there’s something about this. You’ve gotta be open to his brand of conservatism in order be able to appreciate and sit through one of his speeches? What in the world is extremely conservative about Cruz? What he’s saying? Every one of Ted Cruz’s positions matches every position of the American public, a majority of the American public.

A majority of the American public believed the same things Ted Cruz believes, and yet he’s characterized as some extremist. It’s like I am called “controversial.” To who? I’m not controversial to you. You agree with me. I’m not controversial to people that listen to the program. How is it I’m always, “The controversial right-wing extremist talk show host”? Controversial to who?


RUSH: Look, Ben Affleck was speaking before the Senate because he’s got an organization called Eastern Congo Initiative. He’s trying to transform the coffee industry in Congo and that’s why he was brought up there as an expert on training soldiers and so forth, to protect his coffee beans.

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