RUSH: There’s a piece that I found here, I think it’s at National Review Online by Larry Kudlow. Larry Kudlow is the guy that explained baseline budgeting to me when he was at Bear Stearns. Larry Kudlow was an original Reaganite. It’s in the other Stack. Here it is. And it is National Review Online. Larry Kudlow is now at CNBC, or he was. He’s still there or is leaving there or something.
Anyway, he wrote a column: “Snarking Hillary Is Not the Way to the White House.” Now, this is the proverbial, “We gotta leave this alone. What we need to do as Republicans is start talking about our economic policies. We have got to make ourselves known as the party of positive economic growth, strong national security, because the party needs a positive rebranding and a positive vision, and Hillary bashing is gonna drown all of that out.”
I’ll never forget. It was 2011 and there was a convention here. It might have been Horowitz’s thing in November, Restoration Weekend. A lot of the Republican potential nominees are in town, and a couple, three of them called and wanted to come by on the Sunday morning everybody’s getting out of town, just to talk to me. And three of them did.
They all said the exact same thing. Quote, “Now, Rush, we do not dare go after Obama. We do not dare criticize Obama. We have to talk about the greatness of our economic message. To the extent that we go after Obama, we gonna go after his policies, Rush, but not him. If we go after him, it’s the end of us. We got a great economic…”
And I asked, “How’s this working out?” Meanwhile, Harry Reid can go out and accuse Mitt Romney of not paying his taxes for ten years, and that’s just fine. The Democrats do not say, “That’s not the way to go after Mitt Romney. We must go after Mitt Romney not by personally attacking him. We must talk about the best nature of our policies and how we have the advantage.” They never do.
I’m not talking about going after Hillary to destroy her, but the idea that we gotta leave this alone? I’ll tell you what. Let’s send Bruce Jenner out and have him talk about Republican economics, growth economy policies, and just see how it’s gonna work. This misses the whole point. We talk ourselves into defeat every four years. Why can’t we do both? Why do we have to tie one hand behind our back and essentially say we can’t criticize Obama, now we can’t criticize Hillary. We’ve got a crime family operating here. We can’t criticize it.
And Trump’s right about something. The way to criticize this is not in the usual political sense. This is potential big time RICO crime that’s going on here. People are in jail. This is a total abject violation of the Constitution. You cannot sell influence like this. It’s the emoluments clause, and it’s in the Constitution. But even so, this idea that all we’re gonna do is hurt ourselves? Nobody is saying focus on Hillary and don’t do anything else. But I know what drives this. What drives this, “If we’re seen criticizing, we’re gonna be called sexist and they’re gonna see we’re mean-spirited.”
It’s a total defensive posture that isn’t working. I mean, Romney tried it in 2012, didn’t he? And McCain tried it in 2008. I remember McCain said the same thing. (imitating McCain) “Yes, that’s right, we must go after his policies, but stress the importance of our agenda. We can’t go after him personally, can’t do it, it’s a mistake.” Right, right. So we can’t really define our opponents. And the media isn’t gonna do it.
So the voting public’s never gonna learn the truth about the people running against against the Republicans. Meanwhile, the Democrats are gonna be tarring and feathering and trashing and destroying personally and professionally every Republican they can. And we’re supposed to respond by saying, “You elect us and your top marginal rate is gonna go from 39.6 down to 35%. You know what that’s gonna mean for the marginal income on the base calculations of the P&O profit and loss statement over there at Apple?” Right. That’s a winner.
RUSH: Let me ask you a question. Let me ask you a quick question. I have so many people saying a variation of this to me, and I’m just gonna put a question out there. No matter what I say about Republican candidates here or the Kudlow column here, “Snarking Hillary Is Not the Way to the White House,” it’s all based on media. It’s all based on, “The media is gonna tar and feather us, Rush! If we go after Hillary, they’re just gonna say we’re sexist and so forth.”
Okay, let me ask this question. Any objection I hear to any strategy that somebody has designed to help the Republicans win, almost without fail the objection or one of the objections will always be, “Ah, that will never work because of the media. Can’t go after Obama, Rush, they’ll call you racist! We gotta focus on our economic message.” McCain did that. Romney? That’s all Romney talked about.
Romney wouldn’t even jump on Benghazi when he was thrown a hanging curveball in a debate. (sigh) I mean, there was absolutely no harassment of Obama whatsoever in ’08 or in ’12. The media didn’t vet Obama; the Republicans decided not to. So in each instance, the reason was, “The media will crucify us.” Kudlow’s theory is also… He doesn’t per se say it, but… Well, here. Just read what he writes.
“A number of GOP candidates are engaging in Hillary-bashing over allegations that she used her office as secretary of state to help her husband’s business dealings, prop up speech-making fees, and grease the path for foreign governments to donate massive amounts of money to the Clinton Foundation.” He doesn’t say here (chuckles), they’re being bribed! They’re selling access to government policy.
“But here’s a warning to my friends on the presidential campaign trail: Bashing Hillary is only going to make the Republican party look mean-spirited and snarky. It’s no road to the White House.” So you see? Criticism, disagreement, that’s hate. Yes, they’re gonna call us haters. So we can’t criticize. “Bashing” Hillary. Why does criticism have to be bashing? Why is pointing out the near criminal behavior of these people unfair?
Why is it bashing? And the answer you always get is, “the media.” So my question to you is this. For every one of you who has ever said to me personally or has written me or has called in here and given me a variation on the theme, “This won’t work. That won’t. The Republicans can’t do it ’cause of the media,” what would you think about a Republican candidate who decided to seek the presidency by making the media his opponent and not the Democrat nominee?”
In other words, would you support a candidate running against the media? That’s all that’s left here. If the media is reason we can’t implement a tough political strategy to win, then we’re gonna have to beat the media, and it sounds to me like a number of people think we have to beat the media first before we even get to beating a Democrat, that they’re one and the same, actually. Well, they were. I mean, the media is a branch of the Democrat Party. There’s no question.
But the media, they get criticized as being biased. Nobody ever runs against them the way people run against candidates, and I’m not talking about individual media people. I’m not talking about individual media as examples. I’m not saying run against Chuck Todd. I’m not saying run against Bob Schieffer. Just “the media.” I would think a lot of you out there’d be cheering, saying, “Yep, that’s exactly what we need to do!
“We need somebody like that. It would take bravery. It would take courage. It would take stick-to-itiveness. It would take somebody that’s got a thick skin. But that’s the only way we’re ever gonna win everything and start beating any of this back is to somehow deemphasize and disempower the media.” (interruption) You’re shaking your head in there, Mr. Snerdley. Don’t think it can be done? (interruption) You don’t think it’s a good strategy? (interruption) No, no, no.
I’m just saying, the people I hear from are saying, “We can’t run a campaign on the issues. The media is gonna lie about us. The media is gonna destroy us. The media’s gonna carry Democrat Party’s water. The media is the poison. The media is the reason country’s going to hell in a handbasket, because the media does not ever present a fair exposition of Republican or conservative ideas. The media is the agent of destruction of all opposition to the Democrat Party.
“So you gotta run against the media. You gotta make no bones about what you’re doing. The only way this…” I’ve had couple people tell me this. “The only way we have a chance, Rush, is if there’s a Republican candidate somewhere willing to run against the media.” So… (interruption) I know. I know Reagan won twice. I know. George Bush won twice. Reagan won twice. Nixon won twice and so forth. I understand. I’m not advocating, I’m asking. I’m not pushing the idea.
I’m asking it as a rhetorical device. I’ve even heard, “You know, Rush you’re wasting your time. Every time you talk about ‘Democrats,’ you should be saying ‘media.’ Every time you talk about Harry Reid, you should be talking media. The media’s the problem. The media! You’ve gotta destroy the media.” I said, “You know, the problem is, I am the media. I mean, I’m in it.” “Yeah, Rush, but you know what I mean! I’m talking about the Democrats in the media.”
It sounds good, but when you think about actually doing it… You know, I don’t have guests on this program, but I ought to get hold of your favorite Republican consultant. Just ask him to come on and help me on the air as an exercise, and develop a campaign strategy seeking the presidency running against the media. See what this professional would say. Now, the first thing he’s gonna say is, “You can’t do it. It’d be a mistake! You’d kill yourself. You’re finished. You wouldn’t get past the first primary.”
I’d say, “Okay, after that… Let’s say after you tell me that, I still want to do it. I still want to run against the media. How would we do it?” It’s an obstacle the Democrats don’t have. You have to admit that, don’t you? The Democrats do not have an obstacle like the media. Look at this White House Correspondents Dinner. People ask, “Why don’t you go?” Why would I go to a place that’s gonna be openly hostile to me?
The White House Correspondents Dinner, you’ll notice that everybody gets up to speak realizes they’re speaking to buddies and friends. That gives them all kinds of confidence. When you think you’re in a room full of friendlies, it changes everything about your confidence level and your overall comfort, as opposed you walk into someplace where you know there’s hostility. They don’t have it. They don’t face hostility in the media, Democrats don’t.
They don’t know what it is. They never encounter it. They never have to overcome it. Unless one of them just is so egregious that the media and the Democrats decide, “We gotta get rid of this person for the sake of the party.” But that is extremely rare, and that is also not because the media disagrees, essentially, with what the candidate happens to believe. It’s that candidate’s providing embarrassment; we’ve gotta shelve that.