RUSH: So we have the big debate tonight. We have a big debate tonight, nine o’clock, with the pregame meal starting at five. That’s the pre-debate. So you got seven guys in that debate, seven people in that debate, then you got the big mama debate at nine o’clock. And I’m curious how many people are gonna watch this thing.
Now, let’s look at all the variables here. A, it’s August. B, I mean, let’s be honest here, it’s the Republican Party. I mean, not exactly the most popular bunch of people right now. C, aside from Trump, does anybody know anybody else’s name? Megyn Kelly, big tune-in factor there. Trump, big tune-in factor there. But on the other side of it, this country’s sick. America is sick, and people know it. And the Republican Party, in many people’s view, is the only, maybe the last best hope to reverse this illness that this country is suffering and maybe save it from being terminal. And because of that, and because of the curiosity factor, I think the tune-in could be huge.
Now, Fox has a big enough base audience that the ratings tonight ought to be good anyway, but some people think it could be a record setter. I mean, it could be big for a lot of the obvious reasons. They were even talking about it today on Live with Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan. I mean, the pop culture is even talking about it. Look, folks, just setting this up. Remember, now, we can’t do everything in the opening monologue. It takes three hours for the whole show.
I’m wondering if Jeb Bush is gonna apologize to Trump. I’m wondering if we’re gonna see this. Also, somebody at the Clinton camped leaked that they called Trump, that Bill Clinton called Trump and urged him to do this, after Trump said back on June 28th that he’d not talked to the Clintons. The Clintons had leaked that Bill called Trump. But do we also think that Bill might have called Jeb? I mean, Bill’s close to the Bushes. Bill could be calling all these people and telling them to go for it, to urge them. Who knows. This is politics. People play tricks. There’s gamesmanship all over the place going on.
Try this headline: “Big Donors Warn Candidates On Eve Of Debate: ‘Take Trump Out.'”
The big money people have told Rubio and Jeb and some of the others that you’ve got to get rid of Trump tonight. We’re tired of this. We’re getting worried. This is a big distraction. We’re pulling your strings and you take Trump out tonight. That’s the headline. It’s in the DC Whispers Web page.
“Though the Fox News promos state it is a debate of Republican candidates, most of the networkÂ’s on-air personalities have admitted publicly it has turned into the Donald Trump show,” and that reality is not sitting well with the power brokers in the back rooms of the GOP, and those power brokers are the money people. They are the donors and they are the bundlers. They are the fundraisers and they are the people that tell the party when to jump, when to sit, when to talk, when to stand mute and so forth, and they are getting worried that Trump is co-opting their grand scheme to get control of the United States Treasury, which is what I think the purpose of elections has become these days.
I mean, just to speak to you in shorthand, and I mean in both parties, I think it’s a desire to be in charge of the money. And that’s clearly the purpose of the donors. I mean, the donors donate because they want favorable policy for their businesses, their bottom lines, or what have you. This cronyism didn’t start with Obama but, I mean, it’s really now dug its tentacles deeply into our government with Obama. It’s seen as something that a lot of people would like to deepen and enrich. So the money people call the shots, apparently, in the Republican Party. And the word’s gone out, they’ve made it clear to these campaign consultants and the political operatives that Trump cannot be allowed to win the debate tonight. Trump cannot be seen as winning the debate tonight.
In fact, according to the DC Whispers: “Some are said to have taken an even more aggressive stance by indicating TrumpÂ’s Republican rivals are to ‘take him out’,” tonight. And by “take him out,” you know what it means. It means humiliate him, embarrass him, dwarf him, whatever, make it impossible for Trump to continue beyond tonight. Now, if I’m one of these Republicans and I got these big money donors calling me up and commanding me and ordering me to take him out, I’d say, “Are you going to tell me how to do this? What do you think we’ve been trying to do here for the last three or four weeks or two months? You want to tell me how to do this?” I always love it, the people behind the scenes never go on stage, never really get in the arena, telling everybody in it what to do and how to do it. “You take Trump out!”
The point is, they want Trump’s credibility… His personal whatever it is that’s attracting voters, they want it damaged tonight because that indicates it’s proof positive that Trump is not part of the cabal that is running the Republican Party. Now, the Jeb Bush apology, right here in The Politico magazine. Glenn Thrush has a piece, “How Jeb and the GOP Got Trumped.” But that headline doesn’t tell you at all what’s in this story. Second page paragraph, Jeb Bush talking to some operatives.
“Seriously, what’s this guy’s problem?” He’s talking about Trump. “‘Seriously, what’s this guy’s problem?’ Bush reportedly told the donor, adding that he thought Trump was ‘a buffoon,’ a ‘clown’ and an ‘asshole.’ Bush, whose wife, Columba, was born in Mexico, previously conceded to the New York Times that he took Trump’s virulent attacks on immigrants crossing the US border with Mexico ‘personally.’ He further accused Trump of trying to ‘inflame and incite and to draw attention’ to his fledgling campaign.
“‘Seriously, what’s this guy’s problem?’ he asked one party donor he ran into recently according to accounts provided by several sources close to Bush — and he went on to describe the publicity seeking real estate developer now surging in public polls far ahead of Bush and all the 15 others in the Republican field as ‘a buffoon,’ ‘clown’ and ‘a–hole.'” That’s right. Those three insults are quoted, attributed to Jeb Bush talking to a donor about Trump. (interruption)
Yes, it’s the first time I’ve ever said the word. Do you think we should beep it? You did beep it? Okay, the… (interruption) Okay, well, here’s… They beeped me what I said it, folks. In other words, they deleted what I said. You know, they used the delay, but I didn’t say anything. I was simply quoting Jeb. So I’ll go through it again. It’s just three words. Jeb Bush talking to a donor, “Seriously, what’s this guy’s problem?” talking about Trump. “[H]e went on to describe [Trump] as ‘a buffoon,’ ‘clown’ and ‘[butt]hole,'” only he didn’t say “butt.”
Now, what about civility, folks?
We keep hearing that the Republican Party must be civil, that we can’t get into the gutter like this, and we can’t start talking this way. The moderates don’t like hearing it! When the moderates hear talk like that and the independents and they hear talk like that, they just run right back to the Democrat Party, right? I mean, we will not talk that way about Obama. We don’t have a Republican calling him a buffoon, and I’ve not heard of Republicans calling him a clown, and certainly I haven’t heard any Republican calling him a butt-hole.
But Jeb Bush is quoted in The Politico as talking about and describing Trump that way. Now, I must tell you, folks, we here on talk radio are lectured to practically every day for causing incendiary rhetoric to be introduced into the public political dialogue. And we are tutt-tutted and we are warned and we are cautioned and we are criticized for being so base. I’m talking about the genre of talk radio, not me specifically, but it has happened.
We are warned that this is harmful, and we are told that this hurts the image and damages the brand and this kind of talk is not helpful. Meanwhile, McCain can run around and talk about people that support Trump in Arizona, call them “crazies,” and that’s okay. And now we’ve got Jeb in The Politico characterizing Trump this way, and I was just wondering: “What about the civility? That’s not civil. That’s not polite. That’s not compromise.
“That’s not showing we can govern. That’s not reaching across the aisle. It’s certainly not bipartisan. We don’t deal with our political opponents that way. We don’t have political enemies, we have opponents, and we don’t deal with them that way! That’s coarse, it’s uncivil, it’s beneath us.” And yet… So I wonder if some of the moralists in our media will suggest that Jeb should apologize. ‘Cause this is simply… This is not what conservatism is and this is not who conservatives are and so forth.
Yes, I’m ladling it on here a little thick, folks, but I’m doing so on purpose. Sometimes you have to to make a point. So big donors telling GOP front-runners: Get rid of Trump. Take Trump out tonight. The big money is getting nervous. The Politico story is about “How the GOP Got Trumped.” I mean, that’s their Politico headline, and they detail Jeb’s theories and philosophies when Trump came up on the scene and popped up and started to run, began to run.
“Just shut up. Don’t say a word! Don’t react to it.” That was the advice he got, and that was what his instincts were. “Don’t react to it. It’s gonna be short-lived. Trump’s gonna step in it. He’s gonna say something embarrassing.” None of that’s happened. All that’s happened is Trump’s popularity continued to grow. By the way, something else people having noticing. In the last week, all of a sudden Trump has been described in ways that were not used, terms not used to describe him over a week ago.
Such as presidential, substantive. Trump hadn’t insulted anybody in a week! He hadn’t called anybody a loser. He hasn’t talked about Mexican rapists. None of that stuff, in a full week. He has advanced, he’s put out… It’s in his book, but he has released his flat tax plan. And it’s serious. That’s another… (interruption) He released a flat tax plan. And That’s another thing punditry and some media people are now beginning to describe Trump as “serious,” meaning you can’t dismiss him.
I’ve read so far five mea culpa pieces, different Drive-Bys, apologize. The most recent was Chris Cillizza, the Washington Post (paraphrasing): “I didn’t think Trump was gonna go anywhere, I knew Trump was gonna bomb out. I didn’t know Trump was serious. I’ve gotta take it all back. I apologize! I was wrong.” Five of these in the past few days. Media people who predicted Trump was a flash in the pan, wasn’t gonna last, was gonna embarrass himself, wasn’t even serious about it, are now beginning to ask: Can this guy win?
Nervously, they’re beginning to ask: Can this guy win?
Jeff Greenfield is among them, too. They’ve all noticed that in the past week Trump hasn’t been the Trump that he was prior and people now it’s Jeb Bush throwing insults around, according to The Politico. Okay. Very uncivil, don’t you know. And, of course, the debate tonight. Here’s a story, Washington Post. The ivory tower-weighing in: “How in the World Do You Debate Donald Trump? Here’s What the Experts Prescribe,” and the experts are David Birdsell of Baruch College; David Kimel, Yale Debate Society; Angela Minor, attorney, Washington; Howard University law professor, Ben Voth, the director of forensics, professor communication SMU Dallas.
These are the experts that are writing here and being interviewed about how you would debate Trump. Now, we know some things are gonna happen here tonight, folks, just because of the law of averages. We know that there will be at least one candidate who says something that destroys them. There’s gonna be somebody that steps in it. It always has. You got 10 people on the stage and you got seven people prior too them in the pregame meal. You got 17 people here.
But let’s address the nine o’clock debate, the prime-time debate. You know somebody is going to say something that’s gonna doom them. Just happens. Somebody is going to end up with the sound bite of the night. Somebody is gonna get the biggest applause, even after the moderators have admonished the audience not to applaud. Somebody’s gonna get big laughs. Somebody is going to really deliver a knockout blow to another candidate. There’s all kinds of things like these that we know are going to happen.
And they’re all exciting. Say what you will but people love seeing people self-destruct in public. The gaffe that ends a career, people will tune in just to see that, who is it gonna be and what is it gonna be. Others will tune in to see who ends up winning, who the media says wins, who comes up with the best most pithy sound bite. And who, after the first round, it can officially be said is finished. There’s all kinds of things.
And these are all going to happen to one degree or another tonight. I have to take a break here. And it’s also gonna be… Parts of it are gonna be boring. It can’t help but be. Moderators are gonna at first try to maintain strict control. They won’t succeed for very long. It’s gonna become freewheeling. I don’t care what these people say right now. And the focus is gonna be on Trump and how he deals with all this. He’s set himself up with low expectations.
RUSH: Of the candidates, ladies and gentlemen, who are said to have been given the biggest anti-Trump marching orders is Marco Rubio. Apparently big donors have gone to Rubio with the greatest sense of urgency and have told Rubio… It’s not just Rubio, by the way, that the big donors have approached. But this particular story says that the candidates were said to have been given their anti-Trump marching orders last night.
One was apparently told with the greatest sense of urgency was Senator Marco Rubio. Okay, so we got Jeb here and these personal insults of Trump in this wanton incivility. It’s just so unlike the GOP establishment! Could it be, ladies and gentlemen… I mean, I knew this piece would come out today. I mean, everybody in The Politico piece knew it was gonna air or run the day of the debate.
Could it be that this is the first of what will be many attempts to get Trump to blow his top tonight? One thing that’s known about Trump is he occasionally will go on offense and start attacking somebody, but it’s guaranteed he will do it if you insult him. If you take a shot at Trump, you are guaranteed to get return fire. Well, what if this is a strategically placed insult, even before the debate begins, designed to get Trump ticked off even before it starts?
If the big money people behind the Republican Party are scared and they want Trump taken out, they may figure that the best way to do it is to have him blow his stack and demonstrate whatever they think that would demonstrate — a lack of presidential temperament or take your pick. Anyway, just guessing. I’m trying to put these pieces all together for you.
RUSH: Okay. Okay, there’s no question now that there’s a psychological operation underway aimed at The Donald. I have just uncovered it, ladies and gentlemen. It’s there for anybody to see, but it takes me to put the pieces together, to read between the lines, to read the stitches on the fastball. The Mediaite website: “Fox Debate Hosts Already Have a Secret Plan to Deal with Donald Trump.” However, Mediaite is linking to a Politico story, the second Politico story of note of the day.
The first Politico story is actually from The Politico magazine. This is where Jeb Bush is quoted as insulting Trump as a “clown,” a “buffoon,” and a “[butt]hole.” Now The Politico has a story claiming that the Fox debate hosts — which are Megyn Kelly, Bret Baier and Chris Wallace — have a secret plan to deal with Trump. (laughing) How secret can it be? I just love this. It’s a secret plan that we all know about.
You know, it’s like I’ve always said, if you have a great marketing plan, secret or otherwise, you don’t divulge it; you execute it. You don’t give people a chance to defend against it. Anyway, it does seem like a psych-ops operation, and it’s from The Politico. Let me read to you a couple things from the article. “In an interview with Politico, Fox News hosts Bret Baier, Megyn Kelly, and Chris Wallace revealed they already have a plan if Donald Trump refuses to obey the rules of Thursday nightÂ’s Republican presidential debate.”
If Trump “refuses to obey the rules”? Only Trump runs the risk or poses the risk of not obeying the rules? I would like to remind you on Monday that I made predictions and comments about this very thing. You know, Trump came out and said, “You know, I don’t know about debates.” He was setting expectations low. “I don’t know about debates. I don’t debate! I’m a doer. I’m a man of action. I tell other people what to do, and if they don’t do it, then they’re fired.
“I tell ’em what to do. I don’t sit around and debate people. That’s all these guys do. They sit around and debate all day. They sit around and talked all day. I don’t do that, so I don’t know how I’m gonna do.” Given Trump’s behavior so far, it wasn’t difficult to predict that it wouldn’t be long in the debate before Trump began to criticize the whole setup, as, “Look, we’ve been losing, right? We’ve been losing presidential elections.
“This is not a winning formula. These debates like this, we’re not learning anything here. We’re not teaching anybody.” I can see him blowing it up any number of ways, in the sense of attacking the quote/unquote “system,” which is what he’s doing with his campaign anyway. Trump said, “Ah, ah, ah! That’s not me. I’m not gonna be lobbing any grenades; I’m not gonna be throwing any bombs,” thereby setting up the possibility that he would.
That means that everybody’s on the lout now for Trump not to play by the rules. And do you know what the rules are? The time limits include 30 seconds to reply, one minute to make a statement. There are going to be candidates on this stage tonight in a two-hour debate or hour and a half, I’m not sure how long it is, that you’re not gonna see more than three minutes of. For people to be seen and heard in this debate, they’re gonna have to break the rules. They’re gonna have to go outside the guidelines, if you will.
And that’s when the moderators are gonna move in there and do everything they can to maintain control, because to the moderators, what we have tonight’s a TV show. To the candidates, what they have is a rare opportunity to address the nation on equal footing with everybody else. And if they’re serious about winning, they’re not going to voluntarily be shut up. Somebody…
This is why I say, somebody’s gonna bust the rules. Somebody’s gonna do something memorable good, memorable bad, but there will be some conflicts. The moderators, trying to put on a good television show, are gonna enforce the rules ’cause the rules and the format are godlike. Don’t doubt me. I am a highly trained broadcast specialist. And these anchors are gonna have people shouting at them in their ears about enforcing time limits, about making sure that somebody gets equal time that hadn’t been seen for a while.
You’ll never hear any of this, but the IFB chatter is going to be furious. The hosts — call ’em the anchors, the moderators — are gonna be under a lot of pressure to maintain order. The candidates are gonna be equally desirous of busting out. And nobody wins points for following the rules. Tomorrow the review of this debate is not gonna be, “And the winner of last night’s debate was Senator Marco Rubio, because he never once violated a single rule set forth by the moderator!”
Does anybody ever remember a post-debate review of somebody winning it or getting even a lot credit ’cause they were nice and obeyed the rules and were fair and were tolerant and did not try to dominate it? No! So Bret Baier, Megyn Kelly, Chris Wallace reveal they already have… I’m not criticizing ’em. I don’t want anybody misunderstand here. Just telling you. They “already have a secret plan if Donald Trump refuses to obey the rules.” What if somebody else refuses to obey the rules.
Do they have a secret plan to deal with that?
Is the secret plan to deal with anybody breaking the rules, or they just gonna be focused on Trump breaking the rules? Is Trump gonna be the only one that they use force to keep him in line? We just have to see. Bret Baier is quoted in The Politico piece: “Listen, heÂ’s going to be treated like everybody else. WeÂ’re going to treat every candidate the same. … Are we thinking about different scenarios? Sure. Our job is to make sure everybody plays by the rules.”
See? It’s a TV show, folks. And these people are rooted in format, formula rules, time limits, time checks, hitting the mark. That’s why they are seasoned professionals. That’s one of the many talents that broadcasters have to be able to master. And if they’re having trouble, the people behind the scenes, the producers and directors, are gonna be all over ’em in the IFB, their ear pieces, urging them to go here, go there, shut up, make sure Trump doesn’t… Whatever they gonna say. We’ll never hear it.
Megyn Kelly said that they had a plan if Trump refused to stop talking. “We have plan. We’re not gonna share it with you,” she said. But if Trump doesn’t stop talking, they have a plan. What if Jeb doesn’t stop talking? What can…? (interruption) Well, what can they do if Trump doesn’t shut up? (interruption) Well, they could shut off his mike, but that won’t work because there are gonna be so many other microphones up there that he’ll still be heard. They’d have to shut off everybody’s mike.
No, I don’t think that’s what the plan is, to shut off his mike. I think it’s just to keep shouting at him and if they have to talk over him. “Mr. Trump! Mr. Trump! Mr. Trump, you have exceed time. Mr. Trump.” Just, I don’t know, but they’ve got a plan. I don’t know. We doing commercials in this debate? No. Maybe they go to a commercial break when there isn’t one scheduled. I mean, it could be something drastic. They could say, “Mr. Trump is refusing to play by the rules and, as such, this entire debate format has been placed at risk.
“We are going to take a brief break while we attempt to restore order,” and then they go to O’Reilly doing a commentary on ISIS or something, and they come back after they’ve restored order and Trump has been admonished and he’s been spanked and he promises to be a good boy and they continue. Who knows what the plan is! This is why, I’m telling you: If they shut his microphone off, you know what he’ll say? “I paid for this microphone. I’m rich. I’m really rich. And I’m making this microphone possible.”
He’d just do it out of habit.
RUSH: Just a brief observation in the form of a question. I can’t remember the last presidential primary debate where there were 10 people on stage. Now, it might have happened in 2012. I’m not sure. I know there were a lot. But one thing I know, you look at this Politico piece, these two Politico pieces, the first one, Jeb with his insults of Trump, and then this second one where the GOP — well, that’s another point. Where the Fox News moderators make it clear they have a secret plan to deal with Trump. Not a secret plan to deal with anybody else.
So my question, do you remember, can you ever remember where one person, candidate, owned the pre-publicity on an event like this? Where every story pre-debate is about one candidate? What’s that candidate gonna do? What will that candidate not do? How are we gonna control that candidate if candidate does X? Do we have a plan for dealing with it? It’s all Trump, all the time.
Now, it’s gonna put some performance pressure on him from the standpoint of the audience. He’s got a lot of supporters that are gonna be tuning in tonight and they’re gonna want to be validated. They’re going to want to hear Trump, they’re gonna want to see Trump be Trump. So he’s got some performance pressure here. I don’t mean to imply otherwise. I don’t think that’s a problem. He can handle it. I’m just telling you, as the singular focus of this, and he’s fully aware that he is, it’s gotta irritate everybody else.
I mean, if you’re one of these other candidates with all these stories about secret plans to deal with Trump, I’m telling you, if you’re Rand Paul, if you’re Rubio or Cruz, you’re saying, “What do you mean, why are you worried about Trump? Why aren’t you worried about what I might do? What’s the secret plan to deal with me?” Believe me, all this attention on Trump is gonna make every one of these other people try to wrest the spotlight away. It could be fireworks tonight. It also could end up, because of all these expectations, it could end up being, by comparison, pretty dull, depending on how everybody tries to play this tonight.
Anyway, let me grab a phone call here quickly. Oh, one other thing. Not a big deal. As you know, we have a pretty established conservative media out there now. I mean, let’s look at ’em. We’ve got Red State, we’ve got Power Line, we’ve got Hot Air, we have Ace of Spades — I mean, look, I don’t want to leave any of them out. It’s a risk I run. I can’t mention them all. They’re all over the place. We got National Review, National Review Online, and who does the GOP go to? Who does the GOP grant access to? Politico.
Now, there’s gotta be a reason for that. What do you think it is? Why is Jeb telling all this super-secret stuff about what he thinks of Trump to The Politico? The Politico magazine. I can answer it. I mean, I have my own theory as an answer. I’m just bringing it up here as a talking point. Why didn’t Jeb tell this to a National Review Online reporter? I mean, National Review Online is pretty tight with the Republican establishment. I mean, they’re not thought of in the same vein by the establishment as talk radio is. They’re considered buttoned down, coat and tie, loyal. Why not go to them?
Or, take your pick. I mean, there’s any number of other credible news and commentary websites, magazines, organizations. But the GOP always goes to Politico. They leak everything to Politico or they grant access, non-leak access to Politico. And I think it says a lot. I think it says that the GOP still considers its own supportive media to be fringe, and Politico and all the others as the genuine mainstream. But worse than that, I think it says that the GOP establishment types really think that they’re not gonna win or get their message out unless they do it in the mainstream media. And who knows. They may be right. But clearly I think they think this.