RUSH: Let me offer to you a counter-theorem to much that was said here in the previous hour, and let’s just recap previous hour as it relates to the Republican debate. There is other news out there, and we will get to it. You can count on that. In the Politico today there are two stories of note. The first one is in The Politico magazine, a story by Glenn Thrush (a Politico lifer) in which Jeb Bush is quoted as telling a high-powered Republican donor (summarized), “What’s with this guy Trump?
“What’s with this guy? He’s a buffoon, he’s a clown, he’s a butt hole,” except “butthole” was not the word used. A different one was. That’s very unlike Jeb Bush. I mean, these kinds of things, the incivility of that? I mean, the Republican candidate consultants always preach taking the high ground, taking the high road. “Don’t descend to the depths personal insults. That’s just not who we are, and it’s so unbecoming. We cross the aisle! We must show that we’re responsible. We must show that we can govern.
“We must show that we can cooperate. We must show that we are willing to listen to the other people’s ideas. We must show that we are willing to be bipartisan.” And Jeb Bush, of all people, starts calling Trump names! The second story, also in The Politico… No, I take it back. The second story was at DCWhispers.com, and it’s about how Republican donors instructed… I mean, the big-money donors instructing other Republican candidates on that stage tonight to take Trump out, that tonight is the night, that they are fed up with this.
They don’t think Trump’s real. Trump is doing nothing but screwing up the plans that they have had for the last eight years, and particularly the last four years to get themselves in charge of the US Treasury. And by God, they’re not gonna sit around and let this guy get in the way. So Republican candidates have been ordered by the big money donors to take Trump out tonight, whatever that means. Senator Rubio is cited in this story as the one who got the biggest marching orders to take Trump out.
Then back to The Politico, a story about how the debate moderators tonight at Fox have a “secret plan” to deal with Trump if he refuses to play fair, if Trump refuses to obey the rules, such as respect the limits on speaking time. And they’re crazy, by the way, like a one-minute period to comment and 30-second rebuttal. And they say that if Trump tries to dominate and if Trump gets out of control. And if Trump veers too far off the beaten path, they have a plan.
In the previous hour, I, your highly trained broadcast specialist, began speculating on what they could have up their sleeves as the secret plan. Just a wild guess. Now, all of this is based on conventional wisdom held by the Republican establishment, or as I have often referred to them as the Wizards of Smart. And I would include the Republican donors, these big-money donors supposedly giving the orders to Republican candidates they are financing to take Trump out tonight.
Now, the theory goes like this. All of these Republican donors and establishment types at the party level giving these orders to take Trump out are preparing a strategy against somebody who doesn’t really exist. In other words, I think they are misunderstanding and mischaracterizing Trump based on their own prejudices. And you can hear it in the words that they utter. They are constructing their own talking points and then reacting to them.
Among those conventional wisdom talking points is that Trump just rants and raves, and he is a crazy, out-of-control, unpredictable madman who isn’t serious. He is a braggadocios narcissist. This is what they think of it. And my point to you, then this theory is that they are dead wrong in their assessment of Trump. I think it’s a pretty safe bet to say that they’re wrong, because they’re wrong about a lot. They’re wrong about the Democrats.
They’re wrong about understanding what liberalism is. They’re wrong about dealing with Obama. They’re wrong about how the American people are reacting to all of this. But they don’t know that. They think they are a mirror. In fact, it’s worse. They’re not a mirror; they think they are defining and setting the tone for others. So if their opinion is that Trump is this ranting, raving, out-of-control embarrassment, they think everybody else sees him that way, too.
And so they are preparing a strategy to deal with somebody who really doesn’t exist in the way they think he exists. And I say that because the theory here is that they don’t really know who Trump is. They’re afraid of Trump, and therefore they have concocted an image or a straw man version of Trump that isn’t the case. For instance, what if I were to say to you that if you really study Trump when he’s being interviewed — not when he’s making a speech and he’s the only guy on the stage.
I mean, you can’t make an assessment or compare that to what this format’s gonna be. But when he’s interviewed by somebody, is Trump not the essence of brevity? I mean, how long does it take Trump to make his point? One sentence? He doesn’t have to rant and rave. He comes across as a madman simply to these people because he says things that, why, they’re not spoken in public! You don’t call people losers, and you don’t describe… Even if it’s true, you do not describe illegal immigrants the way he does.
It just is not right!
It just isn’t done!
This is not going to be helpful to us!
But how long does it take him to say what he says about illegal aliens and the crimes that they commit? It doesn’t take him 10 minutes of ranting and raving. He does it in a sentence or two. Trump can be the personification of Shakespeare’s “brevity is the soul of wit.” He doesn’t spend a lot of time making his points. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if Trump is able to say everything he wants to say within these silly time limits tonight.
Trump may be the one guy that doesn’t need to go outside the time limits to make his point because he gets in, gets it, and gets out. He doesn’t tiptoe around it. He doesn’t speak in innuendo and get close to him and hope you understand what he really means. He tells you, and then he’s finished. But the Wizards of Smart concocting these plans and figuring a deal on how to control Trump are making a mistake in the way they are assessing Trump and making a mistake in assessing why Trump is popular.
And boy, this is common.
They’re assuming he’s popular not because of him. Because they think their own base is kooky. They think their own base voters, the Tea Party? They’re afraid of ’em ’cause they’re conservative. And they believe that Trump is appealing to people because Trump appears to be out there on the fringes like these people are. That’s why Jeb and some of these others say they wish to get the nomination despite the base.
I told you that many in the Republican establishment are embarrassed, for example, to show up the Republican convention with a lot of the base there. I mean, they just are. It’s an elite-versus-common man kind of thing. They’re just embarrassed. How long does it take…? You watch Trump. If you study him, how long does it take him to counterpunch? A memorable counterpunch.
Somebody insults him and he comes back with something, and does it in a sentence or two. He doesn’t do it in two minutes or three minutes. He really is brief. He gets in, gets it, and gets out. That’s one of the reasons why, by the way, I think he’s so effective. Make a note, folks: This is inarguably true. The fewer words it takes you to make your point, the more powerful your point is, particularly in a setting like this.
What did he say about McCain? “I don’t like people who were captured. I like people who weren’t captured.” How long did that take? One sentence, and the entire establishment is pulling their hair out in fits of rage over this unnecessary insult of a great Republican hero. “I like people that weren’t captured.” Didn’t take 30 seconds. Didn’t take a minute. Didn’t take 10 seconds.
On Lindsey Graham: “He doesn’t seem like a very bright guy. Yeah, he came by. Asked me support him. Asked me for some money. Yeah, I’ve got his phone number. Here’s the phone number.” How long does that take? Didn’t take a minute. Trump isn’t the guy they’re preparing for. This is a distinct possibility. They’ve got this image of Trump and he isn’t that image. Just like they have images of many conservatives that aren’t true, aren’t accurate.
Okay, that’s that. Just an alternative theory. Something else to put in the hopper and ponder. And, by the way, I should tell you CNN is not doing a countdown to the Republican debate tonight. Now, normally they would if they were televising it, but since they’re not, there’s no countdown. CNN is barely even talking about it because of course it’s on a competing network, Fox News.
RUSH: One of the things, ladies and gentlemen, that I had noticed. I mentioned this in the previous hour. A number of Drive-By commentators are starting to say things about Trump that they never, ever thought they would say. Four or five of them have done mea culpas. Chris Cillizza and a couple of others that you would know names, who originally wrote pieces mocking Trump, just laughing at him.
“What a novice! What an amateur! This isn’t how you win. This is not how you do politics. This guy, he’s only in it for his own personal promotion,” blah, blah. They’ve all done 180s now, and they are writing pieces explaining what they were wrong about, and the things that they misjudged.
A number of others are writing pieces and saying on TV that just in the last week Trump is taking on an entirely different persona, that he’s actually looking and sounding presidential. He’s got a tax plan that he’s released. On policy and so forth, he’s actually coming across now with a new dimension. Accordingly, a lot of these people… Jeff Greenfield wrote a piece last night that was written somewhat in fear. You could sum up the piece by saying the article was, “Oh, my God, can this guy really win? He might be able to!”
So in a short period of time, Trump’s gone from being an impossible joke, a distraction, a clown, somebody just in this for personal promotion, to, “Oh, my God! Uh-oh! Gee, you know what? This guy could win!” Here, listen to Howie Kurtz, sound bite number seven last night, Megyn Kelly’s show. She said, “You have been hearing a different kind of messaging from Trump, Howie? Is that right?”
KURTZ: Here’s the news flash: Donald Trump is toning it down. He hasn’t said anything inflammatory or taken a whack at anybody’s head in a week. He is such a dominant front-runner right now, Megyn, that he realizes that he doesn’t need to be the Don Rickles candidate hurling out insults. This is the sign of a guy moving from outside agitator to maybe being a plausible nominee. There’s no point anymore. I mean, he’ll punch back at people who he thinks unfairly criticized him, but there’s no point anymore in ridiculing individual journalists.
RUSH: Well, he was doing more than ridiculing individual journalists, but these journalists have thin skin, and you start attacking them, and that’s all they are aware of. But what if this is true? What if now Trump is becoming, as they say, more serious and that there’s less bombast and less of what got him noticed? The theory would be that Trump has achieved the objective of getting noticed and he’s done it in a memorable, unforgettable way.
He’s now defined himself.
He’s built up this reservoir of support based on people who know and trust that he’s an outsider and willing to say so. But now he’s starting to mellow and get serious as a candidate. These guy… I’ll tell you the next thing, the next spate of predictions. You watch. The next spate of predictions gonna be along the line of, “Trump is blowing it! He’s not who he was when he started out. He’s becoming the kind of candidate that his supporters don’t want.”
You watch. That will be the next prediction to come down the pike, ’cause I think they’re setting this up. Here, I’ll give… Here’s F. Chuck Todd, and this was on, I guess… What was this? The Today Show this morning. Matt Lauer said to F. Chuck, “You know, we could have a real discussion tonight on things like immigration and Iran and ISIS, and it could be more about the steak and less about the sizzle. What do you think about that,” F. Chuck?
TODD: I think it’s possible. Well, I think the moderator is gonna try hard. At that point we’ll see: Can Donald Trump go two hours in this new Clark Kent persona that he’s had over the last few days, or does he come out swinging once he’s invited to do it? He’s been downplaying his expectations, and I think if you’re a political strategist, he’s been downplaying ’em rather beautifully. He’s got a very low bar to exceed. If he doesn’t look as crazy as the media and other of his opponents have painted him, then people are gonna say, “Wow, Donald Trump looked pretty reasonable.”
RUSH: Okay, now, if that happens, then the Republican Party establishment and the big money guys are gonna be pulling their hair out. If when this thing is over tonight the perception of Trump is, “My God! Oh, my God! He came off as presidential! Did you see that? Wow, he was reasonable! He was substantive! He didn’t smack anyone! Oh, my,” they’re gonna be really pulling their hair out. They won’t know what to do, and this could be part of the grand stratagem that Trump has hatched.
I mean, he is a person of depth, and he’s not a clown. That’s why I say I think the Republican establishment, these Wizards of Smart have constructed a straw man. They’ve constructed a personality and a person that really doesn’t exist, and then they’ve sent the orders out to the other Republicans on stage tonight to take Trump out ’cause they think they’re dealing with a caricature here. One more before we go to the break: John Heilemann, who is on CBS This Morning today.
He’s half of the duo that has a TV show on the Bloomberg network with Mark Halperin. He’s one of these two guys that write books during the campaign, and they learn all kinds of stuff, but they don’t report it until after the election’s over. They keep it and they save it for their book, and it’s really interesting stuff, that if they reported it during the campaign, it might actually change votes. The fill-in host was Vinita Nair. She said, “You know, it looks like a lot of Trump’s success is driven on his style and not his position. So tonight, do you think we’ll hear more specifics from Trump?”
HEILEMANN: It’s a little bit of a misnomer. It’s not just his style. I did a focus group in New Hampshire with voters who liked Donald Trump a lot one way or the other. A big part of his appeal is not just his style, but his background, his success. He is an emblem of American capitalist success in the minds of a lot of voters.
RUSH: Okay. So his appeal is not his style, it’s not the brash, braggadocio comedian putting people in their place, but rather his success, which is a substantive thing. Now, you note here that Heilemann had to attach the word “capitalist” ’cause it’s a dirty word to people in the media today. Capitalist is a dirty word to the left. So he’s trying to sully Trump here with, “Yeah, he’s an emblem of American capitalist success,” and to the left you know what a capitalist is, a cheater, screws employees, screws customers, kills them, doesn’t care about the environment, all that stuff. So it wasn’t accidental that Heilemann refers to his success as capitalist success.
And one more, just one more. Alex Castellanos, he’s been a Republican establishment consultant in the past. He’s now on TV denoted as a Republican strategist. He used to call H.R. every time I mentioned him. He used to call H.R. to complain about it or to thank me or one of the two. And then after the program, H.R. would tell me, “Yeah, we heard from Alex today.”
“Oh, really? What did he say?”
“He just said you got it half right. He wanted to remind you of X.” Whatever it was. But he was on CNN’s New Day today with the hostette, Alisyn Camerota, and the question, “Alex, you’ve been around debate prep for a long time. How would you be prepping Donald Trump if it was your job to do that?”
CASTELLANOS: Donald Trump is not exactly known as a great listener, so I don’t know that you could have a — his advisors are gonna have that much impact. Trump is Trump. He’s gonna be himself up there. I think it’s the other nine gladiators that are going to be in the coliseum with him that are — they’re the ones prepping.
RUSH: Okay, now, that’s pretty right on the money, Trump’s not a collaborator, he’s a doer. He does meetings, but not to get ideas. He does meetings to give orders. And, you know, this is another thing I like about Trump. You know, I’ve always said that if I were gonna run, the whole notion of having advisors would be foreign to me. Why do I need advisors? I know what I think. I mean policy advisors. You might have advisors to suggest what you wear or how to do this or that on TV, fine and dandy, but why do you need advisors on what you think?
I mean, if you really believe it, if it’s really in your heart — that’s another reason why I think the Trump people are not worried about him, not worried about him being flummoxed because he knows what he believes, and he’s perfectly comfortable saying it. He’s not ashamed of what he believes. He’s not ashamed of who he is. He’s not gonna forget what he wants to say because it’s part of him. He doesn’t have to memorize anything. And everybody else, a lot of these other guys, not just these guys, but most people in a situation like this, they’ll study and they’ll try to remember three or four things they really want to say, sound bite type material, and then when the debate comes they get paralyzed trying to remember these three, four, five things they wanted say.
And Trump doesn’t do that, he just reacts. And whatever comes up, he says what he thinks about it. He may go in tonight having a few set things he wants to make sure he says about policy or whatever. My point, he’s not gonna prep or paralyze himself with attempts to memorize or remember things ’cause he doesn’t have to. He doesn’t need advisors to tell him what he thinks. So that’s why he doesn’t listen to them.