RUSH: This reminds me what else I did last night. I finally sat down with my new iPad Pro, and I ran the app Apple Music, and I started searching Christmas music. Mannheim Steamroller, they’ve got all kinds of Christmas playlists that they put together, Christmas cocktail, which is jazz, country Christmas. I was just reveling. Now, it has to be stuff that I’ve heard before for me to be able to enjoy, but Christmas music fits the bill. There isn’t that much new since I lost my hearing, so I spent some time doing that, just finding out what’s available out there, and that was cool.
And then I get here today and Cookie sends me the sound bite roster, and literally the first 11 sound bites are the Drive-Bys discussing my reaction to Trump’s attack on Ted Cruz yesterday. No, no, don’t misunderstand. I knew it was gonna happen. I nevertheless… (interruption) Yeah, I still get surprised at the intensity and volume of it, because, you know, one day I’m just an entertainer, irrelevant. And then the next day I am the number one moral authority spokesman on the right. So it goes back and forth.
I’m getting a lot of e-mails, “Why are you avoiding?” Folks, I have had a policy here from the earliest days of this program, and that is I’m not the subject, I’m not the issue. There are a lot of things out there happening. This program’s not about “notice me.” I mean, that’s gonna happen anyway. I’m already too famous. I don’t need to spend every hour of this program promoting me while everybody else is. I would rather spend that time on issues of substance. And I’ll eventually get to all this stuff, and the debate coming up tonight. I’ll just give you a little preview, in fact, of what I think is the thing to look for in the debate tonight. It’s at 8:15 on CNN. And the one thing that we know — well, I’m pretty confident that CNN thinks now, as does the rest of the Drive-By Media, they think they have a cage match between Trump and Cruz already set up for them.
So they think all they’ve got to do — (printer noise) Sorry, that’s the printer calibrating itself behind me. We’ve tried to schedule that so that it doesn’t happen during the show, but we don’t seem to be able to do it. Anyway, they think they’re all set up for this grudge match between Trump and Cruz now, largely because what happened on this program yesterday. And they are going to ask questions designed to have that actually happen. And I think that’s not what to look for tonight.
I think what you ought to look for tonight is Cruz versus Rubio, if you want to look at it in “versus” terms. But we’re getting to the point now, you know, the idea that Trump’s gonna implode or destroy himself, quit or whatever, that’s long gone now. So the responsible people that look at this and treat the reality as it is are gonna have to come to grips with the fact that Trump is number one and he’s not going anywhere, right now.
So what’s next? What’s available next? What’s available next is number two, and the battle for number two is Cruz and Rubio, and Rubio has a lot on the line tonight. And so does Cruz. Cruz has got his Iowa polling data that he’s got to show that he deserves and has earned justice for it. But Rubio also now has the added pressure of being the establishment’s new choice given that Jeb just doesn’t seem to be able to emerge from the three- to five-point range in all of these polls. So I think where the real battle is gonna be is between Cruz and Rubio.
If I were the Trump advisory committee — and I don’t know that he ever listens to them — but if I were the Trump advisory committee, my advice would be, “Just coast. They ask you a question, answer it. But don’t go after anybody. Don’t start any fires here that’s gonna take the attention –” ‘Cause there’s gonna be other people trying to take each other out tonight on this stage. And by the way, folks, that’s normal. I don’t mean that in a negative way in any way, shape, manner, or form.
This field has got to get winnowed down, and it will start tonight. The winnowing of this field — in everybody’s mind that’s already happened. This stage is already crowded, way too crowded by about eight people. There are eight more people on this stage, six more people on this stage than really need to be on this stage. But CNN doesn’t care about that because they don’t care about the end result. They’re not interested in anybody here looking good. CNN’s focus, the rest of the Drive-Bys is on how they can structure things to make all of these people look bad. What can they do to cause some of these people, all of these people to trip up, to screw up, or some such thing. To them it’s a horse race. To them this is entertainment. They’re not invested in any one of these people.
I don’t know who the moderators are in this debate tonight, but I can tell you, the CNN people, not a one of them has any real interest in anybody on this stage tonight being elected president. Nobody moderating this thing from CNN tonight has any interest in anything these people have to say triumphing, winning, and being implemented as policy in the US. So to them this debate is an opportunity for other things, quote, unquote, “good television.” What’s good television? Fisticuffs, verbal fisticuffs, out-of-control people calling each other names, and they’re try to inspire that with the way they ask questions.
So I believe that, given Trump is in a solid number one slot and everybody else is — I mean, he’s at 38, 31, the others are at 12 and 13. I mean, that’s not gonna change after tonight. But the guys at 12 and 13 and then 15 and 14, whoever separate two or three points, that’s where the battle’s gonna be. ‘Cause time’s running out. Time’s running out for the people in second and third place to establish themselves in a solid second place. And then you throw in the entire aspect of the establishment here, and they are just beside themselves with what’s happening.
However, I have a story in the Stack that some establishment members are now saying that Cruz is becoming palatable to them. Two weeks ago that would have never happened. You would have never seen such a story. Two weeks ago you would have never had a self-proclaimed, admitted member of the Republican establishment saying they could live with Cruz. But a couple of them are now reported to have said so. And that represents the absolute naked, raw fear they have of Trump, as his polling numbers continue to rise and rise and rise.