RUSH: I have something here, ladies and gentlemen, I’m holding in my formerly nicotine-stained fingers. It is from the archives of RushLimbaugh.com. That is my website. December 2nd, 2014, about 14 months ago. “Jeb Bush: To Win the Presidency, You Have to Run Against the Base.”
Greetings, my friends, and welcome. Rush Limbaugh. I’m almost hyperventilating right now. There is so much to try to squeeze into three hours today and I don’t think I could do it all just — I mean, I could squeeze it all in, but some of it would just be scant few seconds of mention just to qualify that I talked about it. There is so much roiling out there and so much effervescing out there. So just hang in there. We’ll get to every bit of it we can. It’s why the program is three hours long. 800-282-2882 if you want to be on the program. We’ll be talking to you, of course, as the program unfolds.
The mother of all See, I Told You So moments — by the way, there are two postmortems today on the Jeb Bush campaign and what went wrong with it. One’s in the Washington Post. It prints out to seven pages. There’s another one in The Politico. It prints out to five pages.
Both of them pretty much say the same thing. And if I had to synthesize it down, it would be the Republican establishment and the establishment’s consultants class raised over a hundred million dollars believing in an old paradigm, that all it took was money. The message, that could come later. The candidate, yeah, that was somewhat important, but we can’t use his last name.
They went into this knowing that there was in the population for the Bush family and fatigue for the Clinton name as well, in terms of Republican voting. And they did it anyway. They went out and they raised over a hundred — well, a hundred million dollars for the super PAC and whatever they raised for the campaign itself. And they’ve got zilch to show for it. And as these people are quoted in interviews, it sounds like they’re from the Stone Age.
This is the establishment. These are the people with access to all the donors. These are the people that could put their hands on that kind of money and they had no idea what to do with it. They had no idea what they were doing, all the while thinking they were the only ones who knew what they were doing. Neither of these pieces are hit pieces per se. I mean, they’re mostly retrospectives and postmortems. And both contain highlights I want to share with you.
But here it is, December 2014, from my website: “We have a Jeb Bush audio sound bite. Let’s see. It’s last night in Washington at the Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council. It’s an invitation-only event featuring some of the nation’s most powerful CEOs. Former Florida governor Jeb Bush spoke, and this is what he said about running for president.” Remember this? I don’t have the sound bite. I’m gonna quote what he said. “I don’t know if I’d be a good candidate or a bad one. I kind of know how a Republican can win, whether it’s me or somebody else, and it has to be much more uplifting, much more positive, much more willing to, y’know, to be practical now in Washington — lose the primary to win the general — without violating your principles.
And there it was. Lose the primary to win the general. So we embark on a crusade to define that. And it didn’t take long, we all figured out what it meant, because eventually they said so. They wanted to win the Republican primary for Jeb Bush without securing a majority of vote support from the base, i.e., the conservative grassroots of the party. They set out to do that, and they thought they could do it with money. They thought they could do it with money, strategy, and message. But both of these postmortems make it clear that even before they started, they had polling data that told them not to do Jeb Bush. There was nothing personally against Jeb Bush that anybody had; it’s just the Republican base was tired and wanted to move on from the Bushes. They knew this.
They had every bit of polling data they could have had that told them, “Don’t do this. Don’t go into it. Don’t start raising the money. You’re gonna waste it.” And they did it anyway. And what becomes perfectly clear is that a bunch of people were in this for themselves, and how out of touch they are and were within their own party and where the country is headed. Nothing that you don’t know. So I’m not saying this is earth-shattering stuff except that it…
Well, actually it kind of is when you see the depths to which everything was misunderstood, miscalculated, or actively known and nevertheless fought against to absolutely no avail. So Jeb Bush is out, and this is creating an entirely new paradigm.
RUSH: The establishment is in a full-fledged panic. I mentioned last week and the week before and the week before that that the establishment, whoever they are, pretty much everybody opposed to Cruz and Trump, still is of the belief, and they were going into the weekend, that Trump’s gonna implode, or something’s gonna happen and Trump’s gonna get out.
It’s the most amazing state of denial that I have seen. It is what has propelled them. They spent a hundred million dollars on the Bush camp, against who? Against Trump? Trump’s out getting free media. Do you realize everything’s been tossed upside down here? Money is the mother’s milk of politics. Here are all these other candidates trying to raise a few bucks here and a few bucks there to buy a couple of ads that might run on TV.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump picks up the phone from Trump Tower and gets 10 minutes whenever he wants it on any network. And if he wants to go down the escalator where they have the camera set up in front of the waterfall, he can appear on camera, whenever he wants. Realize the value of all the media time Trump is getting that he’s not paying for. Yet everybody else is out there trying to raise it, dime by dime, dollar by dollar, go out and buy ads and so forth. It’s amazing.
And on the establishment side, they believed that’s all it was gonna take, a hundred million dollars. And not a penny of it spent running against Democrats. How wasteful is that? I know it’s a primary. The opponents right now are Republicans. But part of winning this thing is what you’re gonna do, how you’re gonna stop the people that put us in this mess, and that’s Democrats. And the Jeb campaign didn’t even think to go there. It’s mind-boggling to have that kind of money and after all of this, nothing to show for it.
I’m reading stories where now they’re gonna hit up the same donors for Rubio. How much money do these people have left? How much do they have left that they actually want to spend? The same people that asked ’em for money for Jeb are now asking for money for Marco. The same people, who’ve demonstrated they don’t know how to spend it, who’ve demonstrated they may not even be on the same playing field that Trump is on. They’re being guided by tradition and age-old theory and policy, which has obviously surpassed them, and it has surpassed them simply because they appeared to be arrogant toward their own grassroots voters.
Jeb Bush, December 2014: “To win the presidency, you have to run against the base. You have to lose the primary to win the general.” This never had a chance. But they thought it was brilliant. They thought this new technique was gonna shock and awe everybody and sneak up on ’em and do an end run to the nomination without the support of the base. And when you get down to it, they never got above four or five points, where it mattered.
So now it’s panic city. Now what do they do? Well, now they gotta coalesce around somebody. Lindsey Graham’s out there saying, “You know what we need? We need a Rubio-Kasich ticket. That’s what we need.” Right. You need a Rubio-Kasich ticket. I’m sorry. You still don’t have the answers. But they don’t have the answers because they continue to live in denial. They still don’t think that what’s happening is happening.
Let me amend that. What they don’t believe is that what’s happening is real. They really don’t. They still think Trump is not gonna finish this, somehow, some way, he’s going to really, really say something that just, that’s it, no more support, no more tolerance, and he’s gonna be gone. Or that some miracle is gonna happen and he’s gonna come along and get snookered and schlonged by the other candidates.
So what I think they’re really doing right now is planning how they are going to upend all of these results once they get to Cleveland and the convention. I would wager that the brain trust of the Republican establishment is even now trying to figure out how they can send this thing into a brokered convention, how they can come up with a way to basically ignore all rules they wrote for this campaign, for this primary season, and this convention, and throw it open so that they once again, the power brokers, can secure what they want in defiance of what the grassroots has expressed here.
I mean, if I were them, that’s what I would do. Obviously they can’t let go. They don’t want to let go. This is their party. This is their establishment. This is their power base. This is their livelihood. This is their future. This is their standard of living, and this upstart here that they don’t even think is a Republican comes along and shakes it all up? The hell they’re just gonna sit by and let this happen. They’ve proven they don’t know how to stop it. They’ve proven they don’t know what they’re up against. They’ve proven they do not have the slightest the idea. And this has gotta be a shock to ’em. They thought they’re the experts, folks. They thought they were the only ones who knew how to do something like this, win a nomination for the presidency.
They had all the power. They had all the money. They had all the inside games. They had all the tactics. They had the ability to pull the levers and maneuver this however they wanted, and nothing they did got them over four or five points
RUSH: Jeb Bush, I’d have to say that they’ve accomplished exactly what they set out to do, folks. Let’s go back, December 1st, 2014, in Washington, Wall Street Journal CEO council, invitation-only event featuring Jeb Bush. Listen.
JEB: I don’t know if I’d be a good candidate or a bad one. I kind of know how a Republican can win, whether it’s me or somebody else, and it has to be much more uplifting, much more positive, much more willing to, you know, to be practical now in Washington world, lose the primary to win the general without violating your principles.
RUSH: I’d say mission accomplished. They have lost the primary and now it’s on to the general, in ways we don’t know. But remember, now, you know why this might have sealed it back then, if Jeb ever had a chance. I don’t know that he did. And when you read these two postmortems, the Washington Post and Politico today, both of them are just devastating indictments of everybody behind the scenes in the Bush campaign and how much they missed.
For example, they knew that the Republican primary electorate was not interested in another Bush this year. You know what their solution was? To call him Jeb with an exclamation point. Honest to Pete, folks. That was how they dealt with the realization that the Republican electorate was a little tired of the Bushes. The Iraq war, all of that fallout, the election of Obama, it was just too much. The Republican primary electorate and the general electorate needed a break, but they wanted to run Bush, because they wanted back in power. And they figured that they could manipulate and position Jeb Bush in such a way that he could win. But they had to do it by losing the primary, meaning they couldn’t pander to the base.
They don’t like the base, the base embarrasses them, and that’s what this comment here is really all about. “I kind of know how a Republican can win. It has to be much more uplifting, much more positive, much more willing to be practical.” Whether he knew it or not or knows it or not, that’s a direct hit on the base. They’re too mad. They’re too angry. They’re not positive. They’re not cooperative. They’re not willing to work with the other side.
So Jeb’s, “Yeah, I’ll lose the primary to win the general.” I never, ever knew how that was going to be possible, but they set out to do it, and the first half of it they have achieved. They’ve had success. It cost ’em a hundred million dollars to lose the primary, and now it’s on to the general.