RUSH: Livonia, Michigan. Ken, glad you waited. You’re next, and it’s great to have you here, sir. Hello.
CALLER: Yeah, had to call in, Rush, to comment on an observation I’m making regarding what I’m seeing in the Republican primaries, and that is I see that the GOP and their supporters, the establishment, they have a very bad memory, very short memory. I’m one of those voters who voted for John McCain for president and then — because I became totally disgusted with the establishment — did not vote for Mitt Romney. And the reason why is because I see the establishment, unfortunately, being the opposite side of the same coin with the Democrat Party.
They both believe in big, bloated government. So that’s why I became disgusted at that. And, Rush, what I’d like to say to the establishment is, “The more you attack Donald Trump, even though I don’t see him as being conservative like I am, the more I like Donald Trump. The more you endorse any other candidate… Now it’s Marco Rubio. I can guarantee that any candidate that the establishment likes, I would never, ever support in the general election,” and so obviously they haven’t been paying attention, and they never will.
RUSH: Well, now, wait a minute. Let me go at this a different way. You are obviously referring to Romney all of a sudden throwing down on Trump on this income tax business. That’s one thing. And then all the establishment guys coalescing behind Rubio. What you’re saying is that every time they make a move like that, all they do is expand and solidify Trump’s support, right?
CALLER: Yes, they do.
RUSH: Do you think that they don’t know that?
CALLER: I think they’re blind to what’s going on. I mean, the establishment clearly wants to stay at the driver’s seat because —
RUSH: It’s like the Washington Post says in their editorial here begging the Republican Party to destroy Trump. They admit they know their editorial’s gonna help Trump, but they say (paraphrased), “That doesn’t matter. We have to say it nevertheless.” These guys have to know… They’re not trying to stop Trump with Romney and this tax business. They’re trying to stop endorsements of Trump. They’re trying to keep Republican establishment people from falling out and joining Trump.
CALLER: Well, as I see it, Rush, those of us who’ve been paying really close attention see that the establishment doesn’t want to give up their money. They don’t want to be taken away from the trough.
RUSH: No question about that. I don’t dispute that. I’m on the same page with you. There’s no question. None whatsoever. Trump just scares the heck out of them. It’s just so obvious now that Romney trying to stop Trump is not… They haven’t learned that they can’t talk people out of liking Trump. They can’t do that, and conventional political attacks that work on other candidates don’t work on Trump. They ought to know that by now. If they don’t, if they’re that dense or blind, as you say, then it’s entirely possible.
But it’s also hard to believe that they’re that disengaged. I know they’re disconnected, but I think there’s always… My point is there are things going on that we don’t see. They know things that we don’t. They talk about things with each other… I’m talking about the establishment guys. They talk about whisper things with each other we don’t know that they’re saying. And they are strategizing. I mean, they’re panicked. They’re doing everything they can to hold onto what they’ve got.
And on the Republican side, we’ve seen evidence that they’re not the brightest bulbs in the sockets. So they’re doing something here that they think is gonna work, and in once sense I’m fascinated by it. I mean, just watching it, studying it, trying to figure it out and balance it against what appears to be so obvious and transparent that it won’t work. And yet they do it anyway, meaning any conventional attack on Trump that they mount. But look, all of this talk on Trump…
There’s a debates tonight, and there are two guys in this debate, Rubio and Cruz, who have no intention of ceding any of this to Trump. And they are devoted to winning this thing. So there’s a debate tonight. They also know things. They know that whatever has happened in debates prior to this one tonight, Trump has not really hurt himself. He may have stalled his growth, but he’s not losing anybody. He’s not losing support significantly. And by the same token, both Rubio and Cruz, I’m sure, had figured that they would have each have won at least a couple of primaries by now.
On the Cruz side, one of Cruz’s main strategies has been to go out and mobilize the four to five million who didn’t vote for Romney in 2012. I happen to know that that is an active element. It’s not the only one, but it’s an active element of the Cruz strategy: Identifying who those people are and then appealing to them and getting them motivated to go out and become active again in politics, not just voting, but become advocates. Maybe contribute some money or man phone banks or what have you. Because that’s a huge bloc of voters, four to five million voters.
If you can motivate ’em — particularly in the general — it’s a huge bloc of voters. There’s always also been the conventional wisdom that Cruz had an automatic “in” with the so-called evangelicals. But here again, conventional wisdom is blown to smithereens. The evangelicals… Who is it that creates a conventional wisdom? Who is it that tells us what the evangelicals are gonna do? Not them. They’re just going about living their lives.
It’s all these numskulls in Washington who are telling us what the evangelicals think and have been the evangelicals are gonna do, and sometimes they rely on polling data. But they believe — don’t doubt me on this — that evangelicals are kooks. “They are Christian crazies, and if they can identify a fellow Christian crazy that’s running, they will glom onto that guy almost in unison. And if there is a Christian crazy running, then all the evangelicals will vote for him.”
Now, in their world, that’s Cruz.
They can’t believe the evangelicals are going to Trump. That doesn’t compute; it doesn’t make any sense. It goes against everything they’ve ever thought about evangelicals. So they’re busy scratching their heads, and so has everybody trying to figure this out. A major spoke of the wheel in the Cruz campaign hasn’t manifested itself, and Rubio has his own things that have not panned outs. So my point is: They’ve gotta go in this debate with entirely different strategies and behaviors than anything we’ve seen before.
If this debate is like every other debate that’s happened, there isn’t going to be any change.
RUSH: No, no. It’s real simple. If Rubio and Cruz focus on each other tonight, it’s just gonna be more of the same and nothing’s gonna change. They’ve both gotta go after Trump. You can’t have this argument over who meant what on amnesty for the 95th time here. That’s what I mean. The strategy tonight has got to be different.
RUSH: So look at the Republican primaries and this debate coming up tonight, and it’s clear that whatever strategies Rubio and Cruz have tried have not moved voters in their direction. So they — and they have to know this. There has been a reluctance by both to go after Trump, like there’s a reluctance on the part of everybody to go after Trump because people who go after Trump end up catching hell. Going after Trump, it hasn’t worked on anybody who’s tried it.
And you can look at how Trump is succeeding in making fun of Romney today. But, hey, that was kind of expected. You’re gonna send Romney out there? That would be like sending Mitt Romney out to start talking about people who mistreat their animals. I mean, he didn’t mistreat his animal, but they tarred and feathered him as somebody who did. The public perception is. And sending Lindsey Grahamnesty out? It’s not gonna help.
But these two guys are gonna find out a way, either together or separately, to go after Trump at some point. And with Super Tuesday next Tuesday, it looks like tonight may be the night. So people are eagerly anticipating this, thinking there’s gonna be some fireworks. There better be. There better be some changes in strategy and behavior, because what’s gone up until now hasn’t moved the needles for anybody. Even Trump. I mean, Trump’s pretty steady, so we’ll see. We’ll see how it plays out, as we always do.
RUSH: It’s the big Republican debate tonight in Houston. And it ought to be different than what we’ve seen heretofore in terms of substance, content, and strategy on the part of those in second, third, fourth, and fifth places. So whatever happens, we will be here tomorrow to help explain it, unravel it, have it all make sense.