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RUSH: I want to share with you this from John Heilemann and Mark Halperin on their program With All Due Respect on the Bloomberg TV network. They were talking about Romney and his speech yesterday in Utah and its timing. And here’s what they said. Heilemann and Halperin both talk about it, and this is the upshot of it…

HEILEMANN: He laid it all out on the table, every possible argument against Trump. Will it have an effect on the race? I doubt it. And I doubt it mainly because of the fact that the Republican establishment, which Romney and McCain embody, is in such disrepute with the Republican electorate right now that it’s not clear to me that it will change very much.

HALPERIN: To see Rush Limbaugh and Fox analysts rally to Trump’s side obviously is not what Romney had in mind.

RUSH: That was Mark Halperin. And just to repeat what he said there, “To see Rush Limbaugh and Fox analysts rally to Trump’s side obviously is not what Romney had in mind.” Let’s go back just a little bit over 24 hours. He started at 11:30, Romney did; he finished 20 minutes later, which was 10 to 15 minutes before this program beginning. And Snerdley said, “You know, they chose that time.” Snerdley is always… Snerdley is constantly thinking everything goes on out there is timed around me.

You know, I don’t think that way, but Snerdley does. He’s very loyal. He said, “You know, they timed this thing to start and finish right before your show started, which means this message was intended for you. They’re trying to get you to come out against Trump, and they’re trying to make it easy on you to come out against Trump by quoting somebody else, i.e., Romney.” And so I thought about that.

Well, if you have a certain mind-set I can see how somebody might think that. And let’s say that it was. Let’s say that what Romney — among the many other things he was hoping to do — was to provide a way for people in the media to quote him in criticizing Trump rather than having to say it themselves, ’cause the establishment might think that there are a bunch of conservative media types who really would like to launch into Trump but who are afraid to do so.

“So if I, Romney, go out there and really unload, they can quote me and imply they support what I said, and that’s the way we can get this done.” Now, I, of course, had not considered that ’til Snerdley put that entire thought process in my mind. But there are many flaws in that. As we discussed yesterday, the entire event raised more questions that it answered. But I’ll deal with that aspect of this, Snerdley’s theory on this when we come back and we will keep going, folks. Hang in there, be tough. Much more straight ahead.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: By the way, there is a second soundbite between Heilemann and Halperin. Let’s play these back to back. I should have played this first. They’re on different pages. Sound bites three and four. They’re one bite here for the purposes of what I want to say. So here’s Heilemann and Halperin again on their program on Bloomberg last night.


HEILEMANN: Laid it all out on the table, every possible argument again Trump. Will it have an effect on the race? I doubt it. And I doubt it mainly because of the fact that the Republican establishment, which Romney and McCain embody, is in such disrepute with the Republican electorate now that it’s not clear to me that it will change very much.

HALPERIN: To see Rush Limbaugh and Fox analysts rally to Trump’s side obviously is not what Romney had in mind.

HEILEMANN: There’s an element I think that’s tactical here. I mean, there’s no way Romney could make the argument he was making, doing this unprecedented thing of being the past nominee attacking the current most likely nominee, without demonstrating that he has partisan bona fides, that part of what he’s thinking here is that Hillary Clinton is the ultimate foe. If he didn’t say that he would have been attacked even more than he already was by many on the right, like Rush Limbaugh.

RUSH: All right. So I remain a fixture in the minds of Heilemann and Halperin. I’m honored to be there. It isn’t a problem. But back to the original premise. And by the way, just so there’s no misunderstanding, I do not subscribe to this. I’m just telling you it’s an interesting thing that was mentioned to me to bounce off of. Romney goes out and does this thing from 11:30 Eastern time to 11:50, 10 to 15 minutes before the program. By the way, I need to preface this by pointing out something out that I know. I know that within the confines of the Republican Party, the RNC, the elected Republican class, if you will, in Washington, there is mounds and mounds and mounds of frustration that conservative media is not only not criticizing or attacking Trump, but in some cases openly supporting him.

They don’t understand it, and they’re pulling their hair out trying to figure it out. And they are trying to figure out ways that they can turn some in the conservative media against Trump. And I think whoever put this idea in my head, it might have been Snerdley, that the whole purpose here for Romney — not the whole purpose, but one of the objectives, send Romney out there, use Romney’s voice to rip into Trump, theoretically making it easier for conservative media to agree with Romney and thus criticize Trump that way without having to do it themselves. And now they’re sitting there all atwitter and puzzled ’cause it didn’t work because there wasn’t any such use of Romney’s words to join in criticism of Trump.

It goes back to what I said immediately after Romney’s statement yesterday. The divide, the disconnect between what we call the Republican establishment, and not just people supporting Trump, people supporting Cruz, people supporting Rubio, even people supporting Ben Carson, the disconnect between the people, elected Republican class and their voters, is larger, it’s a wider gulf than I have ever imagined it could be. It’s wider than I thought it was just last week, and Romney’s remarks illustrate how they just don’t get it.

They have this denial that there’s this mountain of criticism for Trump just waiting to be unleashed or that the Trump campaign’s gonna implode or that Trump’s gonna quit. I mean, they’re still harboring fantasies like that. But what became clear to me, both with Romney’s remarks and actually some things that people said prior to, but not just prior, after. What really has the Republicans scared is what happened with Trump — well, the whole thing has ’em scared, don’t misunderstand. But the thing that set ’em off, the thing that really started ringing the alarm bells and forced Romney and whoever else was behind this to send him out there was this business of Trump with Jake Tapper on CNN not disavowing the KKK and David Duke.

Because the Republican Party, I have now decided, I’ve figured it, I have suspected it, the reason they don’t criticize Obama, the reasons are many, they don’t want to be called racists, they want to be seen as cooperating, they want to be seen as bipartisan, but it really is the race. It’s really they are paranoid. They are paranoid that the entire American population sees them as racists.

And when Trump, who is now leading the primaries, didn’t disavow on that one show, didn’t disavow Duke or the KKK, even though he’s disavowed them a thousand gazillion times before and after, because he didn’t on that one show, that gave them their opening, that scared the death out of them. That’s what’s animating them about this.

And, gang, it’s time to get over that. You’re taking this defensiveness about this to the point of paralysis. And nobody ever got anywhere being on defense the entire time, worried about what somebody thinks about you, and then when something happens that supposedly confirms it, going into action to try to disprove it. And Romney even harped on this in his remarks about Trump.


But the problem, nobody thinks Trump’s a racist. Nobody think’s Trump is a bigot. Nobody thinks that Trump supports the KKK. It’s absurd. And yet the Republican establishment is sitting there thinking it’s possible. And since he’s the standard-bearer now, since he’s leading in the primary, they’re worried that this is going to be amplified and that more and more Americans are going to see the Republican Party as a bunch of racists.

It’s the most ridiculous thing because Trump’s supporters do not see him that way at all. Trump is attracting African Americans. He’s attracting Democrats. He’s attracting Hispanics. What he says about broadening the Republican base is actually happening. So this fear they have over this, being called racist, that really bugs ’em, but all of the other allegations against ’em explains a lot.

It’s no wonder they won’t oppose Obama. They are totally paralyzed by Obama’s race. They will not say one syllable in opposition to Obama. We now know for a fact without a doubt now that the reason they have not made a single move toward stopping Obama is simply because of race. There may be other reasons, but that’s the umbrella under which everything else is happening here.

They haven’t figured out how to refute this charge for the last 60 years that they’re a bunch of racists and so forth. They think everybody believes it. Trump comes along, has that slipup on Jake Tapper’s show, even though there’s thousands of disavowals before and after, even though nobody thinks that Trump — I mean, the Drive-Bys are not trying to prove Trump’s a racist. They’re trying to prove Trump’s other things with this continually harping on why didn’t you conclusively say what we know you believe, what was the reason you wanted to back off on Tapper’s show?

It’s not to prove that Trump’s a racist. Nobody’s even making that charge. But they in the Republican establishment are sitting there thinking that’s all anybody’s seeing. Ergo, Romney’s gotta go out there and disavow Trump. Romney’s gotta go out there and disavow Trump on that basis because we can’t afford for this — they’re saying in their minds — for this to continue to be seen.

And it’s time to get past that. Because that’s phony baloney, plastic banana, good-time rock ‘n’ roller stuff anyway. It’s not that it’s not serious, but the way they’re dealing with this is not the way to change people’s perception about it. And it’s easy for me to sit here and say… I mean, I am not in their business. I don’t go get votes. I don’t run the party. I’m not in charge of their messaging or any of that. But it’s easy to see that they’re not dealing with it in the right way.

And then the bit about throwing in criticisms of you Hillary in order to try to…? That’s not what we were asking. What we were asking is, “Why now?” and, “Why go out and do that if you’re not gonna endorse somebody else at the same time? Why go out and savage Trump and not endorse somebody else? Why not get in yourself, if it’s this dire? If we can’t have this guy as our standard-bearer, if that’s unacceptable, why aren’t you getting in yourself? Why aren’t you endorsing someone else? Where was this to save Jeb way back when?”

Those are legitimate questions to ask about this and also to raise questions about the real motive behind it. But it further illustrates something else. They still have no idea why Trump is Trump. They have no idea why Trump is attracting a crowd. They have no idea why Trump’s crowd is loyal to him, despite being told every day, despite the evidence right in front of them every day. And it isn’t complicated. You don’t need focus groups with dials monitoring the response in debates to understand this.

You don’t need hire a bunch of consultants to try to explain it to you. It’s simple as pie. It’s right out in front of their faces, and it is no more complicated than people that vote Republican simply do not think the Republican Party is going to do one thing to stop and change the direction this country is in and on, which is toward its transformation and destruction. It is such a serious thing to the people who worry about this and care about it. They don’t…

If somebody landed here from Mars that had three eyes and openly stated they hated Orson Welles but promised to stop what’s happening to destroy this country, they would be supported. The people who make this country work are the ones who have not benefited at all from any supposed economic growth in the last 30 years, 40 years. It really… It’s so easy to see that there must be some purposeful desire to ignore it, pretend it’s not real — or even worse, to beat it back. The people who desperately want this fixed are patriots.

They love their country, and they feel like they’re in opposition with people that run the party they have supported all these years who are actively trying to sabotage the fix. It isn’t hard to understand, and you’re not gonna go out there and talk people out of this with the usual personal political insults that you make, because you can’t make them with any credibility. By that, I mean, the Republican establishment.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Well, I just received a couple of new sound bites from Mitt Romney, so we’ll play them. And Trump has announced that he’s pulling out of CPAC. He was scheduled to speak at CPAC on Saturday. Yes, my friends, I was invited. I was invited to wrap it up again this year, and I couldn’t make it. But Trump has pulled out on Saturday. Instead, he’s going to be campaigning in Kansas and Florida. That’s what the Trump campaign says.

Here’s Romney on Cavuto Coast to Coast, the Fox Business Network this afternoon. Cavuto says, “I was struck by the fact that you don’t want Donald Trump to be the nominee, you said that everyone should support the candidates that are out there, John Kasich in Ohio, Marco Rubio in Florida,” Cruz elsewhere, besides Ohio and Florida, ’cause Kasich and Rubio are on the ballot there. It sounds like “you are almost wishing for a brokered convention,” Governor Romney.


ROMNEY: I’d like to see an open convention where there’s more give-and-take between the candidates and someone else besides Donald Trump becomes the nominee in the convention. Let’s say Donald Trump had 40% of the delegates and the other guys have 30% each — and what does that give us? (laughing) All right? That’s a hundred percent, all right? So in a case like that, you’d say that’s 60% that don’t want Donald Trump, and it’s totally appropriate for them. Let’s say they get together and form a ticket. That’s how politics worth.

RUSH: All right, let’s put it on the table. What he’s talking about is a fusion ticket between Rubio and Cruz, unless he wants to throw his own hat in this ring at some point. Which, you know, don’t rule that out. Don’t rule that out. ‘Cause Romney thinks he understands what he did wrong in the last campaign. And among the things that he thinks that he did wrong, he misjudged the polling data in the final three weeks of the race.

He trusted it, the polling data that showed he was leading by six. And you remember that polling data was everywhere. It wasn’t just one poll. You had Dick Morris all over TV explaining why the polls were right. And Romney, he didn’t say this, but you can infer that Romney thinks it caused him to go into a prevent defense mode. You know, back off, don’t do anything to blow the lead, don’t say anything that’s gonna upset anybody. When in fact, the polls were not right, and there’s just four to five million people that didn’t show up.

So some people think he wants a do-over. Cavuto said, “Well, would you vote for Hillary? If you don’t get what you want at the Republican convention and your nominee, somebody you can support, would you vote for Hillary Clinton?”

ROMNEY: No, I’m not gonna vote for Hillary Clinton. I’ll either vote for a conservative who runs or I’ll write in the name of a conservative. I cannot in good conscience vote for a person who has been as degrading and disruptive and unhinged.

RUSH: Well, okay, but all that happens when you talk that way, is you just glue Trump’s supporters to him tighter. You go out, you’ve got these people… I guess this is the point of view. You wish people that were supporting Trump weren’t, right? So you go make a speech, and you try to sound the alarm bells, try to wake them up. “Hey, here’s who this guy really is!” You go out and do it. That never works. You can’t talk people out of an emotional bond they have with something.

You can’t talk people out of… If you have a Budweiser fan, you can’t talk him out of it. So that doesn’t work. So the next day you come out and say, “I can’t in good conscience vote for a person who’s been degrading, disruptive and unhinged.” Well, you’re now calling his supporters “disruptive, degrading, and unhinged” by association. You’re just cementing the relationship even tighter. This is really…


It’s why I say, folks, the disconnect here from the establishment county to the grassroots rank-and-file, they still don’t understand how and why this has happened. And there… Speaking for myself, there’s nothing more I can do to explain it. I probably have devoted a grand total over two weeks of five hours to explaining this, in every which way possible. As have others. Apparently it isn’t registering in any way with them.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Harry, Aurora, Illinois, great to have you on the EIB Network. Hello.

CALLER: Hey, Rush? How are you? Good afternoon.

RUSH: Thank you, sir.

CALLER: Great to talk to you. I’m very honored to talk to you. I’ve been listening to you since about 1994. The reason I called — I’ll try to make this quick for you — is I had heard you ask Mr. Snerdley if he could describe the debate in one word, and I immediately had a word that came to my head, and that was “uneasy.” And the reason it was uneasy is because I had heard Romney earlier in the day, and I had gone into that debate with a feeling of unease ever since I had heard him talk about Trump that day. And it kind of set the tone for the entire debate for me. I had this uneasiness the entire time.

RUSH: Wait, wait. What set the tone? Romney’s speech?

CALLER: Yes. I really was kind of… I was disgusted with Romney after that. You know, I remember back to the election that last month. Just like Trump has been saying, that last month of the election, you know, I had thought that he had it in the bag, and then that entire last month he just threw it to the wind and —

RUSH: Especially the second debate, second or third debate. For the Candy Crowley debate, there was no push back. There was no fight-back. Yep. You’re not alone in that assessment.

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