GOP Establishment Wise Men Gather to Tell Us Everything Wrong with the Party
Mar 15, 2016
RUSH: I can’t glance at TV without seeing somebody whining now about all the free media Trump has gotten. I have here in my formerly nicotine-stained fingers a story from mediaQuant. It’s a firm that tracks media coverage of every candidate and computes it dollar value based on advertising rates, and it’s been published here in the New York Times.
According to this study, Donald Trump has earned close to $2 billion worth of free media during the campaign. The pull quote from the story: “Mr. Trump earned $400 million worth of free media last month, about what John McCain spent on his entire 2008 presidential campaign. Paul Senatori, mediaQuantÂ’s chief analytics officer, says that Mr. Trump ‘has no weakness in any of the media segments’ — in other words, he is strong in every type of earned media, from television to Twitter.” You name it.
So now everybody, “It’s not fair, it not fair, Trump’s got all this free media.” And it’s Republicans saying this, naturally. Do they ever ask themselves why? It’s 2016. Maybe we’re learning something else here, too. Why does all of this stuff have to fall on me to be said? I’m gonna end up being universally despised and hated by everybody, no matter where I go. How is it that in 2016 a major political party still doesn’t understand modern media, how to use it, instead of complaining about it being unfair? The media? Really? When did that realization hit you, that the media is unfair? When did you figure out the media does not like you, Republicans? When did you figure out the media does not like you, conservatives?
Did you ever stop to ask why all this is happening? Why does Trump command all this? Why do these networks, I don’t care who they are, televise hours and hours of Trump appearances, when he pretty much says the same thing, maybe just not in the same order? Everything to me is a teachable moment, a learnable, if you will, opportunity.
But to complain about the unfairness of it, I’m sorry, I don’t have a sympathetic ear for that. I have a phrase I use, it’s become a cliche. I recall believe in it. “It is what it is.” It’s not what you wish it was. It’s not what you hope it was. It is what it is. And that’s why I’m the mayor of Realville.
Okay, to the audio sound bites, which tell a story. You may have seen excerpts of this. Mark Halperin, who has a TV show on the Bloomberg network with his buddy John Heilemann, went to Showtime and pitched an idea. The idea resulted in a program called The Circus, Inside the Greatest Political Show on Earth. The premise of the show is that Halperin hangs around with a bunch of Republican establishment guys during this campaign and gets them on tape reacting to what’s happening in the campaign, which is pretty much getting their reaction to Trump.
The cameras follow them around as they’re in cars, they go to dinner. Anywhere these establishment types gather, the cameras are there. The establishment types are, for example, many of them are from the George Bush 41 days. You have Vin Weber, former member of Congress from Minnesota. You have a fundraiser and strategist by the name of Rick Holt. Former George H. W. Bush advisor Ron Kaufman from Boston. There’s some others like Ed Rogers. There are four or five of these guys.
Oh, and Mark McKinnon, who is a renowned media expert who ran all of George W. Bush’s media in 2000 and 2004 and thus is heralded as a great media guru. He’s also the guy that started the revered and exalted No Labels movement with a bunch of other liberal Republicans who don’t like labels and who don’t like conservatives and thought that they could separate themselves and not be identified with the redneck hoi polloi by calling themselves No Labels. He’s part of this group, too.
This is gonna air at some point. It may be airing on Showtime; I don’t know. But they have released excerpts of this on YouTube and we have some of them for you. It’s March 6, Showtime’s The Circus: Inside the Greatest Political Show on Earth. This is during a dinner gathering of Republican establishment fundraisers and strategists.
RICK HOHLT: Everybody around this table that I know, we’ve been in every presidential campaign probably since 1980 in various degrees. And in Trump’s problem, he doesn’t have a co — you don’t know what his compass is.
VIN WEBER: I talk to people all the time, as I’m sure everybody around the table does, they say, “Why didn’t you Republicans do something about this guy?” I’m sorry. This is not the Soviet Union. We can’t call a meeting and decide Trump is out.
RON KAUFMAN: And we hate that. (laughter) Denying dictatorship. Who’s for it? Trump is doing well for one reason: He understands the — the — the climate and the culture of America today better than anybody at this table.
RUSH: That’s Ron Kaufman, who also said we hate the fact that we’re not the Soviet Union Politburo, we just can’t decide that Trump is out, but that’s what they’re doing. I mean, maybe not these guys, but that’s exactly what they’re doing, folks. They’re trying to figure out how to take it away from Trump right now by going to a contested convention. And with this rules committee guy now publishing a story, hey, there’s no way, delegates are not bound to a candidate on the first ballot, they can vote for anybody they want. It’s clear as a bell what they’re setting up here.
Now, this next one, this says it all. Same dinner gathering, same people, but a new voice, Ed Rogers. He’s a former George W. Bush 41 advisor, and that’s whose voice you first hear in this bite.
ED ROGERS:Shell-shocked, bewildered. Republicans are hierarchical, respectful of authority. We fall in line. And Trump has interrupted that cycle.
VIN WEBER: Donald Trump, nobody thought of him as any kind of political leader until six months ago.
ED ROGERS: He’s not articulate. He’s not poised. He’s not informed. All he has going for him is a lot of votes. Why hasn’t any of that hit home? Here we are. Here we are.
RUSH: (laughing) What does he mean all he’s got is a bunch of votes? (laughing) What is this about? He’s not articulate, he’s not poised, he’s not informed, all he’s got going for him is a lot of votes. Why hasn’t any of that hit home. Why haven’t you idiot voters realize Trump’s got nothing, there’s nothing there. All he’s got is a bunch of votes, when are you gonna wake up? And believe me, that’s what the establishment is asking.
In the first part of this bite Ed Rogers describes them all, shell-shocked, bewildered, Republicans are hierarchical, respectful of authority, we fall in line and Trump has interrupted that cycle. Meaning there’s a succession process here, hierarchical, everybody knows their place, falls in line, you move up when it’s your turn. I mean, these guys are making the case for any Republican voter who is wary or distrustful of the establishment, these guys are clearly demonstrating here that the current construct of the party is antiquated, it’s an antique. It’s not responsive. It doesn’t relate to anything but itself.
And so Trump’s not playing along with the game. He’s not going along with the hierarchy. The hierarchy would be Trump runs for dog catcher, then gets elected first city councilman, then runs for Congress, and then after 30 years of that, gets to the Senate, and then maybe we let you think about being president. And Trump said to hell with that, he’s going for the top job right off the bat. Who does he think he is? All he’s got is a bunch of damn votes. When are people gonna wake up? (laughing)
And there is one more. An El Rushbo See, I Told You So moment. Same dinner gathering, same people. Ed Rogers, Vin Weber, and all these other guys. Mark Halperin says, “Do you know for sure that Trump would be a better president than Hillary Clinton?”
DUNCAN: No. But it’s a risk that I’m willing to — to take. If we get off into splitting our party, we can’t put it back together. Humpty-Dumpty won’t come back together.
WEBER: That’s — that’s the great dividing line, that question right there.
HALPERIN: ‘Cause you care more about his presidency?
WEBER: I’m scared of him as president. I think he’s an authoritarian figure. To deport 12 million people, build a wall on the Mexican border, and impose a religious test on people coming into this country is so violative (sic) of everything I believe about America and the Republican Party.
ROGERS: I travel around the world a lot, and Trump is a laughingstock. The world, whatever that is, is at peace with Hillary Clinton.
WEBER: I’d never vote for a Democrat or any — I’ve never voted for anybody other than a Republican for president of the United States. This would not be an easy thing for me.
RUSH: This was Ed Rogers. “I travel…” That’s the same guy who said, “When are people gonna wake up? All Trump’s got is a bunch of votes.” He says here, “I travel around the world a lot, Trump’s a laughingstock, the world is at peace with Hillary Clinton.” These guys are openly thinking of voting Hillary instead of Trump; they’re talking about it. I’m just here to tell you: It looks like if there’s not the standard operating procedure of, “We have a nominee and then unity,” and everybody coming together and realizing that Hillary is the enemy, the Democrats and the opposition — if that doesn’t happen — then the Republican Party as you and I have always known it… It’s gonna be there, but it’s not gonna look anything like it does today or like last year, and these guys are pretty much telegraphing that that’s what’s at stake.
RUSH: Okay, a few words about what we just heard. I had to go to the break real quick to stay within the confines here of the programming format. I’m stunned by what I’ve heard in these bites. By the way, apparently this thing’s been on the air for six weeks, and I can’t believe I haven’t heard of this. It’s not that I spend all day watching TV, but I read enough. This program hasn’t been reviewed by anyone. This program has not been touted.
This program’s been on Showtime for six weeks or something or eight weeks or whatever and I only heard about it when they started playing these YouTube sound bites. So, my bad, but apparently it’s airing; it’s long past postproduction. So get that straight. Listen to this Vin Weber here in this last bite that we played: “I’m scared of Trump as president. I think he’s an authoritarian figure. To deport 12 million people…” Ike deported six. We’ve done this before. None of what Trump is proposing is unique. None of it’s unprecedented.
That’s what’s striking about this. “To deport 12 million people, build a wall with Mexico…” Congressman Weber, the wall has been funded. There’s already legislation to build the wall. We just haven’t done it because Obama’s not interested. We’re going to build a wall before Trump ever showed up! The wall is funded via legislation that’s already been passed and signed into law. “Impose a religious test on people coming into this country is so violative of everything I believe about Amer…”? We already do and have for who knows how long!
Let me explain again. This is a former member of Congress. And look at what they’re reciting as their fears of Trump. And you know what it all is? It’s almost by rote. They’re saying things they want Democrats to hear. They’re saying things that they want certain people to hear so that they will not be thought of as the racists, sexists, and bigots that Trump voters are perceived as. So they’re opposed to a wall. They’re opposed to deportation. They’re opposed to religious test. We’ve had refugees regularly and annually admitted to this country, and every refugee is asked.
Up until Obama, every refugee was asked about his or her religion. It is the number one reason given by refugees seeking asylum. They are fleeing religious persecution, they claim, on their application form, or they’re fleeing poverty, or they’re fleeing war, or political persecution. But religious persecution is the number one thing according to stats that refugees list. By definition, they have to be asked, “What is your religion?” It has to be confirmed, they claim they’re fleeing religious bigotry and persecution.
So they’re asked, “What is your religion? What’s being done to you?” You know, and if they’re coming from the nation of San Cordoba — which doesn’t exist. Mission Impossible made it up, so I’m use San Cordoba. They claim there’s religious persecution in San Cordoba. Okay, so the authorities have to look and see what’s going in San Cordoba to find out if there is any religious persecution going, or if the guy’s lying. Congressman Weber ought to know this! We routinely control who the bets into this country. We always have for the preservation of this country.
Freedom and the Constitution is not a suicide pact, for crying out loud. The Eisenhower administration deported six million illegal immigrants back in the fifties, obviously. It has been done. Yet all of these things are cited as horrors. “They’re not like any America that I know. It makes me very worried. Trump’s authoritarian figure! He’s gonna build a wall.” It’s already been debated in Congress! It’s already been passed, signed into law. The money’s there for it. It just hasn’t been built. Well, some of it has. I don’t know, folks.
I have to tell you, this is what makes it tough for me to… You know what? Let me put it this way. One of the most, I think, relevant things that was said in one of these episodes — and I just found this. It was a question that Mark Halperin asked these guys. He said, “How do you feel about the fact that the Republican nominee may be someone that none of you know?” Bingo! There it is. “What do you mean, Rush? What do you mean?” It’s a club. Everybody in the club knows everybody else.
There are favors passed out. There are special considerations based on seniority. It’s like any other club. It’s like any other private, enclosed existence. There are rules. And knowing who and what and where and when and why is the power. Who to know or when to whatever. And if you don’t know the nominee, what can he do for you? If you don’t know the nominee, what can he do for you? If you don’t know the nominee, how the hell are you gonna have any power with the guy? Do not doubt me, folks.
RUSH: I’m being given more details on this Showtime show The Circus, whatever it is. They’re eight weeks into it, but normally it’s just Halperin and Heilemann and McKinnon driving around in an SUV talking about things. But this latest episode is the dinner with these Republican establishment guys. They are not in every episode. This is the only episode they were in, which is why this particular episode has been leaked, or not leaked, but excerpts published on YouTube.
So that brings us up to speed on that. I still can’t believe I had never heard of this. I haven’t seen one word written about this show anywhere. Nothing against Heilemann or Halperin, that’s not the point. But I’m telling you, my reading is omnivorous and voluminous, and I have not seen a word about this. When I heard about this show, what happened was they had leaked something from preproduction. So whatever this show is doing, very few people know about it, but now everybody does, which is I think one of the objectives.