RUSH: Neil in Matthews, North Carolina. It’s great to have you. Welcome to the program. Hi.
CALLER: Hey, Rush. Listen, I saw on the Drudge headline that the Bushes aren’t gonna endorse Trump, and it finally dawned on me that there’s a growing list of people not endorsing or supporting Trump that have already been branded and vilified by Democrats as right-wingers that are wrong for the country. So I actually believe that it’s the best thing to happen to Trump in a national election, because there’s possibly millions of independent voters — and maybe even moderate Democrats — who will now be more comfortable supporting Trump because these anti-Trump Republicans have distanced themselves from him.
RUSH: You know, you have a good point. You said both Bushes — George W. Bush and Jeb (and actually three, George H. W. Bush) have said they’re not going to convention. Romney said he’s not going to the convention. Now, what’s the reaction to that supposed to be? “Oh, no! Oh, God! Do you realize what that means? Oh, the party is not gonna be unified! Oh!” I think old Neil here may have a point, as far as the reputation, image, perception of Trump. I think one thing that I figured out late… It’s one of the things that I came to late. I always knew that the left hated George W. Bush. That was not a mystery. I didn’t know that it was beyond Iraq. I thought it was just the Iraq war.
I didn’t know that… It’s stupid, too. It was all happening right in front of me, but I didn’t know how deep the hatred for Bush was. It was always irrational to me no matter what it was, no matter how deep. I always though the left-wing hatred for George W. Bush was irrational, and I knew it was there. But, for example, in the exit polls in 2012, four years into the Obama administration, 65% of the people who voted were still blaming Bush for the economy, after four years of Obama and the stimulus bill. They blamed Bush for TARP and they blamed Bush for the financial crisis.
They blamed the Republicans for all of this stuff, not just the Iraq war, and a lot of Republicans ended up feeling the same way. So we fast forward to this year, and the former figureheads and presidents of the party are not showing up, and I think Neil’s got a good point here. By not being there, it cements that Trump is not of the Republican Party of four years ago, ten years ago, eight years ago, whatever. And with these guys not endorsing Trump, it’s the same thing. It leaves little doubt that that Trump is, quote/unquote, outsider, independent, what have you.
By the same token, if, at the convention, George W. is there and George H. W. are there and if they spoke and if they lauded Trump, a lot of people not Republicans who might be interested in Trump for a whole host of reasons would immediately say, “Uh, uh, uh, uh, uh, uh, uh.” It would kill the deal simply by virtue of the reputation that Bush has. And let’s not forget why they were able to do it. The Bush White House never fought back on one thing. Karl Rove has admitted that it was a miscalculation that they made.
They thought that they were preserving the dignity and the honor of the office by not getting in the gutter and answering all of these political charges. And it was a miscalculation, because not defending yourself let all those charges stand. But it also frustrated your supporters, because, by extension, they were being accused of the same kind of thing, or supporting the same kind of thing. So it was demoralizing to many people.