RUSH: Okay, folks, let’s just get straight to it. For people watching this debate last night through the usual prism, through the standard inside-the-Beltway, insider establishment elite circles, if you watched the debate with that as your life experience, with that defining your expectations and that defining your analysis and commentary, Hillary Clinton won this debate in a knockout. If that’s how you watch these things.
And that’s how the Drive-Bys see it. That’s how party officials see it. That’s how elected officials see it. That is how people inside the Beltway in the business of politics saw the debate last night overall. At the end of the night, most people don’t want to say it, but Hillary Clinton won in a knockout. The Drive-Bys all think so, and so do many others. Why? Well, because, Hillary was a perfect insider Washington politician.
It was boring. It was robotic. It was almost, especially the first 20 minutes, Hillary Clinton was blindsided, she didn’t know what had hit her, maybe the first 30 minutes. She looked out of it. She looked rattled. She looked like she wasn’t prepared for the way Trump was behaving and what Trump had to say. She was totally programmed. She was programmed to wait for openings either provided by Trump or provided by Lester Holt. She was waiting for memorized zingers to be implemented and used.
She was exactly what people are fed up with. In terms of the insider nature of Washington politics, the professional politician aspect of Washington politics, insincere, say it because it sounds good. Don’t say who you really are, by all means, don’t announce what you’re really for, never get into any specifics. All you do is try to character assassinate your opponent using the assistance of the moderator. We knew all of this going in. The question is, is that how people, voters, saw this last night?
I’ll take you back to the Republican primaries. Donald Trump in the Republican primary debates was just like he was last night. And after every Republican primary debate all of these people in the establishment, the elites, the ruling class inside Washington politics, the professional politicians, you name them, after every debate people were shocked and embarrassed and angry and thought Trump had just finally destroyed himself. And after each debate everybody was shocked to learn that Trump had not done that. That Trump was continuing to build his momentum, he was continuing to attract new voters, in defiance of everything the insiders considered to be common sense.
And last night Trump was who he was. There are many Trump supporters — I don’t know many — some Trump supporters — angry that he didn’t seem to take it more seriously and to end up being more prepared. I’ll get into pitch-by-pitch analysis of this in just a second. I mean, he swung and missed at a bunch of hanging curveballs last night. And it was frustrating to all kinds of people, particularly on his side, who really wanted him to take her out last night and just be done with this.
And I can’t described for you the overwhelming pessimism that I was greeted with last night by Trump supporters who thought, “Oh, my…” They were so hepped up, they were so jazzed, they were so ready, and then they said they ended up being so disappointed. And I think people are continuing to make what apparently is an unavoidable mistake. You cannot look at this debate as you would look at Romney versus Obama, or Bush versus Kerry, or Bush versus Gore, or Hillary versus Bernie, or Hillary versus Obama. Trump changes all of that.
Here you have 30 years in public life.
What has she accomplished in these 30 years? Literally diddly-squat, other than goofing up and messing up for the most part what she touches. There were ample opportunities for that to be pointed out last night. Trump got some of them, and he missed others. If I had to offer a singular criticism of Trump — and, by the way, let me say at the outset, I don’t think that this changed anything last night in terms of stopping Trump’s momentum.
He did not commit the giant gaffe or faux pas that would make his supporters rethink it. Nothing like that happened. He might have left them wanting more, but he didn’t disappoint them. So there was no great shift in momentum last night, nothing of such magnitude that would cause anybody to rethink on Trump’s side what he’s doing. And, in fact, to prove my point that people see this and are looking at this in totally different ways than the political professionals and even average Americans who pay attention to politics…
You can’t avoid the way the Drive-Bys look at this. That’s what the news is every day, and so it’s easy to get caught up in this. But people don’t see Trump the way they see insider politicians and they’re not judging Trump that way. They’re not judging Trump on debate points. They’re not judging Trump on knowledge here, knowledge there. They’re not judging Trump on the standard ways we measure traditional Washington politicians.
“How much have they got done? How much do they say they’re gonna do? How much are their promises worth?” He’s not judged that way. He represents something entirely different, especially in the eyes of his supporters. Do you realize how much shock there is…? By the way, this is almost a replica of Republican Party primaries. You can find stories all over this country where large and small news organizations assemble focus groups of anywhere from 12 to 42 people.
In the vast majority of them, Trump was judged to be the winner and even some Hillary voters said, “I can’t vote for her after this.” Trump — in a lot of places in this country, in a lot of focus groups sponsored by Drive-By Media outlets — actually appears to have gained support. Nobody watching that debate last night will possibly understand that. Nobody will be able to make sense of it because they don’t know. They still haven’t, after almost… Well, it’s over a year now. They still haven’t learned to analyze and judge Trump’s support base, who they are and why they support him.
They continue to make the mistake of not studying it, not analyzing it, not figuring it out — and, as such, plugging Trump into the system they are accustomed to and comfortable with and proclaiming him to be a failure in it. Well, he’s not a 30-year career politician. He doesn’t have a 30-year career political record. He doesn’t have a 30-year experience of running for office and being in debates or any of that. And yet he’s being judged the same way they would judge Hillary Clinton or anybody else who’s been in that business for 30 years.
And they’re making a very grave tactical error doing so because that’s how they conclude that Trump got snookered. They conclude that Trump was embarrassingly defeated last night and it may have been the beginning of the end. And they couldn’t be more wrong. And they’re gonna be shocked and stunned more than likely when they find out the next series of polls come out that this did not hurt Trump and, in fact, did not stop his momentum.
They’re gonna be scratching their heads like they have been scratching their heads about Trump since he got into the race. It’s amazing how some of this is beginning to play out exactly as did it during the Republican primaries. Now, it was a given going in — a lot of people’s given going in — that Hillary was gonna win in traditional debate points. And here’s why it was a given. She’s done it before. That’s how she studies and prepares, and winning in debate points, in the business of politics, is a must. And that’s how you study and prepare, and that’s how you want to be judged when it’s over.
Well, there’s no question she was going to be judged the winner by people on her side in the Drive-By Media and from the moderator. They were going to proclaim her everything they want her to be — more experienced, more knowledgeable, all of that — which doesn’t matter a hill of beans to a sizable portion of people in this country. The question is, we don’t know how many, and it will be defined and determined for us on November 8th, on Election Day.
But I maintain to you a majority of people watching last night were not watching to see who won in traditional debate ways. The people interested in this presidential election are not judging what they saw last night the way media spinmeisters are going to judge this and spin it. I’ll give you an example. One of the early themes of the post-debate analysis last night no matter where you went… Fox News, CNN, PMSNBC, ABC, CBS, NBC, wherever you went, one of the early narratives was, “Oh, my God, I can’t believe how much Trump was on the defensive.
“Oh, my God, did you see what happened? That’s the last thing any of us ever expected. It’s very tough to recover, Karl! It’s very tough to recover, Brian.” This is them talking to each other. “Being on the defensive, it was so easy. Hillary put him on defense the whole debate. After the first 20 minutes, she owned it. She was inside his head and had him twisting and reeling, and he was doing nothing but defending himself.”
That’s not what happened. Well, it may be what happened; it’s not how it was seen. I don’t expect to be listened to on this. But what the Drive-Bys and the people that create these narratives don’t understand is Trump… When they see Trump on defense, when they see Trump in a defensive posture, his supporters see Trump attacking. His supporters see Trump defending in ways the Republican Party hasn’t in a long time. They see Trump standing up for them. They see Trump standing up for himself.
They see Trump standing up against Hillary and throwing it right back at her. It may look like he’s defensive to these inside-the-politics Beltway pros, but to Trump supporters he’s on the attack. The first 20, 30 minutes of this debate last night she literally looked blindsided. First 20, 30 minutes, it’s key. The whole debate matters, too, but the first 20, 30 minutes are key. She was blindsided. She looked totally deer-in-the-headlight eyes frequently.
She looked unprepared. She was speaking in robotic ways. Trump was criticizing her and attacking her in ways the Republican Party hasn’t gone after a Democrat, particularly the Clintons, ever. And the reason there is frustration aimed at Trump today is because people wished he would have continued doing so throughout the entire debate. As I say, two or three hanging curveballs. Trump sent out a tweet the end of the debate complaining…
RUSH: After practically every primary debate, after every Republican primary debate, there was an election. And Trump won after supposedly embarrassing himself, after supposedly demonstrating that he’s not seriously studying issues, after demonstrating supposedly that he’s phoning it in. After showing that he’s uncouth and all this, he ends up winning practically every primary following those debates. Well, there isn’t an election after these debates until November.
Trump changes all of this. Every day of the campaign, Trump changes this. And you can say whatever you want about Trump missing golden opportunities, whiffing at hanging curveballs, letting Hillary off the hook, the rigged nature of the moderator and so forth. But one thing came through crystal clear last night: Donald Trump showed everybody and reminded many that he is not of the system.
He is not a Washington insider, and he is not responsible for any of the mess or messes that exist today. On the other hand, Hillary Clinton showed that that is exactly who she is. Hillary Clinton demonstrated she is the quintessential politician for life, in it for herself. The question is what it’s always been: Are people tired of the system and want an outsider or do they want to stick with the system? And we are not gonna know until November.
RUSH: No, it’s not complicated. What I’m trying to tell you is that Donald Trump’s supporters are not gonna abandon him because he didn’t mention Benghazi. They’re not gonna abandon him because he didn’t mention the email server. They’re not gonna abandon Trump because they’re disappointed that he didn’t mention the Clinton Foundation. That’s not how this works.
But yet I watch every Drive-By Media analyst talking about this, “Yeah, you know, Trump, he had that low-hanging fruit, and he didn’t mention it.” So what? You really think Trump supporters are gonna abandon him and go vote for her because of that? That’s not how people watch these things, and particularly ardent supporters. Trump’s ardent supporters are disappointed because they wanted him to take her out last night, and she survives to do another debate.
He had ample opportunity to just wipe the floor with her and didn’t do it. But it doesn’t mean they’re gonna abandon him. That’s not why they support him first place. The traditional way these debates are analyzed and judged and scored has always baffled me. I don’t care where it happens, they all do it because they can’t help it. It’s their business. They analyze this the same way sports commentators analyze a single play in football or a game and try to project the meaning of one game onto whether or not a team is gonna win the Super Bowl.
And, look, I don’t even really mean this to be a criticism. It’s just the way the Drive-Bys and professional newspeople do things. It’s their business to keep viewers interested. It’s their business to make viewers think they know what they’re talking about. It’s their business to make viewers think that they know more than the viewers do. So they’ll take this debate last night and they’ll play sound bites and they’ll say, “You see what Trump should have said, and he didn’t say this.”
So, what does it mean? Absent a major gaffe — and what would it take for Trump to make a major gaffe at this stage? I’ll tell you what it would have to be something like. Trump would have to do or say something that would convince a large number of his supporters that he’d been lying to them from the get-go on this. It’s that kind of gaffe that he’s gonna have to commit. But a gaffe of omission or not even a gaffe, a refusal to make a point — but here’s another thing, folks, that I’ve always wondered about, too.
I’m gonna use Mr. Snerdley as an example, just to tell the story. I’m the being critical of Mr. Snerdley. Everybody does this. He came in here, he’s talking about it. He starts listing off specific things that Trump should have said here and should have said there. And I said, “Well, it seems you already know it. Why did Trump have to say it?” Everybody demanding that Trump say something, they already know it anyway. So what difference would it have made? Well, the difference it would have really revved up his supporters if he’d gone after Hillary a little bit more, if he would have not missed those hanging curveballs.
But it doesn’t mean that his supporters think he’s an idiot. It doesn’t mean that his supporters think he’s not qualified. It doesn’t mean that his supporters are gonna throw him overboard because he failed to do a couple things they were really wishing he would do. Now, if they really thought Trump didn’t know that she’s got a foundation problem, and if they thought Trump didn’t know that she’s got an email scandal brewing around her and that that’s why he didn’t mention it, well, that’s a different thing. But Trump knows all of this. We all do. We all know every reason in the world not to elect this woman. Trump knows it, you know it, I know it, and half of Hillary’s supporters know it.
I’ll give you another example. I’m watching CNN today. This is classic. This is a classic illustration of the type of inside-the-Beltway analysis these people give that’s totally missing the point in relating to people that watched the debate last night. I don’t know who it was, doesn’t matter who it was, it could have happened on any network. I know it was CNN but it could have happened anywhere. They were discussing how Trump blew it when Lester Holt went to the topic of race.
So I guess to myself, “Well, what are they gonna say as evidence that Trump blew it?” And here it was. Somebody on CNN said, “When the first question, when you are asked the first question about race problems in America, the last thing you say,” as though this is the stupidest thing Trump did all night, “the last thing you say is ‘law and order.’ And then to the compound that mistake by talking about stop-and-frisk,” and then they went on to talk about how out of touch Trump is and that that is the evidence of it. And that he’s a bonehead idiot, over-his-head, unqualified, has no idea what he’s doing, is a total embarrassment to people, ’cause the last thing you should ever say when you are asked about race relations is law and order? Why, doesn’t Trump know how insulting that is?
And that, to me, is as good an example I could find of the disconnect that exists in Washington, inside the Beltway and the rest of the country. From Charlotte to Baltimore to Ferguson to Dallas to Tulsa to Fort Hood, wherever you want to go where there is civil unrest, if you don’t think the people in these towns are fed up and want a little law and order and want somebody talking instead of coddling the bad guys, instead of making excuses for the bad, instead of politically correct telling us that we must stop our criticism and we must understand the rage.
People are fed up with it. Law and order doesn’t seem to be a focus for the Democrat Party. The Democrat Party seems to be focused and aiming at law. The Democrat Party seems to be on the side of disorder. The Democrat Party seems to be compassionate, understanding, and tolerant of the people who are provoking law and order.
So for Trump to see all of these race riots and these protests as a law-and-order issue just happens to be bull’s-eye for I don’t know how many millions of Americans. But what they meant at CNN, anybody else who said this, the last thing you’re supposed to when the subject race comes up is talking about law and order.
What they think Trump should have done is taken the opportunity to convey to people that he realizes police departments are out of control, and he should have made the effort to do whatever it took to pander to African-Americans because he’s gonna need some of them to win. He’s gonna need to take some of them away from Hillary, so instead of actually honestly answering this and dealing with it as he sees it as an issue, he should have pandered like everybody else inside the establishment does every day.
He should have pandered to the civil rights coalition. He should have pandered to people like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. He should have pandered to Black Lives Matter. He should have done whatever it takes not to make them mad, because he’s going to need the African-American vote. And everybody of course knows the African-American vote is monolithic, and it is going to always side with rioters and protesters and so forth.
I think there might be other examples which are as good, but this is as front and center in my memory as anything from last night is. Because on the other side you have a got Hillary saying we’re all racists, we’re all deplorable. She said it. Last night, we all, this country, we all are racists from one day to the next, one time or another, we all have this racial problem.
And for Trump to see it as a law-and-order problem, what they mean by that is that Trump has no sensitivity to the complaints of African-Americans or minorities. Trump doesn’t even know what they’re upset about, and he doesn’t care and he’s so bullheaded and he’s so obtuse and he’s so out of it that he doesn’t realize what a gigantic faux pas it was to talk about law and order when he was asked about race relations.
What they don’t understand is that for all of our lives, I don’t care how old you are, for all of our lives we have been getting the Democrat Party recipe for dealing with racial problems and all that’s happening is they are getting worse. Hillary Clinton hasn’t been able to do anything about it, Barack Obama has not been able to do anything about it, the Democrat Party has not improved race relations whatsoever, and yet we are all supposed to kowtow and behave the way they do and the way they want us to. And if we don’t, then we’re racists and bigots and whatever else.
And to this day I’m convinced they don’t really understand why Trump has the support he has. They’ve got their theories, and they chalk most of it up to bigotry. They chalk most of it up to racism. They chalk most of it up to, “Well, his supporters are a bunch of idiots or they’re Nazis or they’re skinheads or they’re what have you.” It’s condescending, it is insulting, it is arrogant, and it’s so far from being accurate that they are, I think, at great peril.
They think they won big last night. They think Hillary just smoked Trump. They think it’s a grand-slam home run. I’m already seeing stories, “Can Trump Recover?” Well, let’s see if last night even stops his momentum. They’ve gotta do that first, and I don’t know that anything that happened last night’s gonna derail his momentum.
They all think Hillary did great ’cause she mentioned this fact checker business. Has anything ever been more telegraphed than this whole fact checker thing was? All day yesterday and all day Sunday and all day Monday, all we heard about was, “Lester better fact check. He better fact check.” So all the Drive-Bys announce they’re gonna be fact-checking, and what does Hillary do? Every time Trump says something, Hillary says, “Ha-ha, the fact-checkers are gonna have the fun with that.”
The fix was in. They were all alike. Don’t think people don’t notice this and see it. They’re sitting there thinking, “This election’s over again, folks.” Some of them are. Some of them are thinking Hillary dispatched Trump. Hillary didn’t dispatch anybody. Trump missed a couple of great, great opportunities, two or three of ’em. And because of that they’re concluding that Trump’s out of his league and doesn’t know what he’s doing.
RUSH: I’ll tell you something else. You talk about Trump missing low-hanging fruit. So did Hillary last night. Now, the Drive-Bys cannot possibly conceive of this. But what has been Hillary’s number one thing, issue, subject of her ads that she’s been running for a hundred million dollars? I don’t know how many millions, but it’s just been substantial. Her ads are attacking Trump on what basis, what premise? That he’s unsuitable, right?
Right? Well, I’m sure Hillary thought she had ample opportunity to make that point last night, but she didn’t, did she? And here’s why that’s important, because her primary point or emphasis, her theme is Trump’s unfitness for office, his lack of qualifications, his boorish behavior, his ill-tempered manner. She had to demonstrate last night, if you ask me, that Trump isn’t qualified. She had to demonstrate last night that Donald Trump doesn’t deserve to be on that stage last night.
She had to demonstrate that Donald Trump doesn’t deserve to be the Republican nominee. She had to demonstrate that Donald Trump has not earned and doesn’t deserve to even be going toe-to-toe with her on that stage, and she doesn’t do that. There’s not a single person when this was over that said Trump didn’t belong. There’s not a single person, not even in the Drive-Bys. Look, read or listen to all of them. There may be some outlier saying it, but I’m telling you: She didn’t, and the Democrats are not making a big deal of it.
They are not saying Trump demonstrated that he had no business in this business. Because he went toe-to-toe with her. He owned the first 30 minutes of the debate. He had the best of her for the first 30 minutes and he held his own throughout the rest of it. He demonstrated to every one of his supporters and even detractors that he had every bit the business being on that stage that she does. Her primary attack item blew up in her face last night, and the Drive-Bys are not gonna see this. They’re not capable of seeing it. She is St. Hillary.
She is Queen Hillary on the way to being coronated. The continual smug, self-satisfied smirk that she had on her face for the last 45 minutes? That’s when she thought, “This guy’s making a fool of himself. I’m winning this.” Major blunder. The two main things that I think ordinary people saw, are Trump demonstrated his earned position as a major party nominee; he had every business, every right being up there. And a lot of people were applauding what he was saying up there last night. And Hillary? She came off exactly as many people see her: A witch with a capital B.
RUSH: You remember the incident or the episode in the debate last night, Hillary making a point about Trump not paying his taxes, and she was speculating why he didn’t? “Maybe he’s not as rich as he says. Maybe he hasn’t paid his taxes. Maybe he hasn’t made all the charitable donations.” You know what I was so hoping to hear? Something along the lines of, “You know, Hillary, if you keep making those speeches to the banks — 250 grand for 20 minutes and $20 million every two years — you might end up having a tax return that looks like mine. Keep at it.”
But alas, we didn’t get it.