RUSH: The White House continues to send signals that they’re not through with health care. I thought I was done with it yesterday, but there’s another whole Stack of health care news today that I am duty-bound to pass on to you because it is a big deal. It is a major deal in terms of the Republican Party’s seven-year promise, seven-year commitment to repeal and replace it and their inability to do so.
Now we have Senator Jeff Flake from Arizona who has written a book and has published an op-ed essentially saying the Republican Party needs to get some gonads and stand up to Trump, that this is absurd, that everybody’s afraid of Trump and they need to start standing up to Trump. Trump is ruining the Republican Party. Flake says the only solution that we have is to go back to tried-and-true conservative values. That’s the only thing we can do as a party to revive ourselves, and it is the only thing we can do to revive the country.
Now, that may sound good, and it does to me, and you wouldn’t have me trying to throw cold water on that. But I have to tell you something. I’ve studied the Trump campaign. I’ve studied the Trumpster and the people that supported Trump, and I tried to tell everybody during the campaign that a majority of Trump supporters are not first and foremost conservatives. A lot of them are, but it’s not the defining characteristic about them.
The Trump coalition, the Trump coalition of voters — his voter base — includes a wide swath of Americans. It’s white working-class voters; there’s some African-Americans in there. There’s some Democrats; some moderates; some independents; and all of them, if they have one thing in common that resonated from Trump, it’s this “Make America Great Again” slogan.
It’s the idea that we’re losing the country, that it’s slipping away. It’s not just from a conservative standpoint, there are a lot of Americans who think this, and they coalesced behind the Trump campaign. And my point is that if the Trump coalition is viewed as the winning coalition in the future for the Republican Party, then maybe conservatism, hard and true, is not the magic elixir that Jeff Flake thinks it is. And I’m just ruminating here. I mean, I think all this stuff is wide open.
I think we’re in the midst of all kinds of shifts, ideological shifts in the country that are going to make it very difficult for any expert to pin down and peg as, for example, what you have to have as a message, as a candidate, to put together this coalition, and will this coalition remain a coalition? Will it remain large enough to elect additional candidates outside of Trump, or is it exclusive only to Trump?
And a side note here that’s related to this. The Democrats have started winning elections again in state races. You don’t hear about them, but in state races like state dogcatcher, state comptroller, the Democrats are starting to win some elections that they had been losing big time. And that could be seen as a red flag beginning to raise. But I don’t think it means that much.
We’ve got some stuff in both stacks, yesterday’s and today’s, the Democrat Party remains in heap big trouble. And the Republican Party, as a result, is blowing one of the greatest opportunities that it has had in yours and my lifetime, folks. It is in the midst of blowing perhaps the biggest opportunity because in politics there are many things that represent a great opportunity, and one of them is the Democrat Party is literally, literally falling apart.
It doesn’t look that way because of the media, but the people who run for office on the left, particularly in national elections, are without ideas. They are without a message that they can be honest about. They are disintegrating. They are not universally popular as they have always been, and it’s a tremendous opportunity. And Republicans yet seem to be unable to capitalize on this and take advantage of it.
I think one of the reasons why is what I just said, probably is not believed. Probably thought not to be the case by elected Republicans in Washington. They probably do not believe the Democrat Party is in the trouble that it really is in.
RUSH: The one thing about Senator Jeff Flake saying that the Republicans need to stand up to Trump, what have they been doing? I think that’s exactly what the Republican Party has been doing. The Republican Party has been trying to stand up to Trump.
The Republican Party in Congress, House and Senate, for the most part is doing what it can to stop Trump or to arrest his agenda. I really believe this. I don’t think they’re trying to capitalize on this at all. It’s been one of my big bugaboos. It’s the dominance of the Washington establishment prevailing over party politics.
You know, throughout my entire career I’ve had callers say, “Rush, there’s no difference in the two parties,” and I’ve seen always pooh-poohed that. And I’ve always tried to tell them there’s a huge difference, at least ideologically and structurally. And there is. If the Republicans happen to practice fealty to their agenda, to their beliefs, to their principles, there’s a huge difference.
But if the survivability of the establishment is something that takes precedence over party victory, then it isn’t gonna matter what the party’s principles are. And what we’re facing right now, and this is where I think Flake misses the point, the Republican Party is already standing up to Trump. Now, they’re not doing it verbally. They’re not running out there to the microphones and saying, “We object to President Trump. We find President Trump objectable.”
They’re just simply blocking the agenda. They’re not working hard on getting the agenda done. I’ve been trying to explain this every which way from Sunday. The last thing in the world a lot of establishment types want is an outsider like Trump to succeed. You know it and I know it. And what that requires is stalling the agenda. And to me that is equivalent to standing up to Trump.
Jeff Flake, when I think of straight down the middle archconservatives, his name doesn’t come up in my mind. Now, I could be wrong about that. But Jeff Flake is as wishy-washy as McCain is on conservatism. So the idea that he’s the standard-bearer, I mean, he may be, I don’t know, but when I think of conservatives in Washington, his name doesn’t — I don’t think of him as an opposition leftist, but I don’t think of him as a doctrinaire conservative. Do you? No. He’s a Never Trumper. He always has been a Never Trumper. And many of them are. And it’s contributing to the biggest blown opportunity in politics in my lifetime.
This is absurd, this inability to do anything with Obamacare. And now the White House is signaling that they’re gonna move past health care and look to taxes, at least New York Times says this. Folks, I have to tell you something else. And I don’t want this to alarm you. But I’ve gotten worn out with — I told you I don’t watch cable news at night anymore, and I don’t, but I have it on here during the program. And it’s wearing me out, the whole premise that the Trump White House is a disorganized mess, I’m past it. It doesn’t affect me. It’s beginning to bore me.
It is so constant. It’s so never ending. It’s so single-minded that it doesn’t even rile me up anymore, as opposed to when it first began shortly after Trump was elected, then during the transition, certainly after his inauguration. I was physically livid about it, actively livid about it. But now it’s just gotten to be — when I say “boring,” I don’t mean to say that it doesn’t still present itself as a problem. It’s just I’m not as concerned about it as I have been. I know what’s happening to Trump’s approval numbers in certain polls, 39 or 40%. But I also say it’s still early, this is only the first six months of the administration.
Just the whole thing, just the whole flavor, the whole direction, the whole tone, it’s so divorced from what’s important to most people in day-to-day life that it holds not enough interest for me anymore to actually get mad about it. If anything, I just laugh and sigh at it. But it just seems childish. The Drive-By Media seems childish and immature and like a bunch of spoiled brats who are not getting their way. And especially CNN, the New York Times, Washington Post just won’t stop with any of this.
And I have to think if it’s wearing me out, it probably wore you out a long time ago. (interruption) Why are you nodding your head at me? What do you mean, harder and harder to deal? You mean it’s frustrating you more and more? Well, it’s not frustrating me more. It is, but it isn’t. You’re frustrated that it’s continuing to happen. I’m frustrated that it keeps happening, but not because I think it’s effective. It’s just because it’s so mindless. It’s so childish. It’s so predictable. I’m hoping that it just wears itself out at some point with the audience.
We’ll see. And I do, I realize they go in cycles on these things. Like tomorrow, something could happen and I could just get livid again and go back to where I was back in January or February when this stuff was brand-new. But it is childish, and it’s just petulant. It’s not professional. It is so clearly unfair and biased that to me it’s a joke, but I realize that to many people it’s far more serious than a joke. So I’m not sloughing it off, and I’m not ignoring it. I still factor it in here into day-to-day analysis of what’s going on.
I have a break coming up, but when we come back just a couple of stories that will detail the blown opportunity that the Republican Party is engaging in right now, these problems that the Democrats are in the midst of.
RUSH: This is Nate in Savannah. It’s great to have you, Nate. Welcome. I’m glad you waited. How are you doing?
CALLER: Uncle Rush, it’s a tremendous pleasure to be speaking with you today, sir. I’ve been listening to your show since 2011, and I’ve been hooked ever since. I’ve been wanting to have a conversation with you for a very long time. This is awesome.
RUSH: Thank you! I appreciate that, Nate.
CALLER: Well, the reason I called is because of one of the sound bites I heard in your last hour. It was one of your sound bites really warning politicians in Washington not to be swooned and seduced by the establishment and, you know, looking to have favor with the campaign donors and so forth. And it struck me, Donald Trump didn’t have any of that. Donald Trump only had negative press. And he basically had a free ad campaign through the negative press, and that’s because the press is viewed as negative. I mean, no one trusts the media anymore, and so negative press from a negative media equals a positive image. And it worked fantastically for Donald Trump. No one thought he would win except people like me and people like you. And he won.
RUSH: You’re exactly right. And it’s a lesson the Republican Party refuses to learn. What he’s talking about is my speech to the Republican freshmen in 1994 in which I told them the media in Washington is not gonna like them. They don’t wish they had won. The media is gonna resent it. The Democrats are gonna remain their go-to friends. The Democrats are gonna be portrayed as still running the town. Do not fall for any of the come-ons that the Drive-By Media might make ’cause they resent the hell out of you. And Trump actually won the presidency without any of the support in the Drive-By Media that most Republicans seem to crave. And there’s a lesson there. That’s his point.
RUSH: Bill, you’re next. Great to have you on the EIB Network. Welcome.
CALLER: Yeah, Bill from Erie, Pennsylvania. Thanks for taking the call. You mentioned earlier how you think that you believe that the country would have been better off if it had conservative values restored, and I disagree with that. I think it’s conservative spending. I do not believe that conservative social values are the way to go. I believe that it’s more along the lines of liberal… liberal open values and very fiscally conservative spending.
RUSH: Okay, so you would describe yourself as a social liberal and a fiscal conservative?
CALLER: Uh, yeah. Yeah.
RUSH: Well, just a minor little correction — and I’m not blaming you for misunderstanding. I was talking about Senator Jeff Flake from Arizona, who’s written a book and has an op-ed claiming that the Republican Party is failing to stand up to Donald Trump. And along the way he says that the only solution for the problems in America is hard-core, mainstream conservatism. I was quoting him. And, in fact, I made the point that that’s not how Donald Trump got elected. Donald Trump’s support base — his voter base — is not just conservatives. I don’t care whether you’re talking social conservative or fiscal conservative, Trump’s base is broad, and it includes some old Democrats.
It includes a lot of independents and moderates, white working class, even some minorities. A lot of different minorities make up the Trump coalition. And it would be a mistake — and I don’t know if Flake was saying this, but I think it would be a mistake for anybody to assume that it was, quote, unquote, conservatism that got Trump elected. I don’t think there’s a president in our lifetime, outside of Reagan, who has a greater mandate than Donald Trump. Every day during the campaign, minimum three times a day, he spelled it out.
He was elected precisely because of the agenda items that he kept pounding. And we know what they are. Fix the border, build a wall, get hold of illegal immigration, repeal and replace Obamacare, tax reform, rebuild America’s infrastructure. It’s there. He was elected for specific reasons. And many of those things are not exclusively conservative. Many of them are not exclusively liberal. That’s why Trump’s coalition’s been tagged as populists or nationalists. I think that misunderstands a lot of the Trump coalition.
If you ask me — and I know many of you would if you had the chance — I think that the unifying element, the glue, if you will, that put together the Trump coalition — the fact that this is true seen more frustrating when you look at the opportunity the Republican Party is blowing. The real glue that keeps that Trump coalition together, that assembled it, is anti-liberalism. People in this country fed up with the Democrat Party, fed up with the left. Fed up with the left on fiscal issues. Fed up with the left on cultural issues, social issues, whatever, just fed up.
They’re fed up with the media. They are fed up with every outward sign of liberalism. It’s glorious! I don’t care that Trump is a populist, a nationalist, a conservative, or what have you. I knew he was the only guy that could beat Hillary. Cruz a close second, but nobody else in that primary was gonna beat Hillary Clinton. Trump could, and I thought so from day one. And it was precisely — this is the interesting thing — precisely because Trump is not ideological that he was able to assemble that coalition, because the media didn’t understand it, and because the media didn’t understand it, they weren’t able to destroy it.
The media, in all of their glorious ego, refused to understand that it was them and people like them that the Trump coalition opposed! They thought people liked Trump because they were vulgar and they were arrogant and they thought they were Trump Mini-Mes. That’s not why Trump was elected. It’s not because people think that they’re Donald Trump and want to be like Trump. It’s because Trump, whether he knew it or not, was standing up in opposition to the forces that many people think are destroying the culture and the economy of this country.
And people have become sophisticated because of this program and alternative media to understand that that is liberalism. It’s in the news today. The Democrat Party is seen by more and more people as a statist party, Big Government party. Well, how’s that working for people? It isn’t. And all the people who have supported and voted Democrat under the premise that Democrats are gonna make life better for ’em have discovered that their lives are not getting better voting Democrat year after year after year.
The Trump coalition was put together and kept together by an anti-leftist ideological tent that the media missed in their arrogance — serious people don’t oppose liberalism, so — and all this snuck by them. And it remains the glue for the Trump coalition, pure and simple. That’s what Jeff Flake is missing, and that’s what the Republican Party is missing because they’re blowing this great opportunity to deal liberalism, at least electorally, a minority entity for a generation.