RUSH: You’ve gotta hear this. Let’s go to the audio sound bites. You’ve got to hear, folks, the reaction to Karl Rove’s appearance on this program yesterday. The media is beside itself, but the epitome of it is David Shuster last night on Hardball with Chris Matthews. This is what Shuster said about Rove and his appearance. They were upset, by the way, that Rove called them ‘effete, elite snobs.’ That really tore ’em a new one. So here’s what David Shuster said.
SHUSTER: I’m going to issue a challenge to Karl. I mean, I love Mike Allen dearly. He’s a very polite guy, but a polite reporter. Rush Limbaugh, of course, was teeing it up for Karl Rove. If Karl Rove is a man — if he’s a man and he believes so strongly that Democrats are elite snobs, and he believes so strongly that the Bush legacy is terrific — he ought to come on a show like this one, answer some questions about Scooter Libby, answer some questions about what was really going on with this spying program and about the way this administration decided to use executive orders instead of talk to the people back there.
RUSH: All right. Now, we have a montage to see how irritated and upset they are, and this montage features Shuster again. It’s toward the end of this, and he’s the guy that ends up talking about me and the golf shirt. They showed video of me interviewing Rove yesterday with my cigar in my mouth like this (talking around cigar), smiling and beeming as Rove is answering his questions. So that’s part of this montage. It just drives ’em nuts that he doesn’t care about them.
MILES O’BRIEN: Rove fired back on the Rush Limbaugh radio show.
CHUCK TODD: He was a lot blunter in what he said to Rush Limbaugh…
JAMES CARVILLE: Rove goes on Rush Limbaugh’s show the day after he announces his retirement and talks about Hillary Clinton’s negatives, when his boss’ negatives are like 65%. [sic]
BREANNA KEILAR: Rove was on Rush Limbaugh’s radio show. He spent much of that time talking about a laundry list of examples that he says shows Hillary Clinton is weak on the issues.
CHRIS MATTEWS: Karl Rove, heading off for the lecture circuit, used his shot on Rush Limbaugh today to attack Bush critics as — I love this phrase — ‘elite, effete snobs.’
KELLY O’DONNELL: Rove’s move? A chat with Rush Limbaugh.
DAVID SHUSTER: There’s Rush Limbaugh smoking a nice cigar, wearing a golf shirt. There was another video where you could see his nice watch. Who’s the snob?
STEVE McMAHON: He’s hiding behind executive privilege, and now he’s sitting on the Rush Limbaugh Show.
CONTESSA BREWER: Hillary Clinton is basking in the warm glow of criticism from the man Democrats love to hate: Karl Rove. He attacked her on the Rush Limbaugh Show, and she seemed to enjoy it.
RUSH: See, these people, Rove calls ’em ‘elite, effete snobs’ as David Shuster said look at Limbaugh, golf shirt, a nice cigar, who’s the snob? And a watch! I had a nice watch on. Who’s the snob? (Laughing). I’ll tell you, one of the most fun parts of this job is irritating these people and taking them to a place they’d rather not go, and that is displaying who they really are. Rove has that ability. I, of course, have long had that ability. They’re upset that they’ve lost their monopoly. They’re upset that Rove doesn’t come talk to them (laughing), and then when he comes and talks to me, he calls ’em effete snobs! By the way, Carville (impression), ‘Rove goes on the Limbaugh Show out there — where’s my gumbo? — after he announced his retirement, talks about Hillary’s negatives. His boss negative like 65%.’ This is from a man who’s got such a great reputation after engineering a presidential victory of 43%, for Bill Clinton in 1992. Forty-three percent! Yip yip yip yahoo. Thank you, Perot.
RUSH: It’s interesting, this attack on Karl Rove, because he attacked Hillary. You know, I have a Chicago Tribune story here. We have audio sound bites to back this up. Obama and John Edwards, ‘the Breck Girl,’ are saying the same things. It’s uncanny. Both Obama and Edwards are piling on Hillary in much the same way, not quite the detail, but in much the same way as Rove did. But of course they don’t get highlighted as much because they don’t run around calling the media effete snobs — I’m sorry, ‘elite, effete snobs.’ There’s also something else brewing out there. The Democrats have a theory here that the Republican Party is ‘doomed for a generation,’ that it’s over because of Karl Rove’s base-first strategy, meaning: ‘Focus on the base. Get the base wrapped up and then branch out.’ Here, listen to Carville explain it, and then I will offer expert analysis. This is Miles O’Brien on CNN. He says to Carville, ‘Wait a minute. That’s a pretty sweeping statement. You’re talking about a whole generation leaving the party? You’re saying an entire generation of young people is turned off by this brand of Republicanism? Really?’
CARVILLE: Of course dey are! I can prove it! I got poll afta poll after poll it! Every Republican strategist that I know, literally is saying, ‘We’re ’bout to lose an entire generation here. This is the worse thing that’s ever happened to da party.’ What he did is the classic thing where you sell your soul for some good on — something on — on earth. He sold the Republican Party down the river to win an election in 2004. He won that but now Republicans are havin‘ to live with the consequences of Mr. Rove’s base-first strategy, and that’s — uh, dahh, I think dat’s pretty clear from the 2006 election, and I think it’s going to be abundantly clear from the 2008 election.
RUSH: Now, as everybody knows I’m not nearly as smart as James Carville when it comes to presidential politics, but isn’t the base-first strategy what always happens in primaries? Isn’t it what always happens? Aren’t the Democrats themselves doing it now? I’ll tell you, this base-first strategy phrase — and everybody’s picking this up now. ‘Rove destroyed the party! You’ll see in 2008. Base-first strategy.’ Those are code words. ‘Base-first strategy equals (whispering) Christian Right. Rove sold his soul to the Dobsons of the world, and the Falwells and the Robertsons of the world! They can’t let go of that. They’ve been predicting the doom and the end of the Republican Party because of their association with the Christian Right, for as long as I’ve been around, and it’s based on hope. There’s no evidence the Republicans have lost a whole generation of young people. Besides that, where is there evidence that they even have that the Democrats have picked it up? All right, now let’s go to these sound bites and give you a little flair, a little example of how Hillary is also being ripped by her Democrat opponents. This is like the Breck Girl last night on MSNBC. Matthews said to him, ‘Is Hillary a divisive force because she brings back the continued old war between the Clintons and their critics?’
EDWARDS: Well, I think the reality is people in this country either love Hillary Clinton or they don’t, aaaaand that’s just — that’s just where she is. In many cases through no fault of her own, aaaaand I think that’s probably what Senator Obama is talking about.
RUSH: Yeah, either you love her or you don’t. Love her or hate. He’s saying she’s polarizing. See, Obama and Edwards are trying to co-opt Hillary’s new theme, which is ‘unity.’ We need to end the politics of diversion and division. We need to bring back the politics of inclusion, unify the nation, blah, blah, blah, blah. It’s interesting, too, because I was doing show prep this morning, and I came across two people — a friend of mine, Pete Wehner at his blog at Commentary, their website; and a writer at the American Spectator — and they both touched on a theme. What is so important about unity in a president? Go back. As the guy in the American Spectator said: Wait a minute, did Thomas Jefferson not get the memo on unity? Did Abraham Lincoln not get the memo on unity? It is an interesting thing to talk about. When politicians talk about ‘unity’ on the Democrat side, what they really mean is, ‘We’ve got to make Republicans irrelevant and we’ve gotta make conservatives irrelevant.’ They don’t have, I don’t think, the ability to beat us in the arena of ideas so they use other techniques, but it is an interesting premise because a lot of people are like this guy that called two days ago, who was getting on me for always being partisan.
Do you remember this guy? ‘Can’t we all get along?’ He said he was an independent. Later in the call, I said, ‘What do you stand for?’
Duh? Total silence. He thought it was a trick question.
I said, ‘No, no, no. I’m not tricking you. This is not a setup.’
He said, ‘What do you mean, what do I stand for?’
‘Give me a core belief that you have.’
Well, he stumbled around.
I said, ‘Okay, let me help you. Victory in Iraq. Right or wrong?’
‘Weeeeell, that opens a whole new can of worms.’
He wouldn’t even give me his opinion on that. Now, there are a lot of people like this, these ‘independents.’ That’s why I say, ‘You’ll never go to the library and find a book, ‘Great Moderates in American History.” These people don’t like the bickering and so forth because it’s all about them. They want to feel good. So this unity thing appeals to people like that guy that called. ‘Yes, we must all get along.’ But unity is not possible. We used to have it in times of war, but we don’t even have that now with the Democrats so power hungry. We used to, but we don’t. The idea that unity is something needs to be first and foremost on the priority list for running the country, misses some really tremendous bouts of history and importance. Reagan didn’t care about unity. He cared about beating Democrats and using them when he had to, to get what he wanted done, but he sort of unified the country with his spirit, with his optimism. He made people feel good. But it wasn’t his objective. He had core beliefs and principles and followed them. People had confidence in and so forth and so on. But unity is a strange thing. In fact, some of the greatest times in our history are when we have been divided about things. That’s what you get debate. That’s when you get people shouting and committing with passion what they really believe. Unity requires somebody to shut up. Unity is going to require somebody to cave on what they believe in. Unity is just a code word for: ‘We need to end the partisan bickering,’ and when a liberal says, ‘We need to end the partisan bickering,’ it means, ‘Conservatives need to shut up, and if they won’t shut up, we’ll make ’em shut up,’ i.e., the Fairness Doctrine. One more thing from Edwards here. Matthews said, ‘Can Hillary change? Can she stop being the candidate of the Clinton administration of the nineties and be the candidate of the Twenty-First Century, or is she yesterday’s news?’
EDWARDS: If she’s willing to say, ‘We’re going to change our behavior. We don’t want to trade one crowd of insiders for a different crowd of insiders in Washington,’ and she can make a stance, by the way, on that subject by doing what I’ve asked her to do, which is to join us in saying ‘no’ to Washington lobbyist money. But I think she’s going to have to make a clear break and make it clear she’s not part of the Washington inside crowd.
RUSH: That’s another one of these myths. There is nobody running for president who’s not part of it. If you’re not part of it, you don’t stand a chance. It’s absurd. Here’s Obama. This is in Cedar Falls, Iowa, at a campaign rally. Senator Obama — who, by the way, Chris Matthews said yesterday might be a good president because with a name like Obama it might help us as a nation relating to the Muslim world. Here’s Obama. Here’s the Obama bite.
OBAMA: Part of the problem here is not just [President] George Bush and the White House. We can’t just change political parties and continue to do the same kind of thing that we’ve been doing. We can’t just go about business as usual and think it’s going to turn out differently. We’ve gotta change the nature of our politics.
RUSH: We must unify the country! But this is a swipe at Hillary. So my point is, it’s not just Rove who’s taking swipes at her. He just detailed it in a way that’s irrefutable. That’s another thing that bugged them about what he said about her yesterday. He detailed it, and it was irrefutable. When you criticize Democrats, you’re not supposed to get away with that. When you do it unassailably, well, then you really make yourself an even bigger target than you were.