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RUSH: I think we’re all being fed a bill of goods when we’re told that only Romney can beat Obama. Our own inside-the-Beltway intelligentsia is telling us that only Romney can beat Obama. That Newt can’t ’cause of all the garbage; that Cain can’t ’cause he’s too stupid plus the woman problem; that Santorum can’t because he doesn’t have any support at all; that Bachmann can’t because she’s faded away; that Perry can’t because he’s even stupider than Cain is; Huntsman — well, interestingly, you have some of our inside-the-Beltway intelligentsia saying if Mitt were to fall, the greatest guy we have on the bench is Huntsman. I’ve got inside-the-Beltway conservative so-called Republican intelligentsia who think that.

Now I have here a story, the reason I wanted to get to your question quickly here, Josephine, is because Dick Morris has weighed in on this, and he has a piece out today, “Is Newt Electable? Hell, Yes,” is the headline. “As the debates accumulate, it becomes more and more evident that Newt GingrichÂ’s intellect, experience, articulateness and depth of knowledge elevate him to the top of the GOP field. Anyone should be happy to pay admission to watch him duel with President Obama in debate! HeÂ’s not as charismatic as Herman Cain or as smooth as Mitt Romney, but boy, does he have a brain!

“Ever since the campaign started, Newt has always gotten in his own way. Now he has graciously stepped aside and let his creativity and intellect shine through. … If Newt is the candidate, will his personal baggage drag him down? It will hurt, no doubt about that. His marriages will be dissected by the media, and his family will be deluged with questions and well-laid traps. His ratings will decline as the inevitable baptism of fire begins. As with Cain, he will experience a few bad weeks. But, as with Cain, his positive strengths will carry him through the fire and he will come out the other end.

“But once Newt survives the process, he will be inoculated against the charges. He will have immunity against the issue. And here is the core of ObamaÂ’s problem. All of the Republican candidates will be so thoroughly vetted — and purified — by the brutal process they are going through that they will be immune to his charges against them in the fall.” This is the theory. I’m just sharing the theory with you. Again, I’m just telling you what’s out there. Just telling what’s out here.

Dick Morris says, “Obama, on the other hand, survived the Rev. Jeremiah Wright and Bill Ayers charges in the primary. When the general election came, they were old hat and had no electoral punch. Similarly, Bill Clinton got the nomination only after he had survived Gennifer Flowers and the accusations of draft-dodging. In November, those charges were spent bullets. ThatÂ’s the good news for Republicans. The nominating process has been so combative and the media scrutiny so searing that the candidates have been pre-screened. The FBI screening process is nowhere near as intense as the negative-research capacities of the media and political opponents.

“If nominated, Romney will have survived the accusations of flip-flopping, Cain will have overcome the sexual harassment charges and NewtÂ’s marital history will be yesterdayÂ’s news. And then we can get on with the business of winning the election. And win it we will. Obama cannot survive his 60 percent disapproval rating on his handling of the economy (the highest ever recorded by CBS during his administration). Under his leadership, Gallup reports an almost 10-point edge for the Republican Party on handling the economy. Against a generic opponent, Obama draws only 43 percent of the vote. With the personal negatives on the Republican candidates aired and used up during the primaries, there will be nothing for Obama to hide behind.”

So the theory that Dick Morris has here is that this giant anal exam that all the Republicans are getting is good because by the time the general comes around and Obama tries using the same stuff it’s old hat. It didn’t hurt the Republicans in the primary, whoever survives will have survived it all and gotten the nomination. And so bringing up Newt’s marital history, Newt’s flip-flops, all this, Dick Morris theory, just sharing it with you is, spent bullets. That ammo has been fired, and Newt Gingrich, or whoever the nominee is, still walks the earth.

So Obama will have nothing to say that will stick, which will turn the election back toward Obama and his record. That’s the theory. Now, I have a lot of people telling me that their choice of a Republican nominee hinges largely on the way they see the debates. And I’ve had more people tell me that the only guy that can handle Obama in the debates is Newt, that Newt will make mincemeat of Obama in the debates, both intellectually and with passion and with substantive policy.

These same people tell me that Romney will do a McCain at the debates and say, “I gotta be nice to the minority guy. I can’t go out after the black guy,” and that Cain will be overmatched, won’t know what hit him intellectually. That’s what I’m hearing from my friends. This bothers me, by the way, I’m gonna tell you. What else am I hearing? That Perry, same thing. What I’m hearing, everybody on our side that talks to me about this thinks that Obama is a super brain, that Obama is Mensa, that Obama’s got an IQ of 160 or 180 and that no matter who we put up there other than Newt doesn’t have a chance and that the debates are what the election will hinge on — and, I’m sorry, I’ve just never seen the evidence that debates matter that much.

They do matter to voters’ moods. I can’t tell you… How many of you people…? I’ll just ask you this question: How many of you people think George W. Bush ever won a debate? How many of you instead watched a Bush-Kerry or Bush-Gore debate quaking in fear every time it was Bush’s turn to say something? I mean, you had one foot in the bathroom? Am I not describing most of you? Okay. In the first debate with Gore, remember all Gore did was (sighing) sigh over what he thought was Bush’s stupidity; and Gore sighed over what he thought was his inability to make something so simple understood by everybody (sighing) and it ended up hurting Gore because it was, you know, unseemly, unprofessional, needlessly insulting.

Gore wasn’t able to back it up because nobody has ever thought Gore was a brainiac, either. But they did think Bush wasn’t. So we move forward to John Kerry — and speaking of John Kerry, here’s another thing. I thought of this the other night. I meant to mention this earlier. I don’t know what reminded me of it, but something just did. One of the reasons I keep hearing from our inside-the-Beltway intelligentsia to support Romney is he’s the only guy that can win. You’ve heard that, too. “Romney’s the only guy that can beat Obama, and we’ve … got … to beat … Obama. That’s all that counts here, gotta get rid of Obama. Romney is the only guy that can do it.” That just seems to be a fait accompli, seems to be — and I’m thinking, that’s exactly how John Kerry got the Democrat nomination back in 2004.

If you’ll recall, going into Iowa on the Democrat side, it was Howard Dean’s nomination. Howard Dean, as far as the conventional wisdom was concerned, had it wrapped up; and Howard Dean thought so, and John F. Kerry (who, by the way, served in Vietnam) barely was a blip in the Democrat roster. John Edwards was alive and kicking, and I forget who all was in that race and the same thing in 2000. But 2004 is my primary focus. Then Iowa came along, and Howard Dean got skunked (I mean lost Iowa in a landslide), and the Democrats, “Oh, no, what do we do now?” And they immediately opted for “electability,” and they chose Kerry. Kerry was the winner of the nomination by default because Dean got skunked in Iowa. The Democrats all panicked when Dean blew up, and decided on Kerry on the basis: “He’s the only guy on our roster left that can win.”

They didn’t want Kerry, and as the campaign unfolded, it became obvious they were not really enamored with John Kerry, but he was the nominee and they put up a good front. I remember even after he’d won the nomination to go to the big Democrat National Committee fundraiser where he’s the official nominee and it’s the big kickoff on the campaign — and it was the dullest, deadest night I can remember. I remember commenting on it here, and it was because he was chosen by default, and it was because the Democrats thought Kerry (of all the people left when Dean imploded) was the only guy who could win. I’m just warning you: If that is the reason we choose a nominee, we’re gonna be similarly disappointed. ‘Cause it’s a defensive posture, it’s a defensive position, it has nothing to do with policy. It has nothing to do with affirmative, upbeat, cheerful aspects of who we are, what we believe, and what this country needs and so forth. It is a killer reason to nominate somebody, is my point.


RUSH: Okay, now, my friends are being insulted in the e-mails I’m getting. “These so-called friends of yours, can any of them run a pizza company? Could any of them run the National Restaurant Association? Who the hell do your friends think they are? How come your friends think they’re the arbiters of smart?” Psst. (whispering) I agree with you. Just back down here. I’m just telling you what I’m hit with every day! You want to know how hard it is to stay positive?

I told you that I was getting all kinds of e-mails, people. “Who do your friends think they are? What makes your friends the arbiters of smart? Could they run a pizza company like Herman Cain did? Could they run a state like Rick Perry did? What makes your friends think they’re so smart?” because I was sharing with people the idea that — and I can’t find an exception. I can’t think of one, and I assume that it’s probably the case with you. How many of you people run into people you know who just, you’re scared to death of these upcoming debates and all you care about is having a nominee that you think can beat Obama, that can at least come across as smart as Obama.

What bothers me about it is the presumption Obama’s smart, that Obama has somehow dazzling intelligence. Take him off a teleprompter, and it’s a potential train wreck. I have people say when I say that to ’em, “Yeah, but he just sounds smart. Rush, he just sounds smart and the media is gonna make him sound even smarter.” I know. David Brooks thought the crease in his pants was smart. All these guys think he’s smart, but I just don’t see it. That’s why I think we need to redefine “smart,” and I’ve been saying this for years. It’s all rooted in fear. So many people on our side think that we’ve got nobody that can hold their own in a debate with Obama; and furthermore, that that alone is gonna determine the presidential outcome, the race.

I don’t know that there’s evidence to support the debates have that much to do with who wins and who loses a presidential race. In other words, how many minds are changed by a debate. You might have intensity. If you have somebody who’s lukewarm for a Republican candidate and the debate comes along and the Republican kinda doesn’t do well, “Oh, okay, okay.” The intensity is lost, but to actually cause a person to vote for Obama? No. And if, say, one of our guys skunks Obama in a debate, is it gonna go make some rabid Obama supporter vote for our guy? No. Now, we’re talking about the great unwashed, the moderates, the independents? See, that’s where this all resides. “Yeah, that’s where the elections are won and lost, Rush.

“Moderates, those are the ones who pay attention to debates! They’re the voters who can be moved one way or the other by virtue of the debate. That’s why it matters, Rush,” blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Thereby perpetuating this notion that all elections hinge on what the undecideds do or what the moderates do (and you know how I feel about that). I think we just need somebody who can articulate conservatism in a proud, happy, confident way; and that will take care of everything else. “That’s awfully simplistic, Mr. Limbaugh.” It sounds simplistic to you. It’s actually not simply, obviously. If it were that easy more people could do it.

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