Paul Ryan Pick Energizes the Campaign: We’ll Win or Lose This Election on Ideas
Aug 13, 2012
RUSH: No, no, I was not surprised. I actually wasn’t surprised by this. Folks, I gotta tell you something. I’ve been trying to think, honestly, objectively think the whole weekend. And I’m gonna ask you. Maybe I’m forgetting something. I don’t recall a vice presidential pick which has so energized the party. I don’t remember a vice presidential pick that has so energized a campaign as this choice of Paul Ryan.
These crowds, these standing-room-only crowds, the enthusiasm at these rallies, something about this, just a gut feeling I have. I don’t want to attach too much to it because it was gonna happen anyway, a vice presidential pick, but I’ve been thinking about this all weekend long. I go back and forth, the positives, the negatives, the strict political science analysis of it. Then you compare that with just the gut feel, and you come away with… at least I have come away with the following conclusion. This is it. This election, we’ve said it before and others have said it, but this is ball game.
If Barack Obama gets four more years, I really don’t think that the American people have any idea what’s in store for them. I don’t think, particularly a lot of Obama supporters, I don’t think they have any idea what’s in store. I don’t think they have any idea what’s in store for this country if Obama gets another four years. In fact, I think there are probably a lot of Republican voters who don’t really understand. They’re closer to understanding it than, say, Democrat voters and people that are not paying much attention. I think that’s one of the reasons for all the enthusiasm.
So we’re gonna face this head on. I was praying — you know, you’ve been listening — I was praying that at some point this campaign becomes one of ideology, one of ideas, one of principles, not just policy analysis, not just Electoral College analysis, but principles and ideas. I think they work. I think they have the ability, properly articulated, to be persuasive. And we have perhaps the best Republican to do that in Paul Ryan. I think the pick signals that the decision was made somewhere that we’re going to go head first up against. We’re not gonna skirt it with a traditional campaign. We’re gonna take it straight to them and we’re gonna win or we’re gonna lose articulating exactly who we are and exactly what we believe and exactly what our vision for America is. Ryan can do that, and I don’t know how much you paid attention over the weekend, but the presence of Paul Ryan on a stage with Romney has elevated Romney. It has energized Romney.
Romney’s a new guy. Romney is a different guy. Ryan, with Romney, I watched 60 Minutes last night, Ryan chomping at the bit to answer every question. Ryan wanted in ’cause he’s got the answer. He had the answer for everything Bob Schieffer threw. He’s got the answer for every objection the Obama team is going to make. All the lies, all the distortions, all the smears, Ryan has the answers. Ryan knows how to react to those things, because he is an ideological conservative. He is from the camp-of-Ronaldus Magnus.
I’ve read all this analysis, too. “Well, you know, Rush…” I’ve had people e-mailing me. You can’t believe the amount of e-mail I’ve had from members of the media wanting to know what I thought about it; and, of course, I didn’t say anything to anybody, saving it for now. I tried not to expose myself to a whole lot of it, ’cause I knew what I’m gonna get from the Democrats and the media, but nevertheless I pulled the trigger, did it anyway. For example, “You know, this pick ends it for Romney. It’s over. Romney’s admitting he can’t win, and he wants the reason for his loss shoveled off to the conservative, wanted conservatives to be blamed again for the defeat. That’s why he picked Ryan. His internal polling is so bad, he knows he can’t win. So rather than him taking the blame, it’ll be the fact that he put some extreme right-winger on the ticket.” Conservatives are writing this stuff. Some conservative bloggers are writing.
Others are saying, “Well, that’s it for Florida. You know, putting Ryan on the ticket, that’s it for Florida. Bye-bye Florida because of Ryan’s Medicare proposal.” We have a chance to get the truth about all this stuff out now, someone who knows how to tell the truth. And the whole discussion about Florida being in trouble is of course the demagoguery over Ryan’s Medicare proposal in his budget. Ryan saves Medicare. Medicare is on the way to being destroyed. Ryan’s budget, Ryan’s Medicare proposal, saves it, and it has all kinds of options in it for people, if they’re over 55, to not even have to play ball in it. They can keep what they’ve got and forget it. So we know that the Democrats are gonna lie and demagogue and smear, and we’ve got a guy who can bear up under it all and respond to it substantively, accurately, and correctly.
You know where I first met Paul Ryan? Way, way back, this has to be in the early nineties. I forget the year, but I’m thinking it’s gotta be before 1995. And there was some celebratory thing happening at Bill Bennett’s house. It might have been one of his birthdays, I’m not sure, in Washington, on a Saturday. I flew up there for it, and I landed at Dulles at the same time that Bennett was arriving on a United flight from California. So I got in my car and I went over to the United terminal, and I picked Bennett up, and we drove into town, and he said, “I need to stop at Empower America first.”
Now, Empower America was a thing set up by Steve Forbes. It was a miniature conservative think tank. It was a place where Bennett and Jack Kemp hung around and thought things, and they wrote things, and then they did things based on what they thought and what they wrote. It was a Saturday afternoon. I’ll never forget. We walked into Empower America and I was introduced to this young, energetic go-getter. He looked like somebody who spent 24/7 at the place.
It was Paul Ryan.
He was there doing work at Empower America for Bill Bennett and Jack Kemp. He was also there with a guy named Pete Wehner. Pete worked for Karl Rove in the Bush 43 White House. The people that came out of Empower America had a profound conservative pedigree, a profound conservative indoctrination. Ryan, as it turns out, didn’t need it. He was born into it and had it when he arrived there, but he learned a tremendous amount.
I remember talking to Ryan. He called here and we were discussing something within the last couple of years and he reminded me of our meeting. He said, “Do you remember when I first met you? Yeah, you came in with Bill Bennett one Saturday afternoon at Empower America. It was a big day. I couldn’t believe I had a chance to meet you.” I look at the Democrats trying to tar and feather this guy as they’re going to. Have you noticed, for example, that in three days we already know more about Paul Ryan’s life than we’ve learned about Obama’s and Biden’s in more than four years?
And Ryan hasn’t even written two biographies! Ryan hadn’t even written one biography. We know more about Paul Ryan and his wife and his kids than we know today about Barack Obama. And I have to laugh. It’s as predictable as the sun coming up in the morning. The news media, carrying the Obama campaign’s water, immediately labeling Ryan “radical-extreme.” There was Andrea Mitchell on Saturday afternoon saying, “This is a horrible pick for women.”
This is the kind of stuff that needs to be defeated with a big-time thumping.
And I am just of the belief that Ryan can do it, and I think Romney has been energized by this. I’m looking at the crowds. There’s a story here in the Orlando Sentinel: “Hundreds Turned Away From Romney Event — Hundreds of people were turned away Monday morning at a St. Augustine campaign stop featuring … Romney, who defended [Paul Ryan]’s Medicare proposal. The people were not admitted to the event after security screeners couldn’t clear them fast enough.”
Ryan wasn’t even there. This was people showing up to see Romney. This wouldn’ta happened last week. There’s an energy, there’s an expectation, there’s a… I don’t quite know how to characterize it. There’s a feeling of excitement that’s resulted from this pick. I, frankly, was surprised when I saw it on Saturday afternoon. Then after I thought about it, it all made sense. The Tea Party. It’s finally acknowledging that one of us is now part of the campaign and is gonna be an important part of the campaign, is gonna be an important part of governance.
But, I mean, here you had Barack Obama who was a street agitator. He was a Saul Alinsky disciple, a man who called Jeremiah Wright his “spiritual mentor.” He was never called “radical” or “extreme” by the news media, but Paul Ryan — who may well be the last Boy Scout! (chuckles) A guy who may well be the last Boy Scout, Paul Ryan, is called radical and extreme and anathema to women? Well, do women only care about contraception and abortion? And every woman thinks the same on those issues?
Well, we know this is all a crock. I’ve also heard the theory, “Well, you know, this is a problem. The pick of Ryan now turns the focus of the campaign to Ryan’s Medicare proposal and takes the focus off Obama’s record.” Wrong! It’s the exact opposite! This pick turns the focus right on Obama’s record. It puts it right on Obama. Obama is now gonna have to discuss substance. We’ve got ideology in the campaign now. We’ve got ideas in the campaign. That means substance is in the campaign.
This has the chance, if these guys do it right, to force the Obama camp’s record to the fore, rather than the smears and the other things that they want to spend time talking about. There’s a lot of great potential here. I don’t want to overdo this, but I think that there’s a tremendous opportunity and great potential here. You know me and conventional wisdom. So many people inside the Beltway are saying the same thing: “Well, this is gonna hurt Romney in Florida. Well, it’s gonna take the focus off Obama’s record.”
I think that’s exactly wrong. Even Snerdley is frowning. What are you frowning at? (interruption) Snerdley’s asking me, “You better explain how they’re not gonna talk about this Medicare plan.” I want them to talk about Medicare! It’s Obama that’s cut $700 billion from Medicare, not Ryan! We have a guy who knows the truth, here. Paul Ryan doesn’t cut Medicare; he saves it. It’s Obama that’s destroying Medicare. That’s gotta come out now. That has the chance of coming out.
It’s Obama who has cut $700 billion from Medicare with Obamacare, it’s not Ryan. Obama’s budget, how many votes has he gotten for it? Zero! Ryan got over 200 votes for his budget. You want to start comparing budgets? Obama hasn’t gotten a single vote for any budget he’s ever presented. In Realville, this is a golden opportunity. The guy who’s run up more debt than all previous presidents combined in less than four years, and who has bypassed Congress constantly, is not called “radical” or “extreme.”
But a guy who wants fiscal responsibility and a more limited government, he’s called “radical” and “extreme.”
This is all the Democrats have.
We know their playbook.
We’ve got a guy on the ticket now who knows how to deal with that playbook. We have a guy on the ticket now who knows how to answer the playbook ideologically. This is why I’m a little jazzed by this. There is a conservative on the ticket — a proud, bold, unashamed, unapologetic conservative. And not just a “fiscal” conservative, a small-government conservative. Not all fiscal conservatives equal small-government conservatives. This guy is a small-government conservative.