RUSH: I need to offer an apology, I think, to independents. Last week or the week before, we had a caller ask me who the independents were, and I answered in a way that was truthful five years ago and beyond. Independents basically are people who think that they are more open-minded than everything else. They are not partisan.
They haven’t made up their minds in advance of anything.
They wait for the issues, and they’re not tied to any particular party or ideology — and they also happen to know that political leaders think they are the ones who determine the winner of elections. Because the independents, whoever wins them traditionally wins. I said, for the most part, independents are just liberals that don’t want to admit it. They’re Democrat liberals who don’t want to admit it. Last night, I’m watching the speech on Fox, and they had this constant display up there.
I guess they had some people with meters that were being used to register their reaction to what they were hearing, and I noted that the independent and Republican lines tracked identically. When there was a positive reaction to whatever was being said, the independents and Republicans were perfectly aligned. There was not a gap between them. When there was anger or disagreement with whatever was being said, the Republican and independent lines tracked identically, with very little space between them.
I think there’s been a fundamental shift in who the independents are. I think the independents of today are, in many cases (and maybe a majority now), former Republicans who are fed up. They’re actually conservatives, former Republicans who feel disconnected from the Republican Party as it’s defined by the establishment. They have simply given up the party ID. They simply registered as independents.
They don’t want to be helpful to Republicans, and they don’t give money anymore. Because those lines were inseparable. It used to be in something like the independents would track more closely to Democrats. I think this is something significant. I mean, I’m gonna assume here that that was legit last night. I don’t know whose it was. I don’t know who ran that device and how many people were involved in creating that graph or how many members of the audience were actually participating, but it was a sizable number.
Both parties take note, and particularly the Republican Party should take note. What they also ought to take note of is that back in the 2012 election, Mitt Romney won the vast majority of independents and still lost the election, which upset a multi-decade theory that he who wins the independents wins the election. That doesn’t seem to be the case anymore. (interruption)
Well, yeah, there was Operation Chaos, but that was just a momentary blip in things. Of course, that was led by me, and that led to temporary Republican deregistration and either sign up as independent or Democrat to vote for Hillary in the primaries in 2008. That was a temporary blip. This last night, I thought it was fascinating.
RUSH: This is Jim in Philadelphia. Welcome, sir. Great to have you on the Rush Limbaugh program. Hi.
CALLER: Rush, mega dittos.
RUSH: Thank you.
CALLER: First-time caller. I’ve been listening since January the 20th, 1993.
RUSH: That is fabulous and the date happens to ring a bell.
CALLER: I was listening to a local radio call-in show, and they were preempted by the Clinton inauguration, and I didn’t want to listen to that, so I spun the dial, and I landed on a station that had a dulcet voice that was saying things that I agreed with and hadn’t heard on the radio before.
RUSH: And you have been here ever since?
RUSH: I appreciate that. Really do.
CALLER: Well, I wanted to call today because I think you have once again proven your profound erudition when you were talking earlier in the program about independents who might have been former Republicans. And I said to my wife, he’s describing me. I gotta call. So I’m glad I got through.
RUSH: So am I. What it’s based on is last week or the week before, a caller asked me, discussing independents, “Well, who they are?” I gave the definition that I gave five years ago. They’re basically a bunch of liberals that won’t admit it, a bunch of people that think they’re smarter than everybody else ’cause they’re open-minded, blah, blah, blah. I’m watching last night and I’m watching the track — that little graph, people responding yea or nay as Obama’s speaking, and the independent and Republican lines are identical. They’re almost on top of each other. If you’re just joining us, I actually apologized to independents today for getting it wrong ’cause I think now what’s happened, the vast majority of the independents are Republicans who have left the party in one way or another. And that’s who you are?
CALLER: Yes. I turned 18 in the summer of 1980 and was proud to register as a Republican and cast my first vote for president for Ronald Reagan because he was saying things that I agreed with. But as time went on and I watched different Republican candidates come up for president, by the time we got to 2008 and McCain, I just thought, wow, this is not the Republican Party I signed up for.
CALLER: And to paraphrase my political hero, I didn’t leave the Republican Party; the Republican Party left me.
RUSH: Right. Right. And you’re not alone. There’s still some independents who fit the bill as I describe them, but, yeah, I was struck by that last night. The independent and Republican response, as tracked by — it was Bing.com, it was Microsoft software that was being used last night, it was the same Bing, I think it is, it was identical. It was identical. It has to be, therefore, that there are a lot of former Republicans who are now calling themselves independents ’cause they don’t want to be known as Republicans for whatever reason.
CALLER: Do you think that the Republican Party and the Republican elite will respond to that fact?
RUSH: I said to myself while the speech was going on, they better be noticing this, and the problem, the potential problem is that they will see that and think, “Well, okay, we got the independents locked up. Good, we don’t have to do anything. We got the independents now, they’re with us.” And they’ll just take it for granted and go on their merry way. What they’ll assume is that, no matter what you call yourself, you’re still gonna vote for ’em. That’s the potential mistake they make. I think they could drive you away further, right?
CALLER: Well, it’s kind of tough because where am I going to go? I’m a conservative first.
RUSH: You could sit home like four million did in 2012.
CALLER: Well, I held my nose and voted for McCain in 2008, and I held my nose and voted for Romney again. But I’m tired of holding my nose when I go into the voting booth.
RUSH: Yeah, I hear you. Do you have access to Netflix?
CALLER: I don’t.
RUSH: Netflix has a documentary, an hour and a half documentary called Mitt. And there was a camera crew that’s been following Romney around since 2008. They put together a 90-minute documentary of both of his presidential campaigns, and it’s kind of remarkable because it’s the Romney that nobody ever saw, the real Mitt Romney. It’s a great example of how candidates, for whatever reason, the consultants or just their own instincts, hide themselves when in the middle of a campaign. They think they’ve gotta present themselves a certain way. So they got image consultants and they’re focused on what not to say, and what not to do. But this is Romney unplugged, as it were. The cameras are around him so much he just forgot they were there. It’s a lot of family stuff. It’s really, really good. It’s really fascinating. And it’s a slightly different Romney. I don’t think you’d be holding your nose as much voting for Romney if you had seen this prior to voting for him.
CALLER: Well, I wasn’t so much concerned about Romney himself. It was just the way the Republican establishment was driving the candidate, especially with McCain. I just didn’t see him as a conservative at all. It seemed like he was the guy the establishment wanted, and the media was going along with him. And Pennsylvania has a very late primary. It’s in April. So it was really a foregone conclusion by April that McCain was going to be the candidate, and I just got so frustrated with that, and even with the way the Republicans handle attempts to work with the Democrats. It just seems like they say they want to work with the Democrats, but they end up being like Charlie Brown —
RUSH: Let me tell you something.
CALLER: — trying to kick the football, and Lucy yanks it away every time. Democrats just pull it over on them.
RUSH: Nothing irritates me more when I hear a Republican, and you still do, you hear it constantly: “Voters want us to work together, government to work together. And I am a guy who can cross the aisle, and I can get things done in a bipartisan way.” And that is the biggest tune out in the world for conservative Republicans today.