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Trump Is Making a Strategic Mistake in the Way He's Going After Cruz

Tags: trump cruz

Monday - January 18, 2016

RUSH: I want to paraphrase an e-mail that I received.  It's like a number of e-mails that I have received.  As I said, I'm paraphrasing it because it represents quite a few people who are e-mailing.  They're confused and they don't know what to do.  These are Republicans, slash, conservative primary voters.  And they are -- well, they're confused.  "Mr. Limbaugh, I have no idea anymore where I belong in the Republican Party.  I don't know what the Republican Party stands for, and I don't know if conservatism has a home in it any longer or not.  My problem is compounded by the fact that I do not like either Donald Trump or Ted Cruz.  And yet it looks like I've got no choice but than to support one of them." 

I might tell you people something here, and we're gonna sort all through this today.  Just sit back and relax and be patient.  We're gonna sort all of this out today.  We're gonna get started on it, or try, anyway.  But a sort of a shock-surprise poll comes out of South Carolina, and admittedly, it's an outlier, obscure poll that's from the Augusta Chronicle.  It's the local newspaper.  And the shocker in the poll is that Jeb has pulled ahead of Marco Rubio in South Carolina. 

The numbers are Trump 32, Cruz 18, Rubio 11.  Wait.  Jeb is at 13.  So it actually goes Trump 32, Cruz 18, Jeb 13, Rubio 11, Carson's at nine, and everybody else is at four, three, or two.  Now, in this same poll back on December 20th, Trump was at 38, so he's down six in this poll.  Cruz was at 23.  He's down five since December 20th.  Rubio was at 12, statistically even, lost a point.  Jeb was at 7% back in December.  Now he's at 13, nearly doubled his support.  Again, this is the Augusta Chronicle. 

The point I'm making here is the establishment is gonna glom onto this.  This is like life support.  This is like they're very, very badly injured in an accident, and they've been brought to the ER in the ambulance, and all is thought that the patient pretty much is in a hopeless situation, and all of a sudden they detect a pulse that's getting stronger, and they immediately go into action to try to improve the survivability of the person they thought had pretty much cashed it in.  Now, what's fascinating here, it's really been interesting to watch and read about the Republican establishment and the Drive-By Media, because if I didn't know any better, I would be confused. 

Members of the establishment -- and I mean elected Republicans and the Republican leadership and the so-called Republican media, the RNC, people inside the Beltway, have savaged me for not single-handedly taking out Donald Trump.  Would you agree with that assessment, Mr. Snerdley?  I have been savaged profoundly by these people, either by virtue of the written word or in various tweets or maybe even comments on cable news shows. That I am faux conservative, that I'm not real, that I'm letting my audience down because Trump's never been a conservative, and Limbaugh knew it and wouldn't take him out. 

And then over the weekend I read that that very same establishment has decided to throw in with Trump, because they so despise Cruz.  So here I have been in recent months savaged and criticized.  And, by the way, you don't see me crying about it. (interruption) No, no, no, I'm not saying that anybody else is.  I'm just saying it's the game, if you will, it's the league everybody plays in here.

It's like Trump and his criticism of Cruz.  This has got so many conservatives just bent out of whack, they can't see straight. because there's always been this assumption that Cruz and Trump were a couple.  They were a united pair.  They both had a common opponent, and that was the Republican establishment.  And that arrangement, such as it was perceived to exist, was fine and dandy with Trump so long as he was in first place.  Then we saw the poll numbers switch, and Cruz jumped out to a lead in Iowa.  And, you know, bye-bye bromance or couple or whatever it is. Trump sets his sights on whoever he wants to tear down, and that in this case is Cruz. 

And I'll tell you, folks, let me dispel something else, too.  I don't know what the perception is.  I have spoken to Donald Trump one time in this entire campaign, and it was way back when the McCain thing happened, shortly after I guess he made his announcement, and he made the comments about John McCain, said, "I prefer generals that don't get captured.  I don't have a lot of respect for McCain."  I talked to Trump then. He called here.  And I have not talked to him since. 

Now, I have trouble talking to people on the phone.  I had a conversation (I mentioned this last week) with a ranking member of the Republican establishment.  They know I can't hear, and they call anyway.  I heard half of what he said.  I got tired of saying, "Wait, would you say that again?"  It's just a very, very difficult thing for me to do, to have a substantive conversation. I have to spend so much time concentrating on what I'm trying to comprehend, especially if it's a cell call, that I miss half of it and have to go back through it.

It limits my ability to be an open and free participant in here, because so much of my energy is focused on just trying to understand what the hell I'm being told, but it doesn't matter.  Even though they know I can't hear they call and go through what they're thinking and planning and so forth and want me to know.  Which I appreciate.  Don't misunderstand.  By the way, speaking of that little offshoot, remind me of this.  Wi-Fi calling may be the saving grace of me being able to use the phone again, that and FaceTime audio.  I'll explain that later. 

Anyway, I have not spoken to Trump.  I don't call him to give him advice; he doesn't call here asking for it.  I don't know who else, if anybody else, he calls. But I don't think he's taking advice from anybody.  Maybe from his inner circle and so forth. But when it comes to this Cruz business... Look, he's doing two things that are not unique.  A, he's going after Cruz's likability.  Well, folks, you don't need me to tell you that this is an often-heard criticism of Cruz from all over the place, long before Trump even started criticizing Cruz.

I mean, I go out and I tell people I like Cruz and I get, "Man, I don't know. He just seems like not a real guy. He seems like the televangelist stealing all the money." I hear it all.  It's not unique that Trump would go after Cruz on the fact that he's a nasty guy.  I don't even think Trump means it.  I think it's... This is politics, and Cruz is ready for this and is prepared for it -- and, in fact, is dealing with it masterfully. Trump knows -- and I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt here, but I know he's a smart guy.

He knows that this business of Cruz running around and using the phrase "New York values" was not an insult to anybody about 9/11.  Trump knows it.  It just provided him an opportunity to shore up his credentials with people in New York.  It provided him an opportunity to go after his primary, number one opponent. But guess what?  Cruz has flipped that and turned that around masterfully, and it has resulted in the unearthing of a Donald Trump appearance on Meet the Press with Tim Russert way back in which Trump admits to all of his liberalism in the past. 

So I sit back and I watch all of this play out. We're watching a couple of really qualified professionals in the communications game go at it.  And, as is in the past, I do not even consider inserting myself in the middle of it, other than to tell you things I'm telling you here on the air. And I will tell you, like I've said before, that I think Trump is making a strategic error in the way he criticizes Cruz.  But, folks, it's unrealistic to expect that they're not gonna go after each other.  They're number one and two.  Iowa and New Hampshire are at stake. 

This is politics. 

There's only one winner.  The two of them can't win this together in some sort of a bromance and come out as a united couple after either one of these primaries or after the whole process.  It's not how it works.  They're both gonna try to take each other out and they're both gonna have their own strategies for doing so.  Now, Trump I think is... You know, Trump knows his coalition.  He knows who his base is.  His base is made of many people, more than just conservatives.  However, there are a boatload of conservatives in Trump's...

I'm gonna say "audience," here, but I mean his support base, the people who intend to vote for him.  There's a lot of conservatives, disaffected and angry with the Republican Party.  And there are a lot of conservatives that support Trump who don't like Ted Cruz.  I can't explain it, but I hear it all over the place.  I hear all kinds of love, respect, and admiration for Cruz.  And I hear people at the same time who don't like him for whatever reason they conjure up.  I remember when Scott Walker was the front-runner. People down here, my neighbors and friends, said, "I don't like Scott Walker.  He doesn't have a prayer." 


"His eyes are too close together." 

I said, "What?"

"Yeah, his eyes are too close together.  He looks shifty.  Just so trustworthy.  I don't know." 

This bunch were supporting Kasich.  Who can explain any of this?  I certainly am... Well, there's nobody better than me to explain it.  But justify it?  That's... I think Trump going after Cruz is quite normal; it's understandable. But I think he's making a tactical error the way he's doing it.  Whatever you want to say, Cruz is not a "nasty" guy.  When you get into criticism, it better be believable.  But Trump is looking at Cruz, and I'm sure is hearing about the negatives that Cruz has, and I'm not gonna sit here and pretend to you that they don't exist. 

Heck, folks, even in my own circle of friends there are people that don't like Cruz or Bush or Rubio.  It runs the gamut.  And it all perplexes me.  I told you about the dinner party I had at my house where the guests hated Sarah Palin.  I walked out of my own dinner party when I started hearing why and so forth.  I did.  I had to go to a golf tournament, so I just left six hours early.  I did.  I left there, went out the front door, and got in the car (it was already packed), hit the airport, and, bam!

I'm out of there. Kathryn's left there thinking, "Oh, my God. What just happened?"  Poor Kathryn.  Well, she was a champ. She hung in there, and she saved the night. There were kids at the table, but I started yelling and screaming.  I was confronted with so much of what I thought was stupidity.  These guys are basically saying, "The media's destroyed Palin. It's stupid to try to prop her up and save her! We're never gonna win if the media doesn't like our candidate." 

I say, "Really, you guys? It's that easy?  You gonna let the media choose our candidate?" 

"The media's destroyed her, Rush.  It's just that simple.  There nothing we can do." 

I said, "Well, I can't handle this."  This is not... These guys are not fighters, battlers, or what have you. Plus they've got this belief media doesn't like our candidate, we don't have a prayer. So I was out of there.  I think Trump is free to criticize Cruz all he wants as far as I'm concerned, but going after him as a "nasty" guy and on this birther business, he's gotta worry that it's gonna create more negatives within his own support base rather than turn people off to Cruz.  And he's gotta consider the opportunity that it's providing Cruz in responding. 

Like Cruz has come up now twice with... He's doubling down. He's taking Trump's lesson on this whole insulting New Yorkers thing.  Trump has made it possible for Cruz to double down on his apology.  He's apologized twice now.  He's apologizing to the people in New York for the people that are leading them.  "I feel bad for you.  I'm sorry as hell that you have a governor as bad as Cuomo, and I'm sorry as heck you have a mayor as bad as de Blasio, and I apologize. I wish there was something I could do about it, but you voted for 'em, not me." 

So Trump has given Cruz the opportunity to make his point over and over again and to show that he's not cowering in fear in the corner and running away from it.  And in the midst of all this, Cruz, in responding to this, is not even mentioning Trump's name, which is... That's lesson number one.  You don't mention the opponent.  It's like they don't even exist.  You just go about your business.  Cruz is doing all of that.  Trump is not number one in Iowa. Well, in some polls he is.  But Cruz has been in the lead there for a while. 

I just think it's like I've always said when he first went after Cruz using liberal criticism. I mentioned it here. I did not call him, haven't talked to him, don't get calls from him.  I don't... I'm not an advisor to anybody.  I just tell you.  You people in this audience, you are my focus every day.  I do this program for you.  The show is the thing, and the audience is why there is a show.  And so my focus here is being honest with you about what I think, not carrying somebody else's water -- or in some cases, even, a movement's water.  At some point, it's up to them. 

This post first appeared on CONSERVATIVE RIGHT- "Rebellion To Tyrants Is Obed, please read the originial post: here

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Trump Is Making a Strategic Mistake in the Way He's Going After Cruz


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