Talk show host Rush Limbaugh says that, if he were President Barack Obama, he would not want to face a staunch conservative such as former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin because she carries a frightening message — that he is beatable. Limbaugh also said on Fox News Thursday night that the GOP establishment fears Palin as well.
Fox News’ Greta van Susteren asked Limbaugh whether Palin’s announced bus trip marks the beginning of her presidential campaign.
“I think this bus trip — it’s certainly designed to get people speculating that she’s in,” Limbaugh said. “The thing about Sarah Palin to me is that she has now learned to relish and to profit from all the attention — negative or positive — and she certainly knows negative attention.
“She has suffered slings and arrows — she’s had the media . . . exam — unlike any other Republican candidate,” he said. “And I think she has now come to grips with the fact that that’s part and parcel of the process. And I think one of the things that she enjoys is just rubbing it right back in their face. She knows that they are trying to intimidate her into silence.
Limbaugh said Palin is mastering the things she will have to master if she decides to run. Results of the most recent Gallup Poll that showed her only two points behind former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney “shocked me” — especially since she still hasn’t made a decision, he said.
“That was startling,” Limbaugh said. “Greta, you’ve asked the question of the day — you’ve asked the question of the campaign: The Republican Party is really royal right now, inside-the-Beltway intelligentsia, power base is not oriented towards conservatism.
“Conservative Republicans make them nervous,” he added. “The inside-the-Beltway ruling class — the elite — they’re more oriented toward candidates they can attach the word ‘serious’ to — which is another way of saying someone who is boring, who doesn’t ruffle feathers, someone who exudes an air of formal education and sophistication — she doesn’t exude that, and I think it’s going to shake a lot of people up.
“You know the effect that she has on establishment Republican people,” Limbaugh continued. “They’re just as frightened in their own way as the Democrats are of Palin and one thing I think is inescapable — particularly in looking at the Democrats — the Democrats and the media will always tell you who they are afraid of by virtue of who they spend time trying to destroy.”
By the same token, when Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels was flirting with getting in, The Washington Post and The New York Times were saying “this is the one Obama really fears,” trying to goad him into the race, Limbaugh said.
“It was really convoluted thinking — but the bottom line is she scares them — she also scares the Republican establishment,” he said. “But so does some other potential Republican candidates.”
Van Susteren asked which other conservative candidates are feared.
Limbaugh cited former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, noting, "Bachmann especially. Anybody who is tea party oriented is going to send some chills down the spines of both Democrat and Republican establishments. There’s something about the tea party that frightens them and I think it’s the direct connection with the American people.”
The GOP establishment considers the tea partyers outsiders who are upsetting the entire Washington power and social structure, Limbaugh said .
“They’re outsiders — they’re not considered genuine political professionals,” he said. “By definition: Tea party people, in many cases, have never even been involved in politics. They started going to town hall meetings a couple of summers ago and simply have come to life because they don’t like the direction the country is going.”
The GOP establishment has a “message problem” because of fear and a belief that moderate is the way to go, Limbaugh said.
“And I think that’s always going to be a problem with the Republicans until there is a nominee who is conservative — who is proud conservative, who is passionate conservative — and doesn’t need note cards, and doesn’t need a prompter and can’t wait to talk to people about it.”
Limbaugh added that the reason there was so much excitement for Donald Trump before he ended his flirtation with a 2012 run was because he was taking it to them on the future of the country.”
Obama is beatable because he has taken the moderate tack, he said.
Limbaugh said his "dream candidate" would be Texas Gov. Rick Perry.
"I would love for Rick Perry to get into it or anybody like him," he said. "The more conservatives in this race, the more full-throated, unapologetic, pedal-to-the-metal conservatives in this race, the greater the opportunity one of them is going to be elected."
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