Spinsanity: Countering rhetoric with reason
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Partial transcript, The Rush Limbaugh Show, July 20, 2001

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[see Brendan Nyhan's 7/21 post: Limbaugh's Daschle "devil analogy"]

I have a question for you, folks, and I know that this is going... you have to listen very carefully here, this is going to push the envelope.

Does Tom Daschle have the gravitas to be Senate Majority Leader? Is this what we want in a Senate Majority Leader? I think the tables need to be turned here. Rather than accept the assumption that Dasche is a wizard, a brainiac, utterly qualified and competent, we need to turn the tables and ask what is he bringing to the table. What in the world is Tom Daschle doing for the United States of America? How is what Tom Daschle is doing enhancing our reputation or improving our position?

How many different versions of Satan, the devil, have you seen in your life? I mean, the comic book devil with the red face and the horns, seen that one. We've seen the Satanic devil of the horror films. We've seen the devil portrayed as just an average man, a human being, in the movie "Rosemary's Baby". We've seen the comic devil of TV shows. We've even seen the smooth, tempting devil in Hollywood moves. Is Tom Daschle simply another way to portray a devil?

I know: [in voice of people complaining] 'Rush, how could you? You don't say this about anybody! Oh, Rush, please back off, don't go too far, you're going to come off as so, oh, no, Rush, please don't. He's so laid back, he's so soft-spoken, he's so friendly, he's so, how could you say that, please."

Folks, look: Is he so laid back? Is he so soft-spoken? Is Daschle so friendly? You tell me. Remember what Daschle said when he became the Senate Majority Leader? He blathered on about bipartisanship and working with the President and how he came to the job with humility and how he realized now that as Majority Leader his responsibilities were different - that he had to work to bring competing sides together for the good of the American people. And from that day forward he's been on TV just about every day doing everything he can to keep the people of this country divided.

There is no desire on Daschle's part to bring people together. There certainly is no bipartisanship flowing through his veins, nor is he leading any bipartisan effort. There is no working with the President of any of this. He's criticizing Bush, he's attempting to further the notion that Bush is illegitimate, incompetent, unintelligent. He tries to block the President every day, he downgrades the President every day and he devalues the - he tries to - every day, folks. It's his job - every day. His job is not about doing good things for the country. His job is in his mind is simply about destroying George W. Bush for pure political purpose. It's totally personal. It is the politics of personal destruction with Tom Daschle, hidden behind this laid-back, soft-spoken, so friendly demeanor.

Let me ask you this: He says he wants to work with the President - what would he be doing if he didn't want to work with the President? Can you imagine if his objective - stated objective - was to oppose the President? How would it be any different from his current behavior? Just yesterday, as Bush winged his way to Europe on a crucial mission to lead our allies into the 21st century, with Europe's flagging economy, talking about mutual defense in the 21st century, realistic environmental solutions, solutions for world poverty, not ths stupid Kyoto stuff and not allowing the United States to be robbed blind by the UN and the poor nations of the world, up pops "El Diablo", Tom Daschle, and his devilish deviltry, claiming that George Bush is incompetent, criticizing Bush at the very moment he is engaging in these efforts to improve our relationship with these world leaders.

He's, um, no, I went through the routine. Let me stretch this so-called devil analogy a little bit further. I have to take a break here because it goes on a little while, but stick with me because I want to analogize this a little bit more when we come back - because this guy is getting away with a public media persona that is totally 180 degrees out of phase of who he really is and what he's really doing.

[break]

[singing along to "Devil in a Blue Dress"] Mitch Rider, the Detroit Wheels, Devil in a Blue Dress, as we continue our devil analogy with Tom Daschle. Hang in there folks. Now don't go bonkers - the devil comes in many disguises as we all know.

Let me stretch this analogy just a little bit farther. What would your reaction be if I were to say that I think Daschle has cast a spell on the media? [complaining voice] "Oh no, Rush, not that". Why? Let me ask you this: Why would the media decide that Tom Daschle is Co-President? They pretty much have made Daschle Co-President. Every day we get Tom Daschle and what he thinks of what's going on in the ountry, what he thinks ought to happen. His criticisms - personal, mostly, substantive, rarely, but all personal. So what? He's the Senate Majority Leader? Yip yip yip yip yahoo. Is he as important as the Speaker of the House? Why does he get face time every day and Denny Hastert doesn't? Who's more important? "What do you mean, Rush, who's more important? How can you quantify this?" Well, let's go to the official document of the United States - the Constitution. This might surprise you. I have here the chain of succession to the presidency. And I've got Official Order, Presidential Succession through seventeen people and nowhere in the top seventeen is Tom Daschle. Nowhere is the Senate Majority Leader. In order, it's... [lists the order at length] Nowhere here is Tom Dashcle, the Senate Majority Leader, listed in the succession, in the Official Order of Presidential Succession. Yet he's on television more than Bush is spewing his personal venom.

[break, call-in, break]

...So here we have it, my friends, the chain of succession, the presidency of the United States. And, by the way, Senate Pro Tem now I think is Robert Byrd, not Thurmond, since the Democrats have usurped control. You want to talk about illegitimacy - it's Daschle. He can't claim the votes of the American people made him Senate Majority Leader. Were it not for that doofus, Jim Jeffords, Daschle would still be Senate Minority Leader. The votes of the American people didn't put him there. You can talk illegitimacy all you want but Tom Daschle claims the title. But I got the top 17 in the order of succession ad you don't find Daschle's position anywhere on it and yet he is portrayed in the mainstream media as the most important man in America, more important than even the President...

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