Boss Limbaugh disses the GOP's listening tour and all but gets dissed himself by the panel on AC360. He thinks the GOP needs a "teaching tour" rather than a listening tour. That's almost as ridiculous as the idea that the GOP is going to listen to anyone to begin with during these town halls. As they note during this discussion, the religious right isn't going away any time soon, so it's obvious none of them think that strangle-hold over the party is going to change. And despite all of David Gergen's happy talk about Jack Kemp, what does he really say about him? He wasn't "grumpy". And even though most of his ideas were about tax cuts, he managed to make the poor and the down and out believe he cared about them. He doesn't actually say that he cared about them at all. Just that he managed to get them to believe he did. I thought Gergen's parsing of words here was rather odd if he does actually believe Kemp cared about the poor.
What Limbaugh fails to realize is that the public has pretty well figured out the GOP for themselves with no need for any "lessons" from Limbaugh or anyone in the GOP, and their actions as well as his are already teaching us all we need to know about them. Anyone that's buying the snake oil they're selling already listens to his radio show, or one of his buddies' radio shows, or they're watching Fox Noise, or reading Michelle Malkin and her ilk, or they are getting their political views from their church where they're fed a healthy dose of right wing propoganda each and every week.
Transcript below the fold.
COOPER: Kevin, I want to play something that Rush Limbaugh said about these town-hall meetings essentially, this listening tour that Republicans are on. Let's take a look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Look, folks, it's this simple. We do not need a listening tour. We need a teaching tour. That is what the Republican Party/conservative movement needs to focus on. Listening tour ain't it. Teaching tour is more apt.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: So, I mean, are Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush going about it the wrong way, in your opinion?
KEVIN MADDEN, FORMER ROMNEY SPOKESMAN: No, look. I would actually disagree with the idea that it's a rebranding. I think it has more to do, Anderson, with reconnecting with a lot of voters.
Look, the reason we lost in 2008 was because we lost not only Democrats and independents that had long been, you know, members of this grand Reagan coalition, but we lost a lot of Republicans, and we lost a lot of Republicans because of our positions on issues like spending and taxing. And I think those are the reasons why we are seeing an effort like this.
We're going out and reconnecting with a lot of these voters. And especially those voters in the middle class. If you go and do a data discovery of the voters and their opinions after this last campaign, Republicans had failed to win the middle class on issues and ideas that really mattered to them.
COOPER: Joe Johns, is it too simple to make the breakdown in the Republican Party between those who want a big tent and those who want, you know, more sort of social or economic conservatives? I mean, a lot of big-tenters would be economically conservative, but social conservatives? Is that where the fissure is?
JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's true. I talked to one Republican who used to work in the House of Representatives during the Tom DeLay days, not Kevin Madden, of course. And he told me, you know, you can't really choose social conservatives versus everybody else in the party.
His point is, you're not going to get rid of the social conservatives. They're going to be there for good. What you can do is try to inject some balance so that the voters out there, the swing voters that this tour is trying to reach, don't end up alienated because it looks like you just have one issue, whether it's abortion or gay rights or what have you. A little bit more balance they want to try to interject.
COOPER: David, what do you make of this listening tour or town- hall meetings, whatever you want to call it?
GERGEN: Well, I think it is a good idea for a party to listen, especially when it's taken a couple of pastings. And Hillary Clinton had a listening tour. These are -- these are good ideas in politics.
But equally important for the Republicans to, in my judgment, to consult their own past. And this weekend seems to be a particularly important time to remember what Jack Kemp was all about and why he was such a popular figure.
In the first place, Jack Kemp was the Republicans' happy warrior. He was -- you know, there's a grumpiness now among some Republicans that Jack Kemp never had, and it attracted people to him.
Jack Kemp was also very, very concerned about how do we find policies that make a difference for the poor and the down and out, the downtrodden? I remember walking the streets of Buffalo with him. And blue-collar people came up to him from all over, because they thought he cared about them.
And finally, Jack Kemp was constantly a source of ideas. Usually around tax cuts, but he had many other ideas, too, about private enterprise zones and the like. And I think that there is a lot about what Jack Kemp represented that, if remembered well, would help to revive the Republican Party.
And it just seems to me, this is a time when you remember the Jack Kemps, the Ronald Reagans and others who had been successful and what it was that made them successful.
COOPER: All right. We're going to have to leave it there.