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RUSH: You know, you cannot escape it, and I guess it’s somewhat understandable. There is pessimism all over the country now. Pessimism abounds. You’ve got the eager excitement of the left. The left is dancing on the grave of George W. Bush all over the place, and there are a few conservatives who are practically calling him dead meat and we may as well forget about him and try to do what we can do here to stanch the damage of the Bush administration. Yes, there are conservatives that are saying this, and I was really tempted today to open the program as one of those angry, pessimistic conservatives and just start just reeling off all the failures here and not tell you for 20 minutes or so, and then start taking phone calls. “Rush, what’s happened to you?” I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t do it. I thought about it. Maybe if I were feeling a hundred percent, I could have pulled it off, but I just couldn’t. I didn’t think I could pull it off believably so for enough time to make it work, but believe me, it was tempting.
RUSH: Let’s go to the audio sound bites. This is last Friday. This is a press conference, a joint press conference with Vladimir Putin. An unidentified reporter said, “With billions of dollars flowing out of Washington for hurricane relief, some Republicans are worried that you’re writing a blank check that will have to be paid by future generations. Who is going to have to pay for this recovery, sir?”
THE PRESIDENT: You bet it’s going to cost money but I’m confident we can handle it, and I’m confident we can handle it with other priorities. It’s going to mean that we’re going to have to cut unnecessary spending. It’s going to mean that we’ve got to maintain economic growth and therefore we should not raise taxes. Our working people have had to pay a tax in essence by higher gasoline prices, and we don’t need to be taking more money out of their pocket.
RUSH: And the president continued with this.
THE PRESIDENT: There’s a big role for the federal government. There’s a big role for private sector, and that’s why I call for economic growth zones, economic enterprise zones. There’s not going to be any revenues coming out of that area for a while anyway so we might well give them good tax relief in order to get jobs there and investment there. It makes sense. The entrepreneurial spirit is what’s going to help lift this part of the world up.
RUSH: That’s what the president says. A lot of people — and you may be one of them — are terribly upset about all this money being spent, and I mentioned last week on the program, Thursday or Friday, don’t remember which, that this is actually required by statute. A lot of people said, “Well, what’s statute? It’s easy for you to say; what statute?” The statute is the Stafford Act, folks, and I don’t want to go into a lot of minutia here, but the Stafford Act dates back to 1988. The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act. It’s 42 United States Code Sections 5121 to 5206, and it is triggered by a major disaster declaration like Hurricane Katrina. It means that the federal share is required to be at least 75% of the reconstruction costs for public infrastructure, which, of course, is a huge portion of total costs, and when you have extraordinary circumstances like Hurricane Hugo and Hurricane Andrew and the Oklahoma City bombing, the terrorist attacks of 9/11, presidents have approved up to 100% of the federal share. So there is a statutory requirement to this that undergirds all this. Now, this is not to say that the president’s not eager to spend the money, but as we talked about last week, I put forth a plan: the Limbaugh Plan. We put that plan at RushLimbaugh.com. We asked all of you to send in your ideas. Well, those of you who are subscribers at Rush 24/7 because that’s where the super-secret e-mail address that accesses Koko the webmaster, so he can read the e-mails, and we put some up there. Some good ideas into the ones that I have put forward, and in addition, folks, I have to tell you some Republican congressman are coming forth, congresspersons are coming forth, with similar ideas. In fact, there was even in phone call on C-SPAN happened Saturday morning. I don’t know who the host was. The call is from Victor from Silver Springs, Maryland.
C-SPAN CALLER: I heard a really great plan yesterday. It’s called the Limbaugh Plan, and what it is is you rewrite the highway bill, the energy bill, and all the other bills. Get all the pork out of it, and then you make sure the money does not go to the liberals who ruined things in the first place, especially down in Louisiana where the liberals have ran things for 60 years. It’s just a total failure, and everybody can see how liberalism has failed miserably.

RUSH: Now, I didn’t see this myself; Cookie was watching it. But she tells me that the host had no comment. You can imagine the C-SPAN sitting there and the caller calls in suggesting the Limbaugh Plan, but there was no comment to this. It does make all the sense in the world, and in fact, in the Stack of Stuff I have all kinds of documentation furthering the concept here that the disaster down there, contrary to what Bill Clinton wants to say was actually brought on by incompetence of local and state officials — and, by the way, people are saying, “Let’s join hands.” By the way, did you notice for a time, until Clinton appeared Sunday — now, this was fascinating to me — there was a poll that came out. A Fox News Opinion Dynamics poll that came out. Let me give you the progression of events. On Saturday morning I see Donna Brazile with an op-ed piece in the Washington Post and basically she is praising the president’s speech on Thursday night. The greatest speech! She wants to help him. She’s from New Orleans. She wants to help him. She’s registering for the Army. She wants to get in there, get her hands dirty and help him put that place back together, and I’m saying, “Whoa! Whoa! What is this?” Well, it has to be damage control, has to be a damage control op-ed based on the ABC show Thursday night following the president’s speech where all those New Orleans residents outside the Astrodome praised the speech, and then later in the day on Saturday I’m seeing Dingy Harry and some of the other Democrats saying, “Well, we need to put the partisanship aside here and we need to get together, work with this and stop pointing fingers.”
Whoa, what’s going on? I’m thinking there’s got to be a poll coming somewhere. There has to be a poll coming that shows that the Democrats are losing big by pointing fingers of blame at Bush and that they’re not in touch with the actual people who live in the Astrodome, escaped from New Orleans, and a light went off. Those people haven’t seen the coverage. Those people haven’t seen the coverage! Those people haven’t. From the time they left New Orleans to the time they got in the Superdome and moved over into the Astrodome or wherever else, they are they haven’t seen all this coverage bashing Bush and so you’ve got really some honest opinions from people on that ABC show Thursday night before they had been touched by media coverage. Then the Brazile piece comes and then all these Democrats start talking about how we need to start working together to put this back together, and I said, “There’s gotta be a poll coming. They have to have heads up on a poll that shows that most people are not down on Bush for the way they’ve handled this,” and, lo and behold a Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll on Saturday night pretty much showed. I don’t have this poll in front of me. Then that all was cast aside when Bill Clinton went on Stephanopoulos on Sunday, and when Clinton went on Stephanopoulos, he turned it all back on Bush, and I don’t know what the result is going to be with the rest of the Democratic Party on this, but it is clear to me who is running the Democrat Party is the kook fringe. They’re the ones that are raising the money. They’re the ones that are having secret meetings with Hillary. She’s talking to these kook fringe bloggers and so forth on the left. So I suspect that there’s an undercurrent out there nationally that is not at all — I’m not surprised by this — not at all represented by the coverage of the mainstream press. I’m talking about a public opinion, and a public attitude.
RUSH: Okay, back to the audio sound bites. The roundtable discussion on This Week with Stephanopoulos yesterday, featured Sam Donaldson. They went back to the major leagues, ladies and gentlemen, for some commentators on the roundtable, and listen to this.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Listen, I was watching on ABC on Thursday night. Some of the victims we collected in Houston loved it. They loved every single word. You hear Frank Rich and Maureen Dowd in the New York Times completely panned it —
VOICE: (laughter)
VOICE: No surprise!
STEPHANOPOULOS: It’s not surprising, there, and as far as this debate we just saw about how to pay for it, I just wondered, what’s your take?
DONALDSON: Well, if I were a victim, I’d love it, too. If you say to me, “Anything you want, anything it takes, without a plan, maybe this doesn’t make sense, but, no, we’ll just do it,” and that’s what the president said, I would just think that was wonderful. Now, if I had to pay for it, that’s another thing.
RUSH: Sam’s going conservative in his old age here, folks! I wonder if he realizes how much like pessimistic conservatives he sounds there. Well, he does, Mr. Snerdley. “Well, I’d love it, too. Anything you want without a plan, maybe just doesn’t make sense, ‘Oh, we’ll just do it.'” Sam, he’s not talking about tax cuts here. He’s talking about your precious federal spending. You ought to be embracing this, you hypocrite! For crying out loud, folks, it’s amazing to watch these people, right before our very eyes turn into absolute fools and idiots. Brian in Louisville, Kentucky, welcome to the EIB Network. Hello.
CALLER: Hey, Rush, tell me what you think about Mayor Ray Nagin acting like he knows everything now and telling everybody can come back and live there and start a business again, when every federal official and expert is telling them not to.

RUSH: Well, I must tell you — and this may be because of my illness today, but I am really a trooper today, folks, fighting through this little fever today. Yeah, I’m playing hurt. I was doubtful this morning but I showed up. But when I first saw this story, it said, “Mayor Nagin to Repopulate New Orleans,” and I said, “Wow, who are the lucky women?” and then I said, “Wait, that can’t be what he’s talking about.” So I figured that he wants to bring people back early, and, you know, the federal government, you’re right, is saying, “This is not the time. The water is not drinkable yet,” and so forth. Here’s what the president, by the way, this morning said about this. He had a cabinet meeting, and an unidentified reporter said, “Mayor Nagin has invited the people to start returning to the city. A lot of federal officials who feel it’s not safe to do. You feel like you need to step in, sir?”
THE PRESIDENT: We share the goal of the mayor, but we have got concerns. There are environmental concerns, which Administrator Johnson shared with us today. Let me give you a real concern that I think everybody aught pay attention to, and that is this Tropical Storm Rita, which now looks like it’s going to head out into the Gulf and could track Katrina or it could head further to the west. But nevertheless there is deep concern about this storm causing more flooding in New Orleans, and so Admiral Allen has reflected the concerns of this administration, and we want to work with the mayor. The mayor is working hard. He’s got this dream about having a city up and running, and we share that dream. But we also want to be realistic about some of the hurdles and obstacles.
RUSH: For my part, I understand the mayor’s desire to get the people in there. I predicted this, folks. I told you it going to be six months. I told you. We ought to go back and get all my predictions on the Monday before the levees even broke, and then Tuesday after the levees broke. We ought to go get my predictions and let you listen to them and see how many of them have come true and how many of them are in the process of coming true about how fast this place would be rebuilt, about how bad it was not gonna be, about how fast they would get the water drained out of there, about how quickly they would want to get back to normal — and that’s all the mayor is saying. He simply wants to return to normalcy for himself and for his people. I also think they want to get as many people back there as possible for the elections coming up in 2006.

RUSH: Brian in Bloomington, Illinois, welcome to the program, nice to have you with us.
CALLER: Hey, Rush, how’s it going, man?
RUSH: Just fine, sir, thank you.
CALLER: Hey, I want to get your opinion on this Urban Homesteading Initiative. To me it appears to be some sort of veil socialism functioning under the auspices of compassion.
RUSH: Well, here’s what it is. You’re talking about the president cited in his speech on Thursday night?
CALLER: Yeah, Thursday, and it’s also in the White House website they talk about it.
RUSH: Okay. The Urban Homestead Act. What President Bush did is ask Congress to approve it “in which surplus federal property would be turned over to low income citizens by means of a lottery to build homes with mortgages or assistance from charitable organizations.” Now, I know that this sounds socialistic to you, but I also want to take you back to a statutory requirement the federal government act in these disasters. The statutory requirement is found in the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act. It’s 42 US Code sections 5121 to 5206. Now, the Stafford Act is triggered by a major disaster declaration like Hurricane Katrina. It means that the federal share is required to be at least 75%. The federal share required to be 75%, and in fact since September 11th hurricanes Hugo and Andrew and the Oklahoma City bombing, presidents have approved up to 100% of the federal share under the Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act. So this is a federal statute that predates Bush that requires at least 75% of all this assistance come from the federal government. You add to it the Urban Homestead Act, and we’re stuck. I mean, this is what we have to deal with if we’re going to follow the statutes. This is why I said on Friday that, “All right, we’re stuck. The federal government is required by law to spend this money.” Well, what’s new? The federal government’s been spending money on this since 1964.
The great War on Poverty, LBJ, and, of course, you can find numbers to prove that the Bush administration has spent more per capita on poverty in five years that the Clinton administration did, and I think herein is where I see the opportunity. If there’s a statutory requirement — and there’s not going to be any move to come up with a law rescinding it, so it’s going to survive, the Stafford Act is — I think the opportunity here to demonstrate that when federal largess is distributed under conservative principles by conservatives, that it has a far better chance of being used in a meaningful and productive way. Now, the Urban Homestead Act, again just to be specific, says that “Surplus federal property will be turned over to low income citizens by means of a lottery to build homes with mortgages or assistance from charitable organizations.” When I see mortgage and assistance, I don’t see giveaway. I see deals being made. I see an opportunity here for surplus land and property here to be turned over with — and this is the opportunity — with the opportunity for ownership to be part of the end result here, rather than just a flat-out giveaway, rather than just a flat-out transfer of wealth, which is what we’ve been doing for 60 years. Look, maybe I’m pie-in-the-sky on this, but I want to repeat again. The president’s not going to say this in these words because he’s not a confrontational guy, and maybe I’m investing too much hope in it. But I could have sworn that I heard him say between the lines — I didn’t hear him say it, but — his intention being, “We’ve tried it your way 60 years. We’re going to try it ours,” and given the requirements of these two federal statutes. There is a way to demonstrate the conservative way of building people up and bringing them out of poverty and keeping them there. This is really — folks, it is a golden opportunity here, if, if these principles are incorporated.

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