RUSH: Just to reiterate, ladies and gentlemen: ‘It’s going to get worse before it gets better.’ I’m not trying to be negative. I’m trying to prepare you here for what is coming. It is obvious from the president’s press conference that his view is: ‘The Democrats won the election yesterday, and that means they get some of what they want, if not a lot of what they want, if not all of what they want.’ Specifically, here’s what you can look for: You can look for there to be a minimum wage bill. The president was passionate about one thing in this press conference. He came alive when he was asked a question about: What does this mean for your immigration policy? ‘Yes, I think we have a better chance of getting immigration reform now with a Democrat-controlled Congress.’
I told you this before the election. I told you, ‘The reason we don’t have amnesty and a guest worker program is because of the Republicans in the House.’ Now with Democrats running the place you’re going to get it and the president’s excited about it. We’re going to get a guest worker program. We’re going to get amnesty. It’s going to be called ‘immigration reform,’ and you’re going to get a minimum wage increase. The president’s going to talk to these people about entitlements — and when you sit down with Democrats to talk about entitlements, you’re not talking about getting rid of them. You’re talking about ‘reforming’ them, maybe, or perhaps even new ones.
Some of the exit poll data yesterday (it’s still questionable whether or not you can believe it). By an 11% margin, voters who voted yesterday believe that Republicans are ‘the big government party now.’ How can you blame them? How can you blame them with the Medicare entitlement and with all the education spending, the spending on everything, the lack of discipline on reducing the size and scope of government? During the break, I was channel surfing around, and Tim Russert made this point. He said that with Robert Gates coming in to replace Rumsfeld — and, by the way, I don’t know what is going to happen here. My experience has always been that when you give the left a scalp, they just want more. So who will be their next target? Condoleezza Rice? Cheney?
I can tell you that some of the fringe kook Democrats, it remains to be seen since they bombed out with their chosen candidate Ned Lament, just how much influence they’re going to have over Democrats’ governing, but they’re going to make demands for Rumsfeld to be brought up with war crimes investigations in Congress. I think some Republicans are going to say, ‘It’s a smart political move to get rid of Rumsfeld. Just get that distraction off the table. Do it now. Don’t wait ’til the end of the year. Do it now and take that issue off the table for the Democrats.’ The problem is my experience in the past is it doesn’t take issues off the table, it just makes them hungrier.
It just makes them say: ‘Okay, we got one scalp. We can go get another.’
You know they’ve been calling for the resignation or the impeachment of all these people for a number of years: Rice, Rumsfeld, Cheney, a whole bunch of ’em. I think the subpoenas are going to be flying. I don’t know if Pelosi is going to try to control it or not. The president during the campaign said that he was convinced that if the Democrats won power, that the war on terror would suffer a setback. They’re not that interested in victory. He totally took that back today. He said (paraphrased), ‘Well, people say things on campaigns. You know, the campaign’s over and the Democrats won, and so it’s over. What do you want?’ It was the ‘What do you want?’ press conference. ‘You want immigration reform? Ha-ha-ha! You got it. You want a minimum wage increase? Yoooooou got it! You want Rumsfeld? Yoooooou got him!’
Bush has seen this before, and this is how you get out of town in two years with an approval rating that is above the thirties and maybe into the fifties or the sixties. Stem cells are another thing. The whole point here is: “We’re going to do everything we can to make everybody happy. We’re going to do what we can to make everybody happy.” Russert said, after pointing out that the Bush 41 guys are not going to be running the war: Robert Gates as the new secretary of defense, and James Baker running this commission here, looking into what we do about Iraq. Russert’s point was we’re going to have hardheaded pragmatism now. The ideologues are out. No more ideology in the war on Iraq — and of course that’s not new, ladies and gentlemen.
There hasn’t been any ideology in the Republican Party, any conservatism, for at least two to maybe four years. You could argue Bush was more of an ideologue in the presidential campaign of ’04, but in looking at what happened yesterday, it wasn’t conservatism that lost. Conservatism won when it ran as a Democrat. It won in a number of places. Republicanism lost. RINO Republicans, country club blue-blood Republicans, this nonpartisan Republican identity, that’s what went down in flames. I’ve always believed that those of us who are conservative believe in the ideology. We believe it wins. We believe it’s best for the country. We believe it’s best for the people. We believe it’s ultimately compassionate, and it has not been present.
Now, I mentioned to you at the conclusion of the previous hour that people have been asking me how I feel all night long. I got, “Boy, Rush, I wouldn’t want to be you tomorrow! Boy, I wouldn’t want to have to do your show! Oh-ho. I’m so glad I’m not you.” Well, folks, I love being me. (I can’t be anybody else, so I’m stuck with it.) The way I feel is this: I feel liberated, and I’m going to tell you as plainly as I can why. I no longer am going to have to carry the water for people who I don’t think deserve having their water carried. Now, you might say, “Well, why have you been doing it?” Because the stakes are high. Even though the Republican Party let us down, to me they represent a far better future for my beliefs and therefore the country’s than the Democrat Party and liberalism does.
I believe my side is worthy of victory, and I believe it’s much easier to reform things that are going wrong on my side from a position of strength. Now I’m liberated from having to constantly come in here every day and try to buck up a bunch of people who don’t deserve it, to try to carry the water and make excuses for people who don’t deserve it. I did not want to sit here and participate, willingly, in the victory of the libs, in the victory of the Democrat Party by sabotaging my own. But now with what has happened yesterday and today, it is an entirely liberating thing. If those in our party who are going to carry the day in the future — both in Congress and the administration — are going to choose a different path than what most of us believe, then that’s liberating. I don’t say this with any animosity about anybody, and I don’t mean to make this too personal.
I’m not trying to tell you that this is about me. I’m just answering questions that I’ve had from people about how I feel. There have been a bunch of things going on in Congress, some of this legislation coming out of there that I have just cringed at, and it has been difficult coming in here, trying to make the case for it when the people who are supposedly in favor of it can’t even make the case themselves — and to have to come in here and try to do their jobs. I’m a radio guy! I understand what this program has become in America and I understand the leadership position it has. I was doing what I thought best, but at this point, people who don’t deserve to have their water carried, or have themselves explained as they would like to say things but somehow aren’t able to, I’m not under that kind of pressure. Am I making myself clear on this, Mr. Snerdley? (interruption)
No, I’m not lying. Snerdley’s concerned. I’ve not lied about anything I’ve said. Let me try this a different way. (sigh) I’m going to have to think about this. I tried to make it as clear as I can. I’m not going to eat my own, and I’m not going to throw my own overboard, particularly in a campaign, and particularly when the country is at war — and I’m not going to do it for selfish reasons, and I’m not going to do it to stand out, and I’m not going to do it to be different. I’m not going to do it to draw attention from our enemies. I’m not going to do anything I do so that the Drive-By Media will like me or think that, “Ooooh, Limbaugh has changed! Ooooh, Limbaugh is coming around!” That’s not my thinking. My thinking is: the left doesn’t deserve to win. My thinking is: the country is imperiled with liberal victory. We may not have the best people on our side, but they’re better than what we have on the left. But it has been difficult sometimes, when these people on our side have not had the guts to stand up for themselves, have not had the guts to explain what they really believe and why they’re doing what they’re doing. When they haven’t had the courage to be who they are, when they haven’t had the courage to be conservatives.
It has been a challenge to come in here and look at some of the weaknesses and some of the missed opportunities and try to cover for them and make up for them and make sure that the opportunities are not totally lost. But at some point you have to say, “I’m not them, and I can’t assume the responsibility for their success. It isn’t my job to make them succeed. It isn’t my job to make elected Republicans look good if they can’t do it themselves. It’s not my job to make them understandable and understood if they can’t do it themselves — not in perpetuity, not ad infinitum.” So all I can tell you is I feel a little liberated, and I think this is all going to result in a lot of cleansing in a number of areas.
RUSH: Snerdley said, “Well give me an example of what you’re talking about.” Okay, let me give you an example. (I’m not going to mention any names.) I’ve been sticking my neck out to defend people who won’t defend themselves and in the process of sticking my neck out, I get it cut off by other people who disavow what I’m doing and saying — and yet if I didn’t stick my neck out these people would have gotten swamped and defeated by far bigger margins than they did! I bring a lot of passion to my belief in conservatism, and my belief that liberalism is harmful to individuals in this country, that it leads them to lives of misery and unfulfilled potential.
Those beliefs drive me, and I believe that we are the good guys, and when the people on my side, the good guys, don’t have the guts to defend themselves as strongly as I’m willing to defend them, then you get to the point where, what’s the point? I’m not running in their races. I’m not asking for votes. I’m not on the ballots. I’m not getting their votes. That is up to them. All I’m saying is it’s a little liberating now, once I see the direction we’re headed and I look at the reaction to everybody in our movement after this loss. They can take it the way they want to take it, and I’m not going to defend whatever way they go just because they’re on my side if I don’t believe in the method they’re using or the direction they’re taking. It’s that simple. Now, back to the phones. Thomas in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, nice to have you, and I appreciate your patience. Welcome.
<a target=new href=”http://www.time.com/time/covers/0,16641,19760517,00.html”> </a>CALLER: Thanks for taking my call, Rush. I’m a big fan. I’ve been a listener since just prior to Gulf War I. I think the tone and tenor of the president’s news conference will illustrate a point I’m about to make, which as a conservative I don’t make with any kind of glee. I think this election kind of sounds the death knell for conservatism as a viable political ideology, and here’s why I’m saying that. With the Democrat victory, and most assuredly they will complete that in ’08, and their propaganda machine firmly in place and feeling their oats, so that any of their excesses, bad policies, faults, failings, et cetera, will be spun properly — the Republicans will feel the need to go center to be competitive. When they do that, the center will go left, and ostensibly conservatives will lose any kind of voice in the public political arena.
RUSH: I can understand your pessimism to that degree, and it’s entirely possible. I don’t see it that way. I do see some troubling signs out there, however, along these lines. Let’s start with the president’s press conference. It’s clear he believes the Democrats won the election; that means that they get what they want. In fact, CNN, some info babe on CNN, a few minutes ago said, “For the first time, for the first time, is Bush listening?” So it’s working, from the White House standpoint. They’re getting sympathy, and they’re getting compassionate reporting and they want to turn the boat around. They want to go back to Crawford with their 68% approval number. This is a desire that all elected officials have. Even Reagan’s people had the desire. I don’t think Reagan was as much concerned with it as most presidents are.
In terms of the conservative movement, without elected conservatism at the top, without elected conservative leadership somewhere, we do run a risk of being diluted. What counters that is that is that the people of this country are basically conservative. I just cited an exit poll in which the voters who voted yesterday think by an 11% margin that the Republican Party is the party of big government. Now, you ask, “How can that happen?” Because, guess who’s been running the show for six years with a brand-new entitlement, and all this brand-new spending? The Republican Party, and it has not been a conservative ideology that has run the Republican Party. It’s been something absent conservative ideology. Now, where are these future conservative leaders?
Obviously there’s not a new Reagan out there. Now, there are people who are going to try to be. Mike Pence is going to try to run the House on the Republican side. Reagan is his idol. We’ll see how that goes. John McCain is trying. From his appearances last night on television into today, McCain’s trying to set himself up as Mr. Conservative. The guy who gave us campaign finance reform, the guy who opposes tax cuts is now going to start talking as though he is Mr. Conservative. (That’s going to be a hard sell to real conservatives.) Then you have the conservative punditry. Now, to what extent they matter, that’s arguable.
But the conservative punditry, depending on where it’s located, is interested in being accepted in the overall punditry club by leftist pundits, Democrat pundits and so forth, and the way you do that is to break away from conservative ideologues to show that you’re “open-minded” and larger-minded and not closed-minded. I think they’re going to be fissures and cracks within the conservative movement. There are a lot of people are in this for themselves, folks. To a lot of people, it is about them, and their notification and their notice and the attention that they can garner for themselves, and the way you do that is stand out. The way you stand out as a conservative in Washington is to not be as much a conservative as everybody else is so you get approval from the left.
We’ve been through this countless times, but I don’t think conservatism is going to dwindle off into the twilight and be invisible at midnight and never return. This is what people were saying in 1976 when Reagan lost to Ford, and Ford lost to Carter. Those were dark days, folks! But then along came Jimmy Carter. (Malaise Speech) You can always count on the Democrats, at some point, to revive conservatism in this country by being who they are — and who they are is very liberal as we all know. The normal ebb and flow and cyclical nature of politics is obvious. It’s just so damn frustrating to have made such progress in 1994 and it happened here again. Two years after ’94, the conservatives made the mistake of thinking that the country had become conservative, and they stopped being ideological, and they stopped teaching. They stopped leading a movement and began what they began. It happened here again. The assumption that: “Okay, conservatism is in power now. The people know who we are. They like who we are. Stop teaching.”
You can never stop teaching.
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