Rush Limbaugh

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RUSH: We’ll start in Oregon in Astoria. This is Colin, and I’m glad you called, sir. Welcome.
CALLER: Thanks a lot. I’m going to be open with you: I’m a 22-year-old liberal, and I listen to you almost daily, and not out of spite, but I think you’re thoroughly entertaining, and I appreciate your side, and it only helps me hone my own view. Now, what I want to say to you, though, is I think, like, your attitude toward liberalism and liberals in general — like when you’re talking about the saturated politics of DC, you know, that’s okay, but your audience, I fear, takes it and tries to bring it into their every day conversations and they just don’t — it doesn’t work for them.
RUSH: Now, wait. You said my audience?
CALLER: Yeah, the people… Like I’ll be talking to people, and they’ll be like… They’ll… I’ll, you know, ask them, “Do you listen to Rush?” and then after talking to them for a while, and the attitude of, you know, “Oh, you’re a liberal.” Everything’s the binaries of liberalism and conservative when there’s 360 degrees of humanity. It’s not just liberal and conservative.
RUSH: Well, there may be 360 degrees of humanity, but there’s only two ideologies that are dominant in American life, culture, politics, and whatever today, and one of them is liberalism and one is conservatism, and there, I suppose, are varietals of each, but they’re basically pretty consistent, conservatives and liberals are. I would be very — what’s the word here? — cautious about blaming the audience for not understanding what is being said on the program or for misunderstanding it and taking it the wrong way because that’s something liberals tend to do is look at average people and think they’re not very bright —
CALLER: Oh, I don’t do that.
RUSH: — and you’re basically saying my audience loves me and listens to me but they don’t really get what I’m saying, and go they go out there and they can’t have polite conversations with people because everything just becomes a, you know, black-or-white context basically, right?
CALLER: Mmm-hmm.
RUSH: In which case I would then say that you’re probably upset with me because you think I’m polarizing the country unnecessarily.
CALLER: Yeah, and it’s divisive.
RUSH: You think it’s divisive.

RUSH: Well, how is it that liberals are never accused of being divisive? Why is it that…? Look at the some of the most over-the-top, outrageous things that liberals say. You can go back the last six years. I can take you back as far as you want to go. In just the past couple days, Sean Penn has been profane while demanding that Bush and Cheney be impeached and a number of other horrible things happen. George Bush has been called Hitler, the biggest terrorist in the country, by liberals. He’s the biggest problem we have. We had Joy Behar on The View the other day calling Donald Rumsfeld Hitler and saying that’s why he should have been TIME’s Man of the Year. People try to excuse it. “Oh, she’s just a comedian. Why are we talking about it?” How come when liberals make these divisive and incendiary allegations that are not based in fact, does nobody call that divisive?
CALLER: Well, I don’t know. I think that’s divisive, too, but I think you have a great opportunity… I guess it was just constructive criticism I was trying to offer. I think you have a great opportunity to really specify and say, “You know, those people are divisive, too, but let’s not join them just on the opposite end and start, you know…” I guess separating an already fragile situation in America even more.
RUSH: Well, but it’s — How old are you, Colin?
CALLER: I’m twenty-two.
RUSH: Twenty-two. Most people’s historical perspective begins with the day they were born, and that’s not an insult or a cut. It’s true of everybody. But the partisanship that exists in the country today is no different than it has been at any other time. It was this partisan in 1980s, shortly before and after you were born, and Ronald Reagan was the target of much the same kind of vilification as George Bush is today. Richard Nixon was a target like you can’t believe. Back in those days, though, the Democrats ran the show. I think one of the reasons for “partisanship” today, Colin, really is since 1994, Democrats ran the House of Representatives; they ran Washington for 40 years, until 1994, actually ’95. You’re just maturing, getting a certain age where people understand these things then, and I think losing that power… Power, to them, was a birthright. It was their entitlement, and it was denied them. It was taken away from them, and they were livid and they were angry.
You’re too long to remember some of the things that were said about Newt Gingrich and some of the things that were said about other Republicans and Tom DeLay. This “partisanship” has been out there, and in fact the liberal media has been dominant in this country for so long, that people like me are actually equal time. We are attempting to balance the partisanship that was not called “partisanship” because it was so dominant. Liberalism was just what WAS. It was just the way things were. As recently as 1988, there were no radio talk shows other than mine, and it was CNN. That was the only network. The rest it was the newspapers, the news magazines, and the broadcast networks. Now they’ve lost their monopoly, and people losing power, that’s going to make them mad and try to get it back. But this is natural. This is healthy: the exchange of ideas and people being open to it and inspiring their own critical thinking. People that listen to this show are not puppets, and they’re not robots. They end up doing their own thinking, and most of them just have their own thinking validated. I’m not creating a bunch of mind-numbed robots out there. We view it here as a contest in the arena of ideas, to persuade as many people to agree with us as possible.

CALLER: Okay. Can I just ask you to do one thing then?
RUSH: Well, you can ask.
CALLER: That would be, if you could just not make me feel like since I’m liberal that I support terrorists, that would be awesome.
RUSH: Oooooookay! Now I have a better picture about this. I understand what you’re saying, because the liberals say that conservatives are races, sexists, bigots, homophobes, mean-spirited extremists. I “made fun” of Michael J. Fox. I was out there “mocking” him. I am so mean and so rotten. None of that was true, and yet I’m lumped in with this by people who don’t even listen to me who say these things. The way I have to deal with it is: “I know the truth, and they’re wrong, the people saying this about me, and so why let they and their opinions affect me?” If you’re upset as a liberal to hear people like me equate you with the support of terrorists, your best bet might be to go to the people who are liberals who are supporting terrorists and ask them to stop.
CALLER: (laughs) Yeah.
RUSH: (laughing) I’m not going to sit here and stop characterizing them. I do think that many Democrats and liberals are invested in the defeat of this country. You’ve had John Kerry in Damascus today. You’ve had Bill Nelson over in Damascus trying to undercut US foreign policy. You remember what Dick Durbin said about the way American interrogators treat prisoners at Club Gitmo, comparing to us Pol Pot’s savages and the gulags in the Soviet Union and death camps in the days of the Nazis. They claim to be supporting the troops, but they’re not. You can only call them as you see them out there, Colin.
RUSH: I’m sorry you feel bad, but if you are not one who supports terrorists, then just tell yourself, “Rush isn’t talking about me,” because I haven’t been, because I don’t know you. This is the first time I met you.
CALLER: (laughs) All right. I appreciate it, Rush.
RUSH: I’m glad you called. You are a rarity, and I mean this as a compliment. You are the first liberal in many, many weeks here who has called here who has lasted more than 30 seconds or a minute without calling me names or this sort of thing, and we’ve had a very productive conversation, and I appreciate it, and I’ve enjoyed it, and I hope you call back.
CALLER: All right, thanks a lot.
RUSH: You bet. Well! Quite interesting.

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