RUSH: It was a great night at the Heritage Foundation last night. It was a weird room. I mean, it was a giant room in the Reagan building. The ceiling must have been 200 feet tall. When I’m standing backstage listening to my introductions, it sounded like a funeral mass was going on in there. It was just the acoustics, because I couldn’t understand what anybody was saying. But I went on for about an hour. I was a little late getting on. But I’ll tell you, the Heritage Foundation is one of these groups that’s holding firm. They’re not dillydallying around and they’re not wishy-washy on things. We talk about AskHeritage.org, which is a website area of the think tank. It’s a membership website. A lot of people in the audience last night were new members of Heritage and AskHeritage.org.
But you need to thank them. You need to be able to rely on some people during times like this, ’cause it seems so many people are wavering and riding off the reservation. Either they’re faltering, or they’re not exuding any confidence in what they believe. Trust me: the Heritage Foundation, Ed Feulner and his gang, are not wavering. They’re not embarrassed, and they don’t have to feel like they make excuse for themselves — and you will find things on their website that you won’t find in other conservative places. Sadly. It’s sad to say, but it’s the truth. This website, AskHeritage.org, you realize what’s at your disposal with the website? AskHeritage.org.
Whatever you want to know, from the stimulus spending, to TARP spending, to the Chrysler bailout, ask it. You’ll get the scholarly view of it, facts, figures that refute all the liberal BS, and you’ll be able to understand it and explain it to people. Now, Mitch Daniels, who is the governor of Indiana, is just a man after my own heart, because I also in my speech last night to the people at Heritage made the same point essentially that Daniels is making. He’s urging Republican leaders in Washington to stop ‘whining’ in order to mount a serious opposition to President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats. ‘I hear Republicans whining about, you know, the Democrats not being bipartisan. You know, ‘We weren’t included in this, we weren’t at the table in that.’
‘Well, get over it, that’s the way those folks are,’ Daniels said in an interview that ran Saturday in National Journal. ‘To me there’s not a lot of upside in whining.’ Daniels said Republican leaders have behaved ‘erratically’ since the beginning of the Obama administration, frequently offering ‘process arguments’ rather than competing policy prescriptions,’ and this is exactly right. This is a point that I made at CPAC and a bunch of conservatives disagreed with me about this. It’s the point that I made last night, and I made it at the Milken Institute last week in Los Angeles when talking about this. Okay, the liberals advance an ideal, like we need national health care, and rather as conservatives stand up and say, ‘No, we don’t need national health care,’ we stand up and say, ‘Weeeeell, let’s see if we can accept the premise and maybe make it better on the margins.’
Or they say, ‘Let’s do a listening tour, and let’s find out what the people want and pander to them’ and so forth. What Governor Daniels of Indiana is saying here is: You get involved in the process arguments, guess who’s setting the process? The process is always determined by the left! Even when we are in power, they got to determine the process. Rather than putting up competing policy ideas, rather than drawing contrasts, the Republicans are saying, ‘Well, they’re not helping. They’re not being bipartisan.’ There is no such thing as bipartisanship! Bipartisanship, as it’s defined today, is Republicans caving on what they believe to agree with Democrats! Mitch Daniels said, ‘What they should say instead is, ‘Well, here’s the way we would spread health insurance and not ration care and not take away your freedom in the process.
‘If they’d let us in the room, this is what we’d suggest,” an alternative to socialized medicine! An alternative to health care taken over by the US government! You know, I tried to emphasize this point last night. I don’t know how well I did. I emphasize this point in this program all the time, and I tried to emphasize it at the Milken Institute forum last week. But there is a golden opportunity. I look at Obama and the Democrats as vulnerable. There is no way what they’re doing is going to work. You simply cannot sustain budget deficits that have been programmed and written by the Obama administration. It just can’t happen. You have to oppose it. You don’t want to let horrible things happen and then benefit from that by virtue of winning elections.
You want to try to stop some of this bad stuff from happening, because the bad stuff that Obama has planned is gonna result in a loss of liberty and wealth for a tremendous number of Americans, and we don’t want that to happen. So we have to move in and stop it. This is a great example of what I’m talking about here. I have paid attention to the way Jack Kemp is being written about after his death. One of the things… When somebody mentions Jack Kemp to me, the thing that strikes me about Jack Kemp is Kemp-Roth, which were the Reagan tax cuts, supply-side economics. Jack Kemp is who made that happen with the Reagan administration. And, by the way, he was working with the Heritage Foundation to make it happen.
Jack Kemp and Arthur Laffer and Reagan. Kemp made it happen, and the House version of the tax bill in Kemp-Roth. But all of a sudden, all of a sudden I’m hearing people eulogize Jack Kemp as somebody who ‘reached out.’ Jack Kemp was somebody who went beyond pure conservatism to ‘reach out;’ as in ‘enterprise zones,’ bringing investment to inner city communities and so forth. Well, he may have done that, but he won the argument from the conservative vantage point! He didn’t reach out with liberalism to the other side! He didn’t become a moderate when he reached out. He attempted to attract people who were not yet fully understanding of what conservatism was, into our tent. People say, ‘Jack Kemp tried to build a big tent.’ The Reagan tax cuts were not based on a big tent.
The Reagan tax cuts were considered radically conservative until they were promoted, embraced, and adopted. The same people, folks… You may not remember this. You may not have been paying close enough attention and you may not be old enough, but the same people who attacked the Reagan tax cuts back in the early eighties — including George Bush 41; during the Republican primary, he called it ‘voodoo economics.’ All those people later came to embrace those tax cuts, which is the point. Those tax cuts, everybody was saying, ‘Well, that’s just a right-wing, class oriented.’ It’s all the usual criticism that attaches to conservatism. And these tax cuts, the Reagan tax cuts did not come about through a ‘listening tour,’ and they didn’t come about by preaching ‘a big tent,’ as if anybody knows what the hell that means. They came about because people had a firm belief in the principle that the served as the foundation for the policy, and that’s what we have to get back to.
RUSH: Now, try to follow me on this, folks. The Reagan tax cuts did not come from a listening tour. The Reagan tax cuts were not the result of somebody pitching a big tent. The Reagan tax cuts came about because of a commitment to a philosophy that gave birth to a policy. The philosophy behind the Reagan tax cuts is that people deserve to keep most of what they earn, and if you let them do that then they will go crazy earning. And people will hire other people because they’ll have more money as their businesses take off. It does trickle down, it certainly does. As you release or lighten the burden on the job creators, they are able to create more jobs. This creates more taxpayers, a lower tax rate on everybody creates thus more tax revenue. This was not a policy that was devised as some trick to go out and get a certain segment of the voting public to elect Republicans. It was a philosophy born of the Constitution’s and the Declaration of Independence’s references to life, liberty, pursuit of happiness. It was born of a belief in natural law. It was born of a philosophical belief that an oppressive, large government will choke off individual economic freedom, growth, and liberty. So we didn’t have to build a big tent.
Now, to pass it, to pass these Reagan tax cuts with a Democrat-dominated House and a Democrat-dominated Senate, what did we have to do? We didn’t sell Tip O’Neill on these tax cuts; we didn’t sell the Democrats on the philosophy and the policy of the tax cuts. If we had, they won’t be promising to raise everybody’s taxes every time they open their mouth. What happened was we beat their butts, in the eyes of the American people. Ronald Reagan was able to explain this to people and Jack Kemp and the whole army was able to explain this to people. The Democrats had no choice but than to vote for it because the American public had elected Reagan in a landslide on substantive issues, he had a mandate, and that was part of the mandate, cutting taxes. But don’t think they ever came to believe it. They are afraid of tax cuts, they are afraid of the principle of burgeoning economic freedom and liberty because the more of that you get the less need there is for liberals. So they were never persuaded, they were beaten, they were defeated. And this didn’t come about by reaching out. It didn’t come about by building a big tent. It didn’t come about with a listening tour. It came about because of a devotion to a principle that gave birth to a policy.
Now, look, anybody is free to be a Republican. Anybody is free to run for office. But like anything else, there are winners and there are losers. We support the people we agree with. We oppose those we don’t agree with. That’s the nature of politics and elections. Well, now we’re being told that we’re supposed to exempt liberal Republicans from this very process. We’re supposed to support them even though they don’t advance the cause. We’re supposed to somehow immunize them from any challenges just because we somehow need Northeasterners in the Republican Party, we need liberals in the Republican Party, ‘Yeah, we need a big tent, Rush, we need to reach out.’ Well, no, that is not how you build a movement that appeals to the base of the party. The base is being torn apart and divided by all of this rhetoric. Jack Kemp is remembered for one of the most important and successful acts of conservatism: slashing taxes across the board, slashing them for individuals, slashing them for businesses, cutting taxes wherever and whenever possible.
The same people to tell us to give up on Reagan must certainly have to tell us to give up on Kemp, because Kemp was right there with Reagan. But I don’t hear anybody saying we don’t have to give up on Kemp. They’re saying we need to do what Kemp did and reach out. That’s not what Kemp did, that’s not what Kemp is known for. When he did reach out, he reached out as a conservative trying to persuade others to join us, not sacrificing or changing what he believed in to join them. These so-called moderates out there are, by definition, folks, moderates are without a core belief system. They float, they meander, they wander, and they settle wherever a majority happens to be where is the path of least resistance because they don’t like confrontation and they don’t like fighting and they just want everybody to get along and they also think they’re the smartest people in the room, and they think they’re the elites. But moderates have no political base. Moderates have no political strategy. Otherwise, why would every election and every four years, ‘We gotta go get those independents, we gotta get the moderates.’ Because they don’t have a base, they’re not anchored anywhere. But if you want to go get ’em you have two ways. You can pander to them, which that is the most confusing thing to watch, and it’s the most frustrating, to watch people pander to moderates.
To watch moderates be pandered to is like you remember in high school and junior high, the little big clique always running around passing notes in the hallway between classes? It didn’t matter what they were doing, they were irrelevant, but, boy, they thought they were something special, because they were the little clique, they’re all listening to each other, not caring about what anybody else is doing or saying. It’s the same way with moderates and so-called independents in politics. They talk in generalities, they talk about big tents, they talk about reaching out, but they think small. They think inside the Beltway. No connection with the base of a party, no connection with reality. They’re just drifting constantly. They’re in motion. And they’re always like water. They seek the path of least resistance. They contradict themselves all the time. And yet look at Jack Kemp. Jack Kemp, look at all things being said about Jack Kemp. ‘He reached out, Jack Kemp is a great guy.’ Jack Kemp is this and that. Yeah, but Jack Kemp could never rise to the level of vice president or president, could he? He challenged Bush 41 in 1988, he ran with Bob Dole in 1996. Why? Why could he never become president? Because he ended up running with exactly the kind of Republicans some are telling us we have to continue to support today. They’re going to go down in flames against Obama and the Democrats every time they go up against them.
Jack Kemp was eventually seduced. He was seduced into thinking that the big tent idea of the party was the way to win, and I’m telling you when the big tent people get hold of the party, all it does is lose and lose and lose, and it was that way before Reagan. These tax cuts, for example, I keep hearing people talking about how Reagan’s tax cuts were focused on the middle and the working class. They were not focused on anybody. The tax cuts were for everybody who paid taxes. They included big cuts in corporate taxes, incentivized investment in research and development, and now even our side wants to come out and say, ‘Well, Reagan had these targeted tax cuts on middle class, hard-pressed middle class, working class.’ If that’s the case, how in the hell the have liberals gotten away with saying they were tax cuts for the rich? They were tax cuts for everybody. They were across the board. The top marginal rate went from 70% to 28% in eight years. That affected everybody, not just specific, hard-pressed middle class or working-class voters. They weren’t focused on that group of people. You know, Jack Kemp, he never sounded angry, never sounded embattled. He was an unabashed conservative. He was tonally open and fresh. He constantly was talking about economic growth, electoral growth.
The guy was quoting the Bible. He came on this show once to quote the Bible, the Old Testament, as evidence that supply-side or tax cuts work. Remember that? He came on this program to talk about it. He was committed to a philosophy and a policy that was birthed from it. So the top marginal rate, 70% came down to 28%, and all the rates in between got cut as well. They reduced the length of depreciation for capital equipment investments. They cut the cost of research and development. This is the point I tried to make at Heritage last night. Whenever I speak on this program or the public, the point I’m trying to make is that good policy or policies build on foundation of philosophy and principle. If you don’t have a conservative foundation that’s built on conservative principles, the policies you come up with aren’t going to have roots. The policies are going to be the result of pandering. But if you have policies built on conservative foundations and principles applied across the board wherever possible, you end up with something not only good for the nation, but good for all citizens, regardless of their supposed economic class, because conservatism lifts all boats.
We keep running around, some of us talking in socialist lingo, about classes of American citizens. To start categorizing people in this country is to adopt a European history and in left-wing language, undermines the whole principle and philosophy of conservatism. We are about the well-being of all citizens. That is a universal appeal. If tried, it works. Everybody says we need to do great, fresh ideas. We need a listening tour. We need to send Republicans out to start listening, we need to learn, we need to listen, and we need to lead. What are the ideas? What are they? Where are these great new ideas that will modernize or bring conservatism into the twenty-first century? What are these ideas? Are they not ideas borrowed from the left? Are they not principles borrowed from the left because some people on our side don’t have the confidence in their own beliefs, so for some reason, we have to borrow certain ideas, policies, or prescriptions from the left? What are these great, fresh ideas around which the public will rally and bring electoral victory? So far, I’ll tell you what I hear as the new ideas. We have to reject Reagan and nostalgia. We have to forget about tax cuts. That was yesterday. Don’t talk about immigration. But if you do, support it in all its forms. Don’t talk about the social issues. If we talk about immigration, we’ll lose. If we talk about the social issues, we’ll lose. Don’t talk tax cuts. Don’t talk about Reagan.
So tell me what are the great new fresh ideas that everybody’s insisting are winners? If we’re going to throw away every idea that’s won for us, what are the new ideas that are going to help us win and where do they come from? Whose are they? We’re supposed to embrace Jack Kemp at his death, but not Reagan. We’re supposed to embrace Kemp’s tax cuts but not tax cuts generally. Jim DeMint, who I met last night, is another great example. If Jim DeMint is dead and he’s so inconsequential, why is the left trying to destroy him? Jim DeMint said I’d rather have 30 strong conservatives in the Senate than 60 wishy-washy moderates. I agree a hundred percent with him ’cause we are in a rebuilding phase, and we’re not going to rebuild by continuing to muddy and muddle the waters that have succeeded in mis-defining us and confusing everybody on who we are.
RUSH: Okay, so I got an e-mail question: ‘Rush, are you really saying that Obama is out to destroy prosperity?’ My friends, read his books. Barack Obama’s primary objective is undoing Ronald Reagan’s tax cuts. Now, why would that be? That’s all he’s doing: returning the nation’s wealth to its so-called rightful owners. He operates on the belief that every achiever in this country is a thief, that every achiever has stolen or has something that’s genuinely not his or hers. They’ve come by it unfairly. He may not be about destroying prosperity, but he sure as hell is going to try to define it down. My hope is that he can’t destroy prosperity, that no one man can destroy the United States of America, even with his political party. Because at some point, we’re going to rise up and not accept it. We’re just not going to allow it to happen.
But there’s no question that he’s defining prosperity down. His objective is to undo the Reagan tax cuts. Now, if his objective is to undo the Reagan tax cuts, I guess those are really big-tent moderate ideas, huh? We know Obama is a left-wing radical. He takes a look at anything right wing and he wants to destroy it. They go after everybody that makes a difference. Jim DeMint. He’d rather have 30 strong conservative ideologues to build a base of operations with in the US Senate than 41 wishy-washy moderates who can’t get anything done, including oppose this president ’cause there’s nothing to build on — and he’s exactly right. I totally understand what he meant when he said that, but now they’re trashing him, and it’s only because they’re afraid of DeMint.
They’re afraid of conservatism! If it were not something that bothered them greatly, they wouldn’t give it the time of day. So now we have to reject Jim DeMint for being too conservative. We have to go out and appeal to the likes of Specter and Lincoln Chafee and others, ’cause we need a ‘big tent,’ not so much for conservatives who are too narrow-minded. That’s the problem with the debating society. We have people who look at conservatism as a debating society rather than a foundation for philosophy and ideas that lead to a great country. Well, I’m sorry. I left the debating society long ago back in high school.
To me, this is real. This is for keeps. It’s not about sharing my intellectual ideas with other people I also think happen to be intellectuals. It’s about promoting what I think is the best for the United States of America and everyone who lives in this country. You want to run around and emphasize process over principle, and then claim that the process will give us principle? It’s the other way around. You cannot engage in a productive process without a foundation — a philosophy and principle that leads to the development of policy that then becomes a process of trying to pass it. We’re can’t even talk about principles, not too much.
‘We gotta talk more about process, because if we talk about principles too much, we’ll turn off the middle class. But we gotta talk process.’ Turn off the middle class? In other words: Don’t be confident in who you are. Duck battles over substance and principle. Get engaged in process. Show people how smart you are and convince them that you’re listening to them, when you actually hold them in very low regard yourself; but you’re going to go pander to them to make ’em think you’re listening to ’em, just to get their vote. The way to get their vote is to identify with them. Tell ’em you understand what they think. Teach ’em how did to get it done, provide leadership for them — and then, Katie, bar the door. You’ll have a landslide victory.
RUSH: Folks, it’s as predictable as the sun coming up in the morning. Now the libs are out trashing me for suggesting that we need a ‘teaching tour’ rather than a ‘listening tour,’ because a teaching tour is arrogant. Of course, it’s perfectly fine when Obama teaches, but when I want to do a teaching tour? No, no, no! That’s arrogant. We need to listen. I’m telling you: all of this is a sign of how they fear our possible strength.