RUSH: Now, Rex Tillerson. Rex Tillerson is the CEO of ExxonMobil. A man by the name of Steven Coll, C-o-l-l, at The New Yorker has written a book about Exxon, and as such wrote a lot about Tillerson. In the process of writing his book he was denied repeated requests for interviews from Tillerson, but he nevertheless got a lot of Tillerson’s comments on the record because of shareholder meetings and other public appearances where Tillerson spoke, he would show up and record them.
This piece is in the December 11th issue of The New Yorker. Now, I don’t know what Mr. Coll intended, but my take on this, I think for any of you who have doubts about Tillerson, if you read this New Yorker piece, you’re gonna have a much more favorable impression of the man than if yours today is negative. I don’t know if Coll intends that or not. I don’t mean to be doing damage to his career here, but his piece makes me like Tillerson even more.
Here’s some details. And I’ve always liked Tillerson for a host of reasons. But, again, I’ve never stopped to think of Rex Tillerson as secretary of state. I’ve always look at Tillerson as what he is, the CEO of ExxonMobil. The book that Steve Coll wrote is called Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power. And he says here that Rex Tillerson’s life has been shaped to a profound extent by two institutions: ExxonMobil and the Boy Scouts of America.
Tillerson grew up in Texas. His father was an administrator for the scouts, was not paid very much. Rex Tillerson himself became an Eagle Scout. He was an engineering major at the University of Texas in Austin. He joined ExxonMobil in 1975 and he’s never worked anywhere else.
Now, ExxonMobil is part of the Rockefeller oil monopoly — Standard Oil — and it is said that of all the oil companies that resulted from the breakup of Standard Oil, that Exxon is culturally the closest to John D. Rockefeller and the way he ran Standard Oil, which means that ExxonMobil is organized on principles of capitalism. Mr. Coll describes it as ruthless capitalism. I think all of capitalism is ruthless. This is just what people don’t know. Competition, real competition for sales of anything, competition for ideas, competition is ruthless, period.
It’s not ruthless to people that doesn’t like it. It’s not ruthless to people don’t compete. But it can be brutal. And it’s not a bad thing. Competition is where innovation comes from. Competition is where leadership comes from. Don’t misunderstand. I’m not a person that sees perfection in things. Everything has its problems and faults. No individual is perfect. No group of people is perfect. But I am not one who believes that capitalism is flawed by virtue of its existence. The left is.
The cutthroat capitalism, just to bring it down to an understandable level, the cutthroat capitalism in high-tech would boggle your mind. The cutthroat competition in capitalism going on between Apple and Samsung or Apple and Google or Google and Microsoft, it’s brutal, folks. You oftentimes don’t see it, but it is. And it’s certainly brutal in the oil industry, in the energy field. And so Tillerson is described here as working at Exxon, which is the direct descendant of John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil, which is organized on the principles of ruthless capitalism and Protestant faith.
“Exxon today is an unusually cloistered corporation that promotes virtually all of its top executives from within. Former executives say that as recently as the 1970s it was not usual for Exxon to start company meetings with a prayer. Rex Tillerson won the competition for the CEO job in 2004 when Lee Raymond retired. He directed substantial time and charitable activity toward the Boy Scouts.”
RUSH: Let me read you a couple of more passages here from the Steve Coll excerpt about Rex Tillerson. “In public appearances, he comes across as sophisticated, yet his life is rooted in –” listen to this line here “– environments that are fundamentally nostalgic for imagined midcentury virtues and for the days when burning fossil fuels did not threaten to trigger catastrophic climate change.”
So they’re trying to say Tillerson is a guy whose cultural values are back in the fifties, Ozzie and Harriet, he thinks you can burn all the oil you want without causing climate change. That’s such a crock. The arrogant presumption of these people, it is a religion with them. To them, Big Oil causing climate change is the same thing as Christians believing in the resurrection of Christ. There’s no arguing it except they are wrong, scientifically wrong. The whole thing, there’s not even any evidence for it, other than computer models.
Anyway, also, Tillerson, one of his favorite books, Atlas Shrugged. He loved Ayn Rand and her 1957 novel. Compared to the records of some of the other people around Trump, Tillerson has some of the most professional integrity of all the people around Trump, according to this guy.
“Exxon is a ruthless and unusually aggressive corporation, but it is also rule-bound, has built up a relatively strong safety record, and has avoided problems such as prosecutions under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, even though it operates in many countries that are –” We can’t find anything bad about the guy. We can’t find a damn thing. Why, this guy even sponsored the Boy Scouts being opened up to homosexuals. They can’t find anything about the guy except that he loves oil.
RUSH: So Rex Tillerson loves oil. It’s all he’s ever done. He’s big in Boy Scouts, and some people are unhappy with Rex Tillerson on the conservative side of the aisle. Tony Perkins has come out against him. Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council is saying that Tillerson “served as president of the Boy Scouts 2010 to 2012. In 2013, the scouting organization voted to extend membership to openly gay youths, and Mr. Tillerson was instrumental in lobbying the board to make that change,” according to the Dallas Morning News in 2014.
Tony Perkins thus is raising concerns about Tillerson, calling the nominated secretary of state “the greatest ally liberals would have” in the forthcoming Trump administration due to oil and gas executive’s stances on social issues. Gays in the Boy Scouts is just one thing that Perkins is raising red flags about. That’s the only thing so far in this story. It’s in the Washington Times. (interruption) There was a political story where, did you say? (interruption) Ah, The Politico has a story that Tillerson has also… Has supported or is? (interruption) Oh, I see.
The Politico had… I don’t read The Politico except when somebody sends me something to read. So The Politico has a story quoting Perkins as saying that Tillerson also supported Planned Parenthood. (interruption) Okay. So there’s that. Tillerson, according to Tony Perkins, opened up the Boy Scouts to homosexuals and supports Planned Parenthood. He’s a devoutly religious guy, and he is devoutly religious. He goes to Bible study every week and attends church every Sunday, even as a busy CEO traveling the world making deals. Now, let’s get to what the left doesn’t like about him. By that measure, the left ought to love the guy, right?
But they don’t. Everybody’s out there, “Oh, this is the worst thing that could have happened!” ‘Cause he’s a big corporate guy. I mean, that’s like showing Dracula the cross. These people on the left, they can’t get over the fact that Trump’s got corporate success story after corporate success store after corporate giant after people that love to do deals. (chuckling) I think the left is gonna go nuts in not… They already are. But I mean with as often as Trump… Like Trump said today. He’s delayed the press conference he was gonna have on what kind of involvement he’s gonna have in his own business but he assured people, “There won’t be any new deals while I’m in the White House. Not gonna do any deals! Deals. Won’t be any deals.”
Deals are action. Deals are making things happen, and Tillerson’s done a lot of deals, and Trump loves the… Do you know that Trump didn’t even know the guy? Trump had… I mean, he knew of him, but he didn’t know him. Somebody suggested, “You really need to talk to this guy,” and they really hit it off over the fact that they both do deals. Doing deals, successful deals, being a big dealmaker and winning when you do it? I mean, that’s… It’s a relatively small club. It’s pretty rare air that those guys are breathing, and it does have a lot of commonality to it.
And this is where the left doesn’t like Tillerson. Tillerson’s success with Exxon was attributable in part to the work that he has done in Russia. He has forged close ties with both Vladimir Putin and Igor Sechin. “Sechin is the close Putin ally who runs Russia’s oil and gas giants.” Well, I’m sorry, but that would makes sense. If you run the world’s largest oil company and you’re doing deals all over the world, what is your job running the largest oil company? You gotta find it. You gotta find it, you gotta go get it, you gotta bring it out of the ground at a profit.
You’ve gotta go out and find it before anybody else does. You gotta be willing to go wherever it is, and it turns out the Russians have a lot. And so Rex Tillerson wanted to make deals, and he did. He made deals with Putin. He made deals with the Russians. And of course (chuckling) the Russians now are why Hillary lost. These people really think this. (laughing) So anybody close to Putin? “Satan! Satanic! Got to go.” (interruption) Well, the Hillary reset with Russia was a… (interruption) No, no. Snerdley says, “I thought the reset with Russia was supposed to be good.” Look, I’m glad you said that because a point needs to be made.
Up ’til this year, the Democrat Party was in bed with whoever ran Russia, other than Boris Yeltsin. They were in bed with the Soviet Union! They loved Khrushchev! They loved Brezhnev! They loved Yuri Andropov! They loved… I mean loved! It was bordering on obscene love for Mikhail Gorbachev. I’m telling you, they just couldn’t get enough, wherever the Soviets wanted to expand, Democrat Party was right in there helping ’em do it! Be it Cuba, be it in Nicaragua, it didn’t matter. Grenada.
The Democrat Party was doing everything it could to stop Reagan trying to limit Soviet expansionism. I told you yesterday about the story of the KGB files that were released after the Berlin Wall came down and the Soviet Union imploded. Ted Kennedy was actively working with Yuri Andropov who ran the Soviet Union at the time, one of the periods of time when Reagan was president. You know, they kept asking Reagan, “Why don’t you meet with the Russians?” The Democrats were paranoid. They thought Reagan was gonna nuke the world.
And the Soviets were the only saviors we had. The only responsible people we had on the other end of the nuclear equation was the Soviets. They kept asking Reagan, the media, “Why don’t you have a summit? Why don’t you meet with ’em?” He said, “They keep dyin’ on me! Why meet with somebody who’s gonna die the next day? Until they get somebody young in there who can make a deal that’s gonna hold up, I’m not gonna talk to ’em.” And it turned out to be Gorbachev. I went to UC Davis when I lived in Sacramento. Jeane Kirkpatrick, who was in the Reagan administration, came out and addressed the student body at UC Davis.
This was like attending the Soviet Politburo Junior Meeting in Moscow, and she came out and one of the first words out of her mouth… You’ve got about 1500 students at UC Davis who think the Soviet Union is the Garden of Eden, and she says, “The only difference between Michael Gorbachev and any other Soviet murderer thug is that he’s alive,” and this room of UC Davis students erupted! I start laughing myself silly. But the students were about to have a fit, and she said it with that look on her face of utter defiance. She was not one of these people that thought students were gods. Students were exactly what they were: Ignoramuses.
They were in positions of learning because they didn’t know things. Other people regard students as experts on things, but she didn’t. And so she was talking to them as though they didn’t know what they thought they knew. And it just didn’t sit well with ’em. Some of them started booing, some started throwing things. But the point is, the Democrat Party — leftists, socialists all over the world — used to love the Soviet Union and Russia. And Obama was in bed with Putin! You’ve forgotten that shortly before the 2012 election… You know, Obama’s been trying to get rid of our nuclear arsenal.
He’s trying to downsize it because Obama believes that our nuclear arsenal is destabilizing the world. It’s part of my theory of Obama’s chip on his shoulder that America is the problem in the world, not the solution. And he really believes this, folks. And he believes that our nuclear arsenal is why so many other nations engage in violence. They’re scared to death of us, and they’re out trying to protect themselves because they’re just afraid we’re gonna attack ’em and wipe ’em out and conquer them. Things that we don’t do! We don’t conquer. We liberate. We never have conquered. But Obama thinks that the U.S. military and our arsenal of weapons is the biggest threat to mankind.
And so he’s in the process of downsizing our nuclear arsenal.
And apparently it wasn’t going fast enough to please Putin.
So Obama was caught on an open mic telling one of Putin’s chief aides, Dmitry Medvedev, “Tell Vladimir I’ll have more flexibility after the election,” meaning after I defeat Romney, I’ll have a lot more flexibility to downsize our arsenal. So just tell Vlad to be patient. We had Hillary go over there with her plastic new reset button to reset the relationship with Russia after George W. Bush supposedly broke it.
The Democrat Party has been buddy-buddy with Putin, they’ve been buddy-buddy with the Russians, they’ve been buddy-buddy with the Soviet Union. Now all of a sudden they hate ’em? Now all of a sudden the Russians become an enemy? Now all of a sudden Putin’s a bad guy? I mean, John Kerry used to love Putin. It’s the most amazing thing to watch how the Democrats will flip allegiances on a dime.
Anyway, back to Tillerson very quickly before we have to take a break. Tillerson forged a close relationship with both Putin and one of his big aides that runs the big oil business, Igor Sechin. And in 2011 Tillerson flew to the Black Sea resort area of Sochi and signed a joint venture agreement with Putin under which ExxonMobil would partner with Putin’s oil company, Russia’s oil company, to produce oil from the arctic, a project — are you ready for this? — a project made easier by the retreat of arctic sea ice due to global warming.
What you’re supposed to take, if you read this, what you’re supposed to take away from this is this Tillerson guy, what a dastardly, evil guy. He runs the business that’s destroying the climate. He runs the biggest oil business that’s causing global warming. He’s causing the biggest melting of the glaciers in the North Pole ever, and then the SOB is going up and profiting by drilling for oil with the Russians! God, we hate this guy!
But Exxon has nothing to do with the shrinking of the polar ice caps. You know it happens every year. Polar ice, the North Pole, ’cause there are seasons. There’s summer, there’s spring, there’s fall, even at the North Pole. Not like here, but the temperatures vary and the sea ice always melts up there at some point. But, you know what, what’s been happening? This is what they don’t tell you. That when it gets cold and it starts freezing, that the North Pole ice sheet is bigger than ever, thicker than ever.
So it makes sense that Tillerson and people who know what they’re doing would wait for the proper weather conditions when there’s been some melting and it’s easier to get to the oil to bring it out because that’s the name of the game. Tillerson partnered with Putin to make this that happen. The main themes of this guy’s book “involved the ways that ExxonMobil saw itself as an independent, transnational corporate sovereign in the world, a power independent of the American government, one devoted firmly to shareholder interests and possessed of its own foreign policy.”
Well, now, wait a minute. Isn’t that something Obama would like? We’re all supposed to be globalists? Sovereignty to the United States, that’s old-fashioned, that’s yesterday. That’s yesteryear. We’re all globalists now. We must be citizens of the world and we must treat the world as though there is not an company that’s an American company, it’s a global company, so Tillerson runs it that way. And now they hate him. They hate Tillerson simply because they think they should. But Tony Perkins obviously has legitimate gripes and beefs.
RUSH: Anybody remember this kind of scrutiny with any of Obama’s cabinet picks? It was universal love, and of course the Republicans are right in there. I remember Newt when Obama announced his national security guy, forget the guy’s name, but Newt was, “Oh, man, if you’d a told me that we were gonna get a guy of this caliber in there I would have told you that you were nuts.” And then he picked Eric Holder and a bunch of Republicans, “Wow, this is the best pick anybody could have ever made for attorney,” remember that? And I’m sitting here pulling my hair out.
Anyway, one more little line here from this New Yorker piece on Rex Tillerson. And remember, now, this is supposed to be an indictment of the guy. It’s why I think if you read it you might end up liking him. “The goal of ExxonMobil’s independent foreign policy has been to promote a world that is good for oil and gas production. Because oil projects require huge amounts of capital and only pay off fully over decades, Tillerson has favored doing business in countries that offer political stability, even if this stability was achieved through authoritarian rule.”
Now, the definition for that is that Tillerson would rather go to a place, if there’s oil there and he can increase his shareholder value, and if he can up his stocks, if he can get more oil out of the ground and be assured of more business, and the country is run by a dirt bag dictator that’s gonna be there for 20 years, he’ll still do it because the goal of ExxonMobil’s independent foreign policy has been to promote a world that is good for oil and gas production.
That’s supposed to be an indictment. To the left, that’s supposed to tick people off. It doesn’t me. I think it’s so sensible as to be scary. I mean, it is just utter common sense. But again, I’m not a person who has problem with oil. I think oil is the fuel of the engine of freedom. The more of it, the better, and we’re nowhere near replacing it. It’s a pipe dream. We need it, and the more of it that we have and control, the much better off everybody is.
RUSH: One more thing here about Rex Tillerson from this story in the New Yorker, and then other things. “Although ExxonMobil hires former State Department, Pentagon, and C.I.A. officials from time to time in order to bolster its political analysis and negotiations, some of the Exxon executives [Steve Coll] interviewed [at the New Yorker] spoke about Washington with disdain, if not contempt. They regarded the State Department as generally unhelpful, a bureaucracy of liberal career diplomats who were biased against oil and incompetent when it came to sensitive and complex oil-deal negotiations.
“They managed Congress defensively, and as just one capital among many in the world, a place more likely to produce trouble for Exxon than benefits.” Now, let me translate this for you. Again, I don’t know Steve Coll. I don’t know if he’s liberal, conservative, whatever. The New Yorker, he’d tend probably to be liberal, but his piece here I think is gonna end up having more people like Tillerson than maybe he intends. What he’s basically saying here is — and I don’t know how many people.
When you think of Exxon, you know, because of the success that the left and the media have had in poisoning the minds of people about corporate America… The Democrat Party’s enemies list, look at it. It’s every major, not just corporation, but industry. Big Oil? Hated and despised. Big Pharmaceutical? Hated and despised. Big Retail (that be Walmart)? Hated and despised. Go down the list. Liberals instinctively hate big corporations. They don’t even think they’re people, and they proudly say that. That’s who liberals are — and that’s who’s in the State Department, specifically now, after eight years of Obama.
So Exxon hires a bunch of former government workers to help it do business. It hires former CIA agents. It hires former State Department employees. Exxon hires people that used to work in the Pentagon. This is serious business. The oil business is serious business. The world could not survive without oil. Our world as we know it could not survive. The United States standard of living would plummet if the left succeeded in getting rid of oil. Airplanes would not fly. Automobiles would cease to be useful. You couldn’t heat or air condition your home for long.
Getting rid of oil would take us back to the 17th or 18th century. It would be an absolute disaster. It is serious business! Oil is also a very serious geopolitical issue. It’s not just a game. It’s not just oil wells and J.R. Ewing in Dallas. It is very, very serious — and it’s highly competitive. It’s cutthroat competitive. You can’t make oil. You have to go find it where nature has made it. In some places, it’s hard to get it. Other places, it’s easy. There’s all kinds of competition to get it. Everybody wants to have as much of it as they can.
The United States, as you know, has been dependent on foreign oil for the longest time. We’re now approaching a point in time where that will be unnecessary. Now that we can get oil out of shale and now that we can get oil via fracking (and natural gas), we are becoming a net oil and energy supplier. We have everything we need, or soon will, and then some. And it changes the game dramatically. OPEC has never been weaker. OPEC and the Saudis are cutting back on production to try to maintain price. I mean, it is a cutthroat business.
And you have to go where the oil is. And it’s gonna take you to places that you’d rather not go. It’s gonna take you to countries that are run by absolute reprobates. But that can’t stop you. It’s too crucial. It is much too important. We can’t survive as we know survival without oil, the free flow of oil at market prices. Practically everything else in this world is dependent on that, and so these people at Big Oil who risk capital and time and people in trying to get it are not the bad guys everybody thinks they are.
Exxon is its own little entity. It has its own state department, for example. It does its own negotiations with other countries, and it cooperates with the United States when necessary, the State Department and so forth. What this massage here means is that all of these experts that Exxon has hired… They’ve got plenty of oil executives. They got plenty of people who know oil. They’ve got… I went to high school with a guy that works for ExxonMobil. What he does is secret. He can’t tell us.
I’ve been to two high school reunions where he got an emergency call and had to split and go over to Vietnam for some reason. It’s cutthroat. (interrupt) No, this is after the Vietnam War. This would be sometime in the early nineties. My point is that Exxon staffs itself with people who know. They probably have their own version of Tax Defense Partners. I betcha the IRS has an office at ExxonMobil. I betcha the IRS is there every day.
In fact, I know they are. The IRS, in major corporations, has agents actually on site. The taxes have to be prepared on a daily basis. It’s a whole different world, folks. So they’ve got these people that have experience working with foreign governments all over the world, from the Pentagon, from the CIA, from the State Department. And this passage in the book says that many of these people just do not trust the current State Department because it’s populated with a bunch of liberals and leftists who despise oil and suspect anybody in that business.
And they’re right. They don’t need to be surrounding themselves with people that want to harm them or retard what they do or have an animus against them. So they have to work around it. And I will guarantee you that Trump, in listening to Rex Tillerson describe how he has to succeed, what he has to do, I guarantee you Trump was blown away. I’ll bet you anybody would be, to hear what actually is required and necessary to succeed in that business.
And once you hear what’s necessary to succeed in that business, then you say, “Well, is that experience worth anything to me for somebody as secretary of state?” That’s for Trump to decide. We’ll find out if Tillerson’s confirmed and if he gets the job. But the idea that the people opposing him are these lifetime career bureaucrats and diplomats who’ve never done what Tillerson’s done, who may resent what Tillerson does, who may have an animus against Exxon, and we’re supposed to pick people like that?
This is what Trump’s election means, is that we’re not going to be governed by people like this anymore, at least for a while. We’re not going to be held back. We’re not gonna be governed by a bunch of egghead nobodies who haven’t accomplished anything in the real world. You can have all the academicians and theorists and faculty lounge lizards you want, but until you have practical, real-world experience doing things, you really can’t say that you’re qualified.
But the left thinks that all you need for qualifications is for somebody to be an appropriately educated egghead and an intellectual with theoretical knowledge about how things work but who have never actually done it because the people who actually do it, why, they’re suspects, they’re very suspicious of them.
So I’m not one of these people that’s just instinctively opposed to people like those the Trump — I mean, if you voted for Trump, this is what you voted for. If you were excited about Trump, this is what you were excited about. You’re excited about doing this a different way. Folks, we’ve had eight years of abject failure, eight years of abject stagnation, and longer than that, actually. But certainly focused in these last eight years.
We know how to fail. We know how to retard our growth. We know how to put the country in decline. We know how to penalize America. We know how to run around and feel guilty about America. We need people who look at America and love it. We need people who love and respect America and believe that America’s greatness is the best thing for the world, because it is. It always has been.
That’s not a braggadocios statement. We are the people of the world who, because of our freedom, have created a standard of living and a technological innovation record of progress unlike any that has ever been seen, and it is because of our documented freedom in the founding of our country, the belief in the power of individuals pursuing excellence and the best they can be. Doers, shakers, people that make things happen. As opposed to people who look at the United States and think that it’s the problem in the world.
Want some names? Madeleine Albright. John Kerry. Barack Obama. Valerie Jarrett. Samantha Power. Practically anybody in the Obama administration thinks the United States is the problem in the world and that we’re guilty of something, or maybe a lot of things, and we have a lot of apologies to make and we have a lot of crow to eat. We have quite a bit of our size that needs to be knocked down a peg or two so that we learn what it’s like.
We don’t need to be led by people like that. We’ve already been there, done that. If you voted for Trump, you voted for a different kind of greatness, a different kind of action, and that’s what this administration is gonna be. My hope is the left isn’t gonna be able to keep up with it. We shall see.