RUSH: There’s an op-ed in the Washington Post today. It’s by Beverly Weintraub. And the headline: “‘Sully’ Was Just a Hero. Why Label the Southwest Captain a ‘Female Pilot’?” Beverly Weintraub — by the way, this is cool. She’s a Pulitzer Prize winner, member of the New York Daily News editorial board. She’s a member of the Ninety-Nines. Do you know what that is? You probably don’t. It’s an international organization of women pilots.
And she’s on the board of directors of the Air Race Classic. My mom was a Ninety-Nine. (interruption) Yeah, my mom was a pilot. We had an old Cessna 182 Skylane for a few years when I was growing up, and my mom learned to fly the thing — and she was good. And, you know, my dad — in addition to being a lawyer — was heavily involved in aviation. He loved it. And the Ninety-Nines do this every year. I don’t know if they still do. But they did a national race of women pilots racing Left Coast to Right Coast.
And they would stop — all of them stop — at various airports across the country, and Cape Girardeau with a little… (chuckles) Well, I think we had the new runway. Anyway, we had a 3,000-foot runway and here they come. These are single-engine, maybe twin-engine, but they’re not jets. And they’re women pilots. Maybe their husbands are with them, maybe a female copilot or whatever, and they’d fly in. Every year we’d go out there and meet ’em and various members of the town would meet ’em.
We’d take ’em all to dinner the night they spent overnight and then take ’em back to the airport the next day and wave at ’em as they took off on the next leg of the race. The Ninety-Nines! I haven’t heard of the Ninety-Nines since… It’s been 25 years since anybody talked about the Ninety-Nines. Beverly Weintraub is a Ninety-Nine. So I just had to point that out. Anyway, she’s upset that the… By the way, we didn’t refer here to the pilot of the Southwest jet as a woman.
I think I referred to her yesterday as “a bad-ass pilot.” But Beverly Weintraub is upset… Captain Sully, the guy that landed the U.S. Airways jet right there in the Hudson River? Nobody called him “male pilot.” They just called him a “pilot.” Why do we call this babe “female pilot”? Why do we have on to put “female” in front of it? Well, you can take a stab at answering that yourself. What do you think the reason is, Mr. Snerdley? Do you think sexism is the reason why “female” — and, by the way, it’s the Drive-By Media that did it.
Southwest pilot Tammie Jo Shults
It’s not… She not lashing out at any particular group. It was throughout the media that the “woman pilot” was referred to just like that: A “woman” pilot or “female” pilot. I think it has to do with the numbers. There aren’t nearly as many female airline pilots today as there are male, and the number of female pilots who successfully navigate problems in the air and safely land a plane that’s under distress, it’s not very many. So it’s unique.
But I don’t think anybody means anything by it, do you? I don’t think anybody was… Nobody was cutting her down. Nobody was certainly not affording her respect. I think the fact that she was identified as “a female pilot” actually was intended as a… I don’t want to say “compliment,” but I think it’s pretty close to that. It certainly wasn’t to impugn, and I don’t think it was to belittle. But it is a sign of the sensitivity that is out there.
RUSH: Will in Bozeman, Montana. Welcome, sir. What’d you want to say about the female pilot?
CALLER: Good morning, Mr. Limbaugh.
CALLER: Mega dittos from Big Sky Country.
RUSH: Thank you, sir. Great to have you with us.
CALLER: Thank you, sir. It’s an interesting thought that I had this morning. I know that there is an emphasis at major airlines especially for hiring females, minorities — and even “differences of sexual identity” I think is the way that we’re supposed to say it now — where this is exactly what the major airlines want. They want that God forbid something goes wrong that they can say, “Look at our hero! It’s not just a pilot.” And this is something that the Southwest captain said. “I’m an aviation professional. Who cares about the rest of it?” This is what the reporter was saying, “Who cares about the female side?”
CALLER: But from a PR standpoint, they want to be able to say, “Look at this! We have the most female pilots, we have the most gay pilots, we have the most African-American,” fill in the blank. And that’s why if you wander around a major airport now, look at first officers. A lot of the younger first officers check boxes that are not necessarily what a white, heterosexual male will check.
RUSH: Okay. So in street lingo, “first officer” is the pilot?
CALLER: First officer is the guy in the right seat. The captain sits in the left seat —
RUSH: Oh, okay.
CALLER: — the buck stops there —
CALLER: — and first officer is right.
RUSH: Not even I, an aviation expert, understood the terminology.
RUSH: I’m glad I asked.
CALLER: I’ll let you get away with it this time, sir.
RUSH: Thank you. So I had not heard of heroic gay pilot yet, but you say that’s coming when —
CALLER: Yet. “Yet” is operative word there.
RUSH: By design? You say that’s coming by design?
CALLER: When you fill out an application, ’cause you start out at a small airline like we have —
RUSH: So we could have an airline say, “The first transgendered pilot in our crew saved that plane!”
CALLER: They’re out there. They’re out there. And I will tell you: If somebody in that criteria fits into the native that the press, the liberals, other people have — if they fall into that that narrative — then they are absolutely going to be in that limelight. There were at least two more engine failures on aircraft this week by major airlines. You didn’t hear about them at all. But you did hear about this one.
RUSH: Right. So identity has become a PR positive, then?
CALLER: Absolutely. There’s actually one major airline out there that if you look at all of their advertisements that happen to have pilots in it, you won’t see a white male pilot, because everybody expects a white male pilot with gray hair and a big mustache, you know?
RUSH: Let me ask you a question.
CALLER: Yes, sir.
RUSH: So you’re here anonymously. What do the airlines think is in it for them? Do you think that’s gonna cause more people to fly their airline because they’ve got a wide diversity of crew? What’s the point?
CALLER: It looks good. “Why not?” is the question. “Why not?”
RUSH: Well, does it? To whom does this look good? What…? How many people in this country do you think are literally obsessed with this kind of identity and proclaiming that it’s good that this airline’s got X-number of this pilots and X-number of that, and, “Look at our advertising. It reflects that!”
CALLER: I think it comes down to perceived value. You know when most people look at airline travel, they’re gonna sit there and they’re gonna look at the cost. “What does it cost in order to get me from Point A to Point B?” Then they want to feel good about the product that they just purchased. So now we’re gonna sit there and say, “Hey, we’re super green, and we’re trying to work, and we’re planting trees,” or, “Hey, look at the diversity that we have in our pilot group, in our flight attendant group. Hey, look!” They want to see that. I mean, look at Chicago’s O’Hare airport. If you just look at that airport, there’s a huge drive to make that airport a “green airport,” and at the same time we’re killing millions of dinosaurs (sic) flying 200 flights in and out of there an hour. “But, hey, we’ve got a vegetable garden!”
RUSH: How do you make…? Yeah. How do you make your airport green? And who really —
CALLER: You shut it down, sir.
RUSH: You shut it down. Exactly.
CALLER: (laughing) It’s how you do it.
RUSH: The reason I ask is because I think James Comey is making this same kind of mistake, rash assumptions about what the American people want, how they see him, and so he’s out there acting like he’s the conscience of the country, an American hero, and he’s not. People don’t see him that way. They don’t know him well enough. He can’t possibly have earned that kind of lofty place in the hearts and minds of the American people.
By the same token, look at all these businesses that when Obama is in office, all of a sudden announce this green initiative and that green initiative. Look at the food business. The cereal makers immediately start going fat-free, no sugar, gluten-free. Nobody buys the stuff. The cereal companies just announced last week that they’re going back to sugar and they’re going back to artificial colorings, because this is not what people want. But they think it is. Their marketing people, their PR people, I think are making grave errors when they assume that whatever the media agenda is is the American people’s agenda. And it isn’t.
CALLER: Well, the media… The media wants to drive the agenda. The media doesn’t want to report on what’s going on. The media wants to be from where it blossoms.
RUSH: No. My point is that your analysis here of your average airline customer buying a ticket might… Yeah, the first thing is price, reliability. “Is this airplane, is this flight on time? Am I gonna get there and is this cost fair?” The last thing they’re gonna ask about is, “Do I have a transgender pilot — and if no, I’m not going!” They don’t think that way. They’re not gonna ask, “Do I have a lesbian pilot? Do I have a gay pilot? Do I have a 75-year-old guy who can’t see anymore?”
CALLER: But there are people out there that are gonna feel good if they do.
RUSH: “Feel good.”
RUSH: If they notice?
RUSH: You mean like the people leaving piles of feces in San Francisco? Who is it…?
CALLER: Absolutely. But, hey, you know, it feels good. You know, I mean, we’re open. You know, we’re not discriminating against these people.
RUSH: I think they’re making a mistake.
CALLER: I do have to say one thing.
RUSH: It’s like the electric car company. I’m sure you saw… It’s a Super Bowl commercial. An electric car company has a polar bear following the car home so as to hug the driver for saving the polar bear environment by driving the electric car.
RUSH: I’m thinking, “Is this really gonna sell this electric car?” But look at what they think is real. They think people really think the polar bear is endangered —
CALLER: Low-information voters.
RUSH: — and they must think the polar bear really appreciates the electric car company.
CALLER: Exactly. The one thing that I do have to say, going back to Mr. Comey, is I thought I had him on my airplane once — and my first officer talked me out of saying this over the PA. We were running half an hour late and I was gonna say, “We are late because of Russian collusion.”
RUSH: (laughing) Oh! Ho! I love pilots like you.
CALLER: He told me that that probably really wasn’t good for my career so I shut up and stared out the window.
RUSH: Well, you see? By your own thinking, it would have been the perfect thing to say, but that’s why everything that’s going wrong is going wrong: The Russians did it. The media thinks that everybody believes the Russians are responsible for everything. So if your plane’s late, blame it on Russian collusion with the computer system for the airline. You’d be a hero!
CALLER: Absolutely. Well, I couldn’t be a hero ’cause I’m a white heterosexual male.
RUSH: I couldn’t tell that by talking to you.
CALLER: I also believe in God, so that’s a big strike against me.
RUSH: That just did you in. That just did you in. It doesn’t disqualify you from being on this program, though.
CALLER: Well, and that I appreciate it.
RUSH: That’s a courageous thing you just admitted.
RUSH: Do you still fly for the airline that you —
CALLER: Yes, sir. Yep. And I’m completely with the Southwest captain that says, you know, I thank the Good Lord every day that I’m able to provide for my family and do something that I really enjoy. And there are so many of us out there that just — we’re passionate about this profession and at the end of the day we want to get you home safe to your family because we want to get home safe to our family.
RUSH: Exactly. Exactly right. Well, and you live in Bozeman, so you have to commute a long way just to get to a hub, right, to catch —
CALLER: Yep. I bum a ride. Some people in the big cities have to sit in the car for two or three hours a day. I at least get to watch a movie and take an occasional nap.
RUSH: There you go.
RUSH: I like it. Well, thank you. It’s great to have you on the program.
CALLER: Thank you very much. I’ve been listening to you since high school. I’m in my late thirties now. I remember my best friend and I used to get a slice of pizza at lunch during high school, and we’d sit in my truck and we’d listen to you every day. So I’ve been a big fan of yours for the vast majority of my life, sir. I appreciate your service to our country.
RUSH: And you are still here. That’s what I can’t tell you how much I appreciate. Your entire story, high school, Rush rooms at lunch, pizza slices. I really appreciate it. Cannot thank you enough.
CALLER: Thank you, sir. I appreciate it. You have yourself a great day. Thanks for taking my call.
RUSH: You do the same.
RUSH: John in Naples. You’re next. Great to have you on the program. How are you doing, sir?
CALLER: I’m doing great, Rush. It’s wonderful to talk to you.
RUSH: Thank you much.
CALLER: I’ll make this short because I want you to get back on track.
RUSH: No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. Do not think of yourself as causing me to go off track. That’s not the case.
CALLER: Okay. Well, I’m an old fighter pilot, and I’ve flown for the airlines. And I think what’s happening now is the airlines are in a serious problem with pilots. They just don’t have enough. And I think what they’re doing now is they’re opening their arms to what we would consider to be nontraditional pilots. I think that’s what’s happening in the current situation.
RUSH: Now, wait a minute. That, to some people, could be provocative, “nontraditional pilots.”
CALLER: Well, white male pilot. How about that?
RUSH: Okay. No, I understand that that’s what it means, but a lot of people have said, “Well, it’s time we expanded the pool.” It’s not bad that we should have some people who fly planes that are not strictly white and male.
CALLER: Yeah, I’m not saying that. I’m just saying I think that the airlines would stick — first of all, when I came back from the war, I couldn’t get an airline job for some time because they just didn’t need pilots at that time. Now it’s the other way around.
RUSH: Do you think they’re hiring people less-than-really-good and qualified? Is that what you’re saying?
CALLER: Yeah. I think they are. They’re cutting back on their requirements. There’s no question about that.
RUSH: And they’re cutting back on the requirements in order to allow the nontraditional candidates to qualify? Is that your point?
CALLER: Well, I mean, the interview process to become an airline pilot used to be quite extensive —
RUSH: Look, don’t be afraid. Don’t be afraid. The Marines have done it and the fire departments have done it in cities and they’ve admitted it.