I must tell you, folks, I was a little squeamish accepting this invitation because of a prior experience. Many of you might have been there. It was 12 or 13 years ago; it was the CNP at the Pentagon Ritz, Ritz Pentagon, whatever it was, and I had not been briefed as to the makeup of the group. I was just told it's a bunch of conservative leaders, and I said, "It's my people." So I said, well, I'm gonna go out and I'm going to start with a Ted Kennedy joke. There's no way a Ted Kennedy joke will bomb at any conservative group. It did. When I got to the punch line, you could have heard a pin drop. I was stunned. I spent the last half of the evening apologizing from this -- well, not this podium -- but from the podium and microphone for my transgression. It was graciously accepted, and it was a learning experience. But this literally was -- had to be 1992 or '93, which was my fourth year into what I'm doing.
So I thought what I would do is try another joke. Backstage they're saying, "No, tell the same one!" No. I mean it's a great joke, but the thing is not a joke. It's a true story. I think that's part of what bothered people. It's about Senator Kennedy. Oh, you want to hear it now? Oh, okay. All right, now, you have been warned. If anybody complains about it, no complaint's going to be given any validity here because you've been warned. There's no shock value here. True story. This is sometime in the late eighties, Senator Kennedy, not married, is vacationing off of the coast of the south of France, and he has a little, you know, speed boat type thing that he's piloting himself. He's got a young, nubile female with him. And a bunch of tabloid photographers chartered boats and helicopters and followed him out. And three of the pictures were published in the New York Daily News. And the first picture was of this nubile, young, bikini-clad woman jumping off the side of the boat going for a swim. The next picture was of Senator Kennedy jumping in after her -- which was a first -- and then the third picture was the two back in the boat in a warm and loving embrace. These pictures made the rounds of Capitol Hill, and they found their way to Howell Heflin, the then senator from Alabama. And Howell Heflin was looking at these pictures, and he said -- I swear, folks, this is true -- "Well, I do declare?" -- you remember how he used to speak -- "it sure look to me like the senator has changed his position on offshore drilling."
I mean, I can see some people still not amused. Some people very, very casually taking a sip of? so let me try another one. Larry King dies, goes to heaven. He's greeted there at the gates and is given a tour. "Mr. King, welcome. Would you like a tour?" "Sure." They start showing him around various places, and he's agog and aghast. They finally take him into this just indescribably ornate, human mind can't conceive of the beauty in this room, and King says, "This is where I want to be." "No, no, no, Mr. King, this is not for anyone, certainly not you." "Well, who's is it?" And he looks and sees there's a sign that says Rush Limbaugh over the throne in the room. And King says, "Don't tell me he's here!" "No, no, no, no," says Saint Peter, "this is God's room; he just thinks he's Rush Limbaugh." Now, folks, you know, it's like the left doesn't understand when I say "talent on loan from God." That's a blessing. That's a way to make fun of Larry King, who considers me one of his chief competitors.
I've brought along a little news, a little news digest that I wanted to share with you before we get into some of the meat and potatoes tonight, interesting stories you may not have heard about today since you've been tied up and busy. The president of Planned Parenthood resigned. Her name is Gloria Feldt. She abruptly resigned. She resigned yesterday. I doubt that her reason was that she wants to spend more time with her family.
As you know, the Super Bowl is in Jacksonville this year, a week from Sunday. And a judge in Jacksonville has ruled that Jacksonville's ban on drinking alcohol, adult beverages in public, is unconstitutional, just a month before the fans pour in for the Super Bowl. The story actually cleared on January the 11th, and I just saw it today. Here's how this happened. Three homeless drunks were charged with drinking beer in the city's Treaty Park, which is an area where Super Bowl fans will be allowed to drink. And these three homeless drunks got a public defender, and the public defender goes to the judge and said, wait a second, you let all these football fans tailgate and get drunk before football games on Sunday; the Super Bowl fans are coming in, and they're going to get drunk all weekend when they're here, and why can't we drink on Wednesday in the park? And judge said, you're right, you can. So public drunkenness in Jacksonville has just been sanctioned by a district county judge.
I don't know how many of you have been following the militant environmental movement, but I have for my entire career. And one of the things I remember, they tried to say that methane was a pollutant that led to greenhouse gases, to global warming, and methane has many sources, one of them is cows. And for the longest time, bovine flatulence has been blamed for global warming. There's a lot of people who believe this, and it's one of the reasons McDonald's has come under assault and attack. And just today from Bakersfield, California, a relationship between dairies and the Central Valley's polluted air changed dramatically when a UC Davis researcher reported that dairies produce far less pollution than previously believed. So we can all sleep better at night because bovine flatulence can now occur without harming us and causing us to be... (loud moo sound from back of the room) Is that the hook?
One more study that shows smoking is bad: Parents smoking can kill children years later. Now, I smoke cigars, and I don't subject it to people who don't want to be around it, but I got to thinking. They say that secondhand smoke can kill children years later. Did a research survey, folks, got in touch with a number of hospitals. Ninety-nine percent of the people who died in automobile accidents had eaten carrots two years prior to the accident. Eighty-nine percent of the people who had lost their eyesight after age 80 had spent a lifetime eating carrots. I mean, these statistics are absolutely ridiculous, and it gets to the point here -- you know, one of the things that bothers me about all of these is that these are experts, we don't have any idea who they are. They come out and they say, this is happening to the environment, and, by the way, it's all being caused by Americans and our technological advancement. All these things are literally killing people and people are so obsessed with the negative, they're so obsessed with doom and gloom that they are willing to sop it up and believe all this stuff, and it's how global warming gets -- there's no proof whatsoever that manmade global warming has any effect on the climate. I'm appalled at the vanity of people who think that we, mere creatures created on this planet along with everybody else, have the ability to destroy it. It's sophistry to think this, particularly to think that we have the ability to destroy it when we are advancing our lifestyle, when we are cleaning up our environment better than any other country in the world, when we are providing cleaner air, cleaner water, more food for the rest of the world, for everybody to pull back and blame all of this on us, and then for a number of Americans to believe it is just sad. It is. (applause)
You go to the library, and there's a bunch of books you will not find. You will not find a book called Great Moderates in American History. And you will not see a book called How to Fail, because everybody knows how to do that. Everybody has and everybody can fail. But you will go to the library and you will see books on great Americans who have done great things; you'll see books on how to succeed, and how to think positively. And the people that write books on how to succeed and how to think positively are making millions of dollars because it's so hard, because it's something that apparently doesn't come naturally. And all of these people in the doom-and-gloom movement, which is all occupied on the left, take advantage of this and zero in on people's pessimism and try to convince even more people to be pessimistic, which is something I want to touch on in a little bit of detail in just a second. But this global warming business, just for example, I can remember I was in Sacramento, it was 1984, '85, and I'm watching This Week with David Brinkley, back when the show was watchable. And there was some environmentalist wacko on, some scientist that gets a government grant from the EPA or something, his last name was Oppenheimer, and he was saying in response to questioning, "Well, we can't really prove global warming. We know it is, but we can't really prove it. But we don't have long to wait, 20 years. If we don't do something in 20 years, all is lost." About this time Ted Danson was saying we only had ten years to save the oceans or all was lost. Well, it's 20 years, folks, and nobody is buying into it other than the United Nations. And so they're getting more extreme and more wacko and more cacophonous each and every day with these doomsday scenarios about global warming. And I think one of the problems that results from this, or one of the reasons for this, actually, can be found in the literal paranoia that greeted the left after this election last November.
What did they think this election was about? Values. They thought they got beat because of values and they were paranoid; they were panicked. Now, why? They get panicked about God. They get panicked about the mention of God in public. Why? It got me to thinking. It's not just that they are politically weak. There has to be some institutional reason why liberals and why people on the left have such a fear of something so great and something so magnificent. So I've been studying it, and I've been looking into it. And when the president delivered his inaugural address, and I gauged the reaction to this, some things started to click. Now, I've done something here I've never done in 15 years, 16 years of doing speeches. I've never written one. Sometimes I have an outline, but I just come out and wing it. But I know you all are a very serious group, and I took very seriously the invitation to come here tonight, and there are a couple things here tonight that I really want to address with some seriousness.
So I wrote this out, and I've not done this before, so if it appears choppy, I apologize in advance. If you listen to the criticism of the president's speech after it was made, there was a lot of it. Some of the right complained about too much God, and it was too this or that, but it was the criticism from the left that most interested me. They said, among other things, that he didn't mention any specifics about his plan to promote freedom in the world. I thought the speech was philosophically ambitious, and I find it fascinating that standing for and desiring and promoting freedom for every human being can become so controversial. It literally stuns me. You know, the president says it his way; I say it my way. I think we are all, as human beings, created by God with the natural yearning to be free. It's not something given to us by a government or given to us by a family or man or anybody else. This is how we're created; it's the natural yearning, and it is what made this country great. Enshrining the source of our freedom in our founding documents is what has preserved this country, and of course our willingness to continue to be loyal and have fealty to those documents. Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. I was struck, too, by these complaints that there was nothing specific. "The president didn't say how we're going to go about installing freedom around the world." I even heard somebody say, "He didn't go into how we were going to impose freedom." Freedom is not an imposition. How in the world can anybody, an American especially, look at freedom as an imposition?
Well, the American left has plenty of people that do, and it's one of the reasons, folks, that they are imploding. I know a lot of people, depending on where you live, probably still have a lot of fear about the left, and it may be warranted to some degree, but these people are imploding faster than I have ever seen a political movement implode. I couldn't be happier. I want them to speak up. I want them to say what they believe; I want the world to finally hear who these people are. They have been hiding and masquerading behind these different terms of "progressive" or "compassion" or whatever. They're so frustrated that they are out of power, they're so frustrated that they've lost, that they're telling everyone they think they haven't gotten their message out. And the fact is they have. Their message has gotten out in droves the last 20 years; everybody knows what they're about; and they're now amplifying how wacko and kooky and wrong and dangerous they are with their public utterances. And the more of that the better. And their reaction to this speech was classic. "Well, what's the president gonna do? How's he going to impose this? How is he going to bring all this?" And they got really afraid that the president was going to go to war with the world.
Now, the Gettysburg Address was also panned. You should look at the media after the Gettysburg Address. It's almost word-for-word for the media after any Bush press conference. I kid you not. But the Gettysburg Address did not get into the details of the Civil War, and nobody complained about that. Lincoln didn't discuss in detail his postwar plans for victory in the Civil War. He wasn't running around making specific speeches detailing his battle plans. What is the demand of people who want the specificity here? You take a look at the big ideas that drove this country in the 20th century. We defeated the Axis powers, the World War II Axis powers. That was ambitious. We got hit at Pearl Harbor, and we decided, okay, we've got to clean this whole world up. We went to Italy; we went to Europe; we went to North Africa. We went wherever we had to go and do what we had to do to clean the world up. It was ambitious. It was extraordinarily visionary. It was also a must; it was required.
Saving the union, the Civil War, that was ambitious. Five hundred thousand American citizens died to save the nation. It was called the Civil War. Ending slavery, a number of different things that resulted in the war taking place. But it took great ambition, it took people in this country, 500,000 people to end slavery, to preserve the union. Winning the Cold War. That was ambitious. Many of you in this room were right there when it was happening, leading the fight from behind the scenes because so many people were of the belief, "Oh, you can't do that, we can't beat the Soviet Union. What do you mean? Why, there has to be a balance of power. We can't beat them. There would be a nuclear holocaust. We can't do that." Well, we won it without firing a shot. We just buried the man responsible for it, Ronald Reagan. Where are our memories? What do you mean, we can't do this? What do you mean we can't stand for freedom around the world? We can't stand for freedom and liberty and democracy around the world? If you don't shoot for the heavens, if you don't shoot for the stars, you won't get there. And you're certainly not going to get there by not aiming at them.
It troubles me, when I ask myself, what in the world is happening to our society where a broad-themed vision of goodness and kindness and freedom for as many people as possible is snickered at and in fact becomes controversial. I think a president needs to think big, because if he doesn't, he won't accomplish anything; becomes mired in the agenda of bureaucrats, diplomats, and civil servants. Like Bill Clinton. Let's do that. Let's have the Clinton agenda where you don't do anything hard, you don't do anything majestic, you don't do anything big because your approval rating might sink and you might not get $163 million to build your library and massage parlor that nobody wants to visit in Little Rock anyway. All you have to do, if you want to get along, you have to love the United Nations, you have to love the state department, you have to love Madeleine Albright, you have to have the approval of everybody who doesn't like you, and then you won't get anything done. You tackle big, visionary issues like Abraham Lincoln did or Ronald Reagan did, any of a number of other presidents, yeah, you're going to have enemies, they're going to hate you, and they're going to snicker. But thinking big throughout the last century is what got us where we are. Thinking small, you end up accomplishing nothing.
When you realize that there are things larger than yourself, things larger than ourselves, such as God or your faith, you end up thinking big as well, and you end up being humble. The latest mantra -- I'm sure you've heard this -- if you go back to 2000, the presidential campaign, shortly after George Bush chose Cheney, the mantra in the media was, "Well, Cheney brings the ticket gravitas." I have a montage of about 20 different media people in two days making this point. Some fax had gone out from the Democratic National Committee, and they all started saying, Cheney brings Bush gravitas, Bush doesn't have gravitas, he's a frat boy, he's a cowboy, he's an idiot, he's a Texan, go let him barbecue, but don't let him run the country. Well, the new mantra is, Bush is running the risk of hubris. Okay, so this hayseed hick cowboy, frat boy is now running the risk of becoming a braggart and overreaching, and it's hubris, nobody can touch him, and that's the latest mantra that has set in. Somebody tell me, when you have faith in God, and you have an understanding that there are things much larger than yourself, that, to me, ends up causing humility, not hubris. When you realize there's something bigger than yourself, you cannot have hubris. I never thought that I would see the day, folks, when a speech focused on liberty and freedom in this country, the fundamental foundation on which our country is built, would be panned, would be ridiculed, and would be said to be, of all things, controversial.
But the truth is the elites everywhere are saying just that. They're still worried about it. And you know what I think really is at root here is their fear of God. They don't like hearing about God, and you want to know why they don't like hearing about freedom and big visions and so forth? It's because they, the liberals, play God. They are God in their minds and in everybody else's life. They are stewards of heaven. Heaven to them is big government, and this is what liberalism is all about. Any time God is mentioned by anybody in a political realm, who panics? The left panics. What are they so afraid of? Why be afraid of God? There has to be a reason. Why be so afraid of God that you can't teach -- now, in Cupertino, California, you cannot teach the Declaration of Independence, because it mentions God, and that violates separation of church and state. These are Americans doing this, American liberals. How in the world can such a circumstance, a situation, happen? There has to be a legitimate fear. You have Americans wanting to take references to God out of the Pledge of Allegiance. There are people that don't want the word "God" uttered or invoked by elected officials. And I think it's because God threatens the left. God is a competitor to them.
Faith in something larger than government, faith in something larger than ourselves, why, that's competitive. It's competition to the left, and they don't like competition. They want to stamp competition out. It's called political correctness. Look at Larry Summers. He doesn't even have freedom of speech, and he's a liberal. He says something, there may be innate difference in men and women. By the way, I don't know what's so strange about this. TIME Magazine had a cover story six or so years ago, "Bulletin, men and women are born different." Now, stop and think of that. Think if you're on the editorial board of TIME and something crosses the wire, and you become convinced, my gosh, it's right, men and women are born different. It's so stunning to you, you make it a cover story. Why are we afraid of these people? There's no reason to fear these people. These are the people quaking in their boots. The American left is operating out of fear today. They had 40 years to run the show. They had a monopoly. They had a media monopoly; they had a Washington monopoly; they ran the country. They don't know how to act as losers, and I'm afraid some of us on the right are not yet really accustomed to being winners. It's sort of like if you've been heavy all your life, and you go on a big diet and you lose the weight, it takes a while before you start thinking thin. You stop at every mirror, am I gaining weight? Well, it's a psychological adjustment. These people, I think what happened, to them, is that during this period of time of the media monopoly where all we had were the three networks, ABC -- well, I call them ABS, CBS, NBS, CNNBS.
But back in the day when there were only three, only those three, they ruled the roost. Why do you think Senator Kennedy with that near treasonous, traitorous speech of his at Johns Hopkins yesterday, or on Wednesday, why do you think that Senator Kennedy and a number of these other people are acting in the way that they are? It's because they still think they're running the show. Why is he using the word "quagmire"? The word "quagmire" to describe Iraq is because that's how Walter Cronkite killed the Vietnam war. When he referred to it as a quagmire, that's when public opinion started turning. And the media came of age even before the Vietnam war, but as Howard Fineman wrote, the media actually thinks of themselves now as a political party. The mainstream media, the liberal spin machine, actually thinks they're the ones that steer the Democrats now because the Democrats don't have the guts to go where the party wants, or the media wants to take them. And they may have a point.
But for all of these years, there was this monopoly, and they made these outrageous statements, they implemented these programs, whatever, and they were never challenged and they never had to develop an intellectual defense of what they were doing. It was all emotion, it was all "we're doing it all for you," but it was all about their power and the acquisition of it. During these 40 years there were people working in the basements, trying to educate people about conservatism. And, God love them, because if they hadn't been there doing that, those of us like me who have inherited the bounty of their work would not have a chance to be the successes that we've had. You know, those of us that are doing well today have all of those who toiled away in the basements all of these years with no recognition because they believed it in their hearts and were committed to it, and they have enabled us and people like me to take it, learn it myself, and make it explainable and understandable to other people. And this was going on for these 40 years. And during these 40 years the people that ran the show were the monopoly, were making fun of us and laughing at us and impugning us. And we had to develop intellectual responses to their challenges of our ideas, and we did.
It took a while, it was bubbling up, these things don't happen overnight, but there's not a liberal that can beat a conservative in a substance argument today in America, because they will resort to name-calling and discrediting and a number of things within 30 seconds. They cannot win on the issues because their issues are losers. We have triumphed now, and the danger that we face and the triumph is, I'm not saying it's permanent, and I'm trying to share my optimism with you here; we could blow this as well as anybody could. I think one of the problems we had in 1994, for example, was that we thought in that election, okay, country agrees with us, it's over with, we can just keep implementing the agenda, we sort of stopped teaching. We made an incorrect assumption that the country had made this switch from liberalism to conservatism, and I don't think we should make that mistake now. I think what's happening is the media monopoly is over; a political monopoly is over. There's all kinds of so-called new media out there. But there's another new media that nobody is really talking about that I think is injurious to the left as well, and that's their own new media. When you have these fringe, left-wing kooks like MoveOn.org and Americans Coming Together sending Terry McAuliffe letters saying, if you don't straighten up, we're taking over the party from you, you're too close to the K Street lobbyists, you've got a mutiny going on in the party.
What's happened is the mainstream of this party has been taken over by these fringe, left-wing kooks, these nut burgers out there who actually believe the stuff that Michael Moore says. That's the mainstream of the Democratic Party now, so much so that Barbara Boxer has to raise funds for them by taking on Condoleezza Rice and some of these other Jurassic Park Democrats in the Senate for following suit and doing the same thing. Now, there's no way they cannot appeal to a broad-based coalition of Americans by talking the way they're talking, saying the things they're saying, opposing nominations that are foregone conclusions, trying to hold up the electoral vote count in Ohio, that's not a way they're going to get back. They have nothing to offer. If you listen to the average liberal today, you will not hear one thing positive. You don't hear one thing good about the country. You don't hear one thing good about any of the people in this country. They live in total fear. They look at life through a prism of fear, and the fear is based on the fact they know they've lost their power. And without their power, they don't have a reason to live. The liberal establishment in this country has, of course, a desire to grow government, but they can't do that when they don't control it. They don't have the thing that they run and control. They don't control it right now, and so they can't actually make it what they want, so they've become a party of pure opposition, negativism, and self-destruction.
And I find it interesting that people, because of the 40 years experience, there are a lot of people still deathly afraid of them. I'm not. And please don't misunderstand here, folks, and I'm not saying I'm right about it. I'm just giving you a sense of my perception of things. But I have an audience of 20 million a week. Our fall rating book during the election, the report's just coming in, and it's going through the roof at record levels in terms of audience ratings.
The lack of a media monopoly is making it so that the left's message is not automatically accepted. Ten years ago, fifteen years ago, when Ted Kennedy delivers a speech like the one he gave at Johns Hopkins, my phones would have been boiling with people who were scared to death. "Oh, Rush, did you hear what Kennedy said? You've got to put it in perspective. Why, the media is just going to echo it and people are going to believe it and, oh, it's horrible, it's horrible, and they're going to cause us to lose in Iraq." Today, people are just mad, but they're not afraid, because they know Kennedy looks like the absolute buffoon that he is. He is not persuading anybody. (applause) Before I came out here tonight, I was talking to some of the august members of your group who found my backstage hiding place, and I won't mention any names here, but this is something that gave me a little sounding board. The discussion of the efforts by the left to defeat the president's Social Security reform were brought up. And it was stated that the Democrats are studying day by day the way Newt and the boys defeated Hillary Care. And if you look at some things, there are some similarities. And I detected that there was some concern on the part those who were imparting the information to me. And, with all due respect, I think they're barking up a tree. If they think that there is any similarity to us defeating Hillary Care and them defeating Social Security, it shows just how out of sync and whacked they are.
For example, let's just look at the cultural differences. Back in 1993, here you have an unelected first lady who wants to take over one-seventh of the U.S. economy, put it under the control of the government. Back then, we were able to read her plan and we were able to tell people what was in it. You wanted to be a specialist as a doctor? They were going to choose it for you. If there was a shortage in some specialties, you might be assigned one. You might also be assigned the med school you were going to have to go to, and after that you might be assigned a city in which you lived. They tried to camouflage this and hide this, but once the people found out about it, look at what happened. Mrs. Clinton had this bus tour from Seattle to wherever. Well, at every stop there were ten times as many people greeting her not on the bus as there were on the bus, and they were all in opposition to her plan, because in 1993, and even more so today, the people of this country do not want one-seventh their economy nationalized and run by the federal government.
Now, let's run to today. That was then. Let's come to 2005. Social Security reform is not health care reform in any way, shape, manner, or form. Social Security reform is taking the government out of your life. It is putting you as part of an ownership society in charge of a small portion of your Social Security check or deduction. It's the exact opposite of health care. I don't care what they're trying to say are similarities, there's none whatsoever. And if you look at the latest poll, Zogby just did a poll for Cato. People under 30, 60% in favor of the president's private accounts. People under 50, 58% in favor of the president's private accounts. Hillary Clinton would have killed for numbers like that. Hillary Clinton never had anywhere near 50% that wanted national health care. It never has gotten there. The cultural differences alone -- If the Democrats are too blind with rage and seething hatred to see the realities, if they think that Social Security reform, which is getting government out of people's lives, is the same thing as her health care reform, and it can be defeated the same way, bring 'em on! The more they look like idiots, the happier I'm going to be and the better off we're all going to be, folks, and they'd be plain to people and willing to look like idiots today.
Now, I realize I'm not getting into the intricacies of politics here, because that's not what I do. I'm not a political scientist, and I know that there's some problems with this; I know that the Republicans in the House and Senate, they're a little shaky on it; they still believe that it can impact their election if they take on Social Security. The fact is, if you go back and look at the 2004 elections, you'll find every candidate, Republican side, who ran with the president, on Social Security reform, won. This is a time for big vision; this is a time for boldness; this is a time to get big things done. And you don't get big things done by saying you can't. The we-can'ts, the we-shouldn'ts, they're all over the place out there, and they never, ever got anything done. And too many people listen to them, because too many people want to get mired in their own misery. I tell young people asking me, "What should I do to succeed?" I say, "What do you want to do?" "Well, I don't know." "Well, find out, and then when you find out, go talk to people who have succeeded at it. Don't talk to people who failed at it, because they're embittered, and they don't want you to succeed, either." Why do we want to listen to a bunch of Democrats say this can't be done, that can't be done. Screw them, folks! I'm sorry. It's too important a time. And the idea of spreading democracy around the world and freedom around the world, as a vision, as a concept, we're all created this way. What's wrong with endorsing it?
You go back to Germany in World War II, the president made reference to this in the speech the other day, and I posted on my website some stories from TIME Magazine and Life from about 1946. You would be amazed to read those stories. They read just like what we're getting out of Iraq today. Only the date and the place is different. Back in these stories about Germany, "We're losing the peace, we'll never be able to keep the peace, the Germans hate us, our soldiers are corrupt, they're stealing bread and milk from Germans' homes." It was the same, folks, same stuff. And yet the naysayers lost out, as they most always do and always should. So, yeah, I know some Republicans are reluctant, but the president has the ability to get done what he wants to get done, and the American people get what they want, something that I'm so proud to be able to say, I firmly believe this. I know things, many people think they happen in Washington. But the American people get what they want. If they want Social Security reform, and they make it known in enough ways, it'll happen. This is still a representative republic, more so when Republicans are in control than Democrats, but people get what they want. And all people need to do is be educated, just like they were about Hillary's health care plan, just like they were throughout the campaign about John Kerry's lies and miscues and everything else.
There are so many reasons to be optimistic in this country. The greatest time to be alive ever. Tomorrow is a better day than yesterday in this country. I firmly believe it; it always will be. It's a great time to be alive. We have some great challenges and we're confronted with a lot of doom-and-gloomers. They represent an opportunity: an opportunity to teach, an opportunity to inform, and an opportunity to persuade. Now, all is not rosy, and I don't want anybody getting the wrong impression. There are some pitfalls out there among and above those I mentioned, such as getting cocky and arrogant and thinking that we've won it all. There's some issue pitfalls out there, and I think one of them is immigration, illegal immigration. If we don't ? (applause) you know, it's an amazing thing. There was a story today that I shared with people on the news. I understand there's an Arizona contingent here tonight. The foreign minister of Mexico today has threatened to go to international courts to overturn Arizona's Proposition 200. I know it sounds funny. The foreign minister of Mexico has just said, we want citizens from Mexico to go to America illegally, and we want America to pay for it. Aside from what it says about his own government, what does it say about what he thinks of us? That the international court can just simply say to the American people, the people of Arizona, what you think doesn't count, your democratic process is irrelevant. There are a number of arguments that I've heard all my life about illegal immigration. "Well, you know, Rush, it's a value in one sense because the work that they do is work that Americans won't do." And I used to believe that. There was part of that that made sense. But then gradually things started happening and made me change my mind about it.
But I think in an era such as we're in where our sovereignty is challenged, national security is a threat, if we're not going to enforce our laws, what good are they? We enforce them against American citizens. You don't pay your taxes, you'll find out about it. You break any of a number of laws, you'll find out about it and you will not be allowed to get away with it. But somehow you come here illegally and get yourself involved in our -- well, they call it a social safety net. It's a hammock. You get yourself in the hammock, and you've got people supporting you. The other day some Hollywood people, 30 of them, actors, writers, producers, said they think it's incorrect for them to be required to have legal status to get legal driver's licenses. I said, a-ha. You need your nannies, you need year caterers, you need your limo drivers. But you people in Hollywood would be the first to complain if the prices for actors and writers and producers went down because illegal immigrants were hired to do the job you've been trained to do. That's what's wrong with the left, folks, no principle. But this is a problem that we face. The American people -- and this is the problem the Republican and the Democratic Party faced, too -- the American people are fed up to here with this, and they're going to take it out against whoever doesn't do it the right way. Democrats and Republicans in Washington had better pay attention to this, the president on down, because the vast majority of the American people are fed up and sick and tired of this, and they don't understand the politics of it.
What in the world are elected officials deferring to civil rights and special interest groups? What's the fear of being hard on illegals? We're not talking about legal immigration, we're not talking about letting people in who are trained to do high-tech jobs or whatever they want to do. We're talking illegal. What is so hard about standing up for that law? What is so hard about making sure that people don't come in and bastardize our economic system by causing wages to go down, because they will do work that Americans will not work for, wage-wise. And it does end up lowering the wage cycle; it does increase calls for the minimum wage to go up, and causes Social Security pressures and all sorts of things. And people -- as you can see, California even, Prop whatever it was, 187, federal judge said, you people don't know what you're doing, and overturned it, and almost did that in Arizona. And now the Mexican foreign minister is trying to do the same thing.
It's something that the politicians in Washington, I think, are going to have to get a handle on because the American people will take it out against anybody. This is not even a partisan issue. They just don't understand, a number of them, and it's a growing number, do not understand why in the world there is such fear of all of these special interest groups that support the rights of "illegals." The word means something to the American people. When it's randomly enforced it weakens all of our laws and makes them all less meaningful. So that's the picture from where I stand. I've gone over my allotted time, but I want to tell you how much I've enjoyed it, and I appreciate the invitation to come back. And if any of you were offended by the opening jokes, sorry again. But I really, in closing, let me amplify something I said just a moment ago, and there are a lot of people in this room that I admire, and I can't really see specifically because of the spotlight's in my face, and you would think I would be used to the spotlight. But I know Paul Weyrich is here, and Ed Feulner is here, and I don't want to leave anybody out, but I get a lot of credit that I don't deserve. Well, there are people who helped me become what I am who will never get the credit they deserve, let me put it that way, unless those of us who benefited pass that credit along. All of you who have supported the CNP and other conservative organizations and have enabled the great thinkers of this movement to work and to produce output that people like me can come along and have my beliefs validated. You know, these guys did not turn me conservative; my father did that. But a lot of times, you know, I instinctively knew what I believed, but I wasn't able to tell anybody why. I can tell people why now because of the work of CNP and so many other groups that are like this. And they wouldn't be what they are without the people who support them and donate.
Now, this has taken a long time. This is 40 years, and it's ongoing. And if you take a look at where we were 40 years ago and where we are today, or maybe 50, I don't know how far back you want to go, but whatever has propelled us to this point needs to keep propelling us, and the one fuel of the greatest engine is optimism. And there's no reason not to be optimistic. I'm not saying shouldn't be cautious and all of that, but if you start acting afraid that this is going to happen or that's going to happen, you start telling yourself stories, things you can't possibly know, the outcome of events, start telling yourself negative stories, you're going to make it really harder for a good thing to happen. The people who are optimistic, based on experience, with substantive reasons to be optimistic, will infect and inspire others to join them and be the same way. Believe me, if given the chance and shown how, most people would be happy, most people would choose optimism, most people would choose to learn how to make those things happen in their lives. And it's hard because they're bombarded with an endless parade of negativism every day from the media. I don't care what the story is from the left, it's part and parcel of what they're selling. They want people down and distraught and unhappy and looking to government or the liberals or whatever for hope and salvation. The elites think that people don't have what it takes to make the choices in life to be successful or be happy. And people do. They just don't know it in many cases. But when shown how and when inspired, there's no stopping them once they're turned loose, take the shackles away from them, however you want to look at it, lower taxes, get rid of regulations, it works every time it's tried, as does optimism.
And I learned that, by the way, from many of the people that I've mentioned and others that I've met along the way. So I want to thank you all for all that you've done in supporting all of this great work that has gone on, because there are many people like me whose names are out front, who get all this credit, who would not have had a chance to succeed to the degree we have were it not for the real work that's gone on, as I like to say, in the basement, that I've been able to absorb and learn well enough to be able to regurgitate to others. So thank you all very much. You have been great, and I appreciate the opportunity to come speak to you once again.