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Lowery and the Poet Steal the Show

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: The prayer by the Reverend Joseph Lowery, ladies and gentlemen, was far more memorable than the inaugural address by President Obama. It just was. I mean, if you want to etch -- if you want to chisel -- some words in stone, "The brown can stick around when yellow will be mellow; when the red man can get ahead, get ahead, man; and when white would embrace what is right." These are memorable lines. I think what happened with Obama is he tried to say too much. He made too many references to history, too many attempts at memorable lines, and there are no memorable lines from the speech now. It was not a great speech and everybody knows it. However, that will not be the consensus opinion. The consensus opinion will be that it was a fabulous speech, that it was far reaching and very lofty and all of this. I read just now during the commercial break somebody just posited a thought. I'm not sure even where it happened yet 'cause I just got a chance to parse it, but it might be at National Review Online.

"Oh, this was a great speech. It was a speech McCain could have given. It was a speech that Colin Powell could have given," I think it said. I thought it was clunky. The audience didn't know when to applaud. It was a combination. It was contradictory, too. There were parts of that speech I really loved where I thought he was talking about Ronald Reagan, or sounding like Ronald Reagan -- and then, of course, it ended up with the usual campaign rhetoric. And the speech was, I think, while it tried to be uplifting and inspiring, it sounded somewhat hopeless like we got big problems and it's going to be a long time before we fix them, and I know what's going on with that. It is the downplaying of expectations so that when the recovery does happen, and it doesn't get as bad as everybody is telling us it's going to get, then they can say that they arrested the recession before it got really bad and give themselves some credit for it. It is politics, which is often public relations. Here is that historic moment with Barack Obama taking the oath of office administered by the chief justice, John Roberts.

CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: I, Barack (Bleep) Obama do --

PRESIDENT BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA: I, Barack --

CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: -- do solemnly swear.

PRESIDENT BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA: I, Barack (Bleep) Obama, do solemnly swear.

CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: That I will execute the office of president to the United States faithfully.

PRESIDENT BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA: That I will execute...

CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: Faithfully the office of president of the United States.

PRESIDENT BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA: The office of president of the United States faithfully.

CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: And will to the best of my ability.

PRESIDENT BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA: And will to the best of my ability.

CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: Preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

PRESIDENT BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA: Reserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: So help you God?

PRESIDENT BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA: So help me God.

RUSH: Is that what I thought I heard?

CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: Congratulations, Mr. President.

RUSH: So it was a botched oath of office, ladies and gentlemen, as you just heard. Plus we bleeped out his middle name, which was done during the campaign. I don't know how many people that voted for him today found out what his middle name is for the first time. Let's go straight to the phones and get some reaction from people. Fort Wayne, Indiana, Bruce, you're first. It's great to have you with us, sir. Hello.

CALLER: Hello, Rush. That was the most broad and imprecise inaugural I've ever heard. But there was one precise moment when he mentioned --

RUSH: Wait, wait. Did you say broad and plodding?

CALLER: Imprecise.

RUSH: Imprecise.

CALLER: He seemed to go every place. It sounded like something from Sesame Street. It sounded like... For instance, it just went on and on, but he mentioned for the cynics, you know, for the people that disagreed with him -- I'm paraphrasing -- that the ground would shake beneath their feet. It seemed to be the most specific moment garnered at conservatives, garnered at people that disagree. Not the George Will crowd, mind you, but those maybe not invited to cocktail parties in DC.

RUSH: Well, it did have a sort of... The whole day here has had sort of a Walmart-on-the-day-after-Christmas sort of look to it, sort of appeal. As I say, I think he tried to say too much. He tried to put too many memorable lines in, and as such, there aren't any. There really aren't any. The crowd didn't know when to applaud. You coulda heard a pin drop. I think it was a... The crowd, if you'd have interviewed them honestly, it had to be a letdown. Expectations were so much higher. The hype was so high. This was supposed to be an inaugural address unlike any we've ever heard. The words were to be chiseled in stone, and the prayer by Joseph Lowery ends up being more memorable than the inaugural address. And of course the poem, good grief, folks! The poem was... The highlight of the day for me was the poem. I didn't notice one rhyme in the poem, but we had "boom box" and so forth in the poem. You know, the last poet we had up there was Maya Angelou. She talked about dinosaur feces in her poem. Today we got boom box in there. I mean, all of these were just breathtaking moments. CNN, by the way, showed the crowd dispersing before the events were over and even during some of Obama's speech. You know, the question arose, "Why is the crowd leaving?"

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Here's Joseph Lowery, ladies and gentlemen, one of the two people that were the most memorable today: Joseph Lowery and the poet, Elizabeth Alexander. We all know the litany he went through about who's responsible for all the problems in the country, but he led off bashing the rich.

LOWERY: [W]e know that, Lord, You are able and You're willing to work through faithful leadership, to restore stability, mend our brokenness, heal our wounds, and deliver us from the exploitation of the poor, the least of these and from favoritism toward the rich, the elite of these.

RUSH: So the liberal theme was wide. It was blaring. It was there from the Reverend Lowery. We gotta go attack the rich! The rich are stealing from the poor. We gotta make sure the elite rich -- which are largely Democrats these days, by the way -- are made to give up some of their spoils. I mean, it was traditional Democrat Party Playbook 101 from the Reverend Lowery, and then he said this...

LOWERY: Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their neighbors rest, and in the joy of a new beginning, we ask You to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get back, when brown can stick around; when yellow will be mellow; when the red man can get ahead, man; and when white would embrace what is right. Let all those who do justice and love mercy, say amen. Say amen.

CROWD: Amen!

LOWERY: And amen.

CROWD: Amen!

RUSH: That's one of the most electric moments of the entire speech, but is it necessary to go through this line by line? He says, "When black will not be asked to get in back..." When does that happen today? Did not we just inaugurate a black man as president of the United States? "When brown can stick around..." I assume that's Native Americans, "brown can stick around." To sell cigarettes with no taxes and they run casinos. "When yellow will be mellow." Yeah, I know it's Asians, Mr. Snerdley. I know it's Asians here. They're some of the most mellow people I know. What does he mean? What are the Asians doing that I haven't heard about? I know it's a leftover sixties thing. It could be a Led Zeppelin lyric for all I know, but the point is, it's not relevant. It's not relevant to today! Everybody here is living in the past, and they don't want anybody to think we've made any progress at all despite inaugurating Barack Obama as president today, and then the ultimate, "When brown..." What's the difference in black and brown here? When he says, "Brown can..."? Who's brown? I... (interruption) Oh, the Hispanics. The brown. Oh, okay. See, that's how... That's an example of my lack of orientation toward all these groups based on color. All right. Then we have, "When white will embrace what is right." He's just insulted this country, large numbers of which elected Barack Obama president of the United States.

RUSH: Listen to the Reverend Lowery again. This is change?

LOWERY: Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from there labors rest, and in the joy of a new beginning, we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get back, when brown can stick around, when yellow will be mellow, when the red man can get ahead, man, and when white would embrace what is right, let all those who do justice and love mercy say amen.

RUSH: Amen!

LOWERY: Say amen.

RUSH: Amen!

LOWERY: And amen.

RUSH: Amen, amen.

RUSH: You see, ladies and gentlemen, I just don't get it. I have hope. I have hope for change. I have longed for the day when we see human beings rather than skin color and gender and sexual orientation. But Reverend Lowery's comments indicate to me that I don't get it, racism is inevitable and perpetual, and they intend to -- (interruption) no, Snerdley, I'm telling you, this guy is still living in the sixties; he was part of the inaugural address today; he did not acknowledge at all the significant, the overwhelming change represented by Obama's inauguration today. And so, as far as the grievance community is concerned, there's no solution, there's no change. There hasn't been any major achievement or accomplishment. He's an old guy that they put up there -- look, I paid more attention to what he said than what Obama said. I paid more attention to what the poet said than what Obama said, because I have no clue what the poet said. I really don't know much about what Obama said, either, but I know damn well what Lowery just said. He was the most clear spoken guy up there on the dais. I mean, even the chief justice blew the oath of office. Somebody blew that, somebody got the words out of order on that. I'm not sure that it was Obama who blew that, but still, they needed a prompter up there for that, they didn't put it on the prompter and you could tell that was the case.

We just had the guy yesterday from down in Atlanta, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the guy who originally said that Obama doesn't mean a change at all because he doesn't have any slave blood. The race industry is still around. One of my most fervent desires and wishes, I'm serious, as a human being, is that all of this racism just be over with, all this group victimization be over with, and I don't get it, because it's never going to end. These are tactics, these are political tactics employed by the left to secure power, and they'll never give it up. And while they're the ones out there practicing all this racism and groupthink and victimization, they're blaming people like me for it. And it's just a shame. It's just a shame. We have a couple sound bites from the poet, once again, Elizabeth Alexander. Now, I might pay something here if somebody could translate this stuff for me.

ALEXANDER: Each day we go about our business, walking past each other, catching each other's eyes, or not, about to speak, or speaking. All about us is noise. All about us is noise and bramble, thorn and din, each one of our ancestors on our tongues. Someone is stitching up a hem, darning a hole in a uniform, patching a tire, repairing the things in need of repair. Someone is trying to make music somewhere with a pair of wooden spoons on an oil drum, with cello, boom box, harmonica, voice.

RUSH: Boom box? Boom box at a presidential inauguration? Snerdley, this is not torture. This is not torture. This is hilarious. Somebody, somewhere, thought this was exceptional. You have to understand, somebody thought that this was brilliant. It's a code. I don't understand it. Today there's a street outside. On that street are cars. And in those cars are people with music on their iPods. And they listen. And the children in the back of the car, who are also on the road, may or may not be in their child safety seats, in which case the driver will be arrested and the child taken away. When the car gets to its destination, it may run out of gas. If it runs out of gas, it's obviously a gas guzzler, and if it's a gas guzzler, then we need to harness the energy of the sun and punish the SOB driving the gas guzzler. If the car gets to its destination with plenty of gas left in the tank, we give it a bonus of additional markers at Walmart for the day after Christmas, which is how today was planned. And after we go to Walmart and pick up some of the lead paint that is made with our children in mind, imported from China, we will then have a meeting with the Iranians, who will love us, and they will get in their car, will also be on their road, and their road shall never end until they have nuclear weapons. I'm sorry. If I can do it, it isn't art. Here. We got another bite.

ALEXANDER: A farmer considers the changing sky. A teacher says, "Take out your pencils. Begin." We encounter each other in words, words spiny or smooth, whispered or declaimed, words to consider, reconsider. We cross dirt roads and highways that mark the will of someone and then others who said, "I need to see what's on the other side. I know there's something better down the road."

RUSH: And when we get to the end of the road, with the person driving the guzzler, with the perhaps or not perhaps child safety seats in the back, we will then know the answer to the question, which came first, the chicken or the egg? And why did the egg cross the road to see something better down the road. But could the egg have crossed the road without the chicken? These are depth questions. And only President Obama has the answers. Cookie, get me more of this. Two sound bites from Elizabeth Alexander are simply not enough. Get me more.

Renee in Zanesville, Ohio.

CALLER: Hey, I just have one word. Dumbfounded. I just wanted to scream, "Is this the best that we can do? This is America!" I was sitting there watching the speech with my kids, and I kept having this kaleidoscope of feelings that just ran this whole range. First, I heard things, you know, it's not a matter of how big our government is or how small it is. Yes, it is. And then I felt like there was just no substance, and I kept telling myself, okay, need to be open-minded here --

RUSH: Now, wait a second, now. Excuse me.

CALLER: Sure.

RUSH: When has there ever been substance or much substance versus lofty rhetoric and symbolism throughout the Obama campaign and speeches?

CALLER: There hasn't. That's the problem.

RUSH: This is interesting. Why were your expectations so high?

CALLER: Well, I was just hoping, my kids were sitting there, and --

RUSH: Why? Why? Why were you hoping? There's no wrong answer. It's not a trick here. I'm just curious, why were you hoping?

CALLER: I wanted to show my kids a better example. Inside I feel like we're in trouble with a capital "T," but I wanted to, in front of my children and as we watch the inauguration, I wanted to show 'em what America does, that we support the person that's in office, we support the process, and I wanted to make sure that my face wasn't, you know, showing some of the things that I was feeling, but my goodness they make it hard. You know, I felt the poem, you're exactly right, I was just like, you know, what was that about, and how do I -- you know, my children are sitting there watching, and I'm thinking -- and then the prayer, you know, we're hardworking white Americans, and we're striving to teach our kids to love God and their country, and, you know, it feels an awful lot like a slap in the face.

RUSH: Slap in the face?

CALLER: Yeah.

RUSH: Now, wait a minute. Slap in the face because it disappointed you?

CALLER: Well, I'm struggling not to feel extremely offended. And I know that being offended is a choice, but, man --

RUSH: Oh, the Lowery thing, the Lowery thing offended -- oh, yeah. Hundred percent I agree with you.

CALLER: I just thought, okay, start out with the speech, then we go to the poem, then we go to the prayer, I just could not believe, I thought, can it get any worse? And, yes, it did. Ending with that benediction, I'm like, what was the purpose of that prayer?

RUSH: Well, see, wait a minute, see, that's a matter of perspective. You gave us this order chronologically: speech, then you gave the poem, and then the prayer. And you were hoping it would get better.

CALLER: Oh, I'm sorry.

RUSH: Well, it did. The speech to me was the downer. To me, the poem was just fabulous. The poem was emblematic of the whole ceremony.

CALLER: I guess --

RUSH: There was nothing there. It was mumbo jumbo, it was gobbledygook.

CALLER: Well, I loved what you said about the empty barrel making the most noise. I mean that was just nothing but filler, that was just --

RUSH: Let me tell you something, it's important to remember, an empty barrel makes the most noise, and what was rattling around the barrel today was the poet.

CALLER: Yes.

RUSH: And then the preacher, Joseph Lowery. It did get better. It did get better, because we got the platitudes from Obama, which fell flat. Everybody in that crowd was not buzzed. Then the poet comes along and symbolizes the whole ceremony. What did she just say? What did we just see? And then Lowery comes along and tells us what we just saw. You white people are still racists and you're holding everybody down and the black people are still on the back of the bus and the brown people are still being kicked out of the country. If you looked at this chronologically, there was indeed a message, I don't think it was intended, but it happened.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Okay, folks, it finally hit me. Finally hit me. We're going to listen to Elizabeth Alexander again here. It finally hit me what I thought I was listening to when I was listening to the poem.

ALEXANDER: Each day we go about our business, walking past each other, catching each other's eyes, or not, about to speak, or speaking.

RUSH: Stop the tape. This sounds just like the voice in my GPS system in my car. Prepare to turn left in 700 feet onto State Road 704. Now, turn left. You didn't turn left. Now make a U-turn in 400 feet. It sounds like a GPS voice!

ALEXANDER: All about us is noise. All about us is noise and bramble, thorn and din, each one of our ancestors on our tongues. Someone is stitching up a hem, darning a hole in a uniform, patching a tire.

RUSH: Wait a minute, hold it a second. Americans don't repair things anymore, do we? Maybe a small percentage of the population, the Amish and so forth. Most people just go out and buy a new one. How many people in this country do you think know how to darn, Dawn? Somebody is darning a hole in a uniform, patching a tire -- get a new tire.

ALEXANDER: Repairing the things in need of repair. Someone is trying to make music somewhere with a pair of wooden spoons on an oil drum --

RUSH: Stop the tape. Remember what I said earlier, an empty barrel makes the most noise. Now, the spoons on an oil drum, that's Jamaican, right, I guarantee you those drums are empty. I mean they're not using real live oil inside those drums, and they're banging the spoons up against them.

ALEXANDER: Cello, boom box, harmonica, voice.

RUSH: Okay, that's Elizabeth Alexander, the poet who sounds like the GPS system voice in my car. Now, we haven't played any sound bites of the Obama speech, ladies and gentlemen, because, frankly, it's hard to comment on. It really is hard to comment on. It was disjointed, it was contradictory. How do you analyze that? How do you analyze a disjointed, contradictory, and unmemorable speech? There was no flow. There was no theme. There was some wishful thinking and some platitudes in there, but nothing new. We were supposed to hear about hope and change. There was nothing new. There wasn't any original thinking, just reworked phrases, thoughts from prior speeches and sermons. The best thing about it was that it wasn't long. It was a fitting end to the Obama campaign. The rhetoric has gotten old; the rhetoric falls flat; it's time to deal with reality. The country's ready for results now, not platitudes. And the audience, I guarantee you their expectations were far higher than what they got. We got new Elizabeth Alexander, before we have to go to a break.

ALEXANDER: We need to find a place where we are safe. We walk into that which we cannot yet see.

RUSH: What?

ALEXANDER: Say it plain, that many have died for this day. Sing the names of the dead who have brought us here, who laid the train tracks, raised the bridges, picked the cotton and the lettuce, built brick by brick --

RUSH: Yeah. Yeah.

ALEXANDER: -- the glittering edifices.

RUSH: Yeah.

ALEXANDER: -- they would then keep clean and work inside of.

RUSH: I know what that's about, picking lettuce? Yeah, and the same bunch, your crowd, Ms. Alexander, told us to take the pesticides out of it so that people now get sick.

END TRANSCRIPT

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