RUSH: Do you remember, ladies and gentlemen, when talking about the budget was considered deadly boring? I remember back in the early and formative years of this program if I were gonna talk about the budget, I mean it was death. I might as well be putting up the test pattern. I mean it was the last thing. It was esoteric. It was not sexy. There was no drama in it. It was something you just avoided as a radio talk show host at all costs. And apparently the Tea Party has changed all of that now. I never thought I would see this day, where the budget is the primary focus of interest in the United States of America. I know that a record number of people are tuning into this program today to find out what to really think on this budget, and that is such a remarkable evolution in this program and in public sentiment. In just 22 years, and the Tea Party has changed all of that, and the November elections last year changed all that. We wouldn't even be having this conversation today, there wouldn't even be this roiled debate going on if it weren't for the Tea Party and their victories in November. Elections really do have consequences.
So what happened? Friday night I drove about eight miles south of where I live to the Four Seasons hotel and made a speech to a gathering of Heritage Foundation people, and while I was driving to the speech I had Fox News on in the car, and I was trying to get the latest information on the budget negotiations as I'm ready to go in and make my speech. It was supposed to be 20 minutes of speech, and then 20 minutes of Q&A, and then out, and it ended up being an hour and ten minutes of speech and five minutes of Q&A. Because the questions were written on cards and I ended up answering all the questions in the course of doing the speech. And the last number I heard as I parked the car -- well, valet took the car -- last number I heard as I arrived at the front of the Four Seasons was $38 billion, and I got out of the car and I practically slammed the door.
Thirty-eight billion dollars? What happened to the campaign promise of $100 billion? Okay, that got prorated down because months have dwindled. That $100 billion was supposed to cover 12 months. That got prorated down to $61 billion was the promise, and now I'm hearing going into my speech $38 billion. So when I got in there, and at the point in my talk where I got around to this subject, I told the audience, it's about 250 people in there, Heritage Foundation guests and members and officials, scholars, thinkers, I could see them sitting there thinking as I was speaking. Think tank, that's what people do, and I told 'em, "If $38 billion is it, there's gonna be hell to pay here. This is not gonna be satisfactory." Not when we accrue $38 billion in debt in two and a half days, to run around and start talking about $38 billion in cuts as though it's some great achievement? This is not gonna cause people to celebrate and raise the victory flag and so forth.
So I finished the speech and I get home and I know they're gonna settle this right before midnight. You know there's not gonna be a government shutdown because you know Boehner doesn't want a government shutdown. He said he didn't want a government shutdown and, lo and behold, there wasn't a government shutdown, the number is $38 billion, or 38 and a half billion. And then I started delving into the details of it, some of the things that we got, which I have a list of them here, some things we lost, I have a list of them here. And then I started thinking about this program Friday night at midnight because there are a lot of factors here to be discussed. One thing, and that's why I opened the program the way I did, talking about the budget was the last thing -- I mean, if you wanted to get fired as a radio talk show host, you would talk about the budget and you'd bring in expert guests on it. You would die. Nobody would listen. I've got experience. In fact, I had a great opening. Dr. Larry Arnn of Hillsdale college introduced me.
I'm backstage listening to the introduction. Dr. Arnn is discussing Cass Sunstein, member of the Obama regime, Fairness Doctrine and all of the efforts that the left and the Democrat Party are at this moment attempting to hatch to destroy me. So I make a mental note of that and I walk out, as part of my introduction, I said, "I recall moments ago, Dr. Arnn discussing Cass Sunstein, the Democrats' efforts to destroy me," I said, "Folks, it can't be done. I've already tried it twice. (laughing) And I have survived it." And so I've been thinking about this program all weekend long. And one thing that's clear is the deal's the deal. I don't want to sit here and whine about the past. We've gotta move forward here. So the deal is done, the debate has shifted from spending to cutting as we sit here today, $38 billion dollars, I'm sorry, I can't start throwing parties over it. But it's a first step. I mean it didn't take overnight for the Democrats to get us here and it's not gonna happen overnight shifting us outta here, so this is a first step. I wish they'd-a kept their promise. I wish it had been a hundred billion. I wished it had been $61 billion, but even those numbers as you and I both know, we're talking pennies, which is something else I told the Heritage people.
I met Scott Walker, by the way, the governor of Wisconsin, he was in the audience. I met him in the greenroom prior to the speech. He's a great, great, great guy. Now, here's a guy that's fearless, here's a guy who is tackling his problems as promised, governor of Wisconsin. A lot of admiration for him. But here we are and I'll give you the short version here. We got a commercial break, of course, we'll come back and get into this in much greater detail. We'll meld some of the audio sound bites into it, but here's where the pitfall lies. I'm sorry, folks, but I don't buy all this press. I got stacks of it. I'm gonna share it with you. It's almost a ruse, no matter where you go -- Politico, New York Times, Washington Post -- Obama got snookered. Boehner, great, great victory, masterful strategic win and I said, "$38 billion? What is this?" I've got stories the Democrats are fretting, the Democrats are depressed. I got the most ludicrous funny piece from the Huffington Post. Seven pages this thing printed out to be. It's from some guy named Richard (RJ) Eskow.
I don't know if there's a giant ruse going on here, but it's tough for me to believe the Democrats are really feeling defeated over $38 billion of cuts. I think what's going on, they got Obama's plummeting numbers, Obama races to the Lincoln Memorial on Saturday to say, "Hey, it's still open, see what I did?" He didn't do diddly-squat. There's no leadership from Obama here. He stayed out of it until the last minute and we got all the stories that he did at the last minute to make it happen, but I think a lot of this reporting about how the Democrats took it on the chin, the Democrats are nervous, the Democrats are depressed, what a great strategic move, you know, I know these people in the media. I know liberals like every square inch of my glorious naked body, and I'm telling you that my instinct tells me that most of this is structured in such a way as to fire up the Democrat base because Obama's numbers are plummeting, because you and I both know that to the American left, the Democrat Party, we conservatives are the number one enemy they face, not the Taliban, not Al-Qaeda, not Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, none of these real threats to the country. We are the biggest threat.
I mean what do they do when they try to fire up the base? They come after me or they come after Sarah Palin or whoever. Well, what better way to frighten the Democrat base than a massive weekend full of stories about how the Republicans just ate the Democrats' lunch here. 'Cause folks, that really didn't happen. Nobody's lunch was eaten here. If -- and this is the pitfall -- if the lesson learned from this is that the way to go is compromise with the left, then it's going to be a disaster. The left is not going to compromise on redistribution of wealth or income. The left is not gonna compromise on tax increases for the wealthy. The left is not gonna compromise in Keynesian spending. The left is not going to compromise on their core beliefs. They have to be defeated. And, of course, I speak within the realm of politically defeated. And I'm reading a lot about what great compromise this was, and that, folks, is the biggest red flag. And, by the way, the left is not happy. They're the ones that are always pushing this business that we gotta compromise. We must compromise to the independents, compromise here, compromise there. They don't like it when there's genuine compromise where they seem to lose. And I think that if the lesson here is compromise and that's the way to go, we're not gonna ever reverse this leviathan with compromise. We can only reverse it with defeat.
And by defeat I mean more and more massive shellacking election victories like we had in November, not just federally but all the way down to the state level, 635 legislative seats. Now, I'm like all of you, I wish our side had gotten more cuts out of this deal, but, remember, it took years for the Democrats to get us in this mess. It's gonna take years to get us out. I just hope that we have the time. Even if John Boehner were George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Ronaldus Magnus rolled into one, it still wouldn't happen overnight. It's the one thing that we have to keep in mind. Especially since right now we only control one house of one branch of government. However, about that, another red flag that I'm seeing, and the Speaker himself is saying it, he says, "Look, we have to temper our expectations. We are only one half of one-third of the legislative branch here," or one half of one half. Meaning we only control the House. The Democrats have the White House and the Senate.
However, folks, there's something crucially missing in that analysis and that is that not a dime can be spent unless it originates in the House of Representatives. We have far more power than just being one-third of one half or whatever the ratios are. Not a dime gets spent before the House of Representatives authorizes it, or appropriates it. And that's us. So we have a lot more real power. Now, that's obviously going to be tempered with other political realities, what can be expected to be signed into law by Obama and vetoed and so forth. But it doesn't mean we can't have the fight. It doesn't mean we can't throw our spear in the ground and stake out our territory and say, "This is it." I know the next fight's the debt limit, and they're saying, yeah, this was chump change, this was billions. The next one's over trillions. But we've shown that we'll cave. We have demonstrated that we will cave if they threaten something like government shutdown. Now, debt limit expansion, May 14th I think is the deadline. That does offer greater opportunities because that is actually much more of a government shutdown than what this would have been if the debt limit is not raised.
So we'll see. We'll see what transpires. But what really drove these negotiations was the 2012 elections. Despite my theory that a lot of the media coverage all weekend has been a ruse designed to scare Democrat voters back to life, the Democrats are scared spitless. They know the public wants cuts, and they know the Tea Party's not a bunch of fringe kook oddballs. They know that many Democrat voters are members of the Tea Party. The November elections, despite their public posturing, the Democrats know from the November elections what the mood of this country is, and they know, inside their own cloakrooms, their private conversations, not what they're gonna say publicly, but they know privately that there has not been a big shift in public opinion since November. The Tea Party has changed the terms of the debate, possibly for a long time, which is why the Democrats and their media minions hate them so, why they continually try to impugn them, mischaracterize them and so forth and so on.