RUSH: We are going to start with Jason in Dallas. Great to have you, sir, on the EIB Network. Hello.
CALLER: Thanks, Rush. Hello. How are you today?
RUSH: Very good, sir. Thanks. It's great to have you here.
CALLER: Great. I've been listening to you for most of my adult life, and I wanted to take you back to one of what I think is one of your best See, I Told You So moments.
RUSH: Cool, okay.
CALLER: That was during the 2000 GOP Republican primaries for the presidency, George W. Bush was being touted by -- we didn't call it that back then but essentially -- the Republican establishment. And the argument they used was that he was the most electable, and I remember listening to your show and hearing you take call after call. You just took a pounding because you were saying that what we needed to do was elect the most conservative nominee possible. Because if we didn't, and we elected a moderate or someone who is trying to appease or get along with Democrats -- as we saw George W. Bush do -- that then that brand of Republicanism would be branded as "conservatism" to the populace at large and the middle- to under-informed voters would assume that that's what conservatism was --
CALLER: -- nd that would end up electing a far-left radical liberal administration. And exactly what you said 12 years ago has come to pass.
RUSH: Yes. In fact, it's true, and it's really maddening that squishy, moderate, political behavior is now called "conservatism." And then real conservatism, as a result, is now called extremist Looney Tunes!
CALLER: Absolutely. Absolutely. Mark Steyn was on for you last week for a couple days, and he had a great way of describing where we are today, and that's we have essentially a European party, which is the Democrat Party. And then we have an American party, which is the Republicans. But they're so much a shadow and hollowed-out version of the original version that essentially their argument now is, "We can run the state and the statist government slightly more efficiently than they can."
CALLER: That's as much difference as they can put between the parties..
RUSH: The whole argument against statism is gone. It's just now a matter of who's more competent. "We can do it better than you can, we can do it smarter than you can, we can do it more efficient than you can," which is not conservatism.
CALLER: It's not conservatism. It's completely away from the easy-to-understand arguments that Ronald Reagan made over and over and over and over that resonated with people. Because that's the American soul. That's our identity: "I'm responsible for my dreams or for my results."
RUSH: No, you're not. Not anymore. A, it's not right that you have any such dreams. B, the government is the source of prosperity. That's what a lot of people think.
CALLER: Absolutely. Absolutely. I've been trying to call you for four years now and I finally got in today, and I just wanted to take you back. It's totally a See, I Told You So.
RUSH: I appreciate that. Jason, you're right on the money because one of the offshoots of that is that mainstream conservatism... The Republican Party equals "conservatism" in people's minds. So when the Republican Party waters it down and it's just a bunch of quivering Jell-O moderation that is called "conservatism," that's not attractive to anybody. And then further, you have real conservatives who are still holding out.
They are then called extremist, nutcase wackos. And it has contributed to the branding or marketing problem that exists. But I'll you take it back to 2000. I'll tell you, folks, in case you've forgotten. One of the reasons that George W. Bush was lapping the field... He came out of nowhere if you recall.
George W. Bush was the governor of Texas, but back then everybody thought that the next Bush to be president would be Jeb.
Jeb was the governor of Florida. He was considered to be very conservative and so forth. And then George W. comes out of nowhere, and the way he did it was fundraising. Bush was raising money like nobody. There was shock and surprise. People were scratching their heads. "How's this happening? This guy's not even on our radar." But he and Rove had come up with a massive fundraising operation.
It started when he was Texas governor, and it left everybody in the dust -- and by the time we got around to the primaries, Bush was a fait accompli. And, by the way, he was campaigning as a conservative in the early stages of the Republican primary. It wasn't until later that he started throwing in this "compassionate conservatism" line.
I think he was out West somewhere when he said, "We don't want to balance the budgets on the backs of the poor." This is what our first caller's referring to. We start watering it down. There was a lot of outrage over that, but by that time Bush had secured things. But it was the money that he was raising. Much like Romney, by the way. It was the money. You can't compete with it. If you don't have it, there's nothing you can do. Very little.
You have to be an amazing intellect and personality with tremendous charisma to overcome it, because you don't have the media on your side. So you have to have some ability to power through all of the noise and shine. If you can't do that you're not gonna overcome a financial disadvantage -- and believe me, Bush had a financial advantage that shocked everybody. Because back then, it was Jeb. Jeb was thought to be the heir apparent.