Rush Limbaugh

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BARONE: Well, let me just say this has been very enjoyable for me. I’ve been a listener for a long time and a fan, as you know. I mean, I wrote in ’93 in US News, I said, you were going to be the voice of the Republican Party for a while, and for the not — but I think you have made a very important contribution to American politics and American life, not just as an advocate but as a definer of conservatism. I mean, in the period when Clinton was in office, one avenue the Republican Party might have taken is the Patrick Buchanan avenue: Isolationism, negativism, dislike of other people who are different from you, protectionism. And you spoke out consistently against those things to the core audience that Buchanan was aiming at, and he failed completely, and you defined things in what I think is — you know, is the sort of the — the conservatism that I think can positively serve the country, and I think that you played a great role in shaping opinion in the 1990s. I don’t know if you’ve thought about it in that way, but to me whenever my liberal friends start complaining about Rush Limbaugh, I make that argument, and a lot of them say, “Well, you know, maybe you got a point there.” (Laughter)

RUSH ON TAPE: (Laughter) Well, you’re very kind. You’ve made my day. Coming from you, that’s a true compliment and I thank you very much for that. I sincerely appreciate it.

RUSH: You can understand why I’m reluctant to play this, ladies and gentlemen, but as I say, I bowed to pressure and let you hear it. Normally we don’t play audio from our newsletter interviews. Obviously we keep it. (studio interruption) Well, yeah, that’s kind of tough. I was telling some people about this comment last night that Barone made and I had totally forgotten this, and he’s right. I had forgotten. This was after the ’92 race and Buchanan, and this has come up. People have asked me about it since and I have to tell you, I like Pat Buchanan.

He’s still somebody I consider a friend and an associate, and I don’t think Buchanan “doesn’t like people differently from him.” That’s not something that’s applicable to Pat Buchanan. But when he ran for president again, you know, he toured these textile mills and other places against NAFTA, thought we were losing our manufacturing jobs, and he did get to be very protectionist. He wanted to kill NAFTA and roll back the progress there and not maybe build a wall around the country, but he clearly thought we don’t need to be going around the world being policemen. We don’t need to be worrying about freedom and democracy anywhere else because once the Soviet Union fell, that to him was the end of it.

I mean, that was our big enemy and once we defeated them, that was it. He wanted to just pull back and focus almost entirely on domestic issues, and I just disagreed with that, and I disagreed with all of the protectionism because I don’t think it’s realistic in the world as it exists today. But at any rate, the whole interview will come up in the next issue of the Limbaugh Letter and I wish we had time to play more. We talked to him for an hour, and it’s going to be a masterful editing job to get all this in. It’s just fascinating.


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