RUSH: So I see that James Risen’s book, the publication date is moved up to today. Ha! Fashion that. He’s on the Today Show — exclusively, of course — talking about some things that he finds very troubling about the spy scandal. While we were out, the justice department announced an investigation to find out who’s leaking all this, and that really is what’s important about this. It’s still much ado about nothing. There’s a great Victor Davis Hanson piece that ran on December 29th in National Review Online, and it dovetails so nicely, ladies and gentlemen, with one of my ongoing theories. One of my ongoing theories, let me just spell it out here for you, is that we have such a cushy life compared to our ancestors. We have so much prosperity, we’ve got so much time on our hands that we are free to invent our own psychoses, our own traumas, our own disorders, because there’s nothing out there that’s really that stressful unless we make it so.
Now, I know everything is relative and I’m not saying there’s not stress in life, but compared to our forefathers and our ancestors we don’t really know what it is. You take the baby boomer generation, which is, I think, the prime culprit in thinking everything revolves around them — and I am one, by the way, but I of course am immune because I am far more mature than the average spoiled brat baby boomer because I had to mature early for a whole host of reasons. But anyway, bottom line is we really have a lot of time. We have a lot of free time. We have a lot of prosperity; and as such, we all get a little bit reluctant here to admit how good we have it and how well off we are. There always have to be problems out there. When I was out — I played golf starting Tuesday, because I haven’t played golf since the week before Thanksgiving, and I’m not scheduling myself this way next year.
I mean, I moved down here to Florida to be here this time of year. Every weekend I’m off to some snowbound northern city either at a wedding or at a Christmas party or some such and I’m not doing it again. Anyway, I made up for it, I played golf from Tuesday through yesterday, and I was out in Los Angeles — in fact, I got a big thrill. Monday night, last Monday night in New York, I was in the ABC broadcast booth for the last Monday Night Football game with the New England Patriots and the New Jersey Jets, Al Michaels and Madden, and it was a hoot. And then I (laughing) met some ESPN people in there. They didn’t know I was going to be there. I met ’em down on the field and so forth. (Laughing.) I mean, management types. Oh, yeah, they were a little surprised. They were nice as hell, and I was just my usual, charming self.
I said, “Hey, tell everybody back in Bristol I said hi and I wish them the best.”
“Well, okay. Good to see you, Rush.”
“Yeah, it’s great to be here with you, too.”
Anyway, I went out to LA and played golf a couple days, and after golf, you know, you always go to the clubhouse and repair there for a snack or something, and whenever I leave I always come back (interruption). What? (interruption) No! There’s no business deals being made out there. What do you mean? There were no business deals. No. (interruption) Ah, that’s not what goes on, not when I go to a country club. I don’t make business deals. It’s strictly golf. You go out there and you socialize with people. When I’m around, the talk always turns to politics ? and look, I’m leading up to something in a very circuitous way, and I’ve mentioned this a couple times before, but generally when I go away I always get a question that seems to be thematic of the time, wherever it is, and there was a theme this week. Whenever I talk to people, and some of these people were acquaintances and not good friends or on the way to becoming good friends, and some of them were liberal.
But the theme of the question was: “Rush, why does Bush not respond to all these things that are being said?” Even though he’s starting to do so now. “Why doesn’t he respond?” And I give them the answer that I have given you, and I think — now, this is going to dovetail into this great piece by Victor Davis Hanson and the whole point that I want to make here about how fortunate we are in this country and sometimes don’t have the sense to know it. I said to them, “Can you conceive…?” All these people, by the way, are daily immersed in media as consumers. They’re not in the media business. They’re immersed in it as consumers, as many of you are, and when you’re immersed in the media on a daily basis as a consumer, that becomes your world. What they report, what they say is going on, that becomes your world. That becomes what they see.
I constantly get e-mails from people, “Are you going to get even with the New York Times?” And I don’t read the New York Times. I read the New York Times only when there’s something in there that somebody tells me after the fact that I should read like this NSA story. I don’t read it. The New York Times does not affect my day, but it does a lot of people, or whatever network news they watch. They can’t understand how Bush is not affected by it. They don’t understand how President Bush can get away without reacting to all this, and so I say to them, “You know, try to understand this. Try to understand a man, anybody, president of the United States or anybody else in the country who has a job to do and goes about that job with just that as his focus. He’s not worried about what is said about what he’s doing; he doesn’t consider his job to be responding to the daily agenda or talking points set by whoever in the media. He has a job to do.”
This results in Newsweek writing this story that they also wrote back in the early eighties about Reagan, about being detached, being in a bubble, not being really aware. He’s not bringing in us, not bringing in our liberal media friends, the Washington establishment, to have a chat, go back and forth to find out what’s really going on out there. What’s laughable about this is that George Bush knows more about what’s going on in this country than the people in the inside-the-Beltway media culture do, and yet they’re telling him he’s in the bubble and out of touch. He just ignores them. Now, he doesn’t think that it’s necessary to respond to everything they say. Those of us immersed in media every day, if you don’t watch it your world is shaped by that. That’s what you think the world is, and you think everybody in the country is as immersed in it as you are, and so this NSA spy scandal, you think, has just captivated the minds of the American people, and the American people are demanding answers, and they’re talking about impeaching Bush because that’s what you hear the media talking about.
The fact is, if you look at a Rasmussen poll on this, most of the American people get it! Even 51% of the Democrats interviewed by Rasmussen admit that they understand the necessity for taking steps to protect the homeland and the country during a time of war with an enemy such as Al-Qaeda. I’ve got it here. Let me give you the details before we go to the break here. Now, remember, I’m leading up to something with this, and this is not a story about how… I’m not trying to tell you again over and over and over to ignore the press or to not worry about that, that’s not the point here. The point is us. The point is the American people. This poll came out on Wednesday. What was that? December 30th, I guess. That’s when I printed this.
(story) “A poll by the Rasmussen Reports illustrates the pervasive dishonesty of the American press in dealing with the New York Times story about the NSA’s intercepts. The major dishonesties are demonstrated by the two questions asked in the Rasmussen poll just reported. First question and the responses. ‘Should the National Security Agency be allowed to intercept telephone conversations between terrorism suspects in other countries and people living in the US?’ Yes 64%, no 23%. Second question in the responses: ‘Is President Bush the first president to authorize a program for intercepting telephone conversations between terrorism suspects in other countries and people living in the United States?’ Yes 26%, no 48%.” Now, also in this poll, you can find that the whole Democratic Party leadership is out there accusing Bush of impeachment-type crimes, but “a majority of Democrats approves the NSA program, 51%, even as it might be endangered thanks to the New York Times exposure of it, 51% of Democrats approve of the spying program.”
So, look, the point here is that I get these questions all over the place: “Why doesn’t Bush do this?” Bush is doing his job and he’s not immersed in this. Bush is a satisfied human being. He’s been through the sewers of alcoholism, folks, and he’s been through recovery, and George Bush, I’m just going to lay it out for you, George Bush has placed his confidence in God. He’s a man of faith, and that intimidates people, and I’m telling you, it’s real simple. He is confident that the things he’s going to do will work out. He’s a confident guy. He’s not upset by these people. He’s not deterred. He’s not depressed. He doesn’t sit around and worry why people don’t like him. He’s above it. His job is far more important than responding to a daily agenda set by the media. Look at the latest press conference. They go up and ask him about their reporting! They didn’t ask him about the economy, didn’t ask him about any other news, only their reporting. They’re the ones in the bubble.
I think as a result of this, a lot of us get drawn into this daily bubble and we get this impression that we have no leadership and that we have no responsive leadership in the White House, leadership of the party, the leadership of the country, and why isn’t he responding to this? He’s above it. He doesn’t think it’s necessary to doing his job. Now, we could have arguments about that, because you do need to keep the rank and file stoked, and everybody needs leadership. I mean, the country is not a bunch of self-starters out there when it comes to this. So when he does respond to it and he does take steps to dig them back, then everybody applauds and loves it, and I like it, too, don’t misunderstand. But the whole notion that he’s not doing his job or that he’s out of touch? It’s just the exact opposite. He is more focused than the average human being in doing what he’s doing. May not always agree with what he does, but he’s more focused on it than anybody would believe. All right, a quick time-out, and we’ll dovetail into this Victor Davis Hanson column that sort of reflects one of my ongoing, never ending philosophies.
RUSH: All right, here. I just got an e-mail. I was just checking e-mail here. Actually, I was deleting a bunch of old e-mail, and I found something here that was sent this morning at 9:30. It’s from… It doesn’t matter who it’s from. “Dear Rush: Below is a small section taken from the Washington Post.com newspaper located in Google…” This is about the miners in West Virginia. “The explosion took place Monday between six and 6:30 as two groups of miners in separate carts were entering the mine to resume operations after the holidays according to Laura Ramsburg, a spokesman for the West Virginia governor. Miners in the second cart who were not within sight of the first heard or felt an explosion ahead of them and swiftly retreated. Mine supervisors were alerted by phone at 6:40 a.m. and began evaluating carbon monoxide levels. Her question is: ‘I want to know if it’s customary in the United States to go back to work six hours and 30 minutes after midnight on New Year’s for people in the mining industry.'”
Answer: Yes! And besides, this is not six hours after midnight. I came in yesterday. Yesterday was Monday, January 2nd, and that’s when the miners went to work. The miners didn’t go to work New Year’s Day. They went to work January 2nd, on Monday. It was 18-and-a-half hours. Yes, the mining industry goes to work. What do you mean, “Is it customary?” The shifts start at six a.m. That’s when they go to work. If you noticed the news, “There’s got to be an easier way. There has to be an easier way! Why, we’re the United States of America. Why, we can’t keep subjecting people to this kind of risk! Who do we think we are?” This is what these people do. It’s coal mining! If the environmentalists weren’t around there would be a hell of a lot easier way to get it out of there, folks, but because of environmental regulations and there are some new safety regulations, too, this is what it is. Heck, I came in! Nobody sent me the memo that we weren’t working yesterday. I got in here at the usual time and I didn’t see Snerdley’s car out there.
I said, “Uh-oh, maybe Snerdley didn’t get the memo,” and so I came in, and I got this eerie feeling that I’m the one that didn’t get the memo. So I started e-mailing people, and I didn’t get any response. So I called them in New York, nobody answered the phone. I got voice mail, and I said, “What dirty trick has been played on me?” Because I was here. I was all ready to go. I started doing show prep and everything else. I finally e-mailed Brian, who was just getting in at about ten o’clock in the morning, and he just chuckled and sent me the memo that everybody else got but my name is not on it. So here I was, and it was about 10:30, and I said, “Well, I’m going to go play golf again,” and so that’s what I did. So not only do miners go to work on January 2nd, so did I. But I mean this question, “Is it customary for people in the mining industry to go to work on the second day of the New Year?” I’ll betcha some of them went to work on the first day of the New Year. I wouldn’t be surprised if they did.
Anyway, Victor Davis Hanson. Let me get started with this. “After September 11th, national-security-minded Democratic politicians fell over each other, voting for all sorts of tough measures. They passed the Patriot Act, approved the war in Afghanistan, voted to authorize the removal of Saddam Hussein, and nodded when they were briefed about Guantanamo or wiretap intercepts of suspect phone calls to and from the Middle East. After the anthrax scare, the arrests of dozens of terrorist cells, and a flurry of al Qaeda fatwas, most Americans thought another attack was imminent ? and wanted their politicians to think the same. Today’s sourpuss, Senator Harry Reid, once was smiling at a photo-op at the signing of the Patriot Act to record to his constituents that he was darn serious about terrorism. So we have forgotten that most of us after 9/11 would never have imagined that the United States would remain untouched for over four years after that awful cloud of ash settled over the crater at the World Trade Center.
“Now the horror of 9/11 and the sight of the doomed diving into the street fade. Gone mostly are the flags on the cars, and the orange and red alerts. The Democrats and the Left, in their amnesia, and as beneficiaries of the very policies they suddenly abhor, now mention al Qaeda very little and Islamic fascism hardly at all. Apparently due to the success of George Bush at keeping the United States secure, he, not Osama bin Laden, can now more often be the target of a relieved Left ? deserving of assassination in an Alfred Knopf novel, an overseer of Nazi policies according to a U.S. senator, a buffoon, and rogue in the award-winning film of Michael Moore. Yes, because we did so well against the real enemies, we soon had the leisure to invent new imaginary ones in Bush/Cheney, Halliburton, the Patriot Act, John Ashcroft, and Scooter Libby.”
You see? The theme carries. Bush has done a great job. We have done a great job at securing our safety! Well, there have got to be other enemies because the Democrats just cannot get along. The Democrats cannot say, “Hey, we helped.” The Democrats cannot find a way to try to take some credit for this success. They have to focus on it as a giant failure. Here we’ve had all the success, and what do they do? They want to impeach Bush. The theory I think where it dovetails is, life’s pretty easy compared to the way it used to be, and so we invent problems. We go out and invent traumas and disorders and all sorts of things. They’re simply immune to good news. Even in the economy. While the economy is roaring along, you go talk to the average guy in the neighborhood, “Yeah, I’m doing fine, but I’m worried about my neighbor.” There always has to be an under tone of negativism or pessimism about your outlook because that’s what makes people think that you’re enlightened. When you’re positive and optimistic and happy, they say that you’re vacant and they say that you’re ignorant and you’re not really seeing the horrors that are out there, that you’ve got your head buried in the sand or that you are in a bubble and that you are detached.
RUSH: Back to Victor Davis Hanson. Just a couple more points out of this. “Afghanistan in October, 2001, conjured up almost immediately warnings of quagmire, expanding Holy War at Ramadan, unreliable allies, a trigger-happy nuclear Pakistan on the border, American corpses to join British and Russian bones in the high desert ? not a seven-week victory and a subsequent democracy in Kabul of all places. Nothing in our era would have seemed more unlikely than democrats dethroning the Taliban and al Qaeda ? hitherto missile-proof in their much ballyhooed cave complexes that maps in Newsweek assured us rivaled Norad’s subterranean fortress.” Do you remember those maps? I remember Newsweek’s maps of the Tora Bora complex, and I thought I was looking at something that we built in the mountains here out in Wyoming in NORAD. Oh, they had these people portrayed! I mean, they were nuclear powers. There was no way we had a chance against these people. We were suicidal to go, and it wasn’t going to work out. Now we’ve got a democracy in Kabul. We’ve got a democracy in Baghdad.
“Are we then basking in the unbelievable notion that the most diabolical government of the late 20th century is gone from Afghanistan, and in its place are schools, roads, and voting machines? Hardly, since the bar has been astronomically raised since Tora Bora. After all, the Afghan parliament is still squabbling and a long way from the city councils of Cambridge, La Jolla, or Nantucket ? or maybe not. The same paradox of success is true of Iraq. Before we went in, analysts and opponents forecasted burning oil wells, millions of refugees streaming into Jordan and the Gulf kingdoms, with thousands of Americans killed just taking Baghdad alone. Middle Eastern potentates warned us of chemical rockets that would shower our troops in Kuwait. On the eve of the war, had anyone predicted that Saddam would be toppled in three weeks, and two-and-a-half-years later, 11 million Iraqis would turn out to vote in their third election ? at a cost of some 2100 war dead ? he would have been dismissed as unhinged. But that is exactly what has happened. And the reaction? Democratic firebrands are now talking of impeachment. What explains this paradox of public disappointment over things that turn out better than anticipated?
“Why are we like children who damn their parents for not providing yet another new toy when the present one is neither paid for nor yet out of the wrapper? One cause is the demise of history. The past is either not taught enough, or presented wrongly as a therapeutic exercise to excise our purported sins. Either way the result is the same: a historically ignorant populace who knows nothing about past American wars and their disappointments ? and has absolutely no frame of reference to make sense of the present other than its own mercurial emotional state in any given news cycle.” Thank you, Mr. Victor Davis Hanson, because that’s the point. I say it constantly: “Everybody’s historical perspective begins the day they were born.” They don’t know that we lost 750 in a <a target=new href=”http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/devon/3666355.stm”>training exercise</a> for D-Day. They don’t know about the Battle of the Bulge. They don’t know how rotten it was, because since the day they were born every generation believes that it’s in its last days.
“Things are so horrible, so rotten! We’re in the last days, Rush! It’s over. We’re being overrun everywhere. We have no guts. We have no willpower. It’s over,” and Mr. Hanson writes here: “Our grandparents in the recent past endured things that would make the present ordeal in Iraq seem almost pedestrian ? and did all that with the result that a free Germany could now release terrorists or prosperous South Korean youth could damn the United States between their video games. Instead, we of the present think that we have reinvented the rules of war and peace anew. After Grenada, Panama, Gulf War I, Serbia, Kosovo, Bosnia, Afghanistan, and the three-week war to remove Saddam, we decreed from on high that there simply were to be no fatalities in the American way of war. If there were, someone was to be blamed, censured, or impeached ? right now! Second, there is a sort of arrogant smugness that has taken hold in the West at large. Read the papers about an average day in Washington D.C., Los Angeles, Detroit, or even in smaller places like Fresno. The headlines are mostly the story of mayhem ? murder, rape, arson, and theft.
“Yet, we think Afghanistan is failing or Iraq hopeless when we watch similar violence on television, as if they do such things and we surely do not. We denigrate the Iraqis’ trial of Saddam Hussein ? as if the Milosevic legal circus or our own O.J. trial were models of jurisprudence. Still, who would have thought that poor Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti, a mass-murdering half-brother of Saddam Hussein, would complain that Iraqi television delayed live feeds of his daily outbursts by whimpering, ‘If the sound is cut off once again, then I don’t know about my comrades but I personally won’t attend again. This is unjust and undemocratic.’ A greater percentage of Iraqis participated in their elections after two years of consensual government than did Americans after nearly 230 years of practice. It is chic now to deprecate the Iraqi security forces, but they are doing a lot more to kill jihadists than the French or Germans who often either wire terrorists money, sell them weapons, or let them go. For what it’s worth, I’d prefer to have one Jalal Talabani or Iyad Allawi on our side than ten Jacques Chiracs or Gerhard Schroeders…
“Precisely because we are winning this war and have changed the contour of the Middle East, we expect even more ? and ever more quickly, without cost in lives or treasure. So rather than stopping to praise and commemorate those who gave us our success, we can only rush ahead to destroy those who do not give us even more,” and it’s absolutely right on the money. Victor Davis Hanson. That ran in the National Review Online back on December 29th. Now, for those of you that follow what goes on in the blog world, a little tidbit here. This Democrat — this kook blog called the Daily Kos. I still don’t know how to pronounce that. K-o-s. This guy that runs this blog, Marcus Malute or whatever his name is, has regular phone calls with Democrat leaders in Washington: Rahm Emanuel, Harry Reid, and their staffs — and this guy is perhaps the most influential left-wing blogger that there is, because they have adopted this guy’s policies, beliefs, rhetoric.
When you hear them on their anti-Bush bandwagon, it’s his rhetoric they’ve adopted. They consult with this guy regularly. He has appeared before them to advise them on how to proceed with their agenda, so forth and so on. Okay, so — so what? Well, his latest rant is that the only reason, the only reason that Bush is fighting a war on terror in the first place is because Republicans are cowards. “So what? We lose a couple buildings in New York, and all of a sudden we got threat levels, we got color-coded threat levels. We’ve got spying on American citizens. We’ve got invasions in Afghanistan, and, what, the Republicans are afraid to deal with these people! Republicans are just cowards?” That’s the latest take from the left. It’s going to get even kookier, folks, as this year heats up, because of it being a midterm election year and so forth. So, you know, I mention all of this primarily because I was hit with this question while I was gone: Why doesn’t Bush get out there?
I’m telling you. In Bush’s world, he is an overwhelming success at what’s going on here. For those of you that have trouble understanding this. I don’t know how else to explain it to you. He’s confident that everything is going to work out. He doesn’t have to get in a media battle every day. He’s looking at this in the long term anyway and he’s confident that as far as this country is concerned, things are going to work out. It’s going to end up okay, because it is, in his mind, things are working out. They’re doing phenomenally well. But because this is politics, and their efforts to bring him down and impeach him, do this and the other thing. There are people hell-bent on making it look like an utter failure — and that’s the point of sharing with you all this data, to turn what’s happened here, a robust success, into an utter failure, is a great indicator of just who it is that we’re dealing with on the left — and you talk about people that are never positive, talk about people that can’t possibly be happy. They don’t even smile! I don’t even see them laugh. I never see them smile. These people are happy miserable, or miserably happy, unhappy, whatever. Mike, Punta Gorda, Florida. We’ll start with you on the phones today. Glad to have you with us, and hello.
CALLER: Hi there Rush, honor to speak with you, been a listener for a number of years.
RUSH: Thank you, sir.
CALLER: The reason that I’m calling is that I disagree that Bush doesn’t need to respond.
RUSH: I’m not surprised.
CALLER: The reason being that if he doesn’t respond it just emboldens his critics, they say more and more, and builds up his critics, his ratings drop, and therefore the Congress feels emboldened to — particularly maybe the moderate Republicans and so forth — feel emboldened to disavow him and not go along with his programs. It’s not a point that he’s responding for himself. I realize he probably is very confident in and of himself. He needs to respond for the sake of his program to put off his critics and to build up his base.
RUSH: I’m not saying he shouldn’t respond. I said I’m glad when he does. I’m trying to explain why he doesn’t. It’s not because he’s detached. It’s not because he’s out in left field. It’s not because he’s an airhead. It’s not because he’s an idiot. It’s not because he doesn’t see things. He’s just on a different plane. He’s above it all. He doesn’t think this has anything to do with whether his job is being done well, and I’m sure there are some people in the White House. There is an ongoing philosophy in the White House, by the way, regarding media: Don’t respond to things. Just let each of these fires burn out, because there’s going to be another one, and you can get caught up responding to this stuff and then you will take your eye off the ball. Now, you’re right. When the approval numbers fall, then the cowards at heart rise to the top, be they elected Republicans in Washington or elsewhere, and they feel the need to abandon the president because his numbers are going down and nobody wants to appear with him and so forth.
But you note that he finally toward the end of the year did respond, and the approval numbers got back up. Has it stopped the Democrats? No. And nothing will. You have to understand, responding to the media is not going to stop ’em. Responding to the Democrats is not going to stop ’em. The reason you do it is to provide leadership for your side which is what you’re saying, and I totally, totally agree with it. I’m just trying to explain here that you don’t have a president who’s clueless. In fact just the opposite, and his sights are set on things that he considers far more important than the New York Times. In fact, this investigation, I think one thing that woke him up in this regard was this New York Times story. When was it? On the 16th about the NSA leaks, National Security Agency. I mean, this is serious stuff. He takes the war on terror seriously, protecting the people and defending the Constitution of this country, and this is an effort to undermine that ability. The Democrats have gotten so far — and these leaks are coming from somewhere. They may be coming from the justice department but it’s time to find out where, and to get serious about it, and I think that’s got him revved up, too, but it’s all, in the end, all I’m trying to say is that he has an inner — what can I say? ? confidence?
It’s not the word I’m really looking for here. He has (interruption). No, not a compass. He’s just very secure. He’s just confident he’s doing the right thing, and I don’t mean from an ego standpoint. I don’t mean that he’s right and everybody else is wrong, that’s not his attitude. He’s just confident that all this is going to work out. He’s confident we’re going to win the war on terror, he’s confident that this is going to succeed, confident about Iraq. He just knows that it’s going to work, because he’s doing the right thing. It may take some years. But he just has that belief, and of course when you’re up against a bunch of pessimists, I don’t know about you, but when I’m around pessimists, no matter what you say they want to disparage it, and especially if you just say, “I feel good about it, I think it’s all going to work out.”
“Oh, listen to you! Your head is head buried in the sand. You’re not able to face reality,” and so forth. The people that aren’t able to face reality are the Democrats today, the American left, they’re the ones with heads in the sand, they’re the ones that don’t see the reality. They’re the ones that are exactly what they accuse Bush of being: detached, in a bubble, in their own world, and everything else be damned. There’s no great sense of purpose to what they’re doing. It’s about them, and it’s not going to take them that far, I don’t care what anybody says.
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