RUSH: Joe in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Nice to have you on the EIB Network, sir. Hello.
CALLER: Hi, Rush. How you doing?
RUSH: Just fine, sir, never better.
CALLER: First-time caller, I’ve been listening to you since the very beginning.
RUSH: Thank you. I appreciate that.
CALLER: Yes. My question was, you know, I’ve been voting since Jimmy Carter, and I voted for Jimmy Carter in the beginning, ’til my eyes were opened up when Ronald Reagan came in, but I’ve just been thinking lately that I’m starting to see George Bush as the Republican Party’s Jimmy Carter.
RUSH: Why? What do you mean?
CALLER: You know, Rush, I remember some years ago listening to you, working, you know, construction and everything, had my headphones on all the time, and you were saying how you believed that George Bush was trying to govern to destroy the Democratic Party. But I think he’s been doing everything in his power almost to destroy the Republican Party the way he’s been governing the past seven years. That’s just my own perception. I think he’s a good man. I don’t think he’s like a Jimmy Carter or something, but for us in the Republican Party, we who are conservative, we just have strong ideals for our leadership. We want them to govern in ways that are really going to benefit our nation and our country. And for myself, who has been voting Republican all these years now, I’ve just really become disheartened with the leadership that’s in Washington, especially with George Bush, when I think and I know that he could be doing much greater. I do believe that the man has the potential, but just in my heart and everything, I just, you know, he’s been failing us as a people and as a country.
RUSH: Okay, I understand a lot of people have your view, but Bush has got a year. What are you going to do about it? I guess what I’m saying is I’m a little curious as to the timing of your call. Is this tied to an issue that’s out there now, something that’s got you upset, or is it just overall, in general?
CALLER: Rush, four years ago I went into business on my own because I had two sons who I thought would do great in that business, and at 50 years of age I made a big effort to go out when I had it made where I was and everything, sacrificed everything, chucked everything to start a business. And now when I see the things that are coming down through Washington that are affecting me as a businessman and everything, I get tremendously discouraged. I look at George Bush, who would have the potential — I own an excavating business now, started out with two employees, I’m up to 15, and growing. And now when I see these fuel prices, okay, I understand what you’re saying about as far as let the market forces govern, stuff like that. But why, as an American, should it be like Europe? Why do I have to pay five dollars a gallon for oil like the rest of the world? We are America. We should be doing things better and greater for our country and stuff like that. And as a businessman, I think my eyes are just being opened up to how the government is governing my life. And just one other little thing, Rush. I look at the war, I see how George Bush — and I agree with the war. I’m for it 100%. We have to fight this battle and everything. But he has all these guts and all this ambition to go out and send our forces over to the Middle East. Why isn’t he fighting this battle back here in America? I think there’s a bigger battle going on over in America. I think it’s time that we stopped fighting this conventional war in America and start bringing up some special warfare in America.
RUSH: This is why I say that the presidential election is going to be about the future. It’s interesting, I thought when I saw your call up on the board, and asked me if he was Jimmy Carter, I thought you would be talking about the Annapolis conference today involving the Middle East. So you kind of surprised me here.
RUSH: I really thought Joe in Allentown, when he made this comparison of Bush to Jimmy Carter, was going to be talking about the Annapolis peace summit or conference today between the Palestinians and the Israelis. I was totally blindsided by where he went, his disaffection and anger at Bush; the price of gasoline, he said, is five bucks a gallon. We’re not paying five bucks a gallon. I understood his point. American exceptionalism seems to be on the wane. Joe, I know you’re still out there, and I have to be honest here about something. I don’t do well with calls like yours, and I’ve had a couple lately. We’ve had one from a similar guy in Arizona, a small businessman who would not tell me what business he was in, but he was railing about the difficulties he’s having staying in business and it was largely because of Republicans and the Bush administration and so forth. My problem is — I don’t want to insult you two guys. I’m sure the guy in Arizona is still listening. I’m sure Joe in Allentown is. The reason that I don’t do well with those kinds of calls is because I don’t do well with whiners. We conservatives are not whiners. We’re doers!
Life is hard. It’s got roadblocks. It’s got obstacles. It’s got challenges to it. It’s got liberals in it, and it’s got government, whoever is running it. The difference between liberals and conservatives is: We don’t sit around and whine about things. We do whatever is necessary to get past these obstacles, because whining doesn’t accomplish anything, and complaining. I realize we all have to vent, but it’s sort of like saying you feel sorry for somebody. Good. What’s that going to do for ’em? A little show of affection, ‘I feel so sorry,’ good. That’s great, but now what are you going to do? Life is action! It’s not a spectator sport, and we conservatives do not go around feeling sorry. We lament the fact that government’s in our way and we try to do everything we can to elect people that will get government out of our way, but sometimes they don’t. We don’t give up and start whining about it. We kick ’em out, and we replace ’em with new people, or else they quit on their own, so they can become lobbyists a year before the rules change. (No names mentioned here.) But the point is that Bush has got one year to go, and I don’t know what the point was. Are you going to vote Democrat, Joe?
Are you going to vote independent? For whatever is going on that’s made you unhappy now, it’s only going to get worse if the other side, if the Democrats get in. You think you’ve got obstacles to running your business now — that’s the nature of government. It grows and it intercedes and it wants to take more and more control via regulation and a number of other things, as we all know. So I don’t know what… We do have a great war that we’re fighting here, but I may have a different definition of the war we’re fighting. I think the war we’re fighting in this war in this country is against liberals. The war that we’re fighting here is against the media, who are trying to secure America’s defeat, who are trying to promote in the minds of as many Americans as possible that there is no such thing anymore as American exceptionalism. They’re trying to pollute and poison the minds of the American people into believing their country’s better days are behind them, and we have no future, and it’s bleak and it’s miserable. I have no patience for that because it, A, isn’t true — and I get very frustrated, when people fall prey to the old conventional wisdom about that.
Because we’re a bunch of doers. Anybody can sit around and complain about what is and then blame the president for it. But I want you to ask yourselves, folks: Just how much impact on a daily basis in your business or your life does any elected official have, as opposed to the impact on it you can have? Now, I’m not being Pollyannaish here, because there are differences. A liberal politician in charge is going to be a much greater obstacle than, say, a conservative or somebody else. We’ve had liberals in power, in my lifetime; we’ve had Republicans in power, and throughout my lifetime, people have prospered, and they have done what’s necessary to do so. We’re involved in politics, and we’re interested in politics primarily because we each, as individuals, have a vision for the future of the country, and we realize that there is a government, and we realize it has to be led. We also realize that a lot of people in the country have to be led, that they’re not self-starters and so we want leaders that reflect our world view and our core beliefs and principles. When we don’t get them, we think, ‘Oh, my gosh, we’re in trouble. Ah, everything is going to hell in a handbasket,’ but it never really does. However, we’re at a point now where I think a lot of people are really, truly worried about what the future of the country will be, given the election of the Clintons.
For example, if they get back in or John Edwards, it’s going to be much tougher to overcome these people because these people are the kind of people that only want power in government; they want power over as many citizens as possible. Now, Joe says his business is growing. He’s gone from two to 15 employees, and we have all kinds of great economic news to report. I don’t know how much Joe’s attitude is based on his actual day-to-day experience with his business, or how much of it’s due to his exposure to Drive-By Media each and every day that is causing his attitude to be challenged. But I’m not going to try to talk anybody out of the attitude they have. Your attitude is yours, your feelings are yours, and I don’t own them. So I’m not going to try to change them in a wag-my-finger-in-your-face business. (interruption) Mmm-hmm. Mmm-hmm. Yes. (interruption) Well, I understand. There’s the fear at the housing, the mortgage thing, and the oil price going up. There’s fear, but the reason for the fear is, you have no control over it! You always have more comfort in life over things that you can control. Like, for example, once your kids get certain age, you can’t control ’em and everyday is a crapshoot, you just hope and pray. Right? You just hope and pray. Same thing here.
I understand the oil business and so forth, and the subprime and the mortgage, the credit crunch. When those things happen, I just rely on my experience. I’m 56 years old. I just rely on history, my own life’s history and the history that occurred before I was born, and I look where the country is today versus where it was in the sixties, versus where it was in the seventies. We had all those gasoline lines. Look, when I turned 16 and was driving age, gasoline was 25 cents a gallon and there were gas wars. Now, this was 1969-70. Two years later gasoline was a buck. Now, you go from 25 cents to a dollar in two years, that’s a huge, significant percentage increase in terms of the impact on the budget, the average family budget. Even with the price being a buck, there were gas lines, and that was Panic City, because you have to have gasoline in your car — and then they went to rationing on various days. When I lived in Pittsburgh, stations open two hours a day. They were open every other day, or what have you. We all have these fears because you can’t control ’em. But these situations, with the right people in charge… Look, Reagan got rid of the gas lines. Jimmy Carter didn’t.
It matters who wins elections. I’m not saying that it doesn’t. But as individuals, we can’t get up every day and look whatever direction Washington is from your house and bow down and pray to them to do the right thing. All I’m saying is: You have more control over your life and your future and how to deal with these obstacles than you realize, and if you just learn to get hold of and grasp that concept, just the idea of being able to take action to deal with it, and sometimes it’s not going to work, nothing works all the time, there are going to be ups and downs — and that’s the point. But for every down there is a corresponding up that’s going to happen down the road, and when the up happens, we’re generally better off than we were when the previous down occurred. I don’t mean to preach here, folks, and I don’t mean to get on Joe, and I don’t mean to get on the other guy. Perhaps ‘whining’ is not the best word. I’m really talking about myself. I just don’t do well with people who complain, I don’t know what to say. (interruption) Well, I mean to them, when they’re on the phone, because we all want to be sympathetic when somebody’s whining and complaining about something. But after awhile, if they keep whining and complaining about the same thing, you lose patience, right? Well, I’ve had 20 years of listening to whining here.
RUSH: David in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, you’re next. It’s great to have you here with us.
CALLER: Thanks for taking my call, Rush.
RUSH: You bet.
CALLER: To respond to Joe’s comments — you might remember him as the Debbie Downer call from about an hour ago.
RUSH: Yeah, from Allentown.
CALLER: Allentown. Listen, I got a love for him because I’m from Harrisburg, PA, but it ends about there. I’m a 24-year-old Reagan conservative Christian, and next to my faith in Christ, the one thing I attribute every ounce of success to in my life is surrounding myself with unbelievably optimistic people — and you, my friend, are number one on my list. Thank God for you, Rush, for being so optimistic about life.
RUSH: Well, I appreciate that. That’s nice of you to say. I want to say something about this, too, because a lot of people accuse me of being…well, not artificially optimistic. What do they say? ‘Well, of course! Look at your life. Who wouldn’t be optimistic with your life? It must be easy for you,’ which, I understand, for people on the outside looking in. If you see only this portion of my life, and don’t know what came before it, then you might form that impression. Other people also say, ‘You know, optimism is good but not when it’s phony. If you’re going to sit around and tell people things that aren’t true just to make ’em feel good, that’s not good.’ Well, that’s not what I do. I try to point out what genuinely is positive and to find the positive in most everything because I’ve just learned in life that that makes for a happier life, and I frankly don’t think there’s any virtue in misery. (interruption) Ummm. (interruption) Oh. Oh. Oh. Oh. I’ve got the staff saying most people… I don’t think I should repeat that. That’s awfully self-serving. (interruption) See, that’s the kind of thing somebody else ought to say, not me. I can’t say that kind of thing. This is why they don’t have microphones. You don’t…? (interruption) Let me tell you something: If I say this stuff, it’s going to sound the most self-serving. (interruption)
Mmm-hmm. All right, okay. The staff is trying to get me to talk about is this optimism business and people looking at my life, just this slice of it, the what you know now, ‘Yeah, why, I’d be optimistic, too, if I had your life and so forth,’ and my staff is all saying, ‘We wouldn’t want your life,’ and what they’re meaning by that is: ‘Look, you are hated, and you get lied about, and you get trashed. They try to destroy you out there,’ and Snerdley just said, ‘Most people couldn’t handle your life. They couldn’t deal with the negative aspects of it,’ but that’s awfully self-serving for me to say. It really is. (interruption) Yeah, that’s true, but that’s the kind of thing other people ought to say. Regardless, despite all of that, one of the reasons I’m optimistic is because look where I am, given all that that happens and has happened. So, David, I appreciate your comment. I just don’t believe that there is virtue in misery. I just don’t think… You run around being miserable all the time, that’s liberals. They’re incapable of being happy, and look at ’em! They’re literally miserable. We all only get one life, folks — and there’s enough suffering in life without making your own, which is what way too many of us do.