RUSH: Gene in San Mateo, California, nice to have you on the EIB Network.
CALLER: First-time caller.
RUSH: Yes, sir.
CALLER: Longtime listener. I’d like to see you tell us, on a regular basis, in non-emotional terms, the difference between a conservative and a populist. I think especially since Huckabee got elected in Iowa, I think it’s important that people know not just what a populist is. I know that you say that he speaks to the individual and wants to solve the individual’s problems and let ’em bring government to do that, but I think if you could characterize a populist in terms what they would do in government, what do they back, what do they want to happen, what would they oppose and so forth and how a populist can be so very different from a conservative. I think that would be very helpful, and over and over for people who only listen occasionally. There are a whole host of differences between the two.
RUSH: Well, it’s just — (laughing) This has been quite instructive today. Let me try to say it this way. Folks, I am not here to write campaign brochures for these candidates. I’m not writing talking points for or against any of these candidates or voter guides. If you have listened to this show for any period of time, you know full well where I stand on the issues. You need to match ’em up with the candidate’s view, candidate’s record. There are times I feel compelled to go further. During those times, I will. But you don’t want to turn this into a candidate forum. This is not what we do here. I’m also not really crazy about turning the program into a dictionary. (laughing) But I will endeavor to explain populism when we come back.
RUSH: Welcome back to Open Line Friday, and the dictionary portion of the program, ladies and gentlemen. The word populist. What is populism? What is a populist? The dictionary definition is often, as in the case of dictionary definitions today of liberal and conservative, it is not helpful. But the dictionary definition of populist is: ‘A member or adherent of a political party seeking to represent the interests of ordinary people; a person who holds or who is concerned with the views of ordinary people.’ The root here is… Well, there was a Populist Party. It was formed in 1891 and at the time the Populist Party ‘advocated the interests of labor and farmers, the free coinage of silver, and a graduated income tax along with government control of monopolies.’ Now, the modern interpretation of populist, as I use it today, is not complimentary. A populist in this sense of ‘seeking to represent the interests of ordinary people,’ this is what people who employ populism want the ordinary people to think: that they are ‘one of them’; in fact, that they are from them; that they understand the ordinary, and that the ordinary are being shafted, and that the ordinary are being creamed, and the ordinary are being ignored.
So the populist comes along and says, ‘Not only am I for you, I’m of you, and I am going to go to Washington and I’m going to make sure that we ordinary people kick butt and we’re going to kick the butts of the elites and we’re going to kick the butt of the establishment! We’re going to do this and we’re going to do that.’ Most of them who do this are already from the establishment! They’re elected governors. They’re senators, or what have you. So it becomes a technique to relate to people on an emotional basis with a false promise, and that is that any one individual can solve all the problems of the ordinary. The ordinary would love their problems to be solved! I myself, not a member of the ordinary in my own definition, would love for my problems to be solved. But I’ll tell you damn what: There is not a single politician on the face of the Earth that can solve one problem I’ve got. Now, I have complaints as well as problems. I don’t like high taxation. That is something an elected official can do something about, but with a realistic proposal. But I’ve got problems with my cat. I have problems with doors that don’t fit. I have problems with ants running around portions of the house, but I fix it!
I don’t wait for some politician to say, ‘I, too, have ants! I have had ants. I’ve had doors that don’t fit, and it’s the corporation that cuts the lumber and makes the wood that’s screwing your wood. We’re gonna get even with that big, evil timber industry for making you have to deal with a wood piece that doesn’t fit, or we’re going to get even with the carpenter who cut it or the contractor who made it!’ or what have you. It is simply not possible, ladies and gentlemen, for a single individual to solve the problems of The Ordinary. First, can we define ‘ordinary’? Is the ordinary average? What’s the average? How many of you think of yourselves as ordinary? I hope not too many. I hope you all think of yourselves as special. All of us Americans are special. Not because of anything different about us, DNA or any of that. We’re special because of our opportunity and because of our freedom. We’re special because what those two things, opportunity and freedom, allow us to do with our lives! But there simply is no one man or woman who can appeal to everybody who’s, quote, unquote, ‘ordinary’ and solve their problems, but he can sure make ’em think so. For the ordinary to think that their problems can be solved, what must they do? They must turn over the solution of their problems to the person who seeks to fix them, and in the process they lose their freedom and they lose their individuality and all else that goes with that. So the populist is actually a big-government person in disguise. The populist is somebody who wants to grow government to take problem-solving and sadness and all these things, out of your daily life and replace them with whatever government can do so you will become dependent. John Edwards is a populist, for example. Mrs. Clinton is a populist.