RUSH: Central Ohio, this is Mack. Nice to have you on the EIB Network. Hello.
CALLER: How you doing, Rush?
RUSH: I’m fine, sir. Never better.
CALLER: Well listen, I was on hold to talk to you back in 2000 because I was a supporter of John McCain, found him to be an honorable man, shook his hand, I’m a Navy veteran, and here we are again, huh?
RUSH: You were mad at me then back in 2000? You had to be mad at me back in 2000.
CALLER: Oh, I couldn’t wait to talk to you about it, but, you know, some of the things you said proved out.
RUSH: They usually do.
CALLER: Well, I agree. I’ve been listening to you since I believe about ’89, maybe ’90. I was in Sacramento right when you left.
RUSH: Well, that would be ’88, so you’re almost a lifer.
CALLER: Yeah, just about, and this is a big moment. I’ve gotten through a couple of times, but I’d like to thank you for standing behind him this time. I think we’ve got the right man. I’d sure like to see him running with Newt, though.
RUSH: Well, that isn’t going to happen. But I am hearing that the front-runner now for the veep is Mitt Romney.
RUSH: Tell me what it is you like about McCain. You liked him in 2000, what do you like about him now?
CALLER: I guess just the character issue.
RUSH: Yeah, right.
CALLER: Here’s a man that, you know, he had a chance to go home early, he showed his bravery in combat, while he’s being tortured. I don’t agree with everything he’s done politically, but —
CALLER: — I think what he wants to do is reach across the line. If there was one thing I wish he would do, I wish somebody would stand up for term limits for Congress.
RUSH: (laughing) Fat chance. What do you admire about somebody stepping across the aisle?
CALLER: Well, I’m very conservative. But I think I’m also like John McCain, I’m a great enjoyer of the outdoors. Now I think we should drill in ANWR. I think we’re capable of doing that. But I think there are some ideas that come from the left that are their weight.
RUSH: Name one.
CALLER: Well, I guess conservation.
RUSH: Wait a second. You think conservation is an exclusively liberal idea and policy?
CALLER: No, not at all, but I think back, I’m 51 years old, and I remember when the Cuyahoga River caught on fire in Cleveland, and, you know, I think industry needed to be reined in but I think what we’ve done now — and I find it amazing that the left has any credibility with labor because they are the ones that shut the factories down. But something had to be done, and as the pendulum swings, sometimes it swings too far in each direction, but I’m always open for new ideas.
RUSH: Let me tell you something. I’m listening to you with a great deal of patience and a great deal of restraint. We are at a crucial juncture in this country. As the left is currently constituted, there’s not one step across the aisle worth taking. The biggest problem that we face is that too many on our side have a convoluted impression of the success inherent in crossing the aisle, as you have just expressed. There are some on our side, mostly in the media, who want to tout the advantages of a Big Government run by conservatives, that they cancel each other out. There’s no such thing as a Big Government run by conservatives that stays big and is big on purpose and grows. That’s not what conservatism is. The idea of crossing the line, let them cross the line. How come they never cross the line? Why is it always up to us? How come when we start criticizing things in the world, why do we always start criticizing ourselves first? There’s yet another poll out from the McLaughlin Group. I think that’s the group, the actual name of the company, but they’re famous, they’re out there doing a lot of polls, and they’ve come up with another conclusion: Republicans must rebrand conservatism or find a new kind of conservatism.
There isn’t a new kind. There’s only one. Conservatism doesn’t need revisions. Conservatism is founded in individual liberty and freedom. As such, it will never go out of style. When we start crossing the aisle with these people — and by that, I mean accepting their version of things — if we’re compromising principle in the process, then we are harming ourselves and we’re harming the country. If it’s worth crossing the aisle with them, why don’t we just all become Democrats if that’s the answer? I would prefer to have somebody sit around and say to people on the left, ‘Oh, you want to get that done, come join us, ’cause here’s how we’re going to do it. Here’s how we’re going to fix education; here’s how we’re going to deal with being had; here’s how we’re going to deal with whatever problem is on the board; here’s how we’re going to deal with the war on terror. Here’s how we’re going to deal with bloated budgets. If you’re interested in fixing these problems, join us on our side of the aisle. But we’re not going to accept your premise, cross the aisle, work with you, so that we can have a little bit of influence on the policies around the edges.’
I’m tired of crossing the aisle. I’m tired of hearing about what a great thing it is. I’m worn out with hearing that as the definition of open-mindedness and so forth. Let’s go back to the Great Society, 1964. This is 2008. So what are we talking, 44 years. We have a 44-year domestic history of failure after failure after failure of the left’s prescriptions for things that need fixing or that need to be addressed, 44 years of failure. Nothing, in anybody’s common sense, should recommend that we go back and do it again or continue to try it on the premise that we just haven’t spent enough money. We don’t even have to just stop in this country. We can go to any country in world history that has been run as a socialist or totalitarian country, and we can see, it doesn’t work. If you define work as having a population with individual freedom and liberty, free to be entrepreneurs, economic opportunity, growth and prosperity, peace, free of crime, threat, this sort of thing, you don’t find that in any totalitarian, socialist, or communist regime. It’s never worked. Not for individuals. It works for the people in power.
So this business of crossing the aisle and have that be some sort of resume enhancement, until we get a handle on this and start getting a little confident and telling them it’s time for them to cross the aisle, ‘But, Rush, but, Rush, we’re in the minority.’ No, we haven’t been, just for the last two years. We have the White House, and we had a majority in the House of Representatives, we were going back and forth with the Senate because Trent Lott was giving away Senate seats to Tom Daschle in order to share power to walk across the aisle so they would love us, so they would think that we’re not mean-spirited and all that stuff, they would think that we’re fair. Look where it got us. It got us Harry Reid, who is one of the meanest, most extreme partisans Washington has ever seen, unapologetic about it, and he’s not going to cross any aisle, not on a matter of policy. He’ll cross the aisle when the end result is he gets what he wants. They’re not going to sacrifice what they want, why should we? What’s so fabulous about that? ‘Well, Rush, what you don’t understand is it shows that we can be big people, that we understand a thing larger than ourselves.’ That’s not what it shows. It shows that we don’t have confidence in what we believe. It also shows we have people who are more interested in winning elections doing whatever they have to do rather than actually winning elections on the basis of advancing a movement, which gives you a mandate, which, by the way, at the same time, inspires the American people.
Which political party would you rather be part of right now, would you rather be part of a party that has to get up every day and tell people how rotten the country is, how rotten their future is and how they’re to blame for it? You’ve earned too much money, you’ve been driving your cars that are too big, you’ve been wasting electricity, you’ve been voting Republican, whatever. This is a party that has to blame you for everything wrong in this country, and then you, when they come to power, are going to get blamed even more, and you’re going to pay the price. There is nothing inspiring about the American left. There is nothing inspiring about today’s Democrat Party. It is just the opposite. They depress. They can turn people to medication. Their portrayal of the country, their portrayal of the US military, their portrayal of our place in the world is one of shame and guilt and rage. How in the world does a movement like that get any votes at all? Substantial enough votes, number of votes to win? It happens when the other side doesn’t do the exact opposite and start being optimistic, talking about American exceptionalism, telling the American people they’re not to blame, they are the reason the country works, that they are the backbone of this country, and more is going to be needed of them, and we need people engaging in commerce, educating themselves, following their dreams, following their passions.
What our job is to do is to get out of your way when you do it. We’re not going to have a bunch of regulations in your way; we’re not going to punish you when you succeed. The Democrats and the leftists in this country are just the opposite. Now, I realize there are a lot of people in this country who exist on class envy, and you don’t have to improve their lives to make them temporarily happy. All you have to do is tell ’em somebody else is getting creamed, tell ’em somebody else is getting hurt, somebody else is suffering, you know, put a little schadenfreude on them, tell ’em somebody else’s taxes are going up, tell ’em they’re not going to be able to drive their big cars anymore, what have you. And people who will have no resulting benefit to them still go, ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah, you make it even,’ because there are people in the country who want to tear the top down to so-call equalize people. That’s what the left does. The left never seeks to promote equality by boosting those at the bottom. It’s always about tearing down those at the top. There are fewer of them. It’s a much better bet, shotgun approach to try to poison the minds of a bunch of middle class and lower class, lower middle-class people than it is the opposite because there’s a lot of them. But it can be countered, and it’s been shown how it can be countered.
Conservatism, articulated properly and with passion, love for the country, American exceptionalism will attract a crowd. But when it’s not articulated by elected leaders or people seeking office, then it’s dormant. And then furthermore, when people in the conservatism movement, because they can’t find elected leaders to articulate it start saying, ‘Well, okay, let’s redefine conservatism, and let’s now say that conservatism has gotta find a way to attach itself to things like the New Deal. Conservatism has to find a way to attach itself to entitlements so that the working class knows that we like ’em and we’re not against ’em.’ It’s going to delay the eventual rebirth and salvation of the country, just going to delay it. I’m telling you here and now, crossing the aisle and working with the left is not going to make this country better, it’s not going to improve, and it isn’t going to do much for you.