RUSH: International Herald Tribune, which is the international version of the New York Times, from today: ‘A New American Reality: the Government as Provider.’ Yeah, this is what I was talking about in the first hour. He didn’t hear much of it, Snerdley, because you’re screening calls. ‘In a country that holds itself up as a citadel of free enterprise, Washington has morphed from being the lender of last resort into effectively the only resort for home loans for millions of Americans engaged in the largest transactions of their lives.
‘Before, the government’s more modest mission was to make more loans available at lower rates. Now it is to make sure the loans that matter most to middle class Americans are made at all.’ Damn right. This is not good. The government people love it, but it isn’t good. ‘The new reality,’ it says here, ‘is scorned by libertarians and conservatives who fear intrusions by the state in the market, and by populists and progressives who rue a society in which education and housing increasingly rest upon the government.’ Don’t tell me progressives are upset about any of this! They don’t even call themselves ‘liberals’ anymore in the New York Times. They call ’em progressives. They love this. If you’re socialist, you love what’s going on, and most liberals are either socialists or leaning in that direction.
Audio sound bite time. This is related to what we were discussing in the first hour of the program. All of this Big Government and all of this activist government and government ‘helping people.’ This is what our conservative intelligentsia thinks conservatism needs to morph to so that we can get the votes of the middle class, the working class, like Ronald Reagan did. See, the big difference is — and I, again, hearken back to LA Times last week. The big difference is Reagan converted. He moved the electorate to the right. Reagan didn’t move to the ‘center.’ Our new guys and some of our old guys want us to move to the center to where they think people are rather than attracting people on the foundations of our own philosophy! So you remember Mickey Edwards, retired congressman from Oklahoma who had some fairly critical things to say of me on C-SPAN once. I forget exactly what he said. Oh! He was asked about the election of McCain, said it probably wouldn’t make Rush Limbaugh happy, or whatever. Anyway, he was on. Bill Moyers goes out and finds ‘conservatives,’ quote, unquote. I gotta tell you, if you are a conservative and you accept Moyers’ invitation, you are not… Well, I don’t want to get into who’s a conservative and who isn’t, but let’s face it. If Moyers wants you, there has to be some question. Let’s just put it that way. You know, if Moyers is out there looking for people he thinks are conservatives to come on his show, there has to be a reason. You should be suspicious if Bill Moyers calls you and says he wants you to come on and discuss conservatism. He had Mickey Edwards, and here’s the exchange. There is the question from Moyers and Edwards is all contained here.
EDWARDS: The people who are attacking me are post-Reagan people. I don’t even know what they represent, but it is not conservatism. You know, but (crosstalk)
MOYERS: Don’t they think Rush Limbaugh considers himself the voice of — of conservatism? Don’t you?
EDWARDS: Well, yeah, I am sure he considers himself the voice of everything. I mean, he — but — but, look, the fact is the people who created the conservative movement, the people who were the Goldwater, Reagan people who wrote those platforms that — that insisted that the District of Columbia have a vote in Congress. Arizona, Planned Parenthood gives an annual Barry Goldwater award, you know, because we believe in free choice.
RUSH: What? (laughing) Do you see? Do you see what…? Goldwater? Goldwater went over the edge later in life. Planned Parenthood was part of Reagan’s conservative planks in his conventions, and free choice? This is precisely what I mean! So here’s Mickey Edwards who I don’t know — he’s from Oklahoma; he’s a retired member of Congress — telling me that I’m not a conservative. He doesn’t even know what a conservative is, but he’s now defining it. This is exactly what is happening. Now, also on this show, Ross Douthat. I don’t know how he says it. Do you know how to pronounce Ross Douthat’s last name? It’s D-o-u-t-h-a-t, and he and a buddy have written a book which also describes this. It’s their book that has the belief that we need to, as conservatives, adapt some of the things from the New Deal, as a means of getting the electorate back into our camp so that we can win. I do not know how to pronounce his name. I’m sorry. D-o-u-t-h-a-t. Douthat? Douthat? Douthat? Douthat? I don’t know, and I’m not trying to make fun of it. I just don’t know. But he was also on with Mickey Edwards, with Bill Moyers. And Moyers says, ‘Well, all right, somewhere between you and Ross, then, the radicals of conservatism took over?’ (laughing)
DOUTHAT: Mickey and I, I think disagree on a lot of stuff and represent kind of different visions for the Republican Party, but I think Rush Limbaugh would pretty much hate us both.
EDWARDS: Yeah, I’m not longing for a golden age. Yeah, I’m longing for adherence to the Constitution of the United States, because when we talk about American exceptionalism, that’s what it is. It’s not our wealth; it’s not our military. What makes us exceptional is our form of self-government, you know, that keeps most of the major powers — over whether to go to war, what our tax policies ought to be, how much should be spent — keeps it in the hands of the people through their representatives.
RUSH: Yeah, Mickey, do you see what’s happening out there today? The form of self-government that you lionize here, is vanishing. Self-government equals limited government, and there’s not much limited about our government these days, particularly in the financial markets. Now, American exceptionalism, I would define it in a far deeper way. And I’ve done it before. I don’t have time to do it now because I’ve got break coming up and I’ve got one more bite. But I can get close by asking the question. We’ve been around for less than 230 years, right, 240 years as a country. Now, compare us to populations, cultures, societies who have been roaming the planet for thousands of years. In less than 250 years, the people of the United States of America have outrun the rest of the world in everything. I don’t care how you define it. I don’t care what measure you want to make.
And this is not an accident. There is an answer to the question, how did this happen? How is it that societies and cultures, say in Europe and elsewhere, have been on the planet for thousands of years, did not come close to doing what we did? And we’re no different as human beings. The DNA is the same. We’re not better people. We’re not a better quality or class of human being than anybody else is on the planet. How did it happen? There are definite answers to this, and those answers define American exceptionalism. You can’t take the military out of it; you can’t take prosperity out of it. You can’t take wealth creation out of it and say that’s not what you mean by American exceptionalism, ’cause it all works together in driving these things. This business about Ross Douthat saying that I would ‘hate’ both him and Mickey? I don’t hate these guys. Where did this come from? Anyway, the next question from Moyers: ‘Is John McCain a conservative by your definition?
DOUTHAT: I believe in a — you know, a big tent for who is and who is not a conservative. I think it’s fair to define Mickey as a conservative. I think it’s fair to define Rush Limbaugh as a conservative. I think, you know, there’s a lot of variety within the conservative family, and I think, you know, McCain falls into that camp, broadly speaking.
RUSH: We’re talking the difference here between Republicans and conservative. You know, ‘conservative’ doesn’t have any modifiers. Conservative has a singular foundation: individual liberty. That individual liberty and freedom is never going to go out of style, and so conservatism does not need to be remade, reformed, reflaked, reshaped. But the Republican Party is in the process of trying to remake, reform, and reflake itself so as to appeal to more voters rather than to stand for something and attract voters.
RUSH: You know, it is kind of interesting here. We have some Republicans who seem hell-bent in throwing away the one proven winning formula twice that won 49 states, they want to just throw that out. These guys, Mickey Edwards and Ross Douthat, have more enmity for me than they do Democrats. And that’s one of the things that’s sort of becoming apparent to many of us here on the right side. Our presidential candidate seems to have a closer relationship with Democrats than he does with members of his own party and seems to want it that way. It boggles my mind. It’s right out of the blueprint for success, overwhelming success. You want to win, you want to win 49 states, this is how you do it. ‘Ah, throw it out, gonna throw it out, we gotta throw it out, we need to moderate it, modify it, we need to upgrade it, version 2.0, we need big tents and so forth.’ If you want to big-tent the Republican Party, go right ahead. You start big-tenting conservatism, and you’re going to have it end up meaning nothing.