RUSH: Now, ladies and gentlemen, I must admit to you here that I’m a bit conflicted about what happened here today and what to say about it, being totally candid and up front and honest with you. There’s no question it’s an historic day in the United States of America. There is no question that this is a day that has been built up and hyped, the inaugural address, we were told, would be soaring, that the words would be chiseled into stone — CNN reported this yesterday — and this is what happens when you build up expectations to the point they can’t be met. My conflict is, should I rein it in for a day and celebrate what’s just happened here and get in the spirit of things, or tell you what I really thought about the speech, and of course I always come down on the latter, and that’s tell you what I really thought, but it’s the equivalent of me getting in a big mess again. I have to tell you something. I saw more energy at a McCain rally than I saw during the Obama speech today. I saw ten times the energy and excitement during a Sarah Palin rally. And two million or so people, they say were there, and the audience obviously confused, when they should applaud, when they shouldn’t.
The biggest applause lines that I noticed during the speech had to do with moments where the president mentioned race, both past, present, and future. Those periods in the speech got the most reaction. There were several conflicts in this speech. At one point it was Reaganesque, telling people that it was up to them, using their industriousness and hard work to bring the country around and then shortly after that, it descended to elements of socialism. Listen to this review by Cliff May at National Review Online. Cliff May runs a think tank called the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. He said, ”Give Credit Where Credit Is Due’ — Obama is not spending a moment dancing in the end zone. He’s focusing on problems and the need for renewed energy and determination in solving them. Most of what he is saying could just as easily have been said by John McCain or Mitt Romney — or Ronald Reagan.’ Well, to a certain extent that’s true. I mean any person, as president, during an inaugural address could have made historical references in this country. But Reagan could not have made this speech. There were too many elements of socialism in this speech, too many elements of the government’s gonna do what is necessary to get people to work.
In this speech Barack Obama actually said that government is where people are gonna turn when they need work. And of course we’re going to fix bridges that aren’t broken and all of this. I think he tried to tackle too much. It was a campaign speech, and I think that he tried to just touch on too many things and strive for memorable line after memorable line. And, as such, it was a clunker. There wasn’t anything memorable. The most memorable moments of the day so far have been portions of the prayer at the end of the ceremonies by the Reverend Joseph Lowery. Now, ladies and gentlemen, this poet that was up there today. Let me give her name there for you, doesn’t roll off my tongue, Elizabeth Alexander was the poet today. Now, I’ve admitted to you on several occasions in the past that I’ve never jelled with poetry. You know, I’m a literalist. I don’t like symbolism. If you want to tell me the water is clear and blue, don’t take 15 pages to do so. Say the water is clear and blue, jump on in. I know poetry can be beautiful. Maybe it just means I’m not cultured, but I have no idea what that poem said. I don’t know what that woman was talking about. I don’t know much more about what Obama said after his speech. It was filled with the lofty platitudes that his campaign speeches were filled with, but the soaring rhetoric that we were led to believe would be there wasn’t as well.
So it just did not meet my expectations. We all admit that Obama’s a great speech maker, that he is a great orator. But this crowd that was there today did not give any indication that the atmosphere was electric. It was more somber, just listening to it and looking at the occasional crowd shots, the occasion seemed to be more somber than anybody was led to believe. All this is surprising to me, that there was very little inspiration, that there was soaring phrases that just weren’t there. Now, it was said that Obama was writing this himself. And that was the news that we got. Obama was going to write this speech himself. He sequestered himself for two days and didn’t want to be interrupted with anything while he worked on this. If that’s true, it was said that he was writing it himself, the results show that he probably did, because most of his speeches are written by David Axelrod. But this was buzz kill for the assembled billions out there. This was buzz kill. This was no buzz. There was bzz bzz bzz bzz bzz. You’ll have to forgive me if this offends you, folks. I’m just sharing with you my honest reaction to elements of the speech.
It was a generic speech. And if Cliff May thinks that’s what it was and every president could have given it, then, okay, I would have to agree. But we were led to believe there would be something comparable to ‘all we have to fear is fear itself,’ or ‘ask not what your country can do for you, demand what it can do for you.’ Something like that. Well, that was the theme of the campaign. But there was no hook. You know, in music, there was no hook to the song here. There was no chorus that kept you wanting to hear more and more and more of the song. I’m still thinking about the poet. She talked about boom box. She talked about pencils. And of course Joseph Lowery was talking about ‘when white would embrace what’s right.’ I will admit, I don’t often get offended, but in this circumstance, this ceremony, that was somewhat offensive. We just elected the first black president in the history of the country, and Joseph Lowery still wants to act like there’s a grievance out there.
RUSH: Remember the campaign, folks, when Obama’s speeches would leave people spent, would leave them sweaty, would leave them orgasmic? I mean, that’s what we saw on the campaign, in Denver. We saw it in Grant Park in Chicago on the night of the election. Spent, sweaty, orgasmic people after Obama’s speeches. None of that happened today. It’s one thing to talk about the challenges facing the country. Once you get people down, you have to lift ’em up on their way out of the event, and it didn’t happen. He took ’em down. He told ’em how bad it is, but there was no uplift. There was no inspiration here. He told us how bad it has been. He told us how challenging it’s going to be. In the middle of the speech, he said we can do anything we want, da-da-da-da. But there’s a formula.
There’s a rhythm to speeches, and the rhythm that has been part of his speeches throughout the campaign just wasn’t here today. One of the things that… You might call it a ‘straddling’ speech. Some might say a ‘clunky’ speech. Others might say ‘straddling,’ trying to be all things to all sides. But there was a tidbit in there where he got specific, and it’s going to be something that we’re going to refer to quite often whenever unions want greater power or somebody wants to raise the minimum wage. Here’s the little passage that he said: ‘For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies.’ That’s what brought me up short. I was not expecting that. That’s something I would say. That is something that Ronaldus Magnus would say. He’s basically saying, ‘You are the people that make this country work and you’re the ones who have made it great.’
But it didn’t last long. It was back to government being the sole provider and the sole solver of problems shortly after this passage was made. He said, ‘It is the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job.’ Okay. He said that today. ‘It’s the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job.’ That’s one of his definitions of what’s made America great. We will see when the next time is a union worker cuts his hours and reduce his pay in order see somebody else not get canned. We’ll keep a sharp eye on this.
RUSH: Here is Patty in Southampton, Pennsylvania, great to have you on the Rush Limbaugh program. Hello.
RUSH: Yes, hi!
CALLER: I have to say that I love your show, and I just started listening about a year ago, and I wish I had started a long time ago.
RUSH: Well, you can make up for lost time rather quickly on this program.
CALLER: (laughing) I was calling to voice my disappointment in the inauguration speech. I was waiting for that ‘tingle up my leg.’
RUSH: Now, were you really?
CALLER: Something! (laughing)
RUSH: Now, wait a minute, now. Honest question. Did you want to be dazzled or were you hoping for a fizzling sparkler?
CALLER: I was kind of hoping for it. (laughing)
RUSH: Hoping for what?
CALLER: The fizzling sparkler! (laughing)
RUSH: Yeah, it’s sort of like the question, all these people running around saying, ‘We really want Barack to succeed.’ I did an interview with Sean Hannity today. He was down here to do a two-part TV show interview, and it will air on Wednesday and Thursday nights on his new show, ‘Hannity,’ at nine o’clock on the Fox News Channel, and he asked me about this. ‘I hear you’re saying that you want Barack to not succeed.’ I said, ‘No, no. It’s not exactly what I’m saying. What I’ve said is that I’m alarmed here at all of these Republicans who are just falling in line. ‘Oh, yes, we really want him to succeed. Give him a chance to succeed.’ What is ‘success’ here? Obama going to the campaign and listening to his rhetoric, all this spending? This is collectivism, socialism, whatever you want to call it. None of what we’re planning for the future of this country has any relationship to what made this country great. I don’t want this to succeed.’ Now, if he says that he’s gonna cut taxes, extend the Bush tax cuts, be a little supply side on the economy, I hope that succeeds. So it depends on what he does.