RUSH: I was not going to talk about Michael Steele. I have had e-mails from the Drive-By Media. I have had interview requests to be on television shows to talk about Michael Steele and what he said about my speech Saturday night. He was on CNN and I was going to ignore it, but so many of you are e-mailing me asking me to respond to this that I have changed my mind and I’m going to do so. Here is what has prompted all of the irritation at Michael Steele. He was on the D. L. Hughley show on CNN Saturday night, and the other voice you’ll hear is the other guest, the rapper Chuck D. They had this exchange about me.
HUGHLEY: Rush Limbaugh, who is the de facto leader of the Republican Party —
STEELE: No, he’s not.
HUGHLEY: Well, I’ll tell you what, I’ve never —
STEELE: I’m the de facto leader of the Republican Party.
HUGHLEY: Then you know what? Then I can appreciate that, but no — no one will — will actually pry down some of the things he says, like when he comes out and says that he wants the president to fail, I understand he wants liberalism to fail.
STEELE: How is that any different than what was said about George Bush during his presidency? Let’s put it into context here. Rush Limbaugh is an entertainer. Rush Limbaugh, the whole thing is entertainment. Yes, it’s incendiary, yes, it’s ugly —
RUSH: Okay, so I am an entertainer, and I have 20 million listeners, 22 million listeners because of my great song-and-dance routines here. Yes, said Michael Steele, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, I’m incendiary, and yes, it’s ugly. Michael Steele, you are head of the RNC. You are not head of the Republican Party. Tens of millions of conservatives and Republicans have nothing to do with the RNC and right now they want nothing to do with it, and when you call them asking them for money, they hang up on you. I hope that changes. I hope the RNC will get its act together. I hope the RNC chairman will realize he’s not a talking head pundit, that he is supposed to be working on the grassroots and rebuilding it, and maybe doing something about our open primary system and fixing it so that Democrats do not nominate our candidates. It’s time, Mr. Steele, for you to go behind the scenes and start doing the work that you were elected to do instead of trying to be some talking head media star, which you’re having a tough time pulling off. I hope you figure out how to run a primary system. But it seems to me that it’s Michael Steele who is off to a shaky start.
My parents taught me when I was growing up that you always stood behind people who defended you, you never abandoned people who stood up for you and who defended you against assault. Michael Steele was a candidate for the Senate in Maryland. Michael Steele was on this program, he got airtime on this program to attempt to refute the lies being told about him by Michael J. Fox in those famous ads way back when that were also run against Jim Talent in Missouri. I personally took time to defend Michael Steele and to rip the substance of those ads, had him on the show. I went after Chuck Schumer when Chuck Schumer’s former employee stole Michael Steele’s private credit record information and released it. When I went to Washington a couple years ago for a personal appearance from my station there, WMAL, WMAL arranged for a number of dignitaries to meet me backstage. One of them was Michael Steele, who thanked me very much for coming to his defense. Something’s happened. Now I’m just an entertainer and now I am ugly and my program is incendiary.
Michael Steele has been around long enough to know that the liberal media will use him by twisting what I say or what others say. He took the bait, he bit down hard on the bait, he launched an attack on me even though the premise of what was said to him was false. He took the bait and he went for it. Now, Mr. Steele, if it is your position as the chairman of the Republican National Committee that you want a left wing Democrat president and a left wing Democrat Congress to succeed in advancing their agenda, if it’s your position that you want President Obama and Speaker Pelosi and Senate Leader Harry Reid to succeed with their massive spending and taxing and nationalization plans, I think you have some explaining to do. Why are you running the Republican Party? Why do you claim you lead the Republican Party when you seem obsessed with seeing to it that President Obama succeeds? I frankly am stunned that the chairman of the Republican National Committee endorses such an agenda. I have to conclude that he does because he attacks me for wanting it to fail.
This isn’t complicated stuff here, folks. It’s difficult to organize the defeat of Obama and the Democrat Congress in 2012, if we want to. It’s going to be difficult enough, but on one hand it shouldn’t be difficult at all. But it’s going to be really hard, Mr. Steele, if you, as the chairman of the RNC, want Obama to succeed. Where does the Republican Party go if you, who are supposed to be redesigning our primary system and helping reestablish our grassroots movement, how are we going to retake elective office if you want this agenda of Obama’s and Pelosi’s and Reid’s to succeed. My colleagues in talk radio can attest to this next point. We get press release after press release after press release from the Republican National Committee attacking the Democrat agenda. They send us points of refutation. I never use them ’cause I don’t need them. But they send out all these points of refutation about how this part of what Dingy Harry wants or Pelosi wants is wrong, is wrong, is wrong. Why are you sending out these things, Mr. Steele? Why is your office sending out all these talking points to defeat the Democrat agenda in Congress if your position is you want it to succeed? And I don’t understand why you’re asking Republicans to donate to the Republican National Committee if their money is going to be spent furthering the agenda of Barack Obama.
If we don’t want Obama and Reid and Pelosi to fail, then why does the RNC exist, Mr. Steele? Why are you even raising money? What do you want from us? If I want Obama and Democrats to succeed, I suppose we should be sending the RNC donations? You know, these people, it’s a bizarre discussion to have because there’s a news story on this, on this feud now between me and Michael Steele. And listen to this. This is a quote from RNC spokesman, Alex Conant, I’m not sure how he pronounces his last name. ‘The feud between radio host Rush and Rahm makes great political theater, but it is a sideshow to the important work going on in Washington. RNC Chairman Michael Steele and elected Republicans are focused on fighting for reform and winning elections. The Democrats’ problem is that the American people are growing skeptical of the massive government spending being pushed by congressional leaders like [House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi.’
Mr. Steele, your spokesman sounds like the RNC wants ’em to fail, to me. You’re opposing ’em. You say the American people are growing weary of it, getting suspicious of it. But it’s not just Pelosi’s spending. It’s Obama’s. Where are your guts? Why can’t you tie Obama to these policies? They’re his! Where are your guts? (interruption) Snerdley, they don’t want me doing the dirty work because when I go out there and, quote, unquote, do the dirty work, they try to cut me off at the knees for doing so. The point is, when you read that statement from Alex Conant, they’re opposed to the Obama agenda, too, they’re just too gutless to say so, and they get frightened when they hear the words, ‘I want Obama to fail.’ ‘Oh, no, no, no, we can’t be associated with that.’ Yet you’re sending out all these talking points designed to help people explain to other people why the Obama agenda is wrong. So I think it’s bizarre. They put out statements and press releases damning Obama and Pelosi policies and they object when somebody like me says he doesn’t want them to succeed.
Now, if it’s the purpose of the Republican National Committee to urge the success of the Obama and congressional agenda, then stop sending these press releases here. I don’t want ’em anymore. Stop sending all these quotes and facts and figures to prove how the Obama and Pelosi agenda is full of lies. I don’t want to see it anymore, because you don’t believe it. Why are you even sending these things out, Mr. Steele? It’s amazing how many Republican politicians contact this show wanting on it. It’s amazing how many Republicans want to come on this show. It’s amazing how many send this show an endless number of press releases, their PR flacks are constantly sending me press releases and points, Congressman X saying this, special interest group X saying that, hoping I will mention it, hoping I will promote their cause. Why do they work so hard to be on this show? Why are they so eager to get me to take up their cause? I’m just an entertainer, ugly, incendiary, they say. We don’t discuss current issues or policies or history or economics. So on the one hand, they had their PR flaks inundating me every day with this group or this congressman’s doing that. I’m supposed to take it and make this or that congressman look good or this or that RNC chairman look good. And then they do what they do.
They chicken out when I happen to articulate exactly what their agenda really is. They don’t have the guts to admit it, and I do. I’m going further and telling you today it’s not that I want Obama to fail; that’s not it anymore. The president is presiding over economic failure. The president is watching it, doing nothing about it. He’s watching unemployment grow; he’s watching the stock market plummet; he is watching people sign up for unemployment. The president of the United States is doing nothing to stop the downward spiral of this economy. He has no economic recovery plan. The truth is, the president of the United States and Rahm Emanuel, who, remember, said, ‘Crisis is too great a thing to waste.’ What does that mean? They want you suffering, they want you miserable, they want it worse, they want you rejecting conservatism. They want you rejecting capitalism. They want you turning to them in fear and desperation and angst for an immediate fix to the problem. They want you thinking you have no ability to fix your own problems. They think you have and they want you to have no ability to take care of yourself. So as the stock market now approaches minus 2,800 since Obama was elected, the statement today is to speed up the economic recovery, we’re going to focus on health care. Ask yourself how that is going to get you your next job.
One other thing. Mr. Steele, if you want to lead the Republican Party, as you say you do, then you need to run for and win the presidency. You are chairman of the Republican National Committee. That is your job. To run the Republican establishment bureaucracy and prove you can defeat Democrats and elect Republicans, to come up with a new primary system that eliminates Democrats participating in ours and choosing our candidates and getting the grassroots revved up again. This is how you’re going to be measured, not by how entertaining or cute you are on talk shows. By the same token, I’m not in charge of the Republican Party, and I don’t want to be. I would be embarrassed to say that I’m in charge of the Republican Party in the sad-sack state that it’s in. If I were chairman of the Republican Party, given the state that it’s in, I would quit. I might get out the hari-kari knife because I would have presided over a failure that is embarrassing to the Republicans and conservatives who have supported it and invested in it all these years. I certainly couldn’t say I am proud of the Republican Party, as I am leading the Republican Party. Right now the Republican Party needs to be led, and it will be. The next Republican president is going to be the head of the party. Last time I checked, I don’t think Mr. Steele is running.
And finally, Mr. Steele, we do like to entertain people here. The audience is very smart, sir. They know the difference between entertainment, and they know the difference between deadly serious issues that affect their country. Don’t underestimate the intelligence of this audience or Republicans and conservatives generally. The biggest problem with all of you who live inside the Beltway is you look out over America and you think you see idiocy and unsophisticated people, ignorant people, and when you’re looking at liberal Democrats, largely you’re correct, but your own voters are every bit as informed, involved, engaged, and caring, if not more so than you are. We don’t care, first and foremost, about the success of the Republican Party. We care about the United States of America and its future, because we cherish it and love it, and we know what it is that made it the greatest nation on earth, and we don’t hear you articulating that you understand that, not just you, Mr. Steele, but hardly anybody else in Washington, DC. So send those fundraising requests out, and, by the way, when you send those fundraising requests out, Mr. Steele, make sure you say, ‘We want Obama to succeed.’ So people understand your compassion. Republicans, conservatives, are sick and tired of being talked down to, sick and tired of being lectured to, and until you show some understanding and respect for who they are, you’re going to have a tough time rebuilding your party.
RUSH: Hey, psst, folks, just a little secret between us. Don’t tell anybody, all right? This is just between us. Don’t tell the Drive-Bys. The Drive-Bys were tuning in for that because they’ve been asking me for quotes on this. So the way they’re gonna interpret — and really don’t tell anybody, this is between us, because I don’t want this getting out beyond the show — the way they are going to interpret what I just did in response to Michael Steele is, ‘Oh, this is great, this is great! Emanuel’s strategy is working great, the Republican Party and Limbaugh are splitting apart, there’s a feud, there’s infighting.’ They will miss the whole point, and even if there are any Drive-Bys listening while I tell them the real point, they will reject it because it doesn’t fit their template. What happened starting Saturday — actually, CPAC started on Thursday, but what culminated with my speech on Saturday at CPAC was the reawakening of a huge sleeping giant that is ready to rumble, and that is American conservatism, which is found in the Democrat Party, it’s found among independents, and it’s found in the Republican Party.
More Americans live their lives as conservatives than you would believe. They don’t get their paychecks and walk down the street and say, ‘Hi, you want some of this?’ They’ll vote for people who will do it for them, but they’re trying to raise their kids right and make money, save money. They’ve got morality and values, most of them, not all, but most, they may not vote that way, but they live that way. They’re waiting to be awakened and that awakening has started. The pressure is on the Republican Party to be more Democrat Party-like, and too many Republicans in Washington want to make that happen. Well, just the opposite is going to happen. The sleeping conservative giant has been awakened here. It’s a beautiful thing.