RUSH: Last night I was in Los Angeles, flew out there right after the program yesterday — actually, Beverly Hills. Michael Milken, who is a friend of mine, who I’ve met during charitable endeavors, he runs the Prostate Cancer Foundation. I actually met him via our, you know, Night of the Century cigar nights that Marvin Shanken, Cigar Aficionado, puts on every year in New York, canceled this year, by the way. They didn’t want to do the deal this year because it would be ostentatious to have a black-tie dinner at a restaurant in New York during the economic downturn, so they didn’t have it this year, but Milken has this thing every year called the Milken Institute Global Forum, and he brings in people from all over the world, some of the wealthiest tycoons in the world, and it’s a three-day seminar, and there are programs, speakers, panel discussions all day long. Last night was a debate, and the participants in the debate were Harold Ford, Jr. of Tennessee, and Willie Brown, the former mayor of San Francisco, and the speaker of the California assembly and myself with Ed Gillespie, who is the former chairman, Republican National Committee, and he was the assistant to George W. Bush after Karl Rove left.
The moderator of the debate last night was the estimable Frank Luntz, and I will admit this, we’ve got audio sound bites from it, but it was a profound challenge. I tried to warn ’em about this. It was in the main ballroom of the Beverly Hilton, which, if you’re a pop culturite, if you watch the Golden Globes, it’s the same place that they do the Golden Globe awards. But the acoustics in there were just such that I was unable to understand one word any of the other participants were saying, other than Gillespie, who was seated to my left. I got most of what he said, but the sound system speakers were in front of us, and there was nothing but reverb and echo. To this moment, I can’t tell you one thing Harold Ford said last night. I know a couple things that Willie Brown said. But I was unable to interact as a result of this because I had no clue. I was turning my head toward them and I was covering my ear to try to hear them. It wasn’t room noise, it was just the reverberation and echo. A lot of people, even though I go to great pains to explain it, it’s hard to understand, if you can hear it, they think it’s automatic you can understand it. It’s hard to explain to people how, yeah, I hear the noise, but I can’t make out the words. ‘Cause nobody’s experienced that, that can hear.
If you don’t use hearing aids, if your hearing is normal, if you can hear somebody in a crowded room, if you can hear the words, you can make it out, but that was not the case and often isn’t the case for me in crowded circumstances or places with bad acoustics. So I was unable to interact. I was able to answer Luntz’s questions about this, but, folks, I’ve got the audio from it. It went about an hour and ten minutes or so. I flew back and we touched down about five o’clock in the morning here, and I slept about an hour-and-a-half on the airplane. I knew if I went home and tried to sleep two or three hours, I would feel horrible all day today after having awakened after only two or three hours. These kinds of nights with only 90 minutes sleep I tend to get giddy during the course of the program. Yes, the staff looks very much forward to this each and every time. So, anyway, I want to talk to you about the audience that was there. Now, I didn’t have a chance to meet the audience. We were in a greenroom, so to speak, backstage, the speaker’s prep room, but I knew who they were.
These are the Masters of the Universe. These are some of the most achieved, some of the most accomplished financial and business people from all over the world, including here in the United States. And they’ve been corrupted, these Masters of the Universe. Not all of them, but many of them, I could tell by the applause I got. They don’t really dig many of Obama’s policies, but they love him, and they don’t react well to criticism of him. It was disappointing, in a way, because there’s a definite left-ward tilt in the corporate world, not just corporate America, but in the corporate world, and these are the people this man is targeting. For example, last night, one of the comments I made, I said, ‘Look what’s happened to the hospitality business. Obama is actually urging people not to go to Las Vegas.’ Well, now, were there people in that room last night who own hotels in Las Vegas and somebody told me after the evening was over, somebody came and said, you know, somebody shouted ‘screw Las Vegas’ when you said that. So here you have a room of highly achieved tycoons who have the same attitude as people who have fallen victim to class envy in the middle class or whatever.
It was interesting. It was very fun. It was a lot of fun, it was friendly, and I’ve met Harold Ford and Willie Brown numerous times before, get along with both of them, we had a great time, fist bumps with them all night long, and Willie Brown’s a fun guy. But there were so many cliches last night, ‘The last eight years of Bush were just horrible. We need to resurrect America from the horrible last eight years.’ What do you mean? We had a great economy the last eight years. In this room, you could hear a pin drop. It’s like they just don’t hear this. Everybody has so bought into the myth that everything that happened the last eight years was a total disaster. It was an eye-opening experience, and we’ll talk about it further as the program unfolds before your very eyes and ears.
RUSH: We’re gonna start with audio sound bites from the debate last night, the Milken global forum, Milken Institute Global Forum. The subject was Obama’s first hundred days, various political topics. And the first sound bite here, the moderator had asked everybody to rate Obama’s first hundred days. Harold Ford gave Obama an A-minus, Willie Brown gave Obama a straight A, and then they asked me for my grade, and this is how it started.
RUSH ARCHIVE: Barely a D. (laughter and cheers) Now, look, we have been chatting backstage before we came out and it’s very lively, and right now we’re all friends. (laughter)
RUSH ARCHIVE: But these three people are all involved in electoral politics. That’s their business. And I’m not. You know, I look at these in an entirely different way. (laughter) No. Getting an audience and getting votes are two different things. I don’t pander. I don’t lie. I don’t say things I don’t believe to get an audience. No, no. Everything’s from the heart. I mean, when I say, ‘I want Barack Obama to fail,’ I mean it. (laughter) But let me tell you — let me define it. I do — and he has not failed, by the way. The country is going to need to be resurrected if he’s not stopped. I do not want the federal government and the United Auto Workers owning General Motors, Chrysler, and Ford. (applause and cheers) In fact, I’m afraid if you go buy a car in the next six months you’re going to automatically be registered as a Democrat. (laughter) It’s going to come with an Obama hood ornament and a built-in bumper sticker that you can’t remove. (laughter) And you’re going to go out and all the union guys are going to be the salespeople. If you don’t buy it’s either your kneecaps or your signature. (laughter) I don’t want the federal government owning the banks and the financial system. (applause)
See, I have a different view of government. I am really, really fed up, more with the US Congress than I am with Barack Obama, because Speaker Brown is right: Barack Obama is who he is. He told everybody what he’s going to do, and he was going to do it. Most of his supporters really don’t care what he’s doing. He’s a cult-like figure. He makes them feel good. All of these… Like the airplane, Air Force One. His own office of military whatever it is in the White House. You can’t get more ‘we’ than his own White House staff, and he said, ‘I learned about the flyover in New York City the same time you didn’t.’ He didn’t know? I’m sure that his supporters are going to say six months down the road, ‘He didn’t know this was gonna lead to even more unemployment. He didn’t know,’ because there’s a cult-like attachment to him. But the US Congress, these people have helped create the problems in the subprime mortgage mess, the banking system that we have, and it offends me that they get to sit around and act like spectators like they had nothing to do with it and then bring everybody in and crucify ’em. If we’re going to do that, then bring Barney Frank in and crucify him and Chris Dodd, and (applause) some of the other people who forced the banks to go do something. We have really, really, really big problems.
RUSH: So those were my opening remarks last night at the Milken Institute Global Forum, and we have, let me see, how many more sound bites here? Three, four, five… Looks like we’ve got six of them. So we’ve got five more to go.
RUSH: I don’t really remember the questions that I was asked — and, again, I have a hearing problem, and I had trouble interacting with people. So I basically said what I said in response to questions that I got from the moderator. Here’s the second sound bite.
RUSH ARCHIVE: Let me sum up the Barack Obama domestic agenda in one sentence and idea: I believe it is Obama’s purpose to return the nation’s wealth to its ‘rightful owners.’ I believe that Barack Obama comes from a life experience that believes that the wealthy, the accomplished, and the achieved come by their gains in an ill-gotten way, and they need to have it taken away and redistributed. See, I believe the smallest minority in the world is the individual. And if you don’t respect the individual, then you really can’t say you’re for minority rights. We’re all different. We were all endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights: life, liberty, pursuit of happiness. The Democrat Party is not supporting any of those three. They’re not supporting life. They’re not supporting liberty. We’re losing liberty every day.
RUSH: Again, the audience here was 1,500 to 2,000 of the wealthiest tycoons from all over the world. In that bite you could hear, you could hear a pin drop in there, right? Because I will guarantee you, they’re not hearing these kinds of things either at things like this or within even their own closed circles. In the next bite, I take on the myths of ‘green energy,’ the Bush economy. You will hear the audience groan here.
RUSH ARCHIVE: This notion that we have to become a collective and all work together toward what? A lawnmower with two seats on it and call it our new car? (laughter) Green energy, which is a total myth. The eight years of Bush were a disaster? The eight years of Bush as a disaster, is a media myth. (groaning) The economy, under the Bush admin… He can tell you better than I can, but the economy during the eight years of Bush, coming out of 9/11, tax cuts created all kinds of prosperity for people. This belief, though, that somehow the rich take what they have from the middle class and the poor is just silly. Look at what President Obama has done to the hospitality business. Talk to anybody in Las Vegas. He’s urging people not to go! CEOs are afraid to fly their planes ’cause they’re going to be tattled on. So if you have this class envy that is so popular — that all we’re here to do in America is get even with those who have achieved — then this administration is for you. Otherwise, we are headed to a place where we are going to have to be resurrected.
RUSH: I remember now. I was following a comment that Willie Brown made, that Barack Obama is ‘resurrecting’ this country from the previous eight years, which were a disaster. Now, the next… The estimable moderator, Frank Luntz, ran around and asked everybody about the AIG bonuses. Should the AIG bonuses have been retracted? Should they not have been paid? Should the executives at AIG have been forced to give them back? And, of course, Mayor Brown, Congressman Harold Ford, said, ‘Yes, yes! Get that money back! That’s outrageous. They shouldn’t have that money,’ blah, blah. They went to Gillespie; Gillespie offered what he had to say, and then they came to me, and they said, ‘Okay, what about the AIG bonuses?’
RUSH ARCHIVE: These bonuses, folks, are irrelevant! It was 100-some-odd million compared to $176 billion they were given. Where did that money go? Some of it went to Goldman Sachs. This business of harping on the achievers is nothing but pure political class envy that is designed to appeal to the lowest common denominator of American voter, which right now more and more of them are having to be unemployed. (applause) This is about building the Democrat Party. It’s not about building America. All this talk… There is not one government program of any size that has worked. We started the War on Poverty; we still got it at the same percentage. We have started the Great Society. None of these programs work, but we’re not allowed to say that. We’re not allowed to look at the results. We’re supposed to look at the good intentions of the people who do them. This country is in debt to the point that people who have not yet been born are broke! (laughter) We have tried spending money to fix problems, and it never works. And the premises here, ‘What would you do different? What would you do with the TARP money?’ Why do we need TARP money? (applause) ‘What would you do with the stimulus?’ Who says government can stimulate the private sector? It cannot. Government stimulates the Democrat Party. (laughter) Nationalizing businesses, nationalizing banks is not a solution for this Democrat Party; it’s the objective. And that’s not what this country was founded on, and it’s not what made this country great, and it’s not how individuals and entrepreneurs prosper. The environment’s getting much, much tougher. All of these premises… AIG bonuses are irrelevant.
RUSH: Now, I think the money quote, if I have allowed the money quote myself — May I money quote myself? Yes. ‘Nationalizing businesses, nationalizing banks is not a solution for this Democrat Party; it’s the objective.’ It’s simple, sweet, brief. ‘Brevity is the soul of wit.’ (interruption) You don’t think that’s the money quote, Snerdley? (interruption) Mmm-hmm. Well, okay, yeah, yeah, ‘Government stimulates the Democrat Party.’ Yeah, okay. I said that before, ‘Government stimulates the Democrat Party.’ True. All right. Next, I guess there was a discussion of the tax code and raising taxes and how that was justified and so forth. It got around to me, and this is what I said.
RUSH ARCHIVE: What is the purpose of the tax code? For Barack Obama, the purpose of the tax code is to take money away from people so that they become more dependent on government. Pure and simple. What’s the proper amount of taxation? As little as possible to inspire people to work their asses off, so they will work hard and pay as much taxes as their rate requires. (applause) Ronald Reagan takes office 1980, ’81. The top marginal tax rate is 70%. Total take to the Treasury, $500 billion. Eight years later, the top rate’s down from 70 to 28%; the take to the Treasury is $950 billion. Look at the Bush tax cuts. They generated revenue for Washington. They also created individual liberty and freedom and entrepreneurism. That is what the Democrat Party doesn’t like. The more people freed, the more people entrepreneurial, the more people who are independently achieving, the less chance you have to control them. So this notion, you know, we’re gonna… I guarantee you that Obama’s tax increases are gonna reduce the amount of revenue that Washington produces. The deficits are going to be twice as high, at least, than what he’s projecting, because the revenue’s not gonna come in. Look, we’re losing 600,000 jobs a month. They’re saying it’s not going to improve until we get to 10%. Would somebody tell me how an unemployed person contributes to deficit reduction? It just doesn’t happen. So all of this is just… We’re 180 degrees out of phase here in terms of, ‘What’s the goal? Raise revenue to run the government. How best to do that? Turn the American people loose.
RUSH: It really is. This is a point that I’ve been arguing with Democrats and liberals about all my life. If you really want to raise revenue to the Treasury, there are blueprints of how to do it. Kennedy cut taxes, raised revenue. Reagan did it. Bush has done it. Raising taxes on people does not raise revenue. Raising taxes depresses the activity that’s being taxed. It causes less of that activity to take place. But as I say, there were just so many myths and cliches that were being discussed last night that it afforded me the opportunity to speak outside them. This is… I guess we’re getting toward the end, and they had to get on to foreign policy, and this is what I had to say. I think Luntz was asking people, how is it for the president to run around and speak to our enemies. And this was my contribution to that.
RUSH ARCHIVE: The United States is a great nation at great risk. We have a lot of enemies. The enemies range from people who don’t like us because of our size, our achievement, our economy, our productivity; they don’t like our way of life; they don’t like our allies. Talking to people who dislike us, this is Conflict Resolution 101 from the seventh grade. It’s not going to solve any problem. We cannot. It really pains me to see the president of the United States go around the world and apologize for this country hoping that… (applause) I know what he’s trying to do. Barack Obama thinks that — and a lot of Democrats think — the country is unjust and immoral, has been for a long time, compounded under Bush. I know what the template is. And that if we just run around and say, ‘Look, we’re different. We’re morally superior. We’re better people. We’re different now. You can trust us. We’re not from the old country here that was racist, sexist, bigoted, and so forth and so on,’ and I think all that does is convey weakness to our enemies. I think it generates laughter. I think Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s insane. He’s sworn to blow Israel off the map. He believes — and his fundamentalist religious beliefs are what propel him. The idea that we can somehow change Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s attitude towards us by having talks is ridiculous.
RUSH: Gotta take a brief time-out.
RUSH: To the phones, and we’re going to go to La Jolla, California, we have somebody who was in the audience at the Beverly Hilton last night for the Milken Institute Global Forum. It’s Noni. Am I pronouncing that right? Hi, Noni. Welcome to the program. Nice to have you here.
CALLER: Thank you so much, Rush. It’s a pleasure.
RUSH: You bet.
CALLER: Yes, I was at the conference last night. My husband is there right now, and when he’d heard that you were on the panel he called and I raced up yesterday afternoon. He was able to get me a pass. And, Rush, I was thrilled to be there. I absolutely loved your tie. And we were at a table of ten people. Our host and hostess, she was from Russia; he was from Budapest. And probably out of the ten of us, four were conservatives, the others were liberals. And acoustics were bad in that room, Rush. I could tell you were having trouble hearing, but I just wanted you to know that you did have many fans there. But when you were speaking, of course, the liberals at the table several times were booing, and my one Russian hostess was cheering, and I was a little bit more conservative with my clapping, because I didn’t want to embarrass my husband, who is not as outgoing a conservative as I am. And she just said, ‘Noni, don’t hold back. I was in Russia with a socialist. I wasn’t able to get my feelings out, and I lived in New York and I was intimidated by liberals,’ and she said, ‘No more.’ So I just really enjoyed it, Rush. You did a great job.
RUSH: Thank you, Noni, very much. It was fun. It was fun, but the acoustics were bad. I couldn’t hear what any of the guys up on stage with me were saying, but I could gauge reaction, I could distinguish between applause and boos and hisses, and I could hear silence, I could hear when they were doing nothing. And I loved it because I guarantee you there were a lot of people in that room who showed up not having any idea they were going to hear anything close to what I said, and I’m sure that a lot of people were, ‘Whoa, what is this?’ They are thinking about it a lot today.
CALLER: You made it entertaining. I mean people were laughing and I think they were enjoying you in spite of themselves. I mean, it was just great, and I think my husband is definitely more of a fan now than before. I mean I listen to you constantly, and he doesn’t listen to you as much, but I think after last night, he’s come around.
RUSH: Well, I appreciate it, that’s great. I’m glad that you were able to get through today, Noni, and I’m glad that you were able to get up there to see it. Mr. Milken only called me last Wednesday to ask me if I could do this, and I was fortunate to have the date open. He also just secured Speaker Brown, Mayor Brown late last week as well, too. He always had Harold Ford and Ed Gillespie. But it was fun. I enjoyed it. I’m glad you were there. I’m glad you called. Thank you so much.
CALLER: Thank you so much, Rush.
RUSH: All right.