RUSH: I’m going to start here at the top of these sound bites with Jeb Bush again. Jeb is the focus because of the newspaper headlines, but it’s not just Jeb. There is a whole movement in the Republican Party that does want you to forget Ronald Reagan. Snerdley asked me during the break… What was your question to me? How can…? Yeah. ‘How can they be so blind to ignore what the Republican Party’s successes were with Reagan?’ They’re not blind. They are threatened. The simplest way to understand the recalcitrant Republicans and conservatives who seem obsessed with ‘forgetting the past’ and ‘letting go’ of this so-called nostalgia, is these are people that are threatened with that.
They’re threatened that somebody might surface, or maybe has, that can advance and articulate the issues that would lead to landslide victory. Folks, there are two issues that are at present responsible for this divide in the Republican Party: abortion — and it has been for a long time. I’ll never forget this. I started this program 1988. Shortly after that, Republicans for Pro-Choice; Roger Stone’s wife at the time, was leading that movement, and they tried to make big noise at the Republican convention in Houston in 1992. I have faced it personally. A bunch of liberal, moderate Republicans asking me, ‘What are you going to do about the Christians? They listen to you’ — and, of course, immigration.
Those issues are dividing the Republican Party. And here you have the most liberal, far-out radical liberal president and Democrat Party ever, at least in any of our lifetimes — and as I said last week, the opportunity to contrast the Republican Party and conservatism with what Obama is doing is great. It’s easy! It’s profound. Fifty-eight million people voted against Barack Obama. Can you imagine? We would have won this race if we would have had a candidate who could mobilize a couple or three million more. It was just that simple. Fifty-eight million people vote against Obama. That number would have been enough to defeat every successful candidate in history except Bush in ’04. Fifty-eight million people were with us, the Republicans running the worst, weakest, least conservative guy we coulda nominated.
Imagine if we had a Reagan type. Imagine if we had had a passionate, articulate conservative running. It would be a whole different ballgame. So what’s happening? Well, we’ve got the most leftist, radical regime running this country in our lifetimes. The Republican Party is out there essentially giving headlines that we need to forget our past. We need to forget the era of our greatest success! In fact, don’t even look at it as forgetting Reagan. Era of Reagan is over with. Those two landslide victories that produced an economic boom lasted for 25 years. The Republicans are fanning out across the country sending the message that we need to forget that rather than contrasting themselves — which would be so easy and such a winning proposition, especially when you look at vote totals at the House and Senate anyway.
The Republicans can’t stop anything. I mean, they can’t get more powerless than they are. Their apparent desire, their drive to regain power here is to become more like Democrats and liberals — and I’ll tell you what that’s about. That’s about abortion and immigration. If they could, if these Republicans that we’re talking about could wave a magic wand and remove from the party two groups of people, they would do it (snapping fingers) in a heartbeat. And that’s those of you who are pro-life and those of you who are anti-illegal immigration. If they could get rid of you, they’d be happy. You’re the reason they’re not happy. You’re the reason they want to forget the past. You’re the reason they want to go back and not learn from the blueprint that showed us how to win two landslide elections — or forget presidency. Look at what happened in 1994 with the Republican, quote, unquote, ‘takeover of Congress,’ the House of Representatives?
I mean, that didn’t happen by moving to the middle. And I’ll tell you something else. I want to go through a little bit of a timeline here. For the last six years, the Democrat Party said no to everything. The Republican Party today is being labeled as a ‘no,’ the Party of No. For the last seven years of Bush’s eight years, the Democrats said ‘no’ to everything, and that was called ‘a great strategy to regain power.’ And frankly it was. They contrasted themselves. They didn’t look at what won in 2000 and 2004 and say, ‘We need to be more like Bush,’ did they? Did they do that? No! They said, ‘We’ve gotta draw a contrast. We’ve gotta move even farther left,’ which they did; and then they got this slick salesman, Obama, who can read the teleprompter really well to sort of marginalize the radicalism of what they’re talking about.
Obama doesn’t look like a radical. He doesn’t even sound like one, unless you know how to listen. So the Democrats said ‘no’ to everything. It was a great strategy to regain power. When Republicans say ‘no’ to everything, they’re just the Party of No. When Republicans threatened majority rule, 51 votes, that was called — remember that? — the nuclear option. The Democrats said, ‘The House is majority Republican. The Senate is majority Republican. The White House is Republican.’ What did they start? They started chanting about the power of the minority! Now, of course, with the Democrats running everything, what are we getting from the Democrats? The Democrats are saying, ‘You know, you Republicans need to become more like us.’ They know full well what they’re doing.
They want to encourage the McCains of the world to go out and continue to not draw a contrast, but to muddy the water of what a Republican or conservative is. When the Democrats said ‘no’ to the president, that was their patriotic duty because of an unjust war, with unjust lives lost. When Republicans say ‘no’ to the president, well, it’s either racist or sexist, or what have you. It’s something. It’s unpatriotic. The Democrat Party, the American left and the Drive-By Media are doing everything they can to urge Republicans they influence to ‘move to the center’ to win. And the Republicans have fallen to it hook, line, and sinker. When you hear, ‘Well, we gotta leave that era behind. We’ve gotta listen, learn and lead. We’ve gotta figure out what the American people want. We gotta move forward.’
You’re hearing them say, ‘We must moderate. We must become more like Democrats. We must move to the center. We’ve got to get rid of our conservative identity.’ And I’m telling you, when they say that, they mean two things: abortion and illegal immigration opposition. They’ve got to get rid of those two issues. The Republicans want to distance themselves from those two issues. But these people that say, ‘Leave the era of Reagan alone. Leave it behind,’ this is said by people that don’t believe in conservatism. They believe in something else but they can’t really explain it. But I’m just telling you: when they look at the past and see landslide presidential victories and don’t want to do what it takes to do it again, that’s not a refutation of Reagan. That’s not saying, ‘Screw Reagan.’ That is, ‘We don’t want those issues. We don’t want to win with those issues, and we don’t want a candidate that’s going to win with those issues.’
So they’re dumping on Sarah Palin. (interruption) Well, screw the… The demographics have changed? What demographics? Wait a minute. Wait a second. Just a second. You’re talking about immigration. But abortion is moving more and more in the pro-life favor in every public poll that’s taken. It is clear that if you are… ‘But Mr. Limbaugh, you must get rid of the social issues. It’s the social issue that’s killing the party.’ When you hear somebody say that, they’re saying, ‘Stop talking about abortion. Stop talking about it.’ That’s why Republicans say, ‘I’m a fiscal conservative. I’m not a social conservative!’ That means they’re pro-choice and they don’t want to be lumped with you Deliverance types, which is what they think of when they think of pro-lifers. They want Oprah’s audience, not Rick Warren’s.
The Republican Party today would be happy if they could get Oprah’s audience, not Rick Warren’s. They’ll make a play for Rick Warren’s audience, but immigration? ‘The demographics are changing.’ Okay, we’re back to the philosophy of listen, learn, lead. Okay, listen, learn, lead. I think it’s depending on who you listen to, who you learn from, ‘Yeah, we just gotta get rid of the illegal immigration! Come on! Just give them amnesty and move on. We can’t be seen as racist. Our businesses need low-cost labor. The Chamber of Commerce, we’re big business-type Republicans. We need low-cost labor.’ Again, it’s a social issue. ‘Eh, you’re worried about law, illegal immigration. That’s not realistic. Pro-life is not realistic. Women are going to have abortions. It’s not realistic. We’re killing ourselves.’
This is what they think. So I don’t care about the demographics. They say the demographics are changing. (interruption) What do you mean by that, it’s getting younger? What do you mean, demographics? (interruption) Mmm-hmm. There’s more Hispanics. Yeah, I’ve been hearing this, too. I’ve been hearing we can’t win without a black vote. I’ve been hearing that all my life. We can’t win without the black vote, can’t win without the women’s vote, and we’ve won without majorities of both for a while. Now here’s a new One: ‘We can’t win without the Hispanic vote.’ I guarantee you, getting Hispanic vote, the Democrats already have it if you’re going to promise big government and ever increasing welfare state. We can’t outdo them! I don’t know.
If you have the money to buy a Rolex, why would you go walking on Fifth Avenue and buy a $60 knockoff? If you can vote for a real liberal Democrat, why vote for a Republican who says he wants to be? So in the sense of American politics today, given what I’m hearing, the Democrat Party is the real $12,000 Rolex, and we’re a bunch of $60 knockoffs — or trying to be, and trying to fool people that a knockoff is the same thing as a $12,000 real watch. But now everybody is saying, ‘We gotta move to the center to win,’ but that’s not what the Democrats did to win, did they? They moved so far to the left you can barely see ’em. The Democrats moved to the radical left to win! They didn’t move to the center. When they say we must move to the center, they’re telling us: ‘Give up your identity.’ They’re threatened by conservatism, too. The liberals are just as threatened by it whether they’re Republicans or Democrats. This is not new, and I’m not even complaining.
Left-wing labeling goes all the back to Ronald Reagan. During the election of Reagan he was labeled a ‘B actor.’ When he won the hearts and minds of the country he was labeled a great actor by some but still a B actor to the left — and to this day, Reagan is impugned, maligned. There’s revisionist history about the Reagan administration, the Reagan years, the Reagan economy. But it gets down to this: Why should we change everything we believe over a Republican candidate that many people voted against. The Bush administration was unpopular, McCain was not the answer, and yet we need more of that in order to win? It doesn’t make sense. Electorally it doesn’t make sense. So if it doesn’t make sense, you gotta go, ‘Okay, well, what’s their real motivation for this, then?’ I’m telling you: immigration, abortion, Sarah Palin. They’re threatened by all of this.
Let me take a brief time-out here. I am going to get to your phone calls el quicko here. Just got a couple, three more sound bites from the Republican tour of America.
RUSH: Last night on CNN’s State of the Union, they talked to Eric Cantor and Mitt Romney. John King, the host, ‘Congressman Cantor, as you launch this effort, the Republican listening tour, anyone who picks up TIME Magazine this week and sees the 100 most influential people will see two Republicans in that magazine. They will see Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh. Is that helpful, hurtful, or indifferent?’
CANTOR: They are two individuals that have a lot of ideas, and our party should be about ideas. I know that there are some who like to make it all about personalities, but it’s about ideas, it’s about how we take this country forward.
RUSH: Now, this is a classic example of why I don’t go on these shows. The premise of the question, the whole premise of these guys appearing — and I understand that they made news by going out and starting a listening tour and saying the Republican Party’s gotta do X or the Republican Party has to change, so they’re opening the door for this kind of stuff, but I can’t recall watching a television show ever like this where, after a list of influential people came out, some Democrat was asked, ‘Is it hurtful or harmful or whatever that Michael Moore is on the list? Is it hurtful or harmful that Tim Geithner, who cheated on his taxes, is now the Treasury secretary?’ You just don’t hear Democrats asked these questions, and these questions are loaded from the beginning, and they establish a premise, which is to put Republicans on the defensive. The premise of the question is that there’s a defect and a flaw with Republicanism anyway.
Now, Mitt Romney was also asked the same question. ‘As you launch this Speak to America Tour, anybody who picks up TIME Magazine this week –‘ and let’s face it, fewer and fewer and fewer people are picking up TIME Magazine. More and more, TIME Magazine, Newsweek, US News, they’re written for other journalists. Their audience is other journalists, Drive-Bys, inside the Beltway. Okay, so TIME’s 100 list is out, as though it’s infallible. TIME’s 100 most influential people list — we wouldn’t question anybody on this list and they’ve only got two Republicans, there are only two Republicans of worldwide influence, Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh. What do you think of that? Is it hurtful? Is it helpful? What is it? Or is it indifferent? And here’s what Romney said.
ROMNEY: I think there are a lot more influential Republicans than that would suggest, but was that the issue on the most beautiful people or the most influential people, I’m not sure. If it’s the most beautiful, I understand, we’re not real cute.
RUSH: That’s a dig at Sarah Palin. I’m sorry. It’s a dig at Sarah — most influential or most beautiful. I don’t care if they dig me, folks, I’m not running for office. I’m not really competing with these people. They’re trying to get votes. I’ve never tried to get a vote in my life.
Let’s go to the phones. People have been patiently waiting. We’ll start in Fairfax, Virginia. Chris, who was at this Republican tour, how are you, sir?
CALLER: I’m doing pretty good today, Rush.
CALLER: I was at this event on Saturday, and there were a few cringe-worthy moments in it but on balance I actually came away with a different feeling than what most of the media is spinning it as. What I heard from Bush and Cantor and Romney was more that the conservative principles that the Republican Party was founded on are still relevant and still popular today and really the big issue may be more who are we going to find as the new leader —
CALLER: — within the —
RUSH: Now, this is important. This is important. Because I took the weekend off. I did not watch any of this stuff. I only have my audio sound bites on what I’ve read about it. What I’ve read is the opposite of what you’re saying. So this is very key. You were there. What I’ve read is that they did not espouse conservatism, that we need somebody else, different ideas and so forth. Just the exact opposite of what you said. Is the reporting on this that off base?
CALLER: I was shocked. I was shocked yesterday when I was looking at a lot of the reporting on it. The format of it was not such and it was more a rollout of the opening of what they’re going to be doing that it wasn’t real issues oriented, it didn’t get real in-depth into the issues, but time and time again from Bush and Romney there seemed to be a return to the idea that conservatism is more popular today, and Jeb Bush has a clip in there where quite articulately he expressed it’s just a matter of finding who our new leader is going to be to convey that message and get that message out in today’s environment.
RUSH: If he said that, if he said — I agree with that.
RUSH: We had 58 million people vote against Obama. If we’d have had that guy that you say Jeb Bush was talking about, we coulda beaten Obama.
RUSH: That’s what’s so frustrating about all this. Conservatism is what would have won. We tried the non-conservative approach. We tried the, ‘Well, we’ll tell our conservative base we’re conservatives, but we’re really going to make an appeal to moderate, middle-of-the-roaders, independents,’ and we got shellacked.
CALLER: And there were some cringe-worthy moments. There was one reporter there from Bloomberg that prefaced a question saying, ‘In 2006 the Democrats took control Congress by running pro-gun and pro-life candidates. Are you all going to start running anti-gun, pro-choice –‘
RUSH: What did they say? I got ten seconds.
CALLER: That’s where I cringed. The real answer should have been, Democrats won by being conservatives, so why are we gonna start acting like liberals? Instead, they kinda fell back —
RUSH: That’s a great —
CALLER: — and said, well, we want to —
RUSH: Great question. Surprised a Drive-By asked that one.
RUSH: Look, folks, it’s this simple. We do not need a listening tour. We need a teaching tour. That is what the Republican Party, or, slash, the conservative movement needs to focus on. Listening tour ain’t it. Teaching tour is more apt.
Nashville, Tennessee. Dave, I’m glad you waited. You’re next on the EIB Network, sir. Hello.
CALLER: Dittos, Rush. You know, I’m really just done with the Bush family at this point. You know, I served under Bush one in the Desert Storm, and we were bushwhacked then in the sense that he essentially gave the White House to Clinton, and then now we got bushwhacked again with Bush two in the sense that he gave the White House to Obama basically because of his — again, I supported both Bushes on the war and their efforts to protect this country, but they just fell short on the social policy and turned into these almost liberal type of individuals, and I’m fed up listening to these individuals that sit there and constantly are telling us that we need to change, we need to —
RUSH: I got a note. See if you agree with this. I got a note from a friend today who had read the Jeb Bush headline. Now, remember, the Jeb Bush headline is, ‘Time to Leave Reagan Behind.’ That’s what Jeb Bush is reported to have said.
RUSH: Now, whether or not he said it is not the point. The headline said it. I had a friend send me a note reacting to that today. She said, ‘Oh, really? We gotta leave Reagan behind? I think it’s time to leave the two Bushes behind. Can you believe the third Bush is coming along and saying we gotta leave Reagan behind after having the party ruined by two Bushes.’
RUSH: Now, this sounds suspiciously similar to what you’re saying.
CALLER: Oh, absolutely. It’s like fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. So we’re gonna go round again with these people?
RUSH: Snerdley is in there laughing at you, but I gotta tell you — they had fireworks here last night. They had this thing called Sun Fest down there on the waterfront. So some friends had a party, they have a balcony right there on the intercoastal, and I went and I watched it. I gotta tell you something, and it’s happening more and more when I go out and talk to people. The paranoia, the conspiratorial theoretical paranoia that is out there, I got more people telling me they’re looking at places to leave America and go live, places they’re looking to put their money. We’ve always been, throughout history, every generation has its conspiracy theories and people who believe in them. It’s getting a little depressing for me to hear all of this. I’m hearing from people who are looking to go out and buy a safe because they don’t trust the bank, they want to just gradually withdraw their money from their bank accounts to put it in a safe, and there’s a shortage of safes, some people say, when they go to the safe store trying to buy a safe. You can’t find any 45 caliber ammunition. There’s been a run on it out there.
When I hear this stuff, and I’m not lumping that, by the way, with the note I got from the friend who said this is really funny, we got a Bush following two Bushes, saying forget Reagan? (laughing) I thought it was kind of funny. I’m not lumping that with the conspiracy theory stuff here. But it just tells me that with the right candidate and the right issues, this need not be happening. Some people just out there feel powerless and lost, they see Obama with no opposition, not even any verbal opposition, nobody standing up to it, nationalizing all these companies, taking over the car — this is astounding to people. It is to me, too, by the way, don’t misunderstand. I never thought, for example, I would see the headline I saw in New Hampshire: ‘New Hampshire House Votes to Legalize Gay Marriage.’ That’s one thing I never thought I’d see out of New Hampshire in my lifetime. If I ever did think about the prospect of the government taking over car companies, I also had an accompanying thought, and that is the American people would rise up in angry protest and say, ‘No way, Jose.’ I don’t see that. You see Obama eagerly taking over as much of the private sector as he can get his hands on. Redistributing as much wealth, targeting achievers with punishment, putting obstacles in their way, and the people to whom this is happening are scared to death. They’re afraid to stand up and say anything in opposition to it.
Kathy in Potomac, Maryland, welcome to the EIB Network. Hello.
CALLER: Oh, thank you, Professor Limbaugh. I’m looking forward to seeing you at the Heritage dinner tonight.
RUSH: Well, thank you very much. These speeches, when I go out and do these things, I just have to tell you, Kathy, they’re always a crapshoot.
CALLER: Well —
RUSH: I don’t write ’em down. In fact, when I go to these speeches these are the most pressure packed portions of my job.
CALLER: Well, Rush, you are going to have people applauding with wild abandon, and you need not be concerned.
RUSH: I am hoping —
CALLER: So enjoy yourself.
RUSH: I’m hoping I don’t have to say anything, I’m hoping the applause goes 45 minutes and I say, ‘Thank you,’ and walk off. The reason these are the most pressure packed points of my career is ’cause I don’t prep them. I cannot write a speech. My train of thought only happens when I’m speaking. My fingers typing, my hands writing cannot keep up with my brain.
CALLER: Well, Rush, it comes from your heart —
RUSH: It does.
CALLER: — as well as your brain.
RUSH: It does.
CALLER: And that’s why it flows so well.
CALLER: Rush, I’ve been trying to reach you ever since I attended the tea party across the street from the White House, and right after I share with you what I called about today, would you permit me just a moment to share one encounter from that day?
RUSH: Yeah, by all means. Feel free. Go ahead.
CALLER: All right. Well, Rush, first of all, what I called about today is I believe that what’s wrong with the Republican Party is that we’re allowing the Democrats to define who we are. At our core, we believe in individual freedom and our God-given right to pursue happiness. The Democrats accuse us of being hard-hearted and uncaring, as we seek equality of opportunity, not equality of outcome. So, rather than thoughtfully defending who we are, in essence, we apologize to the Democrats and redefine who we are. I think that’s why we’re wandering in the wilderness because we spend more time reacting to the Democrats —
RUSH: Wait a second.
CALLER: — than articulating what we stand for.
RUSH: Wait. Who is this ‘we’ that you’re talking about?
CALLER: ‘We’ as the Republican Party. I’m sorry. I’m a member of the Republican Party, so I speak on behalf of other Republicans.
RUSH: You’re talking about, for the most part, elected Republicans?
CALLER: Yes, that’s right, that’s right, Rush. Thank you for making that distinction.
CALLER: That’s why you’re the professor and I’m the student.
RUSH: I want to back you up. Can you listen to a sound bite with me?
RUSH: Because this is from ABC’s ‘Good Morning America’ this morning, and Serpent Head Carville appeared with Diane Sawyer. And Diane Sawyer said to Serpent Head, now, this is just comical. She’s saying to James Carville, ‘James, you say avoid ideological purity tests? What do you mean?’
CARVILLE: Do you want to be in a church that’s chasing out heretics or do you want to be in a church that’s trying to bring in converts? The Republicans are always, ‘He’s not a real Republican,’ or Rush Limbaugh says good riddance to Specter and McCain and his daughter ought to go. That’s not the kind of church we want to have. When a party gets political power, it tends to become arrogant and start chasing people out that it doesn’t agree with. I hope that we don’t do that.
RUSH: This is an attempt by James Carville to intimidate Republicans into not standing up for what they believe in, because if anybody has litmus tests, it’s these guys.
RUSH: The big tent is the Republican Party, and the reason that the party is losing is precisely because it’s not getting converts! Reagan got converts. When moderates and Democrats join the Republican Party, they came as converts to Reaganism, to conservatism. McCain didn’t go out for converts. McCain went out and said, ‘I’m like you, you liberals, I’m like you, you moderates, come vote for me as you are.’ The Democrats are the ones that do it. Arrogant and power and litmus tests? When’s the last pro-life speaker at a Democrat convention, for example? But this main point of the Carville bite is that it’s an attempt to intimidate Republicans, just as you say is going on.
CALLER: Right. Now, Rush, could I just take one more moment and share with you one encounter I had on the way to the tea party?
CALLER: I parked my car in a garage. The garage attendant was a man from Africa. He saw the sign that I had made, it said ‘Term Limits For Congress,’ which I think is our only hope, by the way, but he smiled at me and we got into a brief conversation, and I’ll never forget what he said. He said, ‘If America falls asleep, you wake up and find out that only a few people at the top will have taken everything. I know how this works,’ he said.
RUSH: Yes. We only hear from a lot of people who have experience with totalitarian regimes who say basically the same kind of thing. They’re among the most scared, people who have fled totalitarian, authoritarian regimes that are living here watching the development of one they think here, and they are the ones who are as frightened as anybody. All right, Kathy, thanks for the call.
RUSH: This is Glenn in Pensacola, Florida. Good to have you on the Rush Limbaugh program, sir. Hello.
CALLER: Good afternoon. It’s a pleasure.
RUSH: Thank you, sir.
CALLER: ‘Mega dittos,’ I guess I’m supposed to say.
RUSH: No, you don’t have to say that. That’s up to the individual caller.
CALLER: Okay. Well, I said it. My point is that I think there’s plenty of conservatism out there in the country. The Democrats won that election on a protest vote against Bush and the Iraq war — and the Iraq war, mostly — and also because I think McCain was just not a very good candidate for us. Maybe because he got the nomination for being there, because it was owed to him or something. I don’t know. But I think there’s plenty of conservatism out there.
RUSH: We know there’s conservatism. Fifty-eight million people voted against the Bamster.
CALLER: That’s right and I think if we could take anything from the Democratic playbook — if we could take anything, or need to take anything — is that we need to ramp up our machine. They have a relentless machine and it just pounds and pounds and pounds against conservatism —
CALLER: — and Republicanism, and —
RUSH: Wait, wait. They think we have one, too. I mean they do. They think we have a relentless machine that’s constantly pounding them. We do, actually. Me! (laughing) Talk radio. The party doesn’t trash ’em. On the Democrat side, the Democrat Party does its best to wipe out the Republican Party. Our party doesn’t. But I know what you’re saying. This is a constant complaint for 20 years I’ve been on, ‘When are the Republicans going to learn to fight back?’ I don’t even talk about it anymore because they’re who they are. And the Republicans that are trying to get elected right now are not even thinking of fighting back. They’re thinking, ‘How can they make you think they’re more like Democrats?’ or less like pro-lifers, or, ‘How can Republicans make you think they’re less like the people who are opposed illegal immigration? There’s nothing affirmative or positive in many of these voices.