RUSH: Thank you. (responding to applause) I was sitting in my palatial Florida estate minding my own business (audience laughter) and I don’t normally see the mail. You know, I have staff that opens the mail, and somebody forgot to open it and I saw this thing inviting me to this dinner tonight for Roger and the Boy Scouts, and I said, ‘I’ve gotta worm my way into this.’ Because, you know, folks, there’s not much more I can say about Roger that hasn’t been said tonight but one of the things about being here and the reason I wanted to be here in addition to honoring Roger is that the United States of America is a great nation at risk in a dangerous world. It is the traditional values, institutions that have defined the greatness of this country that will save it.
This room tonight is America. This room tonight is a microcosm of what made this country great: The Boy Scouts of America. (audience applause) The values, the love of country, the recognition that as human beings our rights, our freedom, our essence, our yearning to be free come from our creator, from God, not from a government, not from other men, is what has made this country great. And the Boy Scouts of America… I was one for a year. (audience laughter) When I was young I quit everything except radio. I quit. My father… The only reason he let me stay in radio playing Donny Osmond records was because I didn’t quit. I was a tenderfoot for a year. You were a tenderfoot just for joining! At the first campout I got the Gold Brick Award for being the most useless. (audience laughter)
But I still appreciated it. It was a part of our church, by the way. The scout troop that I was a part of was Centenary United Methodist Church, Cape Girardeau, Missouri. And the traditions, institutions, and values that have defined this country’s greatness are what make the Boy Scouts of America. I wanted to come here tonight to be part of it because I have such a love of country and such a love and appreciation as I get older for those things that have defined this country’s greatness. I’ve experienced such great success and I’m just an average person from Missouri. I didn’t finish college. I quit after they told me that my required PE course was ballroom dance taught by a drill sergeant from the WACs. (audience laughter) I said, ‘This is not for me.’But yet, you know, I have managed to do pretty well. And it’s because of the greatness of this country and it is because of the values that were instilled in me when I was young. I did fulfill the full-fledged requirements for Cub Scouts so I wasn’t a full slacker. But as I get older and as I see… It used to be — and I don’t want to get too political here but it used to be — we were concerned with external threats against our country and today the threats are internal; which is something that we have really not experienced before, and as such a lot of people don’t really want to recognize and admit yet that the threats we face are internal. And what’s going to save us, what is going to project the defense that maintains the American spirit, the country that we have all known as we grew up and will protect it for these young Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts who are in the room tonight?
We all want them to have the same opportunity we have. We all want them to have the same access to prosperity and whatever it is their ambition will take them to that we had, and I really believe that’s under assault now. And the people involved in instilling those values in the young people of America who it’s been said accurately tonight are ‘the future of the country,’ deserve applause. They deserve recognition, and they deserve to be inspired and motivated. Not only the kids doing it but the adults inspiring them. (audience applause) I am proud of all of you involved in the Scout program, wherever you are, and I am thrilled to be here and to be able to be a part of this.
Now, as to Roger, a lot has been said tonight about Roger that’s frankly bulls—. (audience laughter) Sorry about that. No, actually it’s all been true and I’ve got nothing left to say. Except this: We all know the success of Fox News. We all know the success of the political campaigns that Roger has been involved in. We all know that whatever Roger touches works. But I want to try to illustrate it for you in a way that makes it even more profoundly understandable. How many people do you have working at Fox? All told, engineers, everybody, doesn’t matter, how many people?
AILES: At Fox News, about 1,700.
RUSH: Seventeen hundred people. One man has established a culture for 1,700 people who believe in it, who follow it, who execute it. Roger Ailes cannot do everything. Roger Ailes is not on the air. Roger Ailes does not ever show up on camera, and yet everybody who does is a reflection of him. He has the ability to inspire, to motivate, to enthuse. People around Roger Ailes are not negative. If they are, he sends out a memo. The memo says, ‘Negative people make healthy people sick.’ (audience applause) A personal story. We all grow up wanting to be loved. None of us are raised to be hated. And I was the same way. I mean, many of us will alter our own personalities to be accepted by people. We’ll try to figure out what people want us to be and then be that so that we’ll be liked. In the process of doing that we deny who we really are.
Now, when I was growing up nobody hated me and nobody thought that I hated anybody else. I had personality conflicts with people, disagreements with people. Nobody thought I hated anybody, and nobody hated me. Six months after my national radio show started, 20% of the country hated me just because of my values, just because of my conservatism. I didn’t know how to deal with this and I was looking for advice from anybody who could tell me how to respond to all this baseless criticism of me. And people said, ‘Well, you can’t let that stand. You’ve got to respond to it! You can’t let that story stand,’ and if I responded to it the critics thought they’d hit a home-run and just mounted even more criticism because I had reacted to it. Other people said, ‘You gotta ignore it. All you do by responding to it is elevate it. More people hear about it than otherwise would have.’
This went on for three years. I had to learn — which was a tough psychological thing for me — I had to learn how to take being hated as a measure of success. Nobody’s raised for that. And the person that taught me to deal with this and to remain psychologically healthy was Roger Ailes. And had that not happened I wouldn’t be anywhere near where I am tonight. My relationship with Roger has been more deeply personal on a friendship level and a professional level than I’ve never experienced with anybody else that I’ve worked for or worked with. And even though Roger has had nothing to do with my radio show — he was the exec producer of my TV show for four years — the things I’ve learned from him about being a man, about the country, about how to be a professional, nobody else taught me.
Nobody else was capable of teaching me. It was a crapshoot on whether I would have learned it on my own. Maybe I would have but I didn’t have to because I had Roger behind me telling me how to react, how to be. I remember one night on my TV show, for some reason I said, ‘I can’t do it, Roger. I can’t. I can’t do it. This is not me. I can’t do it.’ ‘Of course you can! What do you mean, you can’t do it? Nobody says you can’t do it! You’re Rush Limbaugh! You can’t do it?’ He sent me out, and I did it. A lot of people would have said, ‘Yeah, you can’t do it. Oh, you can’t do it? You don’t want to do it? Okay, okay! Well, maybe we’ll cancel tonight’s show.’
But Roger does not tolerate or accept failure in people, nor does he accept people feeling secondary. He is a genuine human being who is able to bring out the absolute best in everyone who works for him and works with him. I have never met anybody in my life who was able to do that. Zach, I want you to come up here just a second. This is Roger’s son, Zach. You’ve heard him addressed here tonight. (audience applause) Now, you’ve heard a lot of things about your dad tonight. How old are you?
RUSH: You’re nine years old. You’ve heard a lot of things about your dad tonight, and you’ve heard them described in flowery terms. I want to make it real simple for you: Your father is a great man. Your father is one of the greatest Americans who has ever lived, and I don’t want you to ever forget that. I want you to understand exactly what that means. (audience applause) I mean great, Zach! Your father loves you. You can’t believe the stories and how proud he’s been talking to me about you and the things that he was looking forward to being able to do with you and has been able to do. So I wanted you to know it from me personally. You’ve heard all the flowery language. Your father is a great man. You’ll know that for the rest of your life.
ZACH: Thank you. (audience applause)
RUSH: And this is often said as a cliche. In Roger’s case it’s true. He is a great man but his greatness has been enhanced and expanded because of Beth and their relationship. (audience applause) Well, Beth understands who Roger is and lets Roger be Roger. (audience laughter) I have never had that experience. (laughs) (audience laughter) But it really is a treasure it happened. I thank the Lord for all the people I’ve met. I thank the Lord for people here doing the Lord’s work in the Boy Scouts and promoting American values. I’m one of the luckiest people in the world. I wish everybody could know the Roger Ailes I know and be personally impacted by his knowledge, his advice, his attitude, his optimism, his enthusiasm, his sense of humor, because when Roger Ailes is on your team, you do not lose. Zach, congratulations. Roger?
AUDIENCE: (sustained audience applause)
AILES: I guess it’s me then, huh?
RUSH: Okay, top that.
AILES: He flew up all the way to do that. He was a Boy Scout, but they had a Girl Scout camp across the lake. (audience laughter) So they chained Rush to the cot at night, and he said it took him 20 minutes longer to swim with that thing hanging off of him. (audience laughter) Good evening, and it’s an honor to be here with the Boy Scouts and so many friends, dignitaries. I’ve gotta introduce a few. Of course my dear friend, Rush, who flew in tonight, especially for this dinner. What’s little-known about Rush are the things he does for charity with absolutely no fanfare. The other thing is that he creates 15 hours a week of original material because he has talent, he has a sense of humor, and he has risen to the highest places in radio because he has a brilliant mind. And so people who don’t know Rush don’t understand that about him. What he does is hard work and he’s able to go out there every day and win, and that’s very hard to do. So, Rush, thank you. (audience applause) I’d like to acknowledge several other people. Of course Sheriff Don Smith, Charlie Rogers, Mark, thank you. You put event together. You know, this is a bipartisan event. We have Republicans and Democrats here, as you know, and there’s a tremendous difference between the two.
RUSH: Where are the Democrats?
AUDIENCE: (laughter and applause)
AILES: There is a difference. There’s a story about a guy who was in a balloon, one of those air balloons, a hot air balloon. He was lost and he lowered the altitude, spotted a man down below and descended a bit more and then called out to him. He said, ‘Excuse me, can you help me? I promised a friend I’d meet him an hour ago and I don’t know where I am.’ The man on the ground consulted his GPS and replied, ‘You’re in a hot air balloon approximately 30 feet above ground elevation at 2346 feet above sea level. You are 31 degrees, 14 minutes north latitude; 100 degrees, 49 minutes west longitude,’ and the guy in the balloon said, ‘You must be a Republican,’ and he said, ‘I am. How did you know that?’
He said, ‘Well, everything you told me is technically correct but I have no idea what to make of your information. The fact is I’m still lost — and, frankly, you haven’t been very much help so far.’ The other guy said, ‘You must be a Democrat.’ He said, ‘I am. How did you know that?’ He said, ‘Well, you don’t know where you’re going or where you’ve been. You’ve risen to where you are on hot air. You made a promise which you have no idea how to keep. You expect me to solve your problem. The fact is you’re in the same place you were before we met and now it’s my fault!’ (audience laughter) You met my beautiful wife Beth who resurrected the Putnam County Courier and the Putnam County News and Recorder.
She transferred her television skills from running CNBC to rebuilding two newspapers along with our editor-in-chief Joe Lindsley who is here tonight. We all… (audience applause) You guys know where we’d be without the wives. Remember, behind every successful man is a surprised wife. (audience laughter) Marriages are, of course, full of surprises. I knew a man who was very, very ill. He was going in and out of a coma. And his wife stayed at his bedside every day. One day, he motioned to her to come a little closer. And he said, ‘My dear love, you’ve been with me through all the bad times. When I got fired, you were there to support me. When my business failed, you were there. When I got shot, you were by my side. When we lost the house, you stayed right here — and when my health started failing, you were still by my side. You know what?’
His wife leaned in closer to hear his words, and he said, ‘I think you’re bad luck.’ (audience laughter) I’d like to acknowledge my son, Zach, who came here tonight. I told him it was a Boy Scout event so he was certain there would be a fire somewhere. He’s going through that fire stage. Warren Vandeveer. My son’s watching the old MacGyver episodes because we won’t let him watch whatever’s on now. But Warren Vandeveer is our MacGyver at Fox News. You know, he’s the guy that gets a wad of bubble gum and a spring from an old cot and a twig and a string and he blows up an entire block. You know, Zach’s very fascinated by that. (audience applause) My dear friend Peter Johnson is here. He told you about, we go back a long way.
He’s my personal attorney and then I see over here I could yell at my real estate attorney and I see the judge who’s helped me there and Dianne is our corporate attorney. I didn’t realize I was in this much trouble to be honest. (audience laughter) And I’d like to thank Rosanna. She’s a great television star and a great person. One reason I decided to accept this award is because it’s not a lifetime achievement award. Don’t ever accept a lifetime achievement award because there’s a hearse right outside. (audience laughter) Actually there are a lot of other famous people here. In fact, you’re all famous so let’s just give yourselves a hand so I can get on to this speech, okay? (audience applause)
We’re meeting tonight at one of the most challenging times in American history. I’m always in awe when I meet fine young people like the ones here tonight. For all we know one of the scouts in this room could easily end up being president of the United States someday, which is better than a lot of guys we have who only know how to tie the country in knots. These kids actually know what they’re doing. I want to clear up a misconception that it’s difficult to succeed. It’s actually easy to succeed if you can combine your individual talent with persistence, common sense, and the knowledge of right and wrong. There will be tough times, but as Thomas More once said, ‘You must not abandon the ship in a storm because you cannot control the winds.’
Of course the wins will blow, change will come. The most important thing is to learn to adapt to change without wavering on your personal principles. My experience has taught me that those who believe in God not only have a more successful life, but a happier one. The premise of God will be challenged throughout your lifetime. Higher education institutions challenge it all the time. The media has begun to question openly whether people’s belief in God is real, even making fun of people who have core beliefs. I was on a television show once and another guest made fun of the fact that I said God exists. And he said, ‘How could you believe in some fantasy? Miracle birth, life after death. It’s unrealistic.’
And I said, ‘Let me tell you what I think is unrealistic. I think it’s unrealistic to believe that somewhere in outer space two big rocks crashed together with a bang and now I have a wonderful family, freedom, and opportunity.’ We’re gathered here with love and fellowship and friends. You can bang rocks together all you want; you cannot create what we have here. Maybe God can create life from big bangs, but rocks can’t. You will also hear your country criticized. Stand firm on that. We live in a country where we believe individuals are innocent until proven guilty. I believe we owe that same courtesy to our country. This country is only 230 years old. It’s small, it’s young, it needs protection. Who better to protect it than the people who enjoy the freedoms it provides? And that’s us. Of course things can be criticized.
Things could be better. Things could be improved. But in the end, the United States of America has fed more and freed more people on earth than all of the other countries put together. (audience applause) When they tear down your country, be sure to point out that we have a heroic history with traditional values and institutions like scouting, which have been a steady beacon of light in the universe. American exceptionalism does exist because we believe in freedom. Remember one thing about America: Everybody is trying to get in and nobody is trying to get out. (audience applause) Don’t back off on traditional values. It’s important to show respect and tolerance for others, but they must show the same respect for your values. Tolerance is a two-way street.
Don’t be afraid of challenges. Much of your success will come from taking on difficult situations. When I started the Fox News Channel I had six months. We had no studios, no talent, no programs, no news gathering, no offices, no control rooms, no stars. Nothing. We had to launch in six months. CNN had a 17-year head start. MSNBC had the backing of GE and Microsoft. We passed them both in five years, and for the last eight years we’ve not lost a single day to our competition, and in 13 years we’ve never had to retract a story. (audience applause) So winning is not bad. Don’t let anybody convince you that a tie is the same as a win. We’re engaged in a global struggle of good versus evil.
The scouting generation you see here will determine whether the American way of life can continue. Do not waiver in your mission, and do not fight for a tie. I keep a poem framed in my house for my son Zach. It was written by Rudyard Kipling many years ago for his son but it applies to all of us, and a few stanzas of that say: ‘If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you, if you can trust yourself when all men doubt you but make allowance for their doubting, too,’ and it continues, ‘If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew to serve your turn long after they are gone and so hold on when there is nothing in you except the will to say to them, ‘Hold on’; if you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, or walk with kings nor lose the common touch; if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you and all men count with you but none too much,’ these are just a few of the lines.
‘If you can dream and not make dreams your master, if you can think and not make thoughts your aim, if you can meet with triumph and disaster and treat those two impostors just the same,’ and then he goes on to say, ‘Which is more, you’ll be a man, be my son.’ When I was a young man I met and talked with someone who faced triumph and disaster. I actually talked to him three times. His name was Martin Luther King. Dr. King was a very brave man. He knew that he could die doing what he was doing. He had tremendous pressure to lead a violent revolution, and he refused it. He said, ‘We’ll change, and we’ll do it peacefully,’ and he lost his life doing it, but he made history. Always respect people who want peace but will risk their own life to get it, such as the great men and women in our military, especially on this important day.
I sometimes teach at West Point. I meet these men and women who are warriors. They have chosen their profession to protect the peace. They defend the Constitution, which was written to protect us from a government which might become too oppressive. People came here from places where they kept God out of society and tried to make The State god. Then they took their guns, then in the dark of night they took their freedom. The Constitution was written to protect our freedoms, like speech; the freedom to openly express our religion without the government telling us where or how or when we could do it. The press was set up to keep an eye on government. When the press becomes subservient or falls in love with politicians, they neglect their responsibility. Journalism was established not to be a lapdog, not to be an attack dog, but to be a watchdog.
I’m very proud of the journalists at the Fox News Channel. They take a lot of heat for what they do every day. And they understand they’re the tip of the spear. And if they go down, other journalism may go down. They do it. They do it fearlessly every day. I tell them that it’s easy to succeed, but stick to your principles. The journalists at Fox News Channel risk their lives, risk their lives to bring stories to the American people. So I’d like to just say something in closing to the Scouts. Going forward in life, you must defend God, defend your country, defend your family. Never give in to corruption. Never say no to somebody who needs help if he or she asks you. That will protect your soul. Stay connected to your faith. If you do that nothing will ever keep you down. You will always get back up. Every generation gets called to meet a challenge. This generation will as well. I am heartened to know that what the enemies of America don’t know is that someday they will meet the courage, resilience, and dedication of these young Americans we are so proud of — and they will keep America free. Thank you.
AUDIENCE: (sustained applause)