RUSH: I have to tell you what I did over the weekend. I was invited to attend the Horatio Alger Association dinner on Friday night at Constitution Hall in Washington. So I flew up there right after the program. (interruption) Well, ’cause I was only going to be there two nights. This was a well advised and well worth it trip. The Horatio Alger Association has been around for decades, and the association inducts new members every year, people who have come from nowhere. They did not have a privileged family or privileged anything when they were born, when they were growing up. And they have become leaders, high achievers.
They are recognized by the Horatio Alger Association. Lou Dobbs and Tom Selleck shared the emcee duties. There are about 1,200 people in this room at Constitution Hall. I was overwhelmed, and I have to tell you why. Condoleezza Rice was inducted this year. There were a number of people — in fact, all of them, every one of this year’s honorees — stood up and spoke of this country in ways I haven’t heard a government official speak of this country in years. And I’m talking really both sides of the aisle. Every one of these people who came from nothing to become high-achieved leaders in their fields (primarily in business, some in media) stood up and talked about the glories of this, the greatest country on earth. Some of them attempted to explain in their own view why America is the greatest country on earth.
But they all spoke of the American dream and how it’s there for everybody, and the greatness of this country, the uniqueness of this country, the goodness of this country, the decency of this country, the moral superiority of this country. When’s the last time you heard any politician in Washington talk about the great promise of this country? I felt like I was in a cocoon in Constitution Hall, and I ended up meeting a lot of the inductees, and I was very flattered to learn that they all listened to this program at least an hour a day. I’m always surprised to learn who listens to this program. I met a lot of fascinating and really great people on Friday night. And as the evening wore on — it started at six; I got there a little late, 6:45. It started at six, ended at 10:15.
Oh, and even this. Every year they fund scholarships for a hundred to 150, sometimes more, underprivileged kids going to college, keeping with the identity and the theme of the whole Horatio Alger Association: Coming from nothing, become the best there’s ever been, an achieved leader. And they pick these kids that come from nowhere and finance their college educations. They all end up on stage at the end of the night, patriotic songs, God Bless America was sung. An actual American eagle, trained American eagle was flying around the thing in the building at night, just beautiful. Two trainers. It was alternating back and forth. At one time it went off course. I thought, ‘Oh, my God, I hope it doesn’t run into some lights up there on the ceiling,’ but it didn’t. It landed on the stage at the back of the room, came back to the stage.
When I first saw it on the stage I said, ‘Wow, that is a great wax figure of an eagle.’ Then the thing took off, and I noticed the guy wearing the leather protector on his forearm and said, ‘Wow, it’s a real eagle. A real American bald eagle!’ Even some of these kids at the end of the night when the program ended sought me out to tell me they listen to this program. These are kids of all ethnic backgrounds, all religious backgrounds. I told all these honorees that I met and a number of people on Friday night I was speaking to, ‘This place and the things being said in this room are as far from what’s happening in the White House just a couple blocks away as anything could possibly be.’ It was that stark. I’m listening to these guys as they accept — and they all kept to their five-minute limit on their acceptance speech. It was amazing. They all kept to it.
Well, I was told that one person who you would know but I’m not going to mention here (Kitty Kelley has written a book about her) went 45 minutes when she got in. But other than that everybody kept to their five minutes, and as they went through the greatness of the country and hour fortunate they believed they were to have been born in America, I kept asking myself, ‘Do these guys know what’s happening outside this room tonight? Do these guys that know there is an all-out assault on the circumstances that made it possible for them to rise from nothing to become leaders in their chosen fields and to be honored by induction into the Horatio Alger Association?’ So I got a chance to speak to some of these honorees, and I told ’em how much I admired all they had said. I said, ‘Do you think that we still have the ability in this country for people like you to duplicate, replicate what you’ve done?’
And to a man and woman, they were all affirmatively positive about this, saying it’s going to be tougher than ever, but that the American spirit will never be snuffed out. No matter who tries, the American spirit will triumph. Whoever tries to rub it out, the American spirit will triumph. They believe it because they personally experienced it; they believe it because they did it. The Horatio Alger Association. It was one of the most uplifting nights I’ve been to in a long time, and for it to happen in Washington, DC. Because H.R. said, ‘Whoa, you never go to Washington.’ This was well, well worth it. It was a very civilized evening. Even the food for 1,200 people was awesome. It was spectacular. There was nothing about this that was average. I was told that up until 1992, the young scholarship students showed up in whatever clothes they had, and so it ran the gamut. It’s a black tie night.
From 1992 on when he was inducted, Wayne Huizenga, now purchases black tie and formalwear for all of these scholarship winners each and every year for the Horatio Alger Association dinner. It’s actually a weekend-long thing with all kinds of events. So it was a brief foray into the America you and I love and know and yearn for again, articulated by people who have — literally, one of the requirements is that you have to — come from humble beginnings. No privilege whatsoever. Even somebody as highly achieved, say, as — just to give you an example — this is not a good one, but it’s the best way to illustrate the point. No matter what you think of Ted Kennedy, a lot of people view him to have achieved a lot and say, ‘He would never have a chance because he came from too prominent a family. He had too big a boost,’ and that’s also what was inspiring about this. Now, these inductees were not young. These inductees are over 60 and some of them close to 80.
It’s a lifelong quest. It takes a while to get there, is the point. One of the inductees from Texas was a billionaire. He lost everything at age 50 and built it back in ten years. He built it back in ten years. So it was inspiring, and it was very comforting to be surrounded by this type of person and this many of them in the belly of the beast who have, by virtue of their own experience and love, a view of this country that you and I all have and have made this country work for them and have made the country better in the process. These are ‘the people that make the country work,’ one of my all-time favorite phrases. So I want to thank the person that invited me, the family that invited me to be there. We had second-row seats. They had videos of all of the inductees prior to their five-minute induction speeches. It was four hours of speeches. They’d do some speeches then pause for salad. More speeches, then bring out the entree. More speeches, bring out dessert. Then they had the patriotic ending with God Bless America and from the lead singer of the Jersey Boys. I forget his name, but he was the lead singer on the musical routines, and that eagle at the end of it was just mind-blowing. Great night.
RUSH: Richard in San Diego you’re first up today on the EIB Network. Welcome.
CALLER: Hi, Rush.
CALLER: You know you went to that meeting and those kinds of meetings that you went to in DC, I’ve been to a few things around here, and man, those are just so inspiring because it’s always about the country and the dreams that we have. Washington has separated itself so much from us, they can’t even make a patriotic decision anymore. It’s all about the next election, the next TV appearance. It’s absolutely out of control. Quite frankly, it’s disappointing, but I’m going to work hard and keep believing, and come November, I’m going to do everything I can to start turning it around, and I just wanted to get that out there.
RUSH: Well, that’s great. I think, again, this is what all the organized opposition to Obama is really all about. People do not want to give up their country. They don’t want to see it changed, transformed, or any of that. And you’re right. I’ll say again: This is the Horatio Alger Association annual induction ceremony that I attended. Tommy Franks was inducted on Friday night. Condoleezza Rice was inducted. Again, these are people that rose from nothing to become who they are and they, to a man and woman, credited the United States of America for making it all possible. They didn’t talk about themselves, other than their hard work, but they attributed all of the opportunity they had to where they were born and where they grew up, the United States. In that room of 1,200 people at Constitution Hall at 18th and D Northwest, striking how I don’t hear anybody talk like that. I haven’t really heard anybody since Reagan speak of the country the way I heard it spoken of that night. George W. Bush got in there a number of times, and he was of course bullish on the country but I never heard Clinton talk that way. I haven’t heard, needless to say, Obama speak that way at all because Obama looks at this country as a crime. He looks at the country as a problem in the world. He looks at the country as something that needs to be cut down to size.
Here’s Lyla in Wichita. Nice to have you on the EIB Network. Hello.
CALLER: Thanks, Rush. It’s an honor to speak with you.
RUSH: Thank you very much.
CALLER: I was calling in reference also to the event you attended in Washington, DC.
CALLER: It really brought home for me what you were feeling over the weekend. I was watching on the History Channel the Lost War of 1812, and just the spirit of the American troops and the odds they were up against to win that war just brought chills to me and such pride in my country that it almost brought tears to my eyes.
RUSH: And it is the real story of this country from the days of our founding forward — up until now. This is the first time that we are led by somebody who wants to preside over America’s decline.
CALLER: Absolutely, absolutely. And I was hoping, Rush, that maybe sometime in the near future, uh, that maybe Lyla could be one of your all-time favorite names. (giggles)
RUSH: (laughing) Well, since you’ve requested it, it’s true.
CALLER: Oh. Yaaaay! (giggles)
RUSH: I’ve known some Lylas in my life. I’ve known some Twylas as well.
CALLER: Well, I’ve been called that as a joke. Twyla. You know, they’ll joke and call me that. I have a twin, Leela so it could be Twyla and Tweela. (giggles)
RUSH: How about that. I’m glad you called.
CALLER: Thank you, Rush. I really enjoy listening.
RUSH: Lyla is officially now one of my all-time top ten favorite female names. So the story of America really is overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds. As a nation, as individuals, that has been the definition of our strength and greatness. It fascinates me. As I’ve said on numerous occasions: As human beings we’re no different than any other human beings in the world. What makes us different is how we have organized ourselves and how we have proclaimed our existence in our founding documents, how we have understood where it is our rights come from and what is the yearning of the human spirit. This country embodies all of that in our founding documents: The Declaration and the Constitution. I’ll tell you, folks, it’s very sobering. It was uplifting and sobering at the same time for me Friday night at the Horatio Alger Association. Do you realize after 200-and-some-odd years, we actually are being led by a group of people who are very content (and maybe eager) to preside over for the first time in our history this nation’s decline because they think it deserves to decline and they want to manage it the best they can for their own benefit? It really is stark.