RUSH: There is a most amazing story at Tina Brown’s website called The Daily Beast. It’s written by Lloyd Grove who used to write about Lindsay Lohan for the Washington Post, ’cause that’s about all gossip is now. I don’t care what magazine, what gossip column in the newspaper you read, it’s all about Lindsay Lohan, and Lloyd Grove has made the transition now to hard news. A couple of days ago this week and late last week I shared with you the information from Jeffrey Immelt of General Electric who was in Rome at a private dinner and told the truth about the relationship of Obama and business in America and the private sector and the destructive nature of his policies.
I said to you then, ‘If Immelt is saying this, then I guarantee you there are many others — titans of industry in their own fields — who are saying it as well, people who voted for Obama,’ and that’s what Lloyd Grove’s story is about. It’s about the Aspen Ideas Festival at the Aspen Institute. It’s out there in Aspen and it’s run by Walter Isaacson who used to be at TIME Magazine and then he went to CNN. It’s interesting that this thing goes on at the same time a bunch of media moguls are gathering in Sun Valley at a media summit held annually by Herbie Allen of Allen & Company. Of course, there’s not too many people bigger in media than I, and I have yet to be invited to the media mogul summit every year at Sun Valley, nor have I been invited to the Aspen Institute.
Well, no, I haven’t been. No, I think I have been. Isaacson did invite me once to a thing he was doing in August one year and I couldn’t make it because of the schedule. When I read this — and I’m going to read it to you — I don’t quite know what to make of it, because there are two names suspiciously absent, not mentioned in this story. Let’s see if you can figure the two names out when I give you details. ‘You would think,’ writes Mr. Grove — by the way, the title of his piece is ‘The Elite Turn Against Obama.’ ‘You’d think the well-heeled and enlightened eggheads at the Aspen Ideas Festival — which is running all week in [Aspen] with heady panel discussions and earnest disquisitions involving all manner of deep thinkers and do-gooders — would be receptive to an intellectually ambitious president with big ideas of his own.
‘In a way, the folks attending this cerebral conclave pairing the Aspen Institute think tank with the Atlantic Monthly magazine might even be seen as President Obama’s natural base. Apparently not so much.’ He quotes Mort Th’Zuckerman, owner of the New York Daily News and US News & World Report and a real estate baron and billionaire in his own right. ”The real problem we have,’ Mort Zuckerman said, ‘are some of the worst economic policies in place today that, in my judgment, go directly against the long-term interests of this country.” This is Mort Zuckerman speaking to a cavalcade of liberal Democrats, Harvard professors at the Aspen Institute. Now, this is Mort Zuckerman’s way of saying, ‘What the hell is going on here? This doesn’t appear to just be wrong-headedness or accidental.’
Mort Th’Zuckerman: ‘The real problem we have are some of the worst economic policies in place today that, in my judgment, go directly against the long-term interests of this country.’ Now, how is what Mort Th’Zuckerman said there any different than us saying we have a regime governing against the will of the American people? Obama’s top economic adviser, Larry Summers, and his departing budget director, Peter Orszag,’ are going to show up at this thing later in the week. Lloyd Grove says they ‘can expect heavy weather when they land in Aspen later this week to make their case to this civic-minded clique of wealthy skeptics. ‘If you’re asking if the United States is about to become a socialist state, I’d say it’s actually about to become a European state, with the expansiveness of the welfare system and the progressive tax system like what we’ve already experienced in Western Europe,’ Harvard business and history professor Niall Ferguson declared during Monday’s kickoff session, offering a withering critique of Obama’s economic policies, which he claimed were encouraging laziness.’
Obama’s policies are encouraging laziness. The Harvard business and history professor continued: ‘The curse of longterm unemployment is that if you pay people to do nothing, they’ll find themselves doing nothing for very long periods of time. Long-term unemployment is at an all-time high in the United States, and it is a direct consequence of a misconceived public policy.’ So you have Th’Zuckerman and now you have Ferguson. Zuckerman votes Democrat, always has. Ferguson is a Harvard professor of business and history. Both of them were just launching a broadside against Obama’s economic policies, and they are right. ‘Ferguson was joined in his harsh attack by billionaire real estate mogul and New York Daily News owner Mort Zuckerman. Both lambasted Obama’s trillion-dollar deficit spending program — in the name of economic stimulus to cushion the impact of the 2008 financial meltdown — as fiscally ruinous, potentially turning America into a second-rate power. ‘We are, without question, in a period of decline, particularly in the business world,’ Zuckerman said.
”The real problem we have … are some of the worst economic policies in place today that, in my judgment, go directly against the long-term interests of this country.’ Zuckerman added that he detects in the Obama White House ‘hostility to the very kinds of (business) culture that have made this the great country that it is and was. I think we have to find some way of dealing with that or else we will do great damage to this country with a public policy that could ruin everything.” This is being said. It was said this week at a seminar at the Aspen Institute. There are more speakers that weigh in on this piece, lambasting Obama’s policies as purposefully destructive. The damage that’s being done to this country purposely, and that we have to come to grips with it — finally, they’re saying it.
RUSH: Now, this is not the first time that Mort Th’Zuckerman has spoken out on this. At the Aspen Institute this week Th’Zuckerman is unloading but Th’Zuckerman unloaded in January at the same website, The Daily Beast, and let me read some of what Th’Zuckerman said in that Daily Beast piece in January. ‘I’m very disappointed. We endorsed him. I voted for him. I supported him publicly and privately. I hope there are changes. I think he’s already laid in huge problems for the country. The fiscal program was a disaster. You have to get the money as quickly as possible into the economy. They didn’t do that. By end of the first year, only one-third of the money was spent. Why is that?’ Th’Zuckerman ended his January piece saying, ‘I can’t predict things two years from now, but if he continues on the downward spiral he is on, he won’t be reelected.’
That was Mort Th’Zuckerman, January, Daily Beast. Lloyd Grove writes in The Daily Beast, Th’Zuckerman’s out at the Aspen Institute with a bunch of other people that are all saying the same thing. Zuckerman is even piling on more. ‘Zuckerman added that he detects in the Obama White House ‘hostility to the very kinds of (business) culture that have made this the great country that it is and was. I think we have to find some way of dealing with that…” By the way, he’s not saying that to a reporter. He’s saying this on a panel to the assembled audience. There are hundreds of people at this thing. It’s not going on in private. Now, Lloyd Grove’s not the only journalist there but he’s probably only guy writing about it.
The Harvard professor of history and business, Mr. Ferguson said, ”The critical point is if your policy says you’re going run a trillion-dollar deficit for the rest of time, you’re riding for a fall…Then it really is goodbye.’ A dashing Brit, Ferguson added: ‘Can I say that, having grown up in a declining empire [he’s from the UK], I do not recommend it. It’s just not a lot of fun actually — decline.’ Ferguson called for what he called ‘radical’ measures. ‘I can’t emphasize strongly enough the need for radical fiscal reform to restore the incentives for work and remove the incentives for idleness.’ He praised ‘really radical reform of the sort that, for example, Paul Ryan [the ranking Republican on the House Budget Committee] has outlined in his wonderful ‘Roadmap’ for radical, root-and-branch reform not only of the tax system but of the entitlement system’ and ‘unleash entrepreneurial innovation.”
He’s citing a Republican in the House of Representatives as a guy who has a great radical reform idea for the economy. ‘Otherwise, Ferguson warned: ‘Do you want to be a kind of implicit part of the European Union? I’d advise you against it.’ This was greeted by hearty applause from a crowd that included Barbra Streisand and her husband James Brolin. ‘Depressing, but fantastic,’ Streisand told [Lloyd Grove] afterward, rendering her verdict on the session. ‘So exciting. Wonderful!’ Brolin’s assessment: ‘Mind-blowing.” Now, folks, you know that we are in deep doo-doo, we are in huge trouble, when Barbra Streisand starts making more sense than anyone in the Republican Party does. When Barbra Streisand is more willing to call this administration for what it is than anybody in the Republican Party is, you know we got a problem.
Here you have Mort Th’Zuckerman who admits campaigning for, donating to, voting for Obama, expressing his fear that this is not accidental — it’s not some dummkopf — that there is a hostility in the White House to the things that have made this country great. Jeff Immelt said the same thing at a private speech at a dinner in Rome. Now, you’re probably saying, ‘Rush, why are you so shocked? You’ve been saying this since before Obama was immaculated.’ Um, ‘shocked’ is the wrong word. I’m just telling you this is unprecedented at this kind of a seminar, the Aspen Institute. Folks, this is not a bunch of Reagan wannabes showing up here. These are people who voted for Obama. These are all people that thought the world would be better than it’s ever been, we’d be unified, postracial, postpartisan, post all that.
These are the people that drank the Kool-Aid! These are the people that believed every word in the campaign, these are the people that fell for it. These are the people who stand to lose a lot of their wealth now, and they see it and they realize it. You know, once you start talking about a wealth tax… If you ever wondered why the rich — the really, truly rich — don’t care about tax rate increases on the upper brackets it’s because many of them have so much wealth, they don’t have income anymore. It’s not earned income as in salary and wages. It’s investment income which is taxed at a capital gains rate of 15, going up to 20%, not the 39.6 that’s coming and higher. But you start tacking a wealth tax on (which they have in France and which this administration is thinking about, a wealth tax of 1.8% on your net assets) then you get their attention.
That means the rich are being targeted. The real rich are being targeted. Everybody is being targeted. More and more people are starting to realize, we have a president and a regime who are interested in payback, who have a real tough time and a real problem with the structure of this country, with the behavior of this country, the behavior of this nation’s people for over 220 years. You know that there have been America haters, blame-America-first crowd throughout our history. We’ve now elected one, and we have a whole administration full of them. I don’t care why they hate the country. It doesn’t matter. It’s interesting to me, but the fact that they do is all you need to know — and now some of the best and brightest are starting to figure this out.
‘In a session Tuesday morning, Silicon Valley guru Michael Splinter piled on. ‘From an industry standpoint, it’s below what a lot of people in industry have viewed as the solution to the jobs problem,’ Splinter, president of the Applied Materials solar energy company, complained about Obama’s economic performance.’ He’s in the ‘green’ energy sector! Solar energy company. I mean, he and Obama ought to be going to bed together every night, and this guy doesn’t like what he’s seeing. ‘He was speaking to an agreeable audience in an interview with Atlantic Media owner David Bradley. ‘When I talk to venture capitalists, their companies are starting to move their manufacturing operations out of the United States… Our corporate tax rate, on a worldwide competitive basis, is just not competitive.
”Taiwan is lowering their rate to 20 to 15 percent in order to stay competitive with Singapore. These countries have made it their job to attract industry. You don’t get that sense here in the United States.” Really? Of course not! This administration is about shutting them down. Talk to the oil industry. Talk to the people that work on the rigs in the Gulf. Talk to the people in the oil industry up in Alaska. This is an administration that is punishing private sector business, not the least of which way is the forthcoming tax increases. These people are now starting to see it. All of them — these are the elite, folks — LOVED Obama. They bought into every social aspect of that campaign. ‘I’m a better person; I supported Obama. We’re going to be a better country if he’s president. This is great. We can’t miss. The world loves him; the world hates us with Bush. It’s going to be a new world, a new dawn.’
What we have is a new sunset. We’re at dusk. Shining city on a hill? There aren’t any lights burning, or not too many anymore, and these people are starting to realize it. Mr. Grove writes, ‘The consensus was similar in an afternoon panel discussion on the decline of the American middle class. ‘He said jobs were going to be his No. 1 priority — there’s a huge disconnect between Washington and what’s going on out in the country,’ nominal Obama supporter Arianna Huffington said. ‘The president’s economic team kept talking about a ‘cyclical’ problem. Larry Summers said jobs were a lagging economic indicator. All these things are simply wrong. The president put all his trust in the wrong economic team — an economic team that didn’t understand what was happening.”
This is where, Miss Huffington, if I may address you for the first time in years, he knows exactly what he’s doing. He chose the people for the express purpose of implementing his ideas. Everybody from his czars to his cabinet appointees are rubber stamps for the Obama agenda. We have somebody who is actively, happily presiding over the decline of this country, and he’s happily doing so because he’s instigating it. Now, I said at the outset that when I first read this I didn’t know what to make of it. There are two names missing. The two names are Bill and Hillary Clinton, because the one thing that I know is that every one of these people quoted is a Clinton supporter. Either Bill or Hillary. I think Th’Zuckerman even during primaries, if he got involved, I think went to Obama late. These people who are quoted are Clinton supporters.
Now, if I were Bill Clinton, and I wanted to restore my place in the Democrat Party, I would not speak ill of Obama in public. Ever. But I’d certainly encourage my friends to. I’d whisper in their ears. I’d tell ’em what I think. (doing impression) ‘Yeah, Limbaugh. You know me too well. That’s right. I got there, I tell ’em what I really think is going on, but, ‘Just between you and I. We can’t go public with this, you understand. We got a major problem here.” These guys hear it, ex-President Clinton personally loves saying it, and ‘Oooo!’ It resonates. They’re thinking it on their own anyway then Clinton comes along and their own thoughts are validated. I don’t know. I’m just taking a wild guess here. My instincts very rarely let me down — and my friends in social circles would know what I thought if I were Bill Clinton, and they’d feel freely to express their disappointment without ever mentioning me or Hillary by name.
I mean, there’s been a whole lot of criticism of Obama lately. Jeff Immelt comes to mind, James Carville. By the way, somebody told me — I didn’t know this. I’ll have to check it out. Somebody told me Saturday night at my wedding and the dinner and the reception after the party afterwards that Carville left early because everybody was praising him for jumping on Obama’s case. I don’t know if this is true. I think he had a TV appearance the next day. (laughing) He got people saying, ‘James, you were really on the ball with what you said about Obama!’ (laughing) Apparently he was not thrilled with it. At any rate, that’s a brief sidebar. I just wouldn’t be surprised if the Clintons are sending signals that Obama is a disaster for the Democrat Party.
Not so much the country, although that’s true, too, but Clinton would focus it more on the Democrat Party. I don’t know that Hillary would run against Obama in a primary. I don’t know any of this stuff. But if I were the Clintons and I had designs, I would certainly try to isolate Obama if for no other reason to knock him down a notch. Look, Clinton’s very proud. Bill Clinton is very proud of being the first second term president since FDR, the only Democrat to win a second term. The way Clinton thinks I am sure he would not like that record broken by Obama. The Clintons ought to know how to spot disaster for the Democrat Party. This is a festival, this Aspen thing. Bill Clinton has attended it for years. He owns the crowd.
Streisand? We all know the stories. Hillary was gone, the White House residence doors were open. We all know what they say. Streisand? Streisand’s in there? Barbra Streisand of the Aspen Institute is making more sense than most of the Republicans today? Barbra Streisand with at least a willingness to say in public, ‘He’s a disaster’? Clinton’s ego is too big not to be enjoying Obama’s problems here. So anyway, regardless whether Clinton’s involved in this or not, the bottom line is, once again: Why do you listen to this show? Cutting edge, societal evolution. The difference between me and these titans of industry is I knew this and I knew it was all going to happen (That’s why I said, ‘I hope he fails.’) before he was even elected. These guys drank the Kool-Aid. Now they see it. Is it too late? No.
RUSH: Now, we just got through talking about what went on in the Aspen Institute all week, all of these moguls, all of these Democrat left-wing Clinton supporters just ripping this administration, different words but the same way we do here. Here’s a story from The Politico: ‘White House Pushes Pro-Business Message — The administration is pushing back against the view that has taken hold in some quarters of corporate America and most of Wall Street that it has an anti-business agenda. The latest examples were President Obama’s remarks on free trade yesterday … and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner’s interview on CNBC’s Kudlow Report last night. Geithner stressed that the administration hopes to keep the top tax rate on capital gains and dividends at 20 percent and said the economy was ‘healing.” It’s a tax increase to 20%! It’s 15%. What do you mean they’re going to try to keep it at 20%? My question is, to all of you people the Obama regime, if you are so pro-growth, tell me why in the world your base is made up of anti-capitalists and anti-free market types. Tell me why your cabinet is made up of anti-free market and anti-capitalist people. If you’re so pro-growth where is the pro-growth? This is typical of what they do. ‘We’re for full employment in the business cycle, we want jobs to come back,’ while 700,000 a month are lost.