RUSH: Ladies and gentlemen, I always go back and forth on whether to mention things said about me. Because it’s inevitable that I will elevate whoever it is that’s doing the talking about me. So it’s something I have to judge issue by issue, knowing full well that I can turn a nobody into a somebody by mentioning them.
You don’t want to do that, but at the same time if the nobody says something that offers an opportunity to make a point to millions of people, then you roll the dice on elevating the nobody into a somebody. Now, the nobody in this case is a nobody to you. He is a somebody to the intellectual elite. His name is Peter Berkowitz, and he’s on the staff — he’s a thinker; he has a chair where he sits and thinks — at the Hoover Institute, which is a conservative think tank at Stanford. He’s out there with Victor Davis Hanson and Thomas Sowell and a lot of other bright people, and he wrote a piece in the Wall Street Journal. I think it was yesterday.
“The Myth of Conservative Purity — Adam Smith, the Founding Fathers, Ronald Reagan all practiced the art of wise compromise. With the opening of the fall political season and
tonight’s Republican candidate debate, expect influential conservative voices to clamor for fellow conservatives to set aside half-measures, eschew conciliation, and adhere to conservative principle in its pristine purity. But what does fidelity to conservatism’s core convictions mean? Superstar radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh has, with characteristic bravado, championed a take-no-prisoners approach. In late July, as the debt-ceiling debate built to its climax, he understandably exhorted House Speaker John Boehner to stand strong and rightly praised the tea party for ‘putting country before party.’
“But then Mr. Limbaugh went further. ‘Winners do not compromise,’ he declared on air. ‘Winners do not compromise with themselves. The winners who do compromise are winners who still don’t believe in themselves as winners, who still think of themselves as losers.'” He accurately quoted me saying that. He disagrees profoundly with this, by the way. He thinks winners should compromise with losers. “We saw the results of such thinking [Limbaugh’s thinking] in November 2010, when Christine O’Donnell was defeated by Chris Coons in Delaware in the race for Vice President Joe Biden’s vacated Senate seat. In Nevada Sharron Angle was defeated by Harry Reid, who was returned to Washington to reclaim his position as Senate majority leader.
“In both cases, the Republican senatorial candidate was a tea party favorite who lost a very winnable election. The notion of conservative purity is a myth. The great mission of American conservatism — securing the conditions under which liberty flourishes [blah, blah, blah, blah, blah] and applying them to an evolving and elusive political landscape,” and he talks about William Buckley and Reagan, and he goes on to talk about the importance of being moderate and being “willing to compromise,” particularly after winning. “Compromise can be, and often is, the path of least resistance, the province of the mealy-mouthed, weak-kneed, and lily-livered.
“Yet when circumstances warrant — and they often will — compromise will be the considered choice of the steely-eyed and stouthearted. Clarity about principles is critical. It enables one to spot the betrayal of core convictions. But contrary to the partisans of purity, in politics winning and compromise are not antithetical.” Okay. So basically what we have here is a piece on the “The Myth of Conservative Purity” and the wise art of wise compromise, and I thought about this. This is what I would say to this if anybody would disagree with me and my concept that winners do not compromise: It’s the losers that should be compromising, particularly in politics. But I get very impatient with all this talk of moderates and moderation.
Moderation is not a substantive belief. This is my problem with moderates. There isn’t a core there! Moderation is a tactic. It’s not a set of principles. It is a tactic that says, “Regardless of the situation, regardless of events, my first impulse is to find a different way around.” I know moderation, per se, is illogical because there are clearly times when it is self-destructive or counterproductive. For instance, moderation after we were attacked at Pearl Harbor would have been irrational. Moderation against slavery would have been immoral. How do you debate the issue of moderation if it has no core? You wind up debating tactics, but tactics without principle are pointless — and this has always been my problem with moderates.
These moderates believe that they are more, what? Sophisticated or erudite or what? They believe they happen to be smarter, wiser, more open-minded. When in fact they have no anchor! They exist to be SEEN as something rather than existing to BE something! What is the point of a tactic if there’s no purpose to it? I’m not a conservative because I embrace “tactics.” I’m a conservative because I believe and embrace certain broad yet fundamental principles and just as I told the guy who called and wanted to do more than just sit around and think, “Young man, if we can convince and persuade more people to our views — our principles, our views — we believe our society will be much better off for it. The more converts we win, the better off this country is.”
That’s the whole point, and you don’t do that with simple “tactics” and denying who you are for fear of offending somebody — and as far as conservatives go, this is our history. People fought the Revolution — they risked their lives, they lost their lives — not over something as pointless and elusive as “moderation” in pursuit of tactics. They did so to found a nation like no other, built on principles that other nations had never embraced before. So what exactly is it that we’re supposed to be moderating? This is the question that I have always had whenever these moderates say, “Mmmmm, you need to moderate your tone.” What is it about conservatism that we’re supposed to moderate?
Particularly in the face of the most radical and destructive administration in modern American history, where the president has said he wants to fundamentally transform the
nation, what does moderation look like? Where am I supposed to moderate? What am I supposed to moderate? Are all these Republican candidates tonight at the debate be asking themselves, “Who’s willing to go further in compromising with the Democrats?” To show what? To accomplish what? Isn’t the purpose of this debate tonight for one of these people to stand head and shoulders above everybody else in demonstrating he or she is the one who can beat Obama?
Not compromise with Obama, or not moderate in such a way as to get along with Obama! Moderating is caving, as far as I’m concerned. Oscar Wilde said, “Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess.” Compromise is what got us in this mess! Compromise, the desire to compromise, (McCain impression), “I can work with the other side! I’m the guy! I’m the guy that can cross the aisle.” That’s what got us in this mess: Compromising with people who hold our views to be repugnant to them. So what are we supposed to be moderating, particularly in the face of this regime? Are we to fight left-wing principles that are foreign to this country and destructive to this nation’s core with tactics based on moderating our principles?
Is that how we’re supposed to do this? We’re supposed to moderate our principles in dealing with this? We face an existential threat to our way of life! That is what is represented by today’s Democrat Party and its leader, Barack Obama: An existential threat to our way of life. It’s why so many people are irritable. It’s why so many people are scared, it’s why so many people are angry, it’s why so many people are unsettled. Our very way of life is under attack, and we’re told we’re supposed to moderate? We had a landslide victory in November of 2010. We’re supposed to compromise after that? What are we supposed to compromise? What are we supposed to apologize for? And what are these moderates on our side who want to be critical of people like me, what do they have to offer?
They spend their time telling those of us who stand up for our principles — and you in the Tea Party who invoke the Founders. We openly embrace, I guess, the embarrassing subjects of liberty and freedom. They tell us to back off, to cool it, to find a middle way, a more moderate way. All they’re talking about is tactics. Well, the problem is that tactics and moderation without principle in the face of a destructive opponent are pointless. They’re useless. They might make you, the moderate, feel better at the end of the day, but that’s…worth…nothing. I don’t even see the logic in what’s being proposed here. Moderating, he and others, this Berkowitz guy are arguing for moderation as a tactic, in essence, while we are arguing against the transformation of this country — and we’re offering principles and substantive alternatives to stop this destruction! “Wrong tactic! Wrong tactic! The right tactic is to moderate.” Well, again, when somebody tells me to moderate, I ask, “Moderate what?”
RUSH: I’ll tell you something else that I’m growing a little weary of. These people always cite two elections: Christine O’Donnell losing and Sharron Angle losing, and they cite these as examples. “See? See? That’s what conservative purity will do for you. Those elections were totally winnable and conservative purity is responsible for losing.” Well, how about Rubio versus Crist? You want conservative purity, I’ll give it to you: Marco Rubio, who is someday going to be president of the United States. How about Rand Paul versus the Republican moderate there in the Kentucky, the Mitch McConnell guy. Rand Paul? There was a little conservative purity there and it won. How about all the time moderates and liberal Republicans who lose — and that list is too long to go through, but I can give you some names. McCain, Dole, on and on and on.
Republican moderates are guaranteed losers in eight out of ten elections you’re gonna have. Now, I think that people who write pieces about “moderation” need to do a little bit more than just sit back and be critical. We need to know what it is these moderates think is worth fighting for. Is it just winning elections with whoever can win so that the result may not even be productive? These moderates need to tell us what are the principles that they believe that an individual or a nation should stand firm on, because, so far, moderates don’t do that. That’s why they are moderates! They don’t want to be tied down. They want to be able to preach moderation because it gets them praise.
They keep bringing up the O’Donnell race. It drives the GOP establishment and moderates nuts. They think this proves their point about moderation. What then of McCain, Dole, Ford? There’s a long list of moderate losers. What of Rubio, Rand Paul, Ron Johnson, Jim DeMint, Allen West? They wouldn’t be in Congress today but for principled conservatives supporting them. Sharron Angle lost by 4% in an election in Nevada with Dingy Harry in charge of it. Who knows what really went on there. Then of course they love to site Goldwater losing, that’s their big one, Goldwater lost! So what? We should all become Rockefeller Republicans? How about Reagan won? They always want to conveniently forget that Reagan won. They always want to go back and say Goldwater lost. Anyway, this is the internecine battle going on in the Republican Party while we’re trying to stop the destruction brought on by Obama.
RUSH: By the way, folks, the way I look at it, I already compromise far more than anybody else I know. I tie half my brain behind my back every day just to make it fair. Nobody engages in any greater compromise than I do, and why should we believe that Democrats want to compromise with us “sons-of-bitches” anyway? Where is the evidence they want to compromise with us? They don’t want to compromise with us. One more thing. What would these moderates have said when the delegates from the Colonies met in Philadelphia to debate the Declaration of Independence? What if moderates had been running that show? Would they have even been there? You know, those delegates were considered radicals, purists. (I guess we call ’em purists today.)
Would they have cautioned against fighting the Brits? Would they have urged removing references to God in the document? Would they have said we need to appeal to
independents, the Tories and the like? What would they have said at the foundation of the country, at the declaration of our independence? What would the moderates have said? They had to be defeated, and they were defeated. Oh, I know, we’ve always had moderates. They wanted to reconcile with King George. They wanted to reconcile with everybody. After the war was won, and after the constitutional convention, with a debate at the ratifying conventions in the states ensued over what became the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments… what would our moderates have said then?
“Oh, no, no, no! We don’t want a Tenth Amendment. We don’t want an all-powerful central government. No, we do want an all-powerful central government! We don’t want that Tenth Amendment. We want to make sure we have an all-powerful central government.” Would they have said, “We don’t believe in states’ authority so don’t offend the big government types”? Would they have said, “Get rid of the Second Amendment and the right to bear arms”? What would our so-called moderates have said? I don’t know, folks, because moderates don’t have a core. I’m not trying to be insulting here (that just happens). I’m just being honest. Moderates are tacticians, strategists, but they don’t have a core — and we live in a society now where the federal government is involved in everything.
Our Treasury is broke. Entitlements are breaking us. An inexperienced man-child president is destroying us. Business is under attack. Freedom and liberty are under attack, right in front of our eyes. It’s not even hidden or subtle, and we’re being told to embrace moderation — all because I said, “Winners don’t compromise, particularly winners don’t compromise with themselves,” and let’s not forget the context of that. That was during the great debt ceiling debate when Obama wasn’t proposing any idea, when the Democrats hadn’t proposed a budget. So we go up there, we’d present an idea, he’d say, “Nope,” so we’d negotiate with ourselves and come up with a new plan. We were the winners, we held the cards, and we were compromising with ourselves while Obama got to play the role of the Grand Wizard.
Okay, the Wizard of Smarts, whatever. I didn’t mean to talk about Robert Byrd there. At any rate, folks, I always debate, you know, how far to go in responding to some of this stuff, but this one was made to order because this is not the time. I don’t know. What is there to compromise with Obama on right now? No, no, I mean seriously. Okay, do you want to compromise with Obama on tax increases? Do you want to compromise with Obama on stimulus spending? We want to compromise with Obama on that? No. As far as I’m concerned we don’t want any of that to happen. We don’t want any more tax increases, and we don’t want any more stimulus spending under the guise of creating jobs. We do not want any more “job creation” as it’s defined by Obama ’cause the last time I looked, there weren’t any jobs being created!
It was zero in August. Now, what the hell is there to compromise with there? What am I or you, the Tea Party, supposed to moderate? Our language? Our language? We’re the ones that are supposed to compromise our language, moderate our tone? Or these independents are gonna run in droves back to the Democrats? James Hoffa Jr. is a magnet to the independents, is that what we’re to believe? James Hoffa Jr. and this Trumka guy, they are magnets? “If we’re not careful, why, independents are gonna flock to the likes of James Hoffa Jr. and Trumka?” Sorry, I don’t buy it.
RUSH: Maggie in Orient, Ohio. Nice to have you. I’m glad you waited. Welcome.
CALLER: Hi, Rush. I called to leave a comment at first, after the one o’clock hour, your comments about your summary about compromise?
RUSH: Oh, yeah. The monologue on moderates and all that?
CALLER: Yeah. Bear with me. I’m a bit nervous. It ain’t every day I talk to millions of people. (giggles) I thought that was one of the best explanations as to what’s going on and what’s gone wrong in Washington, DC, right now, and actually for many years. You couldn’t have described it any better. I think the Republicans — Snerdley asked me why I believe that, and I thought that you were right in your summary, and I think that when I vote for somebody, they’re supposed to represent me. They’re sent to Washington because I believe in what they believe in. That’s why I vote for them, right?
CALLER: So they go there and I am thinking they’re gonna stick to their principles and what I believe in, and they don’t. They seem to fall under the narrative that they need to compromise.
RUSH: Right– which, again is a tactic. Moderates are not… I overuse this but you won’t find the book in the library Great Moderates in American History. There’s no core there. A lot of people take this personally. I’m not trying to offend moderates. I’m just pointing out here I want to know what I’m supposed to moderate and why am I supposed to compromise with what this bunch is trying to do?
CALLER: Right. I think they need to —
RUSH: It’s a tactic. Moderates do not have a set of core beliefs, by definition.
RUSH: They want to be able to float.
CALLER: Yep. Well, I think they need to look up and read again what their job descriptions are. Their job description is to represent us and what we want. They tell us what they believe in —
CALLER: — and we say to them, “Okay, we believe the same thing. Go to Washington, DC, and do your job.”
RUSH: Yeah, but that’s a toughie because there’s not one monolithic set of principles or thoughts that elects these people. I mean, your neighbor could have voted for your guy for totally different reasons.
RUSH: They have to be independent thinkers. What has to happen is they have to govern as they promised you he would they would is what you’re saying.
CALLER: No! No! That’s exactly what I’m not saying. Just the total opposite. Their job is not to govern. Their job is to legislate.
RUSH: Well, okay, right, right, right.
CALLER: Obama’s job is to govern.
RUSH: Semantics. Their job is to be true to what they told you they were going to be and do in their campaign.
CALLER: Right. Right.
RUSH: That’s all we’re saying here.
RUSH: When you start talking about “compromise,” everybody knows what that means. That means move left.
RUSH: “Compromise” means “move left.” Sorry, I’m not going there. Nothing good ever happens when you go left.
CALLER: No. They just need to stick to the Constitution and forget the rest, just do their job. If we’re saying to them, “No, this is not the route,” if we call ’em and write letters, they’re supposed to do what we’re telling them to do. It should be easy for them to say, “No, Mr. Obama. We’re not gonna go that way because I’m here to represent my people and my people are telling me no, so we’re not gonna do this.” It should be so easy for them. They just get in there and they get mired down in all this “social justice” talk and, “We’ve gotta do what’s right” and…
RUSH: Well, they get caught up a little. The dominant culture in Washington is run by the left. They get caught up in that socially, politically. This is what Obama meant when he told these congressional Republican leaders to stop listening to Limbaugh. “This is not how things get done in Washington. You don’t listen to Limbaugh anymore,” and I remember I had a meeting with John Boehner and he said, “What do you think he meant by that? Why is he telling us that?” I’m sitting there saying, “Mr. President…” He didn’t voice this… “What do you mean don’t listen to Limbaugh, that’s not how things get done?”
So I explained to Speaker Boehner (he was not Speaker at the time), “He’s trying to get you to agree publicly. What he was trying to do was get any one of you Republicans in that room to head to a microphone saying that you agreed with the president that you’ve gotta stop listening to people on talk radio. “That’s what he was hoping. He was hoping that you would repudiate.” I mean, he had chosen his conservative leaders that he was going to anoint: David Brooks, Larry Kudlow, all those people who were invited to George Will’s house. Charles Krauthammer of Krauthammer Review Online. (interruption) What? (interruption)
What’s the word? What — what did I say? What one thing is the worst thing? When I said…? (interruption) Oh, no, no, no. You’re telling me that to Democrats the worst thing I said is “You don’t compromise with the losers. Winners don’t compromise,” you think? Out of all the things I’ve said that’s what upsets them more than anything? You think that’s the thing that upsets them more than anything? No, they’re more upset… (interruption) No, wrongo! No, they are totally upset by the fact I said that I hope that Obama fails. That’s the number one thing that bugs ’em. The don’t compromise, that’s fairly recent. That’s the debt ceiling debate, and I said, “We won big in November. Winners do not compromise. It’s the losers that compromise.”
Did we compromise with the Japanese on the USS Missouri?