RUSH: David, Tulsa, Oklahoma. Welcome to the program, sir. Nice to have you here.
CALLER: Hey. Good afternoon from the Sooner State, Rush.
RUSH: Yeah, thank you very much, sir.
CALLER: Yeah, I really don’t think — well, you may realize — how much you and President Reagan have a hand in the perception that the Republican candidates are not doing so well with the debates. The thing is both of you communicate your conservative values so well, you do it with intelligence and in a coherent manner; and when I speak of President Reagan, I’m speaking about him in the present tense. I mean, you both, you know, don’t waiver on your convictions. You stand by your principles. More importantly, though, you both were able to communicate your ideas — and you do it every day — in a way that people can understand. The Republican candidates are having to compete with that, Rush, and you’re making it really hard for ’em, my man, ’cause they want to be able to communicate as well as you do, and I think you underestimate how many people are actually listening to you every day. I’ll bet the demographics are a lot bigger than what they are.
RUSH: David, you know what? This is very nice of you to say, but you’re on to something that you may not be aware of. Thank you for the call. I’ll expand on this.
RUSH: Okay, the guy from Tulsa. What was his first name? (interruption) You “don’t make a record”? Like if the New York state taxing authorities needed to know the name of the guy from Tulsa so that I could prove I’m here and not in New York, we’d be screwed? (interruption) Okay. The guy said — and he had, as far as it went, a good point. He said, “Look, Rush, you may not realize it, but having these guys sound conservative next to you is next to impossible. You’ve set the bar…” He said, “You and Reagan, you’ve set the bar so high for so many years that there’s no way these candidates can do it.” Now, I appreciate what he’s trying to say, but it only goes so far. What he’s really saying is that we don’t have a genuine, real conservative such as I am a real conservative in our roster of nominees, because if we did, they could articulate it.
After all, conservatism is what it is. You either feel it, know it, understand it and can articulate it — or you can’t because you’re not one. Doesn’t that stand to reason? If you are conservative at this level — I’m not talking about somebody new to the whole field of politics or even media — that takes us to a very, very important point here. The purpose of the Republican primary process for us (that is, we conservatives and Republicans) is to sort through these candidates, to not make excuses for ’em, not pretend their issues won’t be raised by the Democrats and liberals if we keep them to ourselves and so forth. There seems to be some confusion about this. If we act like they’re all alike, if they are all without substantive issues that concern us, then what’s the point?
That’s not to be confused with our intention to oppose Obama every way we can and to support the eventual nominee, but we can’t close our minds to issues and records. We gotta look at these people, regardless of what the liberals and the liberal media say or do — and if they can’t articulate conservatism as well as I can, it doesn’t mean it’s fatal. I understand the bar is raised high and it’s next to me. I know what he was saying, but I know plenty of conservatives who can articulate it as well as I do, talk to ’em a lot. But I know a lot of people that can’t. It’s not because they’re not articulate; it’s because they’re not fully conservative. It’s no more complicated than that. You know, one of the things we strive for here is to avoid the creation of a third party and avoid the nomination of an establishment candidate.
We don’t want that. But we’re not Republican operatives here. We’re conservatives, speaking for myself and I assume for most of you in the audience. Now, the assumption that all Republicans seeking the presidency are all establishment types is not an assumption I accept. You, the people, are gonna determine who the nominee is and who the nominee isn’t. The assumption that all Republicans seeking the presidency are equal is not an assumption that I make here. They’re not, and you’re gonna make this determination on who you want the nominee to be by taking their measure. That includes looking at their records at governor, senator, speaker, congressman, businessman, what have you. You’re gonna sift through it all. Now, we know what the left is looking for.
They’re looking for destroying all of them. But this is our primary, and we’re looking for a conservative. We’re looking for a winner, we’re looking for somebody to save the country — and if we don’t find somebody speaking that way then we know they don’t agree with us about the condition of the country. And I can tell you, as I have told you, that in large pockets of Republicanism around the country, it is not conventional wisdom that the country is in bad shape, or that we are in peril, or that the country needs to be “saved” from anything. You would probably be surprised at the number of Republicans who don’t think that at all. They just want to win because they want to win. They want the committee chairmanships in the Senate. They want the White House.
They want to be in charge of the money, they want the power — and so the argument within the Republican Party is what it’s always been. There are those of us who are conservative, who look at the country and the direction it’s going and think that it’s precarious, needs to be stopped and reversed — the future of our kids, grandkids and great-grandkids and so on is at stake — and others that don’t think that at all. “It’s the normal ebb and flow of politics and, yeah, Obama’s pretty bad, but not a crisis.” There are people who think that. So when you find somebody that doesn’t satisfy you in articulating conservatism, the odds are it’s because they aren’t, say, as conservative as you are. It’s not that they don’t know how. It’s that it’s not in them.
It really isn’t that complicated. Conservatism is not that hard to explain. I’ve done it for 23 years. I did it at my CPAC speech. Liberalism is sometimes easier, ’cause it’s all fake and phony. Liberalism is the most gutless choice you can make, ’cause all you gotta do is see some suffering and cry about it and make people think you care, and, bam! That’s all you have to do. Conservatism is difficult in one regard, because so many people are opposed to you, so many people are gunning for you, but it is something that requires intellectual application. Even though it’s the way most people live their lives, the seductiveness of the opposition is easy. Conservatism is a fairly clear-cut concept, and if you can’t express it, it’s probably because you don’t understand it or you don’t believe it, not that you are intellectually deficient.
I remember I made a speech to the Heritage Foundation earlier this year, down here at the Four Seasons Hotel. The audience was a mixture of people, and there were some establishment types in that audience — and I fired both barrels. The Heritage Foundation is very conservative and I was for the most part among friends and I just launched. And it was at the time when Trump was captivating everybody — and, of course, the establishment types were made very nervous about that because Trump not a political politician. He was encroaching on their turf, and they didn’t trust him. They didn’t think that he was really saying what he believed, that he was just out for his own personal gain by fooling people regarding what he believed.
But I said to the Heritage Foundation audience, “If you want to know why Trump is so popular right now, he is the only Republican taking it to Obama. He is the only Republican at the moment who is articulating the problems this country faces and affixing blame and the proper place for it,” and that was the exact truth. That was Trump’s appeal. I remember walking off the stage (the way this room was laid out, it’s a ballroom, and I had to walk parallel to the crowd to get to the door to get out of there) and I looked to my left as I was walking and I saw some of the establishment types there, and they were just staring daggers at me. Two or three of them in the crowd, they were just staring daggers at me. There was a wicked smile on one woman’s face and so forth. It was clear to me that there were divisions even in that room.
But the very idea that I had even defended Trump or I was extolling his political virtues irritated some people. And all Trump was doing was giving a little lesson here in how it’s done, and there was no mystery to me why Trump was so popular at the time, because compared to the rest of the field at that time, he was the only one going after Obama and identifying Obama as the problem. He was spelling out the problem. He was spelling out the future and the peril we face if something wasn’t done to fix it and stop it.
I said to the crowd, “Many people in the audience here want to know why is Trump so popular. I’ll tell you why,” and I launched into what I just told you. ‘Cause at the time I had many people asking me, “What is it about Trump? Why are people so enamored with Trump?” Because there’s a disconnect between most everybody in Washington and people outside it over the current condition and status of the country and the future and where it’s headed. Most people do not think the answer to our problems is more legislation. Most people don’t think the answer to our problems is more government, bigger government, more government involvement, more government compassion. Most people abhor more of that. Most of the people living in Washington, suburban Virginia, government’s their business, their life. The bigger, the better, the more involved, the better, the more job opportunities the better, the more money to be made, the better.