RUSH: Cookie also went back to our audio sound bite archive, and I have the cue sheet here, and she has a sound bite from my grandfather back in the early nineties, and from my old speech teacher in high school, Irene Wright. We played silly phone tricks, my brother and I, friends, it was our pastime, and every time we tried one on Irene Wright, we never succeeded. She always knew it was us. But she never told anybody else in town that we were on the march. She never ratted us out. So we were able to pull off our pranks, despite her knowing. And then there’s a couple sound bites of my mother and one of Bill Clinton, complaining that there’s no truth detector to gauge what I say.
I told Snerdley, “I don’t know. Should I start with this stuff or stick-to-the-issues?”
He said, “No, no, no. You never talk about yourself. You may as well make some of this about yourself.”
I said, “Okay.” I readily agreed.
But seriously, congratulations to Ted Cruz in Texas and the fact that he served Chick-fil-A at his victory party. They’re out there saying Ted Cruz served “hate” chicken. Chick-fil-A appreciation day today, and by 9:30 in a lot of places Chick-fil-A was out of breakfast, they were already serving lunch. Millions of people are showing up at Chick-fil-A today, celebrating Chick-fil-A values. I don’t know how many millions are streaming in to Chicago today to celebrate Chicago values.
How many things last 24 years? Cars don’t. A lot of relationships don’t. It’s hard to think of many things that last 24 years. And, how many of those things that last 24 years actually improve in 24 years? Single malt scotch does. Certain vintages of wine improve. Cigars, if kept properly, will age and improve in the process. I mean, you can even say that women… (interruption) Snerdley, look, there are some attractive 24-year-olds still around, for example. (laughing) I’m just kidding. You know me. I love stereotypical, sexist humor. The more politically incorrect, the more I like it. Twenty-four years is five more years than Michael Phelps has medals, for example. And in all these 24 years people ask me, “What are you most proud of?” and I don’t know. I don’t really stop to ponder that, but there is one thing.
We started in 1988 and this show was it. It doesn’t seem that long ago. I read tech blogs written by young people who think the 1990s are ancient. They write about the technology that existed in the 1990s the way you and I talk about Model T’s and Model A’s. It’s a fascinating perspective. To me, 1988 was yesterday some days, and then it seems like a century ago others days, and some days it seems like the first day, it seems like August 1st, 1988. It’s different every day. But I go back and look at the timeline. In 1988 all there was was ABC, NBC, CBS and CNN on-air media. You had local stations, but in terms of national, ABC, CBS, NBC, and CNN. You had the newspapers and the magazines, that was it when we started. Back then you had a job at ABC, CBS, or NBC, those were tough jobs to get. There weren’t very many jobs. There weren’t very many TV commentators with analysis gigs on television. You got one, it was unique, you were special. Now those things are a dime a dozen.
People you’ve never heard of, people that nobody else has ever heard of, are routinely on television as Republican strategist, Democrat strategist. You wonder, who are they strategizing for? Where do they go to strategize? What organization are they a part of? You’ve never seen them before. Now it’s one of the easiest things in the world to get an analysis gig, which ties in to my point here. Back in 1988 they had a monopoly. They had a monopoly on what was reported; they had a monopoly on what was said about what was reported; and, as important, they had a monopoly on what wasn’t reported. They were able to spike news stories, and nobody knew. If they didn’t report it, nobody knew that it had happened. There wasn’t any competition. It was a faux competition between them.
The way it worked, CBS was the acknowledged Tiffany, and everybody let ’em have that. NBC was acknowledged second place. ABC was acknowledged third place startup. They came to the game late, and they were growing, and everybody was happy with the position they had. Nobody expected to unseat Walter Cronkite, but John Chancellor and Huntley and Brinkley, they carved their own niche and their own audience, and they were happy with it. Then over at ABC you had Dean Reynolds, whoever it was, I forget, way back then. But they really didn’t compete against each other because they were part of the club. They were all part of the same club. And then CNN came along, and they had no competitors ’cause all they wanted to do was cable. And they owned the news on cable.
It was all the same. If you missed it on CBS, turn on NBC. If you missed it there, turn on ABC. If you missed there, go to CNN. If you missed that, LA Times. Miss that, New York Times. It didn’t matter, it was all the same everywhere. And then August 1st, 1988, happened, and a sleeping giant known as the silent majority appeared to come to life outta nowhere. Now, they had always been there: conservatives, constitutionalists, traditionalists, whatever you want to call ’em, however you want to describe them. They were always there, but they never, ever saw their views reflected in major media. Stop and think about that. Never, or so seldom as to essentially be never.
No matter where they watched, no matter where they went, every Republican sucked and every Democrat was a prince. No matter where they read, no matter where they turned on the radio or television. Maybe one exception was Paul Harvey, early morning in the radio. They were there. All of a sudden, you start showing up, audience surveys, in robust numbers, and the monopolists don’t know how to deal with it. So they assign all kinds of conspiracy theories to explain why and how somebody they had never heard of, me, ended up getting a gig on a satellite out of New York for two hours. How did this happen? Who is this guy?
I never networked. I didn’t hobnob with management people, or anybody else. I just wanted to be a guy on the radio. And when I moved to New York, I just wanted to be the most listened to guy, pure and simple. And all of a sudden they started assigning characteristics to you. You’re mind-numbed robot. I’m a pied piper. You don’t know what to think, say, or do until I tell you. But then other days, I’m just an entertainer. Then the next day I’m the titular head of the Republican Party. And then when Clinton won, that’s it, that’s the end of Limbaugh. The public had just rejected the Republican Party, and with it, there goes Limbaugh.
Every election, no matter who won or lost, it was the end of me. What will he talk about now that Bush is gone? When Bush won, by the way, in November of ’88 when Bush won, “Well, that’s the end of Limbaugh. What’s he gonna talk about now?” Then Clinton wins, “That’s the end of Limbaugh. The public has rejected the Republicans and Limbaugh.” Then only a year later they said Clinton is what made Limbaugh. I mean, to try to follow these people was schizophrenic. Each day, month, year, they attempt to explain to themselves how this all happened and why it sustains. And you know the drill. Racist, sexist, bigot, homophobe, with occasional compliments some days, but still, there is a resentment and a curiosity and an anger.
They’ve thrown everything at this program to try to wipe it out. They haven’t been able to because they didn’t make it. This program did not become a success because media told you this was something cool and hip that you had to be a part of. There is no end of Limbaugh until I determine that there’s going to an end. They’ve thrown everything they can; lies, it doesn’t matter. And the reason it never matters is because of you. You don’t believe them. You know how they operate. You know what they’re trying to do with these phony, trumped-up controversies. Unlike other media people the media has made, people you’ve never heard of, all of a sudden there’s buzz and PR releases and interviews and profiles. Gee, who’s that? Those people every day have to go out and, first and foremost, make the media happy. They have to go out, make the media happy, make the media like them. They have to show up at clubs at two o’clock in the morning so it looks like they’re hip, and if the media turns on ’em, they’re in trouble.
That’s gotta be a heck of a life to have to every day care what the National Enquirer may say about you. Fortunately, that is not me. We’ve always existed in a different universe or a different realm from the traditional media. It’s all been made possible by you. We’ve been through thick and thin on this program. Largely been thick. I’m not talking about my weight. It’s been 24 straight years of good times. It’s a golden age here at EIB and all of us here at the EIB Network have you to thank for that.
RUSH: One of the points I was gonna make in the previous monologue, starting back in 1988 when the monopolists owned everything, and then this program came along, one of the things, when people ask me what I’m proud of, I don’t know that it’s so much proud of, but this is something that is, if I may say so myself, amazing. Starting in 1988, this show was it. And the first thing that happened was that local radio — radio, media copycats, they do what works — so local radio started hiring conservatives. And that began to blossom. Then the syndicators. You know what? Let’s put some other people on. So guest hosts on this program ended up getting their own shows. Not gonna mention any names, but you know who they are.
The left threw all kinds of competitors. Jim Hightower, Gary Hart(pence), Mario Cuomo, Air America. They didn’t take. But look, there is now more conservative talk on radio and on television than there’s ever been. Fox News, 1996, about nine years after we started on radio in 1988, through all of that, none of that cannibalized this program. We didn’t lose any audience. All these new programs attracted their own, and therefore, that, in a business sense, that pie, a pie of potential customers for advertisers, that pie grew like crazy and a whole new market was created for broadcasters, as well. Now, if those other shows hadn’t started, this audience would probably be 80 million, a hundred million, but it doesn’t matter. The fact is that the market grew. The 20 million that became this audience did not shrink and become ten and half of ’em go someplace else.
In his view, every station that picked up my program had to fire somebody. Limbaugh, he didn’t do it on his own. He’s on 612 stations, 612 people got fired. He doesn’t see that an entire segment of broadcasting was saved, AM radio. He doesn’t see all the new jobs that were created because of it. Not the way he looks at it. And we don’t need somebody like that leading the country. We don’t need somebody doesn’t even understand the concept of an expanding pie, of an expanding market with increasing amounts of money. There’s nothing government did. RUSH: EIB. Into our 24th year, ladies and gentlemen, saying what the left doesn’t want you to hear. And we have become the real mainstream media since 1988. You know, it’s interesting, the concept of growing the pie. Do you realize we have a president who doesn’t believe that’s possible. We have a president who believes that our economy is a zero-sum game. He believes that somebody gets a $10,000 raise, that somebody either got fired or had $10,000 taken away from them. He really does. He does not understand. I’m convinced of this. It’s not that he doesn’t believe. He does not understand the whole concept of expansion, of an economy getting bigger. He doesn’t look at it that way. He looks at it entirely different ways from you and I, zero-sum game.
You talk about the Fairness Doctrine, Reagan did that. But that was simply getting rid of a regulation. That had nothing to do with creativity. Didn’t do anything to help business. All it did was open up the First Amendment, which it shouldn’t have been impeded on in the first place, or infringed upon in the first place, with the Fairness Doctrine. So all it did was correct a mistake. But the government didn’t build this, and there’s nobody who had their life destroyed or career ended because this program succeeded.
Anyway, back in the early nineties we were doing Rush to Excellence Tours all over the place, building the program, and we put together a couple of videos of Rush to Excellence shows, and one of the videos interviewed people where I grew up, members of my family. So we went back, Cookie did today, unbeknownst to me, and she put together just a few of these things. And first up is my grandfather. This is a montage. It’s Rush Limbaugh Sr. And, by the way, about whom there is a new book out. I talked about it to you a couple of times, from the University of Missouri Press. It’s by a guy named Dennis Boman, who’s a great historian. I wanted to mention that to you. Every family has this mythical patriarchal figure that is larger than life. My grandfather really was larger than life. He was Mr. Perfection in the way he lived his life and was treated by people, the way he treated people. Anyway, here is just a couple of minutes of him talking about me in relationship to the rest of the family.
LIMBAUGH SR.: Well, the Limbaughs are not inclined to be people who have fun, laughing and all that, but Rush’s mother is. And I would say that all of his humor comes from his mother. When I hear Rusty, I can’t help but think of his father, who he is so much like. When his father had a conviction about a thing, he didn’t hesitate to say it, and he was like Pitt the Elder. If a thing needed to be said, he wanted to say it with emphasis. I can’t help but believe that there is in this generation and there will be in future generations a conviction that those values are, after all, basic and that they ought to be preserved. I have been an active citizen in politics, and I think that I had something to do with instilling that idea in Rush, Jr. Now, as far as Rusty is concerned, I don’t remember that I ever was in a position where I caused my ideas to prevail with him, but I’m sure that his father was responsible for giving him that idea. I think that he has lived it and he is now, I’m glad to say, giving it to a large segment of the American people.
RUSH: That’s my grandfather, Rush Limbaugh Sr., who lived to be 104. And this was the early nineties, I forget the exact year, but he would have been very close to a hundred years of age at the time that was recorded. Also from the early nineties, the video producers, they went out — (interruption) What? What, Snerdley? Well, my grandfather’s being humble there. I mean, he was trying to credit my father, who deserves a lot of credit, there’s no question. But for him to speculate that he was unaware of any influence he might have had, that was him just being humble. My grandfather had a profound influence on all of us in the family. Still does. Still does. Here’s Irene Wright, former drama teacher, speech teacher, never was able to pull a prank on her. She was wise to us. But as I say, she never gave us up. She never warned anybody that we were on the prank path. She left the targets wide open for us to hit. And they went and they talked to her.
WRIGHT: The time I knew him, I thought he was destined for some radio, yes. That’s been his love. And I think it’s quite remarkable that he, you know, has achieved what he’s achieved, because he did it on his own, with many hurdles to overcome. And I do know the Limbaughs, you know, go in for law. (laughing) And I remember one day, in Speech 2, coming down in that — I had my class, a rather large auditorium, and there sat Rush all alone. And when I walked down, he said, “You know, Miss Wright, I just don’t want to be a lawyer.” But I thought a great deal of his father, and I knew he would understand, I just knew he would. So I said, “Rusty, why don’t you talk that over with your father?” And evidently Rush Sr. did understand, because he did not pressure him into going into law. He always wanted to do radio.
RUSH: That’s all true, never pressured me to go into law. You’ve heard me tell the story about pressuring me to go to college, but he never pressured me to go into law. If he’d had his druthers, he woulda done something else. He went into law because it was the family thing to do. If my father had followed his genuine passion, he would have run an airport or owned a flight service or done something with aviation. He was very good at the law. He was a passionate defender, and so forth. But he never pressured me. It was just: “Get a degree. Gotta go to college.” And that was the outgrowth of having lived through the Depression. That was the only way out of it back then, if you had a college degree. If you didn’t, you had no chance.
Another reason why he didn’t pressure me to get out of radio, is it was the first thing I hadn’t quit. Heck, folks, I was a Tenderfoot in the Boy Scouts for a year. You get that for signing up. If you’re still a Tenderfoot after a year you haven’t done anything. I got the Gold Brick Award after the first campout for doing nothing. The gold brick for being the most worthless member of the troop on a campout. All I wanted was out of there. So I acted like it. Here’s my mom. We have a couple of sound bites from her.
MRS. LIMBAUGH: We had four- and five-year-old kindergarten here at the college, you know, the training school, they called it, and one day the teacher, who is now gone, had me in for conference like she did all the parents. She said, “If Rush doesn’t” — she called him Rush — “If Rush doesn’t change his ways, he’ll never grow to be the man his grandfather is, or his father.”
RUSH: I’m five years old! I’m five years old and the teacher brings my mom in, “If he doesn’t change his ways.” I have no idea what I was doing. I don’t remember five years old. I don’t remember what I was doing. (laughing) I wasn’t aware of doing pranks. I mean, I do remember throwing a chair off the top of the jungle gym at the outdoor playground. I took a chair up to the top of the jungle gym and tossed it off there. I don’t know why. I don’t remember why. I don’t know what was going on. But I mean at five years old: “If he doesn’t change his ways, he’s never going to grow.” And then this is my mother telling the story of her and my father watching Nightline the first time I was on it with Algore.
MRS. LIMBAUGH: And that’s when Rush Jr. turned around to me and said, “Where did he get that?” And I said, “From you, of course.” And that really pleased son Rush that his dad finally realized that — it was a wonderful thing to know that he had absorbed his thoughts about politics. It’s just like his dad all over. He is just his — the political views, are his dad’s. I’ve always said he got his smarts from his dad, and I’m gonna say silliness from me. (laughing)
RUSH: Yep. (laughing) Yeah, she mastered this ability. Nobody disliked her. Nobody. Nobody. She remembered everybody’s birthday. First thing she ever asked anybody when she met ’em, and she never forgot their birthdays. Never. And then there’s this. This was June 24th, 1994, Bill Clinton on Air Force One flying into St. Louis. He called our affiliate, KMOX. He’s there to open I think a new train station, or the dedication of a refurbished train station. He’s flying in to do that, and he’s doing an interview with the morning host then, Kevin Horrigan and Charles Brennan, and this is how that went.
CLINTON: After I get off the radio today with you, Rush Limbaugh will have three hours to say whatever he wants.
BRENNAN: Would you like to leave a message?
CLINTON: And I won’t have any opportunity to respond, and there’s no truth detector. You won’t get on afterward and say what was true and what wasn’t.
RUSH: The president of the United States, 1994, six years into this program, the president, flying into St. Louis complaining to my local affiliate’s morning show that there’s no Truth Detector, nobody to set things straight when I finish. He’s got the bully pulpit of the United States. (interruption) No, that was not the first presidential attack. Well, wait a minute, now, ’94. It coulda been. I don’t know which came first, this or trying to tell the racist joke about me at the White House Correspondents Dinner. Whenever the Waco invasion happened in relationship to June 24th, 1994. Anyway, yeah, I’ve had to face critics since I was five. Since I was five years old I’ve been facing critics. “You’ll never be.” Can you imagine the Democrats out there now, gee, I wonder if there’s a way we can still figure out to get him into law school.