RUSH: Here is Bill in Gainesville, Florida. Bill, I’m glad you waited. It’s great to have you on the program today, sir. Hello.
CALLER: Hey, Rush, I’m honored. I think this is a great segue, I hope. I’m grateful for Mr. O’Keefe. I’m 53 years old and single. I’m self-employed. I’ve got a big footprint. I’ve got six kids that I’ve raised here in Gainesville, Florida, and the only ability that I feel like I have is my vote, and I wanted to ask you about the birth of the Tea Party.
CALLER: I think it was before Obama. I think because of John McCain’s attack on the First Amendment with McCain-Feingold and Senator Grahamnesty, you know? I voted for Ronald Reagan first time and —
RUSH: Well. Now, this is an interesting point. Clearly the Tea Party just didn’t arise overnight. It was slowly building, and I think you’re right. I think the Tea Party’s roots actually can be traced to the Republican Party’s open abandonment of conservatism. But my only point about Obamacare is Obamacare and Obama and the debt and the spending is what brought them out of their homes to start attending town hall meetings and getting organized as a political movement to the extent that they did. There’s no question the sentiment that propelled them was in their hearts long before they started showing up anywhere.
CALLER: I was able to watch my adult children greet George W. Bush at the airport with enthusiasm, and since then they’ve kind of turned me on to Ron Paul. Last time I wrote him in, and before that I voted for Chuck Baldwin, and I don’t say that, you know, without, you know… My father came home on a hospital ship in World War II, there are a lot of sacrifices made for us.
RUSH: I understand that. You know, Ron Paul’s got some supporters out there, but he was never gonna win the presidency. It was splitting votes.
RUSH: You know, it’s interesting to try to pinpoint exactly when the Tea Party began. Now, the modern incarnation of the Tea Party as we understand it is a television phenomenon, and that was Obamacare. Obamacare and the stimulus, the debt and the spending, is what motivated people who were already thinking in a different way. Some people might think that the Tea Party’s origins really could be traced back to Clinton.
There was a group back in the 1990s — and they still exist. There was a group in the 1990s that were malcontents, renegades, and off the mainstream plantation of conservatism as articulated by the party. Those were the people that were the early participants in the website Free Republic. They were known as Freepers. They were… I say all this in a positive sense. I don’t want any negative connotation.
But they were one of the first visible groups of people off the reservation. And by that I mean abandoning the Republican Party’s confined definitions of conservatism. They were one of the first modern era groups of people to openly express dissatisfaction with the Republican Party the large. I think Clinton inspired a lot of that. It went somewhat dormant during the Bush years.
But even then these people were very distressed at what they were seeing on the spending side. They were really, really troubled because of what it was going to mean to their kids and their grandkids, all this debt. It was going to impede the creation of wealth as the government grew bigger and became more and more in debt, the government swallowed more and more of the private sector.
The private sector is where opportunity is for average people. For the middle class, the private sector is where growth is, the growth opportunity, the pie that gets bigger and your piece of it. It’s the middle class. It’s not in government. It’s in the private sector. It was shrinking. Obama comes along and just nuclear weapons everything everybody’s already afraid of. He adds a nuclear charge to it.
First the stimulus came, and then Obamacare was always a subject in the campaign. Everybody opposed to Obama knew that he wanted it, and at first it seemed like nationalized health care was not gonna happen no matter what. In the first two years, Obama owned the House, and he had the Senate, and he still couldn’t get it done. It was harder and harder to get it done, and there was still a little bit of confidence that it wouldn’t happen.
As it became clear that it was going to happen and then did happen, I think (solely based on my memory) the combination of Obama and all of the spending, all the debt, and the lack of push-back from the Republican Party, led to the Tea Party. You gotta understand, in analyzing the Tea Party, that they felt leaderless. They felt like there was no representation. Obama is elected, then inaugurated, and they hear everybody in the Republican Party salivating and trying to get in on it by complimenting and praising Obama and all of his cabinet selections.
I remember the Republicans said Eric Holder was a great appointment, all these Republican legal minds. To average, ordinary Americans in the Republican Party it was shocking and frightening that there was no push-back. There was abject fear. You could see it. The Republican Party was scared to death of criticizing Obama, of opposing Obama. They were scared to death, intimidated out of the fear of being called racists.
Their voters were just fit to be tied over this, because they weren’t afraid of that. Finally, if you can say there was a tipping point, it was Obamacare which caused this group of people — many of whom had never ever been involved in politics outside the ballot box — for the first time in their lives to show up at Town Hall meetings and demand to know what was going on. The Republican Party didn’t know what to do with them.
The Republican Party was afraid of them. The biggest mistake the Republican Party made in 2010 was not embracing them. I look back on that today and I’m more and more puzzled and amazed. Well, I’m not puzzled. I know why. But I’m just still amazed that they didn’t embrace it. I mean, here you have a made-to-order, motivated, energized, activist, willing-to-donate millions of people that you could welcome into the fold.
You could build a movement around them, and the Republican Party was as uninterested as the Democrats were interested in destroying them. I think that just fired up the Tea Party people even more. Then as time has gone on, the Tea Party people have figured out what others in the Republican base have figured out, and that is the Republicans are really not that crazy about ’em being in the party, because they embarrass them, or something.
I was reading something today. Sadly, I can’t quote this. It’s a piece on Paula Deen and something else. It’s a piece on how the northern and the urban liberal elite look down in a condescending, contemptuous manner of people in the South. Now, you and I all know this, but this was a great piece contrasting how the South is actually less racist today than Newark, Boston, Chicago, parts of New York, parts of the Upper Midwest.
You know, Paula Deen loses endorsements and a TV show over something she said 30 years ago because the left lives with this false, phony narrative that the South is still the same way it was back during the plantation days, and they don’t want it to ever be anything but that. They don’t want to ever recognize the South has changed. They need it. The left needs the South to always be in their minds (and as many other minds as they can convince) a hotbed of racist, backwoods hickism.
They look down their noses at the people from the South and just basically laugh at ’em, make fun of ’em and put ’em down. So when Paula Deen comes along and admits to using the N-word 30 years ago, she’s gotta go. “See, that just proves — Paula Deen proves — that the South is a bunch of racist, hayseed, gun-toting, pickup-driving hayseeds.” Alec Baldwin, on the other hand, can run around and threaten homosexuals — physically threaten them — and he gets richer.
He gets more businesses to ask him to endorse them. He gets more television show guests shots. The point here was that if there’s really hotbeds of racism and backwardsness and closed-mindedness, it’s in the elite conclaves of liberalism in this country. Well the dovetail here, the link, is that to many Republicans the Tea Party is made up of the same kind of unsophisticated people. “They don’t really know what we do here. They don’t really know how we do it. They don’t really understand the issues.
“They’re just emotional and a little out of control, and we somehow gotta find a way to contain ’em,” and I think members of the Tea Party understand this. I know they do. I know they understand it. So it’s now manifested itself a not only the Republican Party in 2010 not… Can you imagine if the Republican Party in 2010 had embraced this group? Even though I understand why, it’s still amazing: A political party actively rejecting millions of people who want to support it!
The Tea Party doesn’t believe anything drastically different than the Republican Party.
In fact, the problem is the Republican Party is less committed on things than the Tea Party is. Imagine how things would be different if the Republican Party had embraced that group and sought to bring them in the tent and use all that energy and desire and inspiration. I always thought there was a way to replicate that 2010 turnout in 2012. I thought it would happen. That’s why I rejected the polls in the 2012 campaign because I thought the 2010 electorate would come out again. I thought they would be even angrier than they were in 2010 ’cause things had gotten only worse. Health care was now the law of the land, and the debt was greater and jobs were being lost in great numbers, and the economy was shrinking. I mean, everything that brought ’em out had worsened.
What I failed to see was that they knew they’d been rejected. The party in any number of ways had let them know that they weren’t interested. So they sat home. A number of them sat home. Now, go to 2014, midterms coming up. There will not be a singular Republican nominee for anything on the ballot, which bodes well for the Republican Party, which means that Tea Party types will be less constrained in turning out. And they have more reasons than ever to turn out, stopping Obama from totally controlling all the branches of the government. And so the fact that there’s not gonna be a Republican nominee anywhere to depress that turnout, the Democrats are right to fear it.
The Democrats are very wise to fear a 2010-like turnout in 2014. And that’s why Obama has delayed by one year the implementation of the employer mandate, because it’s nothing but albatross. It’s nothing but a negative. I’m still amazed. They sold this bill as the panacea. They sold it as utopia. They sold it as the final solution, all anybody would ever need for finally getting affordable, cheap, plentiful health care. So wonderful, so beautiful, and yet from the first day it was signed into law, we had to grant certain people waivers because it was actually so bad. And now it is so bad and so punitive and so damaging, we have to keep delaying the implementation of it so that it does not harm the people who are responsible for it becoming law, i.e., the Democrats.
In a sane world, this alone, in a sane and informed world, this act alone would lead the Democrat Party down this road to becoming a minority party. People would see the fraud and the deceit for what it is. But they don’t yet.