RUSH: So on Tuesday I was right here behind the Golden EIB Microphone, and I said, “What is Obama doing addressing the people? It ought to be Putin addressing the people of the United States.” It’s Putin that came up with the deal. It’s Putin who accepted John Kerry’s insincere suggestion that ended up being a gaffe.
Lo and behold, Putin has done it. Putin has addressed the American people. Vladimir Putin of the KGB. And let me tell you something, folks. No one ever leaves the KGB. Vladimir Putin has an op-ed in the New York Times today. For those of you who are… what do you think, Snerdley, 35 or younger? If you’re 35 years old or younger, I need for you to understand how this would have been received if this were to have happened in the eighties or the seventies or the sixties. The leader of the Soviet Union — it’s now called the Russian Federation. It’s still Russia. They just don’t have the satellite nations like they did with the Soviet Union.
Had the New York Times opened its op-ed pages to Mikhail Gorbachev to lecture the United States and lecture the president of the United States, had they given him a forum to basically say, “There’s nothing special about you people, and the quicker you realize it, the better off the world’s gonna be,” there would have been outrage, bipartisan outrage all over this country. Now it barely even registers with people. It’s just a ho-hummer. It doesn’t really matter. And, in fact, if I may be so bold, ladies and gentlemen, Vladimir Putin in his op-ed in the New York Times basically said we’re not exceptional. You shouldn’t talk about being exceptional and there’s no such thing as exceptional and you’re bad people when you start talking about that.
Nobody’s supposed to talk that way. We’re all equal, nothing special, and if you run around and start talking about yourselves as exceptional, then you’re not a nice guy, you’re wrong, you’re a bad person and all of that. I thought I had the piece here, and I don’t. I’ve got some idiot’s analysis of it, which is the last thing that I need. At any rate, I’m gonna find it. I thought I had it here at the top. My bad, folks. At any rate, it’s an outrage. It’s a simple outrage on so many levels. But it’s also scary, because Vladimir Putin basically echoes our own president on the concept of American exceptionalism.
Grab audio sound bite number three. This is Obama back in 2009 in Strasbourg, France, at the conclusion of a NATO summit. He held a press conference, and there was a Q&A. The Financial Times correspondent by the name of Ed Luce says, “Could I ask you whether you subscribe as many of your predecessors have to the school of American exceptionalism that sees America as uniquely qualified to lead the world, or do you have a slightly different philosophy, and if so, would you be able to elaborate on it?”
OBAMA: I believe in American exceptionalism just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism.
RUSH: The fact is, they don’t. They don’t believe in it. Not the way we believe it, and not the way we mean it. And this kind of cuts to the quick for me, because I’ve gone to great lengths to properly define what American exceptionalism means. And it does not mean that we’re better people. And it does not mean that we’re special, more qualified, smarter, any of that, than anybody else in the world. It doesn’t mean that at all. But most half-thinkers, surface individuals, hear the phrase and they think it equals bragging. And that’s what Obama thought it meant. I’m sure he thinks it means bragging and that’s why, “Well, you know, the British they think they’re exceptional and Greeks and so forth.”
What he was saying in that quote is, “Look, yeah, there’s nothing special about us.” And I know that Obama thinks that. Why else would he want to transform this country? He thinks this country’s flawed. He thinks this country was founded in error. And he is about transforming it. He doesn’t even use the phrase, so I don’t know what Putin is responding to. The only person in this country that talks about American exceptionalism anymore is me, on a routine basis.
Here is Putin’s reference to it in his op-ed in the New York Times today. “I appreciate this. I carefully studied his address to the nation on Tuesday. And I would rather disagree with a case he made on American exceptionalism, stating that the United States’ policy is ‘what makes America different. It’s what makes us exceptional.’ It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation.” Of course he would say that. He’s a communist! He has always been a communist. The White House doesn’t disagree with much of this, I’m sure. The American left doesn’t disagree with much of what Putin said. In fact, the White House is happily accepting that Putin wrote this. Obama and the White House today are happily dumping Syria into Putin’s lap, and now they’re running around saying, “Hey, he owns it.”
Folks, those of you of a certain age will understand my grave concern here. Vladimir Putin has just asserted that he has a moral superiority to the president of the United States, and the president of the United States apparently is willing to allow that perception because the White House is out saying, “Well, Putin, he owns it, it’s his policy,” and Obama’s happy to dump this, he thinks. I thought it was a brilliant plan. I thought he and Putin talked about it last week. If it’s such a great plan, why didn’t Obama want credit for it? Why is he happily dumping it off on Putin? And the better question than that, why does Putin want it? And there are answers to these, and they’re not good.
But let me finish the paragraph here that Putin wrote on American exceptionalism. And, by the way, he’s right; Obama did talk about it in his little 15-minute speech. But because Obama doesn’t know what it is and doesn’t have a proper understanding of it, he misused it. “I carefully studied his address to the nation on Tuesday. And I would rather disagree with a case he made on American exceptionalism, stating that the United States’ policy is ‘what makes America different. It’s what makes us exceptional.'” And, folks, it doesn’t. Not in and of itself. Out of context, our policies are not what make us exceptional. It is, in the past anyway, it is the foundation and the basis for those policies where you’ll find the exceptionalism. And I’ll explain this in a minute.
Putin writes, “It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation. There are big countries and small countries, rich and poor,” those with long democratic traditions and those still finding their way to democracy,” written as only a good communist can. “Their policies differ, too. We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord’s blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal.”
My God, we have the communist leader of Russia more proudly quoting the Declaration of Independence than our own president does! We got Vladimir Putin asserting a “moral superiority” to the president of the United States. Vladimir Putin! Do you people in the White House not know what’s happened here? Vladimir Putin has positioned himself as a mature adult who stopped your immature child from messing around in somebody else’s sandbox that he had no right being in and didn’t know what he was doing.
Vladimir Putin is the guy who’s gonna stop the killing, it is not Barack Obama. Vladimir Putin is the guy who’s gonna get rid of these evil chemical weapons — except, he’s not. He’s gonna make sure they’re in a safe place for his buddy Assad, and they’ll be in the hands of other anti-American forces somewhere in the Middle East. And Obama happily washes his hands of it. We’ve got the leader of the Russian Federation, a former KGB agent! This is what…
If you’re under 35, maybe even 40, what I’m saying sounds Greek to you, and I’m sorry. You just don’t know. In your world, the Berlin Wall came down and the Russians have been one of our allies and the Soviet Union, that’s old. That’s old-style communism. It doesn’t exist anymore. That’s for the grand folks to be concerned about. But this is a profound thing that happened today. “It’s extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional.”
Well, that must be why I am the most dangerous man in America, because I do that every day. I want everybody in this country to think of themselves as exceptional in the sense that they are capable of far more than they know. What is “ordinary people doing extraordinary things”? It’s exceptionalism. Let me give you this once again, since I have your attention. Let me tell you what American exceptionalism is — and please bear with me, those of you who’ve heard this, because it needs to be repeated, particularly now.
Our president doesn’t understand what it is. Vladimir Putin may know what it really is but he’s taking the occasion of Obama’s lack understanding to use Obama’s definition and then spank Obama with it. The fact that the New York Times would give Putin space, that’s not the surprise here. That’s not something that surprises me at all. No. The New York Times will do anything they can here to advance an agenda that might in their minds save Obama.
Remember, the Soviet Union has had dramas about Russia and the US being in a permanent embrace, sharing bedrooms and so forth. Anyway, what American exceptionalism is not: It is not that we are better people. It is not that we are superior people. It is not that we are smarter people. It is not that God loves us and hates everybody else. It is not that God prefers us. It is not that God doesn’t prefer anybody else.
American exceptionalism has nothing to do with anything but freedom and liberty. Here is what American exceptionalism is. By the way, this is one of the fundamental reasons why I got so excited when presented with the idea of writing a book about the truth of American history (in stages and various elements) for young people. My book, Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims, is all about the exceptionalism of those people.
So what is it? Well, if you know the history of the world… Read your Bible, read whatever historical account of humanity you hold dear, and what you’ll read about is human tyranny. You’ll read of bondage. You’ll read of slavery. The vast majority of the people, the vast majority of the human beings who have lived and breathed and walked this planet have lived under the tyranny of despots, the vast majority.
It isn’t even close.
The vast majority of the people of this world since the beginning of time have never known the kind of liberty and freedom that’s taken for granted every day in this country. Most people have lived in abject fear of their leaders. Most people have lived in abject fear of whoever held power over them. Most people in the world have not had plentiful access to food and clean water. It was a major daily undertaking for most people to come up with just those two basic things.
Just surviving was the primary occupation of most people in the world. The history of the world is dictatorship, tyranny, subjugation, whatever you want to call it of populations — and then along came the United States of America. Pilgrims were the first to come here seeking freedom from all of that. They were oppressed because of their religion. They were told they had to believe in the king and his god, whatever it was, or they would be imprisoned.
They led an exodus from Europe to this country, people of the same mind-set. They simply wanted to escape the tyranny of their ordinary lives. This country was founded that way. For the first time in human history, a government and country was founded on the belief that leaders serve the population. This country was the first in history, the EXCEPTION — e-x-c-e-p-t, except. The exception to the rule is what American exceptionalism is.
It is because of this liberty and freedom that our country exists, because the founders recognized it comes from God. It’s part of the natural yearning of the human spirit. It is not granted by a government. It’s not granted by Putin. It’s not granted by Obama or any other human being. We are created with the natural yearning to be free, and it is other men and leaders throughout human history who have suppressed that and imprisoned people for seeking it.
The US is the first time in the history of the world where a government was organized with a Constitution laying out the rules, that the individual was supreme and dominant, and that is what led to the US becoming the greatest country ever because it unleashed people to be the best they could be. Nothing like it had ever happened. That’s American exceptionalism. Putin doesn’t know what it is, Obama doesn’t know what it is, and it just got trashed in the New York Times. It’s just unacceptable.
RUSH: Millions of Americans understand exactly and precisely what American exceptionalism is, and that is why they are so appalled about this administration. That is why they are so appalled and opposed to Obamacare, Obama’s economic policies, amnesty, illegal immigration with impunity. It’s because it is a direct assault on the very foundation and fundamentals of the creation and the founding of this country. That is why there’s such opposition to Obama. It has nothing to do with he’s black and nothing to do with he’s inexperienced. It’s because he is conducting an assault on the founding of this country for the purposes of transforming it in ways that would turn us into subjects to government, just like every other person in this planet.
RUSH: An e-mail that I received during the break, “Dear Rush: Were you taught American exceptionalism as you explained it when you were in school?” No. No. I never heard of the phrase ’til much later in life, and when I first heard the phrase, I misunderstood it, the way it was being used. Now, it was being used by people I admired and respected. But it’s natural to assume when you hear American exceptionalism that you’re hearing people say that we’re better than other people.
It took me a little while to figure it out, but I was able to… This is the key: I was able to figure it because of the grounded education I did get. When I was in junior high, when I was in grade school, I was not propagandized with lies about the greatness of the country. I was told the truth about it. I was taught the history of the founding. I was taught the history of George Washington and Paul Revere and Jefferson and so forth.
I absorbed it and I learned.
Now, I didn’t associate any of that with something called American exceptionalism. But I was able to explain it to myself that way because of the foundational education I had gotten. That’s not out there today, folks; this is what troubles me. Somebody the product of the public education system today will never, ever, figure out what American exceptionalism means on their own. They will go through life thinking it means that we’re a bunch of braggarts, and then they will think that’s bad and that our country is bad.
Liberalism takes over, and they think we’re no better than anybody else. We’re no smarter. It’s what Putin said: “You’re no smarter, you’re not better, you shouldn’t brag like that, that’s not nice, that’s not cool.” So we have a bunch of people running around who think that it is virtuous to think there is nothing special about this country, and what’s special about it is the liberty and freedom with which we had acknowledged in our founding documents.
I’ve told the story of my first trips to Europe, to Italy and Great Britain. If I can just be basic about it — and I don’t mean to be insulting anybody, but this is my learning process. I’m making my first trips to Europe and Hong Kong, China. I’m late twenties, early thirties. I’m aware that the United States is young compared to countries in Europe and Asia that have been around for hundreds of years. They’re thousand-year-old civilizations.
“So I go to Europe and say, “Wait a minute. Why is this bedroom so damned old fashion and doesn’t work? What the hell is this? They call this a toilet?” So I started asking myself: “How is it that we, who have only been around 200 years, are light-years ahead of people that have been alive a thousand?” So I started thinking this. It was a matter of genuine curiosity to me, and not from a braggadocios standpoint.
I was literally interested in how that happened, and then I started to think about all the other things that we led the world in: Manufacturing, technology, innovation, invention, creation, and it all led back to liberty and freedom and the pursuit of happiness and dreams coming true and working hard for whatever you want and being able to do what you love, not just have to dream about it.
But that wouldn’ta been possible if I had not been inculcated, if I may say, educated with a basic foundational, truthful understanding of this country’s founding. It’s just not there today. Instead, what’s being taught is, “We are nothing special, and it’s wrong to think that,” just exactly what Putin said, “and there’s virtue in understanding that we’re all the same.” That’s why I get so frustrated at the definition of American exceptionalism being misunderstood, ’cause nobody’s saying we’re better than anybody else.
Our DNA is identical.
It’s what we’ve been able to do!
To me, it’s just as simple as pie. It’s just simple logic. But you have to have the building blocks for the logic to come from. Logic is based only on your skills, your knowledge set, knowledge base. So I put it right here on the title of the book: “Time-Travel Adventures with Exceptional Americans,” and what made ’em exceptional is liberty. This book is still number one in Amazon in pre-orders, Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims. There, again, is the cover. I want to play an audio sound bite for you. It’s Barack Obama during his speech to the nation on Tuesday night, and here he is with just a really sad, quasi-definition of American exceptionalism.
OBAMA: America is not the world’s policeman. Terrible things happen across the globe, and it is beyond our means to right every wrong. But when, with modest effort and risk, we can stop children from being gassed to death and thereby make our own children safer over the long run, I believe we should act. That’s what makes America different. That’s what makes us exceptional.
RUSH: No. No. Here’s a guy who wants to be selective in his morality. We’re not the world’s policeman — except we are, when he wants us to be. (summarized) “Terrible things happen across the globe, and it’s beyond our means to fix them — except when I think they should be — and with modest effort and risk we’re gonna do something. It isn’t gonna be very big. We’re not gonna offend anybody, and there’s not a whole lot of risk otherwise I wouldn’t do it because I’m risk-averse.
“When children are being gassed — never mind RU-486 and abortion, ’cause that’s, you know, my buddies. That’s what makes America great. That’s what makes us exceptional.” No. What makes us exceptional is what we used to have in situations like this, that was a moral authority. We had the moral authority because of what we stood for, and we stood for what I just explained. We stood for the absolute primacy of the individual.
We stood for the concepts that are in our Declaration of Independence: Right to life, liberty, pursuit of happiness. We stood for that, and we were the beacon for it, and to this day that is why the oppressed of the world still seek to come into this country. It is that which Barack Obama and his party seek to change. Because in Barack Obama’s view, the Constitution of the United States does not empower government.
Therefore, in his view — and they’ve said this, my friends, and we have played various audio sound bites over the years of them saying this — the Constitution is a flawed document. They call it “a charter of negative liberties.” Can I tell you what I first thought when I heard that, “negative liberties”? To me, that didn’t make any sense. How in the world can there be anything such as “negative liberty”?
It doesn’t make any sense to me. I had to ask, “What the hell is that?” I first heard it uttered by one of Obama’s great buddies, a lawyer of great renown on the left. His name is Cass Sunstein, and he happens to be the husband of this inept ambassador to the UN that Obama just appointed, Samantha Power. Stop and think about that: “Charter of negative liberties.” The Bill of Rights, the first 10 amendments, are “a charter of negative liberties.” This is only in the last 15 or years, folks, that I heard them say that.
Yeah. I said, “What in the world? They’re talking about the Constitution!” To me, I revere it and the Declaration of Independence. There’s nothing negative about it. “What in the world were they talking about?” I had to ask. I had to ask constitutional scholars on my side of the aisle what it meant because it made no common sense, negative liberties. And then when I heard what it meant, I was aghast. I was appalled. I was shocked. I couldn’t believe there were educated Americans who believed it.
That’s how naive I am.
A charter of negative liberties translates to the Constitution is insufficient because it tells government what it can’t do. Those are the “negative liberties.” The First Amendment is a negative liberty because it says what the government can’t do. The Second Amendment is a negative liberty because it says what the government can’t do, which is the sole reason for our exceptionalism: Limiting government and maintaining the primacy of the individual human being regardless of race, sex, creed, fake womb, or what have you.
It’s the primacy of the individual.
The government is what’s limited. The Constitution is written to tell people in government what they cannot do, and it’s Obama and the Democrat Party who find that to be unacceptable — and that scares me, and it scares a lot of people in this country, and they’re called the Tea Party. It scares a lot of other people who are called conservatives. They don’t hate government; they just don’t want to be subordinated to it or subjected to it or dominated by it.
You’ve heard that people elected “serve at the consent of the governed.”
What does it mean? It doesn’t mean that we behave according to how they allow us to behave. That’s what Obama wants. He wants the government to have the power to determine how we behave. His wife wants the government to have the power to determine what we eat (as does the mayor of New York), and how much we should exercise, and ultimately what kind of car we drive, and ultimately where we can drive it, and the kind of fuel we can put in it.
They do all this under the guise of compassion and love and trying to help everybody. It’s not about that. It’s their insatiable, by the way, appetite for power. They can never get enough. No matter how much they get, it’s never enough. Well, to me the Constitution isn’t negative, and liberty isn’t negative. But the people running this country believe both to be true, and I think both of those are stupid. It’s not smart, not brilliant. It’s not intellectual. It’s just wrong. FDR was the first to come up with the notion of a second Bill of Rights.
Obama believes in it, by the way. You know what they would do? The second Bill of Rights would spell out exactly what’s wrong with the first 10 and then allow the government to rewrite the Constitution. The government could do whatever it wanted to do, whatever they put in the amendment. So if they don’t like the Second Amendment, they’ll write the 12th New Amendments which allows them to overrule the second. Sometimes they just get frustrated and say, “To hell with rewriting it! We’ll just issue an executive order and ignore it,” which is another thing happening.
RUSH: Let me read to you from Obama’s second autobiography thrice removed. The title of the book, “The Audacity of Hope.” This is Obama in his own book. Quote, “At its most elemental level, we understand our liberty in a negative sense.” I don’t. That doesn’t even make any sense to me. “As a general rule,” writes Obama, “we believe in the right to be left alone, and are suspicious of thoseÂ–whether Big Brother or nosy neighbors — who want to meddle in our business. But we understand our liberty in a more positive sense as well, in the idea of opportunity and the subsidiary values that help realize opportunity.”
And he goes on to talk about this, “We understand our liberty in a negative sense.” I don’t, but he does, because he’s a statist. He doesn’t understand liberty from the position of citizenship like you and I do. He understands liberty as a despot, as a leader, and it’s negative to him. We have too much, and he doesn’t have enough power. That can be the only thing negative liberty is to somebody who wants to have power over others.
Jim in Saratoga Springs, New York, as we get to the phones. Great to have you on the EIB Network. Hello.
CALLER: Well, hi, Rush. It’s an honor talking to you. Your monologue this morning was just one of many that I’ve heard over the past 20 years which I thought would be great to have Congress of the United States to be listening to, but unfortunately that’ll never happen, probably. It was just brilliant. I just want to go back to your comments about American exceptionalism. You know, being on hold for so long and also never being able to get through to you, I just want to dedicate this to my dad, who’s 91, who is a World War II vet who fought behind enemy lines for the OSS and who was married to my mom and then went to war to fight the enemy and saw hell.
We don’t even know half the stories that he came back home with. But it’s an honor to have him as a dad at 91 and what he told me about what he did and what our family knows is just despicable about what the enemy did and what Americans did to save this country. And I just want to, you know, basically honor him in the fact that I’m talking to you also. He’s not a talk show guy; he’s an old JFK Democrat. And I try to convince him about conservatism, and he thinks I’m a kook for listening to some of the talk radio. And I try to educate him on what’s going on. He thinks the world is going crazy and everything is upside down, but he’s 91, so he’s not gonna know really American exceptionalism like, you know, what talking about in a sense, but he lived it, and he did it because that was his upbringing.
RUSH: Well, I understand. It’s probably a little frustrating, but it’s great the way you honor your dad nevertheless. That’s the difference. Anyway, Jim, I appreciate the call, I really do.
RUSH: Let me close the hour by making this point. The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are an attempt to provide a political framework to facilitate God’s will that each of us are born and remain free. Read the Founders and you can conclude nothing other than that.