RUSH: Greetings my friends, great to have you here, Rush Limbaugh, happier than I can be, having more fun than a human being should be allowed to have. Every day is an adult Christmas. It’s the anniversary date of the EIB Network. This is No. 26 today, which means that we are starting our 27th year. Hey, look, a lot of people have done things longer than 27 years. Don’t misunderstand. But in this business, it doesn’t happen very often. It’s the nature of the beast.
At no time when I was young and climbing the ladder of success did I ever think I would be doing the same thing for 27 years at the same place. I might have been doing the same thing, but I might have gotten fired 25 times in the process. As it was, I was fired eight times. But I haven’t been fired in the last 27 years, or 26. No, I haven’t been fired in the last 30. Now it’s kind of hard now because I would have to fire myself.
I meant to get to phone calls in the last hour and I didn’t. So I’ll try to make up for that in this hour. But now I want to go back. On anniversary day, we always go back to the Grooveyard of Forgotten Favorites and try to play some highlights of previous programs. I want to go back to my first appearance on Firing Line with William F. Buckley, Jr. At the time he was — well, he was always — one of my idols, a hero of mine.
I was very fortunate, not only to get to meet him, but to become an acquaintance, to become a social friend. It’s a thrill. But I was as nervous as I could be when he asked me on Firing Line. I had only been doing the program for four years and he invited me. We got to know each other a little bit before this, but not as much as obviously we would as time went on, but I was invited because I was it.
Even in 1992, this was the only program in national media that was conservative. I don’t even think the process of guest hosts getting their own shows had started yet. I’m not sure when that started. That might have happened by 1992. I’m not sure, but it was close. If it wasn’t, it was soon thereafter. So I’m nervous. I’m thinking, “Do I really deserve this?” It was the same when I was first invited by Ted Koppel to be on Nightline to debate Al Gore on global warming.
But I was it, because I was the only recognizable national conservative voice. (interruption) Snerdley says, “You still are.” (chuckling) It was a wide-ranging interview. You should know that Buckley was very respectful. He found me amusing. I entertained him. He was from this button-down world and so forth. I’m just kind of… My pedigree is totally different than his.
But never, ever did he act superior or aloof, any of those kind of things. He was a good guy to me. But I was nervous as I could be, because I was thinking, “Do I really deserve this? Am I qualified to be on this show?” I watched these Firing Line debates growing up. I mean, this was William F. Buckley! I’m saying, “There’s no way! I may not even understand the questions this guy’s going to ask me.
“I’m not even in his league,” was my attitude.
But I was so honored to be asked, I couldn’t say, “No.” I couldn’t turn it down. So I did it, and we taped it at his maisonette, at 73rd and Park Avenue. Do you know what a maisonette is? (interruption) It’s an apartment or condo on the first floor with entrances specifically to your apartment off the street. I didn’t know what a maisonette was until I started reading gossip columns in New York about his maisonette.
I said, “What the hell is a maisonette? How in the world…?” I looked it up and that’s what it is. In fact, if you live on the 2nd or 23rd floor, you can’t have a maisonette. It’s got to be on the ground floor. So we taped it in there. In fact, I arrived and he’s playing the harpsichord. He loved Johann Sebastian Bach. I showed up and I went into the 73rd Street side. That was the friend’s entrance. Park Avenue is where you deal with all the staff.
So I went in. His driver met me. I walked in, and right inside the door — in that hallway — he’s playing the harpsichord while the Firing Line crew is setting up in the library and so forth. Now, my first trip to the library was before this. I had been to his maisonette before. I was invited to an editor’s dinner, a National Review editor’s dinner, which I guess was once a month at his maisonette. It was a big place.
It was… It was… Well, it was beautiful, and I remember all the editors were there. I drove around the block twice to build up courage to go in. I finally walked in. They usher me in there, and there’s all these editors at National Review, and I’m kind of in awe. I’m agog. Buckley was just warm. He stands up; welcomes me in. He asks me what I would like to drink. I think I said, “Crown Royal and Diet Coke,” maybe straight Diet Coke.
Yes, straight Diet Coke this night. He brought it to me and I tasted it, and honest to God, it tasted like… Have you ever tasted…? Did your mother ever give you mineral oil? It tasted like, and had the consistency of, mineral oil. And I didn’t say anything. It looked like Diet Coke. I’m thinking, “My God, what is this?” It wasn’t flat Diet Coke. There was something in there besides Diet Coke.
His wife Pat always made her grand entrance after everybody was there by sweeping down the giant main staircase. She comes in, she says hello, and asks me what I’m drinking. I said, “Diet Coke.” She said, “May I sip it?” I said, “Sure.” She tasted it. She said, “What the hell is this, Bill?” and took it over and brought me back a Diet Coke. I still don’t know (chuckling) what was in it.
So anyway, I show up for the Firing Line interview, and he’s playing the harpsichord.
We finally go into the library and start the thing. We have three sound bites from it. I want to play them to you because it’s a classic illustration of being on the cutting edge of societal evolution. I also wanted you to hear it because I’m as nervous as I can be, and I’m asking myself if I have any business being here. I’ve only been doing this program four years. “Have I earned this yet?” I’m asking myself, and at the time women in the military/women in combat was one of the hot-button issues.
BUCKLEY: The idea of putting a woman at the end of a rifle with bayonet and saying, “Go ahead and charge along with everybody else,” offends me, and I kind of resist the notion that I ought to be responsible for externalizing the reasons why I feel them, and certain things —
RUSH: Stop the tape a minute. Let me translate this for you because some people ask, “What’s he mean, ‘externalizing the reasons’?” What he’s saying… Put this back to the top. He said (translated), “The idea of putting a woman at the end of a rifle with bayonet and saying, ‘Go ahead and charge along with everybody else,’ offends me… I don’t think women should be doing that — and I resist the notion that I ought to have to explain why!
That’s what he means when he says, “I resist the notion that I ought to be responsible for externalizing the reasons I feel them,” is (translated), “I don’t have to tell anybody! I just think it’s odd. I don’t believe in it and I resist the idea that they make me explain it.” He goes on. He says, “[C]ertain things I think I ought to be entitled to feel without being committed to formulating,” meaning (translated), “Something I just know is wrong, I shouldn’t have to tell you.” We should all know it’s wrong, is what he was saying. So here’s the question again from the top.
BUCKLEY: The idea of putting a woman at the end of a rifle with bayonet and saying, “Go ahead and charge along with everybody else,” offends me, and I kind of resist the notion that I ought to be responsible for externalizing the reasons why I feel them, and certain things I think I ought to be entitled to feel without being committed to formulating.
RUSH ARCHIVE: The very fact that you feel them proves that you are a sexist and proves that you’re born that way. It proves that you must undergo deep retraining in sensitivity counseling in order to — I mean, we’re sending professors now to sensitivity training because they do not use the term “Native American” as opposed to Indian.
RUSH: I was trying to sound like him. The next one, this is uncanny, folks. Listen to this.
RUSH ARCHIVE: This cockamamie idea now that we’ve got to get rid of surnames of sports teams because they somehow all of a sudden, after all these years, have become offensive.
BUCKLEY: Like chasing the Indians out of Dartmouth.
RUSH ARCHIVE: Yes. Yes. Or saying the Washington Redskins football team is offensive and you’ve got to get rid of the term Redskins and so forth. All of a sudden now you can’t do the Tomahawk Chop. You can’t do this as a fan at an Atlanta Braves baseball game without supposedly offending Native Americans.
RUSH: There it was, 1992. In 1992, a forerunner of what was to come, I told you, even mentioning the Washington Redskins, ladies and gentlemen. And here’s the warning. This final exchange, I tell him that I worry that all of what’s going on is part of a larger reprogramming of American youth. Here it is.
BUCKLEY: That is fanatical, isn’t it?
RUSH ARCHIVE: Yes. I mean, the attempt to redefine Christopher Columbus as the reason for all evil in the western world. I always say to people that’s what multiculturalism is all about, Bill. And I’m troubled by it. These are American kids that are being reprogrammed. Stop and think of this, what is multiculturalism? It is teaching people that which they fled in order to come here to find prosperity, a better life, what have you. And I think multiculturalism is a tool of revenge used by those who fail.
BUCKLEY: It’s an invitation to retribalization.
RUSH ARCHIVE: Absolutely. Absolutely. And to try to convince kids as they’re growing up they have no chance in this country. These are American kids and they’re being educated in ways that are not going to prepare them to access the opportunities that exist here.
RUSH: It’s an invitation to retribalization. Multiculturalism. Anyway, those are the bites from Firing Line.