RUSH: Before we get into that and all the rest of today’s program, and not to belabor the point, but I speak for everybody here at the EIB Network when I say that we feel an overwhelming absence. We feel an overwhelming hole in the normal ebb and flow of energy and presence at our network because of the passing yesterday morning of chief of staff, Christopher “Kit” Carson. And it’s gonna take a while.
He was a relevant member of the staff, chief of staff, as chiefs of staff are. He’d been with me longer than anybody, 27 years. I got his age wrong yesterday. He was 56, not 58. Anyway, I can’t possibly personally respond to everyone who is sending me e-mail condolences, but they’re beautiful. And the people who are writing me who knew Kit are telling me stories that I didn’t know, things that had happened when they had interacted with Kit. Funny, funny stories.
They were descriptions of his magnanimous and gracious and hilarious personality. And don’t misunderstand. It’s not that I didn’t know of the aspects of his personality; I didn’t know the specific details of these particular stories. He never told me, “Yeah, I went out last night with such-and-such, and here’s what I told ’em, and here’s what they said back.” That only happened when I wanted to know what happened with certain things. And most of these stories are just fabulous, they’re great.
Eric Bolling at Fox News yesterday at five o’clock on their show did a wonderful tribute. A lot of people have, Erick Erickson at RedState. I mean, a lot of people, in their blogs and on their own radio or TV shows, have made mention of it. I got the nicest note from Mike Allen at The Politico about it. Everybody is just being really, really gracious, and it’s a testament — Kit knew all these people. He interacted with them in the course of the business day and they all loved him. He was unthreatening, even though his job was to tell all of them “no.”
And, by the way, let me explain that again. I got some e-mails from people, “What does this mean, say ‘no’?” People don’t understand that, and I thought I explained it yesterday, but let me tackle it again. And then I got a number of e-mails from people, “Why haven’t we heard about this guy before?” They didn’t put it that way, but, “Why don’t you talk about these people more? Why can’t we hear these people during the program when you’re talking to them? Why are they always silent, this kind of thing?”
These are understandable questions that an audience would have of a pioneering radio show, wondering how it’s done, why it’s done that way. You’re shaking your head in there, Snerdley. (laughing) I always joked that it was too dangerous to give these people a microphone, folks. I mean, they say things to me that… if the things they say to me in the intercom here, the IFB, like Kit would talk to me right now if something popped into his head and I’m saying something about it. He would interject a comment or an opinion, and I’m telling you, if he had a microphone that went out… (laughing) You think I put this program in jeopardy, it would have been…
They’re free, by the way, knowing nobody’s ever gonna hear them, they are free to be totally forthcoming. Believe me, it’s an advantage. But there’s another reason, too, folks. And I imagine this one’s gonna be hard to understand, too. Back when the program started in 1988 I mentioned Kit Carson all the time. When he first joined, the radio show was growing. His hire was an example of the growth, and I talked about the things that he was doing. It was only later that he acquired the nickname “H.R.” And he wasn’t immediately the chief of staff. I mean, he had to work up to that, get promoted to that. It took a number of years.
But the reason why, folks, that you don’t hear these people and the reason why you may not know their real names is, honest to gosh, it’s for their privacy, and the desire on my part that they not become targets. As you know, this program is hated and reviled by the left and many in the media, and they take every opportunity they can to take shots at it and destroy it. In most cases, they are taking shots at me. Sometimes, granted, I’ve earned it, but most of the time it’s totally made up, it’s unfair, but it’s the league that I’m in. I understand it. I’ve talked about it countless times. I chose to do this, being successful at it is going to cause various reactions on the left.
Remember, my success equals victory, and defeat for them. They don’t like it. I’ve not held back in what I think of them, so it’s natural that they would come at me in any number of ways. And you in this audience have become pretty sophisticated. You understand, which is why I love you so much, we have this bond, you and I, you and me. You know when they’re launching BS. You know when they’re lying and making things up, and you know how that works. But I’ve always been kind of protective of the people who work here, and not mentioning their names and not attaching them to — I own the controversy; they don’t.
There’s no reason why they should end up being targets. And, believe me, folks, some of this stuff that happens, I mean, look at Sarah Palin, look at any number of people. It gets vicious, what they’ve done to her kids, versus you’re supposed to leave the children of Democrat presidents and candidates alone. Look what they did to Romney and his dog, and they make up stories about how Romney didn’t care that some employee’s wife died and all of that. It’s just the way it is. Ninety-nine percent of it’s totally made up, it’s vitriol and anger, and since the staff here doesn’t do anything to earn it, they don’t cause it, I’ve always tried to shield them from it. And not just them, but their families.
I mean, it’s tough. My family’s been through hell because of what I do — not because of what I do, but because of the way what I do is reacted to. And I’ve been blessed, by the way, with a totally supportive and understanding family. But it’s just not something I thought that people on my staff ought to have to put up with. I didn’t want them going home and having their names and their reputations ripped to shreds in the media because they work with me and have their wives and their kids see that. So that’s one of the reasons why H.R., it’s a funny thing, it’s a nickname, instead of Kit. I can’t help it. I’m protective in this way. And it’s something I learned.
The first six months of this program, you know, my whole life nobody ever thought I hated anybody or anything. And six months after being on this radio show I was a racist, I was a bigot, I was a hatemonger, a warmonger, all these other things just because I’m conservative on the radio. It wasn’t for any reason other than to make sure they didn’t get in the line of fire, since they’re not doing anything to cause it, pure and simple. But it’s a dual-edged sword, too, because some of the contributions, some of them, some of the contributions are really noteworthy and profound. Like all staff, some of them are worthless. Just kidding. I’m trying to lighten the moment here.
You know, Mark Steyn had a great comment. He had a great piece, by the way, on Kit at his website. It was really sweet. It was really, really, really good, Mark Steyn. He pointed out that people join EIB and they never leave, and that’s one of the reasons why this show works so well, it’s a team here. Twenty-seven years, folks, that we’ve either completed or we just started. I get these anniversaries all screwed up in the odd years. But it’s a lot of years.
Everybody on the staff contributes in their own way, but, you know, I just have decided that based on the things I’ve learned on my little success track here, they don’t need to go home and have their families scream at them about, “Why are they saying that about you? Why doesn’t Rush protect you?” It’s just better and safer for them if they remain out of the line of fire, pure and simple. That’s why you haven’t heard a whole bunch of names mentioned all the time. There are other reasons, too, of course. Strategic programming reasons as well.
A couple of more things. Kit Carson’s family, his wife Theresa and his kids have asked if there are any remembrances that they be donations to one of two places; The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of America, or Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, which is where Kit was treated.
They loved him there. I’ve never seen this before: The doctor cried when he was released on… I guess it was Tuesday of last week. The doctor cried.
She had really grown attached to him. One of the reasons why — well, other than an engaging personality — was how courageously and good-naturedly he fought it.
None of us ever saw him down. I’m sure he, in his private moments, was mad, cursing himself for whatever rotten luck. But, as far as we were concerned, he was always in an upbeat, engaging mood. He had a very infectious, uplifting personality. And every day — or every other day, however often he had to go get a treatment — it was like, “Yep, gotta go to the doctor. Just going to a doctor’s appointment.” There was no attempt to garner any sympathy. It was the other way around. It was not to cause a distraction.
It was the most amazing thing, folks. The way he fought this is a lesson in itself in character. It’s why so many people, including the medical staff, were treating were pulling for him. The doctor actually cried. I’ve not seen that. I’m sure it’s happened, but it was really touching. So The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of America or the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center will get it done. Anyway, just a couple more things here. What did I promise? (interruption) Oh, I do? I need to elaborate on the “no” business? I need to elaborate on that? (interruption) All right. Okay.
He’d be about embarrassed now, to be the focal point here.
RUSH: This business of having Kit say “no” to everybody, the overriding reason for it was to buy time. In order for all this to be understood, I’ve got to go back in time where these policies began and why. Most all of this is traceable to the beginning of this program when it was a rocket ship. We went from 56 radio stations to 500 in a couple of years, and we were doing something that every expert in radio — I mean, there was no vitriol about it. They’d all say, “It isn’t gonna work. It’s been tried. You can’t do this in the daytime. You can only succeed with a national radio show at night. It’s never gonna work. It has never worked in the daytime.”
They all applauded my effort, but nobody expected it to work. When it took off it just shook everything up. It caused generational theories to be blown up, and this created enemies because these generational theories had been developed by the experts called consultants. And so here was this one little radio show hosted by a guy nobody had ever heard of blowing up all of these supposed theories and truths. I mean, even to this day, this program is a target in the radio business because it presents a threat to certain people in it.
Well, when this rocket ship type growth was happening, every television network, every magazine, you name it, was calling, wanting an interview, wanting to bring their camera crews in, and I learned very quickly that they were not doing this to help me, that it was not for my benefit. This was a bunch of people curious as to what the hell was going on. They wanted to come in and see it and take a measure so they could see how they could do it harm. It took me years to figure that out.
I used to have a very open mind about the intention of journalism and the intent of journalists. I used to think that they arrived at things open-minded and that you could persuade them or get them to see your side of something. I found out that that’s not possible. They show up with their attitude and opinion and take on the story intact. They show up with the story written. There are exceptions, but for the most part, especially people I’m seeing for the first time, they show up just out of curiosity sake and they want some of their own — I mean, I even had people that appeared regularly as guests on other radio shows try to get in to see me just to find out who I was and what was going on ’cause it was a threat.
I quickly found it the best way to deal with this was to say “no” to every one of these requests and then study ’em later and figure out who they were, what they wanted, and how to deal with ’em and so forth. So Kit’s job was to tell everybody “no.” After a while the “no” was because I just didn’t want to do it. It wasn’t helpful. It was harming. It was bothering me. It was an irritation. It was something I actively grew to dislike, was doing interviews. And there was always the attitude, why should I take what I have on the radio and give it to somebody else? Why not save what I believe about things, why not make people come to the radio show to hear it, which is what my business is.
Then I got, “No, no, you gotta go out there. You gotta promote it. You gotta get your name in the paper. You gotta get the call letters in the paper. You gotta go out there and do interviews and promote it and so forth.” You know, I bought into that for a while, but it was never fun. It was always pain in the rear. So Kit’s job was to say “no” to all of it. And then at a certain point we would sit down with all the requests, and we would go through them. Some of them got called back, and Kit was instructed: “I want you to ask ’em this, I want you to find out that. I want you to just dig deep. I want you to find who this guy or woman really is, and what do they really want.”
He was invaluable in this. It was his job to call ’em back and to scope them out as best he could and come back and give me a report on what they really wanted with this interview. Was it on the level, was there something else going on. It was easy to determine at times, sometimes it was hard. But you can identify snark. You can identify somebody who’s been assigned the job of interviewing the EIB Network; they really don’t want to. So it was a way to weed out and confirm my instincts. He had a crucial, crucial role in that, and as I told you yesterday, I had total trust.
And I want to say one more thing, one more, ’cause this is, to me, this is a life lesson. You know how easy it is to say “yes” to everybody? It’s the easiest thing in the world because there’s no conflict there, and there’s no confrontation. People will like you more if you say “yes” to them. Saying no, that’s hard. You know, go back and study Steve Jobs. Steve Jobs will tell you, or would have told you, he did say, the biggest challenge they had at Apple was saying “no” to this project, that project. There’s all kinds of stuff they would have loved to have done, but they couldn’t do it all well. The best, most important discipline they had at Apple when Steve Jobs was there was what they said “no” to.
Well, saying “no” — look at somebody like Kit. Okay, so you’ve got X, Y, Z people calling from the top programs in the world, top businesspeople, calling wanting something. He could have said “yes” to all of them, become their friends and become tight with them and so forth, and he could have, like so many people in his job do, then come and try to sell me on doing something I don’t want to do, in order for him to further his relationship with whoever it was. He never did that. He never did it. All kinds of people did and still do. Not on the staff. But this kind of request happens all the time. And every one of them, you know, if I’m on the golf course and somebody wanted me, I’d say, “Here’s the guy you call, is Kit Carson. Kit Carson.”
If somebody wanted an autograph, call Kit Carson. That’s just one of the many jobs. He took all kinds of pressure off of me so I could stay focused on this. But there were other things that he did. In addition to all that, Kit was our liaison with advertisers on the copy for their commercials. That’s key, too. You would not believe. I don’t want to get anybody in trouble. Copy writing is apparently one of the most difficult things in the world to do. A 60 second piece of copy would come in at 75 seconds. The advertiser wants so much said, it’s not written in my voice. Kit’s job was to pare it down to 50 seconds so there was enough time for me to be me, inject my personality in the commercial.
He rewrote all the copy and he was able to do this getting to know me and studying the program. He could do it in his sleep after a while. That’s why this is gonna be such a big void. And he knew — (laughing) when the program is over, this is tough to explain. When the program’s over, it’s over. I don’t want to do anything related to the program for at least three hours. I am wrung out. But I’m not allowed. I’ve often said I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t want to do what I don’t want to do. That’s not true where Kit was involved, ’cause he had responsibilities to others that I had to accede to.
So the program would end every day at three o’clock, and I would record the Morning Update for both audio and the video version of it. Morning commentary that runs on 600 of our radio stations early in the morning. It’s on our website, the video version of the Morning Update, and it’s also sent out with Rush in a Hurry. So if any of these people we’d previously said “no” to, Kit had talked to and wanted to tell me what they wanted to get my final verdict on whether I wanted to do it or not, or to tell me which commercial copy was coming up, which had to be done, when it had to be done, he knew that’s the last thing I wanted to hear after the program, but that was the only time.
So what he would routinely do, I would do the two updates, usually can get ’em both done in one take, audio and video at the same time, and Kit would routinely say, “Well, that’s it, that’s it, I got nothing here.”
And I’d say, “Fine, that’s cool.”
“Except –” and then he’d launch into 10 things, or five, or whatever it was. But he always prefaced it by saying, “Look, I got nothing, there’s nothing here, I’m free and clear. Oh, wait.” It always softened my reaction. (laughing) He had it down to a science. That’s why all of that stuff, folks. And that’s as much inside baseball as we need to bore you with.
Now a brief time-out, we’ll come back and get started with all the rest of today’s program, but again, we just feel a giant… we just miss him. There’s a void and emptiness here. It’s gonna be a long time to get used to. But we hope God blesses Kit and his family.
Back after this. Don’t go away.
RUSH: I just want to play one sound bite and have it represent all of them. The people over at The Five on Fox yesterday afternoon did a small tribute to Kit Carson. So many people have, on their websites, on their blogs, e-mails. I’ve got a great note from Karl Rove, from Pete Wehner. Kit dealt with both of them when President Bush needed anything. It was either Karl or Pete Wehner who called.
Kit Carson had probably one of the most impressive Rolodexes, if he could find it. His office, somebody should have taken a picture of that because it was unlike… but he had one of the biggest Rolodexes. If he had wanted to he could have parlayed that Rolodex, he could have become one of the biggest agents in all of media with the people that he knew. But he loved what he was doing. So, anyway, all of the people, I can’t tell you the number of people who have sent these really, really wonderful condolences and remembrances. But here’s Eric Bolling and Dana Perino and Kimberly Guilfoyle at Fox on The Five yesterday.
BOLLING: Twenty-seven years ago Christopher Carson, liked to be called “Kit,” walked into Rush Limbaugh’s studios, met Rush, stayed with Rush for the whole time. Here’s Rush from today.
RUSH ARCHIVE: It’s such a void because he loved this job. He loved being here. He loved being part of it every day. He would try to get his cancer treatments moved to different times of the day so that he wouldn’t have to miss. All the while we’re telling him, “Hey, put yourself first here.” He said, “I am, I love this.” And he loved everybody here, and everybody loved him.
BOLLING: Kit Carson passed away. He leaves behind a wife, Theresa, and two teenage boys, Jesse and Jack. We’ll pray for her, the whole family.
PERINO: He was a great guy.
GUILFOYLE: God bless him. It shows the importance of making every day count. So, prayers for his family.
RUSH: And so thanks to Eric Bolling and Dana Perino and Kimberly Guilfoyle, and all the people that we’ve heard from at Fox and everywhere else.