RUSH: Here is Shari in Valparaiso, Indiana, as we stick with the phones here on the Rush Limbaugh program. Hi, Shari. Great to have you here.
CALLER: Hi, Rush, glad to talk to you again.
RUSH: You bet.
CALLER: I have a question for you. First of all, do you remember how people have been calling you over the months and they’ve been all depressed about the country and upset with the direction we’re going and saying that, you know, they think America is over and stuff like that? And you said to them that you didn’t know what was gonna happen, but you’re an optimist, and you didn’t know what would happen, but you thought something would happen to pull us back from the brink. Well, my question is, do you think that Trump was what you were waiting for?
RUSH: Well, no. I’m answering your question specifically. I mean, I didn’t know what the event would be. All I knew is that something was likely to happen that would reinvigorate people, or that would illustrate to them that all isn’t lost, or that they’re not in a minority in terms of the way they’re thinking about the country. In other words, something would happen to make everybody realize we haven’t lost the country yet, there’s still a good chance here of saving it. Now, I didn’t anticipate, I didn’t know what it would be. I had no idea. If anything, I was thinking more along the lines that something would happen that would expose Obama as a giant, total fraud.
CALLER: Well, it seems to me like Trump has done that. He’s so much like you, Rush. He’s expressing what so many of us have been thinking, but because of political correctness were unable to say. And he’s made me feel optimistic about the country again. Like it’s “Morning in America” again.
RUSH: No question for a lot of people. It could well be the event. Now, the only reason I’m hedging here, and I’m not trying to diminish what’s happening here. But I want you to compare this energy and this enthusiasm and all that that you’re feeling and everybody else is right now, what are you gonna do if Trump doesn’t win? What are you gonna do if Trump drops out? What are you gonna do if all of this does not lead to victory in the presidential race? What’s gonna happen to your attitude then?
RUSH: See, the tipping point has to have a substantive result. What’s always been intriguing to me about the Trump movement is the potential that it illustrates that is possible.
CALLER: Well, that’s true. He has influenced people. I mean, you’ve seen it —
RUSH: Oh, it’s incredible. There’s so much going on in this campaign. My attention was just brought via e-mail to yet another conservative writer at a popular well-known conservative website writing about how these conservatives supporting Trump are being bamboozled and they’re throwing away their principles, supporting Trump, because Trump isn’t a conservative. Yesterday or the day before it was a really vicious piece, which I’ve got here in the Wall Street Journal by a guy named Bret Stephens who said if you’re not appalled by Donald Trump, you are appalling. That’s how it opened.
So there’s all these conservative media types pulling their hair out. They’re thinking that you people supporting Donald Trump have abandoned your conservatism. What they don’t understand is that support for Trump is about much more than conservatism. I don’t even think it’s about conservatism per se. But they are so threatened. And these are the people, many of them, who don’t do anything but write, they don’t lead movements, they don’t try to end up provoking people to action.
They just write, and they want people to say, “Wow, that was really smart, man. That’s a smart writer. That’s a smart commentator,” but beyond that, they don’t do anything. And now these people are all of a sudden feeling threatened by Trump. They’re missing the whole point of why people are supporting Trump, I think. Trump’s not even claiming to be a conservative, for crying out loud. He’s claiming to be an American.
CALLER: Right, and what we’re sick of, for one thing, is the Republicans being the Washington Generals to the Globetrotters.
CALLER: The Democrats are like the Globetrotters, they always win, and the Republicans are just the hapless —
RUSH: Not only that, it’s arranged beforehand that the Generals are gonna lose. It’s not even a real competition. And that’s what you’re saying that it feels like to you. Anyway, she’s got a great question here, folks, and it requires and deserves expansion of thought by me. Time not available now.
RUSH: Now, let me complete my train of thought. Our previous caller reminded me that people have been calling filled with despair in recent years — despondent, depressed — that the country was finished, that they did not see any evidence that traditional institutions and values were represented by a majority of the population anymore. You probably heard many of these calls, and she made mention of the fact that you always tell everybody that you’re optimistic and you try to explain why.
She said that she remembered me telling people that all of this is way too fluid and unpredictable to give up, that things can happen overnight that nobody can foresee. A tipping point. Something big that could happen to wake everybody up. And she was asking me if I thought the Trump insurgency here is that event. And it could well be. Which led me to a little offshoot. You probably have seen this, too. Any number of…
I don’t use these terms derogatorily. Let me say this up front: I’m just trying to be as descriptive as I can. Within the conservative movement, you have all kinds of people. You have conservative intellectuals. You have the conservative intelligentsia. You have the rank-and-file. You have the magazine and website editors and writers. It’s an entire menagerie of people that comprise the conservative movement.
Now, prior to Trump, the conservative movement, the intellectuals in the movement were very precise in their definitions of what is and what isn’t conservative and who is and who isn’t a conservative and who’s entitled to speak for it and who isn’t. And there’s been, within the conservative movement, a vicious battle for the precious position of leader — intellectual leader, the person that provides the intellectual energy that defines it — ever since the death of William F. Buckley Jr.
And it’s not that he actively sought that role; it’s just that he was it. He actually founded what’s officially known as the conservative movement in the modern era. There are a lot of great thinkers prior to Buckley from whom he learned as well. Edmund Burke, just to name one. But there are a number. But in terms of an actual movement, he started National Review, the magazine. And there were copycats of that. And it grew.
And as long as he was alive, he was so respected and revered that he was automatically anointed with that position, even after he had retired. But when he retired and became less of a day-to-day player, the movement began to replace him. Competition’s common in every walk of life. The liberals have the same thing. Liberals’ competition is who is the big liberal. Who defines it? Who’s this; who’s that?
They just happen to be a little bit more cohesive on the liberal side. They don’t excommunicate fallen liberals. They protect ’em, circle the wagons around them. The conservative movement is eager to identify false conservatives, pretenders, and dispatch them. Just the difference in the two. So when you get throw into this mix… Well, one more thing about Buckley. Now, many people thought that Buckley could not possibly be the leader because his reach did not extend to the grassroots.
That he was so smart, so brilliant, so well spoken, so in his own world that he didn’t have the ability to inspire and relate grassroots. And he did, both directly and in directly. Buckley inspired others who did have the ability to reach the grassroots and so forth. So it’s a mistake to say that Buckley was maybe the leader, but way up here as an untouchable. His tentacles reached deep, if not directly from him, but rather from disciples of his that believed in what he believed or inspired.
Reagan of his one of his disciples, folks.
Reagan was a huge disciple of William F. Buckley — and vice-versa, by the way.
So Buckley passes away, and that began — this is all my theory. I don’t know how many others agree or think I’m all wet with it — but when Buckley passed away it then became an open competition for who was gonna replace him. Who was gonna be Mr. Conservative? Who was gonna be the guy that determined what was and who was and what isn’t and who isn’t conservative. The battle’s never been won. I mean, there is no singular figure, particularly in the literary world, to have filled the Buckley role. It’s an ongoing competition.
As such, it has taken on many different identities. And the Trump insurgency here has — I don’t know if the word “exposed” is right, but it has served to illustrate the fractious nature of conservatism as a movement. I have — and I say this honestly — I’m not trying to sound know-it-all-ish or condescending to anybody. Speaking for myself, I have never thought of Donald Trump as a conservative.
My whole life I’ve known him. I know him socially, play golf with him now and then, I mean, I can reach him on the phone if I want to. But I’ve never considered him a conservative, and I’ve never considered him a liberal, don’t misunderstand. But as far as a movement conservative, Trump hasn’t been. I’ve never been under the impression that he is. And I’ve never held it against him.
And I’ve never felt like, well, he’s not worthy of speaking on things I believe in ’cause he’s not a conservative. That’s not my attitude. I know he’s not a liberal. I know that he’s nowhere near what modern day liberalism is. What I also believe fervently is that all of this support for Trump, this movement, whatever you call this that’s happening with Trump, it’s not about conservatism. And that doesn’t bother me.
But some in the conservative movement are pulling their hair out over this. And, like I mentioned Bret Stephens writing in the Wall Street Journal, this piece, it is just vicious to conservatives. It’s just over-the-top vicious. It stands alone in that regard, but there are others in the conservative movement who are also writing pieces admonishing people supporting Trump, that he’s not conservative, you’re being fooled, you’re destroying conservatism by allowing Trump to carry the mantle of conservatism.
I’ve never seen or been of the opinion that that’s what Trump is about, is conservatism. And the paranoia that he is about that, some of these conservative intellectuals who are having a big problem with this writing about it, I think they’re missing what this is all about. Now, why they’re missing it is a whole other bunch of theories.
Now, I have the Bret Stephens thing right here and I want to quote from it. “The Donald and the Demagogues — If by now you donÂ’t find Donald Trump appalling, youÂ’re appalling.” That’s how this piece opens.
“If you have reached physical maturity and still chuckle at Mr. TrumpÂ’s pubescent jokes about Rosie OÂ’Donnell or Heidi Klum, you will never reach mental maturity. If you watched Mr. Trump mock fellow candidate Lindsey GrahamÂ’s low poll numbers and didnÂ’t cringe at the lack of class, you are incapable of class. If you think we need to build new airports in Queens the way they build them in Qatar, you should be sent to join the millions of forced laborers who do construction in the Persian Gulf. It would serve you right.”
That’s just the first paragraph.
“Since Mr. Trump joined the GOP presidential field and leaped to the top of the polls, several views have been offered to explain his popularity. He conveys a can-do image. He is the bluntest of the candidates in addressing public fears of cultural and economic dislocation. He toes no line, serves no PAC, abides no ideology, is beholden to no man. He addresses the broad disgust of everyday Americans with their failed political establishment.
“And so forth and so on — a parade of semi-sophisticated theories that act as bathroom deodorizer to mask the stench of this candidacy. Mr. Trump is a loudmouth vulgarian appealing to quieter vulgarians. These vulgarians comprise a significant percentage of the GOP base. The leader isnÂ’t the problem. The people are. It takes the demos to make the demagogue.”
Well, this is the perfect illustration of the problem that so-called conservative intellectuals are having with the Trump insurgency or the Trump campaign, to the point now that they feel it necessary to insult the people supporting Trump in addition to insulting Trump.
Now, these are the people who routinely tell us that we are racists or nativists or whatever because we do not believe in their policy of open borders, and because we are intolerant of this invasion of people which they call illegal immigration, which we term it invasion, since we’re not tolerant, we’re not sophisticated. We don’t have the ability to understand what this country’s all about and what this country needs for a vibrant future and so forth. And it’s one of the biggest disconnects I’ve ever seen in my life between Washington and the rest of the people in the country.
Now, explaining the Trump phenomenon is not that difficult. At the top of all of it is this invasion. At the top of the list of reasons why Trump has a large and growing following, it’s all about immigration and how the establishment inside the Beltway is now openly, not even disguising, what they’ve thought about average, ordinary Americans for years now. And that is unsophisticated, rubes, uneducated. I mean, take any insult that you want. Appalling, stupid, you name it.
Look, I hate to interrupt myself, as you can imagine, but I have to ’cause of the clock here, so be back in a second.
RUSH: Look, I’m having trouble explaining here what I actually mean. It’s not that I’m afraid to say anything; I’m just trying to structure this right, this disconnect. The problem, I think, with all of the conservative literary people at the magazines and websites and the columns and so forth who are writing so disparagingly of Trump and of his supporters and followers — how best to say this?
Well, they are establishment people, yeah, I know that, and what they’re actually trying to do is engender support for the party at the end of the day here. And anything that doesn’t do that is considered damaging and threatening, because conservatism doesn’t run for office; the Republicans do. And these people are all devoted to the Republicans winning because that puts everybody in the winning side, inside the Beltway, keeps the ruling class together, gives them their power and so forth.
But to me it’s deeper than that, because many of the people that are complaining in their writing and in their columns and in their blog posts and so forth — I’m not trying to offend anyone, but all they do is write. They comment, and that’s it, as though that’s an achievement in and of itself. There isn’t any action that is inspired or suggested by all of it. And those are the people now complaining at the action that is taking place that’s a direct result of events happening. People here supporting Trump are not supporting Trump ’cause they’ve been fooled or bamboozled or told to. It’s because of real things happening in the country that apparently some don’t see.
RUSH: Look, my point is, here’s a piece that just cleared. Who wrote it? Doesn’t matter. You’re gonna find out anyway some point. “Trump Has Succeeded in Convincing Conservatives to Discard Their Principles Overnight.” Okay. This will provide an excellent opportunity. Conservative principles. What good are they if all that’s ever done with them is written about? What good are conservative principles if all anybody ever does is talk about it?
What good are conservative principles if that’s all they are, if there’s no associated lifestyle? If there’s no associated action, if there’s no associated political objective with it, what good is it? I, for one, am tired of conservatism being nothing more than some intellectual feast every day. Let’s look at the Tea Party as an example here. The Tea Party movement is one of the most important political movements in this country in our lifetimes.
Let’s look at how powerful the Tea Party movement was and is. The Tea Party movement came into existence in 2010 as a result of real-world events, not because the members of the Tea Party had read a bunch of conservatism. They hadn’t read a bunch of books, and they hadn’t read a bunch of websites, and they hadn’t read a bunch of columns, and they hadn’t read a bunch of blogs.
What they were was angry and scared over what they knew Obama was doing that threatened the country and the future of their children and grandchildren, specifically with Obamacare and the spending that was happening with this administration. They could see this country’s future literally circling the drain, and so people who had no formal political experience in their lives — meaning they had never been part of a campaign. They hadn’t.
Maybe the most they’d ever done is put signs in the front yard.
They had voted and that was it. But they had no professional, political experience in their lives, and they came into existence, and there wasn’t a single person that was leading them. There wasn’t a single person that served as the creator of the movement. It was a grassroots effervescence that bubbled up resulting from real-world events that these people manifestly opposed and were frightened by.
The Tea Party movement was so big and so threatening to the left that they had to create their own fake version of it, which was called Occupy Wall Street. Occupy Wall Street was everything the Tea Party wasn’t. Occupy Wall Street was made up. It was designed. It was planned, it was executed, it was created, and it was created as a counter. It was made to look like it, too, was organic — except it opposed the Tea Party.
It supported Obama. It supported the Democrat Party. It supported liberalism. And the media wrote about it as though it was as organic as the Tea Party. But it wasn’t. It was bought and paid for by Democrat donors. It was nourished by the Democrat Party and leftist organizations left and right. It had organized protests. It had organized locations and organized activities. It had donations to it. It had specific purposes.
The Tea Party was never so organized in that sense, because it was all organic. Now, you would think that something like this that just arose from seemingly nowhere — that existed specifically to oppose and stop Barack Obama — you would think that the Republican Party would make tracks to embrace these people. You would think that the Republican Party would do everything it could to build a bridge.
The Republican Party is smarting, it’s in pain, it’s whimpering around because it’s just got shellacked in the 2008 election. Obama wins; all appears lost! “He’s got health care. He’s done the stimulus. There’s no stopping him,” and here comes a movement of people — average, ordinary Americans, never involved in politics before — and they are huge in number. They are willing to donate. The Democrat Party is scared to death of them.
The Republican Party has a built-in majority with the Tea Party. All they have to do is build a bridge rooted in opposition to Obamacare. It’s made to order. The Republican Party was, in my estimation, given — not for anything they did — a majority. And the Republican Party made not one move to embrace the Tea Party. Some individual Republicans did, and the Tea Party ended up having members or like-minded people elected, such as Ted Cruz and others.
But the Republican Party and the Democrat Party (the Washington DC establishment), rather than try to form an accord and try to form an alliance, tried to destroy it. The inside-the-Beltway establishment tried to destroy the Tea Party. Now, the inside-the-Beltway establishment is made up of these people today writing about who’s giving up and sacrificing their conservative principles. If the Tea Party was anything, it was conservative. And if it was made up of anything, it was made up of conservatives.
At that point, they weren’t obsessed with what the principles of conservatism were because that was a given. That was understood. The opposition to Obama is naturally conservative. That’s what these people already were. All they had to do was join! All they had to do was be inspired. All they had to do was be motivated, welcomed in. But they weren’t. They were ostracized, by the Democrat Party especially.
Did the Republican Party do much to help the Tea Party when it was in that mess with the IRS? The IRS tried to deny tax-exempt status to all those Tea Party organizations, fundraising groups. Where was the Republican Party in there trying to help ’em out, represent them, bashing the IRS, joining in the effort to diminish Lois Lerner and her efforts? The Tea Party was bashed, impugned, ripped to shreds daily by the Drive-By Media. The media tried to make it look like a bunch of Looney Tune nutcases.
The Republican Party made not one attempt to help, and then these are the people upset over what’s happening with Trump? This is not about conservative principles. This is not about who has them and who doesn’t and who’s sacrificing them or who’s giving them up or discarding them. What this is about is a whole lot of Americans thinking they had representation in Washington, and they’ve discovered they don’t.
They’ve been giving money at a political party. A political party has been campaigning promising to do X, Y, and Z and they’ve been getting voted for. They’ve been given majorities House and the Senate. But that’s where it’s all stopped, at the party level. The Tea Party didn’t die. The Tea Party can’t be killed because it isn’t one person. It isn’t an official movement; it does not have a headquarters building. You can’t bomb it, you can’t nuke it, you can’t do anything to it.
It’s there, it’s growing, and it’s gonna continue to grow, as long as Washington remains unresponsive, which Washington appears to be more and more unresponsive as the days go by. So all these people that have got their underwear in a wad over people supporting Trump? They need to look in the mirror to explain why. If they really want to know why all this is happening, they just have to look in the mirror. You can only tell people they’re stupid and dumb so many times.
You can only tell ’em they’re unsophisticated so many times when they’re staring the loss of their country in the face with this invasion illegal immigration and Obamacare and all of these executive orders that Obama’s doing, and there’s not a single ounce of apparent opposition to any of it! It’s not about conservative principles, and these people that are writing about it in those terms are simply, I think, doing what they can to marginalize Trump and his supporters in an apparently convoluted effort to maintain support for the RINOs or the establishment or ruling class, whatever you want to call them.
Anyway, I have to take a break. I want to get back to the phones here, folks. I could spend another 20 minutes explaining this, but I think you get it, at least my thoughts on this by now.
RUSH: Now, look, the overall point is I love conservatism; I am one. But what good is it if all you do is write about it? Do the liberals write about liberalism, or do they do it? There needs to be some implementation at some point, some advocacy for implementation at some point, or being a conservative is meaningless. All you’re gonna do is write about it, write about who is one and who isn’t one. I mean, big whoop.