We Live in a Tumultuous Political Time Â– But IÂ’ve Seen This Public Anger Before
Feb 1, 2016
RUSH: Media Buzz is the name of the show, Sunday morning, Fox News Channel, Howard Kurtz speaking with a Republican strategist named Mercedes Schlapp about the primary race, and his question was, “Trump does get criticized frequently on Fox by some of the more prominent conservative commentators: Dr. Krauthammer, George Will, Jonah Goldberg, Steve Hayes. And then there’s the National Review and Rich Lowry, which devoted a whole issue trying to say he’s not really a conservative. But those aren’t the only conservative voices, and some are sympathetic to Trump, Ms. Schlapp.”
SCHLAPP: The Trump supporters, if Trump is not happy with Fox, the Trump supporters are not gonna be happy with Fox, and so what’s happening is that, for example, like Rush Limbaugh, they have been more sympathetic —
SCHLAPP: — and Breitbart — towards Trump and what Trump’s populist movement is doing in affecting and impacting the electorate. And so in essence what’s happening is is that you have just this conservative grassroots base that really, they’re listening to the talk radio, they’re mad at Fox, especially those Trump supporters when Trump is not happy with the network.
RUSH: So Ms. Schlapp here is saying that El Rushbo and talk radio have more — this is in her opinion — more influence than Fox and conservative writers. I mean, that’s one way of looking at it. I think it’s more about alignment. Folks, it all boils down to who people think is the establishment and the elites and who they think isn’t. It really isn’t any more complicated than that, I don’t believe. And the thing about the establishment, the elites is, I think they underestimate — I know they do — the sophistication of people that are not in their immediate orb, but they underestimate intelligence. They certainly underestimate the degree to which people think independently and are not the product of influence that stems from commentary or what have you.
And I think even if you wanted to take it deeper than that, I think it also boils down to who people, let’s call ’em voters, think is gonna fight for ’em and who isn’t. And it’s one thing to be a great conservative writer, and it’s one thing to be a great conservative commentator, no matter where you are, but if that’s all there is, then what good is it doing people. This is the view I think people out in the rest of the country have of all this. Yeah, there’s some real brainiacs out there, some great commentators, we got some great columnists, but then what? What happens?
They never counsel fighting the Democrats. It’s largely a question of okay, what’s it getting me? And it’s not just these guys. You could say it about any conservative or Republican institution in Washington who’s been out selling themselves, promising this or that. People are starting to say, “Well, where is it? Where is all this conservatism that I hear all the time? I don’t see any of it in Congress, or much. I don’t see any in the Senate at all. Where is it? Yeah, we got a lot of it on Fox, and, yeah, we got a lot of blogs, and, yeah, we got a lot of websites, but where is it beyond that?”
“Yes, yes, Mr. Limbaugh, but what about talk radio?” Well, talk radio is considered to be in the mix each and every day. Talk radio is certainly not the establishment. It would never be permitted to be. No way in the world would it ever be permitted to be, unless, you know, it’s NPR or a couple of other exceptions. But this all boils down to this campaign is not hard to understand. Arguments about populism — I continue to be misquoted about this.
I never said, by the way, just to get it on record, I never stated with ontological certitude or fact that populism and nationalism have triumphed or replaced conservatism. I never said it. I asked the question in speculating, thinking out loud here while discussing all this with you, and that question gets cherry-picked and reprinted by itself without any notation that I’m asking the question, not making a declarative statement, or what have you. I never, ever said it. Populism’s always had an appeal and so has nationalism. And I understand why they have appeals.
It’s very simple. Populism and nationalism translated is: gonna make America great again. I hate to say it, but it’s how it gets translated. We’re gonna make America great again. America’s gonna win. We’re gonna win. America’s gonna win. We’re gonna win. We’re gonna win. America’s great. We’re gonna restore America’s greatness. It’s very simple, versus a lot of conservatism, which is, “Well, you know, we can’t ’cause Obama’s in the White House. Well, we can’t because we don’t have the Senate. Well, we can’t.” It comes to doers versus talkers. I mean, there’s any number of ways that you can look at it. But to me, it’s one of the most fascinating times, politically, of the entire 27, now into our 28th year, that I have been hosting the program.
And I’ll tell you, folks, you want to know one of the things that was happening that contributed in putting this program on the map, was something akin to what’s happening now. Back in 1988 when this program started it wasn’t long after that we learned about the House Bank and the House Post Office. And my first-ever appearance on TV as a host of a radio show was on The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer and Judy Woodruff, and it was about the House Bank.
Now, if you’ve forgotten, the House Bank scandal was — and its point was so easy to understand. Members of Congress could go to the House Bank and write checks for cash without having the money in their account to do so. Some members of Congress were overdrawn tens of thousands of dollars. It was to the point that it didn’t matter how much they were paid salary, didn’t matter what their income was, because they didn’t have to live on it. And both parties. But it was easy to understand. I remember being asked to go on — it was Judy Woodruff that interviewed me, it was my first ever time on one of these shows.
And they were, “Why do people care about this?” They didn’t understand it back then. And Judy Woodruff — and she was nice, don’t misunderstand. This is before she learned enough about who I was to hate me. They were very nice. Very supportive, in fact. I was the new kid on the block. Who is this young little whippersnapper? Why, we’ve never heard of this little guy out there talking conservatism, who’s this little class clown? So they had me in there and she said, “Why is this such a big deal to people, Mr. Limbaugh? I don’t understand.”
I said, “Because the average American can’t do this.” If the average American tried, he’d be thrown out by his bank and maybe end up in jail, for crying out loud, and his creditors would be coming after you. There’s no way. You go to the bank and you write checks for money you don’t have, you get an overdraft notice, and you’re shut down. And these guys can do it all the time, they can do it for years, and it doesn’t matter whether they’ve got the money or not. I said, “Ms. Woodruff, this is so easily understandable, there’s nothing complicated about it. The American people can’t do it, and they’re not gonna put up with it.”
Well, her guest following me was a congressman from Michigan named Guy Vander Jagt. And when my segment was over, they went to Guy Vander Jagt, and he raised his index finger. He was on from Washington. I did my appearance from my PBS studios in New York, same place Charlie Rose was doing his show then. May have been the same place, I don’t know. Guy Vander Jagt looked at Judy Woodruff and pointed his index finger. He said, “Whoever that was, this radio guy, I’m telling you, that is exactly right. This is so easily understandable.”
And, folks, the lid was blown off this, and it was in part the reason Jim Wright lost his Speakership. And then we learned it wasn’t just the House Bank, there was the House post office, and you could do similar things there. You know what you could do?
You could take a donor’s check… A member of Congress could take a check, say $5,000, from a donor and go in and buy a dollar’s worth of stamps and get $9,000 cash in return, in change. Well, once this was discovered, then the mainstream media reported it, but ho-hum. Not that big a deal. People were chuckling about it. But when people in the country found out about it, there was hell to pay. You know, the end result of that was, with a lot of other things that the fold, the Republicans winning the House for the first time in 40 years four years later, 1992.
Well, the same kind of stuff is happening now.
The things that are happening now in Washington are just as easily understandable, except it’s not just one thing like the House Bank. It’s everything now. It’s everything that affects the future of the country. It’s the banking system, it’s the financial system, it’s the spending, it’s the health care, it’s the immigration. You name it. Everything’s out of whack. Everything’s being done for the insiders, and everybody outside Washington with an IQ of 90 who is paying attention, understands it. And many of them don’t like it.
Some of the Democrats don’t care.
The people in Washington know that the people out in the country don’t approve of it and don’t like it. They can read the election results. But it hasn’t changed the way they’re operating at all. That’s why there’s hell to pay. This disconnect is bigger than I have ever seen it. Now, back when the House Bank was exposed, you know what happened? You had members of Congress racing to straighten out their accounts. You had members of Congress running to the microphones acknowledging their guilt, promising to never do it, making excuses for whatever they did.
But it mattered to them, and they cared, and they did their best to get back in the graces of good people, and a lot of them lost their seats. That’s what’s not happening today. When all of this chicanery is exposed, the people inside the Beltway keep doing it and adding to the ledger. So it’s not usual that people not in Washington object to what’s going in Washington. But now the divide is greater than ever and the instances of differentiating behavior are numerous, not just one thing like the House Bank or the related House Post Office business.
RUSH: And guess what? Cookie, in the Grooveyard of Forgotten Sound Bites, she found those two bites of me on The Newshour with Jim Lehrer. I had forgotten it was Jim Lehrer in New York that interviewed me with Judy Woodruff on the set, but she was not part of it. She talked to me when it was over, and it was nice. It was from 1992 and it was my first such — I’d been on local TV profiles but it was my first such appearance in 1992. We’ll play those before the program ends.
RUSH: This is back in 1992. Let me get the exact date over here. It is March 13th, 1992. This is me on The Newshour with Jim Lehrer. He’s actually doing the interview. He was in Washington. Judy Woodruff was in New York. She was seated next to me but she was not part of the interview. It’s about the House Bank scandal, and they at PBS and everybody in Washington were very concerned, why does the country care about this? I was on to explain, why is this such a big deal? No big deal. Why do you people out there care about this? There are two sound bites, and here’s the first.
RUSH ARCHIVE: Well, I really don’t think — it is in a sense it gives us an issue, but I think the thing that needs to be said about that, Jim, is that radio talk show hosts and radio talk shows don’t invent emotion. It was there. I mean, the public is angry as they can be about this and there’s one good reason for it. This is easy to understand. This is something they can’t do. This is the epitome of arrogance. This is the epitome of condescension. And it just won’t do, Congressman Fazio, to sit there and say that the people don’t care about this, that they want you to sit there and do the work of the country.
You haven’t been doing the work of the country. When the work of the country gets done, it’s by accident, not by design. And it always seems to be wrong and it seems to be screwed up. And the people seem powerless to do anything about it. It takes a simple issue like this where you guys can go in and float loans for yourself interest free, you sit there and say it’s not taxpayer money. It is all taxpayer money! That’s the point. You guys are our employees and you treat people in the country like we are your employees and you’re the boss. And it just won’t do anymore. And I think that there’s going to be much more of a change this fall than you or Speaker Foley seem to think. I think the people out there are genuinely upset about this. And this is the one issue, it could be “the” one that causes a massive shift in seats.
RUSH: And, lo and behold, it did. This is a prelude, this is March 13th of 1992. And the next bite Jim Lehrer says, “Well, why this one? The House Bank. Why is this so important?”
RUSH ARCHIVE: Because, Jim, this goes to the root of life. These are people who exempt themselves from laws they pass. These are people who tell us that the tax cuts we got in the eighties are responsible for the deficit. The deficit is the responsibility of the US Congress. They spend the money. And they tell us that it’s our fault because we got tax cuts that we didn’t deserve, that the prosperity eighties was not justified and not warranted. And so here come some people who say we need a pay raise. They don’t need a pay raise. They can go to the bank and get a pay raise any time they want interest free and they don’t have to pay it back. And the problem here is that we found out about it.
RUSH: That’s me appearing on TV. Sorry for the audio quality. I don’t know what our original source for this was. Probably reel-to-reel audio cassette tape or some such thing way, way back, March 13th, 1992, NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. And again, just an illustration of how things haven’t changed. They’ve only gotten worse, and they’ve become cumulative. It’s reached a point now where we elected people to change all this, and we did, over the years.
Republicans were given control they hadn’t had in 40 years. And especially in the last seven or eight when there have been two demonstrative landslide midterm election results. Nothing to show for it. So again, it’s just a further illustration that all of this disgust is warranted and has been taken for granted. All this is outsider versus insider elites versus the rabble, it all makes total sense.