RUSH: Mike in Columbia, South Carolina. Great to have you on the program, sir. Hello.
CALLER: Teradittos Rush. Thanks for taking my call.
RUSH: Yes, sir.
CALLER: You’ve got me very concerned about your well-being, Rush, because I don’t believe what I heard you say earlier in your opening segment and then you repeated it again later. You talked about how you need to be careful about what you said, that if you said what you really thought, that we, quote, “wouldn’t want to hear it.” Heavens to Murgatroyd, man, why do you think I tune in for three hours every day?
RUSH: Heavens to Murgatroyd. I haven’t heard that in a long time. I love it.
CALLER: It’s been a while.
RUSH: Heavens to Murgatroyd. So you’re saying, “Don’t be afraid! Tell us what you think.” That’s why you’re listening?
CALLER: That’s why I listen. I know you got some casual listeners and others that listen for other reasons, but I’m very interested in what you really think. And that’s why I’m here.
RUSH: Well, that’s why I’m asking myself, “Do you really?” I mean, after… If some of the… It’s not very many things, but if it’s one of the things if I were to say it, I’m wondering. I’m asking myself: “Will you, Mike, in Columbia, South Carolina, be interested in hanging around here anymore?” for example.
RUSH: Well, you say that, but you don’t even know what I’m thinking of saying here.
CALLER: No, I don’t, and maybe it’ll be a surprise. Maybe it won’t. I’m in for the long haul, Rush. I’ve been around since the TV show days, all right?
RUSH: I appreciate that.
CALLER: A lot of people respect your opinion and I want to hear what you really think. I know sometimes you gotta, you know, tiptoe through the tulips on some things and dance around the mulberry bush on others. But, you know, I really want to know what you think.
RUSH: Let me ask you a question.
RUSH: Are you, as we all understand it, a conservative? Are you conservative through and through, or you more conservative on economic and fiscal things, and not so conservative on what they call “the social issues”? How would you describe yourself? There’s no wrong answer. I’m just asking. I’ve got another question. However you answer this, another question is coming. So…
CALLER: Well, yeah. I’m a whole lot conservative and a whole lot libertarian. So, you know, I guess it’s kind of a mixture there.
RUSH: All right. Let me ask you this: Is there any group, anywhere you go in life that you feel like you are part of the majority in whatever it is you believe?
CALLER: No, sir.
CALLER: Not anymore.
RUSH: Not anymore. When did that end? Can you say?
CALLER: That’s a good question. I can’t tell you exactly when. I wish I could pinpoint it but I can’t.
RUSH: Here’s the point. At some point in the past you felt like, as a conservative, you were part of a majority. Part of a majority way of thinking, maybe, about certain things in the country. Maybe in your community. I’m sure you’re in the majority in your church, so we throw that out. But just in general. But now, whenever — you can’t pinpoint it, but — you don’t feel like you’re part of the majority of anything?
CALLER: And I think that’s probably been true since about the mid- to late seventies. I’m right about your age, Rush.
RUSH: Mid- to late seventies? Oh.
RUSH: That’s longer than I would have thought. So in 1994 when the Republicans won the House for the first time in 40 years, you didn’t feel like politically you had finally become a member of the majority of Americans in the way you think?
CALLER: No, I didn’t. You know, I thought it was all politics and it was… You know, that was back in the days when we all used talk about “the dafycit,” and, you know, I thought a lot of it was more —
RUSH: The dafycit! The dafycit.
CALLER: — a reaction to who was in power at the time. I really didn’t feel like I was part of that class.
RUSH: I don’t mean… Wait a minute, now. Let me… I don’t mean ruling class versus country class. I don’t mean elites versus non-elites. I mean, let’s say your opinion on limited government. Have you ever felt like you’re in the majority, like most people in the country — not the people you know, but most people the country — also thought what you thought about limited government or taxes? Or take a cultural issue, abortion, to anything. Have you…? When was the last time you felt that what you believed was part of the majority of thought in the country?
CALLER: Oh, my. Oh, well, you put it that way, then let’s back it up a little bit. Sixties.
CALLER: You know, things really started to change with the Great Society and —
RUSH: Okay, then let me jump in. In 1988, when I started this program, there was nothing else nationally, in media, that was conservative. It was all whatever else it was. I mean, it was all liberal, but it was disguised.
RUSH: They didn’t have to identify themselves. They were able to hide behind “objective” and “fair” and “reporter” or what have you. So in 1988, everything changes. I come along and in a few short years we’ve got all kinds of conservative talk radio, and then a few short years after we’ve got all kinds of conservative websites, and then after that all kinds of conservative blogs. And then after that, Fox News came along, and then we got more conservative talk radio, and then Fox News’s audience got bigger. I mean, there was more conservatism than you could shake a stick at as early as 1988 on, and as there were most conservatism happening — as more and more of the media was becoming conservative — it was still never able to move the pop culture. But what was happening at the same time?
CALLER: The country was becoming more progressively liberal.
RUSH: Yeah. How do you explain that?
CALLER: Well, I don’t know. I think it was… You say there was more conservative media and everything else, but I think they were maybe, you know, trying to tap into a fad or something.
RUSH: I don’t know. That may be. I mean, I’m not… You’re saying some of it was not real, some of it not legitimate, and some of it —
CALLER: Well, maybe they were encouraged by your success to speak out.
RUSH: Well, there’s no question. Don’t misunderstand. Let me… Okay, you keep… I wasn’t gonna get this deep into the weeds, but here’s some further categorization of this.
RUSH: When I started in 1988 I’m the real deal, conservatism. But I didn’t start the program to be a conservative. I just happened to be a conservative who wanted to do a radio show. And, because it resonated with people, it validated what a lot of people already believed, it launched. It accrued this identity as “conservative media.” But I didn’t strategize this. I mean, I didn’t sit back there in 1986 and say, “You know what this country needs is conservative radio.” I just wanted to be a guy on the radio and I wanted to succeed, and I wanted a situation where I could be honest.
But there was no grand strategy to create conservative media. It just happened. Now, I’ll grant you that media’s copycat. So they see this show working, so at local radio stations they say, “Let’s go get a conservative guy be on the radio.” What happened? You had all of them that weren’t conservative trying to be, you had some quasi-conservatives, you had any number of people that were representing conservatism who might not have been the finest characters around. It’s all over the ballpark here, is my point — and then you had some legitimate conservatives that came along.
I mean, the mix is very, very detailed. I mean, not everybody was me in terms of substance and so forth. But nevertheless, with ’88 as the starting point, compared to ’88 where there was none — and prior to that there was none. I mean, you had some magazines like National Review, but they didn’t have mass readership. I mean, they were localized with a very small audience. They had national readership but it was very, very tiny. They were not anywhere like broadcast media and so forth. But there was an expansion of conservatism on radio and television, not all of it legit, but all of it was not-liberal. So it grew and grew and grew — and as it grew and grew and grew, Bill Clinton got elected; Barack Obama got elected. How do you explain this?
CALLER: (laughing) I don’t! That’s why I tune in to you every day hoping that you can. (laughing)
RUSH: (laughing) Yes, yes. Well, I have… See, this is the thing: I have the answers that you don’t want to hear to that.
CALLER: No, I want to hear ’em.
RUSH: Well, I’ll think about it.
RUSH: But that’s why, when I read these guys and their panic laden pieces saying, “We’ve gotta start all over! We’ve gotta start getting these Trumpers, tell ’em what conservatism is,” they know. They know exactly what conservatism is. I think what a lot of conservatives had better come to grips with is, “Why the hell is it being rejected?” Because it clearly is. I know what most people are saying. “Social issues, Rush! You gotta stop talking about abortion!” That’s not why, folks. It’s not why it’s being rejected. But it is, in certain places. You can’t… I mean, that’s inarguable. Anyway, I’m up against it here, Mike, in terms of time. I have to take a break. I’ll not let you down, though. Promise. I’m glad you called. I appreciate your patience, and we will be back.