RUSH: Now, to the audio sound bites. I want to get started here because bouncing off of some of this is a good way to get started. Up first from yesterday’s Fresh Air on NPR, the host, Terry Gross, was speaking with New York Times reporter Robert Draper about a recent article Draper has written. That article was titled, “How Donald Trump set off a Civil War Within the Right-Wing Media.” And so the host says: “Do you think that the impact of talk radio and cable news is changing in terms of politics in America?”
DRAPER: The numbers show that talk radio is still a very healthy phenomenon. Though it does not own a monopoly on conservative activism the way it did in the 1990s when Rush Limbaugh ruled the roost, because of social media, because of Breitbart, because of Drudge, they are not the only voices that count. I don’t think any of them quite predicted the rise of Donald Trump. Almost none of them took him seriously. Almost all of them saw a Marco Rubio as a better choice for the party, a more plausible choice for the party. They jumped aboard the Trump train. They weren’t the drivers of the train.
RUSH: (laughing) Now, there’s so much in this. In the first place, ladies and gentlemen, the conservative media busted up the left-wing media monopoly, and that’s the story of conservative media. This program was it from 1988 through 1997 when Fox News started. There were other talk shows that started, and the Internet came of age, blogs and websites and so forth. But it is a massive media as we sit here now. And there is no monopoly anything in the conservative movement. There’s not even any unity in the conservative movement, as evidenced by the news every day.
Have you seen anybody break ranks in the Drive-By Media? They don’t. And what is it that they unify around? What’s the organizing principle of anything in the left-wing? Defeating us. Keeping us from increasing our power, keeping us from winning elections. That’s what unifies all the varied and fractious coalitions that make up the Democrat Party.
Our side loves to cannibalize itself. Our side loves to divide and conquer within the movement. Our side is in the middle of having arguments over who’s prominent, who is the smartest, who is the most powerful. And all kinds of different factions in the conservative movement want to be known for a number of different things. None of it beating the left. We do not have a unifying organizing principle on the right. Some say it’s a good thing. It promotes the independence of thought, the lack of lock-step behavior, this kind of thing. You can make arguments for both sides.
But I really do wish that there were a much greater focus on our side toward beating the left, because I think that’s what this is all about. But to some on our side it’s not really about that. That’s secondary or even tertiary. First is make sure the fundraising dollars come in. Others make sure that this or that happens. Some say that the objective is to make sure they continue to be thought of as the smartest in the movement. There’s all kinds of different reasons for people on our side doing what they do. The left subordinates all of that to one thing: unifying to defeat us. They’re in the midst of doing it now, and they do it in every election cycle.
Now, this guy said that most of the so-called conservative media aligned behind Rubio in the primaries. I don’t think that’s the case. As far as conservative media wasn’t driving the Trump train, they jumped aboard. You know what I think this whole sound bite really indicates, that even the people on the left who study me and study conservatism still don’t understand it, still don’t get it, because it is so foreign to them.
The only way they think they can understand it is to apply certain stereotypes to us and those stereotypes become the starting point. The stereotypes are the equivalent of the story being written before they interview anybody. Then they go out and interview people or listen to this program or whatever hoping to confirm whatever the stereotypes they have of us happen to be. As such, they miss — I know in the case of this show — they miss what this show is really about. They miss its purpose. They miss why I exist. They miss why I do it, how I do it, what the objectives are, and they have for 28 years.
It’s stunning. And this is among the people who study it. Like this guy from the New York Times, Robert Draper. I don’t think this guy’s ever called me. Now, normally when the Drive-By Media start doing stories on people they call them. I don’t know that I would have talked to him, anyway, don’t misunderstand. And it may well be that he did call and nobody told me because they know I’m not going to talk to him anyway. But they never do. Very seldom do I get a call. All I see is what they write after having studied.
Here’s the next bite. The host of the program then says: “Do you see the establishment being split in the same way –” Meaning the conservative establishment “– is split in the same way conservative media is?”
DRAPER: In conservative media throughout the 1990s, in the advent of Rush Limbaugh and of Matt Drudge and of Fox News, they were sort of like rowdy cousins to William F. Buckley and then later to George Will, but they didn’t challenge conservative principles. This has caused a rethinking of conservative ideology, and it’s been rather remarkable.
RUSH: I have been at the forefront of all this and I’m not sure what this guy’s talking about. Rowdy cousins to William F. Buckley. I know what that sounds like. It means less sophisticated, shouting, uncouth and all the usual bromides. They didn’t challenge conservative principles? No, we were conservative principles. We are conservative principles. This is the one place where conservative principles have not changed.
I have not changed and not redefined myself. I’ve not altered in any way, shape, matter or form. A rethinking of conservative ideology? That’s not what’s going on. A rethinking of conservative ideology is not what’s happening. Whatever is fractious in the conservative movement, I can tell you, that the definition of conservatism is not being rethought. There’s a whole lot of things that are, but not that.
RUSH: Some day, when all this is over, I am going to take the time to explain what I think is going on with conservatism and what has happened to it. The sound bites we’ve just played — these NPR guys, the New York Times — actually think that Trump is the agent that has disrupted and ripped conservatism apart. Clearly, Trump has had an impact. You can’t deny that. I think this was going on long before Trump showed up.
There hasn’t been any unity in conservatism in terms of what it is, in terms of strategically how to use it, definition of principles. There hasn’t been any unity of anything, hasn’t been any unity of purpose. It depends on what conservative group you’re talking to. You’ll get an entirely different reason for their existence. You’ll get an entirely different objective that they have in terms of going forward. Not true on the left. The left has an organizing principle called defeating us. We don’t, and certainly the Republican Party doesn’t.
I mean, you can’t when you have stories like this in TheHill.com: “GOP Senators: We Could Work with Hillary Clinton.” Do you ever see Chuck Schumer or Claire McCaskill or take a pick — Harry Reid? Do you ever hear a Democratic senator say, “We can work with Ronald Reagan; we can work with George Bush”? Hells bells! They are out to destroy them during the campaign, and if they happen to get elected, then they try to destroy them while they’re serving. We run around saying, “Well, we can work with them!
“We can cross the aisle. We can show people we can govern,” all for some misguided aim to try to show some people in America — voters — that we’re not the reprobates that they say we are. It’s a losing proposition. It’s everything being done on defense, and I think that’s one of the biggest dividing lines in conservatism. You have people that want to be reactionary and on defense. They’re afraid of going on offense because afraid what the media is going to say or whatever stereotypes they’re afraid of being fulfilled.
Going on offense is seen as “attacking” and conservatives aren’t supposed to attack because people don’t like attacks and they don’t like confrontation and all this. It’s the same ruse we get with the independents. “You’d better not criticize Obama or the Democrats or Hillary! The independents don’t like that. The independents don’t like all this confrontation. You start getting political with Obama and you’re just going to drive the independents right into the Democrats arms!”
You can’t get more political, confrontational, mean-spirited, and extremist than today’s Democrat Party. Why are independents never said to dislike the Democrats’ brand of confrontation, mean-spirited extremism? Why is it never said that the Democrats had better be careful. “If they’re not careful, they’re going to send these independents running right home to the Republican Party”? Why is it never said?
Why does hardly any poll ever show the Republican presidential candidate winning during the campaign? Meanwhile, while they have this reason for existing — this organizing, unifying principle — we’re still trapped in these internecine battles over minutia and deep-in-the-weeds stuff that average Americans don’t care about and don’t understand. But that is for after the election. But I wanted to be able to set the table now for this.
RUSH: If you want to know the angle that’s closest to the truth of all this analysis, Donald Trump is the result of a failed and fractured conservatism. Donald Trump didn’t cause this to the extent that people think there’s a problem with conservativism. Trump fills a vacuum filled by the fractured nature of conservativism at present.