RUSH: Well, now, I’ve had some people email me about it — and, I mean, it never occurred to me. (interruption) You think I should? (interruption) Well, okay. Maybe. I’ll think about it. … I have some people emailing me since last night that I ought to play parts of my CPAC speech from back in 2009 when Obama took office. It never even occurred to me. That’s eight years ago.
Anyway, greetings. It’s great to have you with us, folks. It’s Open Line Friday. Rush Limbaugh here, ready and revved up to go. I’m eager to speak with you today. If you’re new to the program — and there’s a good chance you are — the audience of this program is continuing to expand at near geometric proportions. Thank you very much for that. It’s incredible. If you’re new to the program, Monday through Thursday when we go to the phones, people have been screened, and it’s been determined that they’re going to talk about things that I care about, because the focal point is the host sounding interested.
If that doesn’t happen, then it’s a near disaster. If the host sounds bored (laughs), you’re flirting with disaster there. But on Friday, we don’t do that. On Friday, pretty much whatever you want to talk about is fine. It doesn’t really differ that much from Monday through Thursday, as it turns out, but we still present the opportunity. If you want to talk about something other than all of this that is front and center in the news, this is the day to do it: 800-282-2882; the email address ElRushbo@eibnet.us.
Okay, we’re going to get to the president’s speech at CPAC today. Mike Pence, we have some excerpts of his speech at CPAC last night. We have some commentary about CPAC, particularly Dr. Larry Arnn’s speech yesterday morning. I want to review some of what he said. He attempted to define conservatism, which is key. I think there’s something fascinating going on here, this year with Trump being elected president, and that is a lot of people questioning: “What is conservatism now? Is this, for example, my father’s conservatism?
“Is it my conservatism when I was young and growing up? Is it the conservatism of William F. Buckley, Jr., the modern day godfather/founder?” You can go back to Burke and others probably, but in the modern era it would be Mr. Buckley. “What is it? Is it that or has it become something else? Has conservatism modified and expanded so as to be able to include in it President Trump and his supporters, or is that indeed populism and nationalism and it really doesn’t have much to do with conservatism?” And this has all come to the forefront because it’s CPAC time.
And that’s the Conservative Political Action Conference. And it is assumed that what happens at CPAC is the definition of conservatism of the day. And that largely depends on who they invite, who they give prominence to. And there’s been some controversy about that this year with their invitation to Milo Yiannopoulos. Then the president shows up today and he didn’t talk much about conservatism philosophically or theoretically. And the president very seldom explains why he believes what he believes. He just lets you know that he believes what he believes.
But you don’t really know how he arrived at it. Now, conservatives love to tell you why they think what they think, and it’s usually a means of persuading people to accept it and join it. So now it’s up for grabs largely because the Trump campaign fractured conservatism into many different splinters. And many people who thought that they were the modern-day leaders of conservatism, in fact found themselves in a new category called Never Trumpers. They were the group of people that thought no matter what, Trump should not win.
Even if it meant the implosion and the end of the Republican Party, even if it meant we go back to zero — we go back to the Dark Ages and rebuild from nothing — that would be better than having Trump win. And many of those people are still there. And they are still active in what I call the academic or intellectual side of conservatism. Many people think that I am what conservatism is, and I don’t say that with ego in any stretch. I’m just telling you that I realize how some people look at me. I’ve always thought of myself as a conservative, philosophically, and that’s the way I try to live my life.
But in terms of actual leader of a movement, that kind of thing has never been front and center in my mind. I just believe what I believe and tell people what it is and try to explain it, and I indeed try to persuade people to join it. And I’ve found myself at odds with others in the conservative movement, who themselves think that I have contributed to the watering down or the bastardization. In many ways, the Never Trumpers thought I was performing a great disservice to conservatism by not slamming Trump.
And because I didn’t slam Trump and because I didn’t come out and forcefully oppose Trump that I was myself a leading agent of destruction and compromise of the modern conservative movement. But I don’t think it’s had a leader in a long time. I don’t think there’s any one person that can tell you what it is and have other conservatives agree with it. We could get most of it. But I think conservatism, largely, became an academic exercise. It became a movement that wasn’t really fraught with much action. It was a lot of philosophizing.
It was a lot of thinking, expression of those thoughts. But in terms of action… I said something during the campaign that I caught a lot of flack for. I’ll repeat it for you again. When I was being accused of betraying conservatism by not denouncing Trump… It would be probably advantageous for me to tell you that what really has guided me in terms of politics for a huge number of years is defeating the left. Now, defeating the left with conservatism, obviously. But if it meant a slight departure here or there, defeating the left is it to me. That has to happen.
If we don’t do that, then we’re forever going to be challenged and in trouble. In other words, they are not to be compromised with. They can’t be. They don’t have any interest in that. They represent the greatest threat to this country in my lifetime. The modern day American left and its agents all over the world represent that, and so this is not a time for purity to me. This is a time for reality and recognition and necessity of saving the country, and that’s where I think Trump is. I don’t think Trump’s philosophical or ideological much.
He may becoming more so as he is assaulted day in and day out by agents of the left. We would hope that that’s the case. But I think that the situation in our country with the left — and it’s bigger than the Democrat Party. The Democrat Party is its home, and the Democrat Party has become so radical now that Democrats of 30 years ago would not recognize it. It is so far and gone. But they populate the judiciary, and they populate much of the bureaucracy, and even after they lose elections they are still in quite a few positions of power. They have to be rooted out. One election isn’t going to do the trick.
You’ve got to win the election and then you have to implement the agenda and whatever it takes. And you have to withstand all of the assaults that are going to come your way in the process. And this has been something that many on the right, the Republican Party… They haven’t wanted to endure the assaults. They just haven’t wanted to put up with that. So they’ve been pragmatists or compromisers. And the conservative movement — define it as you will — while it was winning elections it was stalled out in terms of the implementation of ideas.
And I can demonstrate that by simply asking you: How many times did you vote — 2008, 2010, 2012 — for Republican conservatives running for office, saying exactly what you wanted them to say, telling you they were going to do exactly what you wanted them to do, and when they get there it didn’t happen? And that’s what I mean. There wasn’t any action, and we didn’t seem to have very many warriors that were interested in implementing the ideas. They seemed to be content with owning the ideas. So enter Trump into all of this, and now we’ve got action.
We have action. Whether by design or by accident where Trump is concerned, we have action against the left, and this is what it looks like. And it’s always going to be ugly and it’s always going to be upsetting — and it’s not going to get better. Bannon was right about this yesterday. I mean, not in the near future it isn’t going to get better. I’ll give you an example of something that happened at CPAC. There was a tweet by somebody named Peter Hamby. I don’t know who Peter Hamby is. The name rings a bell but I can’t place it. But it doesn’t matter.
Crowd at CPAC waving these little pro-Trump flags that look exactly like the Russian flag. Staffers quickly come around to confiscate them. pic.twitter.com/YhPpkwFCNc
— Peter Hamby (@PeterHamby) February 24, 2017
This guy tweeted out: “Crowd at CPAC waving these little pro-Trump flags that look exactly like the Russian flag. Staffers quickly come around to confiscate them.” Okay, so you read that tweet and you say, “How the hell…? This is CPAC. What in the hell are a bunch of miniature Russian-type flags doing in there and why are people waving them around? This is not something that would organically happen at CPAC,” and it turns out it wasn’t. James O’Keefe of Project Veritas tweeted, “This was Ryan Clayton from Bob Creamer group ‘Americans Take Action’ handing Russian flags. Ryan was forcibly removed. [Peter Hamby] edited that out.”
So what happens is this guy Creamer… We played sound bites of for you yesterday. Creamer is the guy (dah, dah, dah, dah, dah) the husband of Democrat congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, who had over 350 visits to the White House during Obama’s term, and 50-some-odd of those were Obama himself in the Oval Office. This was the guy caught by Project Veritas secret video admitting that Hillary Clinton paid for this guy Creamer to go out and hire agitators and protesters to show up at Trump rallies during the campaign and disrupt them and to make themselves look like Trump supporters.
So they’re on the ball, and they somehow get into CPAC, and they hand out these little Russian flags to try to make the connection that CPACers are very happy with Trump’s connection to Russia and that they’re happily waving their flags around. That creates the pictures in the video that the media can fly into and say: “Look at this! My gosh, they’re not even hiding it!” That’s what I mean by, “They’re not going to go away.” This is all they’ve got. They can’t win elections right now. As I said yesterday and two days ago, there are some real upsides to this happening.
They’re exposing themselves. They’re marginalizing themselves. They’ve come out of the closet, so to speak. They’re not hiding. They can’t hide behind their camouflage. They can’t hide themselves as harmless, lovable, fuzz ball leftists only interested in civil rights. These are a bunch of really mean and deranged people — seriously, genuinely mean people — and they have to be fought and they have to be defeated, and thinking alone isn’t going to do it. The ideas that thinking and writing and sometimes appearing in the media and proselytizing conservatism will magically penetrate the minds of undecided and uninformed people and persuade them?
That’s not how it happens.
Well, not en masse. It doesn’t happen.
RUSH: I mentioned earlier in the program on CPAC, that one of the things happening here (sigh) is a definition, clarification of what conservatism is, because it’s kind of necessary. You might say — some might say — that the intellectual heft of the conservative movement was the home of most of the anti-Trumpers. Would you agree with that, Mr. Snerdley? (interruption) I mean, you talk about people like Bill Kristol and some of the people at National Review and some of the think tank aficionados…
Oh, speaking of this, Jim DeMint at the Heritage Foundation had a brilliant idea. You know what he said, folks? Jim DeMint said (summarized), “Why don’t you in Congress just send President Trump one of the six repeal-Obamacare bills that you sent to Obama? What do you mean, you’ve gotta do a new one? What do you mean you have to sit around and figure out what to do here about the Medicaid expansion and how we deal with this and the mandate? You’ve got six repeal Obamacare laws that you’ve sent up to Obama knowing he was going to veto them.”
But, look, the question’s rhetorical, because… Well, it may not be rhetorical. DeMint might mean it. But what it’s illustrating is the House Republicans knew those six bills were going to be vetoed; they sent them up anyway. So DeMint says (paraphrased), “Hey, you’ve got six repeal-Obamacare acts just sitting there. Send one of those up to Trump! Let’s see what happens. What do you mean you need three years to figure it out? What do you mean repeal or replace in two years? What do you mean? Just send it up there!”
Trump said today (paraphrased), “You know what we oughta do? We oughta just stand aside and let it implode. It’s imploding now. Just stand aside. Politically, the smart political thing to do would be to let this thing just eat itself alive like a black hole.” He said, “In two to three years, the Democrats would be coming to us begging us to fix it.” But he said, “We can’t do that because of the damage that would do to the American people,” and the CPACers applauded and so forth. Politically, Trump’s right. Just stand aside, don’t do anything, and let this thing crap out.
I would love that. Politically, I would love it. (laughing)
But it isn’t practical. Because it would cause a lot of damage for certain people who bought hook line and sinker everything about it, who went out there and mortgaged their futures to buy a policy. Anyway, back to this whole business about who is a conservative and what is conservatism in the modern era. Much of the alleged intellectual heft of conservatism ended up being Never Trumpers or Never Trump, and they still may be Never Trump. But Dr. Larry Arnn, who is the president of Hillsdale College — and you’ve heard me sing his praises on numerous occasions on this program.
Dr. Arnn addressed CPAC yesterday morning. His speech was titled, “The Roots of Conservatism,” and he posed two fundamental questions to the CPACers. (Do you think they mind being called ‘the CPACers’? I guess it depends on how you spell it. (chuckling) Right? (chuckling) I kind of like “CPACers.” Eh, we’ll stick with “the CPAC attendees.”) Dr. Arnn posed two fundamental questions to the CPAC audience: What is conservatism and what are we conserving? Now, here’s, to me, unbridled truth.
Whether you claim to be politically conservative or not, we are in a mess that has been made by wanton liberalism — liberalism which has not been opposed much, and certainly not at all in the last eight years. It’s gotten its lip service. But the actual warrior aspect of conservatism? That’s what everybody’s wondering: “Where is that? Where is the warrior-conservative movement?” Yeah, we know we’ve got a lot of brainiacs that sit up there and they think and they write and they publish and all. But where are the warriors?
Well, this mess that we are in — whether you claim to be politically conservative or not — the fact is that the solutions to this sewer that has been made by the left will be conservative. The solutions, by and large, will be conservative. And that means that as Trump solves problems, they’re going to be considered to be conservative solutions. Now, maybe not thoroughbred. Some of these solutions may not… I mean, I’m interested to see how Trump reduces government while spending on the military and the infrastructure and all of that.
But the fact of the matter is the only hope we have are conservative solutions to the absolute muck that the left is making of this country. So I don’t care whether you call yourself a conservative or not, whether you want to be considered a conservative or not, if you are for solving these problems… You don’t solve these problems with liberal light. You don’t solve these problems with moderates. You don’t solve these problems… No way do you solve the problem with moderates. Do you know California…? You want to talk about infrastructure? I saw this the other day. It was in the Stack; I didn’t get to it.
Do you know how much California has spent on legislative bills, appropriations on things having to do with “fairness”? It’s $100 billion. While their infrastructure in much of California (as evidenced by what’s happening with that dam) is crumbling, they spend $100 billion on “fairness” garbage! Legislating, government demanding behavior, and behavior defined under the guise of “fairness.” Look at what Trump did with this bathroom order. What did he really do on the bathroom bill for transgender bathrooms? What did he do?
All he said was, “The federal government’s got no role here,” and he withdrew the Obama federal mandate on this and sent it back to the states and said, “If you people in the states want your bathrooms to be used this way, then have at it.” You would think governors would be celebrating this! (clapping) You would think governors, particularly liberal governors, would love this. (What are there, five of them now?) But you know the governor of, I think, Minnesota is attacking Trump for this? You know what this proves? You know what this means?
If you have a Democrat governor and Trump has just thrown back to you the option, the opportunity of having your state’s bathrooms opened to however you want to define whoever can use them, and if you oppose that, you know what that really means? That means you want an all-power federal government mandating all of this stuff because you don’t want to deal with the mess yourself. It means some phantom Democrat governor would rather not deal with this, because he knows — even a rampant Democrat governor knows — that most people do not want bathrooms policed and governed this way.
But if some giant federal entity miles and miles and miles away mandates it, then, “Well, what can we doooo?” So they attack Trump and they attack his administration, and all he did was what should have been done with abortion: Send it back to the states; let them hash it out. That’s what federalism is. You know, the word federalism is bandied about a lot, and it’s a word made to order for being incorrectly defined. Let’s do a little pop quiz right now for those of you here in the audience. Define, as quickly as you can, what you think federalism is.
What is it? I will wager that the majority of you think, “Well, federalism? That means the federal government does everything.” It actually means just the opposite. Federalism is the principle that the federal government only does what the states can’t do. Such as, wage wars. Such as, build national highway systems. Such as, handle nationwide immigration. Federalism is a principle of limited government. Federalism says, “The federal government only gets involved when there are things the states cannot do.”
And states cannot conduct and wage war and states cannot build a massive national highway system or enforce massive national immigration laws. So all Trump was doing — and the Never Trumpers should have been celebrating because Trump was engaging in federalism here, which Never Trump intellectual conservatives love. Trump sent it back to the states. He didn’t make it illegal. He didn’t say that if you’re a 14-year-old little boy you can’t use the girls bathroom if you feel like being a girl that day. He didn’t say you can’t do that. He said it’s up to the states.
Let the states, let the people decide.
Federalism is rooted in the idea that the people closest to a situation should decide it, and the federal government is not close to bathrooms, and the federal government’s got no business being in the business of legislating who can and can’t use bathrooms. But that’s exactly what the left wants because that, to them, is the ultimate in power. You can’t get more powerful than the federal government, which is why they want everything coming out of the federal government. They don’t want the states being involved in anything, because they want it to be mandated on everybody — whatever “it” happens to be.
But federalism states that the people closest to the issue — in a democracy, in a congressional representative republic — should be the ones to decide it. And the federal government has no business doing things that the states can do, and the states have no business doing things that only the federal government can do. That’s federalism, and that’s what Trump was essentially endorsing with his — I don’t want to say “removal” — canceling of this Obama bathroom bill, executive order, letter, memorandum, whatever it was.
RUSH: Conservatism, what is it, and who defines it? Now, unlike a lot of politicians that we’ve elected, and some that we haven’t, let me give you some names here: Jeb Bush. John McCrazy. (chuckles) McCain. Kasich. Rubio. Romney. Dole. Boehner. Ryan. McConnell. The list is endless. These people all say they’re conservative. They don’t do anything. In terms of warriors, we don’t have warrior conservatives. We have think-tank conservatives. We’ve got intellectual heft conservatives.
We’ve got writer conservatives. We’ve got Fox News and book-deal conservatives. (interruption) What is a Fox News…? Oh, that is a young conservative who wants a Fox News gig and a book deal, and that’s cool. If the young conservative gets that, then it’s a success. But in terms of actually moving things along? No, no, no. It’s a Fox News gig and a book deal. There’s all kinds of people in the conservative movement. This is what Dr. Arnn was addressing.
We had a caller earlier: “Where is our George Soros? Where is our moneybags funding our activists?” Well, we’ve got moneybags. We’ve got all kinds of moneybags! We’ve got all kinds of donors. But who is it that’s asking them for the money? I’m not trying to impugn anybody here. I’m just trying to set the table for you. Who asks for these donations? Magazines? Think tanks? Nonprofits? 501(c)(3)s? And what do they do? Well, they write and they publish and they do all that. Now, Jim DeMint at the Heritage Foundation actually gets involved with elected officials on the implementation of policy — writing it, crafting it, coming up with stuff that will pass.
But I don’t know if we have… Like in the case of George Soros, the people asking him for money are these hate groups that want to go out and raise hell and riot and protest. I imagine if we had some groups like that and they hit up some of our conservative donors, they’d get the money. It’s just that’s not who we are. We don’t do what we do based on hate. We don’t do what we do based on bullying people. And that’s how they operate.
Larry Arnn is the chairman, president of Hillsdale College. “The ‘crisis’ facing American conservatives today, Dr. Arnn proposed, is a crushing administrative state that unconstitutionally combines the legislative, executive, and judicial powers of government into one unaccountable body. ‘In those agencies there is no separation of powers,’ Arnn warned. Administrative agencies, run by unelected bureaucrats, operate outside of the bounds imposed upon the government by the U.S. Constitution. And every year these governing bodies create regulations with the force of law that strangle the economy and threaten individual liberty.
“With all the consternation on the right about whether President Trump is a conservative or not, Dr. Arnn reminded [the CPAC] audience of one simple fact: The president campaigned vigorously on cutting back regulations and limiting the unconstitutional administrative state. If the president succeeds in rolling back the administrative state, in restoring the proper function of constitutional government by limiting regulations, ‘I think that guy is a conservative,’ Dr. Arnn said,” and let me tell you something: Dr. Larry Arnn is every bit the intellectual conservative that any of the others who are known as intellectual conservatives are.
You want to talk about heft and weight and respect?
Larry Arnn: Claremont Review of Books, Claremont Institute before Hillsdale College, noted historical expert on Sir Winston Churchill. Dr. Arnn has not been alarmed about Trump from the get-go. Dr. Arnn is… I should say that I’m probably in the Dr. Arnn school. Well, I think I got to school first on this. Defeating the left is paramount — and not by out-liberaling them. We have to defeat them, as opposed to remaining 99% or 100% pure conservative. Can you imagine…? Let me find a story. This is so great of an example of what we’re all talking about here. It’s a Wall Street Journal story on what would have happened if Hillary Clinton had won. Here it is. Are you ready?
Wall Street Journal editorial: “Waiting for Justice Gorsuch.” Let me give you the upshot of this. He said, “If you want to know why millions of Republicans voted for Donald Trump despite their doubts about his values or policies, look no further than Tuesday’s ruling by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals on gun rights. The 10-4 en banc decision shows how a liberal Supreme Court majority would eviscerate the Second Amendment. The Fourth Circuit is one of several appellate courts that Barack Obama remade over eight years, and in [this case] Kolbe v. Hogan the liberal majority upheld Maryland’s Firearm Safety Act.”
Wait until you hear how this court did this. The Maryland’s Firearm Safety Act “bans firearms such as the popular, semiautomatic AR-15 rifle that gun-control advocates call an ‘assault weapon.’ The Supreme Court’s landmark D.C. v. Heller decision in 2008 upheld an individual right to bear arms, explicitly for guns in ‘common use.'” But what did the Fourth Circuit do on Tuesday? “They concocted a brand new use that doesn’t exist in law! “They concocted a new ‘military use’ legal test. Politicians can ban a firearm, they ruled, if a judge determines that it is ‘most useful in military service.'”
There is no such denotation in law anywhere. These justices at the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals just made it up in order to ban the AR-15. The Wall Street Journal editorial asks what happens if Hillary wins and she gets to pick Scalia’s replacement? She’s going to pick somebody, and we’re gone. Gun control. The Second Amendment is gone. Things like this. These judges invent law. This law should be overturned. These judges on the Fourth Circuit… These are the appeals judges. These are supposed to be the creme de la creme, and it was 10-4.
It was en Banc, so the whole court, 10-4, ruled that the AR-15 can be banned because it has military use and not you nor you nor you — according to these ten judges — can have possession of any gun used in the military. Do you know what that means? How many pistols does the military have? Go back and look. Even the muskets that were used back in the Revolutionary War would be illegal if these guys and their ruling stand. “The ruling applies only to Maryland, but it has national implications if other states and judges adopt its logic. …
“This is also how a liberal Supreme Court majority would have gone about overturning Heller if Hillary Clinton been able to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia. Mr. Trump’s nomination of Neil Gorsuch means that a new majority will soon be in place to reinforce Heller,” and your gun rights will be protected as Trump referenced today in his speech to CPAC. This is just a great, great example of what is happening with the deep state, with the bureaucracy and now the judiciary. Obama packed this court with a bunch of leftist activists, and they just created this new thing called “military use.” Most useful in military service.
And if it’s there, then the public can be denied possession.
“As Judge William Traxler noted in searing dissent…” He’s on the Fourth Circuit and he dissented. He said that “the ‘heretofore unknown’ military-use test is a purely judicial invention with no historical or legal basis. By that logic, he noted, the muskets favored by America’s colonial settlers could have been banned because they were clearly the same weapons they used in war.” So this is the kind of stuff that we are still up against, and this is why fights over who is a conservative and who isn’t missed the point. Because if the Never Trumpers — if these intellectual heavyweights, the Never Trumpers — had had their way and Trump had lost? Well… And that’s why Dr. Arnn felt it necessary to speak to conservatism and remind people what it is.
RUSH: I’ve had people — since it’s CPAC time — say, “You ought to play your speech from nine years ago.” I say, “Ehhh.” But I’m going to pick one here. We’ll do that, and the reason is that we have a whole group of new listeners who probably didn’t hear this. This was on February 28th of 2009. Obama had been in office just a month, and I was the keynote. Last speech, 5:00 on Friday. Went for an hour and a half. No teleprompter. No notes. In fact, at 6:00, it was supposed to end. They asked me to keep going because everybody was having such a great time. It was televised nationally on three or four cable networks. It was My first nationally televised address to the nation.
We’ve got four excerpts from it here. Since Dr. Arnn’s speech was about who was a conservative and what is conservatism, I thought that I would use this…
BEGIN ARCHIVE CLIP
RUSH: Let me tell you who we conservatives are: We love people.
RUSH: When we look out over the United States of America, when we are anywhere — when we see a group of people, such as this or anywhere — we see Americans. We see human beings. We don’t see groups. We don’t see victims. We don’t see people we want to exploit. What we see —
RUSH: what we see is potential. We do not look out across the country and see the average American — the person that makes this country work — we do not see that person with contempt. We don’t think that person doesn’t have what it takes. We believe that person can be the best he or she wants to be if certain things are just removed from their path like onerous taxes, regulations and too much government.
RUSH: We want every American to be the best he or she chooses to be. We recognize that we are all individuals. We love and revere our founding documents, the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.
RUSH: We believe that the preamble to the Constitution [sic] contains an inarguable truth that we are all endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights, among them life —
RUSH: — liberty, freedom —
RUSH: — and the pursuit of happiness.
RUSH: Now, those of you watching at home may wonder why this is being applauded. We conservatives think all three are under assault.
CROWD: (wild, sustained applause)
END ARCHIVE CLIP
RUSH: We even edited the applause there. That applause went on and on. Now, that’s all I’ve got time for. I’m… I don’t know. If you want to hear more, maybe we’ll play a couple more of them on Monday. (interruption) You think so? I’m looking here. I just don’t have a short one. The next one is two minutes and the one after that is one minute. But anyway, nine… Is that right? Eight years ago. Eight years ago is when this was.