RUSH: The second such instance is Kate O’Beirne. Kate O’Beirne of National Review and a number of think tanks passed away over the weekend. Now, let me tell you about Kate O’Beirne. She was one of the godmothers of the modern so-called conservative movement. Explaining Kate O’Beirne, you need to go back to the very beginning of this program. I haven’t talked about it in this context much lately.
At the beginning when this program started in ’88 it was more a central topic. But you have to remember something. For the impact of Kate O’Beirne on me to be understood, you have to understand who I was in 1988. And in terms of Kate O’Beirne and everybody in the so-called conservative movement in Washington and New York, I was nobody. Nobody had ever heard of me.
I am a loner. I’m not a networker. I do not try to get to know people so they can do something for me down the road. I’m just totally self-focused on my own merit, and I’ve always believed that my work will speak for me and itself. I have not sought relationships with people in the same business I’m in or any other business in hopes that someday they’ll be able to do something for me. I just have never thought in that regard, perhaps because it didn’t happen much that I saw when we were growing up. But I’ve always just considered it part of being self-responsible that whatever happens to me is because of me.
I’m not saying nobody helped. That’s the whole point. Now, 1988 you have to remember there’s no conservatism nationally other than, what, National Review magazine. And that wasn’t really national. It was the three networks and CNN and the Washington Post and the New York Times. That was the media. USA Today had just popped up. CNN was the only thing outside the three networks. It had started in 1980, so it was eight years old, and it was on cable. And it was a much different CNN then from the CNN that you know today.
So the conservative movement of that era didn’t know what to make of me. The conservative movement has been burned many times over the decades by people who they thought were conservative, invested in them, and it turned out that they were weak, not like-minded, and eventually faded and ended up either ignoring, betraying, or walking away from conservatism.
And so there were people at arm’s-length. Nobody mistreated me, nothing of the sort. It’s just it was a natural extinct. “Who is this guy? Okay, so he’s a conservative, but is this gonna help us or hurt us? This guy on the radio, he’s doing weird things. He’s cracking jokes about liberals and I don’t know if we want to be associated with this.” But they did and they didn’t, and some reached out, and Kate O’Beirne was one of those who did. I can give you the names if you want, but there were many people who reached out to me and invited me to where they work at their magazines or think tanks to give me miniature lectures on their area of expertise, be it welfare reform, poverty, be it environmental wackoism, media, whatever their area of expertise, they all sat me down. Bill Bennett was instrumental in facilitating some of this.
They were very cautious because, again, they no idea who I was and standoffish a little bit. They were, on one hand, thrilled and excited that somebody had come along that was articulating what they had been writing and speaking of and slaving over in basements and crowded rooms trying to get published here and there. And here comes some guy who they’ve ever heard of espousing things they believe in. So it was a mixed bag. They wanted it all to be legit, but because of betrayal and an image, frankly, that some people had of anything not on television, they were standoffish.
Kate O’Beirne was none of that. She was one of the people I met — by the way, this was not an organized thing. It just happened. One day I got a call from Robert Rector, saying, “You want to learn here a little bit what we do in media analysis?” And then Brent Bozell, same thing, Media Research Center. And this process took a couple of years. There was nothing organized about it. It was just an evolution that happened for which I was profoundly grateful.
And I remember when the program started, I frequently named and cited the people whose work I had used to help me understand why I thought and believed the things that I thought and believed. And in this tour, I’ll call it, I met Kate O’Beirne. And she was immediately accepting and friendly, outgoing, extroverted, ribald, whatever struck her is the way she behaved. She was brilliant. She was cooperative, and she was very shepherding in my process. This was 1988, Bush and Dukakis, third term of Reagan; there is no national conservative media.
Everybody in the accepted conservative movement knows everybody else in it, and here I came. And she was openly accepting and just thoroughly encouraging and very helpful. And I tracked her career, because after I met her she started showing up doing more television, like Crossfire and the McLaughlin Group. And she was one of the early conservative women that just had a spine of steel. She was fearless, combined with a tremendous and great sense of humor.
I’ve always said, folks, that I love getting older. I have never feared getting older. I’ve always been, in my own life, borne out that’s been true, the next year has been better than the previous one. When I was 15 I wanted to be 21. I wanted to get all this childhood, teenage stuff out of the way. I wanted to get successful. I wanted to get on the track. I wanted to get moving and as I looked at life, everybody older than me seemed really happy, really self-sufficient, and I had that as a goal.
And it’s always been true. There has not been a year that I have had regretted getting older yet, except for things like this. The unavoidable reality that once you hit your 60’s, the news is going to be more frequent that your friends and acquaintances are sick, ill, and have passed away. That’s the one unavoidable downside of getting older.
But, you know, I’ve always had a belief that nostalgia has a unique way of only — at least in my case, nostalgia for me is never negative. It’s always positive, when I think about the past and remember things of people that I’ve met and meant a lot to me, it’s always positive, always uplifting. Never is any of it negative, never is there any anguish about it.
And it’s that way with Kate O’Beirne. And I know she leaves a lot of people in the sense of loss and pain today at National Review and in her family. I wanted to acknowledge both of these women because they have been deeply impactful on me and my life to my vast betterment. Joan Gleason and Kate O’Beirne.