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RUSH: And greetings to you, music lovers, thrill-seekers, conversationalists all across the fruited plain. Rush Limbaugh back with you via recorded message to kick off Open Line Friday. Folks, I have to tell you something. I had something happen this week that I have been striving to avoid. It has been at the top of the list of things that I have told myself just can’t happen, and yet it did.

I came down with a severe infection, and it’s not good. A severe infection with an immune system that is suppressed because of chemotherapy. A white blood cell count that is less than normal is not a good circumstance, and it’s where I found myself last weekend, and I’ve had to devote every waking moment to dealing with it. And only just now I’m starting to feel, quote-unquote, “normal.”

I’ve missed you all so much.

I can’t tell you how frustrating it has been, because we’ve been doing everything we can to avoid coming down with an infection. I mean, I’ve put my doctorate in Hermit and Recluse 101 into full action, and it still happened. But, you know, folks, as I always say, there’s good in everything if you look for it. And I have a new appreciation for a whole lot of things because of what I’ve had to go through this week.

I have a better appreciation for what others are going through, especially cancer patients, but not just limited to cancer patients. People who have lost their jobs because of the pandemic. People who have lost their livelihoods, lost their businesses. It’s a tough set of circumstances that we in America have been dealt. But, you know, last night’s speech by President Trump… I have to be very up-front with you.

It lifted me up, folks. It made me inspired. It lifted me up. It inspired me to be assured that the future holds promise, that the best is yet ahead if President Trump is reelected. Whatever you’re going through — whether it’s an illness, a small business in trouble — the event last night truly was inspiring. It assured me that our future does indeed hold promise, that there’s somebody in the White House who literally does care about the future of the country and your future and my future.

We can rest assured that this is the case having watched it last night. I saw people complaining. The Fox News people were complaining that the speech was too long, 70 minutes. Let me tell you: If anybody has earned the right to take as much time as he wants to explain himself, it’s Donald Trump. The man has been slandered and libeled multiple times a day every day for four years.

He has been unfairly criticized. He’s been lied about. He has been the subject of a search-and-destroy campaign. And this entire week the Republican National Convention has been a focused period of time for Trump and his administration to tell their story, and if it took him 70 minutes last night to do it, fine and dandy. They say, “Well, y’know, he didn’t see to have a whole lot of energy out there.”

He was not gonna win no matter what he did. If he’d done Trump at a rally, they’d have said he wasn’t presidential. If he had gone out and been really tough and called Biden a bunch of names, they would have said, “He’s not presidential! He’s not taking it seriously.” So last night I thought he was actually really good. The only thing that upset me about it going long was people were falling asleep in the Eastern Time Zone and missing some of it.

I thought it was exactly what was called for. It was calm. It was assuring. And you know something else? Remember the prepublicity on all this. The prepublicity was, “Trump was gonna come out, he was gonna fire on all cylinders, and he was gonna be ripping Biden and Kamala Harris a new one,” and that’s not what we got last night.

We got a guy who was self-assured, who was confident. I couldn’t tell when he was on the prompter and when he wasn’t. He was funny in a deadpan, slow-stated or downplayed kind of way — and he was unthreatening. You know, the prepublicity on this was, “Well, this guy, he’s gonna come out firing both barrels! You better be prepared! He’s gonna launch everything.” It wasn’t that way at all.

It was calm, it was reasoned — and for those watching Trump to learn a little bit about him, there wasn’t anything about it that was threatening.

Look, folks, I also have some other observations about things that have happened while I’ve been away. I want to take the opportunity here of this occasion just to get some of those thoughts in, in preparation for my return to the Golden EIB Microphone on Monday. I loved Ivanka’s speech last night. One line particularly stood out: “Washington didn’t change my father. My father changed Washington.”

Boy, is that true. It is right-on-the-money true, and it continues to be the case, and it explains why they continue — in the establishment, deep state, whatever — to be so outraged and indignant and irrational. They’re incapable of being rational when Trump is around, precisely because he is changing where they live. He’s changing where they work.

Now, can I remind you of something? And I took a lot of heat for this. I said last week that the Democrat challenge was gonna be to find a way to renege on the debates, and everybody — blogosphere, pundits, and people on cable news — said, “Limbaugh is off his rocker! He doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Of course there’s gonna be debates!

“There’s gonna be three debates. Biden is assuring everybody there’s gonna be debates,” and what happened? Nancy Pelosi… Stop and think of this, folks. Nancy Pelosi comes out and says, “I would not legitimize a conversation with him.” Now, she’s clearly laying the groundwork for Biden not to have to debate, and she wouldn’t have done that without the Biden campaign’s knowledge of it.

The idea she’s out there shooting from the hip? I guess it’s possible, ’cause it’s Pelosi. She may be trying to manipulate things, ’cause I’ll tell you something else going on out there, folks. You know, internal polls for politicians don’t lie. The polls that they do that they report to you and me — like take your pick of any poll. Those polls, as you well know, are made to shape public opinion, not reflect it.

But internal polls, like the Trump campaign internal polls or the Biden internal polls? They’re not lying to themselves in those polls — and those polls must be bad. I saw a poll, and I can’t remember the name of it right now. Let me find it real quick. (shuffling papers) Black Lives Matter in Wisconsin’s popularity has gone from plus-25 to zero in two months. Oh, yeah. It was a tweet here from noted hate expert Jonathan Chait.

“Democrats need to be extremely concerned about what’s happening in Wisconsin, where support for BLM has gone from +25 to +0 in 2 months.” In Wisconsin! It’s happening all over the place, and by now I’m sure you’ve all heard that CNN anchors are warning, “Oh, we gotta get serious. We gotta talk about the rioting. The focus group data looks bad. The polling data looks bad.”

Oh, so now it’s not about saving lives, not about saving property. Now that all this is starting to hurt the Democrats, now they’ve gotta start talking about it? But these internal polls must be bad. They don’t lie in these internal polls. Biden … Did you notice yesterday he didn’t just leave the basement; he went up a floor? He went to the living room. He went up to where there’s a fireplace — in August.

Kamala Harris emerged from whatever hovel she was living in to come out and tell a bunch of whoppers about Trump, and I think the fact that these polls — the internal polls in the Biden campaign — are bad can be seen in the Biden campaign’s activity. Here’s a New York Times story: “How Chaos in Kenosha Is Already Swaying Some Voters in Wisconsin,” and there’s a quote from somebody here.

“Ellen Ferwerda, who owns an antique furniture store downtown just blocks from the worst of the destruction that is now closed, said … Democratic leaders seemed hesitant to condemn the mayhem. ‘I think they just don’t know what to say.'” Uh, if you don’t know what to say about rioters, if you don’t know what to say about people that are destroying your town, then it’s obvious you don’t know what to do about it, either.

Bruce Arians, the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. You know, a lot of these players — NFL, NBA, NHL — decided to not practice or cancel a bunch of games because of the shooting in Kenosha, and Bruce Arians, the coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, said, “I don’t know that protest is an action. I think each guy has a personal thing.

“I would beg them to take action, find a cause and either support it financially or do something to change the situation, because protesting doesn’t do crap in my opinion. I’ve been seeing it since 1968.” He’s talking here about the Democrat convention Chicago, but this is a heck of a courageous thing to say. “[P]rotesting doesn’t do crap.”

Already people in the sports media are outraged that he would say this, that “the Boston Tea Party was protest.” No, it was action. It was much more than just marching up and down the street or carrying a bunch of signs or looting and destroying other people’s property. There is a big difference between action and protest. What he was really saying was (summarized):

“Canceling practice — not practicing football one day — is not gonna change anything you claim to be in favor of. It’s not gonna matter a whit,” and so — he didn’t say this; I will — they’re getting away with engaging in a bunch of symbolism while not having to engage in any genuine substance.

Folks, a couple other things here that I want to delve into. I actually believe… I saw a little note from Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit. Actually, there were some major things happening this week that I haven’t heard anybody say. Now, that doesn’t mean nobody has, ’cause I haven’t been able to listen to everything. But I look at the Republican convention.

It’s been the most diverse political convention I’ve ever seen, including Democrat conventions. And as I’ve watched it, it has occurred to me that Trump isn’t just running for reelection. The story that is being told at the Republican National Convention is about saving America. It’s about saving America from a race war that the Democrats are out there actively trying to promote. They’re trying to foment it.

They want this country to be black versus white, immigrant versus native, male versus female. That’s what they want. They want that chaos. They want this constant us-versus-them aspect of daily life. And Trump is making it clear that he’s interested in people who are constructive, productive, generally happy. He’s not interested in parasites, the generally miserable.

He wants everybody to join in this project of making America great again, to restoring America’s greatness where we had contentment and happiness and people sought happiness. The fact that all of that is controversial still amazes me. But I think it’s an… If you look at the Republican convention, it is astounding, the understory or some of the themes underneath the surface that are, I think, extremely powerful.

There’s another thing, folks, that is undeniable, and that is the Republican Party is no longer the party of the McCains or the Bushes or the Romneys or take your pick. I mean, or the Koch brothers, all the big donors and so forth. This is clearly a Republican Party now that is Donald Trump’s, and he’s got 92 to 95% Republican loyalty.

It’s one of the most amazing transformations of a political party, and it’s taken place in less than three years. At this convention, George W. Bush was nowhere to be found. None of the old Republican elders. Romney was nowhere to be found. Not that they wanted to be there, but that’s the point. So I just… I think that there is a lot, folks, to be optimistic about, particularly if President Trump wins.

(alarm chime)

RUSH: Oops! There’s my timer telling me that my time is up, but it’s not up. I gave myself a couple extra seconds here. It is an opportunity for an upbeat, positive nature among all of us. This week has been very eye-opening for me. It’s been a very bad week, and yet it has ended for me feeling inspired and upbeat and really confident about the future of our country if President Trump is reelected. I believe the opposite is true if he’s not.

But we’ll delve into that more as I get back next week. Again, thank you, folks, for your patience and understanding. I’m sorry I have missed this week, but was really… It is a bad infection. I have to get it under control, and that’s what the next few days and what this week have all been about.

I’ve missed you — I always miss you — and I’m looking real forward to getting back to you next week. Thanks to Ken Matthews and all the guest hosts who are doing yeoman work here in my absence.

I love everybody, I love you all, and can’t wait to see you next on Monday.

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