Rush's First Televised Address to the Nation:
Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) Speech February 28, 2009 Watch It!
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RUSH: Thank you so much. Thank you. Thank you all very, very much. Thank you all. I can't tell you how wonderful that makes me feel. It happens everywhere I go, but it's still special here. [ Laughter ] If you all will indulge me, I learned something, I guess, it's early Friday morning that I didn't know. Friday morning is when I learned this. I learned that Fox, God love them, is televising this speech on the Fox News Channel, which means, ladies and gentleman, this is my first ever address to the nation. [Applause]
Now, I have someone in back taking phone numbers. In fact, I would like to introduce to you my security chief, a man who runs all of my security. His name is Joseph Stalin. Joseph, would you please -- [Laughter ] I am safe from any liberal attack, in public, because they would be afraid of offending Stalin. [Laughter] Now the opportunity here to address the nation, a serious one, it really is. And I want to take it seriously. I want to address something. I know that people are probably watching this who never have listened to my program and may not even really know what conservatism is. They think they do based on how they've been told -- the way we've been impugned and maligned and so forth. One of the things that is totally erroneous about me -- and I just want to get this up front -- is that I'm pompous. [Laughter]
And that I am arrogant. Neither of these things are remotely true. I can tell you a joke to illustrate this. Larry King passed away, goes to heaven. He's greeted by Saint Peter at the gates. Saint Peter says, "Welcome, Mr. King, it's great to have you here. I want to show you around, give you an idea of what's here, maybe you can pick a place that you'd like to reside." King says, "I just have one question: Is Rush Limbaugh here?"
"No, he's got a lot of time yet, Mr. King." So Saint Peter begins the tour. Larry King sees the various places and it's beyond anything we can imagine in terms of beauty. Finally, he gets to the biggest room of all, with this giant throne. And over the throne is a flashing beautiful angelic neon sign that says "Rush Limbaugh." [Laughter]
And Larry King looks at Saint Peter and says: "I thought you said he wasn't here."
"He said, he's not, he's not. This is God's room. He just thinks he's Rush Limbaugh."[Laughter] [Applause]
So you see I'm not pompous. [Laughter]
Now, seriously, for those of you watching on C-SPAN as well, and on Fox, I want to tell you who we all are in this room. I want to tell you who conservatives are. We conservatives have not done a good enough job of just laying out basically who we are because we make the mistake of assuming people know. What they know is largely incorrect based on the way we are portrayed in pop culture, in the Drive-By Media, by the Democrat Party.
Let me tell you who we conservatives are: We love people. [Applause] 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 -- 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. [Applause]
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. [Applause] We believe that the preamble to the Constitution contains an inarguable truth that we are all endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights, among them life. [Applause] Liberty, Freedom. [Applause] And the pursuit of happiness. [Applause] Those of you watching at home may wonder why this is being applauded. We conservatives think all three are under assault. [Applause] Thank you. Thank you.
We don't want to tell anybody how to live. That's up to you. If you want to make the best of yourself, feel free. If you want to ruin your life, we'll try to stop it, but it's a waste. We look over the country as it is today, we see so much waste, human potential that's been destroyed by 50 years of a welfare state. By a failed war on poverty. [Applause]
We love the people of this country. And we want this to be the greatest country it can be, but we do understand, as people created and endowed by our creator, we're all individuals. We resist the effort to group us. We resist the effort to make us feel that we're all the same, that we're no different than anybody else. We're all different. There are no two things or people in this world who are created in a way that they end up with equal outcomes. That's up to them. They are created equal, given the chance - -[Applause]
We don't hate anybody. We don't -- I mean, the racism in this country, if you ask me, I know many people in this audience -- let me deal with this head on. You know what the cliche is, a conservative: racist, sexist, bigot, homophobe. Excuse me, ladies and gentlemen of America, if you were paying attention, I know you were, the racism in our culture was exclusively and fully on display in the Democrat primary last year. [Applause] It was not us asking whether Barack Obama was authentic. What we were asking is: Is he wrong? We concluded, yes. We still think so. But we didn't ask if he was authentically black. We didn't say, as some Southern Christian Leadership Conference leaders said: Barack is not authentic, he's not got any slave blood. He's really not down for the struggle, but his wife is. So don't expect the race industry to go away. Southern Christian Leadership Conference -- you may not know this, because it wasn't reported in the Drive-By Media -- the racism, the sexism, the bigotry that we're all charged with, just so you across the United States of America know, and you'll see demonstrated here as the afternoon goes on, doesn't exist on our side. We want everybody to succeed. [Applause]
You know why? We want the country to succeed, and for the country to succeed, its people -- its individuals -- must succeed. Everyone among us must be pursuing his ambition or her desire, whatever, with excellence. Trying to be the best they can be. Not told, as they are told by the Democrat Party: You really can't do that, you don't have what it takes, besides you're a minority or you're a woman and there are too many people that want to discriminate against you. You can't get anywhere. You need to depend on us.
Well. Take a look, someone has to say this -- I am thrilled for the opportunity to say it in my first national address to the nation -- and I'm going to touch on this in more detail in a moment, but this is just to get you thinking -- take a look at all the constituency groups that for 50 years have been depending on the Democrat Party to improve their lives. And you tell me if you find any. They're still complaining, still griping about the same problems. Their problems don't get fixed by government. And those lives have been poisoned. Those lives have been cut short by false promises, from government representatives who said don't worry about it, we'll take care of you. Just vote for us. [Applause]
For those of you just tuning in on the Fox News Channel or C-SPAN, I'm Rush Limbaugh and I want everyone in this room and every one of you around the country to succeed. I want anyone who believes in life, liberty, pursuit of happiness to succeed. And I want any force, any person, any element of an overarching Big Government that would stop your success, I want that organization, that element or that person to fail. I want you to succeed. [Applause] Also, for those of you in the Drive-By Media watching, I have not needed a teleprompter for anything I've said. [Cheers and Applause ] And nor do any of us need a teleprompter, because our beliefs are not the result of calculations and contrivances. Our beliefs are not the result of a deranged psychology. Our beliefs are our core. Our beliefs are our hearts. We don't have to make notes about what we believe. We don't have to write down, oh do I believe it do I believe that we can tell people what we believe off the top of our heads and we can do it with passion and we can do it with clarity, and we can do it persuasively. Some of us just haven't had the inspiration or motivation to do so in a number of years, but that's about to change. [Cheers and Applause]
For example, we gather here -- I understand that. I talked to David and Lisa in the super exclusive private green room that nobody, but about 55 people were allowed into, and they said that there's a sense of liberation here among all of you that are attending CPAC. I understand what the sense of liberation is about. But don't make the mistake at the same time of feeling liberated as thinking we're better and we can do better as a minority. Because we're not a minority. And if you start thinking of yourselves as a minority, you're going to be defensive. And you'll allow the majority to set the agenda and the premise and you're responding to it. The American people may not all vote the way we wish them to, but more Americans than you now live their lives as conservatives in one degree or another. And they are waiting for leadership. We need conservative leadership. We can take this country back. All we need is to nominate the right candidate. It's no more complicated than that. [Applause] Now, let me speak about President Obama for just a second. President Obama is one of the most gifted politicians, one of the most gifted men that I have ever witnessed. He has extraordinary talents. He has communication skills that hardly anyone can surpass. No, seriously. No, no, I'm being very serious about this. It just breaks my heart that he does not use these extraordinary talents and gifts to motivate and inspire the American people to be the best they can be. He's doing just the opposite. And it's a shame. [Applause] President Obama has the ability -- he has the ability to inspire excellence in people's pursuits. He has the ability to do all this, yet he pursues a path, seeks a path that punishes achievement, that punishes earners and punishes -- and he speaks negatively of the country. Ronald Reagan used to speak of a shining city on a hill. Barack Obama portrays America as a soup kitchen in some dark night in a corner of America that's very obscure. He's constantly telling the American people that bad times are ahead, worst times are ahead. And it's troubling, because this is the United States of America. Anybody ever ask -- I'm in awe of our country and I ask this question a lot as I've gotten older. We're less than 300 years old. We are younger than nations that have been on this planet for thousands of years. We, nevertheless, in less than 300 years -- by the way, we're no different than any other human beings around the world. Our DNA is no different. We're not better just because we're born in America. There's nothing that sets us apart. How did this happen? How did the United States of America become the world's lone super power, the world's economic engine, the most prosperous opportunity for an advanced lifestyle that humanity has ever known? How did this happen? And why pray tell does the President of the United States want to destroy it? It saddens me.
The freedom we spoke of earlier is the freedom, it's the ambition, it's the desire, the wherewithal, the passions that people have that gave us the great entrepreneurial advances, the great inventions, the greatest food production, the human lifestyle advances in this country. Why shouldn't that be rewarded? Why is that now the focus of punishment? Why is that now the focus of blame? Why doesn't -- Mayor Bloomberg the other day, ladies and gentlemen, resisting his Governor's call for an increased tax on the rich in New York had some astounding numbers. Eight million people live in New York. 40,000 of those eight million pay roughly 60 to 70% of New York's operating budget. He was afraid that if he raised taxes on those people some of them might leave. Mayor, one already has, by the way. [Applause] Stop and think of this, though. Stop and think of this. Forty thousand people out of eight million. He's right, if 10,000 of them leave, or 5,000, they've got a huge problem. Because New York has its own welfare state inside the one the federal government's created. They've got a dependency class that has grown up and been educated that their entitlement is to be fed and taken care of by these evil mean people who have more than they do. If New York City, New York State or Washington, DC were a business, these 40,000 people would be taken on golf tournament trips to Los Angeles, and they would be wined and dined and they would be thanked and they would be encouraged to keep it up. They wouldn't be told they're the problem. They wouldn't be told, except there's -- I pride my accuracy rating. There is one other business where the customer is always wrong and that's the media. Sorry about that. [Applause]
Have you ever called to complain about whatever they do? They say, yes, sir, yes, sir, three bags full. They hang up and say you're too stupid to know how they're doing what they're doing. You can't get it. You're not sophisticated enough. So that's another business where the customer is always wrong. But, seriously, the people who have achieved great things, most of it is not inherited. Most wealth in this country is the result of entrepreneurial, just plain old hard work. There's no reason to punish it. There's no reason to raise taxes on these people. Barack Obama, the Democrat Party, have one responsibility, and that's to respect the oath they gave to protect, defend and follow the US Constitution. [Applause]
They don't have the right to take money that's not theirs, from the back pockets of producers, and give it to groups like ACORN, which are going to advance the Democrat Party. If anybody but government were doing this, it would be a crime. And many of us think it's bordering on that as it exists now. [Applause] President Obama is so busy trying to foment and create anger in a created atmosphere of crisis, he is so busy fueling the emotions of class envy that he's forgotten it's not his money that he's spending. [Applause] In fact, the money he's spending is not ours. He's spending wealth that has yet to be created. And that is not sustainable. It will not work. This has been tried around the world. And every time it's been tried, it's a failed disaster.
What's the longest war in American history? Did somebody say the war on poverty? Smart group. War on poverty. The war on poverty essentially started in the '30s as part of the New Deal, but it really ramped up in the '60s with Lyndon Johnson, part of the Great Society war on poverty. We have transferred something like 10 trillion, maybe close to 11 trillion, from producers and earners to nonproducers and nonearners since 1965. Yet, as I listen to the Democratic Party campaign, why, America is still a soup kitchen, the poor is still poor and they have no hope and they're poor for what reason? They're poor because of us, because we don't care, and because we've gotten rich by taking from them, that's what kids in school are taught today. That's what others have said to the media. You know why they're poor, you know why they remain poor? Because their lives have been destroyed by the never-ending government hay that's designed to help them, but it destroys ambition. It destroys the education they might get to learn to be self-fulfilling. [Applause] And it breaks our heart. It breaks our heart. We lose track of numbers with all of the money, with all the money that's been transferred, redistributed, with all the charitable giving in this country.
Ladies and gentlemen, there ought not be any poverty except those who are genuinely ill equipped. But most of the people in poverty in this country are equipped for far much more. They've just been beaten down. They're told don't worry, we'll take care of you. There's nothing out there for you anyway; you'll be discriminated against. Breaks our heart to see this. We can't have a great country and a growing economy with more and more people being told they have a right, because of some injustice that's been done to them or some discrimination, that they have a right to the earnings of others. And it's gotten so out of hand now that what worries me is that this administration, the Barack Obama administration is actively seeking to expand the welfare state in this country because he wants to control it.
George Will once asked Dr. Friedrich Von Hayek, tremendous classical economist, great man, 1975, George Will, Dr. Von Hayek, why is it that intellectuals, supposed smartest people in the room, why is it that intellectuals can look right out their windows, their own homes and cars and look at their universities and not see the bounties and the growth and the greatness of capitalism? And Von Hayek said: I've troubled over this for years and I've finally concluded that for intellectuals, pseudo-intellectuals, and all liberals, it's about control. It's not about raising revenue. You think Obama has any intention of paying for all this spending? Folks, if he had any intention of paying for it, he wouldn't do 90% of it because we don't have the money. [Applause]
They don't care about paying for it. All that's just words. All that's just rhetoric paying for it because he knows you have to worry about paying for it. He knows we all have to be concerned -- oh, except, wrong again. Except the words of Barney Frank and Chris Dodd who were given homes that everybody knew they could never pay for, and now Barney Frank and Chris Dodd, the architects along with Bill Clinton of the policy that gave us the whole sub-prime mortgage crisis, get to sit around and act as innocent spectators to investigate what went on when they largely had the biggest role in causing it. [Applause]
Congressman Frank's definition of affordable housing is you get a house you don't have to pay for that everybody else in the neighborhood will pay for. Why? Because it's unfair that some people can have a house and some people can't. Geez, it's just unfair. So here we have two systems. We have socialism, collectivism, Stalin, whatever you want to call it, versus capitalism. Admittedly over on the right side capitalism there will be unequal outcomes because we're all different. And some of us care more and have more passion and we know what we want to do and others are still struggling for it. Some people are just going to work harder than others. Okay. You get what you work for. Those who have a genuine inability for whatever reason are taken care of. We're compassionate people. On the left side when you get into this collectivism socialism stuff, these people on the left, the Democrats and liberals today claim that they are pained by the inequities and the inequalities in our society. And they believe that these inequities and inequalities descend from the selfishness and the greed of the achievers. And so they tell the people who are on different income quintiles, whatever lists, they say it's not that you're not working hard enough, you could have what they have, perhaps, if you applied it. They're stealing it from you. So what liberals do, and I say this again to the -- another thing, I know people in the country are watching. I was watching a focus group after some event this week. Might have been after Obama's State of the Union show. [Laughter] And they had -- it was a typical, you know, Drive-By Media focus group. They round up losers -- [Laughter] -- who hear Obama speak and think that the next day their gas tanks are going to be filled up and get a new house and a new kitchen and a new car. And so this one guy said -- oh, it was some guy responding to Bobby Jindal. Oh, by the way did you hear about Joe Biden? Joe Biden was mystified how Bobby Jindal got his shift off at 7-Eleven that night to make the speech. Wait a minute. Wait a minute. Time out. Suspend speech for explanation. People watching at home. I'm glad this happened. Glad this happened. You think I just made a joke, an ethnic joke about Bobby Jindal, don't you? I didn't. I made a joke about the bigotry of the Vice President of the United States, Joe Biden. It was Joe Biden while walking through the train station he knows so well because he's such a real guy, that he made a comment that you can't go into a 7-Eleven without seeing some Indian guy behind the counter. They're all over the place.
Now, let a conservative say something like that and he's brought up before John Conyers' committee with Pat Leahy wanting at you next. Many people think I lose my place in these speeches because -- by the way what time is it? We have plenty of time. We have to be out of here by -- [Applause] We have to be out of here by 6:00 -- okay, depends on how you behave. I'll decide as we go on. What liberalism Democrat, for those of you in the country, I really want you to believe this because it's the truth. I'm not saying it just because I believe it. This is a core. I want the best country we can have. We want the most prosperous people. We want to be growing. We want to lead the world. We want everybody to come here legally. We want this country to be so damn great and we just cringe to watch it -- basically capitalism be assaulted and our culture be reoriented to where the people that make it work are the enemy. That's not the United States of America. The people that make this country work, the people who pay on their mortgages, the people getting up and going to work, striving in this recession to not participate in it, they're not the enemy.
They're the people that hire you. They're the people that are going to give you a job. They're the people that are going to give you a raise, the people that need you to do work for them. [Applause] President Obama, and take your pick of any Democrat, love to say we've tried it your way. Meaning Reaganism. We've tried it your way. We tried it your way in the '80s and it didn't work. We tried it your way eight years, the last eight years and it didn't work. Excuse me. Excuse me. Have you ever noticed those of you watching around the world in my first international address to the world, Fox is on some international satellites. They're watching this in the UK right now going (cringing). When Obama talks about past economies, he somehow always leaves out the recession of the '80s as worse than this one. Why does he leave it out? Because you know why he leaves it out, America? He leaves it out because we got out of that recession with tax cuts. [Applause] For those of you watching at home, I'm not nervous it's just really hot in here. These people are wired. We got out of the 1980s recession with tax cuts. Do you know that President Obama, in six weeks of his administration, has proposed more spending than from the founding of the country to his inauguration?
Now, this is not prosperity. It is not going to engender prosperity. It's not going to create prosperity and it's also not going to advance or promote freedom. It's going to be just the opposite. There are going to be more controls over what you can and can't do, how you can and can't do it, what you can and can't drive, what you can and can't say, where you can and can't say it. All of these things are coming down the pike, because it's not about revenue generation to them, it's about control. They do believe that they have compassion. They do believe they care. But, see, we never are allowed to look at the results of their plans, we are told we must only look at their good intentions, their big hearts. The fact that they have destroyed poor families by breaking up those families by offering welfare checks to women to keep having babies no more father needed, he's out doing something, the government's the father, they destroy the family. We're not supposed to analyze that. We're not supposed to talk about that. We're supposed to talk about their good intentions. They destroy people's futures. The future is not Big Government. Self-serving politicians. Powerful bureaucrats. This has been tried, tested throughout history. The result has always been disaster. President Obama, your agenda is not new. It's not change, and it's not hope. [Applause] Spending a nation into generational debt is not an act of compassion. All politicians, including President Obama, are temporary stewards of this nation. It is not their task to remake the founding of this country. It is not their task to tear it apart and rebuild it in their image.
(Crowd chanting "USA") It is not their task, it is not their right to remake this nation to accommodate their psychology. I sometimes wonder if liberalism is not just a psychosis or a psychology, not an ideology. It's so much about feelings, and the predominant feeling that liberalism is about is about feeling good about themselves and they do that by telling themselves they have all this compassion. You know, if you really want to unhinge a liberal it's hard to do because they're so unhinged now anyway, even after -- but all you have to do is say you know that the things you people do, the things you people believe in are cruel. That's the last way they look at themselves. They are the best people on the -- they're the good people. You tell them that their ideas and that their policies are cruel and the eggs start scrambling.
I have learned how to tweak liberals everywhere. I do it instinctively now. Tweak them in the media. And no reason to be afraid of these people. Why in the world would you be afraid of the deranged? There really is no reason to be afraid of them. And there's no reason to assume they're the minority. And there's no reason to let them set all the premises and all the agendas to which we respond to. I'm getting a little bit ahead of myself here but everybody asks me and I'm sure it's been a focal point of your convention: What do we do as conservatives? What do we do? How do we overcome this?
Well, the one thing, and there are many, but one thing that we can all do is stop assuming that the way to beat them is with better policy ideas right now. I don't want to name any names. It's not the point. But I talk to people about the Obama budget or the Obama Porkulous bill or whatever else TARP 2 whatever it's going to be, and they start talking to me in the terms of process and policy. I say stop it. What do you mean? Who is setting the process or policy? They are. You want to tweak it? No. This is philosophy, folks. This guy, I forgot -- the guy in the focus group after Bobby Jindal said, I didn't want to hear him talk, he said: Republicans and Democrats. Republicans and Democrats. Ladies and gentlemen of the United States of America, that's exactly what your future is about, who wins, Republicans or Democrats, conservatives versus liberals. The notion of partisanship, false premise. Let me define bipartisanship for you. Bipartisanship -- everybody seems to go orgasmic over the concept of bipartisanship. Don't worry, I checked with Fox, that word's okay. [Laughter] [Applause]
Remember, they covered the Lewinsky thing, so that's my -- bipartisanship occurs only after one other result, and that is victory. In other words, let's say as conservatives liberals demand that we be bipartisan with them in Congress. What they mean is: We check our core principles at the door, come in, let them run the show and agree with them. That's bipartisanship to them. To us, bipartisanship is them being forced to agree with us after we politically have cleaned their clocks and beaten them. And that has to be what we're focused on. [Applause] Why would any of us in this room who hold the core beliefs we believe, somebody tell me where is the compromise on all of this spending? Where is the compromise on all this punishment of the achievers. I don't know. [Laughter] [Applause] Where is the compromise between good and evil? Should Jesus have cut a different deal? Serious. From the standpoint of what we have to do, folks, this is not about taking a policy or a process that the Democrats have put forward and fighting around the edges. If we're going to convince the minds and hearts of the American people that what's about to happen to them is as disastrous as anything in their lives in peacetime, we're going to have to discuss philosophy with them. We are going to have to talk about principles, because our principles are not present in what's happening here. So where the hell do we go to compromise what we believe in when our principles are not their principles, they're just the opposite of what's happening? [Applause]
The American people -- it's a tough challenge. I admit -- I admit it's a tough challenge, but it's worth it. It's worth it. The way I just defined bipartisanship you could turn it around and liberals will define bipartisanship when we surrender and say okay we give. We're not quitting. We are not giving up. The country is too important. [Applause] There are certain realities. We don't have the votes in Capitol Hill to stop what's going to happen. What we can do is slow it down, procedure, parliamentary procedures, slow it down and do the best we can to inform the American people of what's really on the horizon. I know it's going to be tough. At some points, I don't think it can happen even right now. This is still the honeymoon period, and there's a lot of devotion to the Obama administration. It doesn't have anything to do with intellectual thinking, it's feelings. It's going to take some time for this to play out. But I spoke to David Keene, interviewing him for my newsletter. I asked him about this. He said they're going to overreach. Wouldn't you say they have? [Laughter].
They're going to overreach. At some point, at some point people have got to realize none of this is possible. You can't have people living in homes they don't pay for. You can't have people driving cars they don't pay for. I mean, you can for a while. But after a while the people paying for it -- screw this. We're not putting up with it. And you're going to see -- you're already starting to see evidence of these. All the tea parties that are starting to bubble up out there. Those are great. Fabulous. [Applause] And here's the big question. Here's the big question. And I ask this again in the context of my first address to the nation. [Laughter] You don't know how I love saying that, how excited I am about this. Aside from the bastardization of the Constitution that the Obama plans are, that TARP is, it's not constitutional. Aside from that, where is the evidence that the people offering all of this have ever succeeded in any similar plans before? There's none. There is no evidence it works. [Applause]
So you say how is he getting it done? Dumb down public education. Emotions. And the ongoing -- this is why I think it's such a waste for a man as gifted as President Obama with the communications skills, you know he could wipe out the Republican Party. He can wipe out the Republican Party if he would inspire this country to be the best it could be, but we don't have to worry about that because that's not what he wants. He wants people in fear, angst and crisis, fearing the worst each and every day because that clears the decks for President Obama and his pals to come in with the answers, which are abject failures, historically shown and demonstrated. Doesn't matter. They'll have control of it when it's all over. And that's what they want. Because they think they can do it better. They see these inequalities, these inequities that capitalism produces. How do they fix it? Do they try to elevate those at the bottom? No! They try to tear down the people at the bottom. It's not fair you're up there. So they whack us. That's not what made the country great.[Applause] And no evidence of it is in play here.
John Kerry [Boos], who served in Vietnam. [Laughter] Think about this, and, by the way, Barney Frank got involved with this, too. Northern Trust, a bank in Chicago -- by the way, which holds the mortgage to the Messiah's house, purchased by Tony Rezko, Northern Trust holds the mortgage. Northern Trust was forced, like Wells Fargo was forced, to take TARP money. The Wells Fargo CEO said they were taken into Paulson's room and they were given until 5:00 to sign it. They weren't getting out until they did. They wanted it spread all over the banking business. Northern Trust was in there. They didn't want it. They took $1.6 billion. As you know, they went out and they sponsored the LA Riveria Open two weeks ago that Phil Mickelson barely hung on and won. [Applause]
And we find out they hired some liberals to entertain, but it still wasn't good enough. They hired Sheryl Crow. And they hired the rock crooner group Chicago, but they had the audacity, Northern Trust did, to entertain their clients, to try to reward their best customers, to get new customers, banking is in trouble, Northern Trust is trying to do what they always do, what all businesses do, and that is mine for new clients and reward existing good customers. Not since they took $1.6 billion, I guess. The haughty John Kerry wrote a piece of legislation said: He's getting sick and tired, sick and tired of these CEOs using taxpayer money to throw all these lavish parties. And I'm saying where do you get yours, Senator? [Applause]
Sad thing, sad thing is it works. They've created class envy in so many average Americans that they love hearing that. Yeah, you get even with those bank guys. How is it going to improve here? Let me ask a question for those of you watching my first national address. Take the favorite villain you've got, maybe it's John Thain at Merrill Lynch, because he used his own money, his company's own money, his company's own money, to redecorate a bathroom in an office for $1.2 million. By the way, to do that he had to hire a contractor. They got paid. Had to hire a designer and buy furniture, that's called stimulus. And he did it.
But all of a sudden John Thain's thrown out. John Thain is thrown out. He's humiliated and embarrassed; how dare he? He did it a year before they took the TARP money. And all these Congressmen are standing up saying this is not going to happen. We are not going to watch these people capping executive pay while Obama tries to live like one. You know, he's trying to emulate the lifestyle he is attacking. That's what liberals do. Two sets of rules: One for them; one for everybody else. But it's coming. See, if you think that John Thain or the Northern Trust CEO, if you love them getting attacked, if you love them being ripped, ask yourself the next day, do you have any more money in your pocket? Is your life any better because that guy got taken out or down by some haughty senator from Massachusetts? If you ask yourself this, you'll realize your life is no better off. That the Democrats and Obama are asking you to feel better simply on the basis that they're going to get revenge for you, but your life isn't going to improve, somebody else's is just going to be destroyed and they want you to be happy over that. That's sick. And that is not the United States of America. [Applause] Besides, as far as John Kerry is concerned, if it wasn't for his varicose veins, he would be totally colorless. [Laughter]
Now let's talk about the conservative movement as it were. We, ladies and gentlemen, have challenges that are part and parcel of a movement that feels it has just suffered a humiliating defeat when it's not humiliating. This wasn't a landslide victory, 52 to, what, 46. Fifty-eight million people voted against Obama. There would have been more if we would have had a conservative nominee. [Applause] I don't mean that -- I mean that in an instructive way, as a lead-in to what I'm talking about here. No humiliating defeat here. I can't -- sometimes I get livid and angry. We do have an organizational problem. We have a challenge. We've got factions now within our own movement seeking power to dominate it, and worst of all to redefine it. Well, the Constitution doesn't need to be redefined. Conservative intellectuals, the Declaration of Independence does not need to be redefined and neither does conservatism. Conservatism is what it is and it is forever. It's not something you can bend and shape and flake and form. [Applause] Thank you. Thank you.
For the purposes of this occasion, I'm not going to mention any names, I bet with you I won't have to. People watching my first address to the nation might be curious what I'm talking about. They'll find out in due course, trust me on this. I cringed -- it might have been 2007, late 2007 or sometime during 2008, but a couple of prominent conservative but Beltway establishment media types began to write on the concept that the era of Reagan is over. [Crowd Booing]
And that we needed to adapt our appeal, because, after all, what's important in politics is winning elections. And so we have to understand that the American people, they want Big Government. We just have to find a way to tell them we're no longer opposed to that. We will come up with our own version of it that is wiser and smarter, but we've got to go get the Walmart voter, and we've got to get the Hispanic voter, and we've got to get the recalcitrant independent women. And I'm listening to this and I am just apoplectic: The era of Reagan is over? When the hell do you hear a Democrat say the era of FDR is over? You never hear it. Not only that, the President of the United States today thinks he's FDR, thinks he's Abraham Lincoln, and sometimes, Tuesday night, thinks he's Ronald Reagan. Our own movement has members trying to throw Reagan out while the Democrats know they can't accomplish what they want unless they appeal to Reagan voters. We have got to stamp this out within this movement, because it will tear us apart. It will guarantee we lose elections. [Applause]
We have to. You see, to me it's a no-brainer. It's not even something to me: How do you get rid of Reagan from conservatism? The blueprint -- the blueprint for landslide conservative victory is right there. Why in the hell do the smartest people in our room want to chuck it? I know why. I know exactly why. It's because they're embarrassed of some of the people who call themselves conservatives. These people in New York and Washington, cocktail elitists, they get made fun of when the next NASCAR race is on TV and their cocktail buds come up to them, those people are in your party? How do you put up with this? It would be easy to throw them overboard, so as to maintain these cocktail party/Beltway/New York City/inside-the-Beltway media relationships. But I tell you: This notion that Reaganism is dead, conservatism needs to be refined, let's take a look at this. We've got to go get the Walmart voter. I opened my remarks tonight by telling the people watching on Fox who we conservatives are. When I look out at you in this audience, I don't see a Walmart voter. And I don't see a black, and I don't see a woman, and I don't see a Hispanic. I see human beings who happen to be fortunate enough to be the luckiest people on Earth since you are Americans. [Applause]
Conservatism -- for us to make the decision that we've got to figure out policies, to get the Walmart voter -- psst, we've got most of them already, is the bottom line. Conservatism is a universal set of core principles. You don't check principles at the door. This is a battle that we're going to have. And there are egos involved here, too. When the situation like ours exists, there are people who want to lead it. They want to redefine it. Their egos are such that they want to be the next X, whoever it is. So there will be different factions lining up to try to define what conservatism is. And beware of those different factions who seek as part of their attempt to redefine conservatism, as making sure the liberals like us, making sure that the media likes us. They never will, as long as we remain conservatives. They can't possibly like us; they're our enemy. In a political arena of ideas, they're our enemy. They think we need to be defeated. Why do you think -- you all in this room know this. For those of you watching at home, my first address to the nation -- [Laughter] -- I'm sure you paid close enough attention, that you knew at one time Senator McCain was the favorite Republican of all the cable news networks and the Sunday shows. And they would just -- I mean their tongues would be on the floor. The media people (panting) when they knew McCain was coming. And they would treat McCain as the greatest guy in the world. Did you wonder why? You were told he was moderate. He was not strict. He was not an authoritarian, he was able to walk to the other side of the aisle, able to get along with the enemy. And everybody wants love and bipartisanship.
That's not why they invited Senator McCain. They invited Senator McCain because he happened to be the loudest at criticizing his own president and his own party and that's what they want, is people from our side -- and there will be factions in our movement, folks, who are going to make an effort to say we have to grow, we can't stay stale, I think I heard the term used the other day. Nothing stale about freedom. There's nothing stale about liberty. There's nothing stale about fighting for it. Nothing stale whatsoever. [Applause] Freedom. Are you getting tired of standing up, I don't blame you. By the way for those watching on TV you think the standing -- people are just tired. They've been up and out of their chairs 100 times here. [Applause] Thank you. Freedom -- freedom is the natural yearning of the human spirit as we were endowed by our creator. And the United States of America is the place in the world where that yearning flourishes, where freedom is expected because it's part of the way we're created. I loved it when the Soviet Union went down and the wall went down and the liberals in our country said you know they may not be ready for freedom over there. They've been oppressed -- yes, liberals will gladly tell you who can have freedom and who can't. And that's what the pieces of legislation are all about, folks, freedom, liberty, economic prosperity, they're all entwined here. We'll have to as a conservative movement understand that our job, after we come to an agreement among ourselves, which shouldn't be hard but it's going to be difficult because the people that think they're smarter than everybody else are going to be out there forging alliances with people that try to make themselves look like new power brokers, and they will become the spokesmen, by the way.
By the way, explain that to you. This is a funny story. Show you how I can hijack a news cycle even by doing anything. The Tuesday before the inauguration, President Bush invited me to the Oval Office for lunch. And it was on and off the record, some of the conversations. And he brought out, interesting, at the end of it -- my birthday had been the day before. He brought out a chocolate birthday cake, a microphone, and stood beside me with Ed Gillespie and sang happy birthday. Photographers taking pictures. I wish my parents were alive. My parents wouldn't believe my life. They came out of the Great Depression. They didn't think it was possible for somebody who did not go to college -- and even for people who did -- they didn't think this was possible. Life has changed so much for the better in this country. That's why I cringe when I see what is in store.
So as I'm flying home from lunch, I'm watching television and I see that the word has leaked out that Obama is hosting a dinner with conservative media pundits at the home of George Will. I said: I wonder who these people are? [Laughter] In the media, one of them is going to have to leak it. Sure as heck, one did. Now, we all know who were there. And let's see -- I can't remember all the names, so I won't mention any. But let me tell you Obama's purpose. Does anybody really think that Barack Obama had dinner with a bunch of conservatives hoping they would change his mind?
RUSH: Hell, no. His purpose -- and his purpose really wasn't to change theirs -- his purpose was to anoint them as conservative spokesmen. These are the people that Obama's willing to break bread with. These happen -- some of the people there happen to be the people who think the era of Reagan is over, who believe that conservatism needs to be redefined. Of course Obama would try to lure them in. Well, all of a sudden I land. I get home about 5:00, and my e-mail is jammed with questions from reporters, are you, is that why you took the day off today? Is that why you're not on the air? Are you going to dinner with Obama? By the way, I left out a crucial part of the story. Was this a Monday, Kit? It was a Tuesday. I had forgotten to tell my audience that I was going to miss the next day. I signed off the show saying I'll see you tomorrow. That's the last thing I said. The staff reminded me you're not going to be here tomorrow. I came up with a plan, that the guest host the next day would say that I was called out of town to Washington at midnight the night before. Just an innocent little trick on the radio audience. Everybody picked that up and thinks I'm invited to the Obama dinner. So those people that were invited to it got less coverage than I did and I didn't even know about it. [Laughter] It was fun. [Applause] Conservatives are naturally happy. We seek happiness. We pursue it. It's part of who we are. So what can you do? Live your life. I swear, folks, you do not know in just the everyday life that you live in your homes, your neighborhoods, the favorite word of this administration, your "communities." Remember the root word there is "commune." [Applause] Be happy, live your life according to your values and principles. Know you're going to fail, no human being is perfect, you're going to make mistakes, but live your life -- you'll be stunned at how many people you impress. Don't be afraid to tell children that they're wrong. They don't know what you do. They simply haven't lived long enough. It's not their fault, but they're being fed a bunch of garbage in school and don't be afraid to tell them that they're wrong.
Don't go the Oprah route and say gotta be friends with my parents, my kids, first and foremost. Understand they're going to hate you for a while and they're going to rebel against you and someday they're going to think you're the smartest person they ever met. But you owe them the truth. You owe them the truth about things. You owe them the truth about morality. You owe them the truth about values. [Applause] You owe them the truth about politics. Next thing, we've got to stop treating voters as children. [Applause] Somebody says they want something that's bad for them, do you give it to them just to be nice? Or do you tell them, regardless of their age, no, you shouldn't have that? Well, it's none of your business. Maybe not. And then you back out of it. But you still have to have the ability to tell people what's right and wrong. And that's not authoritative. That's not authoritarian. And it's not trying to deny somebody a good time. It's not trying to interrupt somebody's hedonism, pleasure, it's about all of us with shared values trying to make sure that people live the highest quality lives they can. Ultimately, it's their decision as to what they do. But the point is, don't treat them -- especially voters -- as kids just -- they say they want it okay we'll come up with a plan to give it to you.
Have any of you seen the movie -- I'd never heard of it, but I happened to get a DVD the other day. Anybody see the movie Swing Vote with Kevin Costner? You know, it's kind of a moronic movie like most things out of Hollywood are. But this is fascinating in the way -- tell you a short story, because a voter screwup in New Mexico there's one voter who is going to elect the president. His vote didn't count because his daughter voted for him. I won't give the whole story away. But New Mexico's electoral votes, New Mexico's electoral votes determined it. And they have a two-week period before this guy can vote again. So the challenger and the president both relocate to where this guy lives in New Mexico and they end up like the Democrat played by Dennis Hopper stands for antiabortion. The Democrat candidate comes out with a commercial for life. The Republican candidate comes out, because this guy is an idiot and doesn't know what he believes, and every utterance that he makes these politicians react to it throwing their principles on the floor, just to get his vote. Sadly, this is what some of the conservative intellectuals in our movement want to do, essentially. And that we cannot do. We've got to stand for what we believe and treat people as adults and understand they can learn. [Applause] Go optimism.
Joe Biden, ladies and gentlemen, was watching CBS -- when did you start here? Thursday. You might have seen this. The days run together. It might have been Wednesday, but Biden was on the CBS Early Show. And he was asked -- the anchorette -- sorry. I'm trying to change my ways. I've been doing women summit programs so not to offend women. The anchor, Maggie Rodriguez, went out and got some man-on-the-street questions. And one guy, woman, I think question for Biden. What is in the stimulus package for small business? Biden was clearly stumped because there isn't anything in the stimulus package for small business. So what Biden said, honest to God, what Biden said was: Well, if there's a bridge to your small business, we're going to make sure that bridge stays open so that you can get to your small business and your customers -- honest. I kid you not. Now, of course, the media today is a bunch of hacks, they're out there as PR agents; they're starting to get a little embarrassed. Maggie Rodriguez says, Senator Biden, there's a website that answers all these questions. What is the name of the website and Biden says I don't know. He looks off stage. "Does somebody have the website number?" [Applause] I realize those of you watching at home during my first address to the nation, you have never heard liberal Democrats be made fun of in this way. Get used to it. [Applause]
Two other things and we'll get out of here contractually over time. The president's stimulus package, the TARP, the whatever, the budget, relies on one thing for its success. Well, aside from authoritarian government power. It relies on the complacency of the American people. It relies on their belief that they can convince the American people that there's such a crisis that only government, the only entity that can fix it is government, as Obama has said. So they get complacent and they sit around and they wait. See, this is something liberals will never understand about the United States of America and it's right under their noses, right in front of their faces, we are a competitive people. We strive, enough of us do, to be the best. We strive to win. We strive to avoid defeat. Enough of us still do. Don't believe otherwise. The liberals have made efforts to shut that aspect of our nature down. Wherever you live, I am certain that you, when you were a child or your kids today in youth sports are told not to keep score, because the losers, it's just not fair. They'd be humiliated, especially if one girl's basketball team can defeat another one 100 to nothing. And let's fire the coach who put that game together. It's so unfair. So let's not keep score. Well, here's the dirty little secret. The kids are keeping score. [Applause] You know they are. They don't want to lose. They know what winning and losing is. They're saying, well, why go out there and put on the pads and play football or T-Ball if the objective here is to not keep score. So they're keeping score. They get in the car with mom and dad and they tell mom and dad: Yeah, we kicked their butts tonight. Wait a minute, I thought you weren't keeping score. They weren't officially. They keep score. We're competitive people. Adults are doing the same thing. It didn't take long for people to get fired up when they figured out that they're going to be paying mortgages for people who should never have been lent money in the first place for the bogus excuse of maintaining property values in the neighborhood. This is something that -- the complacency of the American people is something they're going to rely on along with their authoritarian efforts to control it. But they will not succeed at this. Because we're not quitters. We don't acquiesce. We're not going to give up the American dream and watch idly while it is restructured and transformed.
As I say, we want the best: Happiness for everybody. Now, about my still-to-me mysteriously controversial comment that I hope President Obama fails. I was watching the Super Bowl. And as you know, I love the Pittsburgh Steelers. [Cheers and Applause] So they have this miraculous scoring drive that puts them up by four, 15 seconds left. Kurt Warner on the field for the Cardinals. And I sure as heck want you to know I hope he failed. I did not want the Cardinals to win. I wanted Warner to make the biggest fool of himself possible. I wanted a sack, I wanted anything. I wanted the Steelers to win. I wanted to win. I wanted the Cardinals to fail.
This notion that I want the President to fail, folks, this shows you a sign of the problem we've got. That's nothing more than common sense and to not be able to say it, why in the world do I want what we just described, rampant government growth indebtedness, wealth that's not even being created yet that is being spent, what is in this? What possibly is in this that anybody of us wants to succeed? Did the Democrats want the war on Iraq to fail!
RUSH: They certainly did. They not only wanted the war in Iraq to fail, they proclaimed it a failure. There's Dingy Harry Reid waiving a white flag: [doing Harry Reid impression] "This war is lost. This war is" -- [Cheers and Applause] They called General Petraeus a liar before he even testified. Mrs. Clinton -- [Crowd Booing] -- said she had to, willingly suspend disbelief in order to listen to Petraeus. We're in the process of winning the war. The last thing they wanted was to win. They hoped George Bush failed. So what is so strange about being honest to say that I want Barack Obama to fail if his mission is to restructure and reform this country so that capitalism and individual liberty are not its foundation? Why would I want that to succeed? [Applause]
Let me add a caveat here. My friends, I know what's going on. I know what's going on. We're in the aspects here of an historic presidency. I know that. But let me be honest again. I got over the historical aspects of this in November. President Obama is our president. President Obama stands for certain things. I don't care, he could be a Martian. He could be from Michigan, I don't know -- just kidding. Doesn't matter to me what his race is. It doesn't matter. He's liberal is what matters to me. And his articulated -- his articulated plans scare me. Now, I understand we can't say we want the President to fail, Mr. Limbaugh. That's like saying -- this is the voice of the New Castrati, by the way, guys who have lost their guts. You can't say Mr. Limbaugh that you want the President to fail because that's like saying you want the country to fail. It's the opposite. I want the country to survive. I want the country to succeed. [Cheers and Applause] [Crowd Chanting "USA" ]
I want the country to survive as we have known it, as you and I were raised in it, is what I mean. Now, I have been called -- and I can take it. Pioneers take the arrows, I don't mind what anybody says about me, any time ever. I don't have time for it. I don't give other people the power to offend me. And you shouldn't either, by the wasted time being offended.[Applause]
I mean, there's some people you can't say you want the President to fail. Ladies and gentlemen of the United States, the Democrat Party has actively not just sought the failure of Republican presidents and policies and now wars for the first time, the Democrat Party doesn't stop at failure. Talk to Judge Robert Bork or Justice Clarence Thomas about how they tried to destroy lives, reputations and character, and I'm supposed to say I don't want the President to fail? [Applause] We're in for a real battle. We are talking about the United States of America -- and there will always be an America, don't misunderstand me -- we're talking about it remaining the country we were all born into and reared and grown into. And it's under assault. It's always under assault. But it's never been under assault like this from within before. And it's a serious, serious battle.
So as you leave here, as you leave here optimism, confidence, not guilt, it's not worth it. There's nothing to be guilty about. Don't treat people as children. Respect their intelligence. Realize that there's a way to persuade people. Sometimes the worst way is to get in their face and point a finger. Set up a set of circumstances where the conclusion is obvious. Let them think they came up with the idea themselves. They'll think they're smart that they figured it out. Who cares how you persuade them, the fact they can be persuaded is factually correct, it's possible. But the main thing to do here is stop thinking that we are a minority. Stop thinking that it is being in the minority that liberates you. It is your beliefs. It is your core principles, it is your confidence that liberates you. It's not being in the minority.
In fact, for those of you watching my first national address and still hanging in there, we really are not that happy about being a minority and we're out to change it. [Applause] So I have -- I've gone over my allotted time by an hour. [Applause]
I want to thank all of you so much for everything that you have meant to me and my family in my life.
CROWD: Thank you.
RUSH: I understand it's mutual. And I hear people -- you have made my heart grow so much that it barely fits in my chest cavity here tonight. But the things that by virtue of your listening to my radio show and being active in this movement that we all cherish and love, you have meant more to me, my family and my life than whatever it is I might mean to you, even though I know that's considerable. [Applause] You still can't outdo the absolute joy and awe and thanks I feel for all of you. I've been doing this for 20 years and the numbers just keep growing. And I can't tell you how appreciative I am and proud to be in a movement with the same passions, desires and core beliefs that all of you have, because we know that it's right for the country, and we know it's right for people. It's not something that has to be forced on them. It's not something that has to be authoritatively pressed on them. We are what is, and that's why we are an enemy because we're effective. The people that do want control look at us as the enemy. We're always going to be -- don't ever measure your success by how many Drive-By Media reports you see that are fair to us. Never going to happen. Don't measure your success by how many people like you. Just worry about how they vote. And then at the end of the day how they live, but that's really none of your business once they close the doors. Thank you all very much. It's been great. END TRANSCRIPT
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