Skip to comments.Rush Limbaugh's Speech to the Heritage Foundation
Posted on 11/09/2004 5:12:12 PM PST by wagglebee
Thank you all so much. I can't tell you how much this means, to be back at the Heritage Foundation and to be in this beautiful building named for Ronald Reagan, and at this time. It's just such a thrill, and I thank you so much for that warm greeting. I don't think I need to say anything after that introduction. You pretty much said it all. It was so wonderful. I'm going to tell you a little bit about what I told my radio audience yesterday. Mr. Fullner called me. He's "Mr. Fullner" to me. Somebody who's done what he's done is a "mister" to me. I mean, between us he's Ed, but he's done so much, he's Mr. Fullner. (Applause) I'm not sure exactly when it was but it has to be months ago, I'm thinking three to four months ago, we got a call from Mr. Fullner at the office saying, "Hey, we'd love you to come back on the Monday after the election and tell us what happened, give us your analysis of the results," and I'm thinking, "Well...(laughing) Who knows what's going to happen? Do I want to come to an august group of people and start explaining why we lost? (Laughter) How will I know why we lost?"
I didn't think we would lose, folks, which is why I decided to agree to this four to five months ago, and this is what I want to talk about. (wild applause, whistles, cheers) By the way, I love applause but I want you to know I asked Ed for three hours here that I could easily fill but he gave me 25 minutes (Laughter) and I know I can see some of you are getting hungry out there so I want to race through some things here, because I think this is crucially important. I think one of the things that's happening right now is we are still -- well, it's not "we are still." What's happened, the left is still, our friends the liberals are still trying to define the results of elections within the context of why they lost, and everybody is running around: "Why did we lose! Why did we lose!" They didn't lose; we won! We kicked their butts, folks! We won! (wild applause) So don't start asking us, "Why did they lose?" I am the to talk to you don't about why we won. We all know why they lost.
It's real simple. They're liberals! (Woo! Applause) It's no more complicated that that. I will get a little bit more detailed, but still, we won because we had a president who was unequivocally conservative in this campaign -- and it's about time. There was no question. He was decisive. He was forthright. He was honest. He was decent. It was no match for what the left put up, and I -- please indulge me. If some of you heard my radio program today, I'm going to be a little bit repetitive, but this has been a tough year for all of us, because during this year our party, our movement, our core beliefs have been under assault. They have been under assault from every quarter. They've been under assault from old Europe -- or new Europe, rather. They've been under assault from documentary makers here in America, under assault from Dan Rather, Peter Jennings, NBC, ABC, CBS. I call them "ABS, NBS, SeeBS, CNNBS." (Laughter).
Seriously, ladies and gentlemen, this is crucially important, and during this year, I've had people call my program thinking, "It's all lost, Rush. We can't compete with this. The mainstream media is ripping Bush every day and Bush isn't responding and nobody is responding except you and other people we hear on radio and TV. Oh, woe is us! What are we gonna do? How do we compete with this? Why doesn't Bush fight back?" and throughout all of this year -- and I don't say this for any reason other than honesty, and it can be checked with my radio transcripts if anybody chose -- throughout this whole year, I have felt extremely confident and optimistic that the result we all enjoyed last Tuesday night and Wednesday was going to be the case, and I'll tell you why. I learned a lot from Ronald Reagan. Ronald Reagan. I love Ronald Reagan. He was one of the greatest inspirations to me. (cheers, applause)
I never met him, but Ronald Reagan, among many other things, never wavered in his belief in the decency and the goodness of the people of this country, and I have seen evidence of this throughout my whole life. I have studied it. I have watched it. Yes, there have been hills and valleys, but what we have come to learn is that the decency and the goodness of the American people has triumphed again. Let's take a look at what happened this year. We had all of these caustic attacks. We had a campaign that was based on the Democrat side of nothing but seething rage and hatred. That's all it was. I maintain to you that if John Kerry and John Edwards had decided on Monday for some reason to chuck it and not go on the ballot, they would have gotten the same number of votes that they got being on the ballot (Laughter) because this was not about Kerry. He didn't inspire anybody. John Kerry is a charismatic dud. He didn't inspire one person. This whole campaign, the Democratic Party was so filled with seething rage and hatred.
You've heard it said, "Anybody but Bush" or what have you, and I told the members of my audience throughout these past nine to ten months, I said, "Folks, you don't build movements on hate, not movements that last. You do not build a foundation of inspirational leadership on seething rage. Just calm down. The American people can see what's happening, and it will not be rewarded." Fahrenheit 911; forged documents at CBS, not only were those things -- and the list goes on, as you well know -- not only were those things not rewarded, they were risen up against. Make no mistake about it, ladies and gentlemen: The people of this country had had enough. (Applause) Now, why is this important? Because we have, we all share a set of core beliefs. They define who we are. They have been under assault. We have been worried, some people have been worried that those values were forever weakened because of an assault from the left that we simply couldn't compete with.
People would call me and ask me about this and I would say to them, "What do you think, I'm not here? I'm not negative about this at all. I know what's happened in my life, simply expressing these core beliefs. I know what's happened to the entire conservative media. It has arisen. There is a new day in America. There is no more media monopoly. They're not getting away with this," but people were still negative. Now, here's the thing that I take away among many things from these election results, and to me this is one of the most important and most positive. It is that we can continue to have faith not only in the American people and trust them. We can have faith that our values and our core principles are solid -- and as we know, they endure. The things that we are teaching our children today, the things we were taught growing up, have not changed throughout time: Honesty, decency, character, trying to do the right thing, educating yourself -- all of these things -- depending on one's self, lending a helping hand when it's needed.
All of these things were validated, and the campaign, if I may be so bold, the campaign did nothing but articulate them. The campaign didn't go out and say, "We're going to go out and fight this with X." The president was just who he is. The president was a man of decency. The president was a man of character, and is. He was a man of decisiveness. He did not waver. He had confidence in the American people. So for any people, anybody, any of you that might be concerned -- and there is no doubt there's an attack on our pop culture and our culture in general. There is an assault and there always will be and there always has been, but we can take away from these results among many other things the fact that these ideas on the strength of their very existence triumphed, ladies and gentlemen. They didn't have to be bamboozled. They didn't have to be tricked up. They didn't have to be pounded. They didn't have to be promoted. They didn't have to be spun. They spoke for themselves.
Now, I know that the election featured a lot of votes for people who don't believe in this, but that doesn't matter. We triumphed, and it's something to build on -- and more importantly, it's something about which to remain confident. These things are always going to happen, but the way of fighting these things now is totally different. I can remember in 1988 when I started. In 1988 it was ABC, NBC, NBC, the New York Times, Washington Post, blah, blah, blah, and CNN, and that was it. Back then they had their monopoly, and one of the things that's happened to the left is that during this period of time of their media monopoly and their power monopoly. The Democrats lost the House for the first time in 40 years in 1994, and they haven't gotten it back (Applause) and they're not gonna get it back as they exist today. (Continued Applause) They don't have a prayer of getting it back as they exist today. In the ensuing 16 years, and it's actually been going on...
I heard Harold Ickes today he was on C-SPAN, the Washington Journal today he actually claimed that I was part of a big conspiracy by the right to organize a media entity to oppose them that goes back to Goldwater in 1964. I was thirteen (Laughter) and my father was upset because I quit the Boy Scouts. (Laughter) The things that they come up to spin themselves, to tell themselves is further evidence of their continuing spiral. But for so many years, they had a monopoly in the media, and for so many years they had a monopoly of power in Washington. Yeah, we had some Republican presidents come and go, but they controlled the House of Representatives, and that's where power rested, and the media loved them, and the media went and talked to them, took them to dinner. It was an old-folks club, and they didn't like interlopers. But one thing that was crucially important to note about that period, during that period of their monopoly -- and I'll just call it 40 years for the sake of simplified discussion -- they were never challenged.
The media never challenged their friends on the left. The media never challenged elected Democrats to explain their ideas. "What do you mean, this is going to work or that's going to work?" They just promoted them, and over those 40 years in the course of that monopoly, an ill-fated sense of confidence and arrogance and eventually condescension settled over the left. They could do no wrong. Nobody would ever challenge them. They were born to power. They became a bunch of condescending elitists looking down on everyone else who was not them. They devised policies to make sure no one else could become them. They came up with two sets of rules for the country: One set of rules for them to live by, another set of rules for all of us to live by. They got away with this until... But all the while this was happening, this was not happening in a vacuum. All the while it was happening, there were people -- and the Heritage Foundation leads the list in this group of people -- who were preparing to fight them and training others to fight them.
I wouldn't be what I am today were it not for people like these at the Heritage Foundation, the people we have never met, working in the basements, writing the papers (Applause) that people like me can read and learn from and this is all going on during this period of time. Bill Buckley at National Review -- I mean, the list is long -- Ronald Reagan, Goldwater clearly was a factor. All this was going on but the left was so arrogant (sniffing) and snooty that they had no idea it was going on, and when they did realize it was going on, they laughed at it and joked at it and they just considered us a bunch of jokes. All the while, we were being challenged on what we believed. The people who disagreed with us made fun of us and laughed at us and impugned, and we had to come up with ways of explaining what we believed, and in the arena of ideas, after years and years and years of being challenged and being told we don't understand, "What are you talking about?" we developed ways to become persuasive.
We learned to persuade people in the arena of ideas via their minds and their hearts. We didn't get in their face and wag a finger and say, "You're wrong." We didn't get in their face, wag a finger, and say, "You're stupid! You're dumb! You don't know what you're talking about! Shut up!" That's what the left has always done. We were building a very slow movement that was underneath the radar. Nobody saw it, and in the process we learned to be able to explain persuasively to anybody what we believe. We were able to convince them we were right. We were able to convince them to give us a chance. The left throughout their period of monopoly never had to do this because it was given them. Their media buddies never challenged them. They didn't accept our challenge and take it seriously. As a result, they cannot today compete with us in the arena of ideas, which is why they can only have a campaign based on hate. (Applause) They can only say things like, "Bush = Hitler!" They can only say things like, "Saddam: Not as bad as Bush," and I could go through the list.
You know all these things because they've angered you and they have frustrated you. It has been my contention all along that that's not how you build a movement. That is not how you build a how do you feel leadership movement. You will not go to the library, just as you will not find a book there that says "Great Moderates in American History" (laughter) -- You like that, Ed? -- you will not go to the library and find a book titled "Great Haters in American History," because haters are not great. Haters are embittered. They are dangerous. They are angry. They spit with rage, and that is what the Democratic Party has become, ladies and gentlemen. As I listen to them talk about explaining their loss, they're getting even worse, as predicted. They are not going to blame themselves. David Brooks in the New York Times had a great point in his Saturday column...finally. (Laughter) Something happens to our guys when at the come in contact with New York Times people. You know, I don't know what it is, but he had a great point on Saturday.
He said, "The left..." and this is why we can't let these people spin the election because it's not about why "they lost." It's about why "we won." They say, Brooks said (summarizing), "If you notice, the left has to always spin their losses in such a way that they remain morally superior, and so they zero in on this exit poll question -- and who can trust these things anyway? -- that said most people, at least one-fifth of people voted on values, and that, then, became, 'Ah-ha! Gay marriage! A-ha!" and then they began to say, "See, we lost on gay marriage and we want to lose on gay marriage because those people on the right on racist, sexist, bigot, homophobes, a bunch of hayseed, pickup-truck-driving, gun-rack-in-the back-of the-truck hicks, (Laughter) but we are sophisticated liberals. We are enlightened and we are accepting of aaaaaall alternative lifestyles and behaviors," and so they've spun this in their perverted minds as though they've won, when they've lost! (Laughter) But that's how they do it. That's why (Applause). Folks, it's ridiculous to debate them on this. Don't waste your breath. Don't waste your time debating them on gay marriage or any of these other value things because it wasn't about gay marriage and it wasn't about values solely.
It was about the fact that every time -- and I so believe this; Ronald Reagan proved it and it's been proven ever since any time somebody's tried it, particularly in presidential elections -- the candidate in the campaign that offer the people of this country a clear, conservative agenda are gonna win every time it is tried (Applause) and that is what happened. (Applause) Now... (Applause, cheers) Seven minutes to go, maybe eight. (Laughter) Maybe Ed will give me five additional minutes if I'm good. (Cheers and Applause) I'm sorry, "Mr. Fullner." I also told Mr. Fullner before tonight, I said, "Don't worry, you won't need to worry about (FCC Chairman) Michael Powell censoring my remarks." (Laughter) I have a friend -- we all have liberal friends, let's be honest. Some of us don't admit it. Some of us are proud to admit it. Some of us can't help it. Some. There are liberal members of our families, despite our best efforts, and I have this liberal friend that's just distraught over this election, bought hook, line and sinker the notion it was all about gay marriage, and this friend of mine said, "It's just a shame to wake up and realize the country I live in is opposed by so many people that hate," and I said, "Hate? Where's the hate?"
"Well, look at Bush." I said, "Look at Bush? Tell me... Give me one syllable of hate from George W. Bush. The hate has come from CBS. The hate has come from Terry McAuliffe. The hate has come from Michael Moore. (Applause) That's where the hate is." I said, "Let me tell you about gay marriage. Let me tell you about any of these things. If gay marriage, if you want to say," I said to my friend, "If you want to think that that's the reason for this election, go ahead, but I'm going to tell you: Let's just play a hypothetical game. Let's assume it's true. I'll tell you why. There's a way things happen in this country, and you've lost your ability to do it. The way things happen, it's called 'democracy.' We have elected officials that debate laws based on the wishes of the people who send them. We don't all get what we want at all the times and it's not that way in life ever. We win some. We lose some. But the last thing that happens in this country is a judge and a mayor telling people. In the case of Massachusetts, a Supreme Court tells a legislature they've got X-number of days to pass a law legalizing gay marriage.
"Sorry, doesn't work that way. People are right to stand up and oppose that because it's want because of what it is, it is undemocratic, ladies and gentlemen. (cheers and applause) It could have been any issue. It could have been any issue at all. The fact it was gay marriage is incidental to it. You have a mayor in San Francisco who looks at the law and goes (raspberry) and starts marrying people. What do you expect people in this country to do? It's not going to be rewarded. This is not how things happen," and I said to her, "This is exactly why you're gonna really pay for it when you lose the Supreme Court, because if the truth be known the vast majority of liberalism has not and cannot find its way into the fabric of our society legislatively. It would never get the votes. It requires activist judges like Ms. Marshall in Boston and activist mayors like Gavin Newsom in San Francisco to force this on people, and people are going to rise up every time you try this -- especially when it is an assault on what the values that people of this country hold dear. (Applause) This is going to happen each and every time. Take the issue away, that behavior is not going to win."
I said, "Why did you even support that?" "Well, because it's the right thing to do." I said, "Says who? You say it's the right thing to do. I say it's the wrong thing to do. What gives you the right to say that your right is righter than my right, and you have the right to go ahead and impose this on people? You're always accusing me," I said, "of 'imposing my values on people.' I don't impose things on anybody. I get in front of them and I start persuading and when I'm through they've got no choice but than to agree. (Laughter, Applause) But I don't impose. What the Supreme Court in Massachusetts did is an imposition. What Gavin Newsome did in San Francisco is an imposition. That's imposing when you know you can't win it. That's what you do." That's why judges are crucial, and even the San Francisco case, the California Supreme Court decided, ladies and gentlemen, that that was too much, but we can't count on that all the time, which is why it's important to continue to win elections.
This is an important event in American history because this -- you heard people say, "This is the most important election in American history." It may well be. That's for others to decide, but the fact is, more people voted for a president in this election than ever have, and there's a reason for this. There are countless reasons for it, and most of them are positive, and most of them are uplifting. I'd say virtually all of them are, and it's important to remember this: Hate versus love. It's much easier to inspire people with optimism, much easier. Human nature is such that it's so easy to be negative. Everybody falls prey to this. Something in the future that you don't know is going to happen, most people say, "I know it's going to go wrong. I know we're gonna lose this election. I can just feel it." Why do you think that? Well, you can't possibly know what the future holds. "Well, I do. I just..." This tendency to look at things negatively, we all have it -- which is why a bunch of people have become multi-gazillionaires writing books on how to think positively (Laughter) because it's hard to do. You have to goose people to do it (Laughter), and I have spent the whole year -- and listen, I'm not trying to pat myself on the back, and I can't reach back there anyway to do it. (Laughter)
You know, people on the left are just trying to understand my success, and for 16 years I've heard the same litany: I'm a fad, that I'm an angry white male, and my audience is mind-numbed robots. They're just sitting out there waiting for marching orders from me every day. The truth of the matter is -- and this is what gives me so much pride, happiness and a sense of exhilaration -- the truth is that I came along, as have all of us in these so-called new or conservative media, and we have validated what people already thought and already believed but never heard expressed in the mainstream press, and so they gravitated to us because they were happy finally to hear what they believed being said. (Applause) So... Don't misunderstand. There has been some persuasion. I know that we've taken some people on the left and straightened them out, too, but I mean the vast majority of this, there's always been a large conservative majority. You know, people live their lives as conservatives, but damned if they go vote for liberals every election, all those years. It's crazy.
But if we can get to these people as we do with positive optimism and inspiration, it's amazing how it works. I tell people that accuse you all in my audience of being mind-numbed robots, "You're missing the point. You ever bothered to listen to my show?" (Liberal impression: ) "Well, no but I've read all about it, Page 6." Well, you ought to listen, because when you do you'll hear nothing but upbeat optimism. You will hear inspiration. You will hear people being encouraged to be the best they can be, to use the talents that they have, to don't let somebody tell 'em that they can't do it if they want to do it, to remember that 80% of success is the desire to get it done, all other things being equal. These are the kind of things I say on my radio program, and people gravitate to it because it's a fundamental human value. Optimism. Can-do. The president took a lot of grief in the campaign because he said -- and I firmly believe this -- because he said that "liberty and freedom are gifts from God." I've said that, too. The way I say it is that "liberty and freedom are the natural yearning of the human spirit." They are not just gifts from God.
Another way of saying it: They are part of our creation. It takes human beings to suppress that. It also requires, on occasion, human beings to promote that and liberate it, and that's why there are leaders and that's why there are followers. But I'm telling you, you are going to do a lot better if you want to lead people with love and respect and optimism and uplifting inspiration than you will doing it the way the Democrats have been reduced to. I was stunned throughout this four years, during the stock market crash, whatever it was, I guess the tech bubble burst, they said. It was Gephardt or somebody that was running around smiling. "Oh, yeah! For every hundred points down in the stock market, we're gonna pick up a seat in the House," and a light went on in my head. I said, "Well, these people are hoping for bad economic news!" and it kept getting worse, and finally I realized that what they had done, they had set themselves up politically -- think of the sense in this -- they had set themselves up politically to benefit when the country engages in bad news. Bad news was good for the Democrats. Good news for America was bad news for them. Who wants to occupy that position? I don't. I don't want anything to do with that. (Applause)
I don't want to have to hope that we lose in Iraq. I don't want to have to hope that we never find bin Laden. I don't want to have to hope that the economy stays sour in order for my political fortunes or power to increase. It's not the way it's done, and this is why, folks, they were destined to lose this race. I know you think back during the darkest moments of the campaign, during the debates or whatever, "Oh, we're getting skunked here. What are we gonna do? These guys are just running away with it. What about the forged documents? Why hasn't Rather been fired?" Dan Rather doesn't need to be fired. He's been more humiliated going to work every day and having to work Election Night and report those results than anything could have been done if he got fired. (Wild cheers) I'm glad he was there. Yes! (Arm pump) You can say it a whole bunch of different ways. "What goes around comes around," whatever it is. These philosophies are timeless. Decency and goodness and optimism and decisiveness and character, they triumph. Never forget it, folks. It's been a pleasure being with you. I wish I had more time to keep dazzling you, but you have to eat, and I have to fly home. Thank you so much. I've enjoyed this immensely. You have made my day. Thank you so much. (Cheers and applause) Thank you all.
Thank you for posting this.
I was in the building, but three stories above. There was an awesome chorus that closed the evening with some great American folk songs. The Heritage Foundation put together a nice event.
Funny, this was in the same place where the Republican National Committee celebrated on Election Night!
I haven't listened to Rush yet today. I hope he played the audio of this on the show.
It's posted with video in the member's section.
Thank you. wagglebee, for posting this. b.
I heard part of what Rush said about Specter today, he seemed to be quite forgiving about it (though he'd prefer someone else). I was really surprised. I agree, Rush is almost always right, and I greatly respect him and all he has to say. However, I have a negging little doubt about this particular thing. I'm thinking of Bush 41's appointment of David Souter... It does not pay to be soft regarding Supreme Court justices.
Bump - later read (love Rush!)
Bush 41 was not the conservative that Dubya is. Reagan is rumored to have said after the "no new taxes pledge" was broken that he should have gone with Ford (who of course appointed John Paul Stevens, possibly the most liberal justice ever). For that matter, if Reagan had been more diligent in finding a conservative instead of overzealously appointing the first woman justice, we wouldn't have the 4-4-1 split on matters like abortion we do today.
And to think I used to bad-mouth him (when I was young, stupid and DemocRAT)! ((Shudder))!!!
But then I shouldn't feel too bad, I always was a ZELL Democrat!
Rush delivering these words before the Heritage Foundation in the Ronald Reagan building: It doesn't get any better than this!
I, too, was a Democrat when Rush began to rise in prominence. However, I never bad-mouthed him. Instead, I listened to him because he was outrageously funny and insightful, even to a young Democrat such as myself.
Eventually, he said a number of things that turned me to his side. I'm thankful for his words and optimism. I can only marvel at the number of other people he's turned. I'm sure we're legion!
Brilliant speech. Not bad for someone who is stupid huh? LOL!
Do you agree with Rush, then, that even if Specter ends up being Judiciary Chairman (which does seem unlikely now thanks to lots of opposition from people like us), things will work out OK with the new Justices that are appointed?
PS Pls do not misunderstand me, I am in no way bashing Rush, I'm one of his biggest fans, and owe him in large part for helping me keep my sanity and make me laugh during the Clinton years. He is a political genius and true American hero.
My gut feeling is that Rush has a lot more "inside" information than he lets on. My guess is that is "neutral" comments about Specter was to convey some sort of message to the Specter people. Rush talked a lot about Bush's mandate, and that we are the majority and because of that we can tell Specter what to do. Rush still remembers the fiasco in 1995 when Newt Gingrich thought he had overwhelming public support, only to see everything blow-up in his face and ensure a second Klintoon term.
Huber was there!
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