“…speaking for myself and all the other conservatives I know — I’m not a purist. We’re conservatives, plain and simple, Newt. Now, we conservatives don’t always agree with each other. Yeah, Ronald Reagan got a lot of independents and Democrats, but how did he do it? He didn’t pretend he was one of them! He didn’t pretend to be a Democrat. He didn’t pretend to be an independent. Reagan persuaded them. Reagan made them want to join him. Reagan did not change who he was to attract those independents and Democrats. Colin Powell voted for Obama. Colin Powell found McCain unacceptable. If that’s the kind of Republican we want to be proud of, somebody is going to have to explain it to me.”
—Rush Limbaugh — June 8, 2009
Damn right. So Newt Gingrich? If you cannot recognize the difference, then you have absolutely NO business being a leader of the conservative movement anymore. Either stand up for conservatism, shut up or get the hell outta the way.
By the way, Newt? People who vote Democrat? NOT REPUBLICANS anymore. Pretty darn simple concept. Colin Powell… NOT A REPUBLICAN. Period.
We’re Conservatives, Not Purists
June 8, 2009
RUSH: Another audio sound bite. This is yesterday on Slay the Nation, Bob Schieffer talking to Mr. Newt, and it was actually Harry Smith filling in for Bob Schieffer. Harry Smith said to Mr. Newt, “Is there room for moderates in the Republican Party?”
GINGRICH: Yes. I am a — I am a Reagan Republican. Reagan believed in very broad base, he always talked about “my fellow Republicans” and those independents and Democrats who want a better future. A third of his votes were Democrats.
SMITH: Well, but you also have a voice of ideological purity out there that unless people kowtow to —
GINGRICH: You just shrug them off!
SMITH: So your advice to other Republicans is shrug off Rush Limbaugh?
GINGRICH: My advice is that — that Colin Powell is a great American, I’m proud that he’s Republican, and, you know, Dick Cheney is a great American. I’m proud he’s Republican. I’m glad both of them are Republican.
RUSH: Okay. For the record, Newt and all the rest of you in the Drive-By Media — speaking for myself and all the other conservatives I know — I’m not a purist. We’re conservatives, plain and simple, Newt. Now, we conservatives don’t always agree with each other. Yeah, Ronald Reagan got a lot of independents and Democrats, but how did he do it? He didn’t pretend he was one of them! He didn’t pretend to be a Democrat. He didn’t pretend to be an independent. Reagan persuaded them. Reagan made them want to join him. Reagan did not change who he was to attract those independents and Democrats. Colin Powell voted for Obama. Colin Powell found McCain unacceptable. If that’s the kind of Republican we want to be proud of, somebody is going to have to explain it to me.
We want to proclaim how proud we are of somebody who not only endorsed Obama strategically at a time to do the most damage to the Republican nominee, he voted against the Republican nominee, after that Republican nominee was the precise candidate that Colin Powell supposedly thinks the party should advance. Shrug off purists? Nope. We’re not purists. We’re conservatives. We don’t always agree with each other. I don’t care if Powell stays a Republican or becomes a Democrat. It doesn’t matter to me what he does, but don’t tell me that he’s the model for the party. If Colin Powell is the model for the Republican Party, there’s no reason to ever vote Republican again — and I’ll just ask again. I asked Hannity this last week on the two-part interview: Somebody tell me what Republican policies Colin Powell champions. What conservative policies does he champion? Where is he out there trying to help rebuild the Republican Party other than tearing me down?
Where is he opposing what Obama’s doing? So it goes on. But never fear, folks. I have never said, “The era of Reagan is over.” I have never said that I want to be a part of a party, that in order get Democrats and independents goes out and acts like them and enacts policies that they would like. I am not going to do that. (interruption) Have I done what about Pelosi on global warming? No, I have not sat down with Nancy Pelosi on global warming. You mean the couch and the TV ad? No, no. And, by the way, I was asked. I never told you. I was asked to do one of those commercials. I forget who with. But I was asked to sit down and do one of those commercials on global warming with Michael Moore. They asked me to sit down with Michael Moore, for the good of the country, for the good of the issue — and I refused to do it. I also have not joined Mrs. Clinton for a conference promoting her health care plan. (sigh) Oh, boy. Never worry, folks. I’m the bulwark, not wavering. I’m the Last Man Standing if necessary.
HondaV65 is spot-on in this HotAir Headlines thread:
Well Levin is right.
Gingrich is a consummate “fence sitter” and “triangulator”. He used to NOT be that way. There was a time prior to 1994 when Newt had a pair and went for the juglar on his Democratic opponents. He was uncompromising – he was a ramrod. He played dirty.
But man – what a change. Low T? Dunno but he’s lost it.
The key thing that Levin is correct on however – is the whole “buying into the liberal arguments”. Newt falls for that every single time. Rather than say … “Dammit – you’re idiots! We are NOT causing Global Warming!” – Newt opts to sidestep the argument in favor doing what he terms “common sense” things to help the environment while also staying in a position to temper and control the Global Warming alarmists. This is typical “Johnstonian” (for the Confederate General Johnston who retreated before Sherman’s Army with the excuse that conditions weren’t favorable for a fight – only to find the Confederate Army besieged in Atlanta – where it HAD to fight).
Newt has become very “Johnstonian” since 1994. When he thinks conditions are ideal – he’ll fight. If he starts taking fire – he retreats. He’s absolutely comical. The other day he called Sotomayor a racist – and he should have stood by those comments if for no other reason than Trent Lott was called one for saying something much more benign. He should have stood by the comments – but he ends up retreating when he sees that he and Limbaugh are out there fighting that fight alone. Why didn’t he fight?
Same thing with the Colin Powell thing – Powell is NOT a Republican – no matter what he says. Powell deserves a lot of spit and vinegar from Republicans but no Republican has the T enough to take him on. And Newt is no exception. It’s pretty sad really.
HondaV65 on June 9, 2009 at 3:24 PM
This has been on my mind for months now, and I’ve yet to sit down and write a proper blog post on it, getting out all my thoughts on the subject. But, here is as good a place as any to start, as I had these thoughts in response to a comment left at this HotAir Headlines post: Hmmm: Did Palin plagiarize Gingrich?
But AP posts these items because they are news, and they will generate hits. That is his job.
conservnut on June 7, 2009 at 9:03 PM
Yep, and that, in my opinion, is why paid anonymous blogging — or even paid blogging period — is bad. Because I — and I suspect many other readers of HotAir — don’t trust AllahPundit on very many things. Many of us suspect that he simply posts things not because he cares one whit about them, but because he knows it generates blog traffic, and that is what he is being paid to do. He is not being paid to give his opinion or to promote the conservative cause, he is being paid to generate traffic. Period.
Because of that, I don’t trust him, nor any other blogger — public or anonymous — since I figure most of what they are posting and saying and the analysis they give is solely in order to generate traffic and nothing more.
Oh sure, many times they actually do say what they mean and provide an honest opinion and analysis, but that is just a side benefit, not a requirement.
We here in the blogosphere rip into the mass media all the time for their lameness of doing things for sponsorship, but that is exactly what sites like HotAir are doing as well… focusing their content on things which generate the most traffic in order to generate the most ad revenue.
I never knew about AllahPundit until he started blogging here at HotAir. I have to wonder if we’d be getting a lot more honesty out of him if he were to go back to blogging simply for himself and not for money.
And my opinion on this is not limited to AllahPundit and HotAir either. I’ve thought this as soon as places like Ace of Spades HQ and every other large blog started blogging as a source of income, instead of just as a hobby.
It’s ironic that the same people who are so hard on Rush Limbaugh for his schtick that he does in order to entertain and make money through his radio show, do the exact same thing to entertain and make money through their blogs. The same people who accuse Rush of caring only for his own paycheck at the expense of the success of Conservatism or the GOP, do the exact same things on their blogs, posting for blog traffic, no matter if it is good for conservatism or the GOP (or, in this case Sarah Palin).
Does anyone think AllahPundit — or anyone who blogs for money — cares that his joining with the Left to tear Sarah Palin down at every opportunity prohibits her from possibly helping the future of this country? I don’t. I think they care about one thing: money. If they earn that money by ripping on Sarah Palin to the detriment of the country, so be it.
This isn’t about one’s principles, this is about one’s pocketbook. And when push comes to shove, everyone is in it for themselves.
[Background: When is it okay to “out” anonymous bloggers?]
Oh, and with regards to the question of plagiarism? The answer would be… ‘NO’: Hey, Geoffrey, Let Me Show You Real Plagiarism
I understand that Newt did some good things for conservatives back in the 1990s, but the fact that he is either (1) buying into the global warming hoax and pushing for big government based on it or (2) is trying to gain politically from the fact that a large portion of the American public is ignorant and is buying into the global warming hoax, shows me that he is no longer a leader for conservatism. Anyone who buys into the global warming hoax loses all my respect. So I am very glad that Rush nailed him on it.
RUSH: [ … ] We need to straighten this out, because from what you’ve said since Sunday, I don’t think we’re that far apart on things, but when I heard you say the Reagan era is over, and then you confirmed that again today on Fox, this morning, I had a reaction to that that I wanted to explain to you, because I don’t think the Reagan era is anything other than conservatism. And I don’t think conservatism is over. I don’t think it’s finished.
GINGRICH: Well, no, look, we’re old friends and we’ve been in a lot of good fights on the same side for a long time. If you mean by Reaganism, conservatism as a philosophy, it’s not only not over, it is timeless, it is enduring, and it is the core organizational principles for a successful country. So I couldn’t agree with you more.
RUSH: Why is it abandoned then? Why is it not to be found in our campaign except with maybe one candidate?
GINGRICH: I think a couple reasons, and this is part of what I was trying to get at. I don’t know how you feel about this, but I think people who try to use Reagan as a mantra rather than as a mentor make a huge mistake. When somebody stands there and prattles on, says, “I’m really for Reagan. I really love Reagan,” you say, “Fine, so what would you do about our energy policy?” And I tend to agree with you, there are sound, free market, incentive-based entrepreneurial models that will fix almost everything that’s wrong in this country today. But I don’t hear these guys out there saying that. And I think we need, in 2008, the same kind of commitment to solving problems — and this is the one place where maybe you and I do have a slight disagreement here, but I just find it very intriguing, because Reagan, back in 1966, when he was first running for governor, made the case that it is the job of candidates for election to think through how to solve problems.
Reagan gave a speech on the creative society. He said, “Public officials are elected primarily for one purpose, to solve public problems.” Now, that’s what I was trying to get at. We need a 2008 agenda that is as bold for us as Reagan was in 1975 with CPAC. We need a willingness to be either for a flat tax as an optional approach or something like the FairTax. We need a willingness to say, “If you’re really serious about getting energy independence, how fast can we start building nuclear power in a big way?” We need a willingness to break out of the bureaucracy, whether it’s the education bureaucracy that’s failing in Detroit, or frankly the Department of Education bureaucracy that’s failing in Washington. I think there are a number of steps we can take that suddenly become twenty-first century conservatism with twenty-first century solutions. That’s why I wrote Real Change. I wanted to put an entire book full of ideas that allow people to look and realize that we have, from Social Security personal savings accounts to abolishing the capital gains tax, to an entire array of changes, including taking on the problems of places like Detroit, which I think are symbols of how government destroys the future for its own citizens.
RUSH: Well, precisely. But in the litany that you just went through, the one thing that was missing, to me, and the one thing that I most took from Ronald Reagan, was that he understood that it’s the people who make this country work, not politicians, not elected officials. They get in the way. The thing about Reaganism that’s inspiring to me is that he went and told people, “Look, this you can do. We are America, shining city on a hill,” and all. He motivated; he was inspirational. He had three legs to his stool. He was going to beat the communists in the Cold War, he was going to cut taxes, and rebuild the military. He kept it very simple and delivered on all three things. But he led a movement, Newt. Every speech he made he was telling people what conservatism is. We don’t have that anymore. We’ve got people running away from it. And when you say that the Reagan era is over, people are going to get — the Democrats never say the era of FDR is over, that the Great Society is over. They never say that the war on poverty is over. We never hear about the Churchill era being over. What replaced Reaganism if it’s over? Nothing has.
GINGRICH: That’s right. I think the challenge is, Rush, and maybe you and I just disagree, I think the challenge is for our generation to come up with a platform that is as bold, a set of solutions that are as bold, as Reagan was in 1979-1980. Reagan didn’t go around and say, here’s what Eisenhower would have done. He didn’t go around and say here’s what Goldwater would have done. He went around and said, look, here are the core, unchanging principles. Freedom works, bureaucracy strangles, lower taxes give you more freedom and give you more choices, you’re better at creating jobs than government is, and he walked through a series of things like this, and then he turned those into very specific, very practical programs. And maybe part of what I was trying to suggest on Sunday is, and, again, this is why I wrote Real Change and this is why I spent the last few months trying to build American Solutions as a real movement — and I don’t mean this as an attack on these guys, they’re all hardworking, they all mean well — but I don’t sense any of these candidates out there right now have a firm and clear grip in the way that Reagan did in ’79-’80. You knew by then, because he had matured since the 1964 speech, he’d had 16 years to think this through, and he really had a program, in working with Ed Fullner at Heritage and others, he really developed a momentum that significantly moved America back towards a more conservative society and away from where Johnson and Carter and the welfare state had tried to take us.
RUSH: No question about it. By the way, when I say Reaganism and we need to go back to it, I’m not talking about reliving the eighties. I’m talking about applying the existing core principles of conservatism because they work every time they’re tried, to the existing problems that we have today. Now, you said on Stephanopoulos’ show on Sunday — I’m going to have to paraphrase because I don’t have the transcript in front of me — but you said something, if you were a candidate, I think you were speaking as a candidate, “I need to find a way to see to it you don’t need as much home heating oil.” That sounds like the way liberals talk to people, “I’m going to find a way you don’t need so much home heating oil.” And my reaction to that, was, where’s the concept of growth? Conservation is all well and good, but it’s not going to grow us anything and it’s not going to expand the economy. Plus, all this environmental stuff related to climate change is a bit of a hoax and everybody is jumping on board this bandwagon. Senator McCain is making it a central part of his campaign, and all these guys seem to want to use the offices of Big Government to make people think that they don’t have to do anything for themselves. They have to sit around and just wait for these problems to be solved and things are going to be hunky-dory, and —
GINGRICH: Let me stick with the one you just mentioned because it’s an important one. We have a section called The Platform of the American People, and these are all ideas, by the way, that have a majority Democrat, majority Republican, and majority of independent support. We say flatly, entrepreneurs are more likely to solve America’s energy environmental problems than bureaucrats. If we use technology, innovation, and incentives, we do not need to raise taxes to clean up our environment. We talk about the notion, for example, and I don’t know if you’d agree or not, but we support giving tax credits to companies that can cut carbon emissions as an incentive to cut pollution. We then go on to say that we ought to build more nuclear power plants; we go on to talk about the idea of developing more oil refineries in the United States, and we also say that we ought to look seriously at drilling for oil offshore and lay off the notion that it’s a little bit irrational for us to be relying on Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Iran and Russia while blocking ourselves from even knowing whether or not offshore we have enough oil and natural gas not to need to rely on these guys. If you look at the Platform of the American People in here, I’ll bet you will agree with 95% of it.
RUSH: I probably would, but the thing about dependence on foreign oil, there are a lot of myths about that. Our number one importer, we import most from Canada. Number two is Mexico. We’re not totally dependent on Venezuela or the Saudis. There’s so many myths about this, the carbon mess. Newt, this country is being sold down the river on a hoax! Carbon dioxide, you and I exhale it. There’s no way we can cut that back. It’s not a pollutant. This is a mechanism whereby liberals want to grow government and have people with less freedom, and I don’t hear freedom or inspiration being talked about in this campaign. That’s what Reaganism is to me, and it’s not being discussed. We have too many Republicans running away from it, as though they are afraid of it. He won two landslides. It led you to capturing the House of Representatives in a huge landslide, and everybody wants to abandon it and apply policy today based on the liberals setting the table.
So we’re reacting to what liberals want to do. If they say we got an energy problem, okay, we have to admit that and come up with a better plan instead of telling the American people, “Look, oil is the engine of freedom. It is and always will be, we’re not running out of it, get used to it. The price of gas has gone up $2.80 in 40 years. Stop complaining.” Instead, we want to respond to all these complaints, because the liberals do. We’re trying to out-liberal liberals. We got candidates thinking they can win the presidency by picking off a couple liberals in New Hampshire, a couple liberals in Pennsylvania, California. That’s not the way Reagan did this. You go to the country and you tell the American people they’re the ones that make it work. You tell ’em how great they can be, that they’re better than they even know they are. None of this is in our campaign right now, and it’s frustrating as hell.
GINGRICH: Well, listen, I agree with you, it’s frustrating. I think we ought to be much more aggressive in taking ’em on directly, and one of the places I take them on directly is what government has done to destroy Detroit and to cripple Michigan. You’re having a primary today in a state which is having an artificial recession caused by the state legislature and the governor raising taxes and driving business out of state.
RUSH: And destroying the auto industry. Newt, there are a couple people in this campaign, if they win, California is just an example of what this whole country is going to end up being.
GINGRICH: I think that’s exactly right. Part of what I’m worried about, I’m very clear about this in Real Change, is that I am very worried about the degree to which if you look at Sacramento and you look at Albany, you have cities where the governors preside but the interest groups govern. And the truth is, Arnold Schwarzenegger lost his effort to try to change California when the unions beat him in the series of initiatives.
GINGRICH: And, as a result, he has since basically compromised with the people who beat him.
RUSH: Gotta take a quick break. Can you hang on for a couple more minutes? If not, no big deal.
<br>GINGRICH: No, but listen, I’ll be glad to come back sometime. I’d love to keep talking with you. Thanks.
RUSH: Does that mean you’re going or staying?
GINGRICH: I’ve gotta run, unfortunately, but I’ll give you a call back.
RUSH: Thanks for the time.
RUSH: Thanks to Newt Gingrich for joining us today. Look, folks, I want to tell all the rest of you out there that are just getting in on this, the reason that we don’t cite Eisenhower — you know, you don’t hear us talking, “We need to go back to the Ike era.” And we never say we need to go back to the Nixon era. We never say we need to go back to the Ford era. We don’t cite those three because they were not consistent, they were not principled conservatives in the way Reagan was. The mistake people are making, I think they think that people like me are worshiping a cult of personality with Ronald Reagan when, in fact, those of us who view Reagan the way I do stress conservative principles and the success that comes with it. It’s fine and dandy to come up with scores of proposals, and to have policy this and policy that for dealing with various issues, but that only scratches the surface. A list of policies to take to the American people without a core principle underpinning to justify those policies and explain why they will work, is senseless. To get into a policy contest with the Democrats, okay, here’s their health care plan; well, here’s ours, and we end up reacting to what theirs is.
We think we gotta come up with a health care plan because they are saying we need health care, universal coverage. Rather than argue the merits of their proposal, we make the mistake of running around, coming up with an alternative that has a little conservatism in it, but it really is nothing more than an attempt to stay in the game with the rules and the terms defined by the Democrats and the liberals. And frankly, this is what the campaign has been, and it’s frustrating as all get out to me. You can’t find one shred of conservatism in the amnesty bill, for example. There wasn’t one conservative point, philosophy in that at all. It was pure 100% liberalism. The Democrats were engaging in the amnesty bill to destroy the Republican Party; and Republicans, for some blind reason, were going along with it. A laundry list of policies, folks, without a fundamental theme is just that, a long list of policies. Reagan wasn’t a policy wonk. He was an idea guy.
Policies and ideas are two different things. Policies emanate from government. Ideas are what you take to people, and they hear and process the ideas, and then things happen, and the American people make things happen. Capitalism, the American people engaging in commerce, that’s the single greatest agent of change in this country, not what happens in Washington. Well, they can change things, but it’s not great. Nobody’s out there saying we should continue to fight the Cold War and the Soviets. But we do have another war, and we can’t even get everybody to admit that. We’ve got a war against militant jihadists of the Islamofascist stripe. The era, the Reagan era, is not over because conservatism is not over. If the Reagan coalition is dead, what replaced it? Somebody tell me that. Nothing has replaced it and that’s why so many people are scratching their heads, why so many people are a little nervous because there isn’t any real leadership out there that causes people, inspires people to get behind it, go rah-rah, and make certain things happen. That’s what’s missing. Reaganism is leadership. Reaganism is conservatism. It’s not a personality cult.
Vincent in Rhode Island, great to have you on the program, sir, thank you for calling.
CALLER: Rush, this is a tremendous honor. I’ve been a fan for — a big conservative raised in this liberal state here. I just wanted to comment that I think what Newt — I think he kind of means that, I don’t think Reaganism is dead as much as it needs to evolve maybe to encompass some of today’s issues that weren’t around back in the day, you know, some of the things that we’re going through today.
RUSH: Wrong. Wrong. They’re always around.
CALLER: Oh, they’re always —
RUSH: The biggest enemy, the biggest enemy we face in this country is liberalism.
CALLER: Oh, definitely.
RUSH: Conservatism is the answer to it. The second biggest enemy we face is ignorance. It’s the most expensive thing we pay for in this country. Conservatism fixes ignorance. We have different events happening, but we don’t have to adapt conservatism. Do you hear the liberals talking about, “Well, you know, the era of liberalism is over. We’ve gotta adapt.” They talk about maybe appealing to the values of voters after they lose an election, but they don’t change anything, and we never hear ’em talking about it. Nobody ever suggests that they do. We’re always being told, “Abandon this Reagan stuff, Rush, it’s old hat.” It’s not old hat. It’s freedom.
RUSH: This is Stephanie in Columbus, Georgia. Hi, Stephanie. Welcome.
[ … ]
CALLER: Good. I want to tell you, I was in the car and I was listening to your conversation with Newt, and it got me so cranked up. I think that’s what people need to hear. Everybody’s too “middle” right now. I agree that we’re trying to appease liberals and just kind of step over to the edge a little bit to “let’s appease everybody,” and that’s the wrong direction, and what you said I feel like is exactly right. It sounded presidential.
CALLER: It’s what people need to hear. Absolutely. Absolutely. I mean, it’s dead on.
RUSH: I appreciate that. You’re very kind, and I appreciate that very favorable review.
CALLER: Hey, let me ask you one thing, if it’s okay.
CALLER: I don’t know a whole lot. I mean, I follow this campaign. I follow politics with my son for several years now, but I don’t know really a whole lot. I’m totally against Hillary. I don’t really want a woman president anyway. Maybe Condi Rice is someone I would consider, but I don’t know a whole lot about this Obama guy. What do you know about this?
RUSH: I know all I need to know about Obama. Obama would wreck the country. He’s a liberal!
CALLER: He’s way out there.
RUSH: This stuff is not… He’s a perfectly nice guy, and I’m sure that he’s well-intentioned, and I’m sure that he believes what he believes, but he’s just wrong. There’s not a dime’s worth of difference, policy-wise, between him or Hillary, or Edwards.
RUSH: They’re all liberals! We know what liberals are going to do. They’re gonna raise taxes. They’re going to take away your freedom. They’re going to put thermostats in your house and control them from the utility company. They’re going to tell you what car you can and can’t drive. They’re going to tell you what food you can and can’t eat.
CALLER: Oh, yeah.
RUSH: They’re going to take away liberty under the guise of protecting you and making you safe and secure. I don’t care where he went to school. I don’t care who his parents are. I don’t care about any of that stuff. It doesn’t matter to me.
CALLER: Right. He is what he is.
RUSH: He’s a liberal!
RUSH: He’s a Big-Government liberal. He doesn’t trust the individual to make the right decisions in life to enjoy it. He believes that the central problem in America is “inequality,” like all liberals believe, and their solution to inequality is not raise people up, but go punish the achievers. Screw that! Achievement needs to be motivated, inspired, and rewarded, not punished! That’s all I need to know about Obama.
RUSH: Greg in San Antonio, you’re next, great to have you here.
CALLER: What in the cornbread hell is wrong with Newt Gingrich? Did I just hear him say cutting carbon emissions?
RUSH: You heard him say that, yes.
CALLER: I mean, I thought for years that this man was the anointed leader of the movement, and I gotta wonder where the hell he’s coming from.
RUSH: Well, that, I think, in the call, that’s what fired me up, that’s when the blood started circulating. I’ll tell you, look, I don’t know how to — I didn’t have a chance to ask him —
CALLER: That was the only thing I picked up on, and I heard it, and I said, “Has he been listening, has someone been talking to him?” What in the world is going on, Rush? I gotta believe that —
RUSH: No, I’ll tell you what — look. Here’s what it is. This is a guess. I’m going to tell you, it’s the same thing, the same story I just told you about the auto industry. The American people are customers. And the American people want cars that don’t pollute, and they want cars that get good mileage. That’s understandable. But it’s rooted in the fact that they’ve been sold and they have purchased a bill of goods on a climate change hoax to the point that they think the car they’re buying is going to save the planet rather than being something they genuinely want. Okay, you look at a guy like Newt or anybody like him, he looks out, he surveys the American people, “Wow, these people are really buying the global warming stuff,” and they’re voters. And democracy happens. If a majority of people are made to believe that global warming is being caused by them, and you have politicians that want to get elected by them, then you respond to what those people think, instead of telling them how wrong they are and trying to educate them. This is what Newt Gingrich did, starting in the 1980s.
I haven’t changed. I have remained rock-ribbed steady in my beliefs, principles, conservatism, and other things. But politicians look out and they see people buying this stuff, and they say, “Okay, well, I better come up with a carbon reduction proposal,” because this is what people care about. I’m not saying I pander to people, but politicians do. They’ll say whatever they have to to get elected. If a majority of people think that the sky is green, the politicians are going to tell them they’re right somehow, rather than educate ’em. It’s a really frustrating thing. Now, I can’t compare myself to politicians, Mr. Snerdley, because getting an audience and keeping it is different than getting votes. The countryside is strewn with the carcasses of media people who thought they could get elected to anything. I have no desire to get elected to anything, I don’t want to run. I don’t want to ask anybody for a dime if I were to campaign. But that’s beside the point. I’m just telling you, back to Reaganism. Back to conservatism. Conservatism doesn’t bend and shape. It remains rock steady, and it tells people what is. But they’re just — I don’t know. Guts are in short supply on the American political scene these days. Sad thing to note, but it seems to be true.
Newt Gingrich says the era of Reagan is over? Hmmm. Rush has something to say about that…
RUSH: Back to the audio sound bites. Newt Gingrich was on This Week with George Stephanopoulos yesterday. Question: “Some of the Republican blogs are actually suggesting that a brokered convention might be the best hope for you,” for Newt Gingrich. “They suggest that the Republicans go to the convention brokered they might turn to you.”
GINGRICH: I think the brokered convention would pick one of the people who had filed for president, but I think the process, after all, it was… You know, Abraham Lincoln was running third and won the convention. He didn’t come in first on the first ballot, and so, I think there’s nothing unhealthy about the Republican Party having a serious discussion. We are at the end of the George W. Bush era. We are at the end of the Reagan era. We’re at a point in time when we’re about to start redefining — as a number of people started talking about, starting to redefine — the nature of the Republican Party, in response to what the country needs.
RUSH: All right, now, this conversation is fine and dandy, and before I have any comments here, I want to remind everybody and preface this with the fact that, as you know, I have supported Newt Gingrich, and I’ve had a lot of respect for him, still do, over the course of many years. I first became aware of Newt Gingrich when I was in Kansas City, and he was a back bencher Republican in a very small minority in the House of Representatives. This was during the second term of Ronald Reagan. Actually, it was the first term. This would be before 1984, and Newt popularized the Special Orders. These are speeches from the floor of the House at the close of business. Often he was the only one there with a couple of other Republicans. C-SPAN was required to televise them, and it was some of the most spirited defense of the Reagan policies, vision, administration that I’ve ever heard. It was entirely inspiring, and I was working at a news station in Kansas City at the time — a station that carries my program even to this day, KNBZ — and I had my first interview with Gingrich at that point. He was clearly inspirational. Now, something has changed since then. I have suspected — I’ve not known, but I have suspected — that Newt is advising the Huckabee campaign.
I don’t know this. It’s just a wild guess, but based on this comment, “The Reagan era is over. The George W. Bush era is over. We’re at a point in time we’re about to start redefining, as a number of people have started talking…” Yes, they are. Every one of these Republicans is starting to talk about redefining the party, and this has been going on since the early days of this, not just now. If you recall, all during last year, I told you this was my big concern: that Reaganism and conservatism were going to be redefined so as to fit the mold of whoever these guys on our primary roster are. One of the things that Newt said is “redefine the nature of the Republican Party in response to what the country needs.” Something about that rubs me wrong. Something about that sort of grates on me. The Republican Party is supposed to sit out there and I guess (slurps) moisten its index finger, stick it in the air, find out what people want, and be that? That’s not who we are! Now, it may be who populists are. In fact, it is exactly who populists are. Even if you have no intention of following through on what you plan to do as you promise all these wonderful things to your supporters, as a populist. But this is not what the Republican Party has been. It’s what the Democrat Party had been.
“Figure out what the country needs” and then do it? We know what the country needs already! That’s our ace-in-the-hole. One of the things Newt said in this interview was, “Far beyond just how do I subsidize your heating oil, how do I make it unnecessary for you to buy as much heating oil? And there are dramatic things we can do in that conversation.” Now, “How do I…?” He means a president, running a campaign, not him. “How do I subsidize your heating oil?” We Republicans are going to talk about subsidizing people’s heating oil now, and we’re going to call that conservatism? If you want to talk about that, fine! If that’s what you want the Republican Party to be, then be that and go ahead and say that’s what you want, but don’t call it conservatism. “There are dramatic things we can do in that conversation. I want to make it unnecessary for you to buy as much heating oil”? Now, conservation is great, folks. Conservation is great, but conservation does not equal growth. To sit out there and say people need to buy less and less heating oil, okay. Buy natural gas furnace, or any number of things, but if this country has always been about: “You need heating oil? It’s going to be there. You need gasoline? It’s going to be there.”
The burden is not on you to conserve so that it’s always there! It’s economic. Capitalism is the greatest force for change in the world! Mark Steyn has a brilliant piece today on this very subject. It’s how capitalism forces major innovation and change, not politicians, not Washington, not government. They don’t force any kind of change other than in primaries with perception and attitudes and make people think that they’re going to be better off, but it is capitalism that forces genuine change throughout culture and throughout society. Newt could have just as easily said here that conservative principles don’t change, that the Reagan coalition is simply looking for leadership and that we need to bring more creative policy alternatives to the table than we have in the recent past. But that’s not what he said. He said, “The era of Reagan is over. … It’s the end of the Reagan era.” It is not. If the Reagan era is over, if the Reagan coalition is dead, what replaced it? Could somebody tell me? Precisely nothing has replaced it, and that’s why so many people are scratching their heads, why so many people are a little nervous, because there isn’t any real leadership out there that causes people and inspires people to get behind it and go rah-rah and make certain things happen.
I mean, is there a Gingrich coalition that has replaced the Reagan coalition? For that matter, what is the McCain coalition? If we’re going to have a new era, what is the McCain era? What is the Huckabee era? What is their winning coalition? They don’t have one. You know, all this sounds like Third Way kind of talk, the triangulation of the Clinton years in the nineties. But I don’t know what the McCain era would be, and I don’t know what the Huckabee coalition is. They don’t have a coalition. They’re out trying to get votes of independents and Democrats. They’re pandering to moderates and independents. Folks, I just want you to think about this: What happens if either of these two guys happen to win, attracting the votes of independents, moderates, the Jell-Os, and Democrats? Does that not equal the demise of the Republican Party? Do you think McCain’s out there actually trying to get Republican votes? Is Huckabee trying to get Republican votes? Romney is. Giuliani is. Fred Thompson certainly is. But if we have a nominee that is a nominee on the basis of moderate and independent and Democrat voters, then what happens to the Republican Party?
Do they not know this? If they do know this, is this their aim? Is their objective, for whatever reason — sour grapes, they don’t think they can win as Republicans because they’re really not Republicans. Is this the objective here, to redefine (or maybe ruin) the Republican Party? Even so, the coalition of Democrats, independents, moderates, the Jell-Os, that is not a coalition. They don’t have a coalition. McCain doesn’t have one. Huckabee doesn’t have one. They want to transform the party into a center-left party like these so-called conservative parties in Europe, and to do that, they’ve gotta say, “The Reagan era is over,” and they have to embrace expediency, which, in the end, of course, is a losing proposition. Let me hit you right between the eyes here. If you want to find out what would happen to the country with a McCain or Huckabee president, take a look at what’s happened to Governor Schwarzenegger in California. Here was a guy who actively ran as a conservative and as a Republican and, as you know, was elected. We all know now what has happened to him.
He has abandoned all of that, and look at the state of California with their budget mess, their increased taxes. Now we’ve got this emergency session that the governor has called. That’s just a blank check to raise more taxes. California runs the risk of becoming the next Michigan. What Schwarzenegger has done to California is what non-Republicans would do to the United States running as Republicans: disaster. Of course, the Republican Party conservatives are nonfactors in any of it. Defending liberty takes leadership and guts. Promoting Big Government doesn’t. Promoting Big Government is liberalism, and that’s easy. It’s one of the easiest things that you can do, to run out and simply say, “Well, government’s going to fix this. I’m going to have to a plan here. My plan’s going to do this, and it involves the government.” If conservatism is dead, and if the Reagan era is dead, then I assume that this means the Declaration of Independence is dead as well, that the era of the Declaration has come and gone. Now, what we actually have going on now are people posing as serious thinkers (a common thread in all of this, folks) that conservatism is dead. By the way, that’s what the Reagan coalition is, after all. The major elements of conservatism combined into a political movement, is what Reaganism was and of course they’re now saying, “That era is gone. We need to replace it with something else.” (sigh)
Well, conservatism isn’t dead because it cannot be dead. Conservatism is not manmade. Conservatism is a philosophy. It’s not a scheme. It’s not a plan to figure out what the American people need and want, and then give it to them. That’s populism! Conservatism is a philosophy based on God-given natural rights. The Declaration of Independence, is that dead? Of course not! What’s dead is leadership on the Republican side, and because there is a lack of leadership of someone who the substantive understanding of liberty and the political skills to advance it, we get all this cockamamie nonsense about the death of our principles. Our principles are not dead! Our principles cannot die. I’ll tell you, in a lot of ways this reminds me of Jimmy Carter and his malaise speech. He blamed the American people for his miserable failures as president. Now we have conservatives and conservative wannabes, many of whom have held high office or hold high office or speak and write from formerly conservative outposts, who blame conservatives for their own miserable failures. What is lacking is not ideas and principles. What’s lacking is the right people to speak those ideas and principles, folks. Admit it.
You know it and I know it, and that’s why this Republican roster of candidates has always been somewhat disquieting, and we know that it is because if you look at it, it’s pretty much evenly spread, the support around all the top-tier people. Look what happens, by the way, when one of them happens to pipe up. Look what happens. I have a headline: “A Combative Thompson Sways Voters — ‘But then last night — we hadn’t even been thinking about him — all of a sudden it was clear he was the one,’ said Mr. Berenberk, a retired teacher. ‘The bluntness, the forcefulness. He was really impressive.'” He’s talking about Thompson in the last South Carolina debate. So candidate aside — put Thompson aside for a moment — when conservative truths are heard, it’s an affecting and effective message. People have revelations when they hear it. They just haven’t been hearing it from people who want to lead the party and who want to lead the country. So what’s lacking here is not ideas and not principles, but the right people to speak them and the right people to develop strategies to win elections based on those ideas and principles. What’s lacking, if you will, is intellectual and political leadership. Let me be even more specific. Where’s the Russell Kirk? Where’s the Bill Buckley? Where’s the Milton Friedman of our day? Where’s the Barry Goldwater, the Ronald Reagan? We have people who claim to hold the mantle of these greats, and yet they also claim that the mantle to hold is not worth holding, that we gotta redefine it because the era is over. If you believe that liberty, national security, free enterprise, faith, and the Constitution are dead, then what are you saying? On what do you base your definition of conservatism? If we don’t properly diagnose the problem, we aren’t going to be able to fix this.
And that right there, ladies and gentlemen, is why I SO enjoy listening to Rush Limbaugh and SO get angered and annoyed with people on here and all over the blogosphere who only focus on empty meaningless things like polls and “electability” and “momentum”.
That is the message we should be spreading.