RUSH: Here is Mark in South Bend, Indiana. Thank you for waiting. I appreciate it. You’re up first today. Hello, sir.
CALLER: No worries, Rush. Interesting how your voice has changed over the years, but your ideas and thoughts haven’t, and that’s a good thing.
RUSH: Well, you know, I’m glad you made that point. One thing you can count on: Whatever you think I believe, whatever my core values are, they’re not up for sale. They’re not up for grabs. They are what they are, and they have been consistent for 32 years and counting. Thank you for noticing that.
CALLER: Right is right, right? I was just gonna point out that back in the nineties, you always used to say the term, “We are winning,” and I haven’t heard that in a long time, and I’m just curious — and I’ll hang up after this, but — are we still winning? I’m kind of worried.
RUSH: You know, it’s a good question. I’m not gonna run away from the question. Snerdley, why did you give me this call? Why did you give me this call? I’m just kidding, folks. Just kidding. (interruption) I know! I’m just kidding. It’s actually a good question. Back in the nineties, there’s no question we were winning. We were ascending. The House — for the first time in 40 years — the Republicans win it.
They made me an honorary member of the freshman class in 1995. We were winning left and right. Now, we had lost the presidency in ’92 to Slick Willie. But we got it back in 2000 with George W. Bush. But, no, we were ascending. Fox News was starting up. That was 1996. I had four years on TV, and, folks, I just didn’t like it, is why I stepped down. You know, it’s not like I wasn’t working hard.
I mean, I did a radio show every day, a couple of books, and TV was just frustrating, ’cause I don’t collaborate. I’ve never had one meeting to do this program! I’ve never had to have a meeting with anybody. I’ve never had to coordinate with anybody what I’m gonna do. I’ve never had to plan in advance what I’m gonna do here, other than staying informed doing show prep. But television? Jeez! The meeting’s longer than the show.
RUSH: So, no question we were winning in the nineties. We were ascendant — especially if you want to define winning as an expanding and expansive alternative media, that was overwhelmingly and resoundingly successful. Are we winning today? Well, we don’t have the same growth, if you will, that we had in the late eighties throughout the nineties.
The so-called conservative movement has matured. In fact, you know what I would say? I think we’ve even had some defections. I think the conservative movement… Well, I know we have, starting with the Never Trumpers. But I had somebody send me a note yesterday. I really don’t want to make this about me, but this note that I got yesterday from somebody meant a lot to me.
It was along the lines of, “You know, Rush, the one thing: It’s 32 years, and you are who you are, and you have not changed on a substantive thing your entire life or career.” The person making these comments to me was giving me examples of how other so-called conservative institutions can’t say that anymore, either institutionally or individually in terms of the people that work at these various places — and that’s true.
There isn’t a unity of purpose on our side now. There’s not a unity, even, of ideology. We have some people on our side who are just so discombobulated by Trump that it has forced them to abandon what are their core beliefs. It’s been the most amazing thing to me, that people who ostensibly were being honest with us about their conservatism and the things that they believed — and they’ve been asking us to donate to their think tank or their cause or subscribe to their magazine.
And here in the first three years of the Trump administration, so much policy-wise that they had devoted their lives to was being implemented. Judges were being nominated and confirmed. The economy? We had massive tax cuts that were implemented, we had unemployment at a record low, and the people who had extracted money from us so that they could continue — so that they could be the intellect leaders of the movement and the cause — abandoned us and started proudly claiming they’re gonna vote Democrat!
I said, “Wait a minute. Don’t you guys realize that everything that you’ve devoted your lives to is being implemented here?” Well, I can tell you why. They were upset because it was happening without them. They thought by abandoning Trump they would be taking Trump out. The people I’m talking about — the intellectuals, the Never Trumpers — they really did, my friends, think they led and ran the conservative movement so-called.
They thought that when they abandoned it — when they took their ball and went home and when they started dumping on Trump, they thought — the conservative movement would go with them. And, of course, it didn’t. People waved good-bye to them, and what they had to come to grips with and realize was they never were that important to the cause, to the movement. That was something that existed largely in their egos, in their heads.
So Bad Orange Man comes along who they think can’t hold a candle to them in terms of IQ, elite status, vocabulary. You know, all these things that really matter. They were just beside themselves that this ogre could come along and implement that which they had failed to implement. They kept asking for money, kept asking for donations for the cause.
But Trump comes along and actually succeeds and did it without them. So, no, we’re not. In terms of the movement, we’re falling apart, I think, especially in comparison to the unity that exists. Now, the unity in the nineties is also something that needs qualification, because we aren’t actually totally unified. There were competitive relationships that occurred in the nineties.
There were people in conservative movement who didn’t like the fact that I was prominent in it, ’cause I didn’t have an Ivy League or formal education pedigree. I had not worked nearly as hard as they had. I came out of nowhere. Nobody ever heard of me. I’m some guy on the radio just spouting what I think and I’m getting fame and fortune and these guys have been laboring away in the basements in obscurity.
Nobody knows who they are. They’re begging for money, donations. So the unity really never totally existed, but at least there was a sense that the Democrats were worthy of defeating, that the left needed to be defeated. That doesn’t exist today, either. Among… There’s no unity on our side that has to happen. You want to talk about the most frustrating things about doing this at this moment in time? It’s that we have people, some cases prominent people on our side who do not — and you know the drill here.
They don’t see the country in crisis. They don’t think anything’s wrong — certainly nothing earth-shattering that getting rid of Trump won’t fix. But I think, overall, we continue to prevail. The left, folks, still has not won. They have to lie to themselves about their successes. They have to institute all kinds of communist-socialist orthodoxy.
They can’t stand for an alternate point of view to be aired. They’re in no way confident that their ideas prevail. They don’t… They’re not at all even worried about persuading people. Because in their world, you force people to agree with you or punish ’em. But I think the real perception that we’re losing is not very old. I think you can trace it back to COVID-19.
Because, folks, we were on a roll until COVID-19 hit. Trump was on the way to a reelection victory that was going to be landslide in proportions. And one of the reasons that Plugs was the Democrat nominee was so they wouldn’t lose somebody that they really think is a star. I mean, Biden, okay, he’s 83. If he loses, they haven’t lost anything. You pay the guy off. He’s been an old war horse. Let him run for president and so forth.
That’s one of the reasons Biden was the nominee, ’cause they didn’t think they had a chance of beating Trump. So don’t nominate somebody that’s gonna be damaged by losing. Nominate somebody like Biden. Then COVID-19 hits and all that’s out the window. COVID-19 hits, what do we do? We shut down the country. We shut down the economy.
In two months — less than two months — we destroyed three years of work. Three years that led to the biggest roaring economy in anybody’s lifetime. It’s gone. And now we’ve got people advocating to shutdown again, to make the destruction of the economy complete. That’s right. The American left, the Democrats want another shutdown to make the destruction complete.
I would tell you that prior to COVID-19 we were winning, we were on a roll, we were having fun. The Democrats were frustrated, and it was fun to watch. No matter what they did blew up on ’em. All the impeachment hearings, the Mueller report, everything they tried blew up in their face like they were Wile E. Coyote.
The weird thing is that the Republican base… By every poll, the Republican base is unified. The Republican base supports Trump at a higher rate than any president in modern history — including Reagan. I think, what is it, 95, 96% of the Republican Party supports Trump even now.
RUSH: This is Nick in Minneapolis. You’re next on Open Line Friday. Great to have you here, sir. Hi.
CALLER: Rush, 32-anniversary dittos.
RUSH: Thank you, sir.
CALLER: Thank you. I want to go on record. I think we are winning when we look forward. We got Trump in office. He fights for optimism. He’s got a can-do approach, and that same contagious passion that I see in him in the fight is present me when I look at the future, folks like Candace Owens, Charlie Kirk, Brandon Tatum, all these young, amazing young conservative leaders. And I don’t think the game ever ends.
RUSH: Wait wait wait wait wuh wuh wuh wuh whoa whoa whoa. What was the third name you mentioned? You mentioned Candace. You mentioned Charlie Kirk. What was the third name?
CALLER: Brandon Tatum.
CALLER: Brandon Tatum. He’s another… Brandon Tatum. He’s another amazing conservative.
RUSH: Brandon Tatum. Okay. Yeah.
CALLER: And so I don’t think the game ever ends. And so when I look at Candice and compare her to the left. The left has folks like AOC and Ilhan Omar, and I just love our chances, you know. So I think there’s a lot to be optimistic about. And I just thank you so much for what you do, and God bless you.
RUSH: Well, you’re more than welcome, and I’m glad you call. Those are some great names that you have mentioned, Charlie Kirk and Candace Owens, and they’re fearless. And they are specifically… Like Kirk has started Turning Point USA. It is a college kid, college-age group of young people who are conservative.
And it really is important because those are the people that have been targeted for the past two generations in the public school system and at the university level, and their minds have been rotted out. And it’s great that Charlie and Candace are working overtime to reach those people and to keep the pressure on, ’cause it’s what’s required.
You know, one of the things that’s always amazed me, folks — and I should have learned this (well, no, I’ve always known; it just it frustrates me) — is that… And this is what happened, by the way, to the Republicans who won the House in 1994, for the first time in 40 years. They made the mistake of assuming that the country elected ’em because the country had all of a sudden gone conservative and understood conservatism and voted conservative.
There was some of that, but there was also the House Bank Scandal and the House Post Office scandal and there was also this program, which had done a lot to educate people about the scandals and the corruption among primarily Democrats in the House but also institutional. But if you look… Let’s go back to the 1980s. Here you had a president, a conservative president — the most conservative president in history at that point — elected in two landslides.
And he was an unabashed conservative. And he lived it. And he taught it. Ronald Reagan. He taught it. He spoke it. He implemented conservative ideological policy. Tax cuts. Tax cuts revived a moribund Jimmy Carter economy. Tax cuts led to people having more money than they had ever had in their lives. Tax cuts led to economic freedom.
More people starting businesses, more entrepreneurs than ever before. And while all that was happening, unemployment came down, interest rates came down — and federal revenue increased. One of the most educational things that happened. Reagan illustrated that by cutting taxes, you create more employees. By cutting taxes, you grow the economy, which creates more taxpayers, which leads to more federal revenue.
So when Reagan takes office, folks, in 1981, the top marginal tax rate was 90%. Very few people paid it, but that’s what it was. When Reagan left office in 1989, the top marginal tax rate was 28%. So it had come down from 90% to 28% over eight years. Wealth created like it had any been created before among the American people. Entrepreneurship growing like crazy. The American military was rebounding.
We defeated the Soviet Union, defeated Soviet communism — and federal revenue nearly doubled. By cutting income tax rates, federal revenue doubled, because we had created that many more taxpayers. I expected that to be a revolutionary eight years. I expected those eight years to have a degree of permanence with a lot of Americans.
I figured a lot of Americans would learn a lot. “Oh, cutting taxes grows the economy. Cutting taxes expands the amount of federal revenue,” which is good, because we need a big military. We need be able to protect ourselves and so forth. And in less than four years, here comes the country electing Bill Clinton, who’s promising to raise taxes.
The Democrats succeeded in four years of wiping out what the eight years of Reagan meant. The Democrats and the media were relentless. They called it trickle-down economics. They said it didn’t work. They said the country was in debt, was never gonna get out of debt, gotta pay the credit card bill now. Reagan was a fraud. They lied through their teeth.
Revisionist history was the name of the game, and for every day they were… Just like they’ve relentlessly for four years tried to tie Trump to the Russians and meddling in an election, for four years, they insisted that Ronald Reagan and his tax cuts were trickle-down economics and the poor got the poorer and the rich got richer and that’s all that happened.
It was demonstrably false. People who lived through it knew it was false. And yet, after four years, you may as well not have had the eight years of Reagan. People forgot it, or they were able to be talked out of it. I said to myself, “This is crazy.” But then I said, “You have to teach conservatism every day.
“We are going to have to explain every success in this country is tied to conservatism — and, by the same token, we’re going to have to point out that every failure, everything that’s gone wrong, we have to tie it to liberalism.” And we didn’t ever get a Republican Party that wanted to do that. So it was left to us in the media to make that case each and every day.