Rush Limbaugh (Transcript)
(By the way... I edited the transcript slightly for length and readability.)
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I found a piece at National Review Online on The Corner by a guy named David French, and French speculated one of the problems that the Republican Party's having vis-a-vis Trump and so forth is that they have over-estimated their conservative base. ... French also made a couple of other points that I thought resonated well, and I expanded on them... and one of my expansions was to posit - put out there for consideration - [that] for so many people on the Republican side and in the conservative movement, [supporting Trump] doesn't make any sense.
They can't make hide nor tails of why so many people who've long thought to be orthodox, solid - not intellectual conservative, but people that understood it, that were principled conservatives - how in the world could they be going to Trump?
So I have been trying to offer assistance in helping to explain this to people - and the David French piece at National Review was quite helpful to me in advancing my own thinking on this.
[There was a] piece written by Samuel Francis back in 1996 urging Pat Buchanan how to win the Republican nomination back then, and I've told you about this piece, and we've linked to it at our website. It is one of the most prescient pieces of opinion journalism. I mean, the guy writes it in 1996 and it practically is verbatim what's happening today in the Trump campaign.
Samuel Francis, back in 1996, is advising a conservative Republican how to win the nomination - in that case it was Pat Buchanan. And Trump - whether he knows it or not, irrelevant - is doing exactly what this column suggested doing back in 1996.
What it was - essentially - was advice for Buchanan to go above and beyond the conservative movement because they were not going to be helpful to him, that Buchanan needed to branch out and get into other areas.
French was advocating things like populism, nationalism, and so forth, and suggesting that an approach like that would work because of the mind-set of Americans who are fed up with elites and their condescension and their general inattentiveness to the things that bothered the people that make the country work. And it was his theory that a nationalistic approach - i.e., big time patriotism, make America great, America first, America last, America always - combined with a populist appeal as opposed to [a purely] conservative [appeal] would work.
So people have found that piece, they've looked at it, they've compared it to the Trump campaign, they've said, "My gosh, this guy back in 1996 actually wrote everything Trump's doing."
So I then, in talking to people and you, I posited, I asked the question, "Could it be that nationalism and populism have usurped conservatism today in the minds of a majority of Republican base voters?"
* NOT USURPED. ALIGNED WITH! BLENDED INTO!
Well, what has happened is that I am now accused of actually saying that and of actually believing that and therefore of betraying conservatism, which people can't believe because I am Mr. Conservative. I am the Mister Big, if you will, of the vast right-wing conspiracy. So all these people are out there, "My God, my God, what's Limbaugh doing?"
* WHAT LIMBAUGH IS DOING IS... BEING RIGHT!
And it's all resulting, it's the same that happens when Media Matters takes hold here. Take one sentence out of a very detailed, nuanced monologue or discussion in which I have engaged, take one little sentence - Megyn Kelly asked Rich Lowry about it on Fox last week. But she got it right, so did Rich, when she posited the question. She said, "Rush Limbaugh has suggested the possibility here that nationalism, populism have usurped..."
* USURPED CONSERVATISM...
And Rich Lowry said, "I hope that's not true."
* FOLKS... MEGYN KELLY AND RICH LOWRY. NEITHER ONE "GETS IT."
If you don't listen to the program - and many of the critics of this program never do listen to it - this program is far more nuanced than some of the things these egghead writers publish.
Everybody that hosts a conservative radio show gets lumped together. So whoever the host is they think the shows are all the same and they always zero in on what they think the lowest common denominator is and then attach my name to it.
So now some conservatives and their publications are beginning to go down this path and so forth.
(*ROLLING MY EYES*)
* I FEEL YOUR PAIN, RUSH! LOTS OF IDIOTS OUT THERE!
And I assure you, folks, all I am doing here is trying to explain the reasons why I think this phenomenon is happening and why I believe this phenomenon is big.
I think it holds tremendous potential.
I have no idea where it's going.
I don't yet know, and nobody does. We don't have enough data. We don't know what it all means yet.
We don't know if Trump is flighty, flash in the pan, or real long term. We don't even know if he's really gonna win.
All of this remains speculative and therefore I am just keeping my powder dry and my eyes open and trying to absorb as much of this as I can because I have numerous people asking me what does this mean.