Is liberalism dead?

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," May 9, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: Conservative columnist and author R. Emmett Tyrrell is declaring that liberalism for all intents and purposes is dead. I sat down with him earlier as we discussed this brand new claim and his brand new book. It's called "The Death Of Liberalism." Take a look.


HANNITY: And joining us now is R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr., the founder and the editor of the American Spectator, one of my favorite magazines. It's called "The Death Of Liberals." Are you sure?


HANNITY: There is a coffin and hearse and there it is.

TYRRELL: And flowers, too.

HANNITY: Very respectful. Are you certain? Many have predicted the death of liberalism in the past but here we.

TYRRELL: Here we have the numbers and it is not just Gallup and not just Pew and not just Harris. The numbers and charts are there. They have gone down to 20 percent. Steadily, it is a trend. We have gone up to 42 percent.

HANNITY: You're talking about when people are asked if they are conservative or liberal, two to one it is always conservative?

TYRRELL: In this book the death of liberalism I say there were two civil wars in the liberal camp. The first was in '48 and the good guys won, the moderates, Arthur Schlessinger and people like that.

In '72 after John and Bob Kennedy were dead, the liberals had another civil war. And the kooks won. And the infantile left won. My generation, the generation of the 1960s, produced the worst leadership in the Democratic Party in a hundred years. The Clintons, Jean Francois Kerry and Al Gore and all the rest of them and they drove a stake through the heart of liberalism.

HANNITY: Don't you think as we look back through the Clinton years for example and you were as vocal a critic as I was, that at least Clinton adjusted, the era of big government is over, the end of welfare as we know it. He saw that his term -- he was going to be a one term president. Obama still clings bitterly to the radical agenda of his and never --

TYRRELL: He is different. Bill Clinton was the infantile left, but Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton and Jean Francois Kerry --

HANNITY: Jean Francois?


TYRRELL: -- gave birth to Obama and the stealth socialists. This is the new era and a dangerous era it is for us. But I think that, of course, I think the president is going to be defeated.

HANNITY: What about the 49 percent of Americans, wage earners, that pay no federal income tax? The president is using class warfare. Does he start out with the percentage of the vote that says, I'm not paying any federal income tax? This president is going to take from the 70 percent or 10 percent that pays 70 percent of the bill and take more. You don't think they're thinking that way?

TYRRELL: The 49 percent is not that homogenous. The 49 percent is made up of Reagan Democrats. They still exist. It's made up of Evangelicals. It's made up of the kind of people that gave conservativism kind of fissures in the 1990s.

A guy called it a conservative crackup, but it was the fissures of a growing coalition where as when I wrote "The Liberal Crack-Up," "The Liberal Crack-Up" was a crack up of established members of the liberal movement who were breaking up, who were cracking up.

Environmentalists were opposed to union guys and some of those union guys, they vote our way now because they are not driven just by the almighty dollar. They are driven by the flag and the love of the hunt.

HANNITY: It seems like America every 30 years will go through and flirt with the idea we can have a more socially just society by redistributing wealth. Carter tried it and it fails and it was the rise of conservatism.

Pretty much 12 years, even the Clinton years benefited from the Reagan years, my argument, not one to get into here. Is that the case that you need four years of failed liberal policies to remind the country?

TYRRELL: You certainly had them, but as I say, this man is something other than a liberal. This man is a stealth socialist and it is in the book. You read the book and you find out.

HANNITY: I have read the book. I'm a fan of it. I hope you are right, but there is a part of me that says uh oh. But the book is phenomenal, "The Death of Liberalism," I love the American Spectator. Bob, good to see you as always.

TYRRELL: Thank you, God bless.


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