This is a rush transcript from "Glenn Beck," May 21, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
GLENN BECK, HOST: Now, we go to the former head of the Republican Party — he did step down yesterday. Mr. Rush Limbaugh is with us.
Rush, how are you, sir?
RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST (via telephone): I'm fine. Hey, Glenn, how are you? Are you feeling better today, Glenn?
BECK: I am feeling a little bit better today. Thank you.
LIMBAUGH: Nyquil? How are you staying awake taking it?
BECK: I have no idea. It's the first time I've tried it. It's not a good thing.
Rush, I wanted to ask you. What is the most disturbing thing that you see coming out of Washington and of California with the grab of the rights? What do you most concerned about?
LIMBAUGH: Well, I think it's hard to single out one thing. I think it's a cumulative thing. But, Glenn, the thing that worries me the most about is, I think, Obama's who he is — liberal Democrat politicians and other politicians who are oriented toward acquiring power are who they are. They've always been who they are.
The question that we're all asking is: At what point the American people decide they wanted this kind of power grab by government into the private sector or have they decided that? Did they vote for a cult-like figure based on emotion when they voted for Obama? If so, what's it going to take for them to wake up?
I mean, the politics of this is, that with the numbers in Washington, even if the Republican Party was a unified conservative opposition in stark contrast to Obama, even if they were all unified, they don't have the numbers to stop anything that he is doing. It's going to be — it's going to require the American people stopping this and you have to wonder at this stage at — where are they?
Do they want the government owning their house? Do they want the government owning the mortgage company that they deal with and the bank that they deal with? Do they want the government owning the car company that they're going to buy their little putt-putt from?
Until we know the answer to that, we're not going to know just how serious this is going to get before we can make it better.
BECK: You know, I saw Barack Obama today. I think he is a — I think he's an extraordinarily talented man — very, very shrewd, very good politician. He was giving a speech today at the National Archives. He was standing right in front of the U.S. Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.
I think this man sees the disenfranchisement in this country and he is going to wrap himself not in the flag, he's going to wrap himself in those documents to make himself somehow or another look like the grand protector of the Constitution — when I think we've shredded much of it under him just recently.
LIMBAUGH: Yes, a good point. I — the speeches today — his speech and Vice President Cheney's, I had somebody e-mail me during my radio program this afternoon, who watched both speeches, that it looked like President Obama was doing the Democrat response to a presidential address by Dick Cheney, just in reverse order. Obama was very defensive. He made sure he had a hole where he had a God-like echo in front of those documents.
But I thought — it was eerie to me, Glenn. Here's a man who starts out just talking about national security, starts out with his own personal story with his father, mother, immigrating to the country and all this kind of stuff — the man's a pure, full-fledged man-child narcissist who has to make everything about him.
And while he is talking about protecting and defending us and so forth, the Federal Reserve yesterday came out and said the economic forecast for the rest of the year is even worse, unemployment is going to go even higher, GDP is going to drop even lower.
Nothing is getting better. Nothing that the man has done while telling everybody this is going to fix it is fixing anything.
And back to my first point, that we can pound this and we can remind people of this, but they're going to have to experience it. I have a friend who's got a couple of kids in college, and they bought everything that Al Gore said about global warming. And their father said, "No, no," these facts and figures were demonstrated as overblown... (INAUDIBLE).
It wasn't until this winter when they were still shoveling snow in April in Kansas that they began to think, maybe this isn't true. So, until people are personally impacted by this in a way that they tie Obama to it, it's — he's going to get away with the behavior that you just described.
BECK: You know, Rush, I'm concerned because this guy is — he is so effective at playing right into — I mean, he — what he says and what he does rarely matches up. He's also very, very good at focus groups, finding key words and using them, but not in a way that — not enacting the things that people would want with those words.
And now today, for the first time, apparently the White House has their own news division now to where they didn't allow the press in to cover an event that President Obama was doing. And the White House put together a news package with the lower third and absolutely everything. The press said, "We wanted to cover it," and they said, "Don't worry about it, we got the package for you," and they put the package out. Now, they're becoming a news service as well.
LIMBAUGH: Well, what you are describing is somebody who's entirely phony. You are describing someone who cannot rely on who he genuinely is. And I think that's going to eventually lead to the plummet in his popularity ratings, because, you know, the life — the reality of life at some point is going to have to intersect with the words.
Right now, you're right: It's not what Obama says. It is how he says it that has the magical effect on people. And until the reality of the not improving situation — we were talking today on the radio about — somebody called in and said, "When are we are going to revive the misery index?" I said, "Well, we can't have a misery index until somebody reports the fact that there is misery."
And you watch the news networks all day long, and you found it fascinating that, in fact, during the Bush years, we have reports every day through six years on how we're heading into a recession and the economy is in a tank and people believed it even though their own lives were just fine, they thought other people were hurting.
There is no news detailing how people are suffering. We've got all these foreclosures, we have all this unemployment. We don't see the hard luck stories about what people are doing to overcome this. And so, the public at large, even amidst to this bad news, doesn't think that many people are being harmed by it, because the country is going on, we're launching shuttles, we are — the banks are operating and you go and use your credit card and so forth.
So, I don't know — we're looking at this as an opposition party very early on in this man's term as he barely passed 100 days now. And patience is something that we're going to have to muster and understand who we're dealing with here.
I do disagree with you on one thing: I know he's got a very eloquent speaking ability, very talented and so forth, but I think with the right political candidate, Glenn, in 2008, he could have been — he could have been defeated.
BECK: Oh, I think — yes...
LIMBAUGH: I don't think there's any reason to be afraid here. There is no reason to be intimidated. He's just a man who puts his pants on one leg at a time like Hillary does. There's no reason to get all intimated and think all is lost.
BECK: Yes, I don't — I don't — I don't disagree with you on that, Rush. I think the problem with the last election was — America had to choose between two progressives. I mean, any man who says Teddy Roosevelt is his — is his idol and answers questions that way John McCain does — John McCain is a progressive.
The problem with the Republican Party is not that it is — it's too conservative; the problem with the Republican Party is it doesn't even know what it is — except progressive light. It's got to be for small government — small government. And right now, I haven't seen that. Have you seen a turning point with the Republicans at all that they understand that?
LIMBAUGH: No. And, you know, you were talking to California and the vote at the top of the program. This is why I officially resigned yesterday as titular head of the Republican Party. I didn't seek the job and it was anointed to me — I was given the job by the Obama White House and the media.
The Republican Party, conservative intellectuals — Republican Party intellectuals and blue-blood, country club Rockefeller types — for the last year and a half, two years, have been trying to reorganize the party under the premise that the era of Reagan is over when it comes to tax cuts: "No, no, no, we're not old. The tax cuts don't relate to what's happening in 2009. And plus, we got to get rid of these social conservatives. We got to get rid of the social issues. We're never going to win elections."
The truth is that the country club, blue-blood Rockefeller types never won anything. It was the Reagan coalition — all these people the Republican Party is trying to kick out that finally was able to win landslide elections. The blue print is there, the Republican Party is rejecting it.
This vote in California yesterday, it was — you described it accurately — even the low turnout, it was still a nuclear blast, political nuclear blast, and it sends a message to politicians. OK. Here's a way to contrast yourself with Obama. He's spending. We're in debt $11 trillion. Here is a way — people are fed up. They know what the future holds for their children or grandchildren.
But Glenn, if there isn't a Republican Party that is willing to pick up the action and what happened in California yesterday and run with it, then it may as well not have happened.
BECK: You're exactly right. There's — right now, I — you know what? Rush, when people say, "You know, what can I do?"
I can't tell you of a person that I could look in the eye — well, maybe a couple of people that I think are Republicans that are serving — that I know would say, "We're going to do what Reagan wanted to do. We're going to cut all of these — all of these departments of education — we're just cutting them. They're too big. It's too bloated. That's not what this government was supposed to be."
And I'll tell you, they keep making the argument that if you vote for a conservative — oh, well, we're going to round up, you know, all of the unwed mothers and throw them in furnaces or whatever it is. That's not what this movement is about, at all. You're right on the social aspect. What this movement is about is they are destroying our children's future.
Look, I don't care what you do in your own bedroom. You — we won't have a bedroom left anymore. We're all going to be living in Hooverville or Obamaville if we don't stop the spending.
LIMBAUGH: Yes. It really — I say that the way to go about this, I think, the one thing that's never going to go out of style in this country, the one thing that distinguishes the human beings who live in this country versus the human beings in all time — throughout human history of the rest of the world — is freedom.
The reason we're the greatest country in the history of humanity in less than 300 years is simply freedom — the freedom and ability of human beings to maximize potential, desire — was granted by virtue of our founding documents to people born in this country.
What's happening with this expansion of government and the incursion in the private sector by the federal government is loss of liberty.
So, the way back here is to remind people of what made this country great. What is their birthright? What is the natural yearning of their spirit?
The human spirit is freedom, not to be confined, not to be treated like sheep, not to go along with a tug of popular culture, but being independent, being self-reliant and promote your own self-interests which helps everybody in your family and your neighborhood. Freedom is the key here. But I think, you know, I don't mean to trash conservatives in Washington when I talk about Republicans. I'm talking about...
LIMBAUGH: ...the rest of the Republicans to talk about — somebody is going to surface at some point.
LIMBAUGH: I mean, it will. It just — it hasn't happened now. And the thing California just represents is a great opportunity for somebody to seize it...
BECK: You know, Rush...
LIMBAUGH: ...who is a Republican in electoral politics and run with this. And this — that thing in California, people are tired of losing their freedoms, paying higher taxes to fund a bloated, inefficient, wasteful government that's not getting anything done by people who are elected for it. The only responsibility that the people of California have for this mess is that they keep electing the people that make it.
BECK: Rush, will you — help me out on this, because you always get thrown under the bus, that — well, you know, where were you when George Bush was spending, et cetera, et cetera.
Address — because I — I have to tell you, the Republican Party doesn't get it. You just said, echoed again what I was saying about the progressive Republicans. George Bush, this compassionate conservative movement has got to die a violent death.
LIMBAUGH: Yes, Glenn, let me tell you something. I don't — personally, I don't mind people asking me that question, "Where were you with all the spending?"
I remember — I don't want to mention any names — I was getting phone calls from people in the White House angry because I was opposed to every attempt they made to amnesty. I was opposed to the Medicare expansion.
LIMBAUGH: And they have found a way and called me mad as he can be. "What do you mean this is good — good in the private sector?" I said, "No, it's an entitlement and Republicans don't do that."
I was — you know, I wasn't alone in complaining about some of the spending, but the elected Republicans — here's the problem with it — when you're a Republican and your president is a Republican, you have to go along with it. If you break from him, then you got party disunity and so forth.
The Republicans in the House, I think they are in a no-win situation with some of the spending that the Bush administration was doing in opposing it, because they're charged with carrying his agenda forward... (inaudible).
I don't mean to be critical of him, but I don't think that's such a big an obstacle to overcome.
Even with all the Bush spending, Obama has obliterated whatever Bush spending was.
LIMBAUGH: To say that we didn't oppose Bush even though we did on spending disqualifies us from opposing this outrage is nonsense. Too many Republicans are allowing themselves to be intimidated into silence by a dominant media cultural and a Washington political class that wants to achieve just that.
BECK: Rush, I can't thank you enough for being on the program. I appreciate it, sir. You are a legend. It was an honor to write your most influential piece in Time magazine. Thank you. We'll talk again.
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