Political developments of historical proportions are erupting as the new Congress and Senate, totally controlled by Republicans, join forces with the right-wing Executive branch to direct the country into this new century. Democrats cluster together fulminating about their decapitation from the governing process. What went wrong? Recently, Chris Matthews rejoiced with Ann Coulter on “Hardball” about the outcome noting, laughingly, that the Dems were blaming conservative talk show hosts on both radio and TV for the shellacking. Ann caustically remarked, and I paraphrase: “Liberals are so few in the country, they can’t support talk show hosts. That’s why an O’Reilly or a Rush are so popular!”
Now I dislike disagreeing with conservatives, but I have inside information that calls that perception into question. Professor Laputa, a good friend of mine who lives near me 5000 feet up in the San Bernardino mountains east of LA, shared a letter he received recently from Rush that puts a totally different complexion on the popularity of conservative talk show hosts. I thought it important that the American people hear the truth from the most eloquent spokesman of the talk show circuit. I offer the letter in its entirety without any emendations.
Dear Dr. Laputa:
My good friends at the Hoover Institute inform me that you are preparing to publish a scholarly treatise on liberalism in contemporary America. I have an intense interest in the subject, as you may have heard, and feel that I must discuss the issue with you before you go to press. I assume that no introduction is needed since everyone in the world has heard of the “Talent on loan from God”. No doubt you have read, with great enthusiasm, both of my volumes on the state of the nation, with necessary corrective commentary included. But because it is possible that even so great an intellect as your own may have misunderstood the true intent of my work, I feel I should be very direct in clarifying my position lest my contributions to the advancement of the liberal cause be omitted from your text.
Many beside yourself will be shocked to learn that I am a supporter of the liberal agenda; “Rush to the Left” would be heresy indeed! Let’s understand something right up front, Prof. Laputa, I’m one smart guy. I knew what I was doing when I went conservative. It doesn’t take much smarts to recognize right away in this country that a liberal is a poor capitalist! Just take a look at the jobs they hold: environmentalist, teacher, professor, park attendant, reporter, social worker, counselor, minister, scientist–poverty positions all! Now I wanted to be rich: God in heaven, what American doesn’t want to be rich? It’s un-American to think otherwise. So I knew right away that I had to find a get rich scheme using the talents God gave me, indeed, favored me with. I had to use my mouth; that’s my biggest asset, and I don’t mean that as a pun.
So what professions use the mouth? Preaching, teaching, and broadcasting. Preaching and teaching were not acceptable; they pay nothing, they work too hard, and they carry little respect. I’m too great a guy to work in fields where you get no respect. Now broadcasting is something else again. Look at all the wealthy characters in that field who sit on their rumps reaping benefits for expressing their opinions or listening to others express theirs. God almighty, you’ve got everyone from Pat Robertson (I don’t consider him a preacher because he’s always talking money), to Imus in the morning who potshots any politician who opens his mouth or any entertainer who gets more press than he does, to Heraldo who slinks off behind the refrigerator at night (or scurries away when someone turns on the light), to my good friends Larry King and Alfred Newman (that’s a joke!) who have me on their programs twice a month as a resident expert on some subject I know nothing about, and lastly that guy called O’Reilly Factor, a strange name you’ve got to admit.
That’s where the mouth money is all right, and I owe each of these people a debt of gratitude for being such an inspiration to me. Besides, you don’t need any credentials, any training, any particular knowledge to be a broadcaster. You just need balls! Hutspa! Guts! Ego! I’ve got all four in spades. I can talk about anything at any time for any length of time precisely because I am unencumbered with facts or “Expert” knowledge on the subject. And let me tell you something, as educated a gentleman as Henry Adams observed, “Nothing in education is so astonishing as the amount of ignorance it accumulates in the form of inert facts.” So why would I, or any other person for that matter, want to get an education that makes it neigh impossible to hold an opinion? Consider the current occupant of the White House. Do you think he could have gotten that job if he knew something? When you know too much, you can’t decide. It’s like being stuck in mud in Vermont; you keep spinning your wheels, mud flying in all directions, and all you get is covered in mud. If you know only your bias, you can act immediately. If you’ve got the power, you can make others act with you. That made broadcasting the perfect job for me.
But to be a broadcaster who makes money requires more than being just a voice in front of a mike. I needed a gimmick or a calling that would ensure a huge audience. Well, to make a long story short, I found the perfect angle: talk to the majority of people in a voice they would understand about subjects they love or love to hate. Capitalize on their bigotry, their racism, their dreams that through no fault of their own they’ve never fulfilled, their hatred for those who have succeeded–especially minorities or foreigners, and their religious beliefs which they do not understand but which they need words to express to defend their ignorance. In short, talk to the “suffering” middle class white and any Oreos who have slipped into middle-stream America and to the “haves” who want a way to justify what they have and keep it from others. It was made to order! How could it miss? I’ve got an audience everyone considered a silent minority voice when in fact they are the vast majority. I’ve got an audience who desperately needed a spokesperson (note that proper PC!) who could articulate their fear and anger without making them visibly express that fear and anger. I’ve got an audience who wants a national voice with clout who can mock and humiliate those whom they consider to be their enemies even though they could not voice that opinion publicly. I’ve got an audience whose biases have been pushed aside for decades by a liberal congress as being inhumane, lacking compassion, and favoring inequality when, in fact, they have been silently upholding the values inherent in the Constitution and the American way: rugged individualism and success determined by income.
That, however, was only part of the plan to make me rich. I knew that anyone who took up the voice of this neglected majority could only succeed for a limited time. After all, the opinions that had to be shouted contain a self-destructive acid that over time will corrode the truth. At some point voices of reason would surface and sink the lies needed to sustain the biases. So, if I were to make the dollars, I had to do it in a few short years. Well, I’ve done just that, making more than 18 million a year, stashing it away while those who gobbled me up gloried in my success at the expense of the liberal establishment. But even as I held sway over these years, there were experts out there who caught on and started to accumulate all the errors I’d perpetrated to present my outrages as truth. Now they’ve moved in and people of consequence are beginning to pay attention. With this new Congress totally controlled by right-wingers, the obviousness of the idiocy we espouse will be even more glaring. I’ve got to get out or look like an idiot. Rats don’t go down with a sinking ship.
No doubt you’re curious about what all this has to do with the liberal agenda? Well, that’s simple enough. I knew that if I voiced the Conservative cause loudly and often, the ridiculousness of its position on virtually any subject would become obvious to anyone. You can only hide nonsense from those with sense for so long. Once the idiocies were apparent to all, the Conservative cause would fall. An ingenious plan even if I do say so myself!
But how do I prove this to you? I’ve asked myself that question many times once I found out that you were publishing a treatise on contemporary liberal thought. Well, not to be too facetious, you know that true conservatives haven’t got a sense of humor; I do, I’m one of the funniest people I know; I have to be a liberal! I premised my radio show on the idea that it had to be entertaining and if I expressed conservative ideas with humor everyone would know that I could not be a conservative. But, you know, people began to assume that conservatives could laugh because they believed I was telling the truth. I guess since I was saying what they believed and wanted desperately to hear, that I was sincere. Unfortunately, people now think conservatives have a sense of humor.
Now I’ve asked myself how they could believe such a thing when I’ve described in my book how Bill Bennett, Jack Kemp, and myself could drive through South Central Los Angeles looking at the slums and the poverty and say to each other “You know, if these people were just taught how to avail themselves of the ever-expanding pie of prosperity that is America, and how to believe in themselves, how to be self-sufficient, and how to get the government off their backs, they could be as successful as we are.” Have you ever heard a more self-serving, inane, and disgraceful comment in all your life? Could anyone who said that, and believed it, have a sense of humor? I went on to say that we conservatives don’t want the government taking care of people; let them be all they can be. Now I know there are people in South Central Los Angeles and in every other city and hamlet in America who cannot take care of themselves, who are mentally incompetent, physically or emotionally disabled, financially destitute and unable to contact potential employers and leave addresses because they have none or leave phone numbers because they have none or dress for an interview because they have no acceptable clothing or travel to an interview because they have no money. So let them be what they can be! A great philosophy when you want to excuse yourself of responsibility or dock your pocket some dollars for the federal coffers. So I ask you, Professor, how could someone as intelligent as me believe such nonsense? No. I was really putting forward the liberal agenda by showing the absurdity of the conservative one.
Let me give you another example. Because I believe that people are too credulous, I “provoke my audience into thinking for themselves, and not blindly accepting all they are spoon-fed by the media, myself included.” How do I provoke them into thinking for themselves? By encouraging them not to think! Yeah. Would you believe it? I tell them that I will do their thinking for them. I tell my critics that by telling my audience that I will do their thinking for them, they will get angry and do it for themselves. But I know in my heart of hearts that they will do no such thing because my show is premised on telling the people what they already believe but haven’t the words to express. I give them the words. They sit there like dummies nodding their heads in agreement grunting, “Uh, huh, that’s right Rush”. They are intellectual lemmings following my thoughts right off the deep end. Now you are beginning to understand; I am promoting the liberal agenda.
You’ve probably seen that pompous and self-righteous booklet put out by Steven Rendall a couple of years ago, The Way Things Aren’t: Rush’s Reign of Error? He missed the point completely. He thinks I believe the stuff I spurt out day after day. You only need to read what I’m quoted as saying in that book and you’d know immediately that no sensible person could believe that crap. Yet that idiot presents it as though its gospel from Rush and not the tripe it really is. Here’s an example of what he says I said:
*”Even if polar ice caps melted, there would be no rise in ocean levels.”
*”There are more acres of forest land in America today than when Columbus discovered the continent in 1492.”
*”The poorest people in America are better off than the mainstream families of Europe.”
*”No one ever accuses Louis Farrakhan of being anti-semitic.”
*Most Canadian physicians come to the United States when in need of surgery.”
He says I believe this stuff! Can you believe that? How could any one take such nonsense seriously? Yet I get clobbered for promoting these lies, half-truths, and craziness as truth. This stuff is so elementary. I know when I let the ice in my cocktail melt, the water in the glass rises! I know a lot of this country’s land area is now covered by cities where forests don’t grow anymore. I’ve been to Europe and know how the average European lives, and they live a lot better than the poor in America! But you know, because I say it, the people believe it. It gets scary at times. And I’m not alone in asserting such nonsense. Ann Coulter has demanded that America “…should invade their countries (Arab), kill their leaders, and convert them to Chrisianity.” What thinking person would say such a thing? This should help you understand how I am pushing the liberal agenda by mocking what conservatives say.
One of the more fascinating techniques I use on my show to reveal the small minds that follow me I call “raising the wrath”. I pick on some person or group that these people love to hate and I coddle their resentment. There are so many examples it’s hard to select one. Try this. “One of the things I want to do before I die is conduct the homeless Olympics…events would include the 10-Meter Shopping Cart Relay, the Dumpster Dig, and the Hop, Skip, and Trip.” Is that great or what! Can you picture those righteous idiots sitting in their comfortable living rooms laughing uproariously at the unfortunates pushing their belongings in a stolen shopping cart! They know the homeless want to be on the streets rather than working hard like they do. They deserve what they get.
There’s another great one that really raises the wrath of white America, especially those blue-collar guys who fear for their jobs. “If we are going to start rewarding no skills and stupid people–I’m serious, let the unskilled jobs, let the kinds of jobs that take absolutely no knowledge whatsoever to do–let stupid and unskilled Mexicans do that work.” Boy, does that get them going! These are the ones who flock around Pat begging him to build that wall between Mexico and California. They’re ready to start a second war and reclaim the place for Americans only. That’s why Wilson got elected Governor in California some years ago; he was hoping for the “big one” so there’d be a sea between Tijuana and San Diego.
Then I took on the PC’ers who attempted to toss Columbus out as a great Captain who discovered America and who pander to those lazy drunkards, the Indians. “I don’t give a hoot that Columbus gave some Indians a disease that they didn’t have immunity against.” What do they want us to do, give back the land? It’s one thing for America to sue foreigners who buy property once owned by Americans in Cuba, but it’s something else again to suggest that Americans on this continent should have paid for or should be subject to suits because they have property once owned by Indians.
Well, you get the picture. I can make these people react by lashing out at everything they hate: the homeless, illegal aliens, Indians, blacks, feminists, welfare recipients, the handicapped, atheists, Muslims, and liberal professors. Anything or any group that threatens their stuff! So I tell them what they want to hear. These people or this way of thinking is wrong; it’s anti-American; it’s contrary to God’s teaching (the Christian God that is); it’s valueless; it’s threatening to their way of life; it’s necessary that they be stopped! Once I’ve got them in a frenzy they can only believe what I want them to; they get caught up in the righteousness of the cause and any focus or concern for any individual who fits in one of those groups is lost. Compassion doesn’t even enter the picture because they’ve seen the glory of the lord in wiping out the plague. It’s really a lot of fun. They become ardent fans because I provide such great entertainment. That’s really why I’m such a booming success. People love what I have to say. But I need to make sure you understand that all of this is done to promote the hidden truth–compassion is desirable, equality is desirable, fairness is desirable, varied personal behaviors are acceptable, differing religious beliefs are acceptable, caring is acceptable. Only by graphically illustrating the brutality and ugliness of the Conservative views can the kindness of the liberal agenda be made evident.
Do you know, Professor, that one of my greatest coups has been the lies I tell about the communications business? You’ve probably noticed that. I’ve convinced everyone that the whole business from newspapers to TV is riddled with liberals! They love it: Especially the moguls who own the industry, who now favor me with their obsequious comments and support all my efforts. I learned early on that if you want to make money in this country you’ve got to coddle those with money. It’s no secret to those who do the research that GE and the Archer Daniels Midland Corporation sponsor most of the major TV network news and analysis programs, including the “MacNeil/Lehrer News Hour”. But researchers are published in obscure journals and never reach the public. I can tell folks that the liberals are everywhere in the media even though they represent a minority opinion in the country. And you know what’s happened? Now, over the past few years, we got Pat Buchanan, Robert Novak, Mark Shields, Al Hunt, Mona Charen, Bill Bennett, Bill O’Reilly, Chris Matthews, and loads of other “centrist” conservatives on the tube overwhelming the voice of the liberals. Nothing could be more obvious in this regard than my own show. I spent untold hours when the Dems had some power ridiculing Billy Clinton, satirizing his cronies and his wife, and even taking potshots at his kid; I redoubled my efforts during 2002 mocking every cause the Dems tried to espouse like spending time correcting the crippled economy, ensuring justice for the worker and investor that lost their employment or retirement because of corrupt CEOs, and the supposed loss of civil liberties under Archangel Ashcroft. Where could the conservative cause get such free airtime? They don’t even have to pay for it or fear that some antsy liberal will get equal airtime. Hell, the Accuracy in Media and the Eagle Forum don’t have to complain about a fairness doctrine for broadcasting anymore!
Well, you can now understand how I belong in your book. Why without me the vapid ness and general stupidity of the conservative causes would not have been broadcast to the millions of Americans who hear me everyday on radio. And if the above did not demonstrate my point, I’d be glad to give you more information that will prove it conclusively. After all, I’ve made my money, I’ve got friends in all the right places–in Congress, the Senate, broadcasting, industry, and even with the tele-evangelists who receive me as one of their own. So you don’t have to worry about me. I just don’t want you to omit from your study what has to be the most effective denunciation of a set of beliefs and biases that has plagued America for four decades. Do let me know what you think of the points I’ve raised. I admire your skill as a researcher and look forward to a truly insightful treatise.
I hope the above letter demonstrates that the Democrats are mistaken in blaming the Conservatives for their defeat in 2002. Indeed, the very opposite is true: the Conservatives have been used! Made idiots before the American people! I trust the truth, as made evident in Rush’s remarks, will clear the air and provide a sympathetic perspective on conservative thinkers.
WILLIAM COOK is a professor of English at the University of La Verne in southern California. His new book, Psalms for the 21st Century, will be published by Mellen Press in January. He can be reached at: cookb@ULV.EDU