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Rush’s CPAC Speech

Posted by Ender on March 9, 2009

Recently Rush Limbaugh gave a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).  If you would like to watch or read the speech you can go here.

Rush Limbaugh

Rush Limbaugh

In typical Rush fashion, he gave a speech that thrilled some people and infuriated others.  Anyone looking for a good explanation of what conservatism is, this speech is for you.  It ties right into Maker’s post on the definition of conservatism.  There are a few points I would like to make about the speech itself, but more importantly I would like to focus on the reaction to the speech.  If you pay attention to any media source (mainstream or alternative) you have probably heard several different criticisms of the speech. 

1.  From the Left:  Outrage over Rush saying that he wants Obama to fail.  The Left seems to be mischaracterizing this as wanting America to fail.  There are two problems with this:  One, you assume that Obama wants America to succeed.  Does he truly want America to succeed?  His policies and actions leave me unconvinced (this could be a whole article by itself).  I think Obama realizes that the only way he is going to advance his causes in socialized healthcare, enviro-fascism and a massive government state is to create this crisis.  He will then use the crisis to move America to a place that it would not normally agree to.  This is exactly what Rham Emmanuel (Obama’s chief of staff) meant when he said “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.”  Two, you assume that the policies will actually work.  Well, guess what…they won’t.  None of these policies he is implementing have ever worked.  None of them ever will. They are based on bad economic theory and fallacious arguments.  Also, can you imagine if Bush had attempted a similar political slight of hand by campaigning against a private citizen? 

2.  From the Right:  Criticisms over Rush’s principles over policy.  Rush said that we don’t really need better policies right now.  Several Conservative media outlets like National Review disagreed with Rush on his point.  Their arguments consisted primarily of “we need to offer good alternatives to Obama’s plan…we can’t just be a party of ‘No.'”  I think that what Rush was getting at was that there is a large contingent of “conservatives” who don’t understand or articulate the conservative message.  These people are merely trying to get a tiny amendment here or there that slightly scales back Obama’s plan.  We need people out there who understand our principles first.  Good policy will spawn from that.

Bankrupter of California

Arnold: Bankrupter of California

3.  Also, from the Right:  Criticisms over Conservatism in general.  These are the people who are saying that we need to modernize conservatism.  We need to change its principles in order to succeed.  Ladies and gentlemen, have we not already tried this?  Isn’t that what Bush did?  He was a so called “compassionate conservative” and look where that got us.  Wasn’t Schwarzenegger a modern conservative?  Look what that has done to California.  The most economically successful state in the US is on the verge of bankruptcy.  This is what compromising conservative principles does. Part of the trouble the party is in is due to people labeling people like Bush and Schwarzenegger as conservatives.  They aren’t.

We need to articulate the conservative message.  We need to show America why it is critical to keep conservative principles alive.  This is why we have started this site and why we will share this message with anyone who will listen.

22 Responses to “Rush’s CPAC Speech”

  1. Sid said

    I’m not a huge fan of rush, I think he goes way over board at times. But his role of getting the message of true conservatism to the people cannot go under estimated. Both Rush’s statements and yours about Obama wanting America to fail are a bit hard to swallow.

    That might be the ugliest tie I have ever seen.

  2. mattbenchener said

    You and Rush raise an interesting point–it is certainly wrong to say that we would want America to fail…that is unpatriotic. But, it’s also wrong to say that you want Obama’s policies to “suceed.” Why? Because even if we emerge from the economic crisis under his policy (which will happen in spite of, not because of him), or we successfully ‘fix’ social security and health care, the Obama path still strips us of our liberties by forwarding socialism. If Obama can save social security by taxing the wealthiest 2% of Americans at 75%, then he has traded one failure for the greater failure of legalized theft and government control. If Obama provides health care for everyone by widening the deficit and destroying private industry, then he has traded fair market capitalism for controlled socialism. In this way, we can’t want Obama to succeed, as success for him means failure of a greater order for our nation.

  3. Randy said

    I don’t see how rooting for Obama to fail is not rooting for America to fail. If he fails this country is in a lot of trouble.

    Rush is first and foremost an entertainer. The more controversial he is, the better his ratings are. I don’t believe that he believes everything he says. I believe he is a strong conservative, but he knows how to push peoples’ buttons. He knows how to work his fans up into a frenzy and to believe everything he tells them.

    As far as Obama’s stimulus package not working. I know the conservative stand is that FDR’s spending prolonged the depression, what I believe is that him not spending sooner is what prolonged the depression. No doubt conservatives and liberals have different veiws to fix the problems facing us.

    The fact of the matter is we are going to find out who is right over time. Although you already stated that if this suceeds it is in spite of Obama and not because of him. It is one of the things that typically upset me about me conservatives. They never give credit to a democrat for anything. If a liberal found a cure for cancer they would find someway to criticize it.

    The bottom line is that the last 8 years did nothing to help our economy. Doing nothing won’t solve the problem. Our elected officials should be willing to put party aside and work together for the common good of the country. We as a people also need to come together and hope that our officials can come up with something that is sucessful. As stated above, something good has got to happen or we are in a lot of trouble.

    We are all Americans and what is best for the country even though we have different veiws on how to get there. I just wish the name calling would stop on both sides. I am so sick of people calling Obama a socialist and Hannity even going as far as to call him a communist. The guy has been in an office a little over a month. It would be nice if people actually listened to him and gave him time before judging him.


  4. Randy said

    GOP Rep. Patrick McHenry, a key player in helping craft the Republican message, has offered an unusually blunt description of the Republican strategy right now.

    McHenry’s description is buried in this new article from National Journal (sub. only):

    “We will lose on legislation. But we will win the message war every day, and every week, until November 2010,” said Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., an outspoken conservative who has participated on the GOP message teams. “Our goal is to bring down approval numbers for [Speaker Nancy] Pelosi and for House Democrats. That will take repetition. This is a marathon, not a sprint.”

    McHenry’s spokesperson, Brock McCleary, tells me his boss is standing by the quote.

    McHenry’s description of his party’s goal — to “bring down approval numbers” for Nancy Pelosi and House Dems — is being much talked about today among Congressional Dems. It’s likely that Dems will grab on to the quote today to bolster their charge that Congressional Republicans aren’t interested in playing a constructive role in governing and see their hope for political revival in the eventual failure of the Democratic majority’s policies.

  5. Ender said

    Hi Randy, thanks for leaving your comments. Hopefully, we can address the issues more in depth at some point, but for now:

    “If he fails this country is in a lot of trouble.” This is actually a very large difference between conservatives and liberals. Conservatives believe in the People who make this country what it is. Liberals believe in the ruling elites. Obama isn’t going to get us out of this crisis, but I believe the American People can. He just needs to get out of the way.

    “The fact of the matter is we are going to find out who is right over time… They [conservatives] never give credit to a democrat for anything.” I’m going to assume that you were in full on rant mode (which we are all occasionally guilty of) at this point and didn’t really mean this. This is the problem I have with Liberalism, it just refuses to find out who is right over time. We have already seen who is right over time. Not to go fully into the whole FDR/Great Depression arguments, but the story is quite clear: 1. The Dow never returned to pre-crash levels. 2. Unemployment never fully recovered to pre-crash levels. 3. Nominal GDP per capita never recovered. 4. Real GDP per capita only recovered in 1940. The real recovery came when the crazy government spending was finally reigned in. Also, most believe that the Great Depression was greatly enhanced by protectionism. Unfortunately, Obama amateurishly tried to bring protectionism into the 21st century. Luckily, he was berated domestically and internationally for his rhetoric and did not follow through yet.

    As far as calling Obama a socialist, well if it walks like a duck (Bank Nationalization) and quacks like a duck (Universal Healthcare) and looks like a duck (Member of Socialist New Party) then I guess it’s a duck…

  6. Shooter McGavin said

    About the comment about judging him as a socialist too early: President Obama does have a voting track record that precedes his presidency. Many people have not checked it out and have become shocked by his current plan. Some of whom have jumped off the bandwagon. This is addressed briefly by this site’s cousin site at

  7. Randy said


    Thanks for your response. Unfourtanately I don’t think I could convince you where I and liberals are right and you will could ever convince me where conservatism is right.

    It is sad but it is also what makes the country great.

    I disagree with the whole conservative movement and having lived the last 8 years of tax cuts for the rich and let the free market have free reign has done nothing to convince me that is the way to go. Even if you do not agree that the recession is W’s fault, can you at least show me one example where the last 8 years has helped. I’m sorry I just don’t see it.

    The last liberal in office was Bill Clinton. We had good economic times and a balanced budget in the Clinton years.

    Conservatives always want to point back to Reagan as the great saviour. Truth is when he took office I was 10 years old. Times were different and we were coming off 4 years of a democratic president. I would argue that right now the economy is worse than it was then (again I will admit I was 10 so I don’t have a strong personal reference point to stand on) and we are coming off of 8 years of a Republican president (6 of 8 with a Republican Pres and Republican controlled Congress) where times are not as good as they were in the 90’s.

    Extremes scare me, both on the left and the right. The great thing about the country is that both sides tend to balance each other out. To me the country has swung to the far right in the last 8 years and is now swinging back to the left. I’m sure somewhere down the road we will need to swing back to the right but now is not the time. Conservatives had their time in power and have left a mess in my opinion. Things need to come back more to the middle and that to me is when the country is at it’s best. If you are a music fan it equals Lennon/McCartney to me. They were both great songwriters but were truly at their best working with each other. When the Beatles split they went too far to their own extreme.

    Another musical reference less known is a singer/songwriter Glen Phillips had an album called Winter pays for Summer. The bottom line is that right now we are paying for the good times we enjoyed, but eventually it will get warm again.

    Wow that was quite a tangent I went on. Anyway, I don’t agree with the conservative plan any more than you agree with the liberal plan. But in the end we will each right each other. I just don’t understand how anyone can think more of the same is going to help anything. All I hear from conservatives is more tax breaks and less regulation which is what he had and hasn’t helped.

    I leave you with a question. Is there something I am missing? Is there more to the conservative financial plan than tax cuts and de-regulation?

  8. Randy said

    One more thought before I call it a night.

    To me Pelosi is a right wing extremist. Obama is more of a moderate than W ever would dream of being. People that did not agree with W were dismissed and sometimes even ridiculed. The fact that Obama would be willing to keep Gates on as secretary of defense and Hillary as sec. of state (whom he had a bitter primary battle with) brings me great hope. The great thing about Reagan is he listened to both sides of an extreme argument and made his decision based on what he thought was right. W and Cheney surrounded themselves with yesmen who only told them what they wanted to hear. I truly beleive Obama is more like Reagan in that manner than was Bush.

  9. maker said


    Thanks again for taking the time to read and comment.

    Can you invest a little more time and explain what could make you say that Pelosi ‘is a right wing’ anything let alone ‘extremist’?

    Obama did a wonderful job casting himself as a moderate throughout his campaign, successfully duping a great many intelligent people. The fact of the matter though is he is extremely liberal and really not moderate at all. His realization that certain things are non-negotiable when it comes to security is nothing more than pragmatism. Unfortunately these realizations are few and frighteningly far between. Hillary Clinton is only slightly less liberal than Obama and could never seriously be considered representative of a different side than Obama. Where is Obama’s conservative counsel coming from? Obama is increasingly evoking images of Carter not Reagan. I think you forget how hated Reagan was by the media and the left and how committed he was to conservatism.

  10. maker said


    Sorry to respond to these out of order…

    I really don’t think you have a firm grasp of what conservatism is. If you did, it wouldn’t be possible for you to look at the last administration as conservative. I share your disappointment in Bush and the job he did(though perhaps not the vehemence), though for very different reasons. You seem to see anything bad about Bush as reflecting poorly on conservatism. This is where we disagree. In my opinion every area of failure under the last administration can be laid appropriately at the feet of creeping liberalism. To characterize Bush as conservative is to ignore his crazy spending, his educational policies, his stance on our borders, his handling of the economic crisis and his constant pandering to the democrats among other things. If Bush was too far right, we are already beyond repair.

    What conservative policy did Bush pursue and uphold to the detriment of the country?

  11. Ender said


    Calling the last 8 years a free market with free reign is a joke. I have a few corrections to your revisionist history:

    1. Clinton was forced to act in a fiscally conservative manner by the conservative congress. Remember the state shut down? Taking this into account, you can’t disagree with the whole conservative movement.

    2. The recession is not Bush’s fault. There were many factors to the housing bubble which include CRA, Fannie, Freddie and the Fed. If I remember correctly, Bush tried 13 times to add accountability to the sub prime mess but was thwarted by liberal heroes Barney Frank, Chris Dodd etc. See the article we wrote on the Housing Crisis.

    3. Every single American who pays taxes paid less taxes during Bush’s Administration than Clinton’s. I know it’s more comfortable to create the strawman of “only the rich get tax cuts,” unfortunately it’s not true.

    4. It’s hard to remember back this far, but after 9/11 people thought we were going to go into a depression. What happened? 7 years later the Dow hit its highest levels ever.

    I’ve seen Bush push for liberal causes No Child Left Behind, Illegal Immigrant Amnesty, expansions in Medcaid/Medicare, enormous government bailouts. I’ve yet to see Obama do the same or even exhibit the capacity to consider it.

    This is a problem all Conservatives face: people labeling Bush a true Conservative. He wasn’t. He was Conservative on some issues but he strayed far from the Conservative path on many occasions.

  12. Randy said


    I had my directions mixed up. I meant to say Pelosi was a left winged extremist not right.

    As far as taxes, I must be the only one who did pay more in taxes. Twice during the Bush administration I had to pay the government taxes. That never happened previously. It got to the point where my wife has had more money with held from her check so we do get money back at tax time.

    Two groups of people benefitted from W’s tax cuts. The rich and the poor with kids. I do not fit either category.

    Again I ask the question. What is the conservative answer to the current economy. Is there anything more than tax cuts and let the chips fall where they may?

  13. Ender said

    Here is a link that shows the historical tax brackets, every single one is lower than the Clinton era. Link
    (scroll to the bottom). Maybe you got hoodwinked?

    I’d say that there are many elements that make up fiscal conservatism, to name a few: Protection of private property, low taxes, small government, minimal government interference in the free market and respecting the laws of supply and demand (yes, they are laws).

    Again, the Conservative philosophy is based on what actually works. We can see throughout history that these principles bring prosperity to all (not just the rich). We can also see that any attempts to subvert these principles leads to poverty and tyranny.

  14. mattbenchener said

    I hate to join the party late…but to call Obama moderate disregards his own stated policy initiatives. To call him Clinton is even more of a betrayal of his fiscal philosophy. Clinton was (at least in practice) a moderate Democrat. He was socially liberal, but was fiscally conservative (perhaps due to a Republican Congress). Bush, on the other hand, was essentially liberal in his spending and fiscal practices. Yes, he cut taxes. But that is only half of fiscal conservatism. The other, and probably more important half (as it drives the other) is to keep government and spending small. When government is small, spending is low. When spending is low, you do not need to tax your citizens. When you lower taxes on your citizens, you encourage consumption and investment in an efficient market. In spending and fiscal matters then, Bush was undeniably more liberal than Clinton.

    The point here, made well by Maker, is that we cannot look at Bush and say that conservatism failed us. We also cannot look at Clinton and say that liberal socialism worked. Obama, in fact, would I’m sure proudly characterize his policies as socialist. He believes in an America where everything is made equal by the government, rather than an America where the government seeks to provide the opportunity for success. I’m really not trying to push my site, but please read this piece I wrote–it may help: Cramer’s Revelation

  15. Randy said

    Ender you speak of the law of supply and demand. The problem to me seems to be we have alot of supply with very little demand. The Bush tax cuts over the last 8 years were not enough to encourage consumers to spend. I know the tax rebate I recieved (last year or two years ago don’t remember) went straight to paying down credit card debt.

    I do not agree with the government racking up more debt either, but someone’s has to start spending money to get this economy going again. To me I just don’t believe giving people more tax cuts will be enough to make it all better. Consumer confidence is way down, more people are living pay check to pay check, and not knowing if this check will be their last.

    I just don’t see where the conservative principles will help us out of the mess we are in.

  16. Randy said

    Matt, I read that article before.

    I still think Obama will be more like Clinton in spending than he is like W. This is a far different time and probably most dire at least in my lifetime. You heard him say yesterday he was signing an imperfect omnibus bill. There was alot about he didn’t like but he had to do something.

    I don’t think you can judge any president after only a month and a half in office and especially in the situation we are currently in. Remember also that this is the time where he is going to get his most unpopular items passed.

    I just wish the Conservatives and Republicans would give the guy half a chance. The name calling started before he even took office. There are just way too many closed minds for my liking.

  17. mattbenchener said

    Randy, I appreciate your framing of the issues and well thought out dialogue. I’m in agreement with you that criticism before objective observation is wrong. With President Obama, however, it is not as if he’s had a quiet and untested first two months in office. Since his election, he has passed the largest spending bill in U.S. history (stimulus), put forward the largest non-war budget in U.S. history, and passed an enormous omnibus bill. Each step of this process has been filled with pork, and seeks to fundamentally change the character and policy of this country. His actions have been nothing short of drastic, and should therefore be measured as such. We don’t need to give socialism a chance, history has already proven its untenable failure.

  18. Ender said

    Why do you keep glossing over huge portions of the story you are telling? It seems that in your eagerness to blame everything on Bush that you have turned a blind eye to the facts.

    Taxes went down for everyone. I know it’s hard to believe, but the Dow hit its highest levels ever during Bush’s 8 years. Unemployment was also historically low. I’m not sure that you understand what the concept of supply and demand is.

    You say you don’t agree with the government racking up more debt, but at the same time you support Obama passing the largest budget in history. Did you know that he is creating a huge deficit to do this? Can you reconcile your two statements together?

    You talk about consumer confidence and people living paycheck to paycheck. Which of the follwing scenarios would put more money in their pockets?

    1. The Government spending more thus taxing them more.
    2. The Government spending less and reducing taxes.

  19. Randy said

    Matt – I don’t know how you can call this a non wartime budget. We are currently fighting two wars, Iraq and Afghanistan. Bush didn’t count military spending in his budget, Obama is.

    Ender – My wife got her first check since the stimulus package passed. The result, she got to keep $45 dollars more a check. Being that she gets paid every two weeks. That is $90 less a month then we were paying under Bush. So your argument with lower taxes under Bush really doesn’t hold any water for me. That is an extra $1,080.00 a year on just my wife’s side. So thank you President Obama for lowering my taxes.

    I do know how much I was paying in taxes, and I paid more during the Bush years than I did during the Clinton years and already paying less under Obama.

  20. Ender said

    Nice rhetorical judo there Randy…

    I showed you a tax bracket and you said you don’t buy my argument, as if this data and even math itself are simply opinion. Also, I was debating Bush vs Clinton, not Bush vs Obama. I know you have already stated that facts don’t hold any water with you, but I am compelled to give you more facts. Here’s another table showing Bush vs Clinton:

    Taxes under Clinton 1999 Taxes under Bush 2008
    Single making 30K – tax $8,400 Single making 30K – tax $4,500
    Single making 50K – tax $14,000 Single making 50K – tax $12,500
    Single making 75K – tax $23,250 Single making 75K – tax $18,750
    Married making 60K – tax $16,800 Married making 60K – tax $9,000
    Married making 75K – tax $21,000 Married making 75K – tax $18,750
    Married making 125K – tax $38,750 Married making 125K – tax $31,250
    It’s pretty evident to me and probably anyone else (aside from yourself) reading this who paid more taxes and when.

  21. Randy said

    There was only one time I ever had to pay in federal tax and it was during the Bush administration.

    You can show me all the websites you want, I paid more taxes during the Bush years. I am now paying less. Over 1,000 less.

    Those are the facts, despite whatever website you want to show me that says otherwise.

  22. Jose Kanucee said

    Randy, I really appreciate another voice of truth on this island of delusion. Stay strong, don’t listen to any “facts” that they give you. Statistics can be made to prove anything. You know that your wife was making more money after Bush left office. No matter what they say, you KNOW that the reverse Robin Hood tactics of the right are hurtful to the people who matter most. Stay strong, stay true, ignore this propaganda that these conservatives try to use to persuade you. Like you said, all conservatives are closed minded and if they weren’t they would switch their opinion. Obviously conservatism does not work.

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