Cruz Lost, but Conservativism Did Not

From today’s Rush Limbaugh radio program:

RUSH: So it apparently is the case that Ted Cruz decided between midnight and 2 a.m. Monday — well, Tuesday morning. Early Tuesday morning, late Monday night, before the voting began in Indiana, Ted Cruz decided to get out if he didn’t do well in Indiana. He didn’t tell very many people. A limited number of staff tried to talk him out of it. His mind was made up.  Now, it’s interesting that that’s before Trump on Fox & Friends yesterday accused Cruz’s dad of consorting with Lee Harvey Oswald.  But even without that, I wonder…

I have not spoken to Senator Cruz, and I probably could get through if I picked up the phone.  But there are just some things here that I assume.  I know a lot of you in the audience were very sad when Cruz announced that he was not gonna continue, that many of you had unbelievably high hopes and a lot invested, because on paper here we had somebody that was — a Republican that was — actually conservative, who actually could implement the things that you and I all believe and wasn’t the establishment and so forth.

I don’t… The thing I don’t know — and, as I say, I could find out. But I’m gonna surmise some things with the caveat/proviso that I could be wrong here.  Many people sent me notes last night saying, “Rush, are you finally gonna admit that conservatism is dead now?  Are you just…? Are you gonna…? Rush, are you finally going to come to grips with the fact that conservatism has never been the big, majority way of thinking in this country?  How can you look at what’s becoming of this country, what’s become of it in the last 10, 15 years and say that conservatism dominates anything?”

And I know that there are many people running around saying similar things to that today.  But I don’t think conservatism died last night.  I don’t think conservatism is being buried in Indiana.  I think what happened is that another conservative messenger was systematically, piece by piece, destroyed.  Which is the normal course of things.  For all of you who think that conservatism is dead and on its last legs, why does it remain the single greatest threat feared by the Democrat Party and the American left?

Now, there are many answers to that question, but one of them surely is they fear conservatism.  They know how many Americans are conservative, and they know what percentage of the country is. The left and people I’m talking about know full well they are a small minority.  I’m talking about the committed activist types are a small minority.  They have succeeded in governing against the will of the American people for I don’t know how long now.

They fear conservatism more than they fear any foreign enemy.  They are far more mobilized and animated and intent on destroy conservatives and conservatism than they are any other foreign threat.  That would not be the case if it was insignificant.  Now, understandably, too, I have to admit that one of the aspects of the thought process of the American left is they don’t like opposition, period, no matter who it is.  And they don’t believe in debating and they don’t believe in a debate in the arena of ideas and triumphing that way.

They snuff out opposition.

They eliminate it.

There’s no such thing as a level playing field.

Their opponents don’t even get on the field. That’s the strategy: “Don’t even let ’em on the field.” Now, I’m sure that Cruz was prepared, as prepared as he could be, and I’m sure his family was prepared as they could be for what was going to happen, given how he had arrived at his prominent position in the Republican nominee field.  He knew he had made enemies of the Republican establishment, and he knew that the media and the Democrat Party are automatic enemies.  But here’s what I don’t know.

I just don’t know just how equipped anybody is to cheerfully, happily live each and every day with the kind of garbage, lies, filth spewed about you and your family multiple times a day, and yet we’re told that the conservative must be cheerful and must be happy and must be a happy warrior.  Well, how does that work, you know, when they’re out there saying you’re the Zodiac Killer?  You stop and think of that for just a second.  Put yourself in Ted Cruz’s shoes.  And let’s establish some givens.  A, Ted Cruz loves America much as anybody.

Ted Cruz desperately fears America’s on the wrong track and desperately wants to stop it and turn it around and save it.  Ted Cruz reveres the Constitution of the United States, knows it backwards and forwards.  Ted Cruz reveres the founding.  Ted Cruz is religious.  That means he is a person who does his best each and every day to live according to the morality that he believes.  And then he has to get up every day and read stories in the media about how he is too mean and he is so vicious and so Hitler-like that his daughters will not even be in the same room with him because he scares them so much.

I mean, the stuff that was said about Cruz and his family long before the Rafael Cruz/Lee Harvey Oswald stuff started, long before the Zodiac Killer stuff started? It’s nothing that any other conservative had to put up with, don’t misunderstand.  My question is: How does how does anybody go through that?  I mean, you’re running for president. You have these desperately held beliefs. You think that we’re in a national crisis. You’re frustrated because so many people don’t see it that way.  You’re hell-bent on convincing them.

You’re hell-bent on trying to explain to them why you’re doing what you’re doing.  You’re very earnest about it.  You care about it so much that you’re doing everything you can to get people to listen to you.  And every time you open your mouth, some fool is out making fun of you, destroying you with lies and innuendo and so forth.  And at some…? Do you not at some point say, “This can’t be done.  If 38 percent of the people of Florida can be convinced that I am the Zodiac killer, how do you stay cheerful?”  At some point do you not just say to yourself…

And again, I don’t know.  I may be putting myself in Cruz’s shoes and imagining how I would react to things that have been said about him that are demonstrably not true, that everybody laughs about.  It would be… (interruption) Yeah, but I can’t… (interruption) Snerdley says, “You’ve gone through much worse than that.”  No, I haven’t gone through much worse.  I’ve gone through similar. (interruption)  Yes, I know, I know. I’ve gone through similar.  But… (interruption) The staff is saying, “You’ve gone through 27 years!”

Well, yes. I’m still cheerful, and the audience still is here and so forth.  All true.  But, see, unlike in politics, I can take all that. As I told you, I had to make a big psychological adjustment very early on. Nobody is raised to want to be hated. Nobody is raised to want to be disliked and laughed at and reviled and made fun of every day, and have some of the most outrageous things said about ’em.  I had to learn. In order to put up with that for 27 years, I had to learn how to take it as a sign of success, which that’s… Try that psychologically.

Try trying to tell yourself that being hated by 30 percent of the people that hear you means you’re succeeding.  Nobody’s raised that way.  But in politics you can’t get anywhere with people hating you.  I mean, I can have 30 percent of the people thinking I’m the Zodiac Killer, and it’s not gonna stop them from listening.  It may even make ’em want to listen more.  But in politics, you’re running for president, and they tell people that you’re the Zodiac Killer, that your dad was there with Lee Harvey Oswald?

There’s no way to make that, to transfer that into some measure of success in a political campaign.  So I just wonder if at some point Cruz said, “I love my family too much. I mean, I know they agreed. I know my family understood what we’re getting into here. But there’s always a ‘but.'”  Here’s the point.  I don’t know. Maybe ask Senator Cruz about it sometime.  But the point is that along with Cruz’s defeat comes the cheerful hammering of nails into the coffin that will bury conservatism.  And, I’m sorry: Conservatism is not buried after last night.

Conservatism didn’t die.

How many people supporting Donald Trump think that he is, in one way or another?  There are a lot of conservatives supporting Trump.  A lot of people that participated in those 2010, 2014 mid-terms that gave Republicans landslide victories, are supporting Trump.  Some of them know he’s not one of them.  That call that we got from the guy in Philadelphia? That call has resonated through the Drive-By Media like you can’t believe.  There have been whole columns written on that call and what it means in terms of the Republican establishment.

The guy’s name was Sean.  He’s a life-time listener of the program, was calling from Philadelphia, and the upshot of it was that he admitted 80 percent of what Trump says he disagrees with, but he’s voting for him anyway because Trump is going to fight.  You know, this business about the Republican Party… Like the Boston Globe: The Republicans commited suicide.  The Republicans were committing suicide by signing on to amnesty.  This is what you and I all understand that they don’t.

 

Every Democrat issue they sign on with, every Chamber of Commerce issue that they sign on to may as well be a gun, a bullet in the suicide gun that the Republican Party’s using.  And this guy calling, he’s pretty much saying the same thing. “Look, I’m fed up with them. They don’t fight back. They say they’re going to, but they don’t. They ask us for money and they ask us for votes.” He was well spoken, and he said, “What matters is Trump is gonna fight ’em.”  I said, “What about Cruz?”  He said, “Well, I’ll vote for Cruz if he’s nominee.

“But Cruz isn’t gonna fight ’em like Trump is. Cruz isn’t gonna fight ’em.  I don’t want hear how a guy’s conservative every day.  That’s not what matters to me.  I don’t…” Guy’s the biggest conservative in the race. “Big deal! What are you gonna do with it? What are you gonna do about this?”  He was thoroughly convinced that Trump’s gonna fight back against everything that he thinks — the caller thinks — is going wrong.  That’s the faith that he has invested in Trump.  And he’s a conservative.  He’s one of us.

There are a lot of them.

Conservatism didn’t die.  Conservatism’s not being buried.  Conservatism, whether people know it or not, is still how most people (dare I say, “productive people”) live their lives today.  It’s how most people wish to — and hope they can — raise their kids.  They may not even know it.  Many of them are not ideological conservatives. They don’t run around and say, “I’m conservative,” and then tell you what they are.  In fact, some of them who are conservative don’t want to use that word because they don’t want to get snickered at. They don’t want to be laughed at.

But conservatism didn’t die, and I don’t want anybody out there thinking that it did.  Now, back to Justin, our caller in the previous hour.  He said that he believes if Trump’s gonna win, he’s gotta reach out to conservatives.  And I’m gonna tell you, there’s a grain of truth to that in this sense:  Every four years it’s conservatives who are told they have to unify.  It’s conservatives who are told they have to bite the bullet.  And I think in this circumstance right now, Trump could help himself immensely.

If he would surround himself with, say, cabinet appointments or announce cabinet appointments or some genuine conservative people who are in his immediate orb, it would send a signal to people. Whether he listens to ’em or not, we’ll never know.  Well, we will know at some point, but it’s a good policy. Here’s another thing to remember, though, folks. It is true to say that we’re always the ones that have to bite the bullet and unify.  Well, that does, sadly, go along with Trump. Trump is under no compunction to move to the losing side or what he might perceive to be the losing side.

Now, if he has grace, and if he really wants to unify, be inclusive, he’ll do that on his own, but he’s not required to.  Nobody is.  No winner is required to reach out to the losers and say, “Come on in!”  It’s the losers that have to get with the program.  That’s just… I know some of you have not been taught losing in school. (interruption) Well, what are you shaking your head?  Do you think…? (interruption)  Is that too coarse to say?

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Here’s Jennifer, Spokane, Washington. You’re next.  Great to have you with us on the program.  Hi.

CALLER:  Hi.  Thank you so much for taking my call today.

RUSH:  You bet.  You bet.

CALLER:  I’ve been listening to you since 1989, and I’m just a big fan. So this is very exciting for me.

RUSH:  Thank you very.  I appreciate that.

CALLER:  I just wanted to say that Ted Cruz is an honest, godly, awesome man, and the only reason that I think that he had to drop out and that he lost — that he’s not won as many states as projected — is because of the lies that have been perpetrated about him.  Donald Trump goes to the media and gets way more airtime than Ted Cruz ever gets, and when he says outrageous lies about Ted Cruz, nobody says anything.  So the lie is out there, and it’s assumed to be truth, and it’s not. And you can’t… It’s almost impossible to fight that.  Donald Trump has completely taken Ted Cruz’s honor and his name — his good name — and because of that, I cannot vote in good conscience. I cannot vote for Donald Trump.

RUSH:  It wasn’t just Trump, though, and it’s not just Cruz.

CALLER:  It wasn’t.  Yeah.

RUSH:  They do it to Republicans. It happens to every Republican, no matter how conservative they are or not.  Now, it may be the way —

CALLER: (interrupting)

RUSH: No wait. This is… Jennifer, this is important.  Because they did it to Reagan, too.  But he was able to overcome it. These are things we’re gonna have to figure out and learn.  And, by the way… Well, we’ll stick with that.  You know, Reagan was reviled and hated. You might not remember. You might not have been old enough back then. But trust me.  Reagan was as hated as Cruz is.  They accused Ronald Reagan of sneaking into Lafayette Park at night and stealing cans of pork and beans from the homeless.  They blamed AIDS on Ronald Reagan ’cause he never said the word.  They blamed…

They accused Reagan of wanting people to get AIDS and die.  They accused Reagan of being responsible for all of that because he wouldn’t talk about it. He had no compassion for it or any of that, so he was anti-gay. He was anti-this.  It was vicious.  And yet Reagan won two landslides.  Now, there’s a reason why.  And it’s not just conservatism.  There have to be other things at play.  Now, I’m not… You’re right about Cruz was destroyed.

CALLER: Mmm-hmm. Mmm-hmm.

RUSH: But every Republican always is.  You start out that way.  I’m not excusing it.  I’m with you on it.  I have great empathy for Senator Cruz and his family having to go through some of this stuff. Especially, you know, when you start out and you’re Cruz. Really you’re on almost a crusade, a mission to save America. There’s no greater calling. You’re gonna give everything about your life to it. You’re gonna give your entire existence. You’re gonna put your family through it. You’ve gotten their permission. They’ve signed on for it. They’re helping out and so forth.

And then every day to see yourself disfigured this way, and then to see people laughing about it.  But it happened to Rubio.  And it wasn’t just Trump.  But the Lyin’ Ted stuff stuck.  I tell you, I was here every day saying, “Cruz is not a liar.”  I was chastising Trump for saying that.  Whatever you want to say about Ted Cruz, he’s not a liar.  Then let’s not even give into the idea that they were able to convince people that Ted Cruz was stealing delegates.

It just became too much to overcome.  That’s the kind of thing that in the normal, everyday ebb and flow of politics, you’d get a gold star.  That was brilliant maneuvering what Cruz was doing.  It was the only option open to him. It was right in line with the rules. It’s how Abraham Lincoln became president, by the way! And they’re out there hammering Cruz with it, and he didn’t explain it, when given the chance.

I mean, he could have taken any number of questions and turned it into a teachable moment about the American political system. And he was trying to do that with that Trump supporter he crossed the street on Monday to go talk to in Indiana.  This is why my point is conservatism has not died.  Conservatism… By the way, it can’t.  I’ve made the case: You cannot kill off conservatism.  You can have dictatorships, and you can set up one, but still you cannot kill off conserve because it’s in the heart.

But everything conservatism holds dear is under assault right now, including attacks on Western Civilization.  This country is under assault from all over the world. But for the first time we’ve got a genuine force inside the borders who is also as part of the attack. Disguised — disguised, by the way — as trying to correct all the flaws that America was founded with. Anyway, I have to take a break.  I’m glad you called, Jennifer.  Thank you so much.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: This is Louie in Edison, New Jersey.  It’s great to have you with us.  Hi.

CALLER:  Hi.  Thank you for taking my call, Rush.  Just before I make my point and ask you my question, you said on your show many times that if you listen for a week… You know, let a liberal listen for a week and they’ll be committed.  Just over the weekend, a buddy of mine from Maryland came over and I was discussing, you know, what you said, and he told me — interestingly so — he knows a friend of his that’s a prosecutor in Silver Spring, Maryland, who was a flaming liberal. And his wife was somewhat of a conservative and told him to listen to you for a week, and he is a passionate conservative now.

RUSH:  Really?

CALLER:  It’s fascinating.

RUSH:  Normally it takes six weeks, but this happened in one week, you say?

CALLER:  One week.

RUSH:  Wow.

CALLER:  Fascinating.

RUSH:  See, folks, there’s reason here to be cheerful and optimistic.  I appreciate that story.  Thank you for telling me that.

CALLER:  Thank you.  My question is, I don’t think at all… And I want to know what you think about this. I don’t think at all conservatism died at all.  I think morality died.  Just the way the media, which is the face of the cultural rot in this country, destroyed Cruz.  They never destroyed him on the conservative issues, so conservatism did not die.  Morality, right and wrong died. But at the same time — and my question to you is — can you have a conservative movement when there is no distinction between right and wrong?  And what worries me is I will support Donald Trump even though I was a Ted Cruz supporter. You know, I will support Trump because I’m worried about the Supreme Court, et cetera, and I think he’ll be under pressure to put right-wing justices on the court. But my question to you is, how can there be a conservative vision for the country when, to a certain extent, it represents — it’s synonymous with — that cultural rot of the media?

RUSH:  Interesting question.  You know, you’re asking me basically to combine morality with conservatism, and you think that we can’t have one without the other.  The first thing I want to address is your terminology.  I’ve been thinking about this.  “Conservative movement.”  I’m not sure so sure there is one.  And by that I mean this campaign has exposed the fact that there isn’t one.  I mean, so many people that I’m sure a lot of you thought were part of the conservative movement, wanted no part of Ted Cruz.  And you’re out there scratching your heads.

Admittedly some of them wanted no part of Trump, but there was a lot of conservative… You would think, in terms of media, individual commentators, certain elected Republicans.  Probably you can think of examples on your own of people that you thought, “If there was a conservative movement, they’re in it.”  And when you think of conservative movement, you think of a unified, like-minded bunch of people.  I don’t think it exists anymore.  I don’t know that it has for quite a while.  Conservatism’s been at war with itself almost as much as it has been at war with liberalism, in the recent years.

How many recent years… I’d have to really apply myself and think about it to give you concrete examples.  But tell me this:  If there is a conservative movement, who is the leader?  (interruption) No.  I am not, because… (interruption) No, no, no, no. (interruption) No, no. (interruption) No, no.  No, no. (interruption) There isn’t one, is the point.  There isn’t a singular conservative figure that every other conservative goes to for guidance, inspiration, motivation, definition.  Now, you could ask, “Was there one of those?”

Well, yeah. I mean back… There was a conservative movement once, and you would say that — and this is some years ago now. William F. Buckley could be said to have been the intellectual engine and head of the conservative movement, and it was Buckley to whom people back then looked.  But when William Buckley passed away, there became — and it was going on before he died, too. But there was internal competitions within the conservative movement for that position.  Leader of the conservative movement.

 

Who is it that personifies, embodies, and defines the movement?  There isn’t such a person today.  Conservatism has erected litmus tests and happily, happily wants to excommunicate people from the so-called movement.  But clearly, if there’s a movement, somebody show me where it’s unified and show me where it has a purpose. Show me where you can find, in fact, unified definitions or explanations of positions conservatives hold issue to issue to issue.  How many conservatives do you know who would just as soon everybody that’s a social conservative get broomed away and silenced?

You talk about morality and conservatism, and how can you have…? How can you erase the whole concept of right and wrong and still have conservatism.  Yeah, but morality’s always been a bugaboo for people.  Morality always has been, because nobody’s perfect.  It’s impossible.  Nobody is morally pure, and so it’s very difficult to stand in judgment of other people morally, but there are those who do and those who try, and they offend people — particularly leftists.  But I agree with you. I think our culture is rotting away before our eyes.  The thing about that is that there’s no changing it. There’s no president that’s gonna change it.  Cultural changes are generationally evolutionary, and I don’t think the generation that is gonna be born and refuses to accept the garbage they inherit from their parents and grandparents, has been born yet.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: I want to share with you a fascinating little email that I received during the course of the program today.  It addresses… We had a call here talking about morality and how morality and conservatism… If we obliterate the whole notion of right and wrong, then how can we also have conservatism?

The email is from a Trumpist who claims to be a conservative.  “Cruz Is a Godly Leader and Will Be Used Again,” is the subject line.  The email is: “I don’t believe this has anything to do with people not wanting conservatism or not wanting morality.  We do want it.  This country has come so far down from where we were with Reagan, that even if I would love Ted Cruz to be our president, and I would love to have the Bible back in school — how much just that would help our country? And I think Cruz might have been able to do that.

“But our country has fallen so low into immorality and liberalism that Cruz — as 100 percent moral and 100 percent conservative — can’t win in the climate we have today.  Trump, okay, maybe 40 percent conservative, but he has a chance to actually win. And I, Rush, will take 40 percent conservative now and work our way back up to maybe 50 percent next time.  We just have to get back the office of the presidency with an outsider. Cruz would be amazing, but this election, from where we are, 100 percent conservative is gonna be rejected every day.  It’s too scary to people.  It’s too stark.

“It’s too drastic a change.  I pray that will not be the case in years to come.  Sent from my iPhone.”  So there you have a Trump supporter explaining how she would love it to be Cruz, but doesn’t think Cruz could ever win this year, because the country is just not prepared to put on the screeching brakes and do a 180 — a 180-degree turn — in one election.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

largeRUSH: Here’s Amanda in Wellington, Florida.  Great to have you with us.  Hello.

CALLER:  Hi.  I just wanted to make a comment that I don’t think there’s any way Cruz really could have won right now, nor really should he have.  People are hurting.  They need relief right now, and Cruz stands for amazing things, and I think he would be incredible, and I hope he does get his shot at it. But right now Trump is speaking to the masses whether people are admitting it or not because people are hurting.  I mean, look at that $400, you know, could somebody come up with it.

RUSH:  Yeah, it’s amazing isn’t it?

CALLER:  And that’s where I think he’s getting everybody, and people can’t see it.  Well, how do you not see it? ‘Cause… I don’t know.  It’s just my thought.

RUSH:  No, I think… Look, I know what you’re saying, and I have similar beliefs.  My job with the Kansas City Royals, when I had it, was marketing.  And the one thing… We had a marketing plan.  Every season, we had a theme, and the designed purpose of the theme was to get more people to come to the ballpark, which meant buying tickets.  But we never announced how we were gonna do it.  We just designed the plan and then we implemented it.

It would be counterproductive to say, “Here is our plan this year to separate you from your money.”  Well, by the same token, I think to run around saying, “I’m the most conservative guy! I’m the conservative you can trust! I’m the…” Just do it.  Just go out there and be it.  Telegraphing it at this particular point might make it a bigger target than it otherwise would be.

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