That seemed to be the message from this extended call to Rush Limbaugh yesterday:
RUSH: Here’s Ian in Fort Myers, Florida. It’s great to have you on the program, sir. Hello.
CALLER: Awesome. I appreciate it, Rush.
RUSH: Thank you, sir.
CALLER: First of all, I just want to let you know that I truly appreciate your perspective and all the ideas you share every time. I’m gonna do my best to try to articulate the point I was making to the screener. With regard to the Koch brothers article and just the message there that they’re trying to communicate, I just think the Republican Party is struggling to connect with the average person.
RUSH: Now, wait. Before you continue, I just want to make sure that we identify them. This is Charles Koch. The Koch brothers are Charles and David. There are two other Koch brothers that are not part of “the Koch brothers” as the Democrats use them.
I highlighted the caller’s point, and will trim the excess verbiage to try to keep it short. His inarticulateness and Rush’s deafness made for some tough listening.
CALLER: [...] I think when it comes to trying to persuade people about who they want to vote for and who they want running the country, to go out there and tell them that they need to distance themselves from the government, most people are afraid of that, in the masses at least. I mean, you’ve gotta understand, these people follow the advice of these progressives for the last 40, 50 years –
RUSH: No, I agree with you. I think it’s a scary thing for a lot of people to think of the government not being involved in their lives, particularly single women.
Okay, well, let’s take this down to the basic level. Do you have any kids?
CALLER: Not yet.
RUSH: Not yet. How old are you?
RUSH: Thirty-three. Well, let’s pretend for a moment that you have a son who is 12 or 13, maybe 15, just on the verge of getting a driver’s license and a car. Let’s also, as part of our hypothetical, let’s stipulate that you and your wife have spoiled your son. Your son is way too dependent on you, and you are worried that he hasn’t learned and isn’t interested in learning how to take care of himself.
RUSH: What would you do?
CALLER: Well –
RUSH: The reason I ask is because you just said we can’t confront these people with the idea that they’ve got to take control of their own lives.
RUSH: Well, now, wait a second. See, this is where I kind of have a differing opinion from yours. Why is it that people today are immune from lessons in life? Why are people today somehow, “We can’t talk about taking care of yourself with this group. We can’t talk about providing for yourself. We can’t talk about making your life your own.” Why? What is it about this group that that so scares them? My point is, you would not raise your children that way.
If you were running for office, let’s forget that you’ve got a kid that’s gone off the rails and he’s dependent. You’re running for office, you want to reach these people. Okay, you’ve said we can’t make ‘em feel alone. We can’t humiliate ‘em. We can’t tell ‘em we’re gonna take things away from ‘em but we still want ‘em to vote for us. So what would you do? What would be your pitch?
CALLER: I don’t think there needs to be as strong of a pitch like you’re assuming to get people to vote for the person that they’re confident in. I don’t think Obama had a super strong pitch when he first won. He was just somewhat of a likable person. And even though these ideas that you share on a daily basis are pretty much the gospel to get yourself to a level in society that –
RUSH: I disagree with you. I think Obama did have a pitch, and it was he was gonna take care of you, and he was gonna fix everything that was wrong. And he personally was gonna guarantee you that things are gonna be okay. And he personally was gonna guarantee that the country be loved again. And he personally was gonna do all these wonderful things.
And, finally, Rush concluded:
RUSH: I can tell you that this radio audience is filled with converts, people that used to be dependent liberal Democrats who now listen to this program. You think that might not be possible because of the way they’re being approached because I make them afraid or feel vulnerable or whatever. But nobody that I know of anywhere is demanding that people be left alone.
That is not what “self-reliance” and “individuality” mean. It doesn’t mean alone. It doesn’t mean with no help. It doesn’t mean with no assistance. What it means is, “Be yourself, find out what you love, find out what you really want to do, and go do it. And don’t depend on people who don’t have your best interests at heart,” i.e., Democrats and the government.
If we’ve gotten to the point where we are literally destroying people’s futures by creating this dependency and then we can’t wean them off of it because that’s gonna make them vulnerable, then it’s not just that we’re gonna go to the grave never winning an election; we’re gonna go to the grave with the country never recovering. That, for me, isn’t an option. Tough love. You may think that’s too direct and so forth.
But I’m telling you, the question I asked you about how you would take care of somebody in your immediate orb that you feared was ruining their life is relevant here. If you love people, if you love the country, if you believe that everybody in the country contributes to making it great — if you love everybody and you want the best for them and if you know how they can achieve the best for them — you can’t be afraid to tell them.
As Rush said at CPAC five years ago:
I want to tell you who conservatives are. We conservatives have not done a good enough job of just laying out basically who we are because we make the mistake of assuming people know. What they know is largely incorrect based on the way we are portrayed in pop culture, in the Drive-By Media, by the Democrat Party. Let me tell you who we conservatives are: we love people. When we look out over the United States of America, when we are anywhere, when we see a group of people, such as this or anywhere, we see Americans. We see human beings. We don’t see groups. We don’t see victims. We don’t see people we want to exploit. What we see — what we see is potential. We do not look out across the country and see the average American, the person that makes this country work. We do not see that person with contempt. We don’t think that person doesn’t have what it takes. We believe that person can be the best he or she wants to be if certain things are just removed from their path like onerous taxes, regulations and too much government.
It’s up for debate if this is a winning message. But it’s the only message conservatives have. Liberals own the other side, the argument that you need government to complete you (which is appealing to some, repugnant to others). Where conservatives can win is if they persuade people that realizing their potential not only benefits them, it benefits that country. With ever greater numbers leaving the job market and going on aid, the liberal siren song sounds sweeter and sweeter. Until the ship capsizes (like Guam) from too many people rushing to one side to listen.
But as appealing as the conservative message is to me on its own, sometimes you win elections by pointing out the shortcomings on the other side.