Flashback: Mitch Daniels June '09
May 20, 2011
RUSH: All right, I want to go to the sound bites. We're gonna start at number 19. Gonna replay some things that we had yesterday. I'm fully aware -- I don't seem to be able to avoid it -- I am fully aware that this is going to cause quite a lot of anger and angst in the state of Indiana. Doesn't seem to be avoidable. Mitch Daniels in 2009 spoke at the Ripon Society. The quality here is not the best, but those of you who can hear shouldn't have any problems with it. June 10th of 2009, Mitch Daniels, some sound bites here as he's addressing the Ripon Society, in which -- doesn't use these words -- but his point is that we really need to stop being so disagreeable with our opponents, with the Democrats, that before you can persuade anybody, they have to like you, and we're not liked right now, first task we have is to be liked. So here we go.
DANIELS: The next Republican majority will have to emphasize those things that unite us, as opposed to those things about which we are in conflict or divided. It seems to me that this is a message I've never heard Dick Lugar speak divisively, that, you know, the whole concept of a wedge issue should be foreign to us if we really want to come back. We've got a tall mountain to climb. We not only are out of favor right now, but the demography in this country is not moving in a positive way, standing on a political base that's left of us. So we better be thinking about those things that unite us and we better be extraordinarily understanding of those who disagree, bend over backwards. I mean we're all Americans.
RUSH: Now, this is 2009. Now, keep in mind, June of 2009, we are well into enough time having passed to show that the Porkulus bill isn't working, that not one aspect of the Obama economic agenda is working. I'd have to go back and check a number of things, but I think that in June 2009 there was still primarily one voice in opposition to Obama, The Big Voice on the Right. Now, I think I had been joined by that time by others, but none in the Republican Party. The Republican Party was still kid gloves, still running scared.
Now, we were in the full throes, in June of 2009, of Barack Obama and the Democrat Party beginning to wreak havoc on the US private sector, job creation, wealth creation, and they had made no bones about it. Obama had run around the world a number of times already apologizing for this country. And there were people who said, "Yeah, we lost, Rush, we lost big. The country really expressed a preference for the other guys. We are not liked right now." I had people telling me this. "We are going to have to make these people like us. We cannot be confrontational. We had our lunch handed to us."
And of course my retort was, no such thing happened. We got beat by a bunch of spin. We got beat by phony baloney good time plastic banana rock 'n' rollerism. We didn't get beat by substance. Conservatism wasn't defeated in that election. A lot of people voted for Obama as an empty canvas. But back then nobody in elected Republican channels had the wherewithal, the chutzpah, whatever you want to say, to stand up in opposition. So here was Mitch Daniels. We're out of favor right now, and demography is not working our way, we're standing on a political base that's left of us. Gotta have those people like us, and here he said it again in a different way, next sound bite.
DANIELS: The next Republican majority or its representatives, not to be trivial about it, but ours needs to be a friendly sort of political. People have to like you a little bit before they'll listen to you, or at least they can't actively dislike you, if you want to persuade them. And, by the way, I think the door is open to us on this. The meanest people I see in American politics right now are on the left. That's not a caricature. By the way, it comes naturally. If you believe that you are a superior person intellectually or morally elite and therefore well suited to order the affairs of everybody else, then the power and access to it means everything. And you'll do anything, just about anything to get there.
RUSH: Okay, the next Republican majority or its representatives, not to be trivial about it, but ours needs to be a friendly sort of politics. People have to like you a little bit before they'll listen to you, or at least they can't actively dislike you, if you expect to persuade them. The door is open to us on this 'cause they're the angriest people and the meanest. Yeah, but the meanest people happened to win. Have you ever noticed, folks, and Mitch is right about this, the meanest people, they have their share of wins, and have you ever heard anybody on their side say, "You know, we gotta stop being so mean"? "We gotta make those Republicans like us." No, they never dial back on their meanness. And they win, don't they? They win. They don't win all the time, but they win. We've got ourselves believing we can't win if we are who we are, because the fact is that who we are is this racist, sexist, bigot, extremist stuff. We gotta convince people we're not that.
So he took some shots at 'em here. If you believe you're a superior person, intellectually or morally elite, and therefore suited to run everybody's lives, then, of course, you're gonna end up being mean. But to persuade people, we gotta be liked, which is all well and good. I know everybody wants to be liked. I'm just convinced in the process of trying to be liked you cease being who you are. That simple. (interruption) Well, no, no. We are not liked by the left-wing base. That's what he's talking about. We are not liked by the left wing base, and, frankly, I would have to agree with Mitch on one thing. I probably, in terms of the rabid, angry left-wing base, I don't know that anybody's gonna persuade them. But they're not who are in our crosshairs anyway.
But you're right, there is this assumption that we're disliked. Who dislikes us? It's so easy to fall into these cliched, stereotypical traps, and a lot of people in our side do. And they believe that conservatives are disliked and hated, the meanest, racist, sexist and all these cliches, they believe they fit, and so that dictates a defensiveness on their part, which is some of what we're hearing here. So let's take you back, December 10th, 1994, in Baltimore. Heritage Foundation, congressional freshman orientation, House freshman, class '94, orientation, they asked me to speak.
RUSH ARCHIVE: We all are susceptible to human nature, and we all want to be liked, we all want to be loved, and you all want to live in surroundings which are not hostile. But inside the Beltway, for people like us, this is not possible. And so sometimes to avoid the hostility we say things and then begin to do things designed to gain the approval of those who are hostile toward us. I want to warn you against it. I want to warn you, you will never, ever be their friends. They don't want to be your friends. Some female reporter will come up to one of you and start batting her eyes and ask you to go to lunch, and you'll think, "Wow, I'm only a freshman. Cokie Roberts wants to take me to lunch. I've really made it." (laughter) Seriously, don't fall for this. This is not the time to get moderate. This is not the time to start trying to be liked. This is not the time to start gaining the approval of the people you've just defeated.
RUSH: Okay, now, that's me, contrasted with Mitch Daniels. Mitch Daniels was in 2009, I'm in 1994. I'm warning the freshmen, "Don't go out and be liked." I leave it up to you as to which approach you sign on to. I'm just telling you, the quest to gain the approval of people we've just defeated is deadly, politically deadly. One more Mitch before we go to the break, again from his Ripon Society address June 10th of 2009 in Washington.
DANIELS: I don't believe that that's the kind of politics ultimately the American people respond well to, and I think we ought to step back and not take the bait and try to be -- have a sunny disposition even about those with whom we disagree. And when I think about these sorts of traits, I think I'm describing the Ripon Society, or the people who have led it over the course of time, inclusive and open and friendly and deeply concerned about particularly those not yet well up the ladder of mobility in American life, always looking forward, aspiring to be a party of hope.
RUSH: Now, I'm all for a sunny disposition. I'm all for being cheery. That's how you persuade. That's what they say about Reagan. Reagan was always of good cheer and laughing, and I'm not opposed to that. But not because you think you've gotta prove that's who you really are to people. Attitude counts and matters in so much, why you're doing something, what is your motivation. The attitude you have while you're doing it counts as much as for what you're doing. And you can be doing the right thing for the wrong reason and bomb big time. If you're trying to be of good cheer and nice and warm and sunny and all that simply to prove to people that you're not the other way, then all you've done is grant their premise, and you're forever on the defensive. And I'll tell you this, nobody ever persuades anybody else when they come at it from a defensive posture.
RUSH: The e-mails are pouring in now, just as I predicted, from Indiana. "Shut up about Mitch! And, by the way, it's Ripon Society, not Ripon Society." Fine and dandy, Ripon Society, but shut up about Mitch. They're very, very touchy out there. I may not be able to ever go back to Indiana. Super Bowl's there. I may not be able to go.