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How Do We Make People Like Us? Ronald Reagan Knew the Answer


How Do We Make People Like Us? Ronald Reagan Knew the Answer
May 9, 2011


RUSH: Let me read to you from Ronaldus Magnus at CPAC.  Unfortunately, this, by the way, was something that I never foresaw happening today.  I did not show prep this on one story.  I did not intend this program to be bouncing off of one story I shared in the first segment of the first hour, but that's what's happened.  Chris Cillizza, the Washington Post: "Mitch Daniels, the Man Who Could Reshape the Republican Field."  Chris Cillizza, who will vote for Obama, with a piece telling us who the Republicans need to nominate.  Right.  I just refuse to believe that the Washington Post is gonna run stories telling us how to win.  I'm sorry, folks, it's just me, and you know it, too. 

There are of course other things in this story I'm not gonna repeat simply because I want to keep the timeline progressive here.  But essentially Mitch Daniels is quoted in this story as saying "purity in martyrdom is for suicide bombers."  He has suggested that we have a truce on social issues.  He doesn't want abortion and social issues to be part of the campaign.  He thinks it's a loser.  He also said at CPAC that we're gonna have to do things that make people who are not inclined to vote for us like us.  Well, that's another way of saying we need to become compassionate.  And I think we are the essence of compassion. 

See, my basic problem here, folks, is I think conservatism is the essence of compassion.  As I explained at my own CPAC speech, in defining conservatism for everybody, we love people.  I love who I am.  I love the country.  We all do.  And I want everybody to be the best they can be in this country.  We love people.  That's what makes us conservatives and this notion that we are hated and therefore we have to change, I can't tell you how royally that offends me.  Why is it Barney Frank never has to change, make people like him, or Al Sharpton?  Why does Al Sharpton never have to change to make people like him in order to succeed at what he's trying to do?  Why did Ted Kennedy never have to change, make everybody like him in order to accomplish what he wants?  Why is that onus always on us?  It is because there are some people on our side who foolishly believe the premise that conservatism is mean-spirited.  It's the essence of compassion.  Conservatism is the essence of love and compassion for people and I don't know why it's so hard to say that. 

Now, here's Reagan, 1977 at CPAC:  "The time has come to see if it is possible to present a program of action based on political principle that can attract those interested in the so-called 'social' issues and those interested in 'economic' issues. In short, isn’t it possible to combine the two major segments of contemporary American conservatism into one politically effective whole?  I believe the answer is: Yes."  That's Reagan.  He sought and succeeded to unite.  Now we've got his heirs, if you will, saying, "No, that's not the way anymore.  We have to somehow have a truce on the social issues.  We have to make a deal with the Democrats where they're gonna be off the table, or a deal with ourselves where we're not gonna talk about it because winning is too important, domestic issues here, social issues just have to take a backseat to our economic issues because that's so desperate." 

Well, that wasn't Reagan, and Reagan was conservatism.  Not only in '77, this is after he got beat, folks, in the '76 Republican primary.  If anybody would have been willing to throw somebody overboard to win the next time they tried would have been Reagan.  No.  Reagan sought to unite all the factions and that's what's missing in conservatism today, at least in elected conservatism.  Modern elected conservatism wants to throw the social issue crowd overboard.  They can't win without 'em, that's the truth.  Now, I want to know -- I'm just asking -- I don't want any of you pro-Mitch Daniels people getting mad at me over this.  I'm just asking.  That's why there's a phone number for you to call.  Governor Daniels said it would help us attract people who are not inclined to vote for us now if they liked us, number one.  Number two, when he says he we gotta get people who only watch Sports Center and MTV, let me call them low-information voters, okay?  How do we win over the low-information voter?  What do we do that with?  No, no, no.  I'm serious.  I'm not trying to throw a hand grenade in the room here.
I have done this program on the premise of attracting the low information listener or voter.  Not solely that.  This program is, if anything, a giant educational institute as well as a talk show.  I believe in teaching.  So how do you win over the low information voter? How do you reach out and get the ESPN viewer or the MTV viewer, or as Mr. Daniels said, the person who thinks CPAC is something that happens on a cruise?  How do you get 'em?  That's number one. 

Second question, would Mitch Daniels have supported Reagan in 1980 -- well, he obviously did, but why?  Reagan was for unifying the social issue crowd with the fiscal issue crowd.  But how do you make people like us?  This is the big question, that's compassionate conservatism.  Governor Daniels said it would help if they liked us.  Okay, again, a serious question now.  How do we make them like us?  What does Governor Daniels want us to do to be more likable?  No, it's not the wrong question.  No, no.  No, no.  I'm asking from his standpoint, Snerdley, not ours, he wants us to be more likable, so what do we have to do to be more likable?  I'm not worried about it.  I'm asking, he's the guy seeking the nomination on these pretexts, how do you win over the low-information voter, and how do you make people like us? 

Oh, I can answer that, that's simple.  You give them things.  In politics, isn't that how you make people like you?  You give 'em things.  You give them welfare. You give them extended unemployment benefits. You give them money. You give them whatever.  In the most basic sense Reagan was liked. Reagan didn't give people stuff. Reagan is a one in a million politician, how did he do it?  Reagan's message made people like him. Reagan himself was likable.  And on the other hand George W. Bush gave away the store, and according to polling data he was despised.  Bush spent a lot.  Education, Medicare Part B, the drug benefit, although we must acknowledge that was a private sector Medicare add-on, it was, must be true in discussing that. 

Now, by the way, Chris Cillizza, just so you know, Chris Cillizza was just on MSNBC this morning bemoaning the fact that Obama will not have time to ram through amnesty for illegals before November.  This is the guy whose piece we're all reacting to today. Chris Cillizza, very sad that Obama will not have a chance to ram through amnesty. Okay, so how do you make people like us?  Folks, everybody wants to be liked. How do you do it?  How do you make people like you?  So just answer the question in the political context, how do we make people like us?  Governor Daniels thinks that not enough people do, obviously.  It would help if they liked us, he said. 

One more from Reagan, same speech, CPAC.  "Let me say again what I said to our conservative friends from the academic world: What I envision is not simply a melding together of the two branches of American conservatism into a temporary uneasy alliance, but the creation of a new, lasting majority.  This will mean compromise. But not a compromise of basic principle. What will emerge will be something new: something open and vital and dynamic, something the great conservative majority will recognize as its own, because at the heart of this undertaking is principled politics."

Okay, so here's Reagan, he wanted to go out and create a new majority with a unity or an alignment of fiscal and social conservatives.  That apparently is not the case today with conservatism, media types, elected conservatives or what have you.  Now we gotta be liked, gotta make 'em like us.  Then we gotta respond to the premise that we are mean-spirited, cold-hearted, cruel, racist, sexists.  That's what bugs me about this, folks. We are not racist, sexist, bigoted homophobes, but we gotta react to it.  We've gotta accept the premise and then show them we're not.  We gotta prove a negative.  We gotta go out there and show that we're somehow nice people, likable people.  I am personally insulted by this premise, and it's also not the way anybody's gonna win.  And you're certainly not gonna put together a long-term majority mandate at the same time.

RUSH: You know what? I might post this speech. I think I will. Koko, I'll send you the link here in just a second. I'm gonna post the entire Reagan '77 CPAC speech. We have a link to it here, and we'll post it at so you can see it. You can contrast it with what we're hearing out of conservatives today (some of whom, by the way, have said that the era of Reagan is over). Now, ladies and gentlemen, the question not just for Mitch Daniels -- and, again, I want to assure you: When I finished prepping this show (of course, it never really ends) when 12 noon came and it was show time, Mitch Daniels was not even at the forefront of my mind on today's show.

The Chris Cillizza story and the two Medicare stories about how the Republicans are blowing it was on my mind in the context of the media trying their best to get us to knowingly, purposely give up our strengths. But the question for anybody who is not confident or not comfortable being conservative (and by that I mean a conservative without footnotes or asterisks) is: What would you replace our philosophy with? When the Declaration of Independence was signed, did the delegates say, "By the way, get rid of the references to 'Providence' and to 'the Divine,' and to God. We might turn some people off 200 years from now"?

Did George Washington say after his first Thanksgiving address, "You know, I gotta stop talking about God; it's gonna tick off half our voters"? And what is meant by "purity"? Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia might look at the same case on the Supreme Court, they might attempt to apply the Constitution in an originalist manner and they might come up with different outcome and different view, but the issue at the end of the day is upholding the Constitution, upholding our system -- and today our system is under attack. Today, our system is being transformed, and there are many on our side who say to this, "Well, just view yourself as a fiscal conservative.

"Fiscal conservatives, you're the only ones that can help us out right now. I don't want the social conservatives. They're gonna mess things up. If you don't like social conservatives but you like the fiscal conservatives, I'm your guy." But, you see, the two are not really separable. Because both have roots in morality, do they not? (New Castrati impression) "Mr. Limbaugh, you really are not supposed to talk about morality in politics!" I know. That makes a lot of people uncomfortable, but the truth is the truth. You see, the problem is that fiscal problems are part of a bigger problem.

The problem is that we have people in office who are rejecting the country as founded, rejecting the foundation principles -- including limited government, the rule of law, individual liberty, and faith. Faith not in big government, by the way. Faith in something bigger than big government. Faith in something bigger than ourselves. Our founding principles are based on morality. They are based on common sense. Individual human behavior. You can't separate the fiscal and social issues, really, 'cause they are the result of a common morality -- and I know that makes people uncomfortable, but it doesn't bother me to say it in the least.

You know, I have to ask some of these Republicans: "What do you mean by 'moderate'? Moderate what? What do you want us to moderate? Do you want us to be less forceful about our faith? Do you want us to dial back our passion on our liberty and freedom? Should we be less enthusiastic for the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence? What are we supposed to moderate? What are we supposed to dial back? What of our passions are we supposed to apologize for by saying that we're moderates?"

I fully understand that there's compromising in legislating, just as long as the compromises don't compromise core beliefs and our way of life. Fine. But why would we compromise on legislation that would, in fact, change the country in ways that we oppose? That's not moderation. That's capitulation! That's cowardice! It's shortsightedness! It is fear! Why would we do that? We cannot begin to turn things around in this country by pandering, by ducking, by excusing, by confusing -- and we certainly can't get where we want to go by making a requirement at the top that we be liked in the process.

Sorry, but we can't. Oh, yeah, I'd love to get fawning media! I would love to get fawning press! But you know what? If that ever happens now, I know I'm finished. I know it will never happen. I'm never going to be loved by the people that don't like me now. Now, these social issues, I want to get to this just a little here. The left is litigating for same-sex marriage in the federal courts. What are those opposed to it supposed to do? Just forget about it? The left is expanding federal funding of abortion. What are those who oppose it supposed to do, just forget about it? What are we supposed to moderate here?

RUSH:  Okay.  So I just checked the e-mail.  So predictable.  Some of you people in the e-mail actually disappoint me.  I go there hoping to be jazzed, enthused, and enlightened.  Instead I get disappointed.  I'm not seeking perfection.  That's the reaction to the monologue which closed the previous half hour.  I'm not seeking perfection, because I, El Rushbo, am on record as saying there's no such thing.  It's not achievable.  Perfection is not possible.  There is no utopia.  But you know what I do seek?  Gutsy conservatives, real gutsy conservatives who will take our case to the people, the low-information people, the people that don't listen to me. Gutsy people who will take our case to the people without excuses and without embarrassment.  We have nothing to excuse, nor do we have anything to be embarrassed about when it comes to our beliefs, our policies, philosophy, and love of country.  Nothing. 

Now, there are politicians, plenty of them out there, and their supporters who want us to redefine conservatism, they want us to change our beliefs to accommodate them, and their campaigns, their agendas.  Well, for many of us, it isn't going to happen, and that's what's really going on here.  You're not gonna catch one of us saying the era of Reagan is over, and you're not gonna have any of us agree with it.  It's not going to happen.  We are supposed to ignore their weaknesses, you see.  I'm talking about our guys.  We're supposed to ignore their weaknesses.  We're supposed to ignore those parts of their records that make it apparent they're not really conservative.  And after we do that for them, then we are to help them redefine who we are so that we don't hurt them getting reelected.  Sorry, that's not going to happen here at the EIB Network. 

I'm not gonna redefine who I am just so somebody else can be liked.  That's their problem. And I don't mean that about Mitch.  This really is not about Mitch Daniels here, folks.  This is about us.  Why should any of us have to redefine who we are to help somebody get elected?  If you stop and think about that, that's really very odd.  A politician seeks our support by telling us that we need to change.  There's something very liberal about that.  I mean that's what liberals are constantly telling us to do, that we have to change, we have to accommodate, we have to accept.  But we're conservatives.  We don't have to change at all.  Why would we?  We're committed to liberty and freedom for everybody.  The rule of law, faith, regardless of what some politician or editorial page writer tells us.  I know that many of you in this audience are oriented the same way that I am, really trying to save this nation. 

We're not trying to accommodate those who don't agree with us.  We're not trying to accommodate those who don't see the danger.  We're trying to alert them to it.  We're trying to alert them to the danger that we see.  We want them to take this country as seriously as we do.  We want them to take what's happening to this country as seriously as we do.  And if you want to know why everybody was going nuts when Donald Trump started talking, I've just given you the answer:  passion for the country!  Forget for a moment whether he is or isn't a conservative, finally somebody came along on our side who was passionate about defending the country.  That's all it took.  We don't hear that on our side very often. 

We're not the ones who are wrong.  We're not the ones who have to moderate.  But if we do have to moderate, somebody tell me what we have to moderate on?  Michael Barone has a piece in the Washington Examiner: "What the GOP Can Learn from Canada's Conservatives."  Let me give you a couple quotes here.  "The Conservatives' triumph offers a couple of lessons that may be relevant to US Republicans. One is that smaller-government policies, far from being political poison, are actually vote winners."  What was November about if it wasn't about that?  "The second is that a center-right party can win immigrant votes. Conservatives won 35 of 54 seats in metro Toronto, many heavy with immigrants. One tactic that seems to have worked was to circulate videos of Indian- and Chinese-Canadian Conservative candidates appealing for votes in their native tongues."

See, there's another premise.  We can't win the "Hispanic vote" because of our immigration policy, or we can't win a minority vote because -- that's just BS.  We can win it all with conservatism, and we are.  It is in an ascendancy.  The dirty truth is that Obama is hurting and hurting bad.  There isn't a politician alive who wants to run on this record.  There isn't a politician alive who would promise four more years of this record, and yet we're told he is unbeatable unless we change.  Hogwash.  I'm tired of having my intelligence insulted.  If that were the case, put me down for six-dollar-a-gallon gasoline, I'm running for president. 

RUSH: It's Dan in Chicago.  Dan, your turn, and I'm glad you called, sir.  Hi.

CALLER:  Thank you, Rush, and 17-year mega dittos.  Thank you for helping convert a high school liberal --

RUSH:  Thank you, sir, thank you very much.

CALLER:  -- (unintelligible) proud conservative.  I'm just so riled up about these callers, these crybabies over Mitch Daniels calling the line to you cause I am just so sick of apologetic conservatives.  And I'm still stinging from the last one.  And they bring up Ronald Reagan, and I don't have the privilege of remembering Ronald Reagan, but I have never heard Ronald Reagan in a campaign speech apologize for being conservative, or water down his message.  He was a hundred percent full throttle conservative in every speech I ever heard --

RUSH:  Yeah.  He never apologized for the country, either.

CALLER:  No way.  He related to people but he did not water down the message.  He explained what conservative principles were to people.  And Mitch Daniels was right about one thing.  There's a lot of people out there that don't know what conservatism is, they don't really pay attention, and --

RUSH:  Yeah, well, let me tell you something.  You don't educate 'em by hiding it from them.  That's one thing I do know.  You do not educate the low-information voter about conservatism by not telling them what it is.  Dan, I appreciate that.  I'm glad he reminded me, I gotta send the link to the Reagan '77 CPAC speech up to my webmaster Koko. I'll do that in the break.  Two other things here about the Canadian elections, too.  All of the polls, every one of them said that the conservatives would lose.  Every pre-election poll in Canada had the conservatives losing big, and they won in the biggest landslide in history.  The second is we never heard a peep about this victory from the mainstream media.  There hasn't been a single story about this sweeping conservative victory in Canada in the Drive-By Media.  Not one. 


RUSH: By the way, folks, if these moderates -- the No Label crowd on our side, whatever the RINOs are calling themselves these days -- have a statement of beliefs and policies, I want to see it. I want to see what it is. I want to find out what I'm supposed to moderate on. What am I supposed to be less passionate about? Here's Mitch Daniels again from CPAC this February. He said, "We should distinguish carefully skepticism about big government from contempt for all government. Remember, we have no enemy, only opponents." Okay. Now, that, to me, is key: "We have no enemy, only opponents."

Our "opponents" are accusing us -- and have for decades -- of wanting to kill old people! Again now they're doing it with Paul Ryan and Medicare. Our opponents have accused us of wanting to starve children. Our opponents have sought the defeat of the US military in the war in Iraq and the War on Terror. See, I don't look at them as just simple "opponents." That's the prevailing view in Washington: "Yeah, they're just the Democrats and they're gonna win some and we're gonna win some. We'll have this interchangeable possession of the Oval Office. It'll go back and forth. They'll run Congress, and we'll run Congress..."

No, no. This really gets to the nub of it, for me (and I'll just limit this to myself). The American left today, with their designs on this nation, are an enemy. True they are "opponents," but they're also an enemy. But they can only be an enemy if you really have a passionate belief system. Otherwise they're just "opponents."

If this were -- well, don't have to time for a question. I wish I did.


RUSH: Just cleared the wires. Bloomberg News: "New Jersey Governor Chris Christie meeting with potential presidential candidates on the Republican side, says he could and might support Mitch Daniels for the Republican nomination."



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