"Number One voice for conservatism" Rush Limbaugh wastes no time leading assault on Obama

››› ››› SARAH PAVLUS, BRIAN FREDERICK & GREG LEWIS

With a Democrat back in the White House, Rush Limbaugh has wasted no time in hurling false and baseless attacks against President Obama, echoing his slanders and smears of President Clinton, his family, and his administration during the 1990s.

During the 1990s, Rush Limbaugh became a Republican and right-wing darling by relentlessly slandering and smearing President Clinton, his family, and his administration. With a Democrat back in the White House, Limbaugh has wasted no time hurling false and baseless attacks against President Obama.

In his 1996 book Hot Air, Howard Kurtz reported that in 1989, shortly after he launched his nationally syndicated radio show, Limbaugh stated, "I'm not out to save the country. I'm out to get a large audience. I'm an entertainer first and a conservative second" [Page 229]. But, Kurtz wrote, the 1992 election "elevated Limbaugh to a loftier platform as talker-in-chief of the opposition party. He began to take himself, and his program, far more seriously. He was no longer merely an entertainer" [Pages 229-230].

Indeed, in 1992, following Clinton's election, according to National Review, Ronald Reagan sent Limbaugh a personal note thanking him for "all" he was "doing to promote Republican and conservative principles" and proclaiming him the "Number One voice for conservatism in our Country."

In the weeks and months that followed Clinton's election, Kurtz reported, Limbaugh began his programs "with a refrain about 'America held hostage' for whatever the number of days since Clinton moved into the White House" [Page 232]. Kurtz wrote that in May 1994, Clinton complained about "Rush Limbaugh and all this right-wing extremist media just pouring venom at us every day" [Page 232].

In its July 2008 profile of him, The New York Times Magazine stated that in 1994, Limbaugh "was so influential in the Republican Congressional landslide that the grateful winners made him an honorary member of the G.O.P. freshman class. He moved not only voters, but the party itself."

Recently, Limbaugh has garnered attention for his January 16 comment regarding Obama: "I hope he fails." And in a January 21 interview with Sean Hannity on Fox News, Limbaugh stated: "We are being told that we have to hope he succeeds, that we have to bend over, grab the ankles, bend over forward, backward, whichever, because his father was black, because this is the first black president."

During the 2008 presidential campaign, Limbaugh often invoked Obama's race in attacking him, from asserting that Obama's "only chance of winning is that he's black" to, at another time, claiming that Obama is "not black."

Limbaugh has reacted to the election and inauguration with more attacks on Obama and his policies. These attacks include accusing Obama of using and exaggerating the current economic crisis for political gain. Limbaugh has also echoed the myth -- repeated by media conservatives denouncing Obama's economic recovery plan -- that the New Deal prolonged the Great Depression. In addition, Limbaugh has repeatedly criticized Obama for his plan to close the detention facilities at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, asserting that Obama's intended action would endanger American lives, and repeating the falsehood that "it has been learned that 61 detainees" who have been released from Guantánamo have returned to terrorist activities.

In July 2008, The New York Times reported that Limbaugh signed a contract extension with his syndicator, Clear Channel Communications' Premiere Radio Networks, that would pay him "about $400 million to continue serving up his daily dose of conservative patter through 2016." If history and his comments about Obama to date are any indication, Limbaugh will continue his campaign of smears and falsehoods against the president and his administration. Media Matters has compiled several examples of Limbaugh's attacks:

Limbaugh on Obama: "I hope he fails"

During the broadcast of his January 16 show, Limbaugh noted that he was asked by "a major American print publication" to write 400 words on his "hope for the Obama presidency." Limbaugh responded to the request:

So I'm thinking of replying to the guy saying, "OK, I'll send you a response, but I don't need 400 words. I need four: I hope he fails." Well, what are you laughing at? See, here's the point. Everybody thinks it's outrageous to say. I mean, look at -- even my staff -- "Oh, you can't do that." Why not? Why is it any different? What's new? What is unfair about my saying I hope liberalism fails? Liberalism is our problem. Liberalism is what's gotten us dangerously close to the precipice here. Why do I want more of it?

Limbaugh: "We are being told ... that we have to bend over, grab the ankles ... because this is the first black president."

In a January 21 interview with Sean Hannity, Limbaugh stated:

We are being told that we have to hope [Obama] succeeds, that we have to bend over, grab the ankles, bend over forward, backward, whichever, because his father was black, because this is the first black president.

Limbaugh attacks Obama economic recovery package as effort to "buy votes for the Democratic Party"

Following Obama's reported comments to Republican leaders that "[y]ou can't just listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done," National Review White House correspondent Byron York asked Limbaugh for his response. According to York, Limbaugh responded:

To make the argument about me instead of his plan makes sense from his perspective. Obama's plan would buy votes for the Democrat Party, in the same way FDR's New Deal established majority power for 50 years of Democrat rule, and it would also simultaneously seriously damage any hope of future tax cuts. It would allow a majority of American voters to guarantee no taxes for themselves going forward. It would burden the private sector and put the public sector in permanent and firm control of the economy. Put simply, I believe his stimulus is aimed at re-establishing "eternal" power for the Democrat Party rather than stimulating the economy because anyone with a brain knows this is NOT how you stimulate the economy. If I can be made to serve as a distraction, then there is that much less time debating the merits of this TRILLION dollar debacle.

Limbaugh made similar comments on the January 26 edition of his show:

Now, to make the argument about me, folks, instead of his plan makes sense from his perspective. His plan, I think, is pretty much what FDR was trying to do back in the New Deal era. This is about establishing majority power for 50 years of Democrat rule. And it would also simultaneously damage any hope of future tax cuts. If Obama's version of the stimulus plan goes in, you can forget tax cuts. The deficits are going to be so huge and so numerous and so frequent that the argument for tax cuts in the standard manner can never be won.

His plan would also see to it that a majority of American voters would not pay income taxes, and therefore, a minority of people who would vote for tax cuts will always lose. His stimulus plan would burden the private sector and put the public sector in permanent and firm control of the economy, and I really think that what -- his stimulus plan is political. Just like these executive orders he signed last week on Guantánamo Bay and so forth. Those were not security-oriented; they were political.

His stimulus plan, likewise, is political. It is aimed at re-establishing eternal power for the Democrat [sic] Party, just as FDR did, rather than stimulating the economy. Folks, anybody with a brain knows that his stimulus plan is not how you stimulate the economy. And if he can make me a distraction, then there'd be all that much less time to debate this.

Limbaugh repeats myth that New Deal prolonged the Great Depression

Limbaugh has repeatedly advanced the myth that the New Deal prolonged the Great Depression. For example, during his November 20 broadcast, Limbaugh stated: "the New Deal did not fix the Great Depression; it made it worse. The New Deal prolonged it." As Media Matters has repeatedly noted, prominent economists have disputed this claim. Limbaugh added: "But in the process, FDR secured massive power for himself as well as his party. And Obama has indicated that his model is FDR."

Limbaugh asserts that layoffs are "casualties" of the "Obama war on prosperity"

During the January 27 broadcast of his show, Limbaugh referred to recent layoffs at major companies as "casualties" in the "Obama war on prosperity." Limbaugh stated:

Casualties are mounting across the United States. Home Depot announced that they are killing off 7,000. Sprint, killing off 8,000. Pfizer, killing off 8,000 more. Other companies, including Caterpillar, brought the total to 40,000 jobs killed in just one day.

[...]

I wonder if the drive-by media will keep a running monthly tally of the Obama casualties in the same manner as they did war casualties under George W. Bush. Or if protesters will plant crosses on mock graves for every job killed under the Obama administration. Will we have people protesting the loss of American treasure? The loss of American jobs? Will we have people camping across the street from Obama's house in Chicago, as they camped across the street from Bush's place in Crawford? Forty thousand jobs killed in one day. The Obama administration tells us we're going to lose two million more this year even if he gets what he wants.

Now, for those of you who think this is an unfair question, perhaps an unfair analogy, let me remind you: We are talking about lives here. We are not talking about jets. We are not talking about bathroom refurbishing. We are talking about what was once entrepreneurial freedom that's being usurped. We're trying to take these incidents as teachable moments, to illustrate that what's happening here is nothing more than a giant usurpation of trillions of dollars of private-sector wealth transferred to the government and then parceled out by that government on the basis of who they think ought to have it. They will pick winners and losers. We're talking about 40,000 people's lives, in one day. Their identities, their dreams, their hopes, and their jobs. Casualties. And there is a war going on. These are casualties in war, and I'm going to tell you what the war is. This is the Obama war on prosperity -- 40,000 jobs dead in one day.

Limbaugh promotes myth of an "Obama Recession"

As Media Matters has noted, Limbaugh promoted the myth of an "Obama recession" on his show. During the November 6 broadcast of his program, Limbaugh said:

Speaking of Obama, by the way, the Obama recession is in full swing, ladies and gentlemen. Stocks are dying, which is a precursor of things to come. This is an Obama recession. Might turn into a depression. It's -- he hadn't done anything yet, but his ideas are killing the economy. His ideas are killing Wall Street. They need some certainty. And now everybody in the drive-bys -- we don't know who Obama is. We've got a story from Jennifer Loven at the Associated Press today -- we don't know who Obama is. All of a sudden now on Charlie Rose, they're starting to talk about his ties to Saul Alinsky.

Discussing economy, Limbaugh accuses Obama of "ramping up the crisis mentality"

On January 8, discussing a speech Obama gave that day on the economy, Limbaugh accused Obama of "ramping up the crisis mentality." Limbaugh added:

Recessions come out of their cycles in 24-month periods if you just leave them alone. Wait and see is what works. Recessions -- it's the average length of time for a recession in America. Depression is a different thing. ... I'm not suggesting benign neglect. I am suggesting that we have the undertaker in charge of the body before it's dead.

During the December 8 broadcast of his program, Limbaugh accused Obama of "stoking the fire of unrest." Limbaugh said:

And so you see, ladies and gentlemen, Obama wants nothing to do with whatever proposals are hammered out now. And, frankly, neither do the Democrats in Congress. They want to be able to hang as much of this on George Bush as they can, which means Chris Matthews and Dan Rather and Gwen Ifill -- sorry to disappoint you, but your President-elect does not want the job right now. Because he's not interested in fixing anything right now. He's comfortable with it getting worse right now, so that when he does take office in January, he'll have a smooth, clean, clear road in front of him to wave his magic wand and do whatever he wants.

And I think Chris and the rest of you better understand something. He's stoking the fire of unrest. He is turning up the heat on the notion of crisis. It's gonna get worse. It's gonna get worse. It's gonna get a lot worse before it gets any better.

Limbaugh downplays the economic crisis and the need for stimulus spending

Limbaugh has also downplayed the economic crisis and the need for stimulus spending to an audience member who called in to tell Limbaugh of her own personal economic troubles. As Media Matters noted, Limbaugh responded the caller's account of her own economic troubles as a homeowner and a small business owner on his January 21 broadcast by stating, "Well, you might want to consult history." He went on to add that "[i]t was much worse than this 26 years ago, Ronald Reagan's second year" and that back then, "the country came around with policies that got government out of the way, that lowered business and personal income taxes."

Later in the January 21 broadcast, Limbaugh referred back to the caller and stated:

Now, it strikes me as sad in a way because honest, folks, if I -- if I were hurting like Marie in Discovery Bay, and about to lose my business -- and by the way, I've been broke twice in my life. I've described the circumstances. I wouldn't be sitting around waiting for somebody to tell me what I should do, wouldn't be sitting around waiting for somebody in Washington to come up with a plan that's going to start getting people to spend money. And I -- it's just something that I cannot relate to. I would be doing everything I could to make money. If that meant a different line of work, so be it. But that may sound harsh to people in today's America, because we live in an age where a great economy with burgeoning opportunity is something the American people expect. And when it's not there on a cyclical basis, then a crisis ensues. And I think poor Marie has been subjected to how many years of media attempts to create a crisis mentality where the economy is concerned. For five years, at least, the media's been trying to convince every one of you that we're already in a recession, and now, they're trying to convince you we are in a depression, that it is worse than the Great Depression, and it isn't.

We haven't even gotten close to how bad it was in the 1970s. We haven't gotten close to the recession in 1982. Yet this willingness to -- I mean, she started her own business at some point, but now she's willing to put aside whatever she did at that time to start the business and sit around and hope that there will be some change come down the pike because of a change in occupants in the White House.

Limbaugh suggests Obama to blame for layoffs

On January 12, Limbaugh said, "I want to talk for a moment to those of you who are out of work." In his subsequent comments, Limbaugh stated: "there are two kinds of people that are out of work: those who want to start working soon, and those who are content to live on extended unemployment benefits. I'm primarily speaking to those of you who want to go back to work." Later, Limbaugh stated:

And it's sad that people are out of work, and it's sad they're being laid off, but it's also very sad that some of these layoffs are happening as a preventive measure not yet necessary because of the economic downturn. These are just smart people hedging the bets, and you're the bet. They're betting taxes are going to go up. They're betting it's going to cost more to have health care for employees. They're betting it's going to have more cost to give Medicare, and so -- whatever it is. And so, none of these businesses are bottomless pits of money.

So they're getting ready for the additional costs of doing business. And the most expensive cost of doing business is labor. And the fastest way to bring the budget in line is getting rid of people. Faster than getting rid of printers. Faster than getting rid of paper clips. Faster than getting rid of the coffee machine or charging for lunch in the cafeteria, or what have you.

Limbaugh on the post-election stock market drop

On the November 6, 2008, edition of his radio show, Limbaugh, referring to the stock market's performance after the results of the November 4 election, asserted: "So on Wednesday [November 5], the Dow drops about 486 points. It's down 346 points today. But of course, according to the drive-bys, these two events have nothing to do with each other. It's just a coincidence. The market's down today because of the jobless numbers. That's how the drive-bys see it. We have the largest market plunge after an election in history. Thank you, man-child Barack Obama." In fact, as Media Matters documented, analysts on Fox News and Fox Business Network cited reasons independent of the election to explain the fall in the market in the days following the election.

Limbaugh says stock market is "giving [Obama] a failing grade"

Reacting to Obama's January 8 economic speech, Limbaugh said on his show that day:

Now, when the speech began, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was at 50 -- down 50. As we speak now, ladies and gentlemen, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is down about 95. So it has fallen 45 points, yet the business community is behind this speech, behind the plan from the get-go.

Similarly, on the January 15 broadcast of his show, Limbaugh stated that "it's entirely fair to call this Obama's stock market because it's reacting to what Obama's plans are for the economy." He added: "Financial markets are a rough predictor of future economic performance, and based upon what the markets know of Obama's plans, it's giving him a failing grade."

Limbaugh on Obama and Guantánamo Bay

After President Obama signed an executive order requiring that the detention facilities at Guantánamo Bay be closed within a year, Limbaugh proclaimed on the January 22 broadcast of his program that he would have to change the design of his "Club Gitmo" line of merchandise (Rush 24/7 membership required), and promised to add the phrase "When America was Safe" to future merchandise.

During the January 15 broadcast of his program, Limbaugh falsely claimed that "it has been learned that 61 detainees who were released from 'Club Gitmo' have returned to commit terrorist acts." In fact, as Media Matters has documented, the Pentagon said it has confirmed that 18 Guantánamo detainees -- not 61 -- have "return[ed] to the fight," and experts have challenged even the lower figure.

Limbaugh still using doctored clip as evidence that media is still "trying to figure out who Obama is"

Limbaugh has repeatedly aired badly doctored audio from the October 30, 2008, edition of PBS' Charlie Rose in which, Limbaugh claims, Rose and his guest, NBC Meet the Press host Tom Brokaw, were "trying to figure out who Obama is."

Among other things, the audio montage -- which consists of multiple out-of-context statements cobbled together from different parts of the interview -- falsely suggests that Brokaw expressed the view of Obama that "there's a lot about him we don't know," when, in fact, Brokaw attributed that assertion to "conservative commentators." Also, Limbaugh's audio falsely suggests that comments Brokaw and Rose made about their lack of familiarity with the candidates applied only to Obama when, in fact, they were referring to both Obama and his opponent, Sen. John McCain.

On January 22, after playing the clip again, Limbaugh asserted: "See, they didn't vet on purpose. They didn't want to know these things before the election. They didn't want to know the answers themselves."

From the January 16 broadcast of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:

LIMBAUGH: I got a request here, from a major American print publication. "Dear Rush, For the Obama immaculate inauguration, we are asking a handful of very prominent politicians, statesmen, scholars, businessmen, commentators and economists to write 400 words on their hope for the Obama presidency. We would love to include you. If you could send us 400 words on your hope for the Obama presidency, we need it by Monday night. That would be ideal."

Now, see here -- we're caught in this trap again. The premise is what is your hope for the -- my hope, and please understand me when I say this: I disagree fervently with the people on our side of the aisle who have caved and who say, "Well, I hope he succeeds. We've got to give him a chance."

Why? They didn't give Bush a chance in 2000. Before he was inaugurated, the search-and-destroy mission had begun. I'm not talking about search-and-destroy, but I've been listening to Barack Obama for a year and a half. I know what his politics are. I know what his plans are as he has stated them. I don't want them to succeed. If I wanted Obama to succeed, I'd be happy the Republicans have laid down. And I would be encouraging Republicans to lay down and support him.

I don't want -- look, what he's talking about is the absorption of as much of the private sector by the U.S. government as possible. From the banking business to the mortgage industry to the automobile business to the healthcare -- I do not want the government in charge of all of these things. I don't want this to work.

So I'm thinking of replying to the guy saying, "OK, I'll send you a response, but I don't need 400 words. I need four: I hope he fails." Well, what are you laughing at? See, here's the point. Everybody thinks it's outrageous to say. I mean, look at -- even my staff -- "Oh, you can't do that." Why not? Why is it any different? What's new? What is unfair about my saying I hope liberalism fails? Liberalism is our problem. Liberalism is what's gotten us dangerously close to the precipice here. Why do I want more of it?

From the January 21 broadcast of Fox News' Hannity:

LIMBAUGH: They wanted him elected because they wanted to reassert their power -- the media here -- in being able to sway public opinion to the result that they wanted. So it didn't -- they were going to cover up the Jeremiah Wright, all these things that give indication of radicalism in Obama -- cover that up, portray him as he wants to be portrayed, somebody who's not to be questioned, somebody who's not to be doubted, we're just supposed to accept and trust because most of these guys came alive and came of age in the civil rights battles of the '60s. It defines who they are. They've trained the young drive-bys to look at events through the same prism. You know, racism in this country is the exclusive province of the left. We're witnessing racism all this week that led up to the inauguration. We are being told that we have to hope he succeeds, that we have to bend over, grab the ankles, bend over forward, backward, whichever, because his father was black, because this is the first black president. We -- we've got to accept this.

The racism that everybody thinks exists on our side of the aisle has been on full display throughout their primary campaign. So I think they've done a great job, the media has, of covering up his deficiencies. They -- he's too big to fail, and so whatever goes wrong, blame it on Bush, blame it on -- I mean, MSNBC's new life will be criticizing you and me because they can't criticize him.

From the January 26 edition of The Rush Limbaugh Show:

LIMBAUGH: Now, to make the argument about me, folks, instead of his plan makes sense from his perspective. His plan, I think, is pretty much what FDR was trying to do back in the New Deal era. This is about establishing majority power for 50 years of Democrat rule. And it would also simultaneously damage any hope of future tax cuts. If Obama's version of the stimulus plan goes in, you can forget tax cuts. The deficits are going to be so huge and so numerous and so frequent that the argument for tax cuts in the standard manner can never be won.

His plan would also see to it that a majority of American voters would not pay income taxes, and therefore, a minority of people who would vote for tax cuts will always lose. His stimulus plan would burden the private sector and put the public sector in permanent and firm control of the economy, and I really think that what -- his stimulus plan is political. Just like these executive orders he signed last week on Guantánamo Bay and so forth. Those were not security-oriented; they were political.

His stimulus plan, likewise, is political. It is aimed at re-establishing eternal power for the Democrat [sic] Party, just as FDR did, rather than stimulating the economy. Folks, anybody with a brain knows that his stimulus plan is not how you stimulate the economy. And if he can make me a distraction, then there'd be all that much less time to debate this.

From the January 27 edition of The Rush Limbaugh Show:

LIMBAUGH: Let's talk about casualties for just a second. Casualties are mounting -- this matters. This isn't a jet. This isn't a redecorated bathroom. Casualties are mounting across the United States. Home Depot announced that they are killing off 7,000. Sprint, killing off 8,000. Pfizer, killing off 8,000 more. Other companies, including Caterpillar, brought the total to 40,000 jobs killed in just one day.

Now, sadly, the number of casualties is expected to rise with no end in sight. Economists are warning that we're just witnessing the tip of the iceberg here. By the end of this year, 10 percent of America's workforce could be unemployed. But that doesn't matter, does it, because we're not going to let Citi have their jet, and we're going to make sure we get the money back for the redecorated bathroom, right? Ten percent of America's workforce could be unemployed even if President Obama's trillion-dollar spending program is enacted. We're told that there will be a net loss of at least 2 million jobs more by the end of the year. Even if, folks, he gets all of his trillion dollars. Even with this dire forecast, our rapidly deteriorating labor market, our new President and our Democrat Congress are planning to kill even more jobs by demanding that automakers build green cars that nobody wants, by adopting draconian fuel standards to appease radical environmentalists. At the local level, liberal state governments from California to New York to New Jersey are introducing new taxes as they refuse to rein in their budgets.

I wonder if the drive-by media will keep a running monthly tally of the Obama casualties in the same manner as they did war casualties under George W. Bush. Or if protesters will plant crosses on mock graves for every job killed under the Obama administration. Will we have people protesting the loss of American treasure? The loss of American jobs? Will we have people camping across the street from Obama's house in Chicago, as they camped across the street from Bush's place in Crawford? Forty thousand jobs killed in one day. The Obama administration tells us we're going to lose two million more this year even if he gets what he wants.

Now, for those of you who think this is an unfair question, perhaps an unfair analogy, let me remind you: We are talking about lives here. We are not talking about jets. We are not talking about bathroom refurbishing. We are talking about what was once entrepreneurial freedom that's being usurped. We're trying to take these incidents as teachable moments, to illustrate that what's happening here is nothing more than a giant usurpation of trillions of dollars of private-sector wealth transferred to the government and then parceled out by that government on the basis of who they think ought to have it. They will pick winners and losers. We're talking about 40,000 people's lives, in one day. Their identities, their dreams, their hopes, and their jobs. Casualties. And there is a war going on. These are casualties in war, and I'm going to tell you what the war is. This is the Obama war on prosperity -- 40,000 jobs dead in one day.

From the November 6, 2008, broadcast of The Rush Limbaugh Show:

LIMBAUGH: Now, Carl Cameron did a report on Fox last night. He was on The O'Reilly Factor, and he's now been everywhere on Fox because people have been leaking to him. But it's not just -- it's not just Fox and Carl Cameron. Newsweek -- Newsweek has a special project they call -- on Sarah Palin, the purpose of which is to destroy Sarah Palin and, of course, establish the anointed one.

Speaking of Obama, by the way, the Obama recession is in full swing, ladies and gentlemen. Stocks are dying, which is a precursor of things to come. This is an Obama recession. Might turn into a depression. It's -- he hadn't done anything yet, but his ideas are killing the economy. His ideas are killing Wall Street. They need some certainty. And now everybody in the drive-bys -- we don't know who Obama is. We've got a story from Jennifer Loven at the Associated Press today -- we don't know who Obama is. All of a sudden now on Charlie Rose, they're starting to talk about his ties to Saul Alinsky.

From the January 8 broadcast of The Rush Limbaugh Show:

LIMBAUGH: This is Obama, the President-select, ramping up the crisis mentality.

OBAMA [audio clip]: If nothing is done, this recession could linger for years --

LIMBAUGH: Stop the tape a minute. Recessions come out of their cycles in 24-month periods if you just leave them alone. Wait and see is what works. Recessions -- it's the average length of time for a recession in America. Depression is a different thing. What now, Snerdley? What's the problem? Mm-hmm. I'm not suggesting benign neglect. I'm not suggesting benign neglect. I am suggesting that we have the undertaker in charge of the body before it's dead.

Think of Washington as a giant funeral home, and we are the living. And the undertakers are not changing their jobs. Their jobs are to prepare bodies for burial. We are on a conveyor belt heading into the funeral home. Most of us are smiling like stupid idiots at the prospects for our future. All because some guy who can put 10 words together -- which say nothing -- makes them feel good.

From the December 8 broadcast of The Rush Limbaugh Show:

LIMBAUGH: And so you see, ladies and gentlemen, Obama wants nothing to do with whatever proposals are hammered out now. And, frankly, neither do the Democrats in Congress. They want to be able to hang as much of this on George Bush as they can, which means Chris Matthews and Dan Rather and Gwen Ifill -- sorry to disappoint you, but your President-elect does not want the job right now. Because he's not interested in fixing anything right now. He's comfortable with it getting worse right now, so that when he does take office in January, he'll have a smooth, clean, clear road in front of him to wave his magic wand and do whatever he wants.

And I think Chris and the rest of you better understand something. He's stoking the fire of unrest. He is turning up the heat on the notion of crisis. It's gonna get worse. It's gonna get worse. It's gonna get a lot worse before it gets any better.

From the January 21 broadcast of The Rush Limbaugh Show:

CALLER: Well, I wanted to just phone in because I adore you, but I have to hold you account for the little person out here. I am a small business owner -- one person, home-based. I have a house that's now valued at $200,000 worth less than what we bought it for it five years ago. And up and down my street are all home-based self-employed contractors. You name it: GCs, window guys, electricians. We all do our own business, and we're hurting.

And I didn't vote for Obama. I don't believe anything -- any of the socialist policies he's got going on. But God, I need the hope. I need people to open their wallets. I need them to start spending and believing that the economy is going to get better, or myself and hundreds of other people up and down my street are going to lose our houses, are going to lose our families and everything. And that's the thing that kills me -- the thing that I really need for people to believe in. I almost -- like I really --

LIMBAUGH: OK.

CALLER: I should care. I should care more about the policy and all that stuff, but I need people to start believing that America is going to turn that corner, because we've got to get to the bottom of this and start moving up. What do I do, Rush?

LIMBAUGH: Well, you might want to consult history. I don't know how old you are, but I've got a story in the stack that I'll get to quickly. It was much worse than this 26 years ago, Ronald Reagan's second year. The 1970s were an absolute disaster: double-digit unemployment, double-digit interest rates. Nobody could borrow because they couldn't afford it. You couldn't -- and back then, you had to have 20 percent down to buy a house unless you went FHA, and even -- and that was very tough to qualify for back then. I mean, there's a reason that 20 percent down for a house -- it shows a commitment to the purchase.

At any rate, the country came around with policies that got government out of the way, that lowered business and personal income taxes. It encouraged -- you know the one word that Obama did not mention yesterday in his speech? There were many words he didn't mention -- one word key: did not mention incentive.

CALLER: Oh, that's true.

LIMBAUGH: No incentive. What do you expect Obama to do to make your customers start spending money?

CALLER: You know, I don't know, but I know -- you know, when you're watching the -- and I have to admit I agree with you that the fawning and the -- you know, I was waiting for the great golden idol to be put up in the middle of the square. You know, forget --

LIMBAUGH: But you are -- look, I've got to run here, but you are willing to put up with that if you think some of this is going to come your way. And this, unfortunately, is the trick that they are playing. They're roping in otherwise responsible people like you with policies that have put you where you are in the first place.

From the January 12 broadcast of The Rush Limbaugh Show:

LIMBAUGH: I want to talk for a moment to those of you who are out of work. Can I have your attention please? Those of you that have been fired, those of you who have been laid off. Those of you who -- not just recently either, but maybe in the past six months or so. But particularly to those of you laid off in the past couple or three months. I want to speak brazenly, honestly with you. And extremely openly with you.

As you know, I'm an optimist and I have a philosophy that guides me most of the time. Even I, strong and committed, a rock, a spine of steel, even sometimes I slip and the negative outweighs the positive. I catch myself. One of my operating philosophies and theories is that no matter how bad something is there's always good to be found in it. There's always something good to be found in bad. And it's hard to look for the good because a lot of people wanta wallow in the bad. Wallow in the bad -- oh, woe is me. It's natural. It's human nature.

The first thing that I think those of you who are out of work -- and there are two kinds of people that are out of work: those who want to start working soon, and those who are content to live on extended unemployment benefits. I'm primarily speaking to those of you who want to go back to work.

[...]

LIMBAUGH: So my point here is job to job, and a career is a different thing. And a career has goals, objectives, short and long-term. A career -- somebody that has a career vision more than likely has a passion for what they love to do and know what it is. So that's to me wherein the opportunity lies.

And it's sad that people are out of work, and it's sad they're being laid off, but it's also very sad that some of these layoffs are happening as a preventive measure not yet necessary because of the economic downturn. These are just smart people hedging the bets, and you're the bet. They're betting taxes are going to go up. They're betting it's going to cost more to have health care for employees. They're betting it's going to have more cost to give Medicare, and so -- whatever it is. And so, none of these businesses are bottomless pits of money.

So they're getting ready for the additional costs of doing business. And the most expensive cost of doing business is labor. And the fastest way to bring the budget in line is getting rid of people. Faster than getting rid of printers. Faster than getting rid of paper clips. Faster than getting rid of the coffee machine or charging for lunch in the cafeteria, or what have you.

From the November 6, 2008, broadcast of The Rush Limbaugh Show:

LIMBAUGH: OK, so let me start at the top here connecting the dots. On Tuesday we elect a new president. New president promised even before the election, by the way, when we had a 4,000-point drop -- the president promised to increase corporate taxes, capital gains taxes, the top marginal tax rate, a massive new energy tax that will bankrupt coal, and his party is talking about a government takeover of 401(k) plans.

So on Wednesday, the Dow drops about 486 points. It's down 346 points today. But of course, according to the drive-bys, these two events have nothing to do with each other. It's just a coincidence. The market's down today because of the jobless numbers. That's how the drive-bys see it. We have the largest market plunge after an election in history. Thank you, man-child Barack Obama.

From the January 8 broadcast of The Rush Limbaugh Show:

LIMBAUGH: I just heard something that, frankly, surprises me. I was watching a little post-speech commentary from our friends in the drive-bys, and Nina Easton, who is a Fox News contributor and analyst -- I think she's -- she writes for Fortune magazine so she writes now for business audience. She used to be the Washington bureau chief for The Boston Globe. She got out of there in the nick of time before the New York Times Company had to declare bankruptcy; they own the Boston Globe. At any rate, she said that the business community has signed onto this. The business community is all for the Obama economic plan, because of the tax cuts that are in for business in the Obama economic plan.

Now, when the speech began, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was at 50 -- down 50. As we speak now, ladies and gentlemen, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is down about 95. So it has fallen 45 points, yet the business community is behind this speech, behind the plan from the get-go.

From the January 15 broadcast of The Rush Limbaugh Show:

LIMBAUGH: I would call this the Obama stock market. The Obama stock -- if we're gonna -- if the stocks are gonna surge in November in the drive-by media because of Timothy Geithner being chosen, then by God, the stocks plummeting for whatever reason after that is also due to Obama. The drive-bys cannot have it both ways.

So to me, this is the Obama report card. It's entirely fair to call this Obama's stock market because it's reacting to what Obama's plans are for the economy. It's not reacting to Bush. Bush isn't on anybody's mind here. Financial markets are a rough predictor of future economic performance, and based upon what the markets know of Obama's plans, it's giving him a failing grade.

I'm not being political. The markets deal in bottom lines. It takes the pulse of millions of investors both in this country and abroad to report the results unfiltered. Keynesians can spin this all day long, but the people with skin in the game aren't buying. They're selling. They don't like massive budget deficits. They don't like the omission of tax rate cuts from Obama's plan. Slashing government spending in tax rates would provide a -- like I said yesterday: He could do -- he could get the markets up 500 points tomorrow without doing a thing. Just say he's considering massive tax cuts. Just considering it. And you watch the difference. That's precisely why he won't do it.

So the markets are selling off. It's Obama's stock market. His decisions are not inspiring the country's economic activists. They have chosen to sit on the sidelines until they feel it's safe to invest again.

From the November 20, 2008, broadcast of The Rush Limbaugh Show:

LIMBAUGH: You know, if you go back and you actually can find some objective history of the Great Depression and FDR, there are many indications that FDR -- I mean, the New Deal did not fix the Great Depression; it made it worse. The New Deal prolonged it. But in the process, FDR secured massive power for himself as well as his party. And Obama has indicated that his model is FDR.

From the January 22 broadcast of The Rush Limbaugh Show:

LIMBAUGH: Apparently -- see, I have a thriving merchandise business down there, the "Club Gitmo" T-shirt, cap and other assorted -- like soap-on-a-rope and other things, little gifts and ideas people can have and walk around. Obama's executive order today has threatened my thriving merchandise business. This is an example of the kind of stimulus that we're going to get from the new president, putting one of my businesses out of business? I have one year, supposedly -- I have one year left. Therefore, I have issued an executive order to my marketing people at the EIB store.

A brand new line of "Club Gitmo" merchandise. We'll work on the individual designs, but every item, be it the soap-on-a-rope, be it the T-shirts, be it the "Club Gitmo" caps -- will have a phrase: "When America was Safe." "Club Gitmo, When America was Safe," and we're going to get this merchandise in the pipeline here. We're also, ladies and gentlemen, going to have a new little logo for "Club Gitmo." We're going to have a swimming pool, which is water, with a diving board which allows people to waterboard at "Club Gitmo" by diving into the recreation pool via our diving board. That will be one of the new logos. That executive order has gone out from me to the marketing managers at the EIB store. Here is, ladies and gentlemen: "When America was Safe."

From the January 15 broadcast of The Rush Limbaugh Show:

LIMBUAGH: If I'm a worldwide terrorist and I'm watching all this, there are certain things that I have to realize here: that my task has just been made easier. My task has just been made much easier. The United States claims it's going to close Guantánamo Bay, where it has been learned that 61 detainees who were released from "Club Gitmo" have returned to commit terrorist acts.

Yeah, this is shaping up. It's -- folks, it's going to be fascinating to watch and be part of. It's going to be frustrating, too, and I understand it every bit as much as you do, but elections have consequences.

From the January 22 broadcast of The Rush Limbaugh Show:

LIMBAUGH: Anyway, Politico, Jim VandeHei, John Harris, "What We Don't Know About Obama." What we don't know about Obama. And here are the things they write that they don't know. Does he really think Afghanistan is winnable? Do deficits matter? How fast is too fast in Iraq? What's in the files? Do unions wear white hats? Can U.S. power save Darfur?

Now, John and Jim, you know I love you. Why didn't you ask him? You are journalists. You are reporters. Why didn't you ask him during the campaign if he thinks Afghanistan is winnable, if deficits matter. Good Lord. Why didn't you ask him? It reminds me of this.

[begin audio clip]

ROSE: I don't know what Barack Obama's worldview is.

BROKAW: No, I don't either.

ROSE: I don't know how he really sees where China is.

BROKAW: We don't know a lot about Barack Obama and the universe of his thinking about foreign policy.

ROSE: I don't really know. And do we know anything about the people who are advising them?

BROKAW: You know, that's an interesting question.

ROSE: He is principally known through his autobiography and through very aspirational speeches.

BROKAW: Now I don't know what books he's read.

ROSE: What do we know about the heroes of Barack Obama?

BROKAW: There's a lot about him we don't know.

[end audio clip]

LIMBAUGH: Tom, you work at NBC News. Assign a reporter. Or are there no reporters left at NBC? Everybody at NBC now just a commentator? An agitator? Everybody at NBC just trying to be like me? Are there no reporters left?

So here we have Brokaw and Charlie Rose. That's before -- let's see, that's October 30, that's even before the election, admitting to one another they don't know who he is. Don't forget the Newsweek guys who called him creepy after the Grant Park acceptance speech. Yes, he watches us watching him. He ascends above the stage after the speech and watches. It's creepy.

And now The Politico founders. Questions for Obama. They're reporters. Why didn't you ask him in the campaign? See, they didn't vet on purpose. They didn't even want to know these things before the election. They don't want to know the answers themselves.

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