Challenged by Rush

Friday afternoon, I was listening to Rush Limbaugh at my office.  He commented on a Wall Street Journal article by Daniel Henninger, “Has Obama Buried Reagan?”  (3/5/09).  Taken from his online transcript, I’ll step back and allow him to make his point, as only he can:


Anyway, what Henninger said was, “[W]hat Rush Limbaugh was trying to tell that conservative audience in so many words was, don’t be embarrassed, don’t be embarrassed about embracing the world of free markets, competition, entrepreneurship, and profit.  If you don’t know how to talk about it, reread the apostles and the evangelists the private economic growth.”  But see, where are you gonna find them? Those are philosophers, along with people that implemented great policies and so forth. But politics is about ideas and language, and the conservative movement is not at a loss for proven ideas.  They just don’t know how to express ’em! “The Democrats don’t want the private economy anymore and conservatives have forgotten how to talk about it.”


Exactly my point, Mr. Henninger! Conservatives have forgotten how to talk about it.  Conservatives are now more preoccupied with talking about the economy using the language and the terms put forth by Democrats, and that’s what’s got everybody so frustrated.  That’s why when you say, “These guys come into our neighborhoods and our states and they campaign as conservatives and they get to Washington and they govern as moderates!” They don’t have the guts to stand up for what it is that wins elections for Republicans.




RUSH: Folks, I’m sitting here fighting fatigue, desperately, single-handedly — I don’t mind saying this — as The Last Man Standing, trying to save this country, and I expect to get shot at from all sides with arrows.  Politically shot at, I expect this.  No, it doesn’t hurt my feelings, Snerdley.  It frustrates me.  It’s like Daniel Henninger.  Why is there such reluctance to stand up for what we believe?  Why is there such reluctance to contrast our own blueprint for success with what this is? 


I consider this a challenge. 


On Thursday afternoon, Rush thanked the people who stood by his side throughout the post-CPAC week of media onslaught.  And I thought, “This is it.  This is the time to choose. What side are you going to be on in this fight?”  It’s not a question of being with the left or the right for me.  It’s more of a question of ‘will I be with the right…or will I remain silent?’


Perhaps I was overly patriotic this week, if there is such a thing.  (For the record, there is not.) After a quick Sunday morning trip to Mt. Vernon last week, I haven’t been able to get that Revolutionary fight for liberty out of my head.  Those people stood up for freedom & liberty, in the face of the greatest challenges against their families, their wealth and their very lives. 


So, I’m asked to stand up and use the very freedoms they secured for me and I’m intimidated?  That is not who I want to be!


Driving down the interstate this week, I saw the most astounding image.  Traffic was slowing for no apparent reason.  As I got to the place in the road that seemed to be the glitch, I saw the most moving thing I have seen in awhile.  An American flag, most likely missing from its mini-van, was caught up in a gusty wind.  Weathered, tattered, and almost ripped in half, it was twirling across the lanes of traffic with the garbage and dirt.


If ever there was a time to grab the camera and catch a video that was it.  I missed the opportunity, but the image is still haunting me.  So are the questions.


Where will I stand? 


“Conservatives have forgotten how to talk about it,” according to Henninger.  He’s right.  I feel extremely ill-equipped.  But I am determined to learn.


Over the course of several weeks, I have heard many sources reference “The Conscience of a Conservative” by Senator Barry Goldwater.  I own it, but I’ve never read it.  It is a worn, old book that I found at a used book store years ago. 


I went in search of it.  There, behind the other books, on the bookshelf in the corner, I found it.  And I opened it.  And I read this:


“This book is not written with the idea of adding to or improving on the Conservative philosophy.  Or of “bringing it up to date.”  The ancient and tested truths that guided our Republic through its early days will do equally well for us.  The challenge to Conservatives today is quite simply to demonstrate the bearing of a proven philosophy on the problems of our own time.”


With the premise that America is fundamentally a Conservative nation, he writes,


“And so the question arises: Why have American people been unable to translate their view into appropriate action?  … I do not blame my brethren in government… I blame Conservatives – ourselves – myself.  Our failure, as one Conservative writer put it, is the failure of the Conservative demonstration.  Though we Conservatives are deeply persuaded that our society is ailing, and know that Conservatism holds the key to national salvation – and feel sure the country agrees with us – we seem unable to demonstrate the practical relevance of Conservative principles to the needs of the day.  We sit by impotently while Congress seeks to improvise solutions to problems that are not the real problems facing the country, while the government attempts to assuage imagined concerns and ignores the real concerns and real needs of the people.”


I think the Senator and I will be great friends. 


This is my first online diary post.  I plan to continue to document my first read through this book.  (But I promise the posts will be shorter!)


While it is an attempt to prepare myself to meet Rush’s challenge, it’s also a challenge I present myself: “Are you willing to fight for the beloved country you say you love?”