SNERDLEY: One of the things that teed me off this campaign season
was a few of these supposedly conservative publications, many of
which wouldn’t be on the map if you had not mentioned their names
from time to time, other than handouts from people that they go begging to for money. Some of these conservative publications came after
you because you didn’t, in their view, support their candidate enough.
A lot of it was Cruz-based. They were ticked at you. You never react to
these people. But they’ve been taking their little swipes. These people
are part of the broader NeverTrump people. Now that the dust has
settled, what happens to these NeverTrumpers? Have they written
themselves out? And then there are the bigger NeverTrumpers like
George Will, who’s just insulted half the people who followed him
once upon a time. What happens to these guys?
RUSH: They bide their time. They hope that Trump bombs out, in
ways they can demonstrate a conservative would not have bombed
out. They’ve got too much invested in the idea that Trump is bad news
for conservatism and the Republican Party. They invested their whole
existence in that intellectual belief. They are never going to admit they
got it wrong. I wouldn’t even think they do any mea culpas. They will
circle the wagons and wait and see.
And if Trump bombs out, is a major disappointment in ways they
can say betrays conservatism, even if it’s three years from now, they’ll
be back beating their chests saying, “We told you so.” That’s what they
can’t wait to do: “We told you so.” Why did they adopt this anti-Trump position in the first place? If I may be so bold, and this will
probably come back and bite me, but acknowledging your premise
here that many of these people had their chance because of the success
of this program —
SNERDLEY: They did.
RUSH: Okay. What is it about this program that they think made it
successful and thus gave them an opportunity to open their blog, or
their website or their magazine? Conservatism.
RUSH: Therefore, if I, for example, don’t denounce Trump, then I
am betraying conservatism. They believe their audiences, their donors, their readers, subscribers — which compared to this audience
is a thimbleful of people — are movement arch-conservatives, intolerant of any degree other than pure. And they have tied themselves
to that group of people, so they have to maintain that position of
“pure conservatism” in order to keep their subs up and their money
But the mistake they’re making is conservatism is not what pro-
duces 20 million people a week. Conservatism is not what produces
spot rates of $50,000 for an in-show 60-second spot. There’s much,
much more. It’s not a non-factor, but they’re not factoring the per-
formance aspect, the whole way you connect to an audience outside
of similar ideological beliefs. They think that conservatism is the
reason why I succeeded and therefore that I’m playing with fire if
they think I have abandoned it.
They would be shocked to see my audience has grown, that we
haven’t lost anybody. So I think that’s the mistake that they’ve made.
But now they’re tied to it. They could be true believers themselves, too
— but I really do think that, to them, it’s what they have to do to have
an income. I’m not trying to impugn their sincerity in their belief in
SNERDLEY: Well, no, but some of them were very snarky, and didn’t
mind trying to take shots at you.
RUSH: They’re young. Part of being a Millennial, I think, no matter
where you find them, is to be snarky, to be arrogant, to be a know-it-all.
It could be about climate change, it could be anything. They are arrogant, condescending know-it-alls in many ways. But other people have
to analyze this in terms of why they saw the need to bash me. My guess
is they thought there was money in doing it, and as a way to distance
themselves so they’re not said to only exist because of me, that they’re
independent. And it could well be that they do think I was betraying
the movement by not denouncing Trump. Look, we’re dealing with
human emotions here. You’ve got envy, jealousy, who knows what it is.
SNERDLEY: How do you think history will record your role in the
Clinton and Obama eras?
RUSH: I have no idea. My instinctive take would be to say it depends
when the history is written. If written by people alive today, I am going
to be savaged. There’s not going to be any accolades or acknowledgement. But I don’t think about historical legacies. The only way I can
answer is based on the way I’m covered in the mainstream media today, and even in the conservative media.
SNERDLEY: So let’s use that for a second, because here’s what I think.
Eight years afterwards, the first thing that comes to people’s minds is,
“I hope he fails.”
SNERDLEY: Eight years down the road, after everything else, the symbol of any opposition to the Obama Presidency has been Rush Limbaugh’s, “I hope he fails.” That’s the No. 1 thing they’ve got.
RUSH: In their minds it is.
SNERDLEY: And going back to the Clintons, there was nobody else
then. You’ve got Clinton’s take on it out of his own mouth, on KMOX,
“That Limbaugh guy’s got three hours, and all I’ve got is the little
RUSH: I know. Clinton and Obama both have me living rent-free in
SNERDLEY: So in the absence of any real governing opposition, I tend
to think that when people look back at whether there was balance in
history, it’s going to be quite favorable to you. There was opposition,
all over the radio.
“The one thing I think Democrats will decide is that their future cannot
include the Clintons. Those people have been an albatross ever since
Bill left office.” — Rush