Understanding Establishment Republicans

by Brad Nelson   6/19/14

A friend sent me this transcript of part of the June 17, 2014, Rush Limbaugh show. This proves again Rush’s superb ability to understand and describe a situation (“making the complex simple”), something I’ve been struggling to do. I bolded the part that I thought summed it up, but don’t just skip to that if you have time:


RUSH: This is Felicia in Sarasota, Florida, as we head back to the phones. Hi. Great to have you here.

CALLER: Thank you so much for taking my call.

RUSH: You bet.

CALLER: You’re wonderful. I listen to you all the time. I just wanted to say, my father and mother lived through the Depression, and my father was a member of World War II and his brother was in World War II, and my parents would flip right now if they heard what was going on in this country. I mean, seriously, with all these scandals, the VA scandal, the IRS scandal. They would just be so very upset about all this. I was so upset the other day, I almost didn’t listen to the news any longer. There was the busing and — oh, any goodness, it was just awful. My parents, I wish this country understood what those people in World War II did for this country. I grew up in a wonderful time period.

RUSH: Here’s the thing. In fact, I touched on this yesterday. It may serve me well to revive this piece by Peter Beinart at TheAtlantic.com. Here’s what you have to get your mind around, Felicia. You’re going to have to understand that it’s a different world, it’s a changing world, it’s a changing world demographically, and it’s changing with rising numbers of minorities, Hispanics, African-Americans, Native Americans. And you are going to have to learn to see that as a new age of tolerance and social justice. Instead of looking at it the way you obviously do.

You look at those people as free riders and takers threatening the America you once knew. But America’s changing. This is not the America of World War II. It’s not the America of the sixties; it’s not the America of the eighties; it’s not the America of the nineties; it’s a brand-new one, brought to you by Barack Obama, the Democrat Party. And what you’ve gotta understand is, to these people, the great America you remember was a fraud. That was not real. That was not real happiness. That was the result of plunder and theft around the world, oppression.


RUSH: Peter Beinart: “Fearful Republicans Hoping to Reverse Hillary’s Course.” Remember part of Beinart’s column was that this changing America, it’s got a rising tide. It’s a demographic shift, a rising tide of immigrants, Hispanics, African-Americans, Native Americans, single women.

It’s a new era of tolerance and social justice, and he makes the point that if you Republicans oppose it, you are going to hasten it. (Remember that part of the piece I shared with you yesterday?) If you oppose this, you are only going to make it happen. You have got to sign on to it. So, in other words: “The only thing you Republicans can do to be viable in the future is to support this and understand this is a changing America and you’ve got to sign on to it and love it and accept it.

“‘Cause if you don’t, it’s going to happen anyway, and you’ll be left out of it.” Of course what he was really saying was, “You don’t have any chance of being loved, adored, accepted, and liked, unless you join us. If you continue to oppose this and try to hold onto an America that isn’t anymore, you’re gonna be hated, despised, reviled, outcast.” You can see how the Republican Party establishment has bought into it and believes it.

It’s more evidence of what I started the program out with today. The only thing standing in the way of everything these people want is the Republican base, i.e., the Tea Party. We’re it. As such, we are the enemies of the establishment of both parties, the Chamber of Commerce, the business coalition with government. We are the problem. We’re the last to sign up. So a woman calls here in tears.

“This is not the country of World War II, of my parents and grandparents.” No, that’s by design. That country was racist. That country was filled with bigotry and homophobia. That country was denying people their rights and their social justice, and that was a fraudulent American era. We had superpower status, but only because we ran around the world and stole from other countries and plundered them and forced our way on them.

This is what they really believe.

With all due respect to Michael Reagan, this describes his attitude to a tee when I got a chance to talk to him last week. In essence, the prevailing attitude of the Establishment Republicans is that we’ve got to join with the Communists (the “Progressives,” if you will) if we’re going to be loved. And being loved (Reagan said in his speech that night that the highest priority was being “liked”) is what is most important. And we also have to dump the Tea Party and those “divisive” social issues. He seemed down on both.

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Brad Nelson

About Brad Nelson

I like books, nature, politics, old movies, Ronald Reagan (you get sort of a three-fer with that one), and the founding ideals of this country. We are the Shining City on the Hill — or ought to be. However, our land has been poisoned by Utopian aspirations and feel-good bromides. Both have replaced wisdom and facts.
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13 Responses to Understanding Establishment Republicans

  1. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    America is a particularly ideological goofy place these days, whether talking Establishment Republicans or nearly anyone else. The quest of StubbornThings is therefore to find the clear water between the Kool-aid…of various brands.

    Establishment Republicans are full of their own conceits and delusions, but so are Libertarians and “Progressives.” In fact, this excerpt from Theodore Dalrymple’s book, In Praise of Prejudice,” could equally describe either the Left or Libertarians (who Mr. Kung calls “the Bolsheviks of the Right”).

    And in this next quote, the “Cartesian method” is the idea of looking at things from first principles, as if with a completely unprejudiced mind — an idea which Dalrymple says is the supposed underpinning of “sensitivity” and “diversity” of the PC crowd. That is, it’s the conceit of many:

    The popularity of the Cartesian method is not the consequence of a desire to remove metaphysical doubt, and find certainty, but precisely the opposite: to cast doubt on everything, and thereby increase the scope of personal license, by destroying in advance any philosophical basis for the limitation of our own appetites. The radical skeptic, nowadays at least, is in search not so much of truth, as of liberty—that is to say, of liberty conceived of the largest field imaginable for the satisfaction of his whims.

    Although Dalrymple is typically dissecting the Left, I found the above to be a near perfect description of Libertarians as well.

    Another quote early in this book gets to the heart of this Washington Redskins name controversy:

    To hate, despise, depreciate, or discriminate against someone merely because he belongs to a certain racial group now seems to us the worst of all possible vices. This has helped to create a moral climate in which the expression of virtuous, and the abjuration of vicious, sentiment is mistaken for, or taken as the whole of, virtue itself. Let a man be an unscrupulous villain, so long as he utters the right phrases: that is to say, is not prejudiced.

    That is, “nice” isn’t the point. “Progressivism” is simply a narcissistic-driven self-righteous fervor. Almost a dumb habit from a dumb animal (which is exactly the type of person that the Left — and libertarianism, if you ask me — produces).

    And the Establishment Republicans want to break bread with this nonsense instead of refuting it and exposing this faux “sensitivity” for what it is — a cult of somewhat creepy and self-serving narcissism, based in, and an expression of, Communism.

  2. Timothy Lane says:

    Jean Raspail was right, though perhaps not always for the reason he suggested. The Left likes the outcome of his novel because that’s actually what they want to do; if they could actually arrange The Camp of the Saints, they would gladly do so (and thus we have the crisis on the border). Big Business is happy to see this because it means the cheap labor spigot remains open; it’s well to remember that Lenin said the communists would hang the last capitalist with the rope he sold them. And the GOP Beltway Bandits, for various reasons, lack the will to resist the destruction of the American traditions they claim to revere; they’re the ones who most resemble the Western leadership Raspail mocked.

  3. Timothy Lane says:

    All we need to know about some Establishment Republicans (at least in Mississippi) was demonstrated in the Senate run-off there. Cochran (or more precisely his staff and handlers, led by Haley Barbour) decided (rightly, as it turned out) that the only way to win was through Democrat voters. It was sort of the reverse of Limbaugh’s Operation Chaos (I’ve wondered if he knew that was also the title of a fine fantasy novel by the late, great Poul Anderson), except that this time the Republicans were the ones seeking Democrat meddlers.

    Worse, they did so by using Democrat techniques. Cochran ran on more spending, his people used “walking around money” (i.e., bribes) to black leaders to encourage them to vote for Cochran, and (worst of all) they then race-baited the Tea Partiers to encourage them to vote for Cochran out of their sense of victimhood.

    No genuine conservative should vote for Cochran, though I would also recommend against voting for the Democrat (Travis Childers). There’s bound to be some sort of conservative or libertarian 3rd party candidate — and the more votes that candidate gets, the better the chance that the GOP Establishment will learn a necessary lesson.

  4. Timothy Lane says:

    Eric Erickson has had blogs on RedState the past couple of days responding to the GOP betrayal of its grassroots voters in Mississippi. Erickson, despite his contempt for the party leadership, still plans to vote Republican because even Thad Cochran is better than the alternative, but can understand those who either decide not to vote (as so many did in 2012), or vote third-party, or even vote for the Plunderbund candidate (which I will never do, since even Satan might be a lesser evil, and probably no greater one in any case). He notes that Cochran is basically just a marionette for the lobbyists who now control the party, and points out that in time the GOP will be no more than the lobbyists and their marionettes — relying for votes on those for whom they have absolutely no regard.

    In essence, the GOP has to decide if their votes are to come from the Democrats who meddled (legally) in the Mississippi primary (and who will go back to Childers in the general election), or the grassroots voters they just kicked in the teeth. They can’t have both in the long run. But if Thad Cochran and his puppet-masters are the new face of the Republican Party, then I’m no longer a Republican whatever my voter registration says. They can get the lobbyists to supply all their money — and to do all their volunteer labor.

  5. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    If you want to understand Establishment Republicans, I found this terrific article today at National Review Online by Ian Tuttle (a great name, by the way, if you’re a fan of the movie, “Brazil”): Who Is ‘The Absolutist’?

    The article starts out with a quote from Jeffrey Toobin:

    ‘Establishment Republicans,” writes Jeffrey Toobin, “remain in some level committed to uphold rudimentary operations of government and at least talk about broadening the Party’s appeal. Ardent conservatives, including those in the Tea Party movement, regard the Capitol as a cesspool of corruption, and they see compromise as betrayal.” The lines come from Toobin’s profile of Senator Ted Cruz, featured in the June 30 issue of The New Yorker. You will have no trouble guessing to which group Toobin thinks the senator belongs.

    The rest of the article is worth a read as well. But the main thing I want to draw your attention to is the idea of “broadening the party’s appeal.” What this means, in practice, is moving left, chasing election victories by merely following the movement of the Leftivized (new word for you) electorate instead of trying to make a pitch for their own traditional Republican values and ideas (that assuming they even are aware of such values and ideas).

    As Rush Limbaugh says, “Don’t doubt me. I know who these people are.” And I met one of them the other day, quite surprisingly, in Michael Reagan. What I got from him is that the most important thing is to “reach out,” to be “liked” and to avoid those nasty social issues. He’s a big fan of Jeb Bush and not so hot on Sarah Palin and Ted Cruz.

    Reagan seemed absolutely enamored with the idea of “reaching out.” But in my view, “reaching out” is as meaningless of an idea as “broadening the party’s appeal,” particularly if there is little or no awareness given to what we are trading in order to get what we are seeking.

    And what Establishment Republicans are trading is the entire idea of limited government. To “reach out” to those who have been indoctrinated into Progressivism is all to often simply the equivalent of accepting Marxist-socialist principles of the state as the nanny, capitalism as an inherently evil thing, and race, gender, and class as the central way to understand one’s fellow Americans.

    I got this inkling from Reagan because of the way he gushed over having “reached out” to some homosexual group. Fine. Nothing wrong with that. But as I told him, if one’s “reaching out” is just pandering to already-established attitudes instead of advocating different or better attitudes, then “reaching out” is just surrendering.

    And that is the core problem with what the Establishment Republicans mean by “broadening the base,” “reaching out,” or even (if you can believe it) their use of the word “inclusive.” It’s basically to accept the Cultural Marxist assumptions instead of refuting them.

    And I’d like to at least give credit to the intelligence of Establishment Republicans by saying that this is a self-consciously pragmatic decision, having come to the conclusion that Cultural Marxism is so ingrained as an ideology, that there is no changing those beliefs. All one is left to do is to try to skim enough out of that supposed “center” that one can gain via various overt Kumbaya measures.

    But I don’t think this is the case at all. I don’t think most Establishment Republicans are even aware of the nitty-gritty details of the various primary ideologies that are in play. Ted Cruz does. Sarah Palin does. But it is unlikely that Establishment Republicans do, if only because they have been produced in the same Zeitgeist that has produced your typical Progressive. To understand that both Establishment Republicans and Libertarians are enemies of conservatives is to understand that both have been brought up with the same negative attitudes about conservatives.

    It really does become a case of “physician, heal thyself.”

  6. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Another example of the amoral rot infecting Establishment Republicans is given by Jeffrey Lord in his article: Karl Rove Silent on Mississippi Race Tactics.

    Basically Karl Rove credits Thad Cochran’s win over Chris McDaniel as “organizational efforts.” I heard the same thing from Michael Reagan regarding Brat’s victory over Cantor. Reagan analyzed it merely as a difference in “organization efforts,” although that was not his exact words. Nowhere did he admit that there were specific principles behind Brat’s victory, and he said nothing when I noted that illegal immigration had been a factor. For Reagan, the victory was all about Cantor relying on TV ads and Brat going out and shaking hands more personally.

    As Lord says about Karl Rove’s analysis of Cochran’s victory:

    Say again? Cochran won because of “a strategy” that “aimed to…bring out Mississippians, including Democrats, who had not voted in either party’s primary and thus could vote in the runoff.” If that’s all this were, the Cochran victory might go down better. But, of course, that’s not all that went on here.

    Incredibly, Karl Rove has ignored the blatantly obvious chicanery that is the subject of discussion across the conservative media. To wit, as mentioned in my column nearby, the “strategy” to get Democrats to vote for Cochran was not some uplifting, Reagan-style vision of a city on a hill. Bush-style compassionate conservatism this was not. The bald fact here is that fliers and robocalls appealing to the worst racist instincts imaginable were used to push Cochran over the top

    To understand an Establishment Republican is to understand their inherent distaste for those nasty things called “principles” and “ethics.” They are cast off as those devisive “social issues.”

    • Timothy Lane says:

      As it happens, yesterday I received 3 e-mails from Republicans seeking money. One was from McConnell, one was from Greg Walden (NRCC), and the other was from Rove. I told each one that if the deliberating smearing of the Tea Partiers in Mississippi is acceptable to the GOP, then I’m not a Republican any longer. I intend to continue telling them such things, and may even call the local Republican headquarters. (One friend last night — the computer whiz I mentioned, whom I told about the Tech blog here — said that he wasn’t sure he can even vote for McConnell this year, though he certainly won’t vote for the Democrap [and neither will I — ever]).

      I hope Childers beats Cochran in Mississippi; the Augean Stables Republicans must be taught that we will not accept such tactics. Let Henry Barbour and his K Street vermin do all the volunteer work McConnell and other GOP leaders need, and put up yard signs, and maybe even vote for them. It’s the only weapon we have — the power to reject them.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Dear Republican Establishment,

        In regards to your request for money, you can all go to hell.



  7. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    I won’t say that this article by Jeffery Lord will help you understand Establishment Republicans. But it does make a good case for running away from the losing proposition of “moderate” (read: “statist” or “liberal”) Republicanism.

    One reason I don’t watch Fox News anymore is because of the ridiculous pantomime where Sean Hannity (surely a good conservative) helps to raise Karl Rove to the level of respectability by interviewing him all the time. Rove, and those like him, are a parasite on the Republican brand. They are the same kind of parasites as libertarianism, if of a different kind. Neither believes in the founding principles of the party and merely wants to use the established apparatus of the party to forward their foreign agendas.

    It’s probably true that libertarians might be the most dishonest in this regard, for there is an established Libertarian Party that they could run in.

  8. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    In a related article, Doris O’Brien all but says “Just Hold Your Nose and Vote RINO. This, along with a strange article about the Palestinians, leads me to wonder what American Thinker has been toking on lately.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Not a totally bad article; the term RINO is grossly overused (which doesn’t make it useless when properly applied), and purity is impossible to attain if one wishes to be involved in actually governing. On the other hand, the problem with Rubio’s double-dealing on immigration wasn’t simply departing from good principles, but doing so after promising otherwise and then lying about what the effects of the Immigration Deform bill would be. In other words, blatant dishonesty was the main issue, not impurity.

  9. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    and purity is impossible to attain

    I’d be happy with “choosey” at this point.

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