The genius of Rush Limbaugh is his ability to distill wisdom into kernels that make sense to millions of Americans. He gave good examples of that talent in the course of his appearance on today's "Morning Joe."
Rush began by praising CNBC's Erin Burnett, a frequent "Morning Joe" contributor.
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RUSH LIMBAUGH: She's fabulous on economics. She understands it and she's not afraid to go against conventional wisdom on economic thought.Rush was presumably alluding to the kind of refreshing straight-talk on the economy that we noted here, when back in July we issued a flying pig alert for these upbeat pronouncements that Burnett made during a "Today" appearance:
- But while the rich are getting richer, you may be too. Here's why: more than half of Americans are invested in the market, whether through a 401(k) plan or buying stocks or mutual funds, and many of those investments are surging. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 12% so far this year, and if your retirement plan invested in oil, that alone is up 21%. It's also worth noting that while politicians talk about "two Americas"
- You know for a while, Matt, wage growth had lagged inflation for most Americans. Right now, though, that's not the case. Wages are growing more quickly than they have over the last few years.
- You've been talking so much about whether the tide raises all boats. The issue of taxes is important here. The top 1% of Americans, Matt, pay 30% of taxes in this country. The bottom 20% of wage-earners pay only 5%. So while we do have a lot of income inequality, it is fair to say we still have one of the most progressive systems in the world.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: What about this economy? You have the president over the last several years who obviously has been bogged down with the fight in Iraq but actually we've had a strong economy, and that's a message that hasn't gotten out in the past.Although Rush left the answer unstated, there's little doubt that he was referring to our system of free people and [largely] free markets. He continued.
RUSH LIMBAUGH: Well, the reason it hasn't gotten out is because we're in an election year and the Democrats don't want it to get out. And they have many allies, Joe, as you know, in the drive-by media who will do what they can to suppress the good news or to shave it in such a way so it's not going to have too much political impact. But the truth about the U.S. economy on any given day of the week is that there has never been a country with this prosperity, this level of a standard of living, and the opportunity to improve on it for all citizens each and every day. We are truly blessed.
When I make speeches, one of the things I often ask people: have you ever wondered why in less than 230 years, a population of 300 million people has become the most powerful, the most prosperous, the most affluent society in the history of human civilization? The Europeans and others, the Asians, have been around thousands of years longer than we have. Human beings are no different from one continent to the next; we're all identical. What is it that sets our country apart from all the rest? There is an answer to this.
LIMBAUGH: I think most people ought to be positive and upbeat about the opportunities that exist in this country. If you've traveled internationally, you see real poverty. On my troop visit to Afghanistan two-and-a-half years ago, we don't know poverty in this country like it exists around the world. And I know things are relative and there are people here who don't do nearly as well as others, but they have the opportunity to if they're taught high expectations, if they're taught self-reliance and rugged individualism. Too many people have made them dependent. We've got an ever-growing nanny state; it's a bit of a concern.
I actually think, you asked me about the presidential candidates, I actually think the election in '08 is not going to be so much about Iraq; I think it's going to be about the future of the country. I think by the time we get there nobody is going to be able to saddle the president with defeat in Iraq, probably quite the opposite. So it will drop off the radar screen. The future of the country, mark my words, will be what the '08 presidential race is about.A bit later, Rush had some candid words about President Bush's responsibility for Republicans' political travails.
LIMBAUGH: The problem the Republicans had, Joe, is that you had President Bush in the White House, who is the author of that [excessive] spending. If you're John Boehner, if you're Denny Hastert . . . you can't go against your own president. You can't go against No Child Left Behind, you can't go against letting Ted Kennedy write the education bill. The president sort of hamstrung them on this. But you're right, the perception of voters is that Republicans in Congress campaigned as conservatives and got there and failed to govern that way.Compare and contrast: Rush praised Erin Burnett for her perspicacity on economics. But when Burnett appeared on "Hardball" in August, a leering Chris Matthews begged Erin to get "very close" to the camera. NewsBuster P.J. Gladnick has the story and the video here.