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Q&A: David Limbaugh on Why Democrats Are Intellectually and Morally Bankrupt

An interview with author of ‘Bankrupt’ | Buy now

Syndicated columnist David Limbaugh, author of “Bankrupt: The Intellectual and Moral Bankruptcy of Today’s Democratic Party” (published by Regnery—a HUMAN EVENTS sister company), offers plenty of examples why Democrats lack the ideas to be a party of any substance.

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Limbaugh’s book, which was released in September, became a New York Times bestseller. In the process, Limbaugh has been a guest on cable-news programs from Fox News’ “Hannity & Colmes”

With so much at stake in tomorrow’s elections, I posed a series of questions to Limbaugh about the Democratic Party’s agenda in five areas: the War on Terror, national security, the Constitution, race warfare and religion in politics.


War on Terror

What contributes to Democratic defeatism on the War on Terror? Does ideology push the politics, or do the politics inform the ideology?

I think it is a combination. That is, Democrats are obsessed with a singular hatred for President Bush and their primary agenda is to oppose him on almost any issue. It just so happens, however, that Democrats are also soft on defense, national security and terror. They tend to view the War on Terror much more narrowly than Republicans, who believe it is a global war. They were never comfortable supporting the Iraq War resolution, but many did mostly because the tide of public opinion overwhelmingly supported war and Democrats are nothing if not political animals.

When Howard Dean’s antiwar message began resonating with the Democratic base, John Kerry and other hapless, half-hearted war-resolution supporters had to figure out how to explain away their vote. The “Bush-lied” canard gave them perfect cover for their otherwise unforgivable infraction. They were able to make amends with their base on substance (antiwar) and could be excused for their hypocrisy because in coming back to the fold, they nicely slandered the object of the base’s hatred: George Bush.

As to the War on Terror, generally, we know that Democrats have opposed almost every tool we are using to fight the terrorists and prevent further attacks. Here, their ideology comes into play as well. They fashion themselves the sole guardians of civil liberties and thus relish invoking civil liberties’ horrors to obstruct our prosecution of the war—from deceptively mischaracterizing the NSA terrorist tracking program as domestic spying to opposing renewal of the Patriot Act.

Though Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft was castigated for likening the Democrats’ hysterical response to these tools as chasing “phantoms of lost liberty,” the reality is that neither the Patriot Act nor the NSA terrorist tracking program has any civil liberties victims. But they have helped prevent terrorist attacks and saved American lives.

The bottom line is that Democrats are soft on terrorism and the war both because they are ideologically predisposed to do so and because President Bush is hawkish and they must oppose all things Bush, always placing their partisan interests above the national interest. Supporting a Republican commander in chief during time of war would give him an unacceptable level of popular support, which would redound to the Democrats’ political detriment. That just cannot be permitted to happen.

Why have the Democrats been able to escape media scrutiny concerning the hypocrisy of their pro-war votes (authorization, subsequent funding) contrasting their dovish public rhetoric?

As you know, they have not escaped the attention of the new media. I document this hypocrisy in great detail in my book. Rush has been hammering the point home for over a year and Sean has also. HUMAN EVENTS has also been on the cutting edge here, as have other conservative publications and blogs. The old media, quite predictably, has suppressed this information from their dependency viewers and listeners.

Sadly, even when the Democrats’ hypocritical statements are revealed, Democrats proffer bogus excuses, like, “Bush hyped the intelligence or had access to different intelligence than Democrats.” It matters not that all of their excuses are also demonstrably false. Today’s Democratic Party has become expert in political propaganda. Repeat a lie often enough and it becomes part of the conventional wisdom. That happens over and over in our culture.

Too many of those who trust the Democrats and who look to them for guidance, accept their lies at face value. Those who meticulously refute their lies are written off as mean-spirited partisans. Democrats have relied on the public’s distaste for negative politics and have pushed the notion of moral equivalence to justify their misbehavior.

By saying, “Both parties are equally guilty of dirty tricks and partisanship,” we encourage the suspension of our critical faculties and our moral judgment. When Republicans point out Democrats’ institutional lies they are not engaging in dirty politics, but trying to inform the electorate. They must try to correct the record. The alternative is to let the lies stand unchallenged and that’s irresponsible. Calling a liar a liar is not dirty or unseamly — provided he really is a liar on issues that matter. And in the case of the Democratic leadership, they have lied and continue to lie constantly. Republicans can’t counter these lies without appearing to be engaging in dirty politics. But the alternative is worse.

Due to various factors, the Republicans have lost some credibility on Iraq and thus, the War on Terror. What can the Democrats do to capitalize on this weakness? Why has their capacity to do so been so limited?

Democrats are in a trick bag here because they have no plan for Iraq, much less the broader War on Terror. So they have been slandering President Bush — saying unspeakably horrible things about his character as it has manifested itself in the prosecution of the war. They have also tried to separate Iraq from the War on Terror, on which the public generally supports the president. But since they have no coherent plan on Iraq their main strategy — as detailed in my book — is to downplay all the good news on Iraq, exaggerate the bad, and castigate everyone in the administration connected with it, from Bush and Cheney to Rice and Rumsfeld.

But in response to your question, their capacity to make headway on the war — and the reason they offer only negativity, distraction and scandal-mongering — is they have no earthly clue what they would do if they were in power. They have even been defiant about their lack of a plan, saying it isn’t incumbent upon them to come up with one. Watching them is an amazing spectacle.

Is it possible to “support the troops” while decrying their mission?

As a practical matter, no. If you’ll notice, while they direct their criticism at Bush — on the political level — their criticism is actually aimed, unavoidably, at the military’s implementation of this war. Bush has made it quite clear that he relies on the generals in the field. Democrats have made it quite clear that they think we are botching everything in the field. Who’s botching it, then? They also undermine the troops when they bear false witness against the commander in chief during time of war, lying about Bush’s alleged lies to get us into war. As a result of their slander world opinion against Bush and the United States is damaged as if public support for the war at home.

The only way we can lose in Iraq is if we lose public support. Since Democrats are contributing, through their lies, to eroding the public’s support, they cannot maintain with a straight face that they are supporting the troops. And when antiwar leftists like Michael Moore publicly root for the enemy in Iraq and against our troops there, do you ever see Democrats repudiate him? No, they elevate him to the prestigious position of sitting with Jimmy Carter at the Democratic National Convention. If they supported the troops they would excommunicate Moore and others like him from their ranks. Instead, they glorify him.

How much of the elite left (including U.S. elected officials) believes, in public or private, that the Bush Administration had either involvement in planning the terrorist attacks of 9/11 or acted to ignore the impending atrocity to profit politically?

I’m not sure what percentage of the population is certifiably insane, so I can’t answer the question with any degree of certainty. But far too many, I’ll tell you that.

Where do the American people stand regarding the use of coercive interrogation methods? Do these practices, including sleep deprivation and isolation, constitute torture in the mind of the average American, as they do with many prominent Democrats?

I have no idea where the public stands on this, but I don’t believe we should be governing by opinion polls on these life and death issues anyway. Democrats have distorted our treatment of prisoners, characterizing isolated cases of abuse and mistreatment as systematically authorized torture. They appear to oppose any kind of tough interrogation techniques, even those falling way short of torture on the basis that by employing them we are imperiling the safety of our own troops who will be captured in the future. I can think of no premise more absurd.

We are fighting a barbaric enemy who is willing to send strap suicide bombs on its own children. Do we think for a second that how we treat terrorist detainees will have any effect whatever on how these savages will treat our troops? Torture? Try beheading. That wouldn’t change if we put all their prisoners up at the Ritz. So it’s time for Democrats to come up with another excuse to mollycoddle prisoners and provide to them the full panoply of the constitutional civil rights guaranteed to U.S. citizens. The Democrats’ position is indefensible enough in the abstract, but when you consider that they are opposing techniques that can and have saved lies it is morally repugnant. All the while they pretend to have the moral high ground here.

National Security

Hawks like FDR, Truman, and JFK are revered by loads of today’s dovish Democrats. If transplanted to the modern era, would these popular Democratic figures be ostracized in the same manner that Joe Lieberman was?

I think it is hard to extrapolate to make those conclusions. I think it is safe and fair to say that those Democrats don’t remotely resemble the extremists that have come to characterize the “mainstream” Democratic leadership. But part of the problem with the party is that it has a corrupting influence.

You will notice that most moderate Democrats, in order to fit in to their intolerant party, begin spouting the same destructive rhetoric as the extremist leadership. Whether some of these historic leaders would be swept up into this wave is another issue. We can certainly hope not. But I repeat, few Democrats have dared deviate from the monolithic message — and when they have, they’ve paid the price of excommunication — like Lieberman. It is more than a bit ironic that the party that considers itself open-minded, tolerant and inclusive is precisely the opposite across the board.

The Constitution

What is the single largest error made by liberal jurists in the 20th century, especially in regard to the idea of the “living” Constitution?

Their creation of a constitutional right to abortion in Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton rank among them. Their expansive interpretations of the Commerce Clause and other provisions to erode state rights are others. Their insistence on referring to foreign law in constitutional interpretation is another, as is their consistent denigration of the Free Exercise Clause via their expansive interpretation of the Establishment Clause. I have great difficulty ranking these and others, but needless to say they have caused untold damage to our constitutional framework and thereby diminished our liberties.

How aware do you think the American public is of the contrast between Republicans allowing an extremely liberal justice such as Ruth Bader Ginsburg through with 96 votes of support and Democrats attempting to filibuster nominees who are nowhere near radical conservatism?

Hardly at all. I don’t believe Republicans, even when they have opposed Democratic judicial nominees, have “Borked” any of them. Go back and read the transcripts of any number of Senate confirmation hearings and you will be appalled at the treatment Democratic Senators routinely administer Republican nominees. I detail this thoroughly in the book. Again, Democrats benefit from the dilution of our moral standards and the mind-numbing appearance that “Everyone does it. It’s just partisan politics.” No, it isn’t. And, no, it isn’t acceptable. And, no there is no moral equivalence here. Democrats are in a class by themselves on this — and many other things, most of which are chronicled in my book.

Race Warfare

Are there any salient racial issues underneath the rhetoric-filled warfare currently being waged by Democrats?

I’m not sure I understand the question. I will just say that I point out in my book that Democrats have engaged in race warfare for years. Recently they have accused Republicans and conservatives of racism and using fraudulent, unsubstantiated allegations of GOP suppression of black voters in Florida and Ohio and false claims that Bush retarded the federal response to Hurricane Katrina because he’s a racist. These unconscionable allegations are false, and do untold damage to race relations in this nation.

When the leaders of one party — which African Americans tend to support and trust not to lie to them — tell the world that conservative whites hate them, it is hard to imagine how the damage resulting from such representations can be remedied. Democrats so desperately need high percentages of African-American support to remain competitive in elections that they’ll apparently resort to any tactics to retain their support, even when it means harming the very group — African-Americans — they purport to protect.

The Democrats have a habit of targeting promises of government assistance toward minorities. Are the Democrats thusly implying that they need the help and cannot excel on their own? If so, is this a racist practice?

Democrats have a habit of pandering to all sorts of constituencies, not just African Americans. They do insult these constituencies when, in the name of championing them, they imply that they can’t make it on their own without governmental help. Democrats grossly violate Dr. Martin Luther’s admonition that we should judge people on the content of their character rather than the color of their skin. Republicans seek a color blind society, but when Democrats routinely treat their efforts to enforce equal protection and treatment under the law — as in opposing affirmative action — as racist, it’s very difficult to have a constructive dialogue on this issue, much less make progress on it.

Religion in Politics

Although Democrats are often characterized as anti-Christian, the vast majority of those in power are Christians themselves. What explains their tendency of condescension toward the American Christian?

The Democratic leadership promotes secular values and this remains true no matter how many authentic Christians are Democrats. In my last book, “Persecution,” I demonstrated how liberals are waging war against Christians and Christianity and won’t restate my case here. Democrats got a horrifying wake-up call in the 2004 presidential exit polling data, which revealed that one of the largest voting blocks is “values voters.” They immediately began to scramble to figure out how they could win back the support of those they had been ridiculing. They summoned linguistics experts and others to advise them on how to repackage their message to make it resonate among values voters.

As I point out in my book, the Democrats’ problem is not one of linguistics or semantics. It is not a matter of failing to communicate their message. Their problem, rather, is that they have communicated their message all too well. It is that Christian conservatives are dueling banjo strumming hayseeds at best, and the American Taliban at worst. They are, in the words of New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, “an angry mob revved up by rectitude.” Many of them believe, in the words of Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reisch, that the true battle for the 21st Century will be between those who believe in reason, science and logic and those who get their truth from divine revelation in Scripture.

To the left, Christian conservatives are not part of the “reality-based community.” Democrats can’t erase all their sneering at Christians and their demand that Christians keep their noses out of politics and the public square by cynically citing a little Scripture here and there. The hayseeds are just not quite as credulous as they believe.

Why haven’t the Democrats successfully utilized Christ’s calls for charity to push for more socialist economic policies? Can they make an appeal to evangelical Christians for this sort of legislation?

I think this is precisely the tact Democratic Christians do take. Jim Wallis tells us that Democrats have a heart for the poor and that is more consistent with Christian principles than conservative ideology. Howard Dean—though doubtfully a Christian—makes the same point repeatedly. Christian conservatives, however, generally don’t subscribe to the notion that government coerced wealth redistribution exemplifies Christian compassion.

The Democrats’ advocacy of being charitable with other people’s money is hardly what we have in mind—though this is precisely what Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid allegedly did when he used his campaign funds to give out Christmas bonuses to his personal employees. But to recapitulate, Democrats do use these tactics, but most with a Christian worldview don’t agree with the approach — except that most Christian conservatives do believe in a government-sponsored saftey net for those in need.

I also don’t want to close out this answer without pointing out—as I do in my book—that Democrats engage in class warfare as egregiously as they do race warfare. They say that conservatives favor tax cuts to help the rich and hurt the poor. In fact, the tax cuts of the Kennedy, Reagan and now Bush years have increased revenues. We are even growing out of our deficits as a result of the growth spurred by the Bush cuts. In addition, after the Bush cuts, the rich pay a greater percentage of the income tax revenues than before, so the tax cuts were skewed not in favor of the rich, but slightly against them.

Democrats seem congenitally incapable of telling the truth on this issue, since their connection with their various constituencies depends on the contrary fictions they promote. It’s inconceivable that they could call a tax structure as skewed against the rich in which the bottom fifty percent of income earners pays less than 4% of income tax revenues.

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Written By

Mr. Combest, a former intern at HUMAN EVENTS, recently graduated from the University of Florida, majoring in political science and minoring in history.

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