Q&A: My conversation with Angelo Codevilla

by Rush Limbaugh in the Limbaugh Letter, December 2019

Wonderful to revisit this great author, historian, senior fellow of the Claremont Institute, and professor emeritus of International Relations at Boston University, who continues to write some of the most insightful and original analysis of the political scene.

RUSH: Mr. Codevilla. Welcome back, sir. It's great to have you here. I'm glad you had the time to chat this afternoon.

CODEVILLA: Well, I'm glad to speak with you again.

RUSH: So, let's get started. I'll never forget the fabulous piece you wrote in The American Spectator about "the ruling class" versus "the country class". Arguably, everything that we are seeing today, especially these never-ending schemes to try to remove the President, all of it flows from what you described in that piece in 2010, "America's Ruling Class -- and the Perils of Revolution". The subtitle was: "The only serious opposition to this arrogant Ruling Party is coming not from feckless Republicans but from what might be called the Country Party -- and its vision is revolutionary."

So, it's nine years later. What stage are we in now in this revolution? What's the status, if you were to update the piece today?

CODEVILLA: The revolution has moved much faster than I thought, and the reaction against it is just beginning to build. The Republican Party has shown itself to be quite as useless as I thought, and it's clear that something major is going to happen, a major realignment of sorts. No one can predict exactly what it's going to be, but the one thing that is surer than it ever was is that unfortunately, very unfortunately, the Republic that we have known and enjoyed, that has made our lives incomparably better than any on earth, ever, is over. It's done with. Something else will replace it. God knows what it's going to be.

RUSH: Now, that's profound. Would it be safe to characterize what you've just said as "we've lost"?

CODEVILLA: Well, yes, in a sense we have. Look, we lost the moment that this ruling class garnered unto itself a substantial, very substantial part of the American people. My friend, Victor Hanson, who has a gift for words, just published a little article ["Universities Breed Anger, Ignorance, and Ingratitude"] that said the universities have been turning out people who are "woke and broke". [Laughs] I was a college professor for most of my career and I can assure you that is the case. We've turned out a generation, two generations really, of people who have gone to college to learn a little, expect much, and to be gullible. So we're paying the price, and we'll continue to pay the price. The problem is that price, that difficulty, comes from the fact that this generation, or at least a substantial part of this generation, doesn't have it in it to support the Constitution of the United States. They're just not interested in doing that.

RUSH: Would it be useful to examine how this happened, or is that now a waste of time?

CODEVILLA: It's not a waste of time.

RUSH: I just meant for the sake of this conversation, because it fascinates me. I think you're right, but I'm asking myself, Professor. When Barack Obama was elected in 2008 is when all of this radical behavior and belief on the left appeared en masse --

CODEVILLA: Well, if I may stop you for a moment, that is when it became undeniable. It had been coming for a long, long time.

RUSH: Meaning it was there and just surfaced with the election.

CODEVILLA: It surfaced, that's right, and it has become more compelling, more real, and moving a lot faster than before. Look, until very recently, the notion that the government, the heights of society, society in general would compel us to say that a man is a woman and a woman is a man would have been just totally laughable. But this is reality now.

RUSH: See, that is a fascinating point because it takes me to something I've been analyzing recently, this whole notion of public opinion. I'm not denying what you've said about graduates, what they believe, what they've been taught, and how they're acting on it. But I was stunned recently when I read that the most radical shift among the Democrats is from white, educated liberals, primarily women, turning to these radical positions.

CODEVILLA: Yes, yes, entirely.

RUSH: They used to make up the old American middle class. So how did this happen? We have public opinion polls, but do they really tell us what the public thinks? Or are they reflecting what media and education have told them they should think?

CODEVILLA: A combination of both, I assure you. A few actually do believe it, but just like in the Soviet Union, just like in all totalitarian countries, people have learned to lie to each other and to pretend to believe what they are saying.

RUSH: Exactly.

CODEVILLA: This is terribly corrosive. I cannot imagine that Nancy Pelosi believes that a woman can be a man and a man can be a woman.

RUSH: It's a mental illness. It was a mental disorder in the old days.

CODEVILLA: Well, that's right. It's exactly a mental disorder, and now it has become de rigueur. If you say otherwise and you have a career in corporate America, you're going to get fired. The furies will descend upon you. This is the sort of thing that Solzhenitsyn railed against. Solzhenitsyn said the moment people stop lying to each other, stop telling each other things that are not true, and the other side knows they are not true, the moment people stop pretending, then the whole thing falls apart.

What we lack is anyone at the top levels of society who says exactly what Solzhenitsyn said. Suppose you had Donald Trump saying it -- and he does not say it; he railed in general against political correctness, but he actually goes along with it. He doesn't say, "This is all nonsense, this is false." That may be the reason why he is not followed by a party. He does not explain.

Look, I voted for Donald Trump and I'll vote for him again more enthusiastically than before, even though as far as I'm concerned, he's turned out to be worse that I had thought. Imagine if, instead of Donald Trump, you had someone who explained these things to the public instead of speaking the way he does; suppose you had someone like Ted Cruz who explains these things. The results would be different. You would have people feeling like they could be more courageous in standing up to the bullies.

RUSH: It is fascinating. With trump's election, I think there were many conservatives and others who were expecting there to be as a result a cultural shift -- not just a policy shift, not just tax cuts and not just gun control rollbacks, but an actual cultural shift -- and you're right, that hasn't happened. It's a great disappointment of mine. The media and education are the two more prominent institutions which create public opinion, and we don't dominate either.

CODEVILLA: Yes, sir.

RUSH: We need somehow to find a way to do so. But let's use your Ted Cruz example. If Ted Cruz came out and articulated whatever you wanted to say about some of the cultural rot, you know what the media reaction would be: "This guy is a typical Nazi, he's a racist bigot, this is exactly who they are." People who might even agree with him would be afraid to say so because of the shame being piled on him by professors and by people in the media. I've been struggling trying to find a way to overcome that influence, which perpetually keeps us on defense.

CODEVILLA: May I suggest that there really is only one way, and that is to keep at it. "You call me a fascist? You don't know what a fascist is. Let me tell you what a fascist is, and then show that you're it." There is no substitute for explanation and for typifying what it is you're saying with who you are and how you live.

Back in 1980 when Reagan was elected, I was teaching ancient political theory at Georgetown. There appeared an article in The Washington Post which said Reagan's election would usher in a major cultural shift, that all of the libertinism that had been in would now be on the outs. People would go to bed early [laughs] and rise early and extramarital relations would be out, et cetera. I pointed out to my classes that this is exactly what Aristotle and Plato were talking about, that the tone in society is set by the rulers.

But Ronald Reagan himself did not appoint in the bureaucracy enough people to make a difference, enough people who were cultural paragons, nor did he stand behind some of his appointees who were attacked. Donald Trump has not appointed people who explain the cultural values or who live by them. They just haven't. If you're going to have a cultural shift, you've got to work at it.

RUSH: Let me come at this with the economy. There's a school of thought that many conservatives have had, that if you create circumstances in which people live, such as what Trump has done now with the economy, that they will understand the virtues of the free market.

CODEVILLA: Excellent.

RUSH: People are living it. They're experiencing it. So how, in this atmosphere, can we get polling data showing 70 percent of Millennials would vote socialist, and 30 percent think communism is not bad? Why does actually living through a great capitalist demonstration of superiority not affect people's minds in a positive way?

CODEVILLA: Let me tell you exactly why. Because when they look up at the next rung on the socioeconomic ladder, what do they see? They don't see the right cultural models. They see the wrong cultural models, and the know experientially that if they're going to climb that ladder, they've got to conform themselves to the people who are directly above.

Let me get on a bit of a hobbyhorse of mine, which is this notion of meritocracy. We don't have a meritocracy, and the little bits that we used to have are being jettisoned. What do I mean by meritocracy? Back in the 1970s, I couldn't get a good job, so what did I do? I joined the Foreign Service. How could I do that? Because I could pass an exam better than anybody else. Anyone could rise who could pass exams, you see. The Foreign Service didn't want to take a dyed-in-the-wool conservative. But they did, because I was number one in my class.

But now you don't get into the Foreign Service or to any position of influence simply by passing an exam. You have to conform with those who are there already. We no longer have a meritocracy, we have a co-option. The bureaucracy works by co-option. Corporate America works by co-option. The Officer Corps in the Armed Forces works by co-option, not by merit.

Look at the difference in performance, for example, between that of the Officer Corps, which is selected by co-option, and the senior enlisted ranks, which rise by exam. We have a military service which is run by absolutely outstanding Army sergeants and Navy chiefs, and run by absolutely crummy generals.

RUSH: In fact, that takes me to your piece in American Greatness, "Who the Hell Do They Think They Are?" You wrote it after Admiral William McRaven had that New York Times article literally calling for Trump to be thrown out, either through impeachment or coup.


RUSH: Who the hell do they think they are? To answer your question, well, they think they are our rulers. They are a cabal, and they think they run foreign policy, the State Department. They think they run intelligence. They think this President is an intruder who's got to be thrown out. It's the quintessential example of your ruling class.

CODEVILLA: They think they are the best, and what we haven't had in Donald Trump or even in Ronald Reagan is a major national figure that will allow John and Mary in Dubuque, Iowa to say, "No, you folks are not the best. You are really the worst." But we don't have that kind of leadership. Again, people follow leaders. We see this from Plato, Aristotle, to Shakespeare. "We are the makers of manners," says Henry V to Kate. Those at the top are makers of manners. They set the trend. They say what is right and wrong. Those on our side have allowed the McRavens to get away with the pretense of deserving their position, but they don't. To McRaven and friends you could say, "How many wars have you won, you blankety-blanks? You walk around with all those ribbons and all those stars. How many wars have you won? You haven't won any." Or, as Elvis Presley might put it, "You ain't never caught a rabbit and you ain't no friend of mine." [Laughs]

RUSH: You wrote that the military officer class joins the establishment in claiming a right to rule. Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman testified to Adam Schiff's committee complaining that President Trump's "false narrative of Ukraine" was "inconsistent with the consensus views of the interagency", meaning what the President thinks is not what we think, so Trump's got to go.

CODEVILLA: Rush, listen, this is not new. I remember back in 1983, Ronald Reagan gave a speech to the British Parliament in which he said that the Soviet Union was a sad chapter in the history of mankind whose last pages are even now being written. There was a fellow named Strobe Talbott editing Time magazine who wrote that these were Ronald Reagan's private views, not the views of the U.S. government. Reagan had been elected by a landslide. But these were his private views, not the views of the U.S. government. And Talbott was correct. The U.S. government's views were very different, and Reagan did not enforce his views on the U.S. government. He could have, but he didn't.

RUSH: Why do you think not? What is it that tempers people from our side once they get the opportunity to do what you're suggesting needs to be done?

CODEVILLA: Who know. Reagan was a really nice guy. That may have had something to do with it. Donald Trump is not a nice guy, and so perhaps he had illusions that they would go easy on him. Those illusions should have been banished a long time ago.

RUSH: That's never going to happen.

CODEVILLA: No, so he might as well be "hanged for a sheep as for a lamb," and go after them, just like they're going after him. But he's not. Look at the matter of classification. These people are playing peekaboo behind intelligence secrecy. They're sticking their heads out to level charges and they're ducking in back to protect themselves from being cross-examined. Why can they do that? Only because the President of the United States lets them. The President has total, complete, unfettered discretion over what is classified and what is not, and he doesn't use it. He lets them play this game. Now, don't ask me why he does it. I don't know. It doesn't make any sense to me.

RUSH: Let me go back. I want your frame of mind when you wrote "America's Ruling Class". Were you simply documenting what you though to be the relevant zeitgeist, or were you actually trying to mobilize people to change the status quo?

CODEVILLA: Both, absolutely. I said, "Hey, fellas, I see this, maybe you don't yet, but the sooner you see it, the more you'll be able to do something about it." That's what I was doing.

RUSH: So you thought it was possible to change it when you wrote it?


RUSH: Do you still think that it is?

CODEVILLA: Sure. However, what I don't think is possible anymore is for the whole country to be returned to what Madison, Hamilton, George Washington, Theodore Roosevelt, what the men on Mt. Rushmore made it.

RUSH: Right, the Founding.

CODEVILLA: The habits of the people have changed. One example among many: there is a significant number of people who spend substantial amounts of time looking at porn. A country that spends its time doing that is not going to have --

RUSH: -- you might say it has too much time on its hands.

CODEVILLA: Yes. Look, one of the oldest truths known from the time of Livy, actually even before then, one of the constants of history is that republics require virtue. You can't have republics without virtuous people. The moment people lose that virtue, the republic is gone.

RUSH: John Adams said that very same thing. He said they had written the Constitution for a moral people.

CODEVILLA: This is one of the constants of the American founding generation: "Americans, look out for your virtues, because if you don't have those, you're going to lose your freedoms." If people go to church and all they hear is "watch out for global warming" instead of "watch your morals", then it's a different story.

So you're going to ask me sooner or later, what's going to happen now? What's the best thing that can happen? Unfortunately, the best thing that can happen is a kind of separation between people who are irreconcilably one way and people who are another way. We don't want a civil war; we're on the brink of one. The best way to avoid it is to perhaps agree to disagree and to let the people of , unfortunately, California, where I'm living right now [laughs], determine their way of life -- and other folks in Texas, Florida, North Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming live differently. My other house is in Wyoming. I assure you, Wyoming doesn't want socialism.

RUSH: If we can't recapture the essence of the Founding morally and culturally, but there's still something to fight for, what is it? What can we achieve?

CODEVILLA: "What do you mean 'we', white man?" [Laughs] For 300 million Americans, I doubt we can recapture the Founding. We can do it for maybe 160-170 million Americans. But what we can't do is force those who have, in fact, given themselves up to this new way of life to change. Here in California, by the way, there has been a kind of rude awakening in the last several months as the ruling class has cut off the electricity and blamed it on global warming. Nobody believes that, especially since they know that this past year has been one of the coldest on record in California.

RUSH: Now, wait. That's crucial. You said nobody believes it, and I know what you mean by that, but they voted for it, they support it, they will pay taxes for it. If they don't believe global warming is the reason their power is being shut off, but they put people in power precisely who have done this, that's a disconnect.

CODEVILLA: Yes. Which is why I believe it is entirely possible to go to the people of California and make the argument -- which nobody is doing, by the way. I talk to all kinds of people, most of them on the left, and they agree. Why do they agree that isn't global warming? Everybody knows that this year was cold and yet they cut off the power because they're incompetent and corrupt. People know that. This is not a right or left matter. This is a truth through which a lot of people can be reached about the character of those who rule us, the incompetence, the corruption of the people who rule us. This has nothing to do with conservative or liberal.

RUSH: That may be a key to it, finding a way to differentiate these issues without having them seen as right versus left. You have to admit, the left's branding of conservatives has succeeded, like every Republican President is an idiot, and every liberal, every college professor, every TV anchor --

CODEVILLA: -- is a genius.

RUSH: Let me give you a couple of examples. The Governor of the State of New York, Andrew Coumo, actually said recently that there were no tornadoes or hurricanes before global warming.


RUSH: His brother Chris hosts a prime time show on CNN and they had a feature on the dilapidated nature of Havana and the general deterioration, and Chris Coumo said on TV, "When are these communists going to learn that the objective is prosperity and equality for everybody."


RUSH: What do you do with that? This guy's got a prime time show. He's a blooming idiot and doesn't even understand what communism is. He thinks it's a great thing.

CODEVILLA: His brother is the bigger idiot of the two. If there were some Republican who was worthy of the name, he might campaign against Coumo by saying, look at the record, look at how many hurricanes and natural disasters occurred early in the 20th century and within the current history.

RUSH: Arguably the media should do that.

CODEVILLA: Well, they should, but one could make news by pointing out reality. One could make news by laughing in public at those who say a man can be a woman and a woman can be a man. Not even the monsters of 1984 or Animal Farm would go so far as to try to force people into saying something that obviously false. If you give in to that in any way, shape, or form, you become complicit with it. The best thing is just to say, "Oh, you idiot."

RUSH: Do you think President Trump will be reelected?


RUSH: He's going to have four more years, then, and he hasn't moved the culture much.

CODEVILLA: No. To move the culture, he would have to surround himself with very different people. Let me tell you about the field that I know very, very deeply, which is the intelligence business. I served for eight years on the staff of the Senate Intelligence Committee and was on the Reagan transition team for intelligence. Right after he was inaugurated, Trump offered the job of chairman of the President's Intelligence Advisory Board to Peter Thiel. The first thing Peter Thiel did was to call me, because he had been my undergraduate assistant. He asked, should I take the job? I answered that he should take the job only if he got an ironclad guarantee from the President that the President would support him against the nonstop vicious attacks that would come his way the moment he tried to defend the President.

Peter was unable to get that assurance from Trump, and so he didn't take the job. Who did President Trump appoint? A man who has a company that is a contractor for the intelligence community. Trump therefore willfully put himself into the hands of those people.

So what should he do if he were to be reelected, which I think he will be? He should do the opposite of what he's been doing. He has been barking loudly and biting only a little. What he should do is stop barking and start biting.

RUSH: Yes, the tweets need some oomph behind them. Are you talking about inflicting punishment like getting rid of people who are subverting?

CODEVILLA: Yes, and then putting in very different people. Theodore Roosevelt is best know for having said, "Speak softly and carry a big stick." He's not known so much for having decried the opposite, which he did: speaking loudly and acting softly. He called that the politics of the unbridled tongue and the unready hand. So my advice would be: bridle your tongue and use your hands, and maybe your feet. [Laughs]

RUSH: Where do you think this whole impeachment scam is going to end?

CODEVILLA: Oh, the House may very well vote for impeachment, although I'm not even sure of that at this point. But there's no way that Trump would be removed.

RUSH: There won't be a conviction?


RUSH: What do they see that's in it for them, to have the President impeached? If they go to trial, he's going to be acquitted. How does that help them win the White House?

CODEVILLA: It does not help them at all. But they've already won, in a sense, because they have, in fact, convinced more people than before that Trump is bad. You've had an unending, unchallenged parade of worthies or supposed worthies saying, "Trump bad, Trump bad, Trump bad." It's uncontradicted. You don't have anyone on the other side saying, "Trump good, Trump good, Trump good."

RUSH: True. You've got people saying, "Trump didn't do it," but nobody is vouching for him.

CODEVILLA: Not only didn't Trump commit any crime when he spoke to Ukraine's president. Fact is, he should have done what he did. There is a treaty between the U.S. and Ukraine, a mutual legal assistance treaty. Trump was acting very much within that treaty by saying, "Look, people in your country have done some things which impact our country and you ought to take care of it." This is not only proper, but required -- Republicans have not pointed this out. So again, I'm no great fan. As I said, I voted for Trump and I'll vote for him again, even more readily than before. Because the alternative is even worse than it was before. But I must say that he's not behaving in a particularly smart manner. I think Rudy Giuliani is probably the best person he has around him. I certainly hope that the Attorney General, William Barr, is what he appears to be, a straightforward straight arrow. If so, an awful lot of people are going to be doing time. And maybe that will school some folks.

RUSH: If there are indictments, that is a game-changer.

CODEVILLA: Yes, yes. Indictments, convictions, and jailings. A whole bunch of people have got to go with handcuffs into the slammer.

RUSH: Do you really expect that, or are you hoping for it?

CODEVILLA: I'm saying that if it doesn't happen, it is an abject surrender of equity in American life. It would be disastrous.

RUSH: It would be a disaster if it doesn't happen, after what these people have done, if they get away with this.

CODEVILLA: When I was in the intelligence business, there was an awful lot of leaking going on. Leaking is neither here nor there in Washington -- except when it involves leaking or any kind of mishandling of information concerning or derivative from communications intelligence. There is a statute, Section 798, 18 U.S. Code, affectionately known in the business as "the ten and ten", meaning you violate it and you get automatically, regardless of circumstances, ten years in the slammer and $10,00 fine per count. If you don't enforce that, then you're not going to enforce anything: everything is a matter of who likes whom, who is allied with whom. And if that's the case, then you haven't got a country anymore.

RUSH: Exactly. And if Trump doesn't do it, who else out there on anybody's horizon would? That's why this is a singular opportunity.

CODEVILLA: Maybe, maybe not. There is a law in economics which applies also to the rest of society -- the law of supply and demand. Get enough demand, and there will be supply. Get enough people screaming, "Hey, we can't have this," and somebody will arise and stick out his neck. A very interesting thing will happen the day after election day; people on the right side of American life will ask themselves, "What will it take for me to ascend to the Presidency?" One thing is certain; nobody can imagine that they will ascend to the Presidency by aping George W. Bush or Mitt Romney. The next Republican candidate, I believe, will make Donald Trump look terribly moderate.

RUSH: Would you be happy with that?

CODEVILLA: Delighted!

RUSH: [Laughs] Professor, that's a great answer, and a great end and I love this. I appreciate your time more than you could know.

CODEVILLA: Rush, your time is more valuable than mine and I appreciate your attention to me.

RUSH: Spending this time helps me learn. This has been a treat. 97超级碰碰碰碰久久久久_一线完整版在线观看免费_日本三级香港三级人妇三