John Feehery: Speaking Engagements

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How I Was Chosen as “The Face of the Establishment” by Rush Limbaugh

Posted on October 23, 2013
Rush Limbaugh

I’m thinking about getting t-shirts made, emblazoned with the words, “I am the establishment.”

Yesterday, Rush Limbaugh attacked me on his radio show, basically accusing me of being part of the “establishment” because I had the temerity to suggest that if Ted Cruz, the Texas Senator, wants to accomplish anything in Washington, he probably shouldn’t go out of his way to alienate every single other member of the Senate (other than his buddy Mike Lee).

Otherwise, he would make a fabulous radio talk show host.

I guess Rush took exception to that last part.

And he inferred I was the face the establishment.

I get a kick out of being called the face of the establishment.

I remember when I first came to Washington 25 years ago.   Back then, the establishment was made up of guys like C. Boyden Gray and Jim Baker and Donald Rumsfeld.   These were guys that went to Harvard and Princeton.

They were guys that had money to burn, that lived in big mansions in McLean, had servants, belonged to hunting clubs and played golf at Burning Tree.

If I am the establishment, wow, how far the establishment has fallen.

I am an Irish Catholic kid from the South Side of Chicago.  I don’t belong to a hunting club.  I live on Capitol Hill. While I burn through money, (which is what you do when you have 2 kids), I don’t have money to burn.

I don’t have a trust fund to fall back on.

Wish I did.

And now, I am the face of the establishment.

I remember when I first came to Washington.  I was a conservative revolutionary.  I loved Pat Buchanan.  Considered myself a Reaganite.  Didn’t particularly care for the Muffy and Buffy crowd who seemed to dominate the George H. W. Bush White House.

They drove nice cars and took fabulous vacations and wore nice clothes, despite having low paying jobs in the White House.  I couldn’t afford any of that stuff.  I was living paycheck to paycheck.

I couldn’t summer in the Hamptons or the Cape.  I had to work.

Whatever happened to that establishment?

Rush the radio host mentioned that I worked for Bob Michel, the former House minority leader.  He was somewhat derisive about Mr. Michel, who was perhaps one of the finest public servants ever.

Michel was wounded in the Battle of the Bulge.  He got elected to Congress in the late 1950’s and ably represented Peoria, Illinois for four decades.  He was the one who designed the strategy to pass the Reagan agenda through the House of Representatives.  He was the longest serving Minority leader in the history of the House.

Michel is a national treasure and Rush Limbaugh speaks derisively of him.

But I guess that’s how it goes these days.

An Irish guy from the South Side of Chicago is now the face of the Republican establishment.

A lawyer who graduated from Princeton and Harvard, a guy who would refuse to study with anybody who didn’t also graduate from either Princeton and Harvard, is now the face of the Tea Party insurgency.

And a talk radio host can somehow get away with dissing a true national hero who served the country with distinction, honor and integrity.

I don’t mind when Rush Limbaugh attacks me.  I am actually honored that he even knows who I am, and I don’t in any way take it personally.

He has a show to do and he needs material.

It must be hard to talk for three hours at a time on subjects you don’t know very well.

And Rush is good at it.  When I have time, I love to listen to his show.

Of course, I don’t have much time, because I work for a living.

But Rush should think twice about making me the face of the establishment.  I am not worthy of such an honor.

I didn’t go to Harvard or Princeton.