RUSH: Well, it doesn't happen often here, folks, but I have to tell you that I am totally confused now. I am thoroughly pretzeled, I'm tied into knots after having listened to President Obama explain the debt limit. He's got his press conference going on. It was supposed to start at 11:15. I knew it wasn't gonna start at 11:15. It started closer to 12 noon, which is when this program starts.
Folks, I have so many congratulatory e-mails over the weekend from friends and listeners wishing me happy birthday. I mean, it was a record. I can't respond to them all unless I prepared a stock, canned answer to everybody, which wouldn't be good. They'd compare notes and see it's the same thing in a form answer. So I just want to thank everybody, friends and even foes and listeners alike. I mean, we're in the thousands here of people who sent me happy birthday wishes, and I just want to thank you. It's never happened to this degree.
Okay, listening to President Obama today, press conference, talk about the debt ceiling, you would almost think that raising the debt limit is not spending. It does not require any new spending. Raising the debt limit has nothing to do with new spending, and not only that, raising the debt limit is fiscally responsible, and not only that, it takes great courage. And the Republicans don't have any courage. And the solution here is for the Republicans to just punt.
If they don't want the courageous hard work of raising the debt limit, which has nothing to do with spending, then Obama will do it. He just said (paraphrasing), "Look, I could coast in my second term, but I am willing to take on even more responsibilities. If they can't make the tough choices, and if they can't make the tough votes," the Republicans in the House, primarily, but also in the Senate, "then go ahead and give me the authority on the debt limit and I'll take care of it. I'll do it in a balanced and responsible way, which is what the American people said they wanted last November."
This caused Chuck Todd, NBC, to stand up and say, "Well, why don't you just use the 14th Amendment?" Even Obama realizes how laughable that is. It would be very easy to say, "Okay, I'll use the 14th Amendment to do this." It's what Pelosi and Reid want him to do. That would be bypassing Congress. That would be basically usurping the control of the debt limit, which is spending, which constitutionally all spending has to come from the House of Representatives. What Obama's actually asking the Republicans to do is, say, you know, change the Constitution, just write a law and say that all spending bills... but, see, this is why I'm confused. We're not talking about spending. The debt limit is not about spending.
Are you confused, too? Let me try this way. The president said, and he said this many times today, very repetitive in this in order to make his point. He said that raising the debt ceiling does not authorize us to spend any more money. All it does is allow us to pay our bills. And we're not gonna be a deadbeat nation, by God, by gosh, we're not! We're not gonna be a deadbeat nation. We're gonna pay our bills. So we have to raise the debt limit to pay our bills. Now, correct me if I'm wrong here. I'm so confused, I don't know anymore. The debt limit is essentially equal to the national debt, is it not? When you reach the debt limit, what it says is that you can't borrow any more without a law being passed authorizing it, but we've already spent the money.
So we have to raise the debt limit to accommodate what we've already spent. But it doesn't have anything to do with spending. The debt limit doesn't have anything to do with spending. But Congress is a bunch of deadbeats, because they've already spent the money. That's nothing to do with spending. But they've already spent the money, now we're gotta pay our bills. So we've gotta raise the debt limit to pay our bills. That's all it does. That's all we're talking about here is allowing us to pay our bills, which of course means your Social Security check, your Medicare check, your food stamps, your other entitlements. But isn't that previous spending?
The debt limit does not authorize us to spend more. Yet the deficits keep getting bigger. Why? We're spending more. And the national debt keeps getting bigger. In fact, that's what everybody's asking for here, would you please raise the debt limit so the national debt could get bigger. But it doesn't have anything to do with spending. We're talking about paying bills here, avoiding being a deadbeat nation. Now, why is the national debt going up if we're not spending? Well, no. Why is the national debt going up if we're not doing any new spending? Because we're paying our bills. But what is paying our bills? When you pay your bills, what are you doing? It's spending, right? But it's not about spending. Not about new spending. So I guess Obama's talking and wants to freeze the budget after we pay our bills, wants to freeze the budget, is that what he's talking about? No, I don't believe so.
Now, I'm also confused because of this. I saw it on television. How many pieces of legislation over the past four years had a promise in there to lower the deficit? Obamacare was gonna lower the deficit a lot, as well as your premiums. The stimulus, that was gonna lower the deficit. I mean, there's been deficit reduction in practically every piece of legislation. So it seems to me there wouldn't be any need to raise the debt limit because we've been -- I know the deficit has been going up, but that's just a technicality. The reality is we've had all this deficit reduction in all of this legislation, and yet somehow we need to raise the national debt limit so that we can pay our bills. So we've had a bunch of spendthrifts.
Apparently what's happened here, folks, while we weren't looking is these Republicans in Congress have been spending money like never before. They've been spending money, and now they don't want to pay the bills. The Republicans don't want to pay the bills. They spent the money. Your typical deadbeats. The Republicans spent all of this money and now they don't want to pay the bills. So we gotta raise the national debt to accommodate the irresponsibility of the Republicans. The Republicans don't want to face the consequence of their irresponsibility. Obama will gladly take over the chore himself.
The 14th Amendment, I'm not sure I even understand this. The passage in question and the 14th Amendment is about making the South, the confederacy, have to help pay for debts incurred by the federal government during the Civil War. The South objected to that. They didn't think they, as part of their defeat, should have to pay any of the bills the North incurred. The 14th Amendment said, yep. So the press, Chuck Todd and Major Garrett said, "Why don't you just use the 14th Amendment? That clearly authorizes the federal government to do some things." And Obama, for some reason, doesn't want to use the 14th Amendment.
And then Major Garrett stood up. He's a former Fox reporter. I don't know where he is now. National Journal, I forget where. But Major Garrett stood up and said (paraphrased), "Look, the reason Chuck and I are hounding you about this, Dear Leader, is that you're making it very clear that you're not gonna negotiate, and that's just not how things get done in this country. You're laying out a line in the sand; you're not even willing to negotiate on this.
"I mean, you yourself have even negotiated in the past." Now, I know Obama's standing up there looking at Major Garrett and he's saying, "You think I'm an idiot? What do I have to negotiate for? Did I lose or win? What do I have to negotiate for? I'm in a position to get everything I want here, and that's what I'm in the process of doing. If you guys will just shut up and let me take it where it's going, it's what's gonna happen."
Now, Obama gave an example. I used a variation this example last week, at which point Ali Velshi of CNN told me that I was wrong and didn't know what I was talking about. But Obama said, in his attempt here to explain what the debt limit's all about, "You don't go out to dinner and leave after eating everything you want without paying the check." Well, now, what is "paying the check"? It's spending, isn't it?
But Obama says that raising the debt limit isn't about spending. He's been adamant about this. Raising the debt limit on the national debt is not spending. And yet he uses an example, "You don't go out to dinner and leave after eating everything you want without paying the check." I guess that's old spending, not new spending. And Republicans want to go out and gorge and be gluttons but they don't want to pay the bill now.
So the way this is all being positioned, the guy who took... Oh, by the way, Obama started by saying he's open to changes in Medicare to preserve it. He's the guy who took $700 billion out of Medicare and shifted it over to Obamacare. This is the guy who's actively doing damage to Medicare. I know nobody believes that, and it's very racist and partisan to say it that way. But Obama is the one who took $700 billion out of Medicare, shifted it over to Obamacare and then claimed the Republicans were destroying Medicare.
But since low-information voters don't know that Obama took $700 billion out of Medicare, the "truth" is that the Republicans are destroying Medicare; the Republicans don't want to pay the bills for what they've already spent. The Republicans have spent wildly, irresponsibly, and crazily the last four years, and now they don't want to pay for it and they're trying to shift the blame to Obama, and he's not gonna take it 'cause he hasn't done anything.
It's not his fault!
Obama hasn't done anything. He's been very responsible. He's been balanced, he's been very fair, and he's made the rich pay their fair share. It's these Republicans who just... Man, they're just insane! Obama was talking about the debt ceiling as if Congress is responsible for all the legislation he jammed through and signed. I mean, we've only got Obamacare because he wanted it. Very few people in the country really wanted it. We've got it. The Republicans didn't spend on Obamacare.
But, technically and legally they did because all spending bills originate in the House. So if Obama wants to say Obamacare is the Republicans' spending, he can technically be correct. But it wouldn't have happened had Obama not suggested it, and that's what's happening with every dime of spending: Obama's laying it off on the Republicans. He's talking about the debt ceiling today as if Congress has been wildly irresponsible for all of this spending, and now they gotta pay the bill.
That's all he wants.
He just wants the Republicans to own up to what they've spent and pay the bill. So that we're not a deadbeat country. He said, "We might not be able to pay our troops." That happens every time this debt limit comes up. "We might not be able to pay the troops and Social Security checks might not go out." Oh, oh! Oh, God! Well, then pay the bill; raise the debt limit. That's all that matters.
He's winning the argument again with the low-information voter. Obama has no interest in stopping any spending. He just wants the Republicans to be blamed for it and for the Republicans to be seen as paying for it. Essentially Obama at his press conference today is saying that the Republicans are threatening to bring down the economy while he's on his way to a $17 trillion national debt. That is what he's asking for.
But there's no spending in this. See, this is why I'm confused. We're gonna increase the national debt from 16-point-whatever-trillion to $17 trillion, but that's not spending. There's no new spending in there. That's just stuff we've already committed to. We gotta raise the debt limit to handle what we've already spent. But there isn't any spending in this. (And Obama won reelection on this.)
I don't see anybody inside the Beltway refuting any of this. Now, what Obama's doing today is tossing hanging curveballs for home-run hitters. We just don't happen to have any home-run hitters. We got a bunch of slow-pitch guys but we don't have any home-run hitters. So Obama says (paraphrased), "If the Republicans want to surrender me on the debt ceiling then I'm willing to accept their surrender." So just to rephrase: Raising the debt ceiling does not authorize us to spend more.
All it does is allow us to pay our bills, which is previous spending.
But we have a national debt of $16 trillion-plus, which we've reached. We technically are already there. We can't legally spend any more without raising the debt limit, but raising the debt limit has nothing to do with authorizing us to spend more. It's all about paying for previous spending. In other words... In other words... I don't know. In other words, I can't keep up with demagoguery like this. After awhile it all falls apart on me. But what I do know is that it makes perfect sense to the low-information voter crowd.
RUSH: A little history might be worthwhile. Do you remember that back in the Bush administration, in the Iraq war, it was perfectly fine, Obama, when he was a senator, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi all said that we should not raise the debt limit. We shouldn't raise the debt limit. They were trying to stop funding the Iraq war. The Democrats were pretty insistent that we lose that war. In a balanced, fair way, with a balanced approach, they wanted us to lose the Iraq war. They wanted to hang that around Bush's neck. And so they voted against raising the debt limit under Bush in order to defund it.
This is another reason I'm confused, because back then in 2005 and 2006, they were asking to freeze the debt limit so that we couldn't engage in any new spending. And if we couldn't raise the debt limit and therefore spend more, then they would have to get out of Iraq. They actually did do this, if you recall. Obama as a senator, Harry Reid, Pelosi, all suggested -- and they voted against raising the debt limit for that reason. Now, today Obama told us the debt limit had nothing to do with new spending. It's all about paying bills, previous spending. Again, I want to reiterate, folks, I'm dead serious about this. Obama does not fix the problem. Obama fixes the blame.