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The GOP Establishment Wants to Run on Fixing -- Not Repealing -- Obamacare

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: I've got so much stuff here today, folks, and I'm trying to figure out which I want to do first.  Here's Obama with deportations, and here's Obama with determining who gets overtime, all of this is a distraction.  It's all a distraction from what's happening with the economy and with Obamacare.  I guess this is the big deal to me.  We have this massive electoral victory on Tuesday in Florida, Florida 13.  And I'll be damned if the Republican establishment is not doing its best in high gear to tell everybody, "Hey, don't think that Obamacare was the main factor here." 

It is becoming clear to me -- not that it needs to be any more clear -- that the Republican establishment does not want to run against Obamacare.  Karl Rove has a column today. Karl Rove is on TV this morning on Fox, but there are others in the Republican establishment saying, "Hey, hey! You know, it wasn't just about Obamacare," and I've heard other members in the Republican establishment say that David Jolly did not say repeal. 

These are Republicans saying this. 

In David Jolly's campaign, he didn't say "repeal" Obamacare. He said "fix" it.  But the Republicans are taking this thing to, " No, no, no, no! He said to fix it."  The Republican establishment obviously has a campaign game plan involving Obamacare, and it does not include repealing it, folks.  The Republican establishment apparently doesn't want to campaign on repealing it.  They want to campaign on fixing it. 

And why?  Because I showed you the other day (and this is questionable), there are some polls that you can find that say a majority of Americans don't want it repealed. They want it fixed.  Some people question the veracity of the polls.  There's a National Journal article today that basically confirms a point that I have been making, and that is offering to help Democrats fix Obamacare is not gonna help you; it's gonna help the Democrats. 

If you come along as a Republican and offer "fixes" for this, that's not going to help you as the Republican.  It's gonna help the Democrats.  There's a National Journal piece that makes this point.  So I gotta share that with you and analyze that as the program unfolds.  But it's quite fascinating to watch.  I mean, where the Republican establishment is, is no mystery to any of us. 

But the speed with which they have gotten into gear to try to rearrange the thinking, if you will, after an electoral victory on Tuesday, is amazing. Here you have a guy who won with his position on Obamacare -- there's no question it was an anti-Obamacare vote -- and the Republican establishment does not want us to see it that way.  It was also a vote against Alex Sink. This woman tried everything. 

She tried amnesty; that didn't work.

She tried to peg this guy as a "global warming denier;" that didn't work.  None of the Democrat focal points of their campaign worked, and yet here comes the Republican establishment, "You make a mistake if you think that election was about Obamacare."  They don't want to get rid of it. I am convinced they do not want to get rid of it. They want something they can "fix," quote/unquote. 

Now, their fixes might sound free market, conservatively oriented, this kind of thing. But the Republican establishment does not want to be identified in any way with any thought of getting rid of Obamacare.  That's the take-away.  They just don't.  Now, we also will assume that the Republican establishment wants to win elections.  Some people are not convinced of that. 

Like some think the Senate leaders do not want to win, that they're happier in the minority. There's no challenge there, no real responsibility. They can't be held accountable for anything. As a loser, you don't have to put forth an agenda, don't have to try to get it passed.  They can just sit there in the minority and basically try to stop whatever they can, but that's about it -- and it's easier. 

Leading is tough.  There are some who think that there are Republicans that really don't want to win 'cause it's harder.  But the Republican establishment, they do want those committee chairmanships.  They do want to be in charge of the money, and they don't want government getting any smaller. 

That's what I think the whole hook with Obamacare is about.  We got a few sound bites about this, but my guess is that a lot of you, when you first heard today that the Republican establishment... You might have heard it from Karl Rove or you might have heard somebody else, 'cause it's not just Rove. There are a bunch of others warning you not to think that that election was about Obamacare.

How many millions of you hit the roof?  How many millions of you cursed out loud at the TV?  How many of you know full well the vulnerabilities of the Democrats and how many of you know full well a majority of Americans don't want Obamacare and never have?  Obamacare has never had majority support, certainly not in the days since it passed.  

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH:  Here is what's crazy about this.  In this campaign in Florida, Alex Sink, the Democrat, ran on "fixing" Obamacare.  She couldn't run in favor of it.  Nobody in the Democrat Party is.  But she ran on the notion Obamacare just needs to be "fixed" because that's what the polling data says a majority of the American people want. 

David Jolly did not campaign on fixing Obamacare, as the establishment is saying.  I've got it right here in none other than the Washington Post.  "Jolly's win in a Gulf Coast district just west of Tampa illustrated the political toxicity of the law known as Obamacare. Jolly favored repealing and replacing the law, which was a central focus of the campaign, while his Democratic opponent did not."

Let's go to the audio sound bites.  We got one sound bite on this, and it's from The Five last night on Fox.  It's Bob Beckel and Dana Perino, who probably, you'd have to say, she's the establishment representative in this sound bite.

BECKEL: ... to stick on just Obamacare, just Obamacare. Because you do that and you're not gonna get the kind of win you should have.  One of the things we've learned now is more polling data coming in from the Florida race is that very few people determined in exit polls that they voted because of Obamacare -- and if it was that big a deal, it would have been a massive (loss).

PERINO:  But, Bob, that's why, um, Jolly didn't actually run on just Obamacare.  Actually the Republicans have seen the same polling and they agree.

RUSH:  So it's fascinating, folks. It literally is. Here you've got the Democrats who are on the verge of a massive landslide, wave loss that they are perfectly aware of. And, of course, the Democrats -- knowing how malleable the Republicans are -- are warning, "You guys, you better not run just on Obamacare! If that's all you do, why, you're not gonna have the kind of victory you should have," as though they're interested in us winning. 

You listen to Bob Beckel, and he's actually trying to help us. Yes, he's trying to advise us on the kind of campaign to run so that we win the right way, and what is he saying?  "You better not focus on Obamacare!"  Well, of course he's gonna say that.  Obamacare is an albatross.  Obamacare is a cement swimsuit for these guys.  So here comes the Republican establishment represented by Dana Perino saying (paraphrased), "Bob, I think that's right, yes.

"Republicans have seen that same poll and, yes, we shouldn't run just on Obamacare."  Who said anybody was gonna run "just on Obamacare," anyway?  But the fact is that both parties are cautioning Republican candidates, "You better not focus on repealing Obamacare! You better focus on fixing it, and you better focus on something besides Obamacare. You can't just win by talking about Obamacare." Both parties are telling Republican candidates this.

It happens that it flies in the face of some of the most obvious logic that has ever been in politics.  Obamacare is one of the biggest negatives any politician has ever been saddled with.  Obamacare is one of the biggest negatives any political party has ever been saddled with.  It is an absolute, utter, total failure and disaster.  There isn't anybody recommending it.  The Democrats can't even put together, with any credibility, a fake video of happy citizens touting the benefits of Obamacare. 

They know it wouldn't be credible. 

That's how bad it is. 

They can't even come up with actors. Even the best liars in the world can't come up with a fake ad campaign with fake citizens touting how great their lives are now because of Obamacare, 'cause nobody would believe it -- and in the middle of all this, we are being cautioned and warned, "Do not think you can win by simply opposing Obamacare!"  Immediately after this guy did just that, they come out and tell us, "Don't think you can do it." 

It's really odd, folks.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Now, here is this story, this is the National Journal, and it's from today.  "House Republicans Are Handing Vulnerable Democrats Obamacare Gifts."  This dovetails exactly with the point that I was making in the previous half hour.  For some reason the Republican establishment is hell-bent on convincing Republicans that Obamacare and repealing it did not have anything to do with David Jolly's win.  Now, before this National Journal story, let me remind you of something else.  Even during the campaign, the Republican leadership, the establishment, was criticizing David Jolly. 

There's a Politico story from March the 7th, a week ago, and that obviously is not even a full week before the election.  "National GOP Turns on Florida Candidate."  What is this?  On March the 7th the GOP, according to The Politico, turns on David Jolly?  And here's from the article.  "Their frustration had been mounting for weeks. But by late January national Republicans had had it with David Jolly, their candidate in Tuesday’s nationally watched Florida congressional special election.

"Over the past week, a half-dozen Washington Republicans have described Jolly’s campaign against Democrat Alex Sink as a Keystone Cops operation, marked by inept fundraising, top advisers stationed hundreds of miles away from the district in the state capital and the poor optics of a just-divorced, 41-year-old candidate accompanied on the campaign trail by a girlfriend 14 years his junior. The sources would speak only on condition of anonymity."

So the Republican establishment was complaining to the Politico that this guy couldn't win, he was making all kinds of mistakes, and they didn't like what he was saying about Obamacare, and he ends up winning!  So after he wins the establishment is back, and they're warning other Republicans, "You better not think you can win do," and then they're mischaracterizing the guy's campaign.  The guy did not campaign on fixing it, as was said today.  He campaigned on repeal and replace.  It was the Democrat Alex Sink who ran on fixing it, and she lost. 

Now, Beckel's point is that, hey, if Obamacare were that big a deal, this guy'd a won in a landslide.  If you people are right, the people hate Obamacare, then Jolly would have one in a landslide, not by three points.  There was a third-party candidate in this race, and the third-party candidate did not take any votes away from the Democrats.  The third-party candidate, a Libertarian, took votes away from the Republican.  If you take this guy out of the race, he did win in a landslide.  The Democrat lost by a landslide, let's put it that way.  Alex Sink lost in a landslide. 

Now, you can't say that Jolly won because he split the winning vote with some Libertarian guy that got six or seven percent of it.  But this is just amazing.  Jolly did not campaign on fixing it, as was said today; he campaigned on repealing it and replacing it.  "Another week in Congress, another vote to change or stop Obamacare."  This is a National Journal.  "While these Republican-backed measures -- now up to more than 50 -- are opportunities for Republicans to keep up their drumbeat against a law they believe has detrimental effects, they also have another curious outcome: They can help vulnerable Democrats facing tough reelection battles."

You read that right.  The Republicans have an opportunity, quote, unquote. If they're not careful, they're going to help Democrats.  "Take Rep. Joe Garcia, a Democrat representing a swing district in Florida. He is against a full repeal of Obamacare. But the wave of House votes in recent months from Republicans to alter the health care law, such as delaying the tax penalty for not purchasing insurance, have given Garcia the opportunity to provide a more nuanced voting record when it comes to the Affordable Care Act than simply supporting it."

The bottom line is this.  When the Republicans campaign on fixing Obamacare, they're opening the door for Democrats not to be hurt by it.  It is exactly what I feared and what I predicted earlier this week.  When this race came in, the results came in, and it was clear that Jolly swept to victory on the basis of opposing Obamacare, I warned you and Mr. Snerdley, who didn't believe me at first. I said, "You're gonna have to keep a sharp eye because the Democrats are also gonna learn something from this.  They're gonna learn that they might be able to stave off a loss by also running against Obamacare."  And some people said, "Well, how they gonna do that, throw Obama under the bus?"  No.  No.  They don't have to throw Obama under the bus at all. 

All they have to do is say, "This is not what I voted for.  This law's been changed 30 times since the one I voted for."  Any Senate Democrat running for reelection can say, "This is not what I voted for.  I didn't vote for this. I didn't vote for the HealthCare.gov website the way it's working.  This isn't what Obamacare was."  They don't have to say that Obama's the one changing it.  They just have to point out, "Hey, don't hold that vote against me because this is not what I voted for. This law's been changed so many times that it's not like what I signed." 

Now, you might think that would never work.  If the Republicans come along at the same time and say, "We don't want to get rid of it. All we want to do is fix it," they are just falling into the Democrat trap.  They are validating an incumbent Democrat's reelection campaign using Obamacare by joining the Democrat in saying, "Oh, yeah, we think we can fix it."  Sorry.  I'm sorry, Karl, I'm sorry the rest of you establishment types, but the only way Obamacare is an electoral advantage for the Republicans is if they run against it, not if their primary objective in Obamacare is to fix it. 

I have to take a break.  H.R., did I make myself clear in that?  'Cause this is very important.  What we're talking about here is the Republicans inadvertently reviving Democrat reelection hopes when in fact these Democrats ought to be sitting ducks because of their support for this law.  

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH:  Let me grab a phone call.  It's Open Line Friday and I always try to get in a phone call in the first hour. So I got a couple of Karl Rove sound bites I was gonna play, but let me first go to Bill in Clearwater, Florida.  Hello, sir, and welcome to Open Line Friday.  Hi.

CALLER:  How you doing, Rush?  I appreciate what you do.

RUSH:  Thank you very much, sir.  I appreciate that.

CALLER:  I've lived in District 13 for 30 years.  Obama carried this district twice.

RUSH:  Right.

CALLER:  Jolly campaigned on smaller government, lower taxes, and repeal Obamacare.  I believe the largest employer in Pinellas County is the health care industry.

RUSH:  Yeah.

CALLER:  And I believe that fixing Obamacare is a can of worms that we can't win.

RUSH:  Let me tell you something. You are so right.  In fact, I never remember... I say I'm always looking for the next day. Koko Jr. just sent me a section of my website from January 18th, three years ago, warning conservatives to beware of future claims that Obamacare can be fixed. Three years ago! I gotta go back and read this and remind myself of what I said.  But you are exactly right.  Look at what he said that Jolly ran on:  Smaller government, lower taxes.  The Republican establishment... It's just mind-boggling.  The Republican establishment does not want that to be the message.

CALLER:  They don't want lower taxes, and they don't want smaller government.

RUSH:  They obviously do not.  They obviously do not.

CALLER:  They want to increase their power.

RUSH:  Ah... Well, yeah.  I know what you mean. They want government staying where it is, and they want to be in charge of it.

CALLER:  Yes.

RUSH:  And their claim is... The Republican establishment really believes it. I've talked to enough of them to know that they really believe, Bill, that the American people have voted and want a big government.  They think that the call for a smaller government's a loser 'cause the American people want a big government. So their pitch is, "We can do it smarter, we Republicans. We can do it better. We can run this big government better and make it work for you better than these lousy Democrats."  But they don't believe in small government.  They don't believe in lower taxes, in my mind.

CALLER:  One of the problems is, there's not enough difference between the Democrats and the Republicans in Washington.

RUSH:  Well, you know, I would have argued with you about that not long ago.  Now? I'm not so sure.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH:  You remember all of those people that told us, "Just wait! Just wait! When Obamacare is implemented, we will all love it"?  Remember Pelosi told us that?  I think a lot of Democrats said, "Just wait until it's implemented in 2013, and we'll all love it." Like Pelosi said, "We're gonna have to pass the bill to find out what's in it."  Remember? You would not... I'm not gonna complain. 

I went back, and Koko Jr. sent me this thing from the website from three years ago, January 18, 2011, with the note, "This fixing national health care is exactly what you said would happen."  So I read this and I'm thinking, "Okay, how does this dovetail?"  It's a story, an AP story three years ago about the British prime minister trying to fix the British National Health System, by privatizing it.  "UK Tries Back-Door Privatization of Health Care." 

'Cause it's gotten so bad, it is so unwieldy, it just doesn't work.  It's expensive, long lines. So what's happened is, the people that can afford it have hired their own doctors and built their own hospitals, and they're opting out. This story is about the British attempt to fix their massive socialized medicine system by privatizing it.  And my point three years ago is, this is exactly what's gonna become of us. 

We're gonna destroy the greatest health care system in the world and we're gonna make it so bad that somewhere down the line fixing it is gonna be privatizing it or implementing conservative theory, market theory into it.  It's very close to where we are.  I have to tell you again. I want to move on.  There are so many other things today that I want to get to, and your phone calls as well.  But, folks, this is the most amazing thing. 

You know, to help me explain this in a different way to make the same point, let me go to the audio sound bites.  Karl Rove was on Fox today with Bill Hemmer.  Hemmer kind of hammered Rove, I thought, when I watched this.  Hemmer said, "Look, from the Washington Post yesterday: What did the Republicans and Democrats learn this week?  David Jolly's win was a big win for the GOP in a district the president carried twice in 2008, 2012.  But, Karl, you are warning that Republicans can't afford to get overconfident here."

ROVE:  Republicans can take a good deal away from this election, but they better pay attention to the detail.  It wasn't just about bashing Obamacare.  Jolly very wisely he understood that that would only get him so far.  It energized the Republicans, but to get the independents and the swing Democrats, he also emphasized that he was for replacing it.  He said, "We need to use private market solutions to resolve these problems.  People ought to be able to buy health insurance across state lines. We ought to be able to save more tax-free for out-of-pocket medical expenses. We ought to be able to have insurance that's portable."

RUSH:  Well, as far as it goes, that's right.  Jolly did. But he also said repeal and replace.  Nobody, nobody that I know of is talking about throwing Obamacare and then doing nothing.  There's all kinds of stuff -- if you just throw Obamacare away -- that it has already damaged, is are gonna have to be recalibrated or what have you.  Free market solutions is nothing new.  We've always had these ideas.  It's just Obama and the Democrats, of course, are not interested in it. 

Here's the next continuation of Rove's comment...

ROVE:  By making the issue, "Were you in favor of this bad law that people didn't like or were you in favor of constructive, conservative changes?" he gained the advantage.  The second thing he did is he put it in a broader frame, which is the president. Did you want to send somebody to be a check and a balance on the president or did you want send somebody up there who'd vote for these kind of things routinely?  He made it clear he was gonna go to Washington and make it work.  In order to get Democrats and independents to vote for him, he had to say, "I'm gonna do what I think is right for the country, and if that means I'm supporting the president sometimes, fine.  If it means that I'm opposing the president, fine.  I'm gonna do what I think is right."

RUSH:  Now, I don't know if Jolly ever actually said, "Hey, vote for me.  I have to support Obama sometimes, I will."  I know it's a big wet dream for these Republican establishment types to talk about making Washington work, and bipartisanship.  They just have orgasms over that whole premise.  They also have orgasms, as you know, over getting the independents, winning the independents and Democrats. 

"You can't win if you don't do that!"  I told you, I talked to an elected Republican last week who may run for president.  He said to me, "Rush, Republicans can't win simply by turning out their base anymore.  Democrats can; we can't."  I said, "Now, wait a minute.  There were four million Republicans that did not vote in 2012 for Mitt Romney.  They sat home.  If they'd have shown up, that's the base. We would have won. 

"What do you mean we can't win?  What is this idea that it's always us, and we are the ones that always have to water down what we believe in order to attract Democrats? By the way, Romney won a majority of the independents, and he lost the election."  So here's the danger, and I'll repeat this one more time. Because this, to me, is really important.  We've got the Democrats on the ropes.  This election in November could potentially be a massive landslide defeat for them. 

I'm not saying landslide win for the Republicans, because there isn't gonna be a singular Republican idea, nor is there going to be a Republican candidate that House elections are gonna be about.  They're gonna nationalize these elections, and the elections will be on the basis of what that member of Congress will do, not in terms of things for the district, but nationally.  And that's smart.  But it's gonna be a referendum on Obama. 

It's gonna be a referendum on the Democrats. It's gonna be a referendum on Obamacare.  Now, the Democrats, let's look at the Senate.  Senate Democrats, there are some learned commentators who have already claimed the Senate is lost.  Republicans have already won it.  No, that's the wrong way to put it. The Democrats already lost it, 'cause the Republicans aren't doing anything, really.

They're just gonna sit there and capitalize on the anti-Obamacare sentiment that's out there, but that sentiment has to survive.  We're only in March here.  It's way too early to be sitting back and relying strictly on this opposition to Obamacare holding up.  Who knows? It probably will.  But here's thing.  You've got these Senate Democrats who voted for Obamacare.  They're running for reelection.  And if the Republicans aren't careful, they're going to let these Democrats back in their races. 

If the Republicans suggest that fixing Obamacare is what needs to be done, then they are just rolling out the red carpet for these in-trouble Democrats to get back in and maybe win, because the Democrats in the Senate all voted for Obamacare, and that's what's hurting them.  But if the come up and say, "You know what? This isn't what I voted for! Obamacare's changed so many times, I don't think you can hold me accountable for what's happened to it. 

"This is not what I voted for.  What I voted for would have worked, but this is not what I voted for, and I agree with my Republican opponent that what we need to do here is fix it"?  Well, you have just let a Democrat destined to lose back in the race.  They're gonna have to be really careful about this, the Republicans.  If they make a big, big deal out of leaving it intact and fixing it, then, sorry, there's no reason to get rid of Democrats. 

I'm just giving you the real world. 

If you're gonna leave it intact, leave the guys intact that did it and let them fix it.  It's such a trap, this whole fix it versus repeal it. It's such a trap, and I'm talking about winning elections.  And then this idea that we've somehow gotta go out do this? We can't win unless we get independents and Democrats and that that's what Jolly did, and how he did it was by talking a little bit like a Democrat? This is very, very puzzling. It's troubling, upsetting, and it seems like we're getting ready to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, as they say.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH:  Ladies and gentlemen, I don't have time to search everything when I'm doing this program, and you would not believe the things I have coming at me every moment of this program, but I've tried.  I have gone back and I looked at a YouTube ad, I've read some things, and I cannot find any evidence of David Jolly ever talking about fixing Obamacare.  You know why?  It can't be!  Obamacare cannot be fixed!  It is so bad, they can't even implement it!  I'm sorry to yell.  I start yelling when I feel like I somehow am not getting through, or when what I'm up against is so ridiculously unsensible that I feel I gotta raise my voice to get through. 

Obamacare cannot be fixed, folks. It is such a disaster, it's destroying people's lives.  I talked about this at the end of the program yesterday. We had a guy call and he can't afford his premiums, he's working.  The people that, God bless 'em, make up this country, make this country work. The people who are working, they're the ones getting the shaft every moment they get up and look around.  They're being blamed. They're being targeted.  Meanwhile, a growing number of people aren't working and somehow they get all the sympathy.  They get the victim status.  They get all the benefits. 

This thing is so bad, they're having to delay every fundamental aspect of it, because if they don't it is so bad there might not be a Democrat Party if it were fully implemented.  It's that bad.  There is no fixing it.  This cannot be fixed.  There's no repair kit.  Hell, you can't even find an honest owner's manual for this piece of malarkey.  But I've looked at Jolly.  I can't find any evidence of him ever talking about fixing Obamacare.  In his ads and in his debates, campaign appearances, he promises to repeal Obamacare, period. 

Now, he was on Scarborough today. So he goes on MSNBC, "Oh, yeah, I'll be willing to work with the president," but then he said "on reducing the size of government."  He said he wasn't gonna compromise his core beliefs, but of course he said he'd work with the president. Hell, you gotta say that, I guess.  He talked about smaller government.  He talked about tax cuts.  This woman was for amnesty. This woman tried to tag him as a global warming denier.  Everything the Democrats threw at him didn't work, and this idea that he won because he wasn't strident and didn't want to totally repeal Obamacare?

You know, it really is problematic the way the Republican establishment is trying to mischaracterize this victory and why it happened.  It's like there is no Republican Party.  This is a slam dunk here, what happened.  The Democrats are worried sick about it.  That's why guys like Bob Beckel and everybody is running around cautioning the Republicans, "Don't try to win these elections just running against Obama," as though they really want us to win.  They're really trying to help us? 

So when some Democrat strategist warns us not to take the wrong message from this win, what's the wrong message?  Well, the wrong message is that you can win by running against Obamacare.  What they're telling us is, Obamacare is the end of us, and we would really hope that you guys are so stupid that we can talk you out of running against it.  Which is what they're trying to do.  

END TRANSCRIPT

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