GRETA: Right now Rush Limbaugh is here to go On the Record. Nice to talk to you, Rush.
RUSH: Welcome back, Greta. It's been too long, but I'm happy to be here with you just now. So thank you for having me, by the way.
GRETA: Well, the reason it's been too long is because you won't join us more often. I don't blame you 'cause we've oftentimes, uh -- (chuckles)
RUSH: Well, you know the old performer's creed, Greta: Always keep them wanting just a little bit more.
GRETA: Indeed. All right. Let me ask you about this scandal in Washington -- actually, it's around the nation -- with the VA health care system. How does this happen?
RUSH: Well, I think there have been problems in the VA that you could probably chronicle since the beginning of the VA, and the overriding problem is that this is something government just can't do. Despite the best intentions, despite the best efforts, it's something that a bureaucracy just can't handle. And I think the ultimate solution to this is going to be farming out part of it, or maybe all of it, to the private sector. And the VA, I think the depth of this scandal, or the lesson of this scandal is just that: If you want to know where we're headed as a country with health care, take a look at the VA because this is the course that's been charted if we don't change it.
GRETA: What disturbs me in particular about this is that apparently people have known about this for so long and looked the other way. And I know President Obama ran on it in 2008, and I heard him when he ran on it in 2008. But I didn't realize the extent of it, and that everyone just looked the other way and let these people suffer. That's what I don't understand.
RUSH: Well, do you remember back in the early days when the president was selling Obamacare? One of the things that he accused the doctors of doing was unnecessary surgeries to line their pockets. He talked about doctors doing unnecessary amputations, unnecessary tonsillectomies because they could earn a lot of money. He really, really insulted them, and really blasphemed them as an industry and said, "We've gotta get a hold of that, get a handle on it."
Look at what's happened here. That's the exact thing that happened. We had bureaucrats working at the VA who massaged waiting lists and ran people through waiting lists who had not been treated, all so that they could receive a bonus. And so exactly what Obama accused doctors/surgeons of doing back in the early days when he was trying to sell Obamacare, actually happened here.
I had a caller about this today who asked the very same question: Why now? And I think the sad reality is that what you said is pretty much true: The VA has always been problematic. But in so being, we established a baseline of acceptance, "The VA is X. It's just what it is." Why now? 'Cause it's gotten so much worse all of a sudden, it's gone so far below the baseline, that it is outraging people.
These kinds of things, they can be ultimately useful if they're learned from and if the right lesson is taken from it. And again, I think the lesson here is that this is just something better left to the private sector. Despite all the good intentions in the world among maybe the president, bureaucracies or what have you, they're just not equipped to do this kind of thing well. This is not what bureaucracies should be tackling, be it for a select group like veterans or the nation at large.
GRETA: But I don't even get the sense that... You know, when you talk about the bureaucrats, I mean, somebody knew that somebody else was cooking the books. So somebody at that level knew it, didn't say a thing. It's General Shinseki's obligation to know what's going on and then to report to the president so the president can make some decisions. I don't even get the sense that anyone was even talking about this horrible calamity that's going on so that we could even fix it.
RUSH: Okay. So why do you think that is? Why wasn't Shinseki reporting to the president? Why weren't other people maybe reporting to Shinseki? What is your theory?
GRETA: 'Cause they're not doing their jobs, and I think they should be fired.
RUSH: Okay, but why weren't they doing their jobs?
GRETA: You know what? I... You know, I would do my job.
GRETA: I don't know for the life of me, 'cause I know General Shinseki.
GRETA: I know General Shinseki cares about the military, and he was a great military officer.
RUSH: It's too --
GRETA: But, you know, I don't see him doing a good job as secretary of the VA.
RUSH: What qualifies him? Okay, so he's chief of staff of the Army. The reason he's in the job is because John Kerry loved to cite Shinseki, who was the first uniformed Army personnel to stand up and criticize George W. Bush after all these Democrats had voted to go into Iraq and authorize the use of force.
Shinseki stood up and said, "It's gonna take hundreds of thousands of troops, and we don't have a chance," and the Democrats loved that. So they put him in this job -- maybe as thanks, maybe as payback -- but where were the qualifications? At some point you have to ask, "Where is the real concern?" You yourself said this has been going on for a long, long time and people knew it and didn't say anything about it.
Is it that they don't care? Is it that they put their survival first? Who knows what it is. But the bottom line is, you can ask "why" all day. If you have the courage to come up with the truth when you ask "why," the answer is: They're not qualified. They're not qualified to run Obamacare; they're not qualified to run energy; they're not qualified to run the economy; they don't have anybody that knows what they're doing in anything, Greta. Everything here is smoke and mirrors.
GRETA: I don't know, but I would think that General Shinseki -- and I've put a lot of blame on him -- if he even walked into an ER at a VA hospital and saw a long line... The first thing I would say is, "Why is everybody waiting? Where are the doctors?" I mean, just sort of basic questions when you walk into these facilities. And apparently no one bothered to do that, even to do a walk-through and ask, "Why is everybody waiting?"
RUSH: Until it hits the media, nobody is going to do anything about it. That's hard work; that's fixing it. That's needing and asking for more money, which is not the answer in many cases. Until it breaks and gets out, then it becomes CYA, which is where we are now.
GRETA: And now more with Rush Limbaugh. Rush, you won the award, the children's award. That's gotta be fun.
RUSH: You know, I was a bit surprised. It was unexpected to win that award, but it was a thrill. Kathryn and I went to New York to the Children's Book Awards ceremony to receive it. The great thing about it is that kids vote on these awards, Book of the Year for various age-groups. I happened to win Author of the Year. It was really rewarding for me.
You know, Vince Flynn had been urging me to write another book for a number of years, the late author Vince Flynn. And I told him, "Vince, I've done that." I'd written two books back in the nineties oriented toward policy, conservative policy. And I said, "I've been there, done that, and I'm not interested." He kept plugging away. Finally Kathryn overheard one of these sessions where Vince was just really trying to talk me into it.
She said, "You know, you love American history, and you're really concerned about what people are learning. Why don't you write children's books about American history, tell them the truth?" And that really energized me; that fired me up, 'cause I love this country. I hope everybody will. I wish everybody did. And I just want people to know: The story of this country is one of the greatest stories of the human condition ever on this planet, the story of this country and its founding, how it happened.
It doesn't need to be exaggerated, doesn't need to be embellished. It's just absolutely wonderful -- and, to me, it's almost miraculous -- and it's something that everybody needs to hear truthfully. But there is one thing that I will say about life today versus when I was growing up, and that is there's so much pessimism today as opposed to optimism and can-do and inspiration.
Movies and TV shows so much dystopian, end-of-the-world, apocalyptic stuff. You look at surveys of Millennials, and they've lost faith in the country. They don't think there's a future for them anywhere near what their parents and grandparents had. And I think that's unfortunate. I'd like to play a little role in becoming inspirational and optimistic for people. This is still the best place on earth. It's still the last great hope on earth.
I think the more people, particularly young people, who could understand what had to happen for this country to come into existence and stay in existence and become a superpower in less than 200 years, the better. It's phenomenal -- and, as I say, I love it. Transferring that story, making it interesting to 10- to 13-year-olds, that's a challenge. That was exciting to me, and so that's why I did it.
RUSH: And to get an award for the first book, Author of the Year? I mean, that was just totally unexpected, and I was very gratified and grateful to get it. And there's a second book out, which is Rush Revere and the First Patriots: Time-Travel Adventures with Exceptional Americans -- they all were, and they remain exceptional to this day. Those two are still in the top five of the New York Times best-seller list for young people.
It really is a thrill for me and all the people that are helping me do this. It's not something I can do on my own. There are too many illustrations; there's a lot of research to get it right, you know, to make sure that we're telling the truth in this. It's such a wonderful thing to have it accepted like this. I can't tell you how rewarding the whole experience has been.
GRETA: Rush, congratulations, and I love the fact that the jury that decided this was the very people who are gonna read it, the young people. Of course, I think adults should read it as well. But thank you, Rush.
RUSH: Thank you very much, Greta, and it's always really great to be with you.
GRETA: (chuckles) Thank you.
RUSH: Take care.