RUSH: It’s always a pleasure to have on the program Mitch McConnell, senator from Kentucky who is the Republican leader in the Senate. Senator, welcome back. Great to have you here.
MCCONNELL: Good afternoon, Rush, glad to be with you.
RUSH: All right, I’m looking here at the oil price, today’s oil price right now, oil futures at $122.53 a barrel. That’s down about nine dollars since last Wednesday. It looks like this whole thing was a bubble, everybody panics. Gasoline prices and energy prices rise like they did; they have to come down at some point. As part of the panic we get Warner-Lieberman debated this week. I’m hearing the conventional wisdom is this bill doesn’t have a prayer of getting out of the Senate, much less through the House. Is that true?
MCCONNELL: Well, I certainly hope not. Can you imagine a worse proposal to be bringing up with gas prices sky-high like they are? I mean, the Wall Street Journal called this bill the most expensive reorganization of the American economy since the New Deal, and they’re absolutely right. I mean, this thing is a $6.7 trillion tax increase on the American people. And we know, at a minimum, it will drive up gas prices 53 cents a gallon. This is a very, very comprehensive and awful proposal. And we’re certainly going to do everything we can in the Senate to see to it that it doesn’t become law.
RUSH: How long has Warner-Lieberman been around? How many tries have its supporters given it?
MCCONNELL: Well, there’s been a lot of talk about the so-called cap-and-trade approach to climate change. This is the first time we’ve actually had a debate on the Senate floor on it. This is the kind of bill that ought to have an extensive debate. My assumption is that the majority leader will try to shut us down, try to file cloture prematurely, try to control the flow of the amendments. You can’t do that unless you have a passive minority in the Senate. We don’t intend to cooperate.
RUSH: Well, now, speaking of the amendment, this bill is 500 pages, right? Does anybody know what’s in it, fully and totally?
MCCONNELL: Well, they just produced a substitute they’re going to offer here in the next 30 minutes or so about 40 minutes ago. So I guarantee you, Rush, we’re going to make sure that this is fully and extensively debated, read, and amended before we have any prospect of letting it out of the Senate. I think it’s unfixable, frankly. Somebody called it Hillary Care for climate. It is reminiscent of the Hillary Clinton tax health care proposal back in 1993-1994, in terms of its complexity, in terms of the impact it has on our whole economy. I mean, heck, this thing would turn us into Western Europe very quickly.
RUSH: Senator, it’s an abomination. It’s one of the greatest power grabs the federal government over private industry and the private sector, and it’s based on a hoax, the hoax of manmade global warming. And the Boxer amendments, they’re just outrageous, adding to the complexity of this whole thing.
MCCONNELL: Well, you know, Rush, even if you agreed that the problem existed, let’s just grab that for the sake of discussion. The American way to get at a problem like that is with technology and innovation, not clamping down on the economy.
RUSH: Precisely, using energy, that’s the lifeblood of our democracy, oil is the fuel of the engine of freedom here. Using energy creates more and creates the need, which creates the mother of invention. It all is a cycle that improves everybody’s quality of life, and this would shut that down tremendously.
MCCONNELL: Absolutely. I mean if we’re convinced this is a problem — and just for the sake of discussion, let’s grant that for a moment — the way to fix it is with technology and innovation, develop the techniques to do it, and then sell it to people overseas; because if this is a global problem, it can’t be solved by the United States unilaterally anyway. You don’t think that the Chinese and the Indians are going to shut down their economy while we’re shutting down ours. Of course not.
RUSH: There are a lot of Democrats that are not in favor of this, correct?
MCCONNELL: We’re going to find out. There are some who are squirming. It’s been called by a number of nameless staffers on the Democratic side a monumental blunder, which I certainly concur with, to bring this subject up at a time when US gas prices are sky-high. This is only going to make them higher.
RUSH: Well, what is this new series of amendments that you just mentioned? Are they actually amendments or are they substitutes for —
MCCONNELL: What Boxer is going to do here shortly is offer a big substitute, which we haven’t even had a chance to read yet. All this I guarantee you, Rush, means that we will not be speedily acting on this bill. This is the kind of bill, if it were ever to pass at all — to give you an example, the Clean Air Act amendments back in 1990 were on the Senate floor for five weeks. We had 180 amendments. If Reid tries to jam us, he will not get anywhere, and, frankly, I don’t think this bill is fixable anyway. We have lots of amendments that deal with what we think are the real problems with regard to oil prices. We need to open up ANWR. We need to allow deep sea exploration. We need to construct new refineries. We need to get rid of the moratorium on oil shale development. We have basically shut down or tried to shut down the number-three oil producer in the world, which is us. You know, and the Democratic plan is to go back to the Saudis, the number-one producer, or the Russians, the number-two producer, to increase production. Why don’t we increase our production right here at home?
RUSH: Well, everybody’s asking that question, and we know why it’s not happening. We’ve got a holy alliance or unholy alliance between the extreme environmentalists of this country, which I have been saying for years is the new home for displaced communists since the Soviet Union and Berlin Wall fell, and extremists in the Democrat Party. It’s all about destroying the American capitalist system and remaking this country in a new image. I think that’s what the Obama campaign is all about. And, Senator, this may be the first time this bill has actually come to the floor for discussion and debate, but even if it loses, you know they’re going to bring it back, aren’t they?
MCCONNELL: They will bring it back, and this is going to be a big war over whether or not you want to hand over to the government the total control of the American economy. I mean, this will turn us into Western Europe, turn us into France and Germany quicker than anything you could conceive of, Rush. You know, they look to Western Europe with envy, the new majority that took over Congress, gas is $1.65 a gallon more than it was when the new majority was sworn in in January of 2007. They think we’re on the right track. These are people who in the past have thought that expensive gasoline was a good idea. So it doesn’t surprise me that they’ve come up with a proposal like this that would drive gas prices even higher.
RUSH: Well, the American people, the more they’re informed and educated on this, and believe me, a lot of them are, the conventional wisdom is a sizable percentage of the American public, even close to 50%, has bought into the global warming hoax. I don’t see it. I see polling data that suggest that people do not want another penny spent, taxed or made more expensive on gasoline if the result is to fight global warming. I don’t think that there is a worldwide or even a nationwide consensus on this. It just appears that there is because of media coverage on the whole concept. But let me ask you about the politics of the future. I mean I’m hearing, and who knows until the actual votes are counted — but we’re hearing here that the Democrats think they’re going to have either a seven- to ten, worst-case scenario, 12-seat majority in the Senate, a bunch more seats in the House. If they get the White House as well — well, even if they don’t because Senator McCain supports this bill, which he does — what’s the future look like when you face this battle next year with a whole different political circumstance?
MCCONNELL: Well, first of all, I don’t think we’re going to have that many fewer Republican senators. You know, you and I have discussed this on the air before. It takes 60 votes to do almost everything in the Senate. I’ve now got 49, Reid’s got 51. Even if you’re only modestly proficient at math, everybody can figure this out. He’s gotta come over on our side to get nine votes to do almost anything. I think we’ve got a good chance of staying roughly where we are. The United States Senate is the only legislative body in the world where a majority is not enough. And I think we’ve got a good chance of coming out of this election with a robust minority fully attuned to trying to keep any new administration from enacting this kind of legislation, not to mention, we just had a vote a few minutes ago on their budget plan for the next five years. If left to their own devices, they would increase taxes three times greater than the previous largest tax increase in history. That’s the kind of thing that a robust Republican minority in the Senate can prevent in the future no matter which administration we end up with.
RUSH: Well, it’s clear, you know, while their presidential candidate is talking about change and future and all these platitudinous things, when you listen to what he advocates, it’s nothing but old liberalism straight out of their playbook from 60 and 30 years ago.
MCCONNELL: Sure. We need to ask, what kind of change? You know, do most Americans think the kind of change we need is more taxation, more regulation, more litigation? I don’t think that’s what they have in mind. And we have five months here before the election to make sure that the American people understand fully what Senator Obama and his team advocate for the future. And it’s quite different than what Senator McCain would support and what Senate and House Republicans would support.
RUSH: Well, it’s all failed. Everything that he’s talking about, Obama, every problem that he says he wants to solve has been tried around the world, from the Soviet Union to the former Eastern bloc countries, to Cuba, it doesn’t work.
MCCONNELL: You’re absolutely right. That’s why I said, they want to turn us into France when even the French are having second thoughts.
RUSH: Hell, the French are becoming more conservative than we are.
MCCONNELL: Yeah. You know, in France, 50% of the gross domestic product is government spending. In this country it’s about 20%. If you look at the Democratic agenda advocated by Senator Obama, they basically want to turn us into France: more taxes, more regulation. Of course the Europeans don’t have our litigation problem, but they want more of taxation, regulation, and litigation. This is what they’re for. Nothing’s new about this. This is not the kind of change I think the American people had in mind.
RUSH: We’ll see. Senator, thanks for your time. I appreciate it.
MCCONNELL: Thank you, Rush.
RUSH: Keep us posted on this legislation that’s progressing, we hope slowly through your ability.
MCCONNELL: You can guarantee it will be slowly.
RUSH: Thank you.
MCCONNELL: See you later.
RUSH: Senator Mitch McConnell from Kentucky.