RUSH: The Medicare buy-in’s gone. For now. The public option is gone, for now.
It is clear they don’t care what’s in this bill. I saw Susan Collins and she just epitomizes the problem. She’s talking to the press: (paraphrasing) ‘I think Senator Lieberman has improved this bill. I have been working with everybody, the president and his chief of staff, to improve the bill. We can’t just say no. We have to sit here and improve the bill.’ I want to tear my hair out. You know, we’ve got to get rid of these RINOs. Getting rid of the RINOs in our party is the key to this. We’re going to have a big, big, big election next November, folks. It is going to be huge. The Democrats, I’ve got stories in the stack, they acknowledge they’re going to lose. Pelosi says she’s comfortable with losing 40 seats. Thin the herd. She refers to the 30 or 40 seats that they might lose as transitional anyway, meaning they’re not the hardcore reliable leftists like Barney Frank and Henry Waxman and Conyers and Hoyer and all those people. The Blue Dogs, all these transitional, the guys that come in there and stay two to four years and then leave, she’s totally content to get rid of them. This is a strategery. She said she will sign anything.
Harry Reid and Ben Nelson, Senator Nelson, I don’t know if you care, but you’re finished if you vote for this. Lieberman’s not, but Ben Nelson is finished. If he votes for this, he’s finished. I’ll tell you what’s going on with Nelson. It’s not just the abortion language in the bill. There are two things that are happening with Ben Nelson. One is there’s a doctor-owned hospital, physician-owned hospital being built south of Omaha, and it’s not finished. It has been put on hold. It’s under delay. Under this current health bill, it may not be finished because doctor-owned hospitals are going to be legislated out of existence. Doctor-owned hospitals are targeted for elimination. So Ben Nelson says, ‘I want to finish this hospital.’ Dingy Harry says, ‘We’ll think about it.’
Also, Offutt Air Force Base in Omaha is slated to be closed in the next round of blue ribbon base closing commissions. The next seating, the next convening of a base closing commission is 2013. Offutt Air Force Base, which is where the Strategic Air Command is, was, Offutt Air Force Base is responsible for 10,000 jobs and gazillions of dollars in not just the Omaha area but the Nebraska economy and Ben Nelson is holding out, ‘You gotta help me on these two things.’ Dingy Harry and Obama, that won’t be any problem. Okay, we’ll exempt Offutt, we’ll keep it going, we’ll think about your physician-owned hospital. And they’ll monkey around enough with the abortion language to get his vote. If they get his vote, it’s over. Lieberman just today, this morning in Washington on Capitol Hill, he held a press conference.
LIEBERMAN: If, as appears to be happening, the so-called public option, government-run insurance program is out, and the Medicare buy-in, which I thought would jeopardize Medicare, cost taxpayers billions of dollars over the long haul, increase our deficit is out, and there’s no other attempts to bring things like that in, then I’m going to be in a position where I can say, I’m getting to that position where I can say what I wanted to say all along, that I’m ready to vote for health care reform.
RUSH: Okay, so they’ve picked off Lieberman. Now, a lot of people are getting optimistic here, saying, ‘Whoa, but, Rush, but, Rush, they’re getting rid of the public option, they’re getting rid of the Medicare buy-in,’ which would essentially expand Medicare to cover people as young as 55. But remember, this is just the starting point. The stuff that’s already in this bill outside those two things, the marriage tax penalty, when people discover this, all of the nanny state regulations, the 114 new bureaucracies in the Senate bill, the fact that the government’s going to be controlling even more of the health care system than they do now. What this is is a framework for the destruction of private sector health care, and it’s still in place, and this is just year one. Okay, so they get this done, they send it over to Pelosi, who says she’ll vote for anything, so they go to conference and they do whatever they do there and they send this up to Obama and it gets signed and it looks like that could happen.
Then they come back next year and guess what they put back in? The public option. And then guess what they put back in? The Medicare buy-in, and who knows what the hell else they add in. There won’t be any Blue Dogs around to stop ’em. They’ll get rid of the Blue Dogs, the whole point here is to thin the herd, to weed out all the Democrats that cause Pelosi problems and the problem of Democrats in the Senate that cause Reid problems. They’re willing to lose a bunch of seats. The logic from their standpoint is somewhat understandable. Byron York writes about it today in the DC Examiner. The logic at the White House is, ‘We’re not up for reelection, we don’t give a rat’s rear end what happens here. You sign it, you get it up here.’ In the House, Pelosi would love to get rid of 30 to 40 Blue Dogs and transitional Democrats. She wouldn’t even mind losing her majority for a while because she thinks she’s going to get it back, and in the Senate Dingy Harry’s personal numbers are in the forties in reelection polls in Nevada. But from their standpoint they’ve been working on this since FDR. They’ve been working on this since FDR and they’re telling themselves that if they don’t get it done now, it’s gone forever.
The theory is that if Obama and Clinton couldn’t get it done, then nobody can get it done. So I think what you need to look at, something is going to get passed out of the Senate called health care reform. And I doubt that very many people there are going to have the slightest idea what’s actually in it. Lieberman’s going to think that it doesn’t have a Medicare buy-in, he’s going to think the public option is gone. Ben Nelson is going to think that Offutt Air Force Base is gonna remain untouched, his hospital is going to be finished, and the abortion language is going to be done. My friends, anybody with half a brain who reads this and has any sense of what it is to be an American would get nowhere near passing or signing or voting for this. It’s that outrageous. But we actually have, I think, a collection of dunces. We have a radical left Senate. This notion that there are moderate Democrats up there, don’t buy that. And as far as Ben Nelson, Blanche Lincoln, you two and a lot of others, you’re finished if you vote for this. You are finished. You are not going to be reelected next November.
A lot of Democrats in the Senate that are really pushing this are not up next year anyway, so they think the public will forget by the time their election comes up. I’m sure what Ben Nelson is being told, ‘Look, Ben, if you lose we’ll take care of you. We’ll get you a plum lobbyist job, we’ll get you a job with George Soros or we’ll get you a really flashy federal appointment somewhere, maybe an ambassadorship somewhere.’ They’ll take care of these guys. They have to ask themselves, though, is this what they want for their career, do they want to be shellacked in a landslide defeat because of their vote? It apparently makes no difference to many of these people what their constituents want, apparently makes no difference whatsoever.
RUSH: Let me show you a problem. Let me illustrate for you the problem on the Republican side, because it’s sounding like Susan Collins may be the 61st vote for this thing. Here’s what I saw her say at a press conference on television before the program starts. There’s a lot of noise in this, ’cause this took place in the Rotund of the Capitol Hill and there’s a lot of people milling around in there.
COLLINS: Let me say that I’m grateful for the work that Senator Lieberman has done. I believe that his principled stands have improved the bill. I very much would like to see a health care bill — that is based on lowering costs, expanding access, helping small businesses — pass.
RUSH: She went on to say that she doesn’t believe in this ‘just say no’ business. Now, this goes just goes to show what a…what a… What’s a polite word for somebody that’s just stupid? What is a polite word? Ignorant, uninformed. She’s challenged, ignorant, uninformed. She would like to see a health care bill based on lowering costs? (sigh) Expanding access? It’s gonna restrict access, Senator! People are going to be dying because they’re going to be denied coverage. Small business is gonna get creamed with this! Everybody’s going to get creamed by this. How can she not know this? How can she possibly not know this? Let me give you an illustration of something. Social Security — and I’m not going to be able to go through all this until after the next break, but stick with me on this. Social Security.
Just to show you how these government programs quietly grow: Social Security passed in 1935 to give some small assistance to the very old and widows with children who are in dire straits. But ever since 1935 Social Security’s been amended and enlarged year after year, just like the health care bill will be. Social Security is something people really do or did keep their eyes on. In 1940, benefits paid totaled $35 million. Now, stick with me on this. Payments rose to $961 million in 1950, ten years later. It was $11.2 billion in 1960 and $ 31.9 billion in 1970. All the way up to 2004: $492 billion worth of benefits were paid to 47.5 million beneficiaries. In 2009, nearly 51 million Americans will receive $650 billion in Social Security in a program that originally paid out $35 million. As recently as 1950 it paid out $11 billion. Today it’s up to $650 billion since its inception. I don’t care if you factor inflation in. This is simply out of control, unsustainable — and this is exactly what will happen to health care.
RUSH: I don’t believe what I just received in the e-mail. It is from the National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee. These are the people that run out there and try to get Senators in our party reelected. Democrats have one, too, and they have organizations for both parties in the House. Look, I’m sure they’re going to hear about this, and it speaks for itself. It was just sent out at 12:37 Eastern time. It’s 12:45 now. So ten minutes ago I got this thing. It’s from the National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee, health care task force.
‘Dear supporter: If recent headlines are any indication our efforts to stop the Democrats’ government takeover of health care are succeeding with your help,’ and they cite three headlines. ”Lieberman Rules Out Voting for Health Care Bill,’ New York Times. ‘Two Senators Doubt Medicare Compromise,’ Wall Street Journal. ‘High Hurdles Ahead for Health Plan,’ Politico.’ And it’s a fundraising letter. They’re asking for money. They sent out three quotes from State-Controlled Media outlets. The first one: Joe Lieberman hours ago said he’s now going to vote for the health care bill because they took the government option out of it and they got rid of the Medicare expansion. And yet ten minutes ago they send this thing out quoting a New York Times headline: ‘Lieberman Rules Out Voting for Health Care Bill.’ Do the Republicans in the Senate not know before this thing goes out that Lieberman a half hour ago or an hour ago said I’m all in for health care now? This is like somebody sending out a press release in the third quarter of last year’s Super Bowl saying Arizona Cardinals win because the New York Times headline says: ‘Arizona Surprises Steelers.’
I’m sitting here and I’m stunned. Then they ask you to sign a petition, share it on Facebook, and donate to their efforts. Politico has a story today on Lieberman and it’s ‘Democrats May Drop Medicare Expansion.’ And this is, of course, posted before they actually told Lieberman they’re going to drop the Medicare expansion. ‘Several senators — including Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) — said it appeared Democrats faced with the reality of needing Lieberman’s vote to get to the 60 needed for passage, would drop the Medicare expansion. … Asked if Reid explicitly dropped the Medicare plan from the larger health reform bill, Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) responded, ‘That’s what it sounded like to me.” Tom Harkin said it also appears that Democrats are moving toward a bill without the Medicare option, and Senator Feingold, a big supporter of the public option and the Medicare idea, said, ‘Things are not moving in the right direction.’
‘Talk of dropping the Medicare expansion angered the party’s liberals, who can’t believe a senator who no longer considers himself a Democrat is in the position of effectively vetoing a key part of the health reform bill. Liberals supported the Medicare expansion as a way to cover more of the uninsured in a government plan. Already, there was talk of retaliating against Lieberman, much as some Democrats sought to strip him of his Senate Homeland Security Committee chairmanship after he campaigned for Republican Sen. John McCain for president in 2008.
‘The anger toward him right now is white hot,’ said one senior Democratic aide.’ They’ve also reported in this story that Lieberman did support Medicare expansion in the past. He’s out there saying, ‘No, I’ve never changed my mind on Medicare expansion.’ Now, I like, as a person, Joe Lieberman. I’ve met him on a number of occasions. He told a very funny joke at a dinner in April of 2008 at the Waldorf -Hysteria hotel, it was the annual dinner and ball for the Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation, which of course I’m a huge donor of, fundraiser for, and supporter of.
I was seated at a table with James Baker and his wife, Susan, and they were already shooting me daggers because I was publicly not endorsing McCain, not for McCain. And Lieberman gets up, he is the guest of honor, he’s getting some special award, and he said, ‘This is a strange year in politics. I can’t believe that I am here with a bunch of Marines as an independent former Democrat supporting the Republican candidate for president, and Rush Limbaugh’s in the same room and he’s not.’ And the Bakers kind of nudged me with their elbows and nodded and so forth. I mean the pressure was intense, folks, the pressure was intense on me on this. Just to illustrate any independence, I didn’t buckle to it. But I like him as a person. But, you know, he taunts us all the time by saying, ‘You know what, I can’t vote for this,’ and we gotta love Lieberman. And I keep reminding people there’s not really an I next to his name, it’s a D. Lieberman is a liberal Democrat and at the end of the day that’s where his loyalties are always going to be.
So now a guy that they really hated and wanted to get rid of because he supported McCain has affected, at least for now, the structure of the health care bill. The liberal Democrats are fit to be tied over this, as are the fringe nutcases that lurk and troll around all these far-left nutcase websites. The Daily Kos: get rid of Reid, this is the worst thing that’s ever happened, pulling out the public option. These people look at the public option being gone and the Medicare expansion being taken out, they look at this as a victory for insurance companies, and you have to understand that hardcore leftists hate capitalism and anybody that is a capitalist, especially corporations. They despise ’em. Just the word ‘corporate’ can ruin their day. If they read the newspapers, the word ‘corporation,’ it ruins their day. They want to put every corporation out of business. They think everybody that runs one ought to be in jail and they think Lieberman’s in bed with the Big Insurance lobby because they’re housed in Connecticut, located there, and so forth.
A funny story here: ‘Democrats shared the majority leader’s frustration. In interviews with POLITICO, senior Democratic aides and senators laid out a range of emotions toward Lieberman — from outrage over what they believed was Lieberman’s blatant attempt to kill the bill to surprise over Lieberman’s apparent reversal on the Medicare buy-in, which he has supported in the past.’ We go to CNN and their political ticker and we find out now that the left is targeting Lieberman’s wife, Hadassah. ‘Sen. Joe Lieberman — whose opposition to a public insurance option has drawn outrage from liberal groups for months — is used to finding himself in progressive crosshairs. Now it’s his wife’s turn. Activists are setting their sights on Hadassah Lieberman, launching a celebrity-studded petition drive to convince the nation’s largest breast cancer non-profit to end the Connecticut senator’s wife role as a spokeswoman.’ This is the Susan Komen for the Cure foundation. They’re targeting Lieberman’s wife now because she’s a spokeswoman of the group.
RUSH: We’ll start Jacksonville, North Carolina, this is Finley, and it’s great to have you here. Hello.
CALLER: Hey, Rush, how are you doing, brother?
RUSH: Thank you, sir, very well.
CALLER: Hey, I hope Ben Nelson and everybody else that votes for that health care stuff pays the price at the ballot box, but I don’t think they will. I think people are going to think they’re getting something for free and, you know, they’re going to be grateful. We’re telling them this is what you can’t have, for very good reasons in my opinion, I’m with you, but everybody else is saying this is what we’re going to give you, and I think people are going to say, ‘Gee, thanks.’
RUSH: Well, under normal circumstances I would agree with you, but I’m looking at polling data, and I can’t find one poll anywhere — well, there was some time ago a Washington Post poll, I forget which, that showed something like 59% supported health care — but every other poll shows support for Obamacare barely at 40%. I think it’s different this time around. I think you’re right that there are plenty of people out there who think that their health care is going to be whatever they want for no cost because a couple of rich people are going to be paying for it via tax increases. But I don’t think that’s a majority of people. I think a majority of people actually know what’s headed down the pike and they don’t like it.
CALLER: Exactly. But something’s going to get passed and people are gonna — then they’re going to be presented with, ‘This is what we did for you,’ and my comment is on whether they’re going to pay the price at the ballot box. And I think once it’s passed, and something’s going to get passed, unfortunately, then people are going to say, ‘Gee, thank you, you did something for me, and I’m entitled to it.’ As much as I love this country, brother, I mean I just think too many people think they’re entitled to it and when the Democrats pass this, they’re going to be grateful.
RUSH: Like I say, I know why you think that because so many people are not paying income taxes, a lot of people think they’re getting something for free and ‘we do all this for you,’ but the problem is that whatever is going to be done for people will not start for four years. The tax increases that are in this bill, and it’s basically a tax increase bill, will start immediately. But all the so-called freebies and all the people who don’t have insurance getting insurance, it’s not going to even start until 2013 or 2014. And this bill is going to tax everybody. People who are married, people who are not married, at every income level people are going to face added taxation long before whatever the benefits are. And I realize the president’s going to go out there at the big signing ceremony, he’s going to go out there and he’s gonna say, ‘Look at what we’ve done for you. For 40 years, 50 years, since FDR we have been trying. Nobody got this done until I came here. This is massive. We now are going to join the rest of the world in sophistication with our population being provided adequate health care at low charge, low cost.’ They’re going to say all of that.
But Obama’s numbers are cratering, too. I think these people know they’re going to lose seats. Pelosi’s counting on losing some seats. She wants to get rid of the Blue Dogs in the House. There aren’t any moderate Democrats in the Senate. You gotta understand, Ben Nelson, Blanche Lincoln, the so-called moderate Democrats, they don’t believe any of this. The Senate is now radically left, not just Democrat. Now, here is an interesting post today. Ezra Klein is a young guy and in inside-the-Beltway media circles this guy is a rising star. I don’t know why. I just know that he is. He’s 24 years old. He’s got a blog post at the Washington Post today explaining the timing of getting this done. I want to read it to you.
‘Obama administration wants to use the State of the Union as a turning point. Health-care reform would be the shining first year accomplishment, allowing the president to begin the election-year pivot to jobs and the economy and the deficit. But if health-care reform is to pass –‘ and there, by the way, is Finley’s theory, Obama State of the Union: ‘Look what we’ve done for you. Here’s what you’re going to get, we got this done, no president’s ever done it before and now we’re going to fix the job market and everybody’s going to be fine,’ and so the fear is that there are a sufficient number of people that are on entitlements in this country that are going to buy every lie here and the Democrats are not going to pay a price. Trust me, they are.
So here’s the timeline according to rising star Ezra Klein: health care reform has to pass by early next year so Obama can tout it in the State of the Union. ‘Harry Reid has to finish his bill by the end of next week.’ Now, the end of next week, Friday, is Christmas Day. ‘Moving to the manager’s amendment — the ‘deal’ amendment, as it is — will take a few days. Voting to replace the underlying bill with the manager’s amendment will take a few days. And then voting on the modified bill will take a few days. Each step is delayed by the day or so required for a cloture vote to ‘ripen,’ and then the 30 hours of post-cloture debate. So an accelerated schedule would see the first cloture vote called Thursday, with the vote to move to the manager’s amendment on Saturday. Cloture would then be called to actually vote on the manager’s amendment on Sunday, and the manager’s amendment would be approved the following Tuesday, the 22nd. And cloture would be called for the actual bill on Wednesday, Dec. 23rd, with the final vote coming, at the earliest, on Friday, the 25th — Christmas Day.’
Now, this is not from the Senate, this is just from a Washington Post blogger, rising star who everybody thinks hung the moon. I don’t know why. I’m not saying he doesn’t, I just don’t know what the reputation is here. But the timeline — and this is with everything falling into place like clockwork, would require the Senate to be in session on Christmas Day to vote, or maybe come back on Saturday the 26th and vote. And we’ll see how that all plays out.
Here’s Gabe in Joplin, Missouri. Gabe, welcome to the EIB Network. Hello.
CALLER: Hey, Rush, I’m so happy you took my call. I’m on a cell phone. I don’t want to get (unintelligible).
RUSH: All right.
CALLER: I wanted to thank you for all the work you’re doing on this health care bill.
RUSH: Well, there’s a lot of us trying to do this. A lousy phone line, I can’t understand what he’s saying, but I appreciate his thanks. It’s double down time. I mean, we’re the only ones, folks. We are the only ones standing in the way of this. There are no elected officials in the Senate that are really standing in the way of it. Susan Collins even went out there and said today, ‘Oh, no, we’re not ‘just say no’ here.’ Which is what they must be, they must be ‘just say no.’ She actually went out there and said, ‘I think Senator Lieberman has improved the bill. I want a bill that lowers costs and expands access. And if we can get that, I’ll vote for it.’ Then there’s no way she can vote for it because this bill does just the exact opposite. I sit here, I actually feel like I’m in the Twilight Zone listening to these people talk about the content of the bill and the debate and all this sort of stuff.
RUSH: Here’s what Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins don’t realize, and again, this goes back to, what do we call these people? Dunce, ignorant, or what have you. What they don’t realize is that they are being played as suckers. And they are, by the way, focusing on both of them, as we knew they would. The Democrats are not just going to be content to try to round up 60 in their own party in the Senate. They’re going to focus on Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, and their purpose, their sole purpose as far as Harry Reid is concerned is to give one or two Democrats the chance to vote against this to keep their seats. Believe me, if they could get Olympia Snowe or Susan Collins to vote for this, then it will give Ben Nelson an out and he won’t have to vote for it. And if they could save Blanche Lincoln doing the same thing by getting the other one, they’d do that, too. And with these two, Collins and Snowe, you just never know. Well, you do know, I’m sad to say. The odds are pretty good at the end of the day where they’re going to be. (doing impression) ‘I’m just not going to just say no. I want a better bill. I think Senator Lieberman has improved the bill. I have talked to the president and his chief of staff, and they have assured me that it will lower costs and provide greater access. I am not just say no. We can’t be that.’
So get ready. And believe me, if Reid could pull that off and save Nelson and Blanche Lincoln, he’d do it in a minute and then it would be even worse because they could run around and then say it was bipartisan, the greatest expansion of health care reform in American history, bipartisan bill secured by the wondrous messiah, Barack Hussein Obama, mmm, mmm, mmm.