RUSH: Senator Cruz, we welcome you to the EIB microphone and the program. It’s great to have you here, sir.
CRUZ: Rush, it’s fantastic to be with you.
RUSH: I have to tell you, I’ve had so many people… I’ve been off the past couple of days, but, while this has been going on, I’ve had so many people e-mail me so uplifted by what you did in the last 21 hours and what you did leading up to it. So many people are so happy that there finally is some leadership. They’re so happy that, finally, somebody is doing in Washington what they were elected to do, what they said they were going to do. And I just wanted to say, before we started: I’m sure you’re hearing much the same thing, but I wanted you to know that, while you’re getting all these arrows as pioneers do, there’s a lot of appreciation and a lot of love for what you’re doing out there.
CRUZ: Well, Rush, thank you so much. Thank you for that encouragement, and thank you for your leadership. You know, I really hope that over the course of this week we’ll see more and more Republicans step forward. We had quite a few Republicans come down to the floor and support the effort, and I hope we’ll see as many Republicans as possible, and even some Democrats, come together and listen to the American people. As you know… Every week, you talk to 20 million Americans. You know where the American people are on this, and it’s not a close call. Obamacare isn’t working and millions of Americans are hurting, and if the Senate just listened to the American people, we’ll do the right thing and we’ll vote to defund it.
RUSH: Well, in a political sense, it’s been one of the things that surprised me, ’cause you’re right. No matter what poll you look at, a vast majority of people oppose this, and I look at this… Politics isn’t my business, getting votes isn’t my business, but it seems to me that this is a ready-made opportunity. Here’s a chance for the Republican Party to connect to a majority of the American people on a fundamental issue. If they’re looking for something that could get ’em back, that could give them an identity, that could give them a little boost, this seems to me to be it. But they seem to have no desire to oppose this in any meaningfully way, and it’s got me and a lot of people befuddled.
CRUZ: Well, look, Rush, I understand that frustration. It’s why I think in many ways the central issue that we were trying to focus on in the filibuster was not the continuing resolution. It wasn’t even Obamacare, as horrific as it is for the economy. The central issue, I think, is the long-standing problem we have had with Washington not listening to the American people with Democrats and Republicans. It’s a lot of folks who’ve been in office way too long, who stopped listening to their constituents — and, as a result, we see lots of theater, lots of empty symbolic votes and very little willingness to actually stand up and fight on behalf of the American people.
RUSH: Well, wait. “Theater” is what you were accused of doing. Michael Barone, as soon as you finished, accused you of engaging in theater, and that you knew it, and that you knew there’s no way you had any prayer of accomplishing what you want to accomplish. Others have said that you’re just fundraising and you’re making it look like you’re doing something substantive, but it’s just theater.
CRUZ: Well, you know, one of the approaches that those who want to maintain the status quo — who want to make sure Obamacare stays funded, who wanted to avoid any risks, one of the approaches they do — is they try to make this all about people. They try to make it all about personalities. And listen: Most Americans could not care less about any politician in Washington. They don’t care about me; they don’t care about anybody else either. And what is utterly maddening about all of these reporters is what do they write about all day long? They write about the process. They write about the horse race. They write about this personality or the other. They act like Hollywood gossip columnists writing about bickering. I mean, how many times have you and I both read the words “Republican civil war” in the past week? ‘Cause that’s what they like to write about.
CRUZ: And, listen, what I tried to spend much of the filibuster all but begging the media to do… In fact, I explicitly said, “Listen. All right, you guys can’t resist writing something about the process, something about that silliness. But let me just ask you: 50% of what you write, discuss the substance of how Obamacare is the number one job killer in the country, how millions of Americans are suffering, how it’s forcing people into part-time work, how it’s threatening millions of Americans’ health insurance.
“Just write a little about the substance,” and the strategy on the other side is really twofold. Number one: Confuse the voters. Confuse the voters with procedural obfuscation, with complexity, so that they don’t understand what’s going on. And number two: Make it all about personalities. And, listen, others can engage in that game, Rush. I have no intention of defending myself or of reciprocating. It’s not about anybody. It’s not about us. It is about listening to the American people and stopping this disaster, this nightmare, this train wreck that is Obamacare.
RUSH: One of the things I wanted to ask you about is… I know you just said you don’t want to defend yourself, and I’m not asking you to do this, but I do want to put to you a criticism that I have heard, and you have, too. It’s that you have — oh, heaven forbid — ignored the inside rules of the Senate, that you didn’t go to your party conference to try to convince them, et cetera, to do this, and that you love just to be an outsider, and that the precious rules of the Senate were not observed and because of that you’re harming the party.
CRUZ: Well, I will note that some of the folks making that argument — in fact, the only folks I’ve seen making that argument — are not, in fact, senators (chuckling), not in fact senators who attend the meetings, and indeed I’ve heard it referred to as “the Thursday meeting of the conference.” The meeting is actually on Tuesday. So the people going on television purporting to know what they’re talking about, they don’t actually know what day the Senate meets. And more fundamentally I’ve attended…
Not all, but virtually all of the meetings since I’ve been in the Senate and we have been discussing, number one, strategies on Obamacare for at least six months. Mike Lee and I have been going over and over and over again saying, “Does anyone else have an alternative? Does anyone else have any plan?” And there’s never been a plan, and we have been talking about this for months.
So nobody has an argument, at least no one that’s actually attended those lunches, that we didn’t discuss ad nauseam. Now, they have a different argument that we didn’t wait for and get their approval and permission to stand up and do our best to fight this fight. Because, look, each of the hundred senators, we were elected by our constituents, and I’ve got an obligation not to my colleagues, but to 26 million Texans to fight for them.
RUSH: Senator, most of your colleagues said exactly what you’ve said in the last 21 hours, and the last two weeks, and the last year, most of your colleagues said years ago what you said. At the moment of truth, they’re not to be found. They’ve sought solace somewhere else. I look at what you’re doing — forgive me for characterizing it — I look at what you’re doing as simply doing what you were elected to do as you said, but you’re also drawing a line. At some point we’ve got to say we’re not gonna allow this kind of freedom to be lost in this country. I think this is what this is about. What Obamacare substantively is is what you’re about.
CRUZ: Rush, I think you are absolutely right. And to be honest, look, I think what Mike and I are doing, I don’t view as a terribly big deal. We’re trying to actually stand for the principles that every Republican in the Senate says he or she believes in. We’re trying to actually listen to the American people, and we’re trying to tell the truth. Part of why — you know, people ask, why does Congress have, you know, 10, 12, 15% approval rating? It’s because for years Congress has ignored the will of the American people. And this process — I think it’s important for your listeners to understand how this process is gonna play out this next week, because much of what the Senate does is engage in show votes that are designed to look one way to the voters and, in fact, be like World Wrestling Federation, entirely fixed.
So what’s gonna happen next is on Friday or Saturday we’re gonna have a vote on what’s called cloture on the bill. That is the vote that matters. It takes 60 votes to grant cloture. What cloture is is cutting off debate, saying there should be no more debate. And the reason that matters is if Harry Reid gets 60 votes to cut off debate to get cloture on the bill, he will then file one amendment, he said only one amendment, that guts the House continuing resolution, and that fully funds Obamacare. And so any Republican in my view who votes for cloture, who votes with Harry Reid, who votes with the Democrats to cut off debate and give Harry Reid the ability to fund Obamacare fully on a 51-vote partisan vote of only Democrats, is voting to fund Obamacare.
Now, a number of Republicans are going to maintain that, no, no, no, no, no, their vote to cut off debate is in support of the House bill. And, Rush, that’s simply not the case. It’s a show vote. Now, if Harry Reid gets 60 votes, every Republican then will vote against his amendment to fund Obamacare, and so all 46 Republicans want to go home to their districts and say, “Gosh, I voted to defund Obamacare, and marvel of marvels, we lost,” which to be honest is the outcome that I think more than a few of them affirmatively desire. And part of what’s so problematic with Washington is how many Republicans want a show vote to pretend to their constituents they’re fighting for what they say they’re fighting for, rather than actually fighting for it and actually winning.
RUSH: Well, that’s it. That’s it in a nutshell right there. I mean that’s the whole point. I mean, when you were running for Senate, you probably thought you were joining a lot of people that were like you, wanted to stop this. You get there, you find out you’re one of three or four.
CRUZ: I will tell you the single biggest surprise in arriving to the Senate is the defeatist attitude here. I mean, we don’t even talk about how to win a fight. There’s no discussion. We talk about, “Hey, let’s get a show vote so we can go tell our constituents we’re doing something.” But I promise you, Rush, if you had to sit through one Senate lunch, you’d be in therapy for a month.
CRUZ: I don’t know that you could — as bad as you might think it is, and, listen, these are good men and women. I respect them. I like them. Many of these are my friends, but they’ve been here a long time, and they’re beaten down, and they don’t believe we can win. They don’t believe it can happen, and the answer they say on every issue is, “No, we can’t do it. We can’t do it.”
RUSH: I know. You’re trying to get the American people to stand up and rise up and give them some energy. I understand that. That’s another thing, what you’re doing, I think it’s misunderstood. Look, I know you’re really tired. I’ve got a couple more questions. I gotta take a break.
RUSH: Can you hang on? If you can’t, I totally understand.
CRUZ: I’m here as long as you like.
RUSH: Cool. Be right back, folks. Do not go away. Senator Ted Cruz here with us on the EIB Network.
RUSH: And we’re back with Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, a little over an hour removed from his 21-hour filibuster on the floor of the United States Senate. Senator, this happened while I was away. Chris Wallace at Fox News said that something happened to him that was unprecedented, and that is that Republicans were providing him opposition research on you. Now, you just talked about personalities. I find it perfectly illustrative of the divide in this country that here you are on a substantive effort to stop the encroachment of freedom and the growth of government in this country, and the issue is you and your personality —
RUSH: — the media, obviously — but the Republicans, apparently some of them have joined this and made you and whatever your personality quirks are the issue rather than what you’re talking about. I’ve not heard of the media being given opposition research by Republicans on another Republican.
CRUZ: Right. Well, unfortunately there’s an alliance between the Democrats, who certainly don’t want to discuss the merits of Obamacare because it is such an abysmal failure, and many of the Republicans who are scared of this fight. I mean, they’re scared that it won’t work and that Republicans will get blamed and there’s political risk and so —
RUSH: The shutdown. Yeah.
CRUZ: Yeah. And so from day one they said, “It can’t work, it can’t work,” and the more momentum it got, the more the American people got motivated behind it, the more scared they got. And so that alliance, both the Republicans who don’t want to have this fight and the Democrats who don’t want to discuss the merits of the issue, they want to make it about anything else, and the easiest thing is to make it about personality, so, you know, they get a bunch of anonymous congressional staffers to give all sorts of scurrilous quotes and particularly if you can include a little bit of profanity and, you know, throw insults, and, you know what? Who cares? The American people do not care and, you know, for my end, I’m not interested in playing that game.
RUSH: Senator, are you afraid of me? Because Brit Hume and others at Fox News say that you are afraid of me and others on talk radio, and that’s really the only reason why you’re doing what you’re doing, to avoid being primaried next time or whatever. I mean, I have to ask.
CRUZ: (laughing) You know, with all respect, I respect you, Rush, but listen, I would be surprised if you and I disagree on many issues at all, but the reason is not that there’s any fear involved. The reason is that I’ve got a job to do, and it’s to listen to the people, listen to 26 million Texans and fight for them. And the reason why I can’t think of an issue on which you and I are likely to disagree, is you spend every day listening to the people, too. We’re listening to the same bosses and trying to respond to the same people who are frustrated.
RUSH: I don’t just listen. I respect them.
CRUZ: That’s exactly right.
RUSH: I love them.
CRUZ: That’s exactly right.
RUSH: I trust them.
CRUZ: And Washington, look, in both parties you’ve got entrenched politicians who have barely veiled contempt for the American people. I mean they think their voters are gullible rubes, and, you know, you give them a little show vote, you tell ’em, “Hey, I’m totally with you,” then they go to Washington and they don’t actually do what they say.
RUSH: Well, you do have that support, Senator. I’ve gotta wrap it up here, and I know you have other things to do, and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate this time that we’ve had with you here since your filibuster.
CRUZ: Well, thank you, Rush. Let me quickly say three things as we’re wrapping up. One, I had the great privilege during the filibuster of reading your dad’s essay, The Americans Who Risked Everything.
RUSH: I’m so honored. I have the tape.
CRUZ: It was inspirational, and I’ll tell you, it brought tears to my eyes. It’s really powerful and beautiful. Number two, quickly, to all of your listeners, this week is the fight in the Senate, and the reason the House voted as they did, the reason we’ve gotten where we are is because the American people have risen up —
RUSH: Hang on —
CRUZ: — the petition —
RUSH: Hang on for number three. Hang on.
RUSH: We had that dreaded hard break that I couldn’t move, but Senator Cruz hung in there for the third thing. Why don’t you mention number two and number three again. You had to hurry number two.
CRUZ: Sure. Well, look, this week is the week that the Senate will decide. This vote will be Friday or Saturday, and the only reason we got to where we are is because the American people have risen up in incredible numbers. We’ve seen over 1.6 million people sign the national petition at DontFundIt.com. That is why the House voted last week to defund Obamacare. You know, for weeks everyone in Washington said they wouldn’t do it. This would never happen. They would never fight it fight on the continuing resolution.
But the American people rose up in enormous numbers, and so what I would say is, “Listen, at this stage in the fight, the fight is in the people’s hands,” and if we want to change Washington and get Republicans to listen, get Democrats to listen, what has to happen is I would urge every one of your listeners to go to DontFundIt.com to sign the national petition, number one. Number two, to pick up the phone, call their senators and tell them, “Vote ‘no’ on cloture; stand strong on defunding Obamacare.”
RUSH: Would I be correct in pointing out that this has been your objective all along? You really do believe that the people of this country can effect change. You believe that the system is designed for this ability to exist, and that’s all you’re trying to do. You’re not trying to overthrow Washington, you’re not trying to go upset the applecart, you’re not trying to rewrite anything. You just want the citizens to get involved and let their voice have and be the power it can be, correct?
CRUZ: That is exactly right, and it’s the only way to change Washington. I mean, at the end of the day, look, I think some of the reasons you’ve seen the unhappiness is by going to the people, we’re basically appealing to the senator’s boss, to my bosses. I’ve got 26 million bosses, and if the American people stand up (chuckles) and light up the phones, light up Twitter, light up Facebook, light up e-mail — and if elected senators hear from enough of their constituents — I promise you it gets their attention, even those who don’t want to stand and fight. All that has to happen is it has to get politically more risky to do the wrong thing than to do the right thing, and suddenly the numbers change in a big, big way. That’s what happened in the House.
The Senate’s gonna be harder, but if can wrest —
RUSH: Well, it’s been done. In 2007, the people rose up and stopped immigration reform that summer, and it was pretty powerful then, Senator, because the Republicans at that point had a Republican president who was in favor of the immigration reform that was in the legislation. They had to go along with him. But it was the first time that they hadn’t. The people rose up. It can be done.
CRUZ: Rush, you’re exactly right. We saw it in ’07 on immigration, we saw it this year on drones, we saw it this year on guns, we saw it this year on Syria. When the people rise up, the politicians listen. Now, in this fight the politicians are dug in more. In the Senate they’re really entrenched so it’s gotta be a grassroots tsunami. So I would urge voters don’t just sign the petition. If you really want to change Washington, let me ask you everyone listening — and there is no radio audience like your audience, Rush.
Let me ask everyone listening: Find three people this week to sign that petition and call their senators. If everyone listening to your show did that, it would shut down the Senate switchboards, and it would focus the minds and attention of senators. They wouldn’t be happy about it but it would focus them like nothing else and it would help change Washington. So we listen to the people, which is what we should be doing in the first place.
RUSH: I tell you the prevailing, conventional wisdom is that Reid’s got his votes, that there’s no way that this ever gonna happen, that, even if the Senate did vote the way you wanted ’em to, Obama’s gonna veto it. There’s just no way that you can actually realize the outcome that you want here.
CRUZ: Well, that’s because virtually nobody in Washington believes it’s possible to win the argument with the American people, to persuade and to move people. I think if the American people get engaged in sufficient numbers, first we unify Republicans on this vote, then we move red state Democrats. Listen, once we unify Republicans, if we can get 46 — or all we need is 41 Republicans — then the phones light up on Mark Pryor and Mary Landrieu and Kay Hagan and all the red state Democrats and Mark Begich.
Listen, if you’re running for reelection in 2014 in, say, Arkansas and Louisiana, and you get 10,000… 20,000… 50,000 calls from your constituents, I guarantee that changes your calculus. But that won’t happen until the Republicans stop shooting their own, until the Republicans unify first so our objective is very simple, which is get all the Republicans to do what they say they believe in, just to stand up for what they’ve been telling their constituents over and over again they believe in.
RUSH: Well, it’s so frustrating ’cause the thing is such a disaster, and I think you made that point. All the delays, all the waivers, all the ways this thing’s falling apart already, it doesn’t deserve to be implemented just in the basis of competence.
CRUZ: Look, it’s exactly right, and it makes no sense that there should be special rules, special exemptions from President Obama for his buddies, for the rich and powerful and connected, for big corporations and members of Congress.
CRUZ: They get exempted, but not hardworking Americans.
RUSH: Yeah, Congress is gonna get subsidized, Office of Personnel Management.
CRUZ: Right. And that’s Washington in a budget, which is “Rules for thee but not for me. We get special treatment.” You know, Dick Durbin came on the Senate floor and said, “Look, our health care is first class. We want to stick people back in coach.” You know, I don’t think members of Congress ought to have better treatment than the American citizens who are losing their health insurance because of Obamacare, who are being forced into exchanges that aren’t working.
RUSH: It was really stunning. I forget the exact date, but I see this story that said that congressional and Senate staff, both parties, were complaining that on what they earn — which is six figures — they couldn’t afford it without the subsidy.
RUSH: I said, “What?” (laughing) They make more, far more than the national average. It left me speechless. They were going, “We can’t afford this.” You wrote it! What do you mean, you can’t afford it?
CRUZ: And that’s why I support David Vitters’ amendment to make every member of Congress, every congressional staff, every federal employee — including Barack Obama — subject to Obamacare. Now, they will hate that — and, listen, my goal ultimately is not to put them under Obamacare; it’s for them to say, “Well, gosh, if you hate that, how about exempting the American people, too? If it’s miserable for you, don’t make it happen to the American people.” But the worst outcome is to subject the American people to this failed health care law and exempt the Washington ruling class.
That’s why the people are so frustrated with Washington.
RUSH: Well, I tell you: I think if more people knew that I think it would change. It reminds me of the House Bank Scandal in 1992.
RUSH: That was so easily understood. So is this. If more people understood that whatever is going to be the law of the land for them, Congress has exempted themselves from it, that, to me, is key. If more people could be made aware of that alone, which has been an effort here. Look, you had a third thing that you wanted to say. You had three points you wanted to say in closing.
CRUZ: The three were, one, mentioning reading your dad’s wonderful essay. Number two: Sign up at DontFundIt.com. Number three: Light up the phones to your senators all this week.
RUSH: Okay. Well, Senator, I thank you again for your time. It’s a real pleasure and honor to have you here. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas. What’s next for you? You have Senate activity all afternoon. When do you get some rest?
CRUZ: Keep fighting this fight. We had a vote. I’m actually gonna go and try to get a little bit of shuteye and then return hopefully with the strength to keep fighting right up until the vote. I’ll confess I’ll take a little bit of sleep (chuckles) and then be right back in the trenches.
RUSH: Would you prefer this vote Friday or Saturday or does it matter?
CRUZ: You know, I would rather it Friday. The reason is, I want the American people paying attention to it, and I think Friday afternoon is a great time to capture the American people. Saturday people are watching football; people are distracted. I think the Democrats and a fair amount of Republicans (chuckles) would like it Saturday ’cause they don’t want the American people engaged. I want to pick the maximum time for the maximum number of Americans to follow exactly what’s happening and know exactly where every Senator votes.
RUSH: Pretty comprehensive. Well, there you have it. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas. Thank you again, sir, and all the best.
CRUZ: Thank you, my friend. God bless you.