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RUSH: What a day. What an absolute day we have. It’s Rush Limbaugh. I told you I was gonna be back today. You couldn’t keep me outta here today. So I’m here today. Today’s Friday. You know what that means.

JOHNNY DONOVAN: And now, from sunny south Florida, it’s Open Line Friday!

RUSH: Yeah, I kind of wonder what you’re gonna want to be talking about today, folks. I can’t zero in on anything, there’s so much. There’s health care; there’s repeal and replace Obamacare; there’s who’s fault’s it gonna be if it doesn’t happen. Is it gonna be Trump’s fault, gonna be Ryan’s fault, is it gonna be the Conservative Caucus’ fault? You notice it’s never the Democrats’ fault. Nothing is ever the Democrats’ fault.

We’ve got some real bombshells on all of this surveillance business, and the Democrats know it, and they are out spinning like crazy. And then there are offshoots of those two things and just in general the state of play in Washington.

Great to have you with us, folks. The telephone is 800-282-2882 if you want to be on the program. You don’t have to talk about either of these things. That’s what Open Line Friday is. You can talk about anything. Even on a day like this. I don’t expect anybody to be off the reservation, but if you want to do that, free will. Email address, ElRushbo@eibnet.us.

Let’s start with health care here since that may have a resolution today. And if it does have a resolution, the important thing to keep in mind about this resolution is it’s just the beginning. It’s actually not a resolution. What is being voted on in the House today is by no means a final product; it’s by no means what’s going to end up, if it does, on the president’s desk for signature.

This all has to go to the Senate, and any number of other legislative and executive branch games need yet to be played. Even whatever happens with this House bill today, I mean, even if it passes, it’s gonna be subjected to massive change, I believe. But let’s look at just the news of the day on this and see how much of this is accurate and how much of it’s believable and how much of it is spin.

The big news from the New York Times, and therefore the opposition party, today: “Trump Ultimatum: Vote on Health Care Friday or Obamacare Stays — Office of Management and Budget director Mick Mulvaney made clear Thursday evening that President Donald Trump is done negotiating on the hotly-debated health care bill and wants a vote on Friday. And, if the president doesn’t get a vote to repeal and replace Obamacare,” today in the House, the ultimatum says that Trump said he will just move on to other things. Screw it, we’re gonna leave health care where it is and you people on Capitol Hill are gonna get the blame for it. I’m moving on.

I think this is true. I think this happened. In fact, I think there were other elements to this. I think part of the ultimatum might well have been that the president said, “If you don’t pass this, not only are you gonna own Obamacare, but you have kissed off tax reform, ’cause we can’t do that without this being done. And so if you guys want to own the tax structure as it is, and if you guys want to own Obamacare, then go ahead and vote it down.”

I’m pretty confident that ultimatum was delivered sometime last night. Now, whether that ultimatum’s been modified between last night and today, who can know. But I have no doubt, and I’m somewhat conflicted in passing this on, because in this instance the New York Times, I think, on the basis of the substance, this is right. I think there was a mandate or an ultimatum, rather, last night.

Now, the Times says that if the president doesn’t get the vote to repeal and replace Obamacare today in the House he’s gonna move on to other priorities. “Mulvaney said according to a source in the room during the tense talks with GOP members. A senior administration source confirms to NBC News the ‘very definitive, very clarifying’ message from the president and the administration’s intention to move on — should the health care bill fail to move forward — to other matters such as tax reform, trade and border security.” Everything is going to fall by the wayside. I think that’s a bit of an overstatement.

I do believe that the ultimatum might have contained references to no tax reform and you guys own Obamacare. Now, do any of you know the name Gabriel Sherman? Does the name ring a bell? You ought to know who it is. The guy works for New York Magazine. He’s been hounding Roger Ailes for 10 years, been hounding Roger Ailes and Fox News for 10 years. He wrote a book on Roger Ailes. He’s been going to town on the sexual harassment story ever since Gretchen Carlson went public.

Anyway, he has a story today that Steve Bannon is singularly and working alone behind the scenes trying to sabotage the repeal and replace of Obamacare because Bannon doesn’t like Ryan and Bannon wants Ryan to be finished. Bannon wants Ryan humiliated and done with because he doesn’t like Ryan because he thinks Ryan is standing in the way of accomplishing Trump’s populist message. This is in the news today.

I don’t know how any of us are supposed to make sense of any of this. If that were true, this would mean that one of two things is happening. Bannon is working against Trump’s publicly stated desires behind the scenes and nobody knows about it. That Bannon single-handedly is trying to torpedo this, because what he wants is to try to get rid of Ryan, because only then can Trump’s real agenda move forward. The other possibility is that Trump is aware of this and is not alluding to it of course in public and is simply putting forth the public face that he supports Obamacare replace and repeal and he’s teamed up with Ryan on this, that they both want this, are working hard to get it.

While the New York Magazine over here says that Steve Bannon is working alone to undermine the whole thing. Now, I have seen absolutely no evidence of this. This is the first I’ve ever heard of this. As you well know, there isn’t any news media anymore. There are organizations that we call the media that are absolutely and completely and totally political organizations that exist to do two things: advance the Democrat Party agenda but just as energetically destroy the Republican or conservative agenda at the same time. And I’ll tell you where you see that really playing out big time is on this surveillance thing.

There’s so much smoke here that you have to ignore to get to what that is really all about.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: The health care vote, we don’t know yet even it’s gonna happen today. It supposedly is and — theoretically — might happen as soon as three o’clock. But until it actually starts, we won’t know. There are various people saying that the “no” votes are plenty and sufficient. There are other sources say that say, “No, Trump’s converted a bunch of the ‘no’ votes to ‘yes’ votes and the ‘no’ votes do not have enough to kill it.” It’s still the wild west on this as to where it’s gonna end up and whether there’s going to be a vote.

I think what it’s gonna come down to — and I’m just wildly speculating here, folks. But I think what it’s gonna come down to is at the moment of the vote, do the Republicans…? I don’t care what group they’re part of. By the way, speaking of that, we have the Freedom Caucus. We have the Tuesday group. We have the Wednesday morning group. We have the Friday afternoon group. How many different groups do we have in the House of Representatives? We’ve got the conservative crowd; we have the moderates; we have the RINOs; we have the independents; we have the Tuesday morning bunch; we have the kaffeeklatch.

How many different groups make up the Republicans in the House of Representatives? How many groups are there on the Democrat side? None, unless you count the Congressional Black Caucasians. The Democrats don’t have a moderate group. The Democrats don’t have a conservative group. They don’t have a Thursday morning club. They don’t have a Friday night club. They are unified — almost always — behind whatever it is their congressional leader or their president wants.

That’s not the way it is, apparently, on the Republican side of the aisle. Some people say, “This is good, Rush! This is good. This shows that there’s diversity in the Republican Party — diversity of thought — on a range of ideas, ongoing debate. This shows that the Republican Party is wide open and is a big tent for everybody.” Yeah, but it also shows that getting the Republican Party unified is like trying to herd cats some days. And make no mistake. Make no mistake about it.

I’m not even sure President Trump realizes just how widely opposed he is by establishment Capitol Hill, Republicans and Democrats alike. In the Trump world, everybody loves Trump. In the Trump world, everybody wants to be Trump. In Trump world, you don’t imagine people hating you. The people who hate you are screwballs, and there are not very many of them, and they’re either at MSNBC or CNN. Trump doesn’t run around…

He doesn’t run around contemplating the people that hate him and don’t like him. He doesn’t look at the world that way. He’s got a different outlook. And in so being, I’m not sure he’s aware of just how much establishment opposition there is to him. Not because of him personally, but he is an outsider — and he does a much better job at creating an audience, connecting with an audience, and building support than any of them do, and their supposed to be the experts. There’s all kinds of reasons for Trump to be envied, jealous of, disliked, or what have you.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Washington and the media are breathless now because Paul Ryan was just seen sneaking into the White House. Of course, you don’t sneak into the White House, but he’s there, and he’s meeting with Trump, and the Drive-Bys are all curious, “What are they talking about? What are they talking about? What do you think they’re talking about?” What are they talking about? They’re talking about the vote coming up and whether or not to have it again.

You know, folks, I still think people need, all of us, we need to stop every now and then and really pay attention to what’s happening here. In the first place, the media covering any of these stories doesn’t care about the substance of it. The only thing the media cares about is the horse race aspect, who’s gonna win, who’s gonna lose. They want Trump to lose everything. Even though they may dislike Paul Ryan, they hate Trump. They want Trump to be embarrassed by this vote. They want Trump to lose his first legislation.

If Trump had a bill that would come close to being perfect as to everything Democrats want, they would still be opposing it because they don’t want Trump to win. Trump is an invading outside force who cannot be allowed to prevail in Washington. If he does, then everything these people have known, everything they’ve invested in, everything they believe is turned upside down.

Trump cannot be allowed to win. That’s number one in terms of the media. That’s also number one for many on Capitol Hill and many within the Washington establishment: lobbying groups, special interest groups, some think tanks. It’s just unacceptable for Trump to win. Trump shouldn’t be there. He’s an outsider. He doesn’t know how they do their jobs. They have a very cloaked environment where outsiders don’t really see how they do their jobs. They don’t really see the back and-forth, the back-scratching, the under-the-table stuff, the below-the-line, above-the-line stuff.

People see results and react to it accordingly, but they don’t see how it all works. And that’s on purpose so that nobody can understand from outside how it works, so that somebody from outside can’t go in there and take it over. Well, hello. That’s exactly what Donald Trump is doing. He’s walking in there and he’s taking over.

Now, just today, this is not going to be reported, but there were two substantive Trump promises kept via announcements today. Charter Communications, big telecom company, making a $25 billion investment in the United States. They are ending all offshore call centers. So if you happen to be a Charter customer — and I happen to know some people who are — you ever have to call Charter customer service you’re gonna end up talking to somebody in India or somewhere else. Charter has promised to stop that and is making a $25 billion investment in the USA, and they’re opening a new call center in McAllen, Texas, 600 new jobs.

Trump had a meeting with these people today, came out of the meeting, was upbeat, taking the time to thank everybody, he was on cloud nine. And that was the second win today. The first was signing all the documents to okay the pipeline. There’s gonna be oil flowing through the pipeline, Keystone pipeline. Everybody opposed from the Obama administration to Democrats, that’s done.

So there were two big wins today. You’re not hearing about them because showing Trump winning, reporting Trump winning, that’s not on the agenda, we can’t do that, we can’t have that. Our mission is to show Trump not knowing what he’s doing. Our mission is to display Trump as confused and running up against brick walls, and Trump bringing this Art of the Deal-type great negotiator stuff to Washington and being hammered and ending up on a bended knee begging, that’s the story they want you to believe of Donald Trump.

But is it? Who canceled the vote in the House last night? Who canceled the vote? No, Ryan did not. That’s my point. Trump did. Presidents don’t cancel House votes, but Trump did. And who’s delivering an ultimatum on this next vote? It’s Donald Trump. This is not supposed to be happening. Trump canceled that vote. Trump is the one that told Ryan that vote’s not happening. We’re gonna spend some more time trying to get this done.

My point is that Trump is doing exactly what he said he was gonna do, as often as he can. He stormed into town and he’s trying to take control and fix the functioning dysfunction of much of Washington, as much as he can. He’s hated and reviled for doing it. It’s not supposed to be possible. Folks, it’s just like you play second base for the New York Yankees, and somebody that’s never played the game is not supposed to make the roster and threaten your job.

Imagine if somebody did. They found some kid in the sandlot who can play baseball better than the second baseman of the Yankees and they sign the guy. The whole team would hate this guy, until he starts showing them that he can contribute and win and help them get where they all want to go. That may not be the best analogy ’cause Trump’s got a little bit more qualifications than a sandlot baseball player, but the point is, the entire establishment — Wall Street’s structured this way too — they have their own language and it’s designed to keep outsiders from having the slightest idea what’s going on in there.

It’s designed to keep outsiders outside. It’s designed to be able to cloak and mask how things are really done there, because the limit of knowledge is very small and tight. Same thing with the way Washington works, even more than Wall Street. You talk about a closed game. You know, a president can try to cajole a House speaker, even of his own party, a president can bring him up and try to persuade and offer deals here or there, but you don’t have presidents coming in and telling the Speaker of the House how it’s gonna be.

Now, there’s another side to this. Ryan could be — I’m just speculating here, since that seems to be the most popular sport in Washington these days, so let me play. It could well be that Ryan wants Trump to fail, wants Trump to bomb out, so lets him come in and take control of when the vote’s gonna be. Because, I’m telling you, I don’t know if Ryan’s part of this, I’m just telling you, the Capitol Hill establishment, the Washington establishment, the Drive-By Media will be happier than they’ve ever been if they can write the story that Trump has bombed out, that Trump has failed, that Trump can’t accomplish, because he doesn’t know the system and he’s been humiliated and embarrassed.

And to the extent that they can tie whatever vote if it fails to Trump in their effort to make that story possible, anything is going on there. My point to you is that Trump, in many ways, is doing what he said he was going to do. And he’s doing certainly what his voters expected. But the media reporting what you think you know about this, keep in mind, be it this or be it the surveillance story, not interested in the substance of it. They’re not interested in who’s right or who’s wrong. They’re not interested in the morality of it, even if people have been committing crimes. The only reason that matters, the only way it matters is if the Republicans are the ones found committing crimes.

If the Democrats are found to be committing crimes, that will be ignored and excused as, well, they had to to stop Trump. And Obama, no matter what you want, Obama is never, ever going to be reported on negatively, even if they find that Obama did personally order all of this stuff, and even if there was an investigation, even if there were trials and if there was a guilty conviction, Obama would still not be reported on negatively by this media.

And that’s the world in which we are all functioning and that’s the world in which Trump is all functioning. So let me take a break. We’ve got a couple phone calls I wish to start with. I was gonna delve in here to some of the, well, brief outline, substance of the health care bill, but I’m gonna wait for a phone call to provide that transition. That should happen when we get back.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Now, let me clarify in case anybody misunderstood. I did not mean to say that Trump called Ryan and said, “You cancel the vote.” When I say that Trump canceled the vote, the vote was actually canceled when Trump was in a meeting and he got a call informing him that Ryan had canceled the vote. I’m suggesting to you the reason that vote was canceled was because of Trump. No, you might say, “Well, no, Ryan canceled it because he knew he didn’t have the votes. Why is that? If you don’t have the votes, Trump is ever present and is looming over all of this in ways that presidents don’t…

Remember the separation of powers. You know, Congress got its bailiwick and you don’t enter it. The president’s got his, and you don’t enter it. President Trump is entering the legislative bailiwick. But in all of this, another thing: Have you noticed we never, ever hear about anything involving the Democrats. What do the Democrats think of this bill? I mean, everybody admits Obamacare’s falling apart. The premiums are rising, the deductibles are rising, which means nobody has coverage.

If you have premiums that you can barely afford somehow, some way, but the deductible is so high that you can’t use it, you essentially don’t have coverage. If you have a health insurance plan that you can’t use because you can’t afford it — and that’s what you have if you got it from one of Obama’s exchanges — then you don’t have coverage. What good is it if you can’t use it? In this circumstance, people in the exchanges, their circumstances are worsening every day. Their premiums are up 130%, their deductibles are sometimes up 300%, and there’s no end in sight to this.

And over here we have the Democrats, and the media doesn’t even go ask them what they think of this repeal and replace bill. They’re not even a part of the equation. Well, of course they don’t have the numbers to stop it in the House, they’re so vastly outnumbered. But what if some of them decided to cross the aisle and vote with the Republicans on this? What if an effort were made for that to happen, and if they did… The fact that they’re not doing so sends a signal to me. They’re wedded to Obamacare as a party.

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