RUSH: I know. I know. Everybody’s wondering what happened. Everybody wants to know why it happened, who’s fault was it, who’s to blame, what should we do now, what’s next? Can we recover? Is there anything good in this? Talking about the Obamacare health repeal and replace going down in flames on Friday with the cancellation of the vote. And I know you’ve been having these questions all weekend. You’ve been asking, you’ve been researching, you’ve been looking. What you haven’t had is me, and now you do, and I’m gonna answer all these questions and more on today’s program.
Now, I want to tell you… Uh, I’m debating whether or not to start with this or whether I should lead and build into this. Let me start with it. I want to give you a scenario. I’ve been… There are many possibilities here. There are many things that can happen, good and bad, and I want to put some of them on the table. Now, you know me. I’m Mr. Optimist. I’m Mr. Uplifted. I am Mr. Optimistic and so forth. I’m not interested in pessimism.
However, I am the mayor of Realville — and, as such, I accept reality. And I deal with it. I immerse myself in it. I don’t try to pretend it isn’t what it is. And there’s some hard, cold realities that we face here as a result of this vote. Whichever way it goes, whatever happens, this event on Friday was huge. It was big. Don’t listen to people who try to tell you, “Eh, it’s not that big a deal, Rush. I mean, Obamacare — health care in general — is complicated, Rush. You can’t just strip it aside and put it back together inside of 90 days, 60 days here like they were trying.
“It’s very, very complicated. It’s not that big a deal.” Well, it is a big deal, but not really for Trump. All the polling data shows the people that supported Trump are still full-fledged behind him, to the consternation and the shock of many in the Drive-By Media. Trump’s voters are still as attached to him as they were. Trump’s voters do not blame him for this. Trump’s the new guy. The people that have been there all along appear to be the people that can’t get anything done, but Trump was gonna be the guy to go in there and change all of this and didn’t.
So people are asking, “Did Paul Ryan play Donald Trump? Did Trump have a scam run against him that he didn’t see? Is this what actually some people in Washington wanted to happen?” And yes, this is exactly what some people in Washington (and outside Washington) wanted to happen. Let me give you a potential scenario here. All of this, by the way, I will back up with news stories which add weight to this. I’m not predicting this, by the way. Not yet. But I do want to alert you to the possibility.
You’ve heard Kasich and you’ve heard Trump both allude to the fact that it’s time now to reach out to the Democrats in the House, but more importantly, Democrats in the Senate — and because the Republicans simply can’t get their act together. Trump tried, did everything he could, called ’em up there, had numerous meetings, went up to Capitol Hill. But there are too many factions, too many factions. (paraphrased) “The Republicans themselves are not unified, and I’m Donald Trump, and I want to get things done, and if I want to get things done here, I’m gonna have to use the Democrats.”
Trump’s alluded to it, John Kasich’s alluded to it, and even this morning Mr. Newt alluded to it. Mr. Newt said… You know, now, Mr. Newt is a dyed-in-the-wool Washington tactician, politician, strategy maker and all that, and Mr. Newt said on Fox News today that Trump should not do tax reform next. Instead, make a call to Schumer, start working with the Democrats on the infrastructure bill, because Trump needs a win — Trump needs a legislative victory — and the Democrats will happily work with him on the infrastructure bill.
So this is the kind of pressure that’s gonna be applied to the Republicans. That’s what Trump is doing. I don’t know if Newt’s doing that or not. But clearly there’s a lot of anger — and deservedly so — for the House Republicans, the leadership and the various caucuses in there. But I think if Trump reaches out… I’m not predicting this, but I think it’s a very likely, very possible scenario. And if it ever does become something I predict is gonna happen, I’ll let you know.
But I think the Democrats are salivating at the opportunity to work with Trump. I think they’re licking their chops. I think privately the Democrats can’t believe the good fortune that has been dropped in their lap by what happened with this bill. Now, on the other side of it, had this bill passed, that was its own set of problems and challenges. It was not gonna be a panacea either way. But let’s deal with it as the bill failed first, because it did. So I can see Democrats happily joining Trump to fix Obamacare.
I can see the Democrats happily joining Trump to work with him on his trillion-dollar infrastructure thing. I do not see the Democrats working with Trump to help him on tax reform unless the rich somehow get soaked in it, and I do not see the Democrats joining Trump and helping him on the border and on the wall. Trump is going to need Republicans for that and tax reform. Now, when you get to the Senate and Trump working with the Senate, let’s say on the infrastructure bill, or maybe anything at this point… You say, “But, Rush! But, Rush! The Republicans own the Senate.”
Yeah, they do. But can you not see Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski and John McCain and Lindsey Graham, at minimum, joining with the Democrats and supporting Trump on, say, an infrastructure bill? Can you not see minimum four Republicans joining the Democrats to give them a majority on an infrastructure bill? Obviously, the Democrats will not help Trump on everything. But on some certain initiatives, they would. Now, where does this leave the House Republicans? Well, first let’s talk about something else.
What would happen to this insane, lunatic Democrat base if all of a sudden Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi start working with Trump? Remember, the Democrat base has lost its mind. The Democrat base is obsessed with “resistance.” To the Democrat base, Trump is Hitler, Trump is incompetent, Trump is this, Trump’s got to be destroyed — and over here we still have this story with the intelligence, Russia collusion and the things the Democrats are trying to do there. And the Democrat base is fired up, and they want Trump impeached. They want Trump gone. They want…
They’re doing books and movies about Trump assassinations. They just want Trump gone. What happens if Schumer and Pelosi decide to join forces with Trump on a couple of things that Republicans don’t believe in? And when I say “don’t believe in,” I mean in an ideological sense, like trillion-dollar infrastructure program or any number of other things. Obamacare — repealing, replacing, expanding it, whatever it is. So that would be a problem that the Democrats would have, because they’re not gonna be able to see Trump as a good guy all of a sudden.
I think Washington’s Democrats don’t see Trump in any way the way the base does. They have stoked it. The Democrat leadership in the House and Senate has clearly, and the media, has stoked all this irrational hatred of Trump. But the Democrats themselves are not really there. Trump is somebody they have to deal with, and they’ll happy portray him as out of his mind. They’ll happy portray him as something that’s got to go. But they do not actually think of him the way their base is. And they have created that; they’re responsible for it.
That would be a big problem for them if they decide to join forces with Trump. They would then have to explain to their base how they have won, how they have spun everything and they’ve turned Trump into one of them. Now, in all of this scenario, if any of this happens, what are we left with?
We’re left here with the Republicans over in the House. And I know what you’re saying, “Rush, it doesn’t matter. If Trump gets together with the Democrats on infrastructure or anything else, that’s only gonna give ’em the Senate. The Republicans still own the House by a huge majority and can stop anything Trump and the Democrats do.”
Yeah. And what does that do? Imagine the media, imagine the pictures. Here you have Trump and Schumer and the Democrats and whoever eagerly talking about fixing the roads and the bridges and the schools and all that. And Trump and the Democrats working together, say, on the VA to fix that or whatever. And over here, who is seen as stopping it? Who is seen in that scenario as opposing it?
Well, who’s always portrayed as stopping things? Who’s always portrayed as opposing? Who is always portrayed as being against progress? There they sit, the Republicans in the House of Representatives. Trump can be portrayed by the Democrats as having grown, as having learned in office, that he’s seen, even though he is a Republican, and that he tried. Look what they did to him on health care, the Democrats will say. And the media, if they decide they want to throw in with Trump, it won’t be hard to characterize this as Trump having grown massively, as Trump having really learned quickly how Washington really works.
And over here, as the lone opponents, will be the Republicans and all of their caucuses in the House. None of this we would even be discussing if that bill had not been pulled for a vote on Friday. And this scenario is exactly why there is so much blame going around. It’s why so many people are spending so much time trying to focus the blame on Ryan, on Trump — and I’m sure you’ve heard all of the theories.
Ryan, the Republicans, don’t know how to lead, they didn’t even want to lead. They didn’t even think they were gonna win. They didn’t want to be in this position. The Republicans are happier in second place being the brakes on an operation. They’re happy to oppose, but they don’t want the pressure of leading, and therefore they don’t know how. Here they have all of these votes as a majority in the House, even have a majority in the Senate, can’t get anything done. They don’t want to get it done.
Theory number two: Republicans in the House are no different than Democrats in Washington. They’re all of the establishment. They all don’t like Trump. They’re all angry Trump won and so the first order of business here is to sabotage Trump and make sure Trump doesn’t accomplish anything. There’s that theory.
Then there’s the theory that it’s Trump’s fault. That Trump didn’t even know what’s in the bill. That Trump didn’t even take the time to learn it. That Trump didn’t even try to sell the bill based on what it really is. That Trump tried to sell it by bringing people up and saying, “I’m Donald Trump. I do the art of deals, and therefore you will support it.” That Trump didn’t know what was in it. That he dispatched his aides to go up there and get it. That all Trump wanted was a win, he didn’t care what was in it. If anything in it was bad, fix it in phase 2, fix it in phase 3.
He needed a win right off the bat, dispatched his ace legislative team to go up to Capitol Hill and tell ’em what’s for and to tell ’em if they don’t do what’s right the ultimatum that Trump’s gonna really blame them and hold ’em responsible. There’s all kinds of theories. Everybody’s got their own theory as to whose to blame and who’s responsible for this, because it is a big deal.
The Republican Party wins the House — I should more properly state, maintains the House and grows their majority there. The Republican Party wins the Senate. The Democrats lose over a thousand seats in elections since 2010. The Republicans win the White House with an outsider who claims he wants to go in and drain the swamp, and with all of this momentum and with all of this inertia, (raspberry). The first legislative effort falls flat on its face, and there’s embarrassment everywhere.
That’s why everybody’s trying to affix blame. That’s why everybody’s trying to say that everybody else, but not them, is responsible for this. Now, what are the upsides of all this? Well, the upsides of all this is the bill stunk. The bill was absolutely rotten. The bill was not the bill that was passed in 2015 and sent up to Obama that Obama vetoed. The Republicans got together, House and Senate, and they passed a repeal and replace bill. And this bill was designed for the campaign. It was designed to get Obama’s veto, which it did. It was designed to illustrate what they were gonna do if they were elected. And it had all the ingredients in it that were not in this bill.
So the question is, between 2015, early 2016, when Obama vetoed it, and now, what happened? Why did they change the bill, and then who changed the bill? And no matter who you talk to, the answer to that question is, the House leadership changed the bill. And by changing the bill, what did they do? Let me tell you what was taken out of the bill in 2015, House and Senate voted on it, sent up to the White House, Obama vetoed it. All the Obama regulations that were taken out this bill put back in.
The subsidies, not all of them, but a vast majority of the subsidies in Obamacare were removed in the 2015 bill. They were put back in the bill that was voted down last Friday. And the Medicaid expansion in the 2015 bill, it was removed. And in this bill, it was added back in. And what we got as a result of that was a continuation of Obamacare. The 2015 bill effectively removed much of Obamacare. The House leadership put that stuff back in.
Now, did they do it because Trump said to do it? Did they do it ’cause Trump wanted it? Did Trump even know? Did Trump not care who was responsible? We still can’t get the final answer. In addition to that, what also was taken out — well, it wasn’t actually taken out in the 2015 bill, but what has now remained in the bill that was voted down was fewer insurance companies, not more. There was not gonna be any removal of the limit on selling insurance across state lines.
So there are a whole lot of unanswered questions here. There’s a lot of curiosity and a lot of suspicion about this.
RUSH: I think the Democrats are really feeling their oats over this, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they filibuster Gorsuch. I wouldn’t be surprised if they do anything as a result of this vote.
RUSH: Let’s go back to health care for a minute, and I want to back up that potentially negative scenario ’cause, folks, I’m gonna tell you something: If this negative scenario — and, again, I just want to remind you, I’m not predicting it. But you look down the road, you can see things. I understand the school of thought which is it’s no big deal. It’s not a big deal. I mean, health care’s a complicated thing, and this really did chew off a big bite. It was really, really unlikely. And then the fact that there was gonna have to be phase 2 and phase 3, just not a big deal.
It is a big deal, and it’s a big deal for a host of reasons. Donald Trump told his voters that there were gonna be winning so much they were gonna get tired of it. He said, “You’re gonna be calling Mr. President, could you lose a couple here and there? We’re winning so much, I’m getting tired of winning.” Trump said politicians are stupid, the leaders are stupid, they do dumb things, stupid things, need to get in there and do things right, need to go in there and drain the swamp. People elected Trump because they expected this exact kind of thing to not happen.
They expected that Trump was gonna go in and shake these guys in Washington by the shoulder and say, “You’ve gotta stop doing these dumb things. We’re gonna take these things one at a time and we’re gonna fix them. Didn’t happen here, if that’s really what was intended. How deep do you want to go with this, folks? How deep do you want me to go in coming up with various theories?
Try this. There is a theory here that the Machiavellian Steve Bannon wanted this to fail and wanted it to fail to actually help Trump in two ways: A, You blame it on Ryan. Make sure everybody realizes that Paul Ryan is who’s standing in Trump’s way. Create movement and inertia to get rid of Ryan, because Bannon doesn’t like him anyway, according to news accounts and reports even before the election, during the campaign. And so the loss here has a long-game aspect to it. This bill never had a chance of passing, it never had a chance, goes the theory, because the bill was horrible. The bill was Obamacare. It left too much of Obamacare intact. It had to go down to defeat.
There’s another aspect. Not only do you blame Ryan, you get to blame the conservatives. You throw most of the blame on the Freedom Caucus, Mark Meadows and his gang, as the usual culprits. The conservatives are always the ones standing in the way. See? They’re the ones that wouldn’t move. They’re the ones that denied the new president. They’re the ones that stood in the way of Trump winning, they’re the ones, they’re the ones. Trump is not ideological. And there is a war on conservatives in Washington every day. There has been a war on conservatives every day for the last 50 years.
So it just depends on how deeply you want to take this. But I’d rather try to say focused on the reality of this, and the reality is the bill failed. Now, you can juice that up by getting into the theories of why, who’s to blame, could Trump have stopped this? I mean, the people over at Vox — let me find this one little passage here to explain how the people at Vox were reporting this. They basically said that here you have Donald Trump, a president who doesn’t even know what’s in the bill, had no idea what was in it.
Here it is. “Donald Trump promised to be a different kind –” now, Vox is a Millennial, left-wing news outfit, and their game is that they don’t report the news; they explain it. That’s how they allow their opinion to be inserted into the news. And so Ezra Klein, who used to be at the Washington Post, said,
“Donald Trump promised to be a different kind of president. He was a populist fighting on behalf of the ‘forgotten man,’ taking on the GOP establishment, draining the Washington swamp, protecting Medicaid from cuts, vowing to cover everyone with health care and make the government pay for it. He was a pragmatic businessman who was going to make Washington work for you, the little guy, not the ideologues and special interests.
“Instead, Trump has become a pitchman for Paul Ryan and his agenda. He’s spent the past week fighting for a health care bill he didn’t campaign on, didn’t draft, doesn’t understand, doesn’t like to talk about, and can’t defend. Rather than forcing the Republican establishment to come around to his principles, he’s come around to theirs — with disastrous results.”
This is intended as a theory of how Ryan played Trump. Now, this is not the health care bill Trump campaigned on, by the way, the specifics of this bill. The bill that Trump campaigned on, if there is such a thing, is the one that was passed in 2015 and sent up to Obama, who vetoed it. This is an entirely different beast. They threw things back in this bill from 2015, the House leadership did. Trump did not write this, there’s no question, but he did praise Paul Ryan to the hilt, and he joined right with Paul Ryan on this thing.
When he was selling the bill, he was not selling the bill, when he had these congressmen up to the White House. He was not getting into the bill and telling them what was good about the bill and why they needed to support it. He was selling it on the basis that he wanted it, that the party needed it, we need this win, it was almost a win one for the Gipper kind of thing. The Republicans with all their different factions said to heck with that, the bill is bad. The conservative caucus didn’t like it in any way, shape, manner, or form. The Tuesday Group didn’t like it ’cause it was too conservative. The conservatives didn’t like it ’cause it was too moderate, and the one thing missing in it was Trump.
He was trying to unify all these people with the power of personality and power of persuasion. And so now the gaming and the scheming begins. Here’s where I think the Democrats are, folks. I think the Democrats are feeling their oats like they can’t believe. The psychological graph here: You go to election night; they think they’re gonna win in a landslide. Then they don’t. And the bottom has fallen out. And they can’t believe it. It is hell on earth. It’s one thing to lose when you expect to lose. You prepare yourself for it.
It’s another thing to lose when you lose by a landslide that you thought you were gonna win in a landslide. So they had to scramble the decks. They had to reorient and redo everything. And they had to go from a massive, upbeat, optimistic, “We’re gonna finally take over America and make it a socialist empire!” They had to go from that to nothing but total resistance, realizing they didn’t have the numbers to stop anything, on top of having lost a thousand seats. Now where are they? The first attempt to get rid of their baby — national health care, Obamacare — blows up.
And it blows up not because of anything they did. It blows up because their opponents don’t know how to win. I’m thinking the Democrats have to be feeling their oats right now, don’t you? I’m thinking the Democrats are on cloud nine. I wouldn’t be surprised if they filibuster Gorsuch. They just announced they’re gonna delay the committee vote on Gorsuch for a week. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Democrats today are thinking they can stop everything now, that Trump is not gonna get anything, that they can stop his tax reform, they can stop the infrastructure, they can stop anything they want, or they can choose to join Trump on whatever he wants.
In the process, they can join Trump on whatever is appealing to them and do further damage to the Republicans left out in the cold as nothing more than the illustration of who the real opposition is in Washington. They can’t believe their good luck here. I’m guaranteeing you. So they’re now plotting how to capitalize on all this. Now, where are the opportunities here for Trump and the Republicans?