RUSH: Katie, Florissant, Missouri, outside St. Louis. I’m glad you called. I really appreciate your waiting. What’s up?
CALLER: Hi, Mr. Limbaugh. I wanted to take a minute to let you know that, as usual, you’re right. The media can’t do anything to hurt Trump. Only Mr. Trump can hurt himself, and when he bashes the Freedom Caucus, he bashes me. And it makes me consider where we’re going next. I feel like the Freedom Caucus was quite honest and in the right lane when they were saying that this repeal thing that Ryan had isn’t any good, and I find that it’s unreasonable —
RUSH: Let me tell you something, Katie. They all knew the bill was bad. They knew it was bad. They wanted it passed anyway. That’s why they kept talking phase 2 and phase 3 to fix it. They wanted the win. Everybody involved wanted to be able to say they got it done. And what it was called, repeal and replace, the American Health Care Act, they wanted the win. Phase 2, phase 3, that’s where they were gonna go fix it. The problem was there wasn’t gonna be a phase 2 or phase 3.
CALLER: Right. If you don’t get it done now, it’s not gonna happen. It’s just gonna be another promise that isn’t met.
RUSH: Well, it would have been worse: It would have sustained Obamacare.
RUSH: If that thing had been implemented and then not amended any further, it would have sustained Obamacare, too many aspects of Obamacare. What they were counting on was to pass the bill and let the Health and Human Services secretary, Tom Price, go in there, start ripping out all of the regulations that Obama’s Health and Human Service secretaries had put in, and they could neuter it some in that way.
But the Freedom Caucus guys said this bill is not good. It does not do what we’re telling the American people it does. We don’t want to put our names to it. But I have to repeat what she’s — ’cause I did say, the media can salivate all day long about destroying Trump, but they can’t, because they didn’t make him. Only Trump can destroy Trump. And that’s what she was referring to. So then you need to ask, okay, how many of Trump’s voters were, are, in fact ardent conservatives and would be bothered by that tweet?
RUSH: Baileys Harbor, Wisconsin. Hey, Jim, I’m glad you called. Great to have you here. How you doing?
CALLER: Hey, Rush, it’s a pleasure talking to you. I’ve been listening to you for a long time, but I have to comment on your mentioning of Trump attacking the Freedom Caucus. I just have this to say, that a lot of his voters voted for him because there wasn’t any choice. It was the rum dumb Republicans or Hillary, so what was left? Donald Trump. So we all jumped on the bandwagon. We think, here’s our conservative guy. He’s gonna lead us out of the woods. Maybe America can get great again, and what does he do the first time he gets a big bill?
They do a crappy job on it, it turns out nobody likes it, it’s bad for America, not great for America. It’s kind of like fake health care under Trump. He should thank the conservative caucus for saving his rear end, and he should work with them, not try to take ’em out instead. It’s just a backwards step, and he’s gonna find out it’s a step he’ll take at his own peril. It’s a step one of his return to the — let’s call it the right-left previous activity of his political action.
He never did know if he was a righty or a lefty, and now it looks like the left version is coming out, if he can’t even understand the Freedom Caucus is his ticket to ride to success. We want good government. We don’t want fake government, and he’s got our backing only if he knows how to make America great again.
RUSH: I lost myself, either my battery’s dead or the connection’s loose. Yeah, Jim, let me step in here ’cause I know what you’re reacting to. I made a statement in the first segment of the program today when talking about how the president says he’s gonna reach out to the Democrats. He tweeted out that the Freedom Caucus, they better get in gear or he’s gonna campaign against ’em in 2018. Next time they better get in gear or it’s over for them.
And I opined at the time that there are some Trump voters who are gonna stick with him on this, that they’re not particularly conservative themselves, and I said not everybody is gonna stick with him. And I know that Jim here is calling to say that he’s one of these people that if Trump abandons conservatism and starts blaming everything on the Freedom Caucus, I’m outta here. That’s what you’re saying, essentially, Jim, you’ll abandon Trump if that’s the direction he goes, right?
CALLER: We’re mad as hell and we’re not gonna take this anymore, either. He’s our hope to get the country out of the muddle it’s been in after the Obama disaster, and he better not go wobbly, or otherwise I am outta here. There’s no point of hanging around for —
RUSH: Well, he’s not gonna look at it as going wobbly. The way he’s trying to present it is, he wants to make America great again, and these stupid conservatives are hanging around in his way. That’s what his tweet was today. His tweet was that the conservative caucus is the reason that health care failed and if they keep this up, he’s gonna abandon them. And then the stories are all over that he’s thinking about reaching out to the Democrats if he can’t trust the Republicans, the conservatives in the House, if he has to reach out to Democrats to get things done, he will.
And I know what you’re saying. You’re not one of those voters that’s gonna hang with Trump no matter what he does. I get that. And I didn’t say that every Trump voter would hang with Trump in this circumstance. But some of them will, folks. I’m just telling you that some people voted for the first time in a long time ago for Trump and they’ve had plenty of chances to vote for conservatives in the past and they didn’t. They’ve not voted in a while. And they believe in Trump. It’s why they voted.
I don’t know what the percentage is. I don’t know how many of Trump’s voters are ardent conservatives who are going to be offended by this. But it’s a sizable number. It’s not a number he can afford to lose. Let me put it that way. So, no, I understand, Jim, where you’re coming from. Okay. Let’s see. We’ve got some good stuff. A university, where is this university? Loyola in Chicago is getting ready it offer safe spaces where white students can gather to talk about how racist they are. Yeah. Hang on.
RUSH: Here is Ken in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Great to have you on the program, sir. Hi.
CALLER: Rush, my goodness gracious, I was telling Mr. Snerdley that I’ve been trying to reach you since you turned me from a Democrat into a Republican under Ronald Reagan. I voted for Jimmy Carter — are you there?
RUSH: Yeah, I’m here.
CALLER: Okay. I voted for Jimmy Carter in the first election, couldn’t stand it after about a year, and I was in charge of baseball up in New England on Cape Cod, and a friend of mine up there told me about you. I didn’t even know anything about your radio station —
RUSH: Wait, wait, wait, what is being in charge of baseball —
CALLER: Well, I was a general manager in Cape Cod league baseball.
RUSH: Oh. Oh. Oh.
CALLER: Yeah. And we were the number one recruiting league for the professionals in the entire country up there.
RUSH: I got you. I got you. I got you.
CALLER: In fact, I’m in a book now called Baseball by the Beach. (laughing) At least my name is. But, anyway, brother, I gotta tell you something, I’m so pleased with you, and I’m so proud of you. I’m happy. I’m happy that finally all these years, my fingers were getting numb. I went through two phones trying to reach you. Everybody’s treating this situation with the president like they’ve lost their child. When the Democrats told their own people, Rush, that they would put people up against them in the midterm election if they voted anything for Trump, that they would put horrendous amounts of money against their own people. And no one reported it, no one cared.
Now that Trump said something in the same direction as that, they’re treating it like, my God, can you believe anyone would ever say anything like that, and especially Republicans going after the president. I mean, I believe these are all Democrats acting like they’re Republicans when they call you on the phone and beat up on Donald Trump. I’m for the president. I’m backing him a hundred percent on this. He’s right to the conservative group, which I am a conservative, but —
RUSH: You think the Freedom Caucus is to blame for the health care going down and you support Trump in this quest to bring ’em back on board?
CALLER: Yes, sir. I do in fact. Because the president has got a tough row to hoe here. I mean, he puts a bill forward, and he gets his own people, meaning the Republicans, to work on it while they can’t even get together, so the president is out there on a limb by himself. The Democrats refuse to even cooperate in any way form or fashion with him, and the American people are turning against him —
RUSH: This is what I meant, folks, in the first hour. This is the exact type of voter I’m talking about when I mentioned this.
RUSH: Ken, congratulations. I’m glad you got through, and I appreciate that backstory. I really do.
CALLER: Oh, yeah, there’s more to it, but I know I don’t have time. But, Rush, I thank you very much. My wife and I both became Republicans because of you, and I mean that sincerely. And I also even was a campaign manager for Ronald Reagan in all of southeastern Massachusetts in the second election.
RUSH: Well, you’ve done a lot. You’ve been in charge of Cape Cod baseball, you were a Reagan —
RUSH: — campaign manager. And a former Democrat. I mean, you’ve done it all.
CALLER: Well, you know, I retired out of the Marine Corps, I served in the Air Force, the Army, and the Marines, and retired out of the Marine Corps, so I touched pretty much everything, so I —
RUSH: Did you see combat as a Marine?
CALLER: Yes, at Quang Tri Province, Vietnam.
RUSH: Vietnam. That’s what I was gonna guess. Ken, there you go. This is exactly — he thinks the guy that just called is a Democrat setup. Or was it a woman that just called? I thought it was Katie, right? We had a woman who called (paraphrasing), “Look, if Trump keeps bashing the Freedom Caucus, the conservatives, I’m out.” Then a guy called and said the same thing, “If Trump keeps bashing them, look, Trump was not my first choice, he was the last choice, he was the only choice we had. We weren’t gonna vote for Hillary. If he abandons the conservatives, I’m out of there.”
So this guy Ken comes along and says, “It doesn’t matter to me, the Republicans need to get on board with Trump. The last thing we need is the Democrats joining with Republicans or vice-versa.” So that’s why I took those two calls back-to-back to illustrate the point.
What we have next? Rob in Dallas. You’re next here on the EIB Network. Hello.
CALLER: First time talking with you, Rush. It’s a pleasure, and thank you.
RUSH: You bet. Great to have you.
CALLER: Firstly, I want to state that candidate Trump was the only Republican that could have won the general election. The Freedom Caucus are attempting to save his presidency and the future 2020 run. I know that Trump is fiscally social on health care.
RUSH: Whoa, whoa, whoa. I want to make sure I’m hearing this right. The Freedom Caucus are attempting to save his presidency by stopping that health care bill?
CALLER: Paul Ryan will hang this bill around Republicans like an albatross. This alliance that Trump is attempting to make with the globalist neocon ventriloquist war hawk faction of the Republican Party will destroy his presidency, and it is in complete contradiction to draining the swamp and deconstructing the administrative state.
RUSH: Yeah. Well, this is why I have always cautioned people to understand that Trump is not ideological. I don’t think he sees it that way, but he might. But I don’t think he does. Even though you wish he did.
CALLER: I hope that what he’s doing is politicking to have the House —
RUSH: Well, what he’s done — (crosstalk)
CALLER: — Paul Ryan.
RUSH: — he’s joined Ryan, what he’s done, he’s exempting Ryan from any blame or responsibility for the health bill going down and he’s zeroing in on the Freedom Caucus.
CALLER: That’s the public perception.
CALLER: But could he be setting up Congress to do its own job to take Paul Ryan out? Now, that’s a hope, that’s a dream, because I think he is destroying his future presidency.
RUSH: How in the world — I’m just trying to fit this into the mold here that you’ve made. How does blaming the Freedom Caucus, even you’re just doing it publicly, you don’t mean it, how does the perception of Trump blaming the conservatives for his legislative failure and sidling up with Ryan and unifying with Ryan, how does that get rid of Ryan?
CALLER: Okay, the only reason I say that Rush, and the outward outlook is certainly nothing to that extent, but what has been reported throughout this entire process that has been accurate?
RUSH: Tell me.
CALLER: That truly gets to the undertones of what he’s doing. Now, I don’t see it that way. That’s a hope. That’s a dream. Because I think he’s destroying the relationships that got him into office, and that’s conservatives.
RUSH: Oh. Oh. Oh. Okay. All right.
CALLER: Did I make my point?
RUSH: Yeah, yeah, yeah. You did fine. A lot of conservatives are gonna see it that way. Look, there’s gonna be myriad factions of conservatives. You’re gonna have the See, I Told You So Never Trump conservatives who are salivating over this. “I told you. I told you you couldn’t trust the guy. I told you he wasn’t conservative. I told you the first chance he got he’s gonna sidle up to those New York lib buddies of his.”
We’re gonna hear that. And then we’re gonna hear conservatives, “Yeah, it’s just unfortunate, I know his instincts are the right way. I want to stick with Trump, but I wish these Freedom Caucus guys would back off a little.” You’re gonna hear I don’t know how many different versions of conservative upset or outright anger at this.
But, look, let me find the tweet here again. “In a morning tweet, Trump warned that the Freedom Caucus would ‘hurt the entire Republican agenda if they don’t get on the team, & fast.’ He grouped its members, all of them Republican, with Democrats in calling for their political defeat — an extraordinary incitement of intraparty combat from a sitting president.”
That’s the Washington Post. And that’s the Washington Post’s analysis. I am just reading to you focusing on the tweet. And the way I read it is they’ve got one more chance if they don’t get on the team and fast. That means whatever the next legislative movement is, be it reviving Obamacare, the repeal, or infrastructure or tax reform, if the Freedom Caucus pulls this same stunt, then Trump’s finished with ’em and is gonna go join the Democrats, reach out to the Democrats. And I think I predicted that last week. I know I did.
Because Trump above all else wants not only to be able to say that he got things done, he wants to get things done.
RUSH: Here’s Nan in Huntsville, Alabama. I’m glad that you waited. It’s your turn. Hello.
CALLER: Hi, Rush. How are you?
RUSH: Fine and dandy, Nan. Thank you very much.
CALLER: Hey, I’m super-duper nervous to talk to you. Um, waiting on hold is a whole different experience than just listening to your show. (chuckling)
RUSH: (laughing) Thank you very much.
CALLER: I just wanted to say that I appreciate what you’ve been saying about the Freedom Caucus. Mo Brooks is my representative, and I appreciate what he’s doing by standing firm. You have really said exactly what he’s been saying. He’s been on some local radio shows here and just talking about how much more the new bill would have cost. It’s really just a Republican welfare thing, and his deal is, you know, “Why don’t we just repeal it?” Well, I guess I just wanted to kind of make a… I guess his point was he just wants the American people to know if this is what we want, we need to get behind it.
RUSH: Yeah. You know, he also submitted… Well, he’s got a proposed piece of legislation that’s one sentence that he needs a discharge petition to actually get it out and onto the floor, which probably won’t happen. But he’s got a one-sentence thing that essentially says this is to signify the repealing of Obamacare and all related regulations as a mistake. Bam! Done! Over with. It is… This whole episode is highly instructive.
I mean, there’s so many elements here: The attempt to marginalize, the dislike of conservatives throughout Washington by very many. Not just on the Democrat side, but on the Republican side too. But more importantly, the idea that the replace bill wasn’t going to do that. Now, the proponents… To be fair here, the proponents said, “Yeah, we know, but this is as much as we can get because of Senate rules,” and the old fallback, “Well, uh, we can’t get 60 votes over there. So we have to use budget reconciliation, which only requires 51 votes. That’s a much easier threshold.
“But we don’t repeal all of it with that. So the things that are gonna be left over, then we’re gonna have secretary Price pull out of there.” Because the actual law, Obamacare, it’s amazing how many times this reference appears in that law: “as the secretary shall determine.” The power over American heck is invested in the secretary of Health and Human Services, largely, in the actual Obamacare bill, and so the Republican effort had phase two.
Which was Price yanking out all those regulations that Obama had implemented that have not been put in there by way of legislation, and then phase 3 was to sell insurance across state lines. And the Freedom Caucus said, “We don’t like this business that Price is just gonna pull those things out of there. If we want that, why don’t we put it in the bill? The point was that if we lose the election in 2020, then whoever the next Democrat president is could put ’em right back in. We need to pass legislation to keep those things out statutorily.
And the proponents of the bill on the Republican side said, “We can’t get that passed. That will never fly. That will never go through the Senate. We can’t do it that way. You’re gonna have to trust us. We’ll get to all of this in phase 3.” Freedom Caucus and others were highly suspicious of one thing: that after this bill was passed — and if it passed the Senate and if Trump signed it — that that would be it, that everybody would say, “Health care? We did it, man! We repealed and replaced Obamacare.” They’d forget it and move on.
There wouldn’t be a phase 2 or phase 3.
I think the conservative Freedom Caucus was probably right about that, because the way this all played out it was obvious that the objective was the achievement, not the substance. I think all these meetings that they had with Trump and with Ryan and whatever to sell it? I don’t know this, but my best guess would be that the efforts to sell it were not based on the substance of the bill. In other words, you have a meeting with the Freedom Caucus, you bring Mark Meadows and these guys in there, and I doubt they were told, “Look at how good this is.
“Look at this proposal. Look at that proposal. We gotta get this done. Mark, get your guys behind it.” I don’t think that happened. I think what they were told, “We can’t afford to lose this. Look, this the first legislative effort this administration; we Republicans have to show unity; you’ve got to back this.” I’m pretty sure that’s what happened, and now we’re treading old ground, but the Freedom Caucus people said, “What? (chuckles) But this doesn’t do anything! This is making it worse!”
“But we need the bill,” they were told, “and we need to get started. Give us this. This is better than nothing.” They would say, “Half a loaf is better than no loaf. We’ve got to get it done,” and the Freedom Caucus balked. And, I’m telling you, they were highly pressured. Their arms were twisted; there might have been some promises made. But they hung tough on this because of two things. They believed that everybody meant it when they promised all these years to repeal and replace Obamacare, so when the time came, that’s what their efforts were aimed at. The second thing they did was to hold firm on it because that’s why they got elected.
And that obviously was not the objective of some others.