RUSH: We go to Fullerton, California, to start with Ernestine, and it’s great to have you, Ernestine. How you doing?
CALLER: I’m doing good. How are you?
RUSH: Fine and dandy. Thank you much for calling.
CALLER: Yeah. You should be his council, Rush. You should be advising him every single day. He’ll take your phone call and he’ll listen to everything you have to say. I know he listens to you every day, but he can’t listen all day long because he’s busy.
RUSH: How do you know he — wait, wait, wait —
CALLER: He needs you to counsel him.
RUSH: Ernestine, the man’s president of the United States. How do you know he listens every day? He doesn’t have time.
CALLER: Oh, yeah, he listens.
RUSH: What, do you know him?
CALLER: No, but I just know.
RUSH: Well, you’re very kind. I appreciate your nice thoughts.
CALLER: No, I’m serious.
RUSH: He’s got all kinds of advisers. I’m sure people — he knows this stuff instinctively anyway.
CALLER: But he doesn’t have you. You know everything about these people and how they operate. And the Republicans are pathetic. I mean they are just pathetic.
RUSH: Trump, by the way, if you listen to him talking, he’s out there, he’s ragging on Chuck Schumer. I think Trump has had an awakening on who the liberal Democrats are. I think when he was campaigning, I don’t think he was ideological at all. That’s not how he saw them, but after all of this time, I think he’s beginning to. And he’s out there saying that Chuck Schumer and the Democrats are dooming Democrat Party. Now, here’s the thing. In an electoral sense, yeah. In an electoral sense the Democrats are being doomed. But their agenda is just sailing, it’s flying through.
The Democrat Party agenda, it doesn’t seem like there’s anything standing in its way. If you look at it as embodied in this budget, they got everything they wanted! And they’re losing elections! Somebody tell me how that makes sense.
CALLER: It doesn’t.
RUSH: Well, yes, it does, though.
CALLER: Well, we know that the Democrats are gonna be bad, but the Republicans are absolutely horrible. Why didn’t the Freedom Caucus stop this budget?
RUSH: They’re only 30 or 40 votes.
CALLER: Yeah, but they were able to stop health care.
RUSH: Well, the Freedom Caucus really took an unfair hit. If you want to know the truth, it was the moderate Republicans in the House who — I’m not kidding you. The RINO types. Look, there isn’t — I had the news last week. There’s about, what was the number? I forget. It was a Byron York story. I can’t remember if he put the numbers in. But it’s at least 40, which is a big number, because Ryan can only lose 21 Republicans on any legislation. If he loses 21 Republicans, whatever the number after, fails. And something like 40 — if I’ve got this number right, 40 Republicans don’t want to do a single thing about Obamacare.
They don’t want to tamper with it. They don’t want to modify it. They don’t want to change it. They don’t want to get rid of it. They don’t want to replace it. Forty. That is a significant number, when you look at the — and it’s not the Freedom Caucus people. There isn’t Republican unity on this stuff. But even that alone does not get close enough to illustrating the real problem here, because why? What you have to answer is, why do those 40 not want to touch Obamacare? Who are they? Why do they care so much? It’s absolutely a disaster. If ask them, “Well, Rush it’s been implemented, people are living with it now. We’ve got the exchanges and the subsidies and we can’t be the party that’s seen taking that stuff away.”
Yes, we can if we do it better. And this is something that can certainly be improved on. Are you telling me that this is the best we can do? That’s what’s wrong! Is that mediocrity is what we’re told is the best we can do. That a nation in a slow state of decline is the new norm. No! We don’t accept that. But yet this is what we’re being told.
So why do those 40 or whatever the number is that Byron York wrote about, why do they not want to tamper with Obamacare? Is it really their own thinking or does their next election depend on it? Does the money for their next election depend on it? Does their future, after they leave the House of Representatives, depend on it?
You know that old saw, “follow the money”? Sadly, it is pretty true in almost every case. Every story, every mystery in Washington, D.C., can be answered by following the money. Folks, look. How much money does the federal — forget what it spends for just a minute. How much does it take in? Two and a half trillion dollars a year, maybe three, if we’re lucky. You know how much money that is?
How many people live and work in Washington with one objective: to get their hands on as much of that pile as they can? If you realize that Washington, D.C., functions as a very tiny, compressed geographic area with $3.1 trillion every year and people are making their own moves in getting their share of it, their portion of it, however they do it, then you’ll understand a lot more why and how things work.
RUSH: Okay. So the Byron York story says there are 50 Republicans that don’t even want to touch Obamacare in any way. No reform, no repeal, no replace, no modification. So if that number is accurate, then there’s no hope. If those 50 people hold fast. Yet we’re being told today, “There’s another vote and we’re very, very close! We’ve almost got the votes!” For what? Nobody can even tell us what it is! I think we’re being strung along. “Yeees, we’re very close to having another vote!” But there isn’t gonna be a vote until there are the votes.
There’s no way Ryan’s gonna schedule a vote until they’ve got the votes. So until you see that, they don’t have the votes. And if there are 50 Republicans saying “over my dead body” when Ryan can only lose 21? By the way, Paul Ryan is not an idiot. Folks, you’ve gotta look at this… He’s not an idiot. I don’t care what you think of him, he’s not stupid. He knows full well that what the House of Representatives is not doing and what they are doing is in direct opposition to what you voted for. He knows this, and yet he’s continuing to do it.
The answer to the question “why” is where this battle is. Paul Ryan’s not stupid. He’s not incompetent. He’s not incapable of leading the House. Now, if you think that the only reason the House is not enacting the Trump agenda or supporting it is because Ryan can’t rally the votes, well, then you would have a point. But that’s not what this is. Ryan is not incompetent. He’s not stupid. He’s not blind. There’s much more going on here than simply Ryan can’t unify his caucus. The Democrat Party is the losers, and they’re triumphing with everything.
The Washington Post headline… I mean, the Washington Post is crowing over this. “Eight Ways Trump Got Rolled in His First Budget Negotiation.” Eight ways Trump got rolled! They’re throwing parties on K Street. They’re throwing parties at the Drive-By Media. They think they’re carrying the day and winning. And remember, it is the media that’s leading the Democrats. The Democrats are an arm of whatever power source is really running that town, and I think it’s a combination of the media and the moneyed interests.
I don’t think there’s any question about that, actually.
Now, Newt Gingrich… We’ll get to the phones here just second. Newt Gingrich had a piece at Fox News, “Newt Gingrich: Trump vs. the Swamp, Round III.” Newt’s close, but I don’t think Newt’s quite all the way there. The headline of his piece: “Democrats Turn to Bureaucrats to Stop [Trump] — When Neil Gorsuch won long-overdue confirmation this month to serve on the United States Supreme Court, Republicans in turn won control of judiciary. This meant they led all three branches of the federal government — at least the three envisioned by our Founding Fathers — for the first time in a decade.
“As a consequence, Democrats have pinned their hopes to stifle President Donald Trump’s … on the unprecedented insurrection of an unchecked, de facto branch of government: the bureaucratic state.” That’s what Newt calls what we refer to here as “the deep state,” and he’s talking about a bunch of unknown, unelected, unseen bureaucrats in various places throughout the bureaucracy. But I think it goes deeper than that. I don’t think it’s people that per se work in government that are doing this. They lobby the government. They influence the government. Tremendously. They influence individual members of the government, House and Senate, any other number of elected officials.
Anyway, let me go back to the phones here. Susan, St. Paul, Minnesota. Welcome. It’s great to have you here. How are you doing?
CALLER: I’m furious (chuckles) in a word. I would like to know… Well, I’ll start out by telling you in the beginning we were Ted Cruz supporters and then when Trump won the nomination, we consoled ourselves with the thought that, “Well, at least he’s a street fighter, and that probably is really what we need in Washington is somebody to really take the fight to Washington.” So my question is: Why wouldn’t he veto this bill? And if he doesn’t veto this one because it’s a stopgap, he should come out and start threatening the veto for the first real budget.
RUSH: Yeah. I can’t answer that. (sigh) I can only speculate. There’s something that happens to people in that town that instills a fear unknown to you and me, and the fear is centered on this idea that if we stop or interrupt or even pause the actions involving government spending money then we are headed for Armageddon. It’s almost like we cannot interrupt the spending process at all, because if we do, there will be hell to pay. Voters will get mad that their services aren’t there. The media will get into gear and talk about how whoever is responsible for the shutdown doesn’t care about the little guy. It’s something that apparently most in Washington just don’t even want to get close to dealing with. Now, as for Trump, why wouldn’t he veto this? He clearly could. If he wanted to veto this he clearly could and make a statement.
CALLER: He absolutely should.
CALLER: He absolutely should.
RUSH: Well, he may not be ready to. I don’t know at what stage the Trump people see their agenda and their presidency, but it’s four years. We’re not even through six months of the first year yet. It’s still very fluid. Everybody’s still getting their feet wet figuring this out. Trump’s obviously in the middle of a learning curve, hopefully, on some things. He just may not be ready right now to take the step. But it’s nevertheless frustrating. I share your frustration. I saw this headline. It’s almost…
The feeling I had when I saw this headline was almost like when I saw the exit polls in 2012, at five o’clock, when I knew that Obama had won reelection. I see these headlines, and it so violates surface common sense. But, see, there’s a reason this is happening, and it’s not rooted in people’s stupidity. Paul Ryan, as I say, is not stupid; neither is McConnell. These are not dumb people. They know full well, Susan, that you feel the way you do — and that Ernestine who called before you does.
They know full well how you feel about it. It’s that there are other people’s feelings they’re more concerned with than yours. It has to be that. At some level, involving information we don’t have… We can only speculate. At some level, all of this makes perfect sense to the people involved. It doesn’t make sense to you and me — and therein lies, I think, what’s actually going on. I mean, put bluntly… When I worked for the Kansas City Royals, one of the guys that was in the Stadium Operations Department was one of these crusty old curmudgeon guys.
We just loved to go stir this guy up. It didn’t take much and he would start venting and ranting on anything. And you just sat, and you listened, and you tried not to laugh. And all it took… All you had to do was say the word “lobbyist,” and this guy would go on for 30 minutes cursing, yelling, screeching. Everything that was wrong — everything, in this guy’s opinion — was lobbyists.
“Lobbyists are determining this!” He said, “You think you have power with your vote? Our votes don’t matter a ding-dong. It’s lobbyists today.” This guy, it was his one-note samba, and because of that I’m reluctant to use the word “lobbyist.” (laughing) I know what we ended up… It’s not that we disagreed with the guy; it’s just that it became one of these things. It was like the crazy uncle, you know, upstairs on Thanksgiving that you hope stays in the bedroom.
But, folks, clearly the people that write the legislation in this country are the moneyed interests behind the impact of that legislation. Meaning the purpose of legislation is not to fix what’s wrong with America, to improve, say, problems like illegal immigration or sanctuary cities. The budget and the legislation does just the exact opposite. People are benefiting from this budget somehow.
In terms of immigration, it’s the Chamber of Commerce and certain elements of Big Business who want cheap labor. And on the political side you’ve got people that look at these illegals as a magical number of potential new voters once we find a way to register them. There’s any number of things here, but none of that has anything to do with fixing the problem, even acknowledging that it is a problem.
So in this sense, members of the House and the Senate are order takers. If these people are the reason they get huge amounts of campaign donations, huge amounts of opportunities dangled in front of them for the day they leave government service, what have you? Maybe a job as a lobbyist themselves. Then you have the power structure concentrated in people that do not run for election, people we don’t know, people who are not familiar to us and what they believe. So we have no say-so in it, which is I think, when we get down to brass tacks what frustrates so many people. But it’s clear they have untold amounts of power.
And look, I want to try to make this analogy stick too. This notion, imagine that pile of money that is Washington, three trillion dollars every year, $3 trillion. Forget debt, forget the deficit, forget all that, forget for a moment the way it’s spent, your tax revenue and every other dime that the government gets, wherever, it totals $3 trillion. This industry exists to get as much of that as it can via legislation, via who knows however. But that remains one of the objectives.
So in this sense ideology is not a factor; right and wrong is not a factor; conservative versus liberal; big government, small government, none of that matters. The objective that these people have is facilitating access to the federal Treasury. I don’t know how else to put it. I’m not talking about people walking over there and opening the safe and sticking their hands in and coming out with some.
I’m talking about ways in which they write legislation or pass regulations or have stuff we never see that enables them and their clients to benefit financially from whatever the government is or is not, does or does not do. And because these people have such control over reelection campaigns and funding and donations and so forth, they carry a lot of weight and have a lot of power.
Anyway, this is what Trump is up against. It is those people Trump’s gonna have to find a way to overcome. Not just Paul Ryan, not Mitch McConnell, not Schumer or Pelosi or any of that. I mean, they’re players, obviously. And the Democrats are involved in this for a little bit more than Republicans are. The Democrats really do believe their ideology, and they are hell-bent on implementing it and never giving any of it away no matter what happens with elections. They also have the money aspect, too, that motivates them. But it’s gonna be a monumental battle. This is really what draining the swamp is, not just the bureaucracy.
RUSH: Ray in Ridgewood, New Jersey, you’re next, sir. Hello.
CALLER: Yes. Hi, sir. I just wanted to say that, first off, I’m a lifelong Republican, voted for Ronald Reagan my first election in 1980 and voted for Donald Trump, but unfortunately, I don’t see Obamacare being repealed. I just don’t. It’s sad for me to say that, but I think it’s so ingrained. People don’t realize how far Obama took us into, say, socialized medicine and socialism. It’s so ingrained now that you could see that probably the —
RUSH: Well, you mean you think there’d be a revolt if it were repealed?
CALLER: No, no. I think there’s huge support for it in the sense that look at the rise of Bernie Sanders and all the socialism that he’s espousing. I think the Republicans who don’t want to repeal it are gonna think, “Well, it’s just easier to go forward and maybe tinker with it than repeal it and come up with something new.” Even Pelosi said that, you know, we’re not gonna support anything unless you want to help Obamacare. Then we’ll talk.
RUSH: Well, wait a minute. Hold it. This is the problem. Trump ran on many specific agenda items, and repealing Obamacare was in the top three. And he won the election. So sorry for the people that Pelosi says don’t — I don’t believe these polls that say a majority of Americans, after eight years of hating it, now all of a sudden love it. I don’t buy any of that. I think that’s an excuse not to do anything, frankly, and it’s paralyzing everybody.
RUSH: Nancy in Northville, Michigan. Welcome. Glad you waited. How are you doing?
CALLER: Good. Thank you.
RUSH: You bet.
CALLER: I wanted to say I feel betrayed. I was a Trumpster from day one. My husband was in the hospital then, and I talked about him. Even the cleaning lady who had never voted before was gonna vote for Trump. We thought that he would stand up to all these people. I don’t buy the story that Spicer’s selling. Trump should have the courage that Reagan did when he fired all the air controllers and shut down the government. Republicans are gonna get blamed anyway. Trump is gonna get blamed for everything he ever does, no matter what it is, so…
RUSH: You know, that’s a good point. Let me modify that, ’cause it’s a great point. And I’m reacting to what you’re saying the form of a question. What do the Republicans consider worse, a budget in which they totally get smoked or a government shutdown? They obviously think a government shutdown is worse for them politically than being totally smoked in a budget deal. Go figure!
CALLER: Well, I’m not buying any of it, and, like I said, I really feel betrayed. How can Trump go out to any of these rallies anymore and talk about all the things that he was going to do and is going to do? And nothing!
RUSH: Well, I know. It’s a logical thing to think, a logical reaction. All I can do here is tell you what Spicer said. And what Spicer’s answer indicates is that, you know, folks, we’re focused on other things right now. This is just a temporary get us to the end of the year. This isn’t us. This isn’t what we stand for. We’re not gonna waste time standing up and stopping this. This is just one of these stopgaps to finish. We get into gear when we start implementing our budget.
And one thing. This isn’t Trump’s budget. The CR is not in opposition to Trump’s budget, legislatively. The budget that Trump presented in February from his Office of Management and Budget is intended for the next fiscal year. I’m just telling you how things work. Presidents don’t do budgets anyway; the budget will be written in Congress. And it will be originated to the House Ways and Means Committee. Presidents submit their budget as a way of illustrating their policy preferences. But presidential budgets have no force of law.
Trump has to negotiate with Congress for everything he wants, as well as everybody else negotiating with Congress for what they want, including the lobbyists and so forth on K Street and all the other special interests. So what Spicer is saying here is that this is not even us and we’re not even thinking about it.
But that’s not how you see it. What you see is very logical. You see an opportunity. These people lost the election! We won the election! What in the world are these people doing still running the show? That’s your reaction. It makes perfect sense to anybody. It’s common sense.
RUSH: Fox News is saying that the House is going to vote on the health care bill tonight. Gonna debate and vote on it tonight. If that’s true, then somebody thinks they’ve got the votes. We shall see.