By Kate Conway
Rush dived into the show with vociferous complaints about President Obama's health care proposal and the upcoming health care summit. Needless to say, he isn't fond of the president's plan. He told us that he feels somewhat responsible for it; after all, throughout the health care debate, he's been asking where Obama's plan has been among the various proposals, and now it has arrived.
Rush moved on to describe the plan, saying that the first seven pages are a “Robin Hood” monstrosity and that the bill gets uglier and uglier. Noting that a section of the bill says that the “President's Proposal provides that, if necessary, funds will be transferred to the Social Security Trust Funds to ensure that they are held harmless by the Proposal,” he complained that the health care plan is an attempt create another revenue stream for Social Security. Because the plan purports to cover most Americans as well as cut the deficit, Rush denigrated the proposal as “magical.” Like other conservative figures, Rush was glad that the proposal would do away with the so-called “Cornhusker Kickback,” but was upset that it would not address the “Louisiana Purchase.”
Convinced he can do better, Rush offered up his own health care plan:
LIMBAUGH: Ladies and gentlemen, I want to propose my own health care plan. I want to propose my own health care plan. It's very simple. I don't know what the health plan details are. I'll get to those later. But the first part of my plan will pay every senator $10 million personally to vote against this. I will then pay as many union big heads -- union chiefs as I can find $15 million each to not support this. I'm going to guarantee you it'd be what's going to happen anyway and it'd be a lot cheaper than going through the motions of passing this thing.
Rush returned to his criticism of the president's plan: It will increase the excise tax on Cadillac plans, and because this will begin in 2018, no one whose fingerprints are on it will be around to take the fallout. He then ranted, “We're talking dead-on bankruptcy here!” Apparently, proposed expansions of Medicare and Medicaid will bankrupt the country because none of it is sustainable, and also, both the bipartisan commission and Obamacare are lies.
Reviving an old attack, Rush declared that Obama's proposal is unconstitutional. In particular, he said that mandating that people purchase insurance and fining them for failing to do so is unconstitutional.
Moving to the economy, Rush tried to sling charges of hypocrisy Obama's way. He played a clip of Obama on the campaign trail calling John McCain's proposal to create a commission to study the economic crisis the “oldest Washington stunt in the book.” Rush then pointed out that Obama has created a National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform.
Rush returned to health care, asserting that the health care summit is designed to make Republicans look like obstructionists. Failure to pass legislation isn't the fault of the Republicans, however; Democrats had the votes to pass whatever they wanted and couldn't get anything passed.
Rush played audio of Obama asking governors at the National Governors Association meeting to put in place a plan to adopt college and career-ready goals in reading and math in order to receive funds. For a moment, it seemed like he was going to criticize the substance of Obama's statement, but it turned out to be just another “media tweak” in which Rush mocked Obama's pronunciation of the word “ask,” pronouncing it “ax,” and declared that Obama can turn on his “black dialect.”
LIMBAUGH: Did you catch -- you catch that, sir? What did you -- did you catch that? No, you missed it, you missed it. See, you're listening to the substance here, you missed it this. Play it again, Mike.
LIMBAUGH: This is what Harry Reid was talking about. Obama can turn on that black dialect when he wants to and turn it off. The president of the United States just said here as a condition of receiving -- and I wonder if this was on the teleprompter. Did somebody put this on the prompter? As a condition of receiving access to Title I funds, we will ax all states. Who's he trying to reach out here to? The Reverend Jackson? The Obama criticizer? Who's he -- who's he -- now, if I used the word “ax” the rest of the day, am I going to get beat up and creamed for making fun of this clean, crisp, calm, cool, new, articulate president? Maybe we should do it and see what happens. I'll ax my advisers, and I might even ax Governor Coomo [Cuomo], as the Reverend Jackson pronounced his name.
After a break, Rush jumped to the topic of climate science, stating that it's a bad day for “Barry Obama” because climate scientists have withdrawn claims of rising sea levels, rendering his promise to lower sea levels obsolete. Rush declared this another nail in the coffin of global warming science.
This was an easy segue into more mockery of Obama, and Rush went on to compare Obama and the Democrats to dysfunctional parents. Having children will not save a troubled marriage, Rush said, and pushing through unwanted policies won't save the Democrats. Rush seemed to like this metaphor, and he ran with it for awhile: Obamacare is not being conceived by happy people likely to stay together. Obama's plan has been prepared in anger and defiance, and its purpose is to show the American people who is boss. The Democrats are giving birth to every movie monster you have ever seen. Obamacare is an act of anger and desperation. This will be an unloved, unwanted bill dependent on the government. Rush finished up by declaring that we need to abort the bill.
Rush declared that he doesn't think that Obama is psychologically grounded in reality, but instead of elaborating, he tried to throw the word “axing” into the next few sentences as many times as possible.
Turning briefly to the Conservative Political Action Conference, Rush declared that if Ron Paul wins a straw poll at a conference, the people there aren't real conservatives. Preparing for a trip down memory lane that would come later in the show, Rush played a few clips of media figures referring to his speech in their coverage of this year's CPAC.
The rest of the hour was consumed by a repeat caller named Stacy, who runs an insurance company in Georgia and wanted to discuss Obama's health care plan. She predicted that private insurers will survive only 10 years under Obama's plan. Stacy said that the plan eliminates health savings accounts and some flexible spending accounts and that it makes a mockery of the “nonsense” that you are able to keep your current health insurance if you're happy with it. Rush agreed and said that this is what he means in saying Obama is not grounded in reality -- not a soul in the world believes you'll get to keep your plan. Rush said Obama doesn't know anything about anything, and then said that Harvard taught Obama to pronounce “ask” as “ax.” Hilariously, Stacy rebuked Rush for this, saying that it gets on her nerves. Rush, surprisingly enough, didn't attack Stacy for this, and they continued to talk about the plan. After Stacy said that MedAdvantage has been useful in opening up access to medical care for seniors, Rush made the point that the real problem is over-involvement of government -- we wouldn't need programs like MedAdvantage if the government weren't interfering in the health care market to begin with.
Stacy asked Rush if he's read Page 5 of Obama's plan, and Rush confessed that he “can't read this stuff.” He then repeated his analysis that the first seven pages are like a “Robin Hood” summary. Stacy read from Page 5, which says:
The House and Senate health reform bills contain an unprecedented array of aggressive new authorities to fight waste, fraud and abuse. The President's Proposal builds on those provisions by incorporating a number of additional proposals that are either part of the Administration's FY 2011 Budget Proposal or were included in Republican plans.
Rush told us he's heard that they're trying to incorporate some parts of Republican plans to attempt bipartisanship, but he thinks that it's “BS.” Stacy stoked fears about loss of privacy based on the database included in the plan and said it would also limit drug access. Rush said that “we're all in the crosshairs” and that Obama and his administration are gunning for everyone that is successful. Rush concluded the hour by declaring that the health care bill is really a “civil rights bill” or “reparations.”
At the top of the second hour, Rush returned to the topic of CPAC. He again declared that if a straw poll determined Ron Paul to be the leader of the movement, then CPAC was not truly conservative.
Rush proceeded to devote some time to fantasies of what he would have said if he had spoken at CPAC again this year. He would have used the opportunity to keep building people up, and he claimed that he always tries to give uplifting, inspirational, positive speeches. He was enthusiastic about the resurgence of conservatism, saying that the American people gave elected Republicans the confidence not to be bipartisan: the era of McCain is over. Continuing to imagine his speech, he said that he would have called out those Republicans who are going along with the Democrats, and he would have identified the source of the problem: Barack Obama and the Democrats, who are the sole reason for the “mess” the country is in. He was displeased that there were so many libertarians at CPAC this year when it's supposed to be a conference based on purely conservative principles.
A caller told Rush that this is the first time he's agreed with him in 20 years, because he agreed that the Republicans shouldn't go to the health care summit. He then clarified: They shouldn't go since they don't have any ideas to present. Rush got a little bit defensive, saying that he assumes responsibility for his own health care and tries not to be a burden to his fellow citizens, and this is an idea. He declared he's not quitting until everyone agrees with him.
Another caller said that the America people don't want health care, and Rush emphatically agreed. He predicted that people will not cooperate with health care reform if it gets passed:
LIMBAUGH: I don't care what Obama does, I don't care if the Democrats change their rules or break their rules to get this thing passed. The tipping point is coming and the American people will just say, “Sorry, we're not participating. You can put us in jail, you can come get us, we're not doing this.” These are the American people we are talking about. We now know the American people have not been transformed to a Western European socialist-type behavior or attitude. We know that the vast majority of Americans are still Americans, as this nation defines Americans, as this nation was founded.
Rush referred to Robert Gibbs as "Baghdad Bob Gibbs," and then read a quotation from Gibbs saying, “We've seen in survey after survey that Americans want to see Republicans and Democrats stand together on health care.” Rush denied the existence of such surveys.
Confusing the federal government with the D.C. local government, Limbaugh claimed that D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty telling citizens in some parts of town that they'll have to shovel their own streets -- in spite of all the taxes they pay -- is evidence that the federal government is not competent to handle health care.
Next, Rush offered a framing suggestion to the Republican Party: Since 60 percent of the American people don't want health care, just position yourselves as the party that stands with the American people! What's the harm in standing with the American people in a representative republic? Rush encouraged Republicans to say they're the party of no because the American people have said no. He said that this is the American people vs. Obama, and Republicans need to move in and be their leaders. Rush took this opportunity to list a number of perceived contradictions between Obama's words and actions, such as prioritization of jobs over health care and predicted unemployment levels. He punctuated each claim with “reconcile that,” a dig at the Senate process of reconciliation.
Rush, apparently an expert on liberals, then informed his audience that he analyzed Obama long before he “knew him” because he has analyzed liberals and Marxists. Also apparently an expert on addiction, Rush told us that Obama has an addiction to lying and to power. Furthermore, he told us, Obama doesn't have a concept of reality, and he trusts central planners and union thugs. Rush's crowning statement on the subject was that Obama and freedom don't mix any better than oil and water.
Rush's producer finally had a chance to pull four clips of Rush speaking at CPAC last year, which Rush seemed excited about. In clip one, he talked about feeling that the principles in our founding documents are under assault. In the second, Rush said that Obama is spending money that is not his. In the third, he criticized Obama's agenda as “not new, not change, and not hope,” and then declared that Obama is spending the nation into “generational debt.” In the last, he explained that he wants Obama to fail and says that it's OK because the Democrats have also tried to get the opposition to fail. Inspirational stuff.
Rush explained away this self-indulgent reminiscence as an opportunity to show people where we were a year ago and provide a comparison to this year's CPAC. He told us that the Republicans were dispirited and afraid to say anything because they thought the American people loved Obama too much. Rush said CPAC is what got things going: The tea parties, town halls, the American people's commitment to stopping the Obama agenda proceeded directly from CPAC 2009. Rush finished hour two of his show by saying that one year after Obama's inauguration, there's an ascendency within the Republican Party and that we need to thank them and join them.
Rush returned in the third hour of his show to recount a conversation he had with his producer over the break. He told us his producer had said that he didn't understand the Democratic strategy, and Rush had patiently explained that he was trying to understand irrational people. Rush then compared Democrats to kamikaze pilots, noting, however, that kamikazes had more honor than Democrats:
LIMBAUGH: You have to understand. This is not a perfect analogy because the kamikaze pilots had more honor than the Democrats. But I doubt that very many of us could understand willingly getting in a Japanese Zero and flying it into the deck of an aircraft carrier. That's what they're doing. They are committing suicide, and if you try to understand that in a rational way -- I'm sorry, it's not going to ever make sense to you. You have to understand these people as they are and what it is that motivates them. They're this close, and they've wanted it for so many decades.
Imagine, they had 60 votes and they couldn't get it done. And they had 4,000 more votes than they needed in this House and they couldn't get it done. And they got this man-child little president that's alienating everybody now, and it's going off the edge of the cliff, and they want to grab it and go over the cliff with it, because they think that's how it's going to pass. They're that close.
To support his suicide theme, Rush talked about the loss of Ted Kennedy's seat to Scott Brown and Democratic losses in several gubernatorial races. He went on to say that hundreds of thousands of “these little people” are lusting for power and want their hands on the Treasury. As liberals, they don't get their money by working, they get it by taking, and they raise young little liberals at every level of the education system to be just like them. They're up against “us,” who don't want government or bureaucracies and who stand for personal responsibility.
Seemingly hopeful about upcoming midterm elections, Rush echoed Charlie Cook, who said in an interview that “it's hard to come up with a scenario where Democrats don't lose the House.” Rush also predicted that Democrats are looking at a possible loss of nine Senate seats.
Rush read from an article in The Arizona Republic about McCain saying that he was misled on the bailouts. Rush asked how McCain, after serving four Senate terms, could fail to identify when he was being misled.
A caller told Rush he has changed her from a liberal to a conservative. Rush later said that this is the kind of thing he lives for.
Rush then said that the Democrats are a small minority with a majority of the media on their side, which creates the impression that they speak for the whole country.
Rush then turned to a discussion of Colin Powell's appearance on Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer this Sunday. He played a clip of Powell saying that the Obama administration has continued many of the Bush administration's security policies, specifically citing the TSA, counterterrorism efforts, and the war in Afghanistan. In response to this, Rush named a variety of attacks on military bases and said that none of this was going on under President Bush.
Rush finished up the show with a little gem of wisdom about the best way to understand liberals and their mindset: Think about the founder of communism, Karl Marx, four of whose children starved to death while he was running around with elites doing research.
Michael Burns and Michael Timberlake contributed to this edition of the Limbaugh Wire.