Show: Anderson Cooper 360°
Host: Anderson Cooper
Date: August 20, 2009
Anderson Cooper: We talked about the president’s moves with former Republican presidential candidate and congressman, Ron Paul, earlier today.
Congressman Paul, thanks for being with us. I want to play you something that President Obama said today on Michael Smerconish’s Radio Show. Listen.
Barack Obama: I would love to have more Republicans engaged and involved in this process. I think early on a decision was made by the Republican leadership that said, “Look, let’s not give them a victory. Maybe we can have a replay of 1993/94 when Clinton came in. He failed on healthcare and then we won in the mid-term elections and we got the majority.”
Anderson Cooper: Is that what’s happening? Are Republican leaders obstructing healthcare reform in order to make political gains?
Ron Paul: I think he’s giving the Republicans too much credit. I don’t think we’re that well organized. I think if orders came from top down and said we’re all going to oppose, I don’t think it would happen. But there is partisan squabbling going on, but it’s on both sides, so I can’t see where one side is more partisan than the other. You know, if people don’t agree with one side, they say, “Oh, you’re overly strong partisan” and vice versa. So I don’t put a lot of stock in those type of arguments.
Anderson Cooper: What do you think is going to happen if the White House and Congressional Democrats try to go over it alone and try to just ram through some sort of a bill?
Ron Paul: Oh, I think they’ll pass something, but […] I think they’ll modify their tone a little bit. They won’t try to go for the whole basket. They probably won’t want to have a single payer and they’re going to get something and that’s the way we’ve been doing it for 35-40 years. We’ve had incrementalism. This really started as early as the fifties, but really in the seventies. But once you get the conservatives in, we’re not supposed to believe in expanding government role, but where was the prescription drug program passed? Under the Republicans.
So something will be passed, but I don’t think Obama is going to get everything. There’s too much anger and they’re angry and they’re convinced that the government can’t produce all these promises. They just don’t believe the promises, so that’s why I think they’re going to back off, take what they can get and a few Republicans will join and that would be my prediction. But I really don’t know for sure.
Anderson Cooper: So what do you want? You’re obviously not for government involvement in healthcare, but is it realistic to expect private industry to take care of the 46 million or so Americans who don’t have insurance?
Ron Paul: Well, under today’s circumstances with our tax code, it makes it very difficult and you have to remember that out of that 46 million who don’t have insurance, they include a lot of illegal aliens in there too, so that complicates the matter and some of them aren’t necessarily in need of it. I even have some people in my family, they don’t have it.
But people have accepted the notion that medical care cannot be delivered any other way than through government and I just don’t happen to believe that because governments generally aren’t very efficient in what they do.
Anderson Cooper: And finally, has the dialogue, the debate, at least some of what we’re seeing at these town hall meetings, people comparing President Obama to a Nazi, is that the productive? I mean, when you see these images and you hear the people yelling, what do you think?
Ron Paul: Well, I think it’s very unproductive. I think it’s very destructive and you know me well enough that I was never supportive of much of what George Bush did and I really didn’t like his foreign policy, but generally speaking, whenever I wrote, if you look at all my speeches, I hardly ever, but probably never bring up partisan politics when I’m on the House floor or talk about President Bush, President Bush this or Obama this or Obama that.
So no, I don’t think it’s productive at all. I believe you have deal with ideas. Ideas have consequences. Bad ideas have bad consequences. Good ideas have good consequences and that’s what I deal with because I just as soon avoid the partisan bickering.
Anderson Cooper: Congressman Paul, I appreciate your time, sir. Thank you.
Ron Paul: Thank you.