Show: Rick’s List
Host: Rick Sanchez
Rick Sanchez: Alright, joining me now are two congressmen who’ve had some of the most colorful quotes, to say the very least, on this story so far. Republican Ron Paul of Texas, Democrat Anthony Weiner of New York. My thanks to both of you.
I’ve been trying to figure out what happened last night at Massachusetts, just like both of you have. And I’m wondering whether this really was a repudiation of Democrats and an embracing of Republicans.
Ron Paul, I want to ask you first, congressman. First of all, do you see yourself as a Republican or more as a Libertarian? I’ve never been able to figure you out.
Ron Paul: Yes. I think both. You’re allowed to be a conservative Republican, you’re allowed to be a liberal Republican, why can’t you be a libertarian? Libertarian just means you’re a constitutionalist.
Rick Sanchez: I’m not taking anything away from you. I’m just thinking that you’re in a unique position to try and define for us whether these folks in Massachusetts last night were saying, “Look, we don’t care, we don’t like either of you, and we’re tired of the same old stuff. And we’ll vote you out no matter who you are”. Or whether they were really saying, “We don’t like Barack Obama”, as the Republicans are telling us today that they are. What’s your take?
Ron Paul: Well, my take is that I’m apolitical and I think right now that’s very popular: the people that say they’re independent. I’ve never thought a whole lot of the political parties, though some of my legislation gets as much support from the Democrats as they do from the Republicans. So no, I think the issue is whether you’re right or wrong. And I happen to believe strongly in transparency and privacy and lot of liberal democrats will support me on that. And they will support me on foreign policy as well.
Rick Sanchez: What are Democrats like Anthony Weiner wrong about that cost them Massachusetts last night? What are the Democrats wrong about right now? What’s Obama wrong about?
Ron Paul: Well, I don’t know whether I’ll use the word ‘wrong’, but I think where they’re missing it is that what the people are upset about is that the government no longer can function because it fails. They’re incapable of doing this, they take on too much.
It isn’t who’s going to manage the right way or the wrong way, it’s just that’s its unmanageable. It’s sort of like directing traffic for every single person in the country. It doesn’t work. Markets work better than government.
Government bureaucrats and politicians tend to be political and they tend to mess things up and prices go up and become inefficient. So the process is wrong and I happen to believe in the marketplace; that they’re more capable. I’d like to see people at least consider delivering medical care like we deliver cell phones. Prices go down and quality goes up. But no, when the government does it, the opposite happens.
Rick Sanchez: Alright, Anthony Weiner, you heard that. That’s an interesting analysis he provided you with, giving you perhaps some information you could use as a Democrat. What’s your take?
Anthony Weiner: Well, the only problem with that is if you look at the places the government has entered, we’ve actually done, in many cases, a better job than the private sector. You ask people whether they like Medicare, 96% of people on it say they like it. It has an overhead rate of 1% compared to the private sector, which has an overhead of about 30%. And in terms of containing costs, actually we’re doing a better job on Medicare despite the fact that they’re all senior citizens.
Look, the problems the Democrats have had recently is that we’ve kind of gotten away from the things that we know work and the people like. You know, we’ve made compromises to get rid of the public option, and that would have been competition, more choice going in the direction that Congressman Paul wants to go into. We jettison that on the altar of getting 60 votes from our senators, and we forgot that the American people are pretty smart. They watch these things and they say, “What is it exactly that the Democrat healthcare plan is supposed to be about, if not something like the public option or expanding Medicare?” That, I think, is the mistake we’ve made.
You know, Congressman Paul is one of the rare, truly consistent guys in Congress, and we all respect him for that. I mean, sometimes I’m not sure he’s in touch with the mother ship on some of the things he proposes, but he’s always consistent. But in this case he just happens to have it wrong.
Rick Sanchez: Go head, Congressman Paul.
Ron Paul: On the Medicare: Yes, some people are satisfied with Medicare. But what he failed to say is that it’s bankrupt. The end stages are there, you just can’t whack away like they propose taking away some of the Medicare benefits. Take the housing, you can say public housing is great; everybody gets a wonderful house, we made interest rates low, we give them no down payments, and everybody is happy, until they lose their house and we bail out Wall Street and big banks. So it’s a failed system.
Rick Sanchez: Congressman Paul, you don’t want government in anything?
Ron Paul: Yeah, I do. I want them to play an important role. They should be enforcing contracts. We’re in charge at the federal level on bankruptcy, for instance. We bail them with the money from the people that were successful. So we have everything turned upside down.
Rick Sanchez: That’s a good point, sir. Anyway, Anthony Weiner, how do you argue with the fact that maybe we try and manage too much, which is his principled point?
Anthony Weiner: Well, perhaps that’s right. But I got to tell you, the schizophrenia of our Republican friends when it comes to Medicare… they believe it’s terrible to have government run healthcare, except for this healthcare plan, which covers about 45% of the American population. They don’t like healthcare, but when you try to mix it to get some waste out of Medicare, they scream.
Look, the fact of the matter is you can’t just simply say, “Government is good or bad.” There are some things we do well, some things we don’t do as well. But healthcare is a case that we know the free market is never going to be able to solve every the problem, because they’re never going to cover sick people.
Rick Sanchez: We’re going to have to leave it there, gentlemen. Congressman Ron Paul, Congressman Anthony Weiner. You guys are great.
Ron Paul: Up until 1965 they did.
Rick Sanchez: Thank you both. There you go. That’s Ron Paul, getting a last shot in. We appreciate both of you.