Show: Morning Joe
Joe Scarborough: Let’s bring in Ron Paul right now. I don’t think that matters a whole heck of a lot right now. Obviously, the 2012 election is far off. But Ron Paul, how will this healthcare debate shape the election that’s coming up in November in 2010?
Ron Paul: Well, I think it certainly will. I think a lot is yet to happen, because more people are going to understand this bill and how bad it really is. I think 2010 seems to be such a long way off. I think, you know, a lot more can happen. But I definitely think it is going to make a difference. I think it is going to help the Republicans and they’re going to come close to taking over the House.
But, to me, the whole thing is a huge mess. You know, they had this big excitement over 20 words. Well, it was good that they’re trying to follow the rules, but coming from my viewpoint where I can’t even find out where there is authority in the Constitution for running medical care. And 2,000 pages? I think they’re all wrong. And now we’re going to worry about 20 words? Well, I guess its good they’re worried about 20 words, but I’d like to have them worried about the 2,000 pages.
Joe Scarborough: Well, let’s talk about both of the parties, because when I go out and talk, it’s not just people concerned about the Democratic Party. They’ll say, “Yes, were concerned about how the Democratic Party is expanding the government’s footprint in our life when it comes to healthcare. But you Republicans”, they will say to me, “passed a Medicare drug benefit plan that had a cost of 7 trillion dollars”. If you look out there right now, Ron, it doesn’t look like Americans have a real good choice if they’re small government conservatives. They’re getting it from both parties, they’re getting it from Bush, now they’re getting it from Obama.
Ron Paul: And thank goodness the people are waking up. You know, the people can have an influence when they finally wake up; and they are on this issue. And you make the very important point, because when the Republicans were in charge they were were doing the same thing; running up deficits, expanding the role of government, and expanding the Department of Education and the whole mess. So the people are catching on. But the reason they’re catching on is because they’re realizing our government and our country is bankrupt. And nobody believes that they can give 30 million new people medical care and not charge them and lower the deficit. I mean, it is astounding that they do this with a straight face. And everything is just so much partisan bickering. And like you point out, they’re saying the same thing, but it’s partisanship; it’s who gets to favor their friends the most, who’s going to run it and who gets the power.
Joe Scarborough: And that’s what’s so fascinating to me: the harsh partisanship in Washington DC. When you look at the arc of the federal government over the past decade, there is just not a lot – and this drives partisans on both sides crazy when I say it, but when it comes to the size of government, there is just not a real difference between Republicans and Democrats – how Republicans acted over 8 years when they we’re in power, and how Democrats are acting now. They’re both spending money we don’t have. Pat Buchanan, do you have a question for Ron Paul?
Pat Buchanan: Sure. But you’re right, Joe, George W. Bush was a Great Society Republican. But let me ask Ron this: “Repeal and Reform” sounds like a good message to run on, and I think it’s got real credibility with the American people. There are some aspects to that bill they may like, others they may detest. But as a practical matter, the president’s got a veto pen, you’d have to have 2/3rds of both houses to override his veto. As a practical matter you can’t repeal and reform, can you?
Ron Paul: No, not under these circumstances. Maybe someday when the country goes bankrupt and we rebuild the whole society, we’re going to have to reform. But right now there is no chance of this happening. I would like to preserve and save something. You know, in this whole medical debate, they talked about the public option for a long time. I wondered why they never said, “Why can’t we preserve a private option?” To me, one of the worst things they’ve done with this bill is take away a private choice. They undermine the health savings accounts, giving a person to opt out. But they don’t want you to opt out. Matter of fact, this time they’re forcing everybody to go in and buy government mandated insurance. So they’re moving in the wrong direction. At least in education, as bad as it is, with public education and what they’ve done to it, you know, you can opt out. You could teach your kids at home and you could still go to private school. But now, in medicine, you can’t opt out. And that is why the medical care quality is going to deteriorate, and why the cost is going to escalate and eventually everybody is going to be a lot more unhappy.
Joe Scarborough: Pat Buchanan, I want to go to your point, though, about repealing this bill, or portions of it, if Republicans take control of the House of Representatives. The one thing that we knew in 1994 when we got elected is, even if the liberal Republicans in the Senate didn’t go along with this, even if Bill Clinton didn’t go along with this, you look at the Constitution and the House of Representatives has the checkbook. Nothing gets paid for unless the House of Representatives says it gets paid for. So you have a lot of programs that could be defunded by a conservative House in 2011 and 2012. Nothing passes, nothing gets done unless the House says it does. And that seems to me, Ron Paul, like an opportunity. If you ask me, “Do you want Republicans to take over the House or the Senate?” I’d’ say let them take over the House, because you can’t spend a dime unless the House says, “You can spend a dime”.
Ron Paul: That’s the way it’s supposed to be. But that’s not the way it happens. The Congress, for decades now, has given up their prerogatives to the executive branch. We’ve had Republicans who loved a strong executive. Still today the executive can go to war without a declaration, the Federal Reserve can spend $2 trillion without appropriation. The other day what did Obama do? When the Congress couldn’t do something, they’d welcomed, “Oh, write an executive order, it’s the force of law”. So the executive branch writes laws constantly, the judicial system writes laws constantly. You’re absolutely right about what the House should do. But we have strayed so far form that responsibility. The House be able to control the whole process through the purse. But they give up on it too easily. And it is astounding to me that the Congress has giving up so much of their authority and responsibilities.
Joe Scarborough: Let me ask you this, Ron, in 2006 and 2008 there were a lot of small government conservatives that helped Ronald Reagan get elected in 1980, that helped people like me get elected in 1994, that said, “Why do I want to make phone calls for the Republicans? Why do I want to knock on doors for the Republicans, because if they win, they’re not going to be conservative. Can you tell small government conservatives today in 2010 that if Republicans take control of the House next year, that they have learnt their lessons? That they’ll be any different than they were the last 8 years they controlled the House? Will it be different this time?
Ron Paul: Oh, I don’t think so, unless you get a new crop up here; you have to have different people up here. And I think the frustration that you’re expressing is the fact that the two parties are very similar, and therefore there aren’t any choices. We don’t really have a democratic process here, because if you try to do it as a third party, all the rules are biased against you. You can’t get on ballots, you can’t get in debates, you’re dismissed by the media. So we do have one party and all they fight over is power and influence. They do not fight over philosophy. So if you want that, if you want to see a change, the Republicans have to change their image. Right now they’ve gained a whole lot, not because people are convinced of the Republicans, but they are convinced that the Democrats are so bad and they actually are now worse than what they remember the Republicans to be. So we have a long way to go to straighten this mess out.
Joe Scarborough: Pat Buchanan?
Pat Buchanan: A quick question, Ron. Look, the Ron Paul, Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney agree 100% the bill shouldn’t have passed on healthcare. On foreign policy, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Ron Paul and Sarah Palin are on opposite sides completely. And each has your point of view can prevail in the Republican Party on foreign policy, or is that hopeless?
Ron Paul: No, it’s not hopeless. We’re making progress and this is where I’m excited. Not on the House floor yet. But the people’s minds are being changed. Tomorrow night I’ll be at Boise State University in Idaho, and believe me, we’ll have a large crowd and they are going to endorse the views of non-intervention, coming to our senses, we’re bankrupt, and we can’t police the world. We’re broke here in this country. Why are we spending a trillion dollars a year managing an empire that is unmanageable and only gets us into trouble? That attitude is changing. The next generation will know we have to change that policy.
Mika Brzezinski: Yeah. That’s actually Congressman Ron Paul echoing what you said at your speech at CATO last week.
Joe Scarborough: Well, there are a lot of people. And Ron Paul’s exactly right; there are a lot of people that are saying we’re bankrupt and what are we doing trying to rebuild countries a decade after we went into Afghanistan, and how much longer are we going to be there. We have got to narrow our focus, we have got to show restraint at home, we have got to show restraint abroad. And the party that does that, Ron, I think is going to start winning elections.
Mika Brzezinski: Yeah.
Ron Paul: Yep, that’s it, and we need the influence of these independent-minded people, but unfortunately they don’t have another party, so they’ll have to influence both parties.
Mika Brzezinski: He says we need a new crop. Ron Paul, thank you very much.
Joe Scarborough: Thanks, Ron.
Ron Paul: Thank you, good to be with you.