HH: Joined now by the leader of the Republicans in the United States House of Representatives, John Boehner from the great state of Ohio. Leader Boehner, welcome back to the program, good to have you on the Hugh Hewitt Show.
JB: Hugh, it’s always good to be with you.
HH: Hey, you have turned things around here. It seems like the Republicans are winning this health care debate. Is that your sense?
JB: Well, I think it’s the American people who are winning this debate. They’ve looked up at this program, this giant government bureaucracy that the Democrats want to create in Washington, and said enough is enough. And while most of this is about health care, it’s really about a much bigger issue, and that is just the growth and size of government. You know, after the $1 trillion dollars stimulus bill that didn’t create any jobs, and the trillion dollars deficits for as far as the eye can see, their cap and trade proposal that’ll ship millions of American jobs overseas, and now they see this health care proposal, and they’re saying whoa, this is not what we voted for. And Hugh, we’re in the middle of a modern day rebellion in America.
HH: Now there have been some heated exchanges, but I have thought by and large the points being made are not in any way fringe points. They are deeply felt and very rational objections. But it doesn’t seem to me like your colleagues across the aisle want to deal with the objections.
JB: Well, I think those that are vulnerable, those who aren’t the most liberal Democrats, I think they’ve gotten the message loud and clear. And yes, there have been some outburst at some of these events, and people ought to be respectful, but the level of engagement, not just at these Democrat town halls, but at Republican town halls, the numbers of people showing up have never been seen before. Nobody has ever seen anything like this, not in our lifetime.
HH: Well, we are, Salem Radio Network, I’m coming to town in a couple of weeks with Mike Gallagher and Dr. John Goodman of the National Center for Policy Analysis, Pete DuPont from the Center, and we’re going to give at least a million, three hundred thousand signatures over to you folks in a petition which is available at Hughhewitt.com. Does that kind of stuff matter? Should people sign petitions like that, John Boehner?
JB: Any way to get involved, to show your opinion, to show your angst or your concern, any way you can do this is helpful – signing the petition, calling your member of Congress, showing up at a town hall meeting. All of these send a loud message to lawmakers in Washington that my goodness, the American people are concerned about this, they’re engaged, I better be careful.
HH: I just had Tom Lucero who is challenging Betsy Markey in the 4th Congressional district, liberal Betsy Markey, on the program. He’s had a great response after she said Medicare is going to be rationed Wednesday night. Are you having an easier time with candidate recruitment now that the President and the Democrats have committed themselves to this huge lurch to the left?
JB: Well, we’ve had a pretty good year on recruitment thus far, and I’ve got to tell you, though, the last month, we’ve been able to interest a lot more people into doing their Constitutional duty, and that’s just to stand up and run for a seat in Congress. You know, there are about 80 Democrat Congressmen who sit in districts that George Bush won in 2004, and John McCain won in 2008. And these districts, these members are vulnerable. But if we want to put a stop to all of this nonsense, the best way to do it is to elect a Republican Congress. I want Nancy Pelosi to hand that gavel to me, instead of me handing it to her like I did the last two Congresses.
HH: What an enormous relief that would be. Let’s turn to foreign affairs while we have a chance, Leader Boehner. Is there bipartisan support for the engagement in Afghanistan? Or are we losing the left side of the Democratic Party for this vital fight?
JB: Well, we lost the left side of the Democratic Party before whatever started. And I think the President has made sound decisions when it comes to his policy in Afghanistan. I think there are two thirds to three fourths of the Congress supporting his policies. And it’s going to be interesting to see what happens this fall, because it’s pretty clear we’re going to need more troops there, and I hope the President will do the right thing, because I believe there’s a majority in Congress willing to support him.
HH: Last question, John Boehner, the budget revision this week was stunning, to $9 trillion over ten years. Is the scale so large that the average American is losing sight of what we’re talking about with a $2 trillion dollar deficit uptick?
JB: Hugh, the numbers we’ve been talking about all year are difficult for members of Congress to deal with, and we deal with hundreds of billions and trillion dollars on a regular basis. But these numbers, you can’t comprehend. But to miss the ten year budget window by 27% over the last six months gives you some idea that if their national health care plan were to go forward, their estimate of what it’s going to cost, they’re not even in the ballpark. We’ve got a serious budget problem, it’s time for us to hold the line on spending. We’ve got to cut spending, actually.
HH: Leader Boehner, thanks. By the way, you’ll want to check the new Sports Illustrated out for a great article on the 1975 Big Red Machine, very close and near and dear to his heart and that district. It’s a great article. John Boehner, always a pleasure.
End of interview.