This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," August 6, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: All this [town hall protest] heat is apparently taking a toll on the president's poll numbers. In a new poll, 52 percent of people disapprove of the president's handling of health care. Just 39 percent approve.
Joining us live is Dick Morris, author of the book "Catastrophe." Dick, before I ask you about these polls and what they mean, what do you make of this backlash on these town hall meetings?
DICK MORRIS, DICKMORRIS.COM: Oh, I love it! I love it! In fact, I got to go attend one now!
MORRIS: That is so great that they're doing that, and it's so crucial. You know, Obama is hoping that we all go to sleep during August and he can just slip this thing through in September. And when people go to these meetings and raise all kinds of hell, it absolutely is crucial in persuading these congressmen not to jam this through.
And you know, at that town forum, when Mike Ross (ph) was, that you just played, the questioner was right and Ross was wrong. Obama wants a single-payer system. He said it in a speech in San Francisco. He just said, We can't pass it right away, so what we need to do is have a public company that's subsidized and compete with private companies that are not, drive them out of business, and then we'll have a single-payer system.
But it's his goal. That's what he wants. Same thing we have in Canada and Britain.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, what you're talking about are the -- you know, the substance, the substantive questions. I guess the thing that's sort of distressing to me is that these people -- these are -- they're voters. They're upset because they don't understand. There's a good reason they don't understand because nobody understands this 1,100 pages, and they're simply questioning their government, their representatives, and then they're being insulted by the White House and even -- I mean, even asking for e-mails as to who they -- you know, who they might be.
MORRIS: Sure. And I'm not...
VAN SUSTEREN: You know, this is not a give and a take in a debate. This is -- this is really -- this is insulting.
MORRIS: And their emotion is understandable. Somebody is trying to take away their health care. This program of the administration's is the repeal of Medicare. That's all it is. They have...
VAN SUSTEREN: But even -- but even -- but even -- how would you even know, Dick? Because, I mean, that assumes that anyone's even read this bill! That's what has gotten (INAUDIBLE)
MORRIS: Well, I have. I have. And all thousand pages of it.
VAN SUSTEREN: And you...
MORRIS: And the -- there's a commission that's set up in the executive branch to cut Medicare. That's what it's charged with. And because they know the cuts are going to be unpopular and they know people will oppose it, they're providing these cuts take effect automatically unless they're overridden by Congress, and they know that'll never happen.
And then on top of that, they're expanding coverage by 50 million people with no extra doctors. That means rationing, and that obviously means the elderly are not going to get the medical care they need. Those demonstrators are right.
VAN SUSTEREN: When this bill eventually comes back to -- I mean -- I mean, when the members of Congress come back to Washington and are going to be voting on this bill, whatever form it might be, as a practical matter, the president doesn't even have to pay attention to the Republicans because he has the numbers in the House and the Senate, if all the Democrats went his way, if he had his own party. What difference does it make to him, do you think, that it be bipartisan, that Republicans join it, if he got all the Democrats?
MORRIS: None. He could pass it if he got all the Democrats. Some of the Democrats won't go along unless some Republicans do so they have a fig leaf of bipartisan cover, even if it's just a couple of members.
But the real thing that's bothering Obama and the Democrats is not the poll numbers. They can tolerate bad poll numbers. It is the block voting of senior citizens against this package. The Democratic Party is composed of building blocks, interest groups. Republicans aren't. They're just a group of people who think the same on issues. But Democrats are blacks, plus Hispanics, plus women, plus young people, plus labor unions, plus the elderly. And when one of those blocks turns against what the Democrats are doing, the party gets scared to death.
And right now, senior citizens are by more than 20 points opposed to this program. And that is why the program may be defeated because they know that if they lose the elderly, they lose them forever. They won them over Social Security, now they'll lose him over the repeal of Medicare, and they're not prepared to do that. That's why the meetings are so important.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, it's sort of interesting because if -- I mean, all the Democratic members of Congress, the Senate, who complain about the Republicans, if instead, they'd just all -- if they all got on board themselves, I mean, you know, they could pass this, you know?
MORRIS: Yes, but...
VAN SUSTEREN: So it's really -- it's really not -- it's getting (INAUDIBLE) it's getting your own party in line.
MORRIS: Yes, but a lot of them know they wouldn't be invited back to Washington if they did that. And that's the danger. At Dickmorris.com, by the way, if people go to that -- go to my site, I have information about how you can help run advertisements in each of the districts of these swing senators that are aimed at the elderly. And that's what we have to get going.
Right now, this issue is at the cusp, 50 percent pass, 50 percent fail. I don't know which is going to happen. The compromises don't mean anything because they still will have rationing and Medicare cuts. In fact, the Blue Dogs want to cut Medicare by more. The key thing right now is to get the elderly to speak up for their medical care because for them, this is not an issue of taxes or costs, this is a matter of life and death literally!
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. How does this play out? They're going to continue to have town hall meetings, and I imagine they're going to do everything they can to sort of keep the lid on it so that it doesn't generate even more attention. The Democrats...
MORRIS: I would suggest that...
VAN SUSTEREN: ... are going to attempt to do that. So how does it -- how does this play out?
MORRIS: I think the 270 Democrats should get on a plane and take a junket to Europe and go sun themselves on a beach because if they show up in their districts, they're going to get clobbered. And I think the point is that they're learning that. And I think that this is creating a massive grass roots movement that has the White House terrified. And I think that there's a very good chance that the elderly may save their own Medicare system, thank the Lord!
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, it's sort of interesting looking at the protesters -- (INAUDIBLE) calling them protesters, I guess really they're sort of passionate voters. I don't know if they rise to the level of protester. Maybe if you get a sign, you're a protester. I don't know. But how different from what protesters usually look like. You know, you think of protesters usually looking like -- you know, usually the younger population.
MORRIS: Hey, Greta...
VAN SUSTEREN: This is very different.
MORRIS: ... these are the same guys you had in the '60s. They're just 70 now.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, except that some of the people -- some of the people who are complaining about the protesters are former protesters themselves.
MORRIS: That's right.
VAN SUSTEREN: And suddenly, they don't -- they're not quite as enamored with the 1st Amendment when -- you know...
MORRIS: This is just Woodstock grown up, you know?
VAN SUSTEREN: I guess so. It's grown up. Maybe we need a little music with it. But anyway...
MORRIS: But you know, it's so important that they get the facts on what he's doing. And that's why my wife and I wrote "Catastrophe," our book, chapter four has all of these facts. People need to read it, write their senators, write their congressmen. Don't e-mail them, write them, hand write it. Buy a postage stamp. These guys are not high-tech. Write them, tell them what you think. And even if you have a liberal senator, Barbara Boxer, write her because it makes all kinds of difference how many members of the caucus are getting deluged with mail. Drown them!
VAN SUSTEREN: I think...
MORRIS: You won't have a shot in September. Do it now!
VAN SUSTEREN: And included in that note to the representative or senator, make sure you say, Take the president up on his offer to go line by line through the bill in September so that we're confident everybody does know what he or she is voting on, whether it's good or bad. At least have the decency to read it. Anyway...
MORRIS: You've first got to, like, decide which his bill is. Haven't done that yet.
VAN SUSTEREN: Thank you.
MORRIS: Thank you.
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