Interviews

Mark Levin: 'We need a new Republican Party'

D.C. spending in focus as 5-year anniversary of stimulus nears

 

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," February 14, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Well, talk about impeccable timing.

You know, five years ago, almost to today, all of this really got going. All that spending for what amounted to nothing, it really just got going five years ago.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that I will sign today is the most sweeping economic recovery package in our history.

CAVUTO: After the rush, the reality, the rush to get a whopping $800 billion stimulus bill done and signed into law, the reality, to see what we get for our trouble now that it is.

Get this done, get this done, get this done, and now a lot people who signed onto this, they didn't even read the damn thing.

VICE PRESIDENT JOSEPH BIDEN: We know some of this money is going to be wasted.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're sending out $787 billion, you need a level of oversight that we have never seen before.

CAVUTO: You know what, Jared?

This is not for some fancy-schmancy vacation or a corporate retreat. It is the location of a meeting planned for the White House panel overseeing stimulus waste and fraud. I -- I kid you not.

More than 730 allegations of fraud reported so far -- questions about how all of that money is being spent, including to study the impact on cocaine use on monkeys.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO, R-FLA.: The only lasting impact of the stimulus is going to be the debt that it leaves behind for generations.

CAVUTO: And $1.2 million for an abandoned train station, converting into a museum. Almost 300 grand spent on reducing menopausal hot flashes through yoga. The freezing process for rat sperm. Well, it's enough to make you go menopausal, but I'm a male.

MITT ROMNEY, R-FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If we're going to be spending some additional money, we want to spend those dollars on things that are absolutely essential. Grass for the mall is probably not one of them.

CAVUTO: And $150,000 for a New Hampshire bridge quite literally to nowhere because it stops in the middle.

Then thousands of road ramps that don't seem to be going anywhere, including this beaut in New Jersey that leads right into a cement wall and, appropriately, some graffiti.

OBAMA: The true engine of economic growth will always be companies like Solyndra.

CAVUTO: Never mind the solar company the president backed up that just went belly up and then coughed up 1,100 jobs and a half-billion taxpayer dollars. Now talk of more dollars, hundreds of millions more dollars.

RON PAUL, R-FORMER U.S. CONGRESSMAN: This incident is just proof- positive of why the government should stay out of this kind of business totally and completely.

CAVUTO: Wait a minute. Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, whoa, whoa, whoa.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: There was a study on...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, there was.

CAVUTO: ... people's reaction to the stimulus funded by the stimulus?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Yes.

CAVUTO: Well, that's like those like fun house mirror things, you know?

(LAUGHTER)

CAVUTO: Forget about the billions of stimulus, tax cheats, prisoners, coke monkeys, dead people. President Obama said today that Vice President Joe Biden has done such a wonderful job policing waste in his Recovery Act that he is now taking his -- well, his Recovery Act government-wide.

OBAMA: This recovery plan will create or save 3.5 million jobs.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: Why will spending more work?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These programs did create jobs, but not net creation.

CAVUTO: You're the chief economist there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely.

CAVUTO: Where did get your degree, I mean, at a baking school? Where are you cooking up these numbers?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, that's an insult.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're a joker.

CAVUTO: The fact of the matter is, we spent a trillion dollars.

You have said it's going to get me 3.5 million new jobs. That, I can understand. If told you I'm going to lose 20 pounds, you would say, all right, Neil, from what figure, where you are now, or from the 20 pounds you're likely to gain this year? That's what you're doing. You're doing the latter. You're -- you're -- you're changing the math midstream.

DICK ARMEY, FORMER REPUBLICAN HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER: I think this is a shameless sham, quite frankly, to try to prop up some line of credibility behind a program that is an abject failure.

OBAMA: We're seeing shovels hit the ground.

Shovel-ready shovels will soon be moving earth.

Shovel-ready.

CAVUTO: Well, they were shoveling something, but it was not jobs. And don't say I didn't warn you; 99.51 percent say I was right on shovel-ready jobs. Eight individuals have said the president was right.

The URL seems to all emanate from the White House on those eight individuals.

(LAUGHTER)

OBAMA: Shovel ready was not as shovel-ready as we expected.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CAVUTO: And I forgot about the rat sperm. But I do remember all that other wasteful spending. I do remember it was everywhere, those ramps to nowhere, the coke monkeys, the president and the keep on shoveling thing.

Another billion bucks today, on top of a farm bill loaded with, well, a trillion bucks in pork. And that hike in the debt limit? Not even a peep from Republicans to attach any type of restraint to any of this.

Why conservative radio talk show host Mark Levin says it's time to take the shovel away now.

But, Mark, we don't do that. We're just doubling down and doing more of it.

MARK LEVIN, TALK RADIO HOST: You know, Neil, as I watched that segment there, I thought to myself, do you realize you could combine all the financial crimes, all the fraud and waste all in the private sector throughout our entire history, and it wouldn't meet one year of waste, fraud, and abuse by the federal government, which is approximately a quarter-of-a-trillion dollars a year, according to the General Accountability Office.

If these men talking and lying and spinning, called politicians, were in the private sector, they would be doing life terms for financial crimes. We have $100 trillion in unfunded liabilities, $17.3 trillion in federal -- in fiscal operating debt.

This debt ceiling increase will kick it to about $18.2 trillion. Let me tell you something. I am sick and tired of defeatist Republicans going on and on, you got to count the numbers. Leaders affect events. Leaders change mind-sets. Leaders change trajectories.

Today, we're told the Republican Party can't do anything about trillions in unfunded liabilities and debt. Just keep voting for debt ceiling increases. Keep funding ObamaCare. Let me tell you something. Whom among the Republican leaders is explaining day in and day out the coming, the looming catastrophe?

You need to communicate this in real human terms to the people.

CAVUTO: But they don't.

LEVIN: No, they don't.

CAVUTO: Mark, they do not.

And what worries me right now, even people I like and respect -- I was with my buddy Stuart Varney yesterday on this subject -- that you have got to keep your eye on the prize, Neil. You have got to keep your eye on the end of this year, and even though you give up all your principles leading up to the end of this year, the very week we sign off on a trillion-dollar farm bill for which we have not a penny, and now another billion dollars to address, you know, climate change -- I have no idea -- with money we don't have.

So it's not as if Republicans even tried to attach anything to the debt celling. And when I -- when I ask people about this, they said, well, the numbers weren't there, the votes weren't there. Well, who the hell cares? Give it a try.

LEVIN: Well, here's the problem.

When people say -- and he's not the only one -- you have to win first, what do you do? You go to the American people and say, we have to win first? They go, who the hell are you? What -- win what?

CAVUTO: And, by the way, you look very transparent saying that. No, this is all to keep our eye on the prize, and we're going to hang our hats on this health care.

God forbid the media should start changing its coverage of the health care law and start saying, hey, it's looking good. Then the one thing you were hanging your hat on is going to be the one thing you're kicked in the fanny on.

LEVIN: Well, you know, it's a funny thing. We conservatives and the American people, we can walk and chew gum at the same time. There's a lot going on in this country that is very, very bad, and we need to address it.

Otherwise, why do these people get into politics in the first place? The American people need to be told, if this continues for many more years, they're going to lose their pensions, they're going to lose their savings, they're going to lose their college funds, and the value of the currency is going to crash. This is a fact. They need to be told this day in...

CAVUTO: Yes, but John Boehner has more or less told the Tea Partiers and more or less told the conservatives and more or less told the Mark Levins, look, why don't you just sit on it, because we're winning with this strategy, we're getting our way on this strategy, and never mind you guys made me Speaker John Boehner. I'm going to do the unspeakable to you and have you sit this one out, and we're going to win this.

What do you say?

LEVIN: The country is bigger than John Boehner, or Mitch McConnell, for that matter, or any single man or even political group.

We're talking about here preserving the republic. Economies do crash. Societies do crash. We just went through it a few years ago with the housing market, which was spurred by the government policies with mortgages and so forth. We can't keep going through this, and we're not going to.

CAVUTO: Yes, but you know how they come back, Mark? With the notion that, look, they're going to get pasted with the label they shut the government down.

I said, well, why is it a given that the government would have to be shut down just -- just trying to rein in spending or attach something to spending...

LEVIN: OK, listen to me.

CAVUTO: ... as we have done countless times and many times we hiked the debt ceiling?

But none of them -- they're afraid of their own shadow, and I always think, well, it's the Democrats who have your number then. They have got your number. They know you're panicked about this, so you're not going to do anything about this, so no wonder why we see more spending coming down, because they know that Republicans are not going to do squat about it.

LEVIN: There's two things about this.

Number one, they don't fear Boehner or McConnell because they have surrendered from day one. Obama has been in office five-and-a-half years. He's never really, seriously had to face opposition from a real strong Republican Party. That is -- that is number one.

Number two, you don't just fight a battle three weeks before the battle is coming. You need to have a strategy. Example, the next debt ceiling is March 2015. Start today. Make the case. Explain it to the American people, rather than go on Jay Leno's show, slouch in the chair and act like an ass...

(LAUGHTER)

LEVIN: ... and go on and on about, oh, yes, yes, we shut down the government.

No, we didn't shut down the government.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: Well, do you get annoyed then, Mark, when people -- actually, you are singled out, Rush Limbaugh is singled out, Sean Hannity is singled out, as guys who get in the way of the Republicans grabbing victory, that you guys will turn it around and grab defeat from the otherwise certain jaws of victory?

LEVIN: Who lost the Senate and the House in 2006? I think the Republican Party, George Bush and Karl Rove, lost the Senate and House in 2006.

Who gave them the House in 2010? I think the Tea Party. And they're holding on, the establishment, with their -- with their fingertips on to the Senate, trashing conservatives, making -- sleeping in bed with the U.S. chamber of crony capitalism. And that's why they can't win the Senate.

CAVUTO: But, Mark, I think they're saying now, whether they have got their oats or their backbone or whatever, they're saying, ah, the hell with you, Levin. Eat it.

LEVIN: I don't give a damn what they say. I don't work for them and they mean nothing to me. As a matter of fact, if I had my way, they're gone.

I have seen leaders. I have worked for leaders. And leaders change events. Leaders affect the future. And they have arguments. They don't stand there, talk with marbles in their mouth, trash their own party and so forth.

Look, it's a party right now. We need a new Republican Party. We need new leaders. I have seen it. I have seen it with Reagan. I have seen it with Gingrich, say what you will. There are men, there are women out there who are waiting in the wings who can lead this party and make a case.

But I want to say this, because it happens a lot on your network. We need the win. We need the numbers.

You don't just win and get numbers by running for office. You have to make your case day in and day out and explain to the American people how this affects them directly. Screw the Chamber of Commerce. This needs to be a conservative, bottom-up, grassroots party.

CAVUTO: All right. All right.

Mark, next time, come back and let me know where you stand, because you're kind of wishy-washy on this one.

LEVIN: God bless.

CAVUTO: Always good having you, Mark Levin.

It is incredible.

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