Interviews

Mark Levin on the Tea Party's 5th birthday

Mark Levin discusses the Tea Party

 

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," February 27, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Well, happy fifth, Tea Party. Now just take the Fifth and scram, Tea Party, because in case you think the Tea Parties are celebrating five years on the national stage, today, a look how they're to busy fighting back at establishment still trying to give them the hook.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. NANCY PELOSI, D-CALIF., HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: The Tea Party hijacked the name Republican. I wish the Republicans would take it back.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAVUTO: Well, Nancy Pelosi might just be getting her wish, because establishment Republicans are trying to do just that.

Let's just say, five years later, those Tea Partiers are not about to let them.

Welcome, everybody. I'm Neil Cavuto.

And where does the time go? And it's their party and they could cry if they want to, but they're not, Tea Parties loaded for bear five years to the day they first growled their message to the world: too much spending, too much taxing, too much lying. So things were going to start changing, and they did, and fast, beginning with rallies across the nation that tended to grow by the month, a force that would later go on to topple Nancy Pelosi and Democrats in the House and make one John Boehner speaker of that House.

But for all of their commotion, the mainstream media treated Tea Partiers as quaint as best and racist as worst. Not fair, not balanced, not remotely right. A double standard that pointed out then and point out now showed no standards. Tea Partiers were crackpots. Occupy Wall Streeters were just cool. Tea Partiers defending the flag, well, the wacky right. Occupiers burning the flag, just right on.

Cutting taxes was selfish, living off bigger government saintly. Anti- spending was bad. Anti-war, well, good. Reading the Constitution in public, pathetic. Ripping it up in public, profound. Tea Parties divisive. Those Occupiers, well, they were incisive.

Those covering Tea Party rallies cracked. Those covering anti-Tea Party rallies cool. I saw it for myself just as a reporter out there covering them. The message from the mainstream, just ignore them, even though there was hardly anything sinister about any of them.

No matter. This was not about killing the messengers. This was an all-out push against their message, and it popped up again today. Take a look.

The mainstream media constantly slamming it, to those in power having none of it, to no less than the president of the United States mocking it, the powerful Democrats who were demonizing it, even Republicans turning their back on it, but after five years under fire, Tea Partiers still fired up and having none of it, today upping the ante and sending a warning to both parties: We have had enough of it and we have had enough of you.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. RAND PAUL, R-KY.: I have got good news for you though and bad news. The good news is, your government is open. The bad news is, your government is open...

(LAUGHTER)

PAUL: ... and still borrowing over a million dollars every minute.

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN, R-MINN.: Took the gavel out of Nancy Pelosi's hand in 2012. You did that.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MARK LEVIN, TALK RADIO HOST: You will not allow your country to fail.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Freedom and liberty, use them or lose them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAVUTO: To radio talk show host Mark Levin, one of the speakers addressing that crowd today, as he has almost from the very beginning.

Mark, good to have you. Of course, it's been a very different five years, hasn't it? Controversy in the beginning, but at least it wasn't that way among Republicans. Now it's as if Tea Party types and their message is anathema to a lot of Republicans. What do you make of that?

LEVIN: Well, what I make of it is, the Republican Party has lost its sway.

And but for the Tea Party movement, which is an American grassroots movement which promotes basic American values, fiscal integrity, limited federal government, constitutionalism and so forth, there would be no national voice for we, the people.

So, it's not so much that so many of us have lost our way. It's that Washington has lost its way, and you can see it every single day, the way that they spend, the way that they borrow. And so what has happened over a five-year period?

They have unleashed their consultants, their media. They have used the floor of the Senate and the floor of the House to disparage and malign the American people. The Tea Party is a big chunk of the American people. That's what it is.

CAVUTO: Do you think it's a third party?

LEVIN: I don't think it's a third party yet, but if the Republican Party continues to trash the Tea Party, that could happen.

Look, Reagan in 1976 was right. He said, what is the point of a third party, when all we're going to do is continue to elect the left? What the Tea Party is doing is, rather than rallying to the very people who ignore them, who trash them, who will not respond to them in a positive way, they have now gone into primaries, some success, some not, just like the Republicans, just like the Democrats.

And they have organized in different ways, which is why they're feared. If they weren't feared, if they weren't a power, they would be ignored.

CAVUTO: Do you think that many in the mainstream, though, Mark, see the Tea Party now as more disruptive than helpful?

LEVIN: I hope so, and I think so.

I mean, I see these billionaires coming on your show now and then, like fellow Langone.

CAVUTO: Ken Langone.

LEVIN: And he can back a Chris Christie and turn around and back a Cuomo.

People are sick and tired of this. That's utterly unprincipled. We don't want these parties to work together. We want to protect the country, preserve the republic, get back to limited government. Billionaires and millionaires are not affected so much by what is going on here, Obamacare, Dodd-Frank, high taxes, economic dislocation.

We're tired of social engineering coming out of Washington and all these places. There's only one voice in opposition. And that is the collective Tea Party movement. And I'm here to tell you, I went to this event. Five years later, this is a strong, vibrant, thoughtful, smart group of people. I can't speak for all of them. But they're not going anywhere.

You want to know why, Neil? There's nowhere to go.

CAVUTO: But when you say you don't want the parties working together, even Ronald Reagan found a way for the parties to work together, to his -- largely his agenda. But what -- what is so wrong with them working together?

LEVIN: I don't -- I don't want these two parties, with this leadership, working together, because what it results in is massive big-government spending.

What it results in is amnesty. What it results in is a deterioration of the value of the dollar, unlimited, unfunded liabilities. If that is working together, we have to break that up. You cannot break up the ruling class and kiss it at the same time.

CAVUTO: What do you make of -- Ken Langone had this argument. My friend Stuart Varney had this argument when he was here. I disagreed strongly with it.

But the sentiment goes something like this: You have to keep your powder dry for the big battle. And the big battle is the midterm elections, keeping the focus on Obamacare, let a lot of this stuff slide right now, including threats of government shutdown, so we can keep our eyes on the proverbial prize.

What do you say?

LEVIN: This is the Washington-Manhattan corridor mind-set. Put the battle off to the next day. Put the battle off to the next day.

The next day is here. We have $100 trillion in unfunded liabilities. What happened, Neil, when he had a Republican House and Senate and a Republican president last time? They were the most profligate spenders in American history before we got to Obama.

This isn't about a baseball game where we root for this team or that team. We need to change the game. We need to get our players on the field. That is people who are serious about...

CAVUTO: Well, who are they, Mark? Who are those players?

LEVIN: Well, I'm not going sit here and give a whole list. They're people, generally speaking, who are -- who are going to put the Constitution, the fiscal nature of this country first, who are going to stop lying...

CAVUTO: All right, so give me a couple of names. Would you indulge me?

LEVIN: Well, they're quite obvious. They're Tea Party victors. You can talk Ted Cruz and Mike Lee and Rand Paul, in many respects Rubio. And there's -- on the House side, there's a number of people.

But what's the point?

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: You didn't put Chris Christie in that bunch.

LEVIN: No, of course not. Ken Langone supports him. Doesn't that tell you everything you need to know?

I mean, Chris Christie is the billionaire's favorite Republican. Look, these guys who keep talking in platitudes, we got to work together, work together. Work together to do what? I want to know, what? What are they going to do about the $100 trillion unfunded liability? That's the question that needs to be asked to every single one of them, because it is going to destroy our country.

Neil, they keep talking about repealing Obamacare, repealing -- have you seen a repeal proposal? What exactly in Obamacare are they going to repeal? A bunch of Republican governors just said they don't want to repeal it anymore.

CAVUTO: Yes, that's what I was just going to follow up on. And, by the way, just to clarify for folks listening, we do have a nearly $14 trillion debt. When Mark refers to the unfunded liabilities, that's when you get up to close to $100 trillion. So, you're quite right about that.

But let me ask you a little bit about what these Republican governors are saying, because talk about shooting the message here. The message among these Republicans who are putting it all on Obamacare, making that the front-and-center issues, these Republican governors are saying, you know, when push comes to shove, we're not going to be able to get rid of this thing.

So therein lies the whole reason for -- for this caving on these issues was taken away, because they don't think that they're going to be able to punt this thing away.

LEVIN: The double-talk is not going fly anymore, and not just with Republicans.

And there's a lot of people out there who can identify with a Democrat one election, a Republican another election, or sit out an election altogether. These people need leadership. And they need people who are going to talk straight with them, not straight, oh, we got to work together.

No, no, no, we have got to change the trajectory of the nation, and we have got to do it soon.

CAVUTO: Do you think that it veers or that you risk, Mark -- and you and I have chatted about this before -- that, with the best of intentions, you risk creating such a fire on the right, that you lose all the right, and that it gets to be so extreme, so nasty, so vituperative, that you really can't get it back?

LEVIN: You know, I'm going to tell you something, Neil.

The largest group from a philosophical and political perspective in this country are conservatives, conservative Democrats, conservative Republicans, conservatives who are -- who are disgusted with all parties and both parties and politics.

Reagan made the point in 1976. He said it's -- we don't run away from this group. This is the biggest group of Americans in the nation. We need to embrace them. We need to organize them. We need give them a reason to vote. He said this in '76, when he was taking on a sitting president, Gerald Ford, who claimed to be a conservative.

When Ford lost, he blamed it on Reagan. And then in 1980, the Bush family rose up and Bob Dole and Howard Baker to try and stop Reagan. They said, he cannot win. He's an extremist, the same kind of language that -- it not yours, but you're -- as the devil's advocate, you're pointing out.

The point is, an articulate, knowledgeable conservative with an articulate -- articulable agenda who can do it with confidence and to connect with the American people is going to win.

CAVUTO: I don't see that yet among the cast of characters. It's still early. I see people who can articulate some of that. But Ronald Reagan had an ability to sort of coalesce all of that.

LEVIN: No.

As a matter of fact, in '74 and '75, he was trashed heavily by The Wall Street Journal. He was trashed heavily within his own party.

CAVUTO: Oh, I know, the voodoo economics things.

I'm just saying, today, of that crowd, when you mentioned the Cruzes and the Rand Pauls and the others, do you think that they would be able to bring all of that together in an appealing way to the American public that, for some reason or another, looks at a lot of these guys with a raised eyebrow?

LEVIN: Well, I don't know. We're going to find out.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: Well, I want you to know. That's what you're -- you're -- you're a rock star to them. You should know.

LEVIN: That's the nature of the political process, isn't it?

CAVUTO: Yes.

LEVIN: But I will tell you what will lose, because I just saw it, a Romney, a McCain, a Dole, another Bush.

CAVUTO: Yes.

LEVIN: That, I know will lose.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: But, you know, you have also been critical of Fox News. I have been listening to you. And you rap some personalities on Fox and all.

LEVIN: Sometimes.

(LAUGHTER)

CAVUTO: Do you hate Fox now?

LEVIN: Oh, I love Fox.

CAVUTO: Tell the truth.

LEVIN: You know, when I was a school board member, a teacher union president got up in the audience once and said to me, why do you hate teachers? I said, I love teachers. I just hate your union.

I love Fox. There's a number of people on Fox who are my friends. You're my friend. And there's some people I disagree with. Why can't I voice that?

CAVUTO: OK. You just seem a little thin-skinned right now.

LEVIN: No, I want Fox to -- I want Fox to exist for as long as possible.

CAVUTO: All right.

LEVIN: MSLSD, now, there's waste of carbon footprint right over there.

(LAUGHTER)

CAVUTO: Mark, I knew we would end on a little funny note there.

It's always good having you.

LEVIN: God bless you, my brother.

CAVUTO: Mark Levin, agree or disagree with him, he is a force to be reckoned with, whether those on the left like it or not.

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