This is a rush transcript from "Glenn Beck," August 21, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
ERIC BOLLING, GUEST HOST: The health care debate is raging across the country, facing massive GOP opposition. Now, you hear people talk a lot about reconciliation and the nuclear option when it comes to getting a bill passed. But beware of politicians speaking jargon, some of the words become more confusing. What does it really mean?
Joining me now is our guest, Ann Coulter, syndicated columnist and author of the best-selling book, "Guilty."
Ann, thanks for coming on the program. You know, we've been watching this thing and it goes from — I don't know — a single-payer system to the government plan, the option, then to the co-ops, and now, it comes to — hey, you know, this thing may be forced through with what we're calling a "nuclear option."
What does this really mean?
ANN COULTER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: If it's forced through under reconciliation, what it means is a massive Republican victory in next year's congressional elections, repealing whatever they put through. I mean, I don't know if the Democrats are going to do that. They could. That's why Americans should pay attention to elections and be careful about putting a lot of Democrats in office, if they don't want socialism, because that's what the Democrats are trying to push through here.
As you said in your intro just now, they dropped the public option, well now, you know, the same thing with a new name — co-ops. As long as they have government control of medical care, you're not going to be able to buy it like you buy everything else — like you buy computers and milk and dog-walking services and manicures. And we don't have a crisis in any of those things because we don't have massive government regulations over those things.
You know, let the free market operate and medical care will get better and costs will come down as the free market has historically proven to do in every possible arena of commerce.
BOLLING: So, Ann, so this latest nuclear option — reconciliation — by the way, reconciliation equals nuclear option or are these two separate terms?
COULTER: I gather nuclear option is being used to describe reconciliation. I don't think reconciliation is appropriate here. It's generally — I didn't — I didn't work on budget issues when I worked in the Senate. I worked on judicial issues. But as I recall, reconciliation has to do with the budget, you know, so you don't have a government shutdown. We're not going to have a government shutdown if we don't get socialist health care.
But what it is, it's a way of moving bills quickly through the Senate where it's very easy for the minority to hold things up with filibusters and so on. This would require only 51 votes, but I don't think there is an argument for doing that.
I'm not really sure what's going on. I mean, I think it looks good — it's good for Obama to be attacked by his crazy left-wing base. I don't think that's what his plan is, but in point of fact, this health care fight could end up saving his presidency the same way that health care fight, the gays in the military, the assault-weapon ban ended up saving Bill Clinton's presidency by leading to the first Republican Congress in 40 years.
And, you know, after his first two years in office and making a mess of things, basically, all Bill Clinton did was sign a bill sent up to him by Newt Gingrich and the Republican Congress. Thus, he spends, you know, the rest of his next presidential run and the rest of his life bragging about welfare reform, something that he was dragged, kicking and screaming to sign. He bragged about, you know, getting the deficit the down and cutting taxes, something he was also dragged into kicking and screaming in to sign. He raised taxes. The Republicans cut taxes. So, his presidency was a success once the Republican Congress got a hold of it.
And if the Democrats push through this socialist health care, which is vastly unpopular with Americans, no matter how much they make fun of these town hall protesters and claim that it's "Astroturf," you know, that is something — that is something politicians are paid to know the difference.
COULTER: And they know these are their real constituents.
BOLLING: Let's stay on that town hall issue for a second, Ann. The way I see it is, hey, this thing would have been pushed through if it weren't for these town halls, so a darn good thing we've had some town halls.
Do you agree?
COULTER: Oh, yes, and I hate to sound like Bill O'Reilly and Glenn Beck, but it was not the Republicans here who stopped it, the elected Republicans. It was the American people. I mean, I will say — in defense of Republicans — they wouldn't propose something this ridiculous.
And as I mentioned in my column this week, even John McCain proposed during the campaign last year, the only thing that needs to be done that would solve 90 percent of the problems with health care and that is lift the government regulations, allow interstate commerce in health insurance.
That's all you need to do. It solves rationing. It solves pre-existing conditions. It solves people being able to carry insurance from when they lose their job or change states.
That's all they need to be done and Joe Biden attacked him for that. So, even the worst Republicans are better than the best Democrats.
BOLLING: Let me show you a little bit of a Democratic town hall. Remember this video from Democratic Congressman Sheila Jackson Lee? Here she appears to be talking on her cell phone as a constituent was asking her a really, really important question during the town hall meeting. She said she was actually calling into a health care hotline to better help her constituents.
I talked to her, Ann — listen to this — I talked to her about this incident.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. SHEILA JACKSON LEE, D-TEXAS: I have not seen the tape. I think it might have been a little doctored, because I don't recall being on with her. But I will tell you that I was utilizing a hotline in order to be able to give the best information I could that has been set up to help us know line and verse.
But more importantly, it wasn't a call that I took. It was a call that I specifically made to be helpful and I was engaged. If you look at that tape that I'm told, I didn't see it, I'm pointing — my hands were pointing out. I was actually engaged, not in the back room, not with my back turned.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLLING: You know, and then I go on to beg to differ with her being engaged, maybe she was actually engaged with her cell phone call. So, what about it? Is this the Democrats just being completely out of touch with the American people?
COULTER: It is the Democrats being Democrats, which is Marie Antoinette government. I posted on my interview — Greta Van Susteren's interview with the woman who was asking the question and she said — the woman who was asking the question as Representative Lee was taking a cell phone call — that what the representative kept doing was taking phone calls and then giving a shoutout to, you know, a local commissioner or something, and I want to say hello to municipal Judge Jones or whatever.
So, yes, this is — you think it's bad in a town hall meeting, wait until you're trying to get your health care and dealing with government bureaucrats.
And these are the ones who are accountable!
BOLLING: All right. Ann, stick around for a second. I want to bring in someone else.
President Obama today tried to reassure supporters that the public option is still on the table. Take a listen:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: One of the options we talked about was a public option, where there wouldn't be a profit motive involved, it would be non-for-profit, and that public option would give you affordable health insurance.
Now, what we've said is, we think that's a good idea. But we haven't said that that's the only aspect of health insurance. And what she essentially said was, is that all these other insurance reforms are just as important as the public option.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLLING: All right. A recent Rasmussen Poll shows that support among Democrats drops when the public option is taken out of the government plan.
Joining me now is former advisor to Bill Clinton and FOX News contributor, Doug Schoen.
Doug, is this as bad as it seems to me for the Democrats?
DOUG SCHOEN, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: I think it's getting that way, Eric. I mean, I obviously don't go as far as Ann, but I do believe that support for the president is dropping; support for health reform is dropping, precisely for the reason that you can see on that videotape. Because at the end of the day, we're not quite clear what the president supports and what he doesn't support.
BOLLING: Doug, I'm going to stop you right here. I remember when he was campaigning, even after he was elected, even after the stimulus program, he said, look, it's imperative the public — the government option be involved in the new health care bill. It was imperative, it was essential, and now, it's becoming "he prefers it."
Where is it? I'm confused.
SCHOEN: You know, I'm confused, too. Over the weekend, it was gone. It was back. It was never off the table. And today, it's part of it, but not an essential element, and there are other core principles.
As this happens, Eric, the polls dropped because the American people don't know what he supports and Democrats who are committed to the public option are getting nervous as well as the Republicans.
BOLLING: Ann, what happens here if go ahead and use this nuclear option and put something through, you get a health care bill with 51 votes in the Senate, and then in 2010 comes along and people say, hey, you know, somewhere around 65 - 70 percent of us were against any sort of reform bill — what happens in 2010?
COULTER: I think it would be a very bad year for the Democrats. Americans don't want the Orwellian-ly named "public option." I mean, it's not an option whether or not you pay for it — oh no, all taxpayers have to pay for it. And for a while, they were changing the name to the co-op, which would also be government subsidization.
And their idea — as FOX News has demonstrated by interviewing the likes of Barney Frank — the public option is the camel's nose in the tent. This is how they plan to drive out all private options in the market.
Curiously, Obama compared the public option to just, you know, like the Post Office, which, A, we don't think of as being particularly efficient. But he was trying to make the point you still have FedEx and UPS competing with the Post Office.
Well, what most people don't know, including apparently the president, is, there is a law prohibiting competition with the Post Office. There are narrow exceptions carved out for FedEx and UPS. I have linked to that on my Web page, the law — the federal law prohibiting competition with the post office.
OK. If that's what from the horse's mouth the public option is going to be like the post office, so will there be a law prohibiting competition with the government's option?
BOLLING: Doug, the post office stands to lose about $7 billion this year alone.
BOLLING: It's $10 billion in debt — $1 billion cash shortage.
BOLLING: That, I think, was a major flub on his part. He should never have compared his bill...
BOLLING: ...to a failing government-sponsored enterprise.
SCHOEN: Well, I agree with that. And part of the problem, Eric, is because the idea of the public option and how it's going to work has not been well-thought out. He's been grasping at straws.
What the president needs to do is get a deal. He needs to get Democratic consensus and get agreement around the principles he talked about today, which is reducing costs, competition, incrementally covering the uninsured and making sure that pre-existing conditions and portability are in place. If he can do that and get consensus, he can avoid the problems Ann is talking about. But right now, we're heading in the wrong direction.
BOLLING: Ann, I'm going to throw it over to you real quickly. What's the most important thing if you get any of the Republican or GOP onboard for this bill? Is it — I don't know — tort reform or what Doug talked about, portability and pre-existing conditions?
COULTER: Well, I totally agree with what — I totally agree with what Doug just said. The fundamental problem is that there is no example in history of what the Democrats want to do to get portability and pre- existing conditions and et cetera, et cetera.
The way you do that is lift all the government regulations that are limiting competition, that are creating a partial monopoly.
The Democrats refuse to understand that. But it's something genetic with them. They do not understand the free market. You can solve 90 percent of the health care problems in this country with a two-sentence bill allowing interstate commerce in health insurance.
BOLLING: That's right, Ann. I agree with you.
COULTER: ... and the price of health insurance goes down.
BOLLING: I'm going to go and I stand by your side, Ann, I agree with you 100 percent, interstate commerce and also that tort reform.
Again, we'll have to live it there, Ann Coulter and Doug Schoen. Thank you very much.
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