O'Reilly and Hume Discuss Limbaugh's Claim That Obama Wants to Destroy the U.S. Economy

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," November 2, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: Now for the top story tonight: reaction [to criticism of President Obama]. Joining us from Washington, FOX News senior political analyst Brit Hume. Do you think he wants to purposely destroy the economy?

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BRIT HUME, FOX NEWS SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, if by that, Bill, you mean dismantle the entire economy, obviously not. No president who did that, just as you say, could be re-elected. And unemployment would go through the moon. And we'd have no wealth at all.

If, on the other hand, what Rush Limbaugh was getting at by saying that was that he wants to do away with the economy as we have recently known it, basically a lower tax system than we see and elsewhere around the world, more lightly regulated, a more freewheeling capitalist economy, well, that's a different matter entirely.

O'REILLY: Well, but that's not what he said.

HUME: And one does sense that he would like to deal with that.

O'REILLY: If you listen to Mr. Limbaugh closely, he said look, no economist worth a damn would take any of these moves, the bailouts, all of that stuff. That's not exactly true. I mean, Lawrence Summers and these guys are brilliant guys. They may be wrong, but certainly they're not idiots. And then he said, and this is a widely held belief if you listen to talk radio, it's a widely held belief on the right, that President Obama's ultimate goal is to turn the nation into a socialist country and he wants to dismantle the capitalistic system. Brit, that's all over the place.

HUME: Well, that is all over the place, and certainly the consequences of policies that the president has adopted would lead us more in that direction. We'd be a, as I say, more heavily taxed, a more heavily regulated economy, an economy that gets more of its direction from Washington than from politicians than has traditionally been the case. That would certainly be some of the effect of Obamacare. So, if he moves — if he moves the nation more in that direction, certainly that's true. Whether he would — whether he wants to take us all the way to a pure socialist economy, I would certainly have doubts about that.

O'REILLY: OK. Now, you're not an ideologue. You have strongly held beliefs, but I've never heard you analyze a situation from a conservative or liberal viewpoint. I mean, you don't do that. Do you object when that's done?

HUME: Well, no, because, I mean, I think it's a perfectly appropriate thing to do. I mean, people believe in their ideologies in America, I think, for practical reasons because they think that, for example, freewheeling capitalism…

O'REILLY: Is better for them.

HUME: ...individual liberty is better for the country.

O'REILLY: Better for them, right.

HUME: Better for the country.

O'REILLY: Right.

HUME: Strong national defense, the things that we associate with conservatism.

Liberals believe, on the other hand, that that leaves the door open to too much injustice and too much inequality and too much danger of involving us in conflicts around the world that we shouldn't be involved in, and that we're better off going in another direction. Those are honest, ideological differences.

O'REILLY: But let's take…

HUME: And they don't spring necessarily from selfish motives.

O'REILLY: But here's my problem with it. Let's take the health care bill, OK? There are left-wing people in this country who will support any kind of government health care bill that comes down. They don't care what it says. They're not going to read the 2,000 pages Nancy Pelosi is spitting out there. Nobody could possibly read it and figure it out. It's impossible, OK? But on the left, there are people that say if President Obama and Nancy Pelosi want it, I'm for it. I don't believe that gets us anywhere. I think that's just lemming-like behavior. Am I wrong?

HUME: Well, people, I think, sense a direction. And they sense a direction with which they generally sympathize. And they sense in the politicians who are trying to take them there someone that they can trust, someone that they think has the same values that they do. And therefore, they can trust the work product that these people are working toward. That is what people I think feel about both Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama.

O'REILLY: But the facts belie that.

HUME: Certain people feel that those people can be trusted to lead.

O'REILLY: The facts belie — look, you got 2,000 pages, OK? Have you seen this thing? It is incomprehensible.

HUME: Oh, it's a behemoth.

O'REILLY: But not only is it a behemoth…

HUME: Well.

O'REILLY: ...it's incomprehensible. You don't know what they're saying. They can't say it so that anybody can understand it.

HUME: Well.

O'REILLY: So any American is going to go I'm not going to support something that's going to cost a trillion dollars, could put the country in bankruptcy if things don't go well economically if I don't understand it. Would you buy a car you didn't know how to run no matter how long you're in there? No.

HUME: Well, of course not, Bill. But remember this about something that's been reduced to what's called bill language, to legislative language. Those measures are always incomprehensible. They are absolutely laced with references to previous existing law and sections of the U.S. Code. They are, to a layman, incomprehensible. They are incomprehensible to members of Congress.

O'REILLY: 2,000 pages, Brit? 2,000 pages?

HUME: Absolutely. Look, I'm not saying that's a good thing. But I'm saying that embedded in those 2,000 pages of legislative language, largely incomprehensible, is a set of concepts. And that there are people in this country, who are mostly liberals, who think that those concepts take us in the right direction. Conservatives disagree. They want to see…

O'REILLY: But they don't know what direction it is.

HUME: …us either stay where we are and go another direction…

O'REILLY: No liberal or conservative could figure out what the direction is. All it is is basically the government saying trust us. We're going to run the health care industry, 1/6 of the economy. Trust us. You know…

HUME: Well, I would…

O'REILLY: I would say to myself, no, I'm not going to trust you. This is impossible.

HUME: I would quibble with you on this point. I think they understand the direction. They don't understand — they may not grasp all the specifics. And they certainly don't know, and nobody really can, what the unintended consequences will be, which I think is what a lot of conservatives and opponents of this are worried about. The unintended consequences of change on this scale undertaken all at once in one bill. It is — there's a long history of things like that not working out very well. And there is certainly, Bill, a very long history of new entitlement programs introduced, voted into law with cost estimates that turned out to be only a fraction of what it will end up costing.


Real quick. Now there — even if this was the best bill in the world, and it did give a fair shake to poor Americans and getting them into the health care system, there would be some conservatives who would oppose it because they don't like Barack Obama, and whatever he does, they're not going to like it.

HUME: There are certainly people who are going to oppose this based on blind allegiance to a politician or a blind dislike of that politician. We see that all the time. We see it in the hateful nature of males that are sitting on both sides. None of us likes it, and it's not a particularly attractive feature of our system. It's always been there, and I don't think we're going to be able to get rid of that.

O'REILLY: All right, Brit. Thanks very much as always.

HUME: Thank you.

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