On Wednesday’s broadcast of “Hannity” on the Fox News Channel, conservative talker Mark Levin reacted to the latest news of the Veterans Administration hospitals scandal.
Transcript as follows:
HANNITY: Sir, it’s been a long time, Mr. Levin. We got to get you out of that bunker and on this show. Good to see you.
LEVIN: It’s a pleasure. How are you?
HANNITY: Good. All right, let — first your reaction to the president’s speech, especially three speeches about the military three days in a row, and yet he’s not really addressing the real problem. We have VA — we have vets dying because of the VA scandal. What’s your reaction?
LEVIN: My reaction is for watching a man who’s degrading the United States military, from the recruits all the way to the vets — and you listen to that clip that you just played, do you count how many times he’s talking about himself again? This is really a problem we have with this president. This isn’t about him.
You know, Putin’s watching this. The red Chinese communists are watching this, enemies all over the world, our allies, too, of course, and what are they taking away from this? They’re taking away that this is not a leader. He’s not a commander-in-chief. He’s unilaterally disarming the United States. He goes to West Point and he tells these warriors, these men who are trained to be warriors, these women who are trained to be warriors, Don’t worry, I’m not sending you overseas.
I’m not into reckless interventionism, these democracy projects and so forth, but I am into the strongest national security defense any nation can have, and the next president of the United States is going to have a hell of a job not just rebuilding the economy but rebuilding the United States military!
HANNITY: It really stood out to me, Mark, because there’s a difference between ending a war and winning a war. And I don’t think this president has a grasp on the difference because he thinks he’s successful for ending the war, but really, we’re pulling out early.
LEVIN: Well, you know what bothers me, Sean, is what did he do while he was commander-in-chief during the last five-and-a-half, six years in Afghanistan? What did he do when we pulled out of Iraq? In other words, he doesn’t even end them properly! He doesn’t even fight them properly!
It has always bothered me — I’m a pedestrian, I’m not a military guy — the way we have fought these wars. When you look at past wars, including World War II and so forth, we send our infantry, we send our men into these hellholes, into these mountains, into these valleys. Our air power is used minimally because we’re trying to protect people on the other side. You go in there, you win these battles as best you can, and you get the hell out of there.
I don’t know what his objective has been the last four or five years, and that’s enormously tragic for the people who — the families who’ve been involved in this.
HANNITY: One of the things I’m trying to understand is the president actually said he believes in American exceptionalism. That’s not what he said back in 2009, number one. And number two, we got the apology tour, this whole concept of leading from behind of the president, massive cuts in defense. Are we — do his words match his deeds?
LEVIN: No. No. What does he mean by American exceptionalism? He stands up like Mussolini and talks about having a pen. But what does that mean? That means he’s going to override the Constitution when he likes? American exceptionalism — does he like free market capitalism? No, he detests it. Does he like individual liberty and success? No, he attacks it.
American exceptionalism — somebody who wants to fundamentally transform America doesn’t believe America is an exceptional place at all. So that’s just all bull!
HANNITY: All right, so let me go to the VA scandal because we have veterans dying. We now know this is multiple states. It’s institutionalized, that executives are doing this for their bonuses. And the inspector general now confirming that vets wait-listed to death, literally. That’s his own report, came out today.
My question is, where’s the sense of urgency? Now, maybe in the age where a government can’t set up a hot line or a Web site, I don’t know. But if I were president — and I’m not — first thing I would do is I’d have a 1-800 number, any vet that needs immediate care, call this number, you’ll be treated within 24 hours, 48 hours. Anybody that has had significant delays, your case will be handled in one week, two weeks, three weeks, something, some sense of urgency. This president said he’s going to have another study about this! How should he handle it?
LEVIN: Because it’s not a priority for Obama. If we were talking about food stamps, he’d move heaven and earth to fund the food stamp program and make sure everybody got their food stamps, or if he’s talking about inequality and redistributing wealth or some massive stimulus program where all that money is wasted, again, he’d move heaven and earth to get that done.
The veterans are not a top priority. It doesn’t matter what he says. Look at what he does. And let’s be clear about this president and the left. The fact of the matter is, they’re more focused on building monuments to themselves and building monuments to government than they are in managing anything because Obama wants to be remembered as the monument builder. Whether it’s “Obama care” or Dodd-Frank or massive amnesty or what is it, he doesn’t want to be remembered for it and he doesn’t care about the particulars of actually managing government. We’ve got a combination here that is really troublesome system for the country, a radical ideologue who’s a complete incompetent! And it’s a disaster!
HANNITY: All right, we’re going to take a break. We’ll come back. More with “the great one,” Mark Levin. He’ll weigh in on the state of the Republican Party and give us his opinions on the candidates who say they are ready for a run at the White House. That’s next.
He also weighed in on the state of the Republican Party in the second segment of the interview, arguing that there was a need for a “new Republican Party.”
Transcript as follows:
HANNITY: As we continue on “Hannity” — and still with us to break down the state of the Republican Party ahead of the November midterms, as well as the 2016 presidential election, nationally syndicated radio talk show host — we call him “the great one” — Mark Levin.
Mark, I’m pretty happy with conservative governors. You got guys like Rick Perry and — and we’re going to be in New Orleans tomorrow for the Republican leadership conference — Bobby Jindal, Rick Scott, Nikki Haley, John Kasich, Scott Walker — those conservative governors are doing a great job. Deficits are becoming surpluses, unemployment rates going down. They’re making good decisions for their states. I don’t see the same thing with Republicans in Washington.
You’ve been pretty outspoken about it. I want Speaker Boehner to go, for example. I think it’s time for a new speaker, new leadership. What do you think is needed in D.C. to get them going?
LEVIN: By the way, without getting into it, I’m not a fan of every one of those governors because some of them have exploded their budgets.
But that said, here’s the problem, Sean, as far as I’m concerned. Most people under 50 have never had an opportunity to vote for a conservative nominee for president of the United States. I mean, Ronald Reagan was over 25 years ago. And so what we have now with the Republican leadership is essentially neo-statists who are supported by crony capitalists.
We need a new Republican Party. Reagan talked about it. It seems to me, every quarter century, we ought to do something about it. These guys are stuck in the mud. They’re reacting to the left. They’re mimicking the left in many respects. Now they’re attacking their conservative base — call it Tea Party, call it Reaganite, call it whatever you will.
We need to remember Reagan was an insurgent. He was an outsider. He had to fight time and time and time again to win two landslides when he could finally get the nomination of the party.
We have the same problem today. It’s still ultimately the Rockefeller wing of the Republican Party represented by Rove and others, and the Reagan wing of the Republican Party represented by a lot of these young guys and young gals who are trying to break through this wall.
HANNITY: Reagan talked about a revitalized second party, no pale pastels, but bold-colored differences. If I ask anybody what the Republicans — if they win the Senate in November, what’s their agenda? What’s their inspiring agenda to fix the economy, get people back to work, get us energy-independent? What’s the consensus plan on “Obama care”? You’re not going to get any answers. That frustrates me. Why do you think that is?
LEVIN: It is because the — you’re looking at guys who’ve been in Washington, some of them 30, 36 years, some of them 25 years. Sean, they’re tired. They’re old. They’re stuck in their ways. They’re there because they want to be there. They’re there because they like the exercising of power and handing out the gifts and all the rest of it.
This crowd needs to be swept away. Thank them for their service and move them along. But a lot of the problems we face in part are due to them because they’ve been ineffective in the opposition. They’ve been ineffective in fighting Obama from day one. They can talk all they want about one half of one third of the government. It seems to me when the liberal Democrats have one third of one half of the government, they know what the hell to do with it.
Furthermore, they had the government for six years, the first six years of George W. Bush, we had the Senate and the House. What do we do? We exploded the debt, the second highest debt in American history under a president until we had Obama. They massively increased Medicare, the Education Department. And these are the same people who are fighting like hell against the conservative who are trying to fix this, trying to unravel this.
HANNITY: Well, what about guys like Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, you know, the more conservative — Mike Lee and these guys? What about these guys? Are you looking at them for maybe 2016? Is there anybody you’re looking at? Is there anybody that stands out in your mind?
LEVIN: Yes, those guys are great. And what I’ve decided and said on the radio is, look, at some point — and we can’t wait forever — we cannot allow the neo-statist establishment, the Republican dug-in ruling class, to pick off our candidates one by one by one. We’re going to have to get behind one of these solid constitutional conservatives relatively early on, bring our differences together, get behind that candidate and fight off the people that have brought us loss after loss, whether it’s Romney, whether it’s McCain, whether it’s Dole, whether it’s Ford, the whole crowd. We need to take back the Republican Party and use to try and save the country, try to reestablish constitutional conservatism.
HANNITY: I agree with all of that. I want five items to make it simple. You would think anyone that wants to be part of the alternative party, they ought to agree on balancing the budget, I like the penny plan but there are other ways. A consensus, free market plan, health care savings accounts, energy, drilling everywhere, ending dependence on Saudi Arabia and countries that hate us, school choice, and controlling the borders. What am I missing?
LEVIN: You’re not missing a lot. Much of what you just said believe it or not is in the 1980 Reagan platform when he ran for president. I have gone back and I have read some of these platforms. It’s one thing to adjust our tactics and our policies, but to continue to abandon our principles, we don’t even make the case to the American people about free market capitalism. We don’t even make the case to the American people about anarchy on the border and the need to secure it. We don’t make the case to the American people about the crushing debt that is going to destroy everything, including the beloved entitlements. We don’t make the case for constitutional originalist judges. We don’t make the case for the country. That’s why they are abandoning the Republican Party. We need to nominate a constitutional conservative or the country is going to be doomed let alone the Republican Party.
HANNITY: Hey, look, I don’t care what anyone predicts. Unless they give an inspiring division, they literally are reducing their chances of taking back the Senate, and I think there ought to be a consensus. Great one, we need to see you more often. Come on this program more often.
LEVIN: God bless you, will do, brother.
HANNITY: Appreciate it, thanks, buddy.
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