(CNSNews.com) - Previewing his new book “Conservative Victory—Defeating Obama’s Radical Agenda” in a video interview with CNSNews.com, Sean Hannity delivered an ultimately optimistic message after outlining the damage he believes could be done to the country if it continues down the socialistic path now being set by President Barack Obama.
“We can take the country back and we can put it on the road to prosperity,” said Hannity. “We can take the country back and we can ensure that the blessings of liberty that so many men and women have fought and died for will be preserved and protected. This is why I did this book.”
"Conservative Victory--Defeating Obama's Radical Agenda" will be released on Tuesday.
In his conversation with CNSNews.com, Hannity pulled no punches in analyzing the first year of the Obama administration. “Obama is a socialist,” he said.
The host of Fox News’s “Hannity,” which airs weeknights at 9:00 p.m Eastern, was equally tough in his criticisms of an establishment press that he believes failed to adequately examine and investigate Obama’s background and views during the 2008 presidential campaign.
“I felt like I understood Barack Obama early on because I started looking into his background,” said Hannity. “I started looking into Reverend Wright. I started looking into Bill Ayers. I took a lot of heat at the time: ‘Oh, you’re focusing way too much on that.’ ‘You’re not giving him a fair shake.’ ‘You’re not giving him an opportunity.’ ‘You’re being an ideologue.’ I said: No, I felt like I was answering the questions that the mainstream media ought to have been asking.”
Here is a transcript of CNSNews.com’s conversation with Sean Hannity about “Conservative Victory—Defeating Obama’s Radical Agenda”:
Terry Jeffrey: Hi, I'm Terry Jeffrey, editor-in-chief of CNSNews.com. I'm here with Sean Hannity. We're going to talk about his new book, “Conservative Victory--Defeating Obama's Radical Agenda.”
Sean Hannity: Good to see you, Terry.
Jeffrey: Sean, thanks for agreeing to this interview. I really appreciate it.
Hannity: Thank you. It's an honor to be here, and I'm a big fan. I quote CNS News all the time. So, thank you.
Jeffrey: We're big fans of yours, Sean.
Hannity: Thank you.
Jeffrey: In the book you talk about two presidents, the current denizen of the White House and Ronald Reagan. As you know, Ronald Reagan was a guy that came out of the Midwest, didn't come from a wealthy family, came of age during a very tough time in this country--during the Great Depression. He believed if you worked hard, if you were persistent, if you had something constructive to offer your neighbors, your community and your country that you could succeed in this country. He not only believed there was something morally right and good about the freedom our Constitution defends, but that it worked. How does that--that Reagan vision of limited government, of capitalism--compare to President Obama’s?
Hannity: Let me break it down this way, because I do compare the two in great specificity and detail. And I did it in this way: I broke this book into three parts. Very simple: I felt like I understood Barack Obama early on because I started looking into his background. I started looking into Reverend Wright. I started looking into Bill Ayers. I took a lot of heat at the time: “Oh, you’re focusing way too much on that.” “You’re not giving him a fair shake.” “You’re not giving him an opportunity.” “You’re being an ideologue.” I said: No, I felt like I was answering the questions that the mainstream media ought to have been asking. Actually, in the first section of the book I trace his radical roots. I sort of bring it into the current debate that we have by putting out that the radical that we discovered during the election campaign is the radical that appointed Anita Dunn that looks at a great philosopher as Mao. Or Van Jones. Or Holdren. Or any of these extremists with very radical views.
Jeffrey: In other words, you see a consistent line between the fact that earlier, before he was president, Barack Obama was associating with Jeremiah Wright, was associating with Bill Ayers. Now he’s president and he has people like John Holdren, Anita Dunn, these people in his administration.
Hannity: Compulsory sterilization. Anita Dunn supports Mao. Van Jones, a 9/11 truther and an avowed communist. So the history of his radicalism continued into this administration, and—
Jeffrey: You took a lot of heat for exposing that stuff and for examining it at length on your radio show and here on Fox News. Why didn’t the liberal media talk about that stuff?
Hannity: Journalism in America is dead. Simple answer. That's my short answer.
Jeffrey: You think they didn't want the American people to know about the nature of these associations?
Hannity: I think they were very invested. First of all, I think they—like a lot of people--here's a charismatic figure, knew, I think, the country was a little war weary after eight years of President Bush. Maybe understandably so. A guy who reads a teleprompter well, presents himself well. You get very few unscripted moments. You get very few tough questions that the president had in his campaign, especially about some of his radical past.
How does he get to start his political career in the home of a guy that was unrepentant and bombed the Pentagon, bombed the Capitol, bombed New York City Police headquarters and says in the New York Times on 9/11 of all days: We did not do enough? These questions were never really pursued by the media and I think they did a grave disservice to the American people.
Jeffrey: Sean, what is the consistent theme you see in these earlier associations of Barack Obama, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright and Bill Ayers, and what he's doing as president? What is the theme that you see there?
Hannity: That's a great question. Well, because, look, Obama is a socialist. If you take over banks, if you take over car companies, if you take over financial institutions, the way that he has--now the health care system. If you're going to use every crooked deal that you can come up with to get a bill like that passed--most recently the health care bill--that is by definition, if you look up the dictionary definition of socialism, this is it.
You add to that his positions on national security. When would America ever tell our enemies our interrogation techniques? When would we give civilian trials to the mastermind of the 9/11 attack? When would Barack Obama go out there and apologize in France for America, calling it an arrogant country. Saying, I think it was in Turkey, we're not a Christian nation. All of these things. He speaks to the Muslim world but he doesn't talk about America’s contribution to Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo, and Indonesia? It's--.
Jeffrey: Let's go back and draw a comparison to Reagan once again who you talk about also within your book. Ronald Reagan, when he was president, led America in the world by, for example, saying the Soviet Union was an “Evil Empire.” He went to the Berlin Wall and said, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.” Another part of his speech that didn't get as much publicity, he talked about a TV tower in East Berlin at Alexanderplatz that had a cross that showed up on it when the sun shown. He was never embarrassed about the moral values and the basic superiority that he saw in our system.
Hannity: Here's the difference. Barack Obama apologizes for America. Ronald Reagan advanced the notion of American exceptionalism, and that America was a very special, unique, shining city on a hill, the last great hope for man on this Earth.
I have a whole chapter on the book--I transition from the first part of the book, which is Obama, the radical in the past, the radical in the present, socialist views and appeaser on foreign policy--and I transition into why I am a Reagan Conservative. Reagan Conservatism, as you rightly point out, worked. On national security, he called the Soviets an “Evil Empire.” Barack Obama wants to negotiate with Ahmadinejad, who threatens to wipe Israel off the map, says he has the right to nuclear power. Two very distinct differences.
Ronald Reagan builds up our military. Ronald Reagan deploys Pershing II missiles in Europe. Ronald Reagan walks away from Reykjavik. Ronald Reagan--against the advice of his own advisers as you rightly point out—says, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.” And Reagan ends the Cold War.
This president won't even acknowledge, or for the longest time wouldn't acknowledge, that we have in this country--after 9/11, who would have thought this--he didn't acknowledge that there is a War on Terror for the longest time. These are “man-caused disasters.” These are “overseas contingency operations.”
Jeffrey: Why do you think he's so apologetic about America? President Obama?
Hannity: You know it's a very interesting question. I don't know. I can't read his mind. I don't know his heart. I just know he's wrong. And I know Reagan was right. I know Reagan's pursuit was right. Look, his wife said some interesting things during the campaign a lot of people overlooked: America was a “downright mean” country in 2008. “For the first time in my adult life”--this got played a lot—“I'm proud of my country.” I don't know. Is it rooted back to his days with Jeremiah Wright and Bill Ayers? I don't know. I can't read his heart.
All I know is that economic issues, on national security issues, that he's wrong. His policies are hurting capitalism. It's hurting the economy. We're taking a sledgehammer to our kids’ piggy banks, and our grand kids piggy banks. We cannot afford the take-over of health care, the car industries, the banking institutions. Who would have ever thought in America that our government was going to dictate CEO pay? I mean this is radicalism on display.
Jeffrey: You believe that Barack Obama is a socialist?
Hannity: I believe that Barack Obama is the most radical president America has ever had--by far. Yes.
Jeffrey: And he's trying on every front that he can to increase government control of our free enterprise system?
Hannity: Yes. I think he meets the dictionary definition if you look at taking over banks, financial institutions, and insurance companies, dictating pay, the health care industry- that is by definition what socialism is. Yes.
Jeffrey: And he's not going to be sorry seven, eight years--
Hannity: Look, Al Sharpton said he was a socialist the other night! First time I agree with Al Sharpton. He’s right. Obama is a socialist.
Jeffrey: He's candid, a moment of candor there. And Barack Obama wouldn't be upset seven, eight years down the road if in fact we end up with a single-payer health system?
Hannity: Look, I think that this is his goal. I had an interview with Rush and it became a big deal, when I asked the question, “Do you want him to succeed?” “No, I want him to fail.” Socialism will fail. Socialism--you cannot sustain, economically, a take-over of the health care system. You cannot sustain quadrupling our deficit in one year. You cannot sustain in four years he will have accumulated more debt than every president from George Washington up to and including George W. Bush.
Jeffrey: And of course what Rush Limbaugh was talking about is he hoped that Barack Obama's policies fail because his policies were wrong for the United States of America--which was misrepresented by the liberal press.
Hannity: It was misrepresented by the press and I had interviewed him about it. But, look, for those of us that have looked at the national-health service in Great Britain or the single-payer system in Canada on health care. The single payer system in Canada, if it were so good why did this premier fly to Miami to get his treatment recently? Why were women with advanced breast cancer, by Great Britain's health service, the government rationing body, why were they denied life-saving drugs because they had advanced breast cancer?
When you get to the point--unfortunately this is going to be one of those things we won't see until years later--when you get to the point where you see financially this is unsustainable, then and only then will the, quote, “rationing,” begin, and perhaps people will realize that conservatives were right.
Jeffrey: We know it's unsustainable, and this is something that you mention in your book. A week ago on Monday, I attended the budget committee mark-up of the health care reconciliation bill, and the Republicans put up on a screen a chart of what happens to the debt because of the unfunded liabilities. Well, eventually, actually, [Rep.] Paul Ryan [R.-Wis.] said that the GAO is now saying $76 trillion over the next 75 years for Medicare, Social Security, and these other benefits.
Hannity: Let me add one point to that. When CBO first scored Medicare, it was either seven or nine times--my mind fails me at the moment—I think it was nine times what their original projections were. Can you imagine if health care is nine times higher than what they're saying it is using every budgetary gimmick that they can come up with?
Jeffrey: President Obama's own Treasury Department is saying we have $37 trillion dollars in Medicare obligations that are not going to be met by taxes. That is before this health care plan. Do you think we can repeal this thing?
Hannity: It's difficult. I'm not going lie to you. And this is part of the reason for this book. We've got to--I think the single best solution is to defeat, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, the people who have been responsible for the corruption, the record deficits, the reckless spending, the reckless foreign policy. I think the answer is Reagan Conservatism. I think the answer is a new “Contract with America.” I go through a whole chapter on how the contract was successful.
Jeffrey: What happens to America if we don't repeal this health care plan?
Hannity: I shudder to think. I shudder to think. I've never been that worried. I've never been this concerned.
Jeffrey: You have kids.
Hannity: Two kids.
Jeffrey: Are your children going to live in the kind of free and prosperous country that you and I grew up in?
Hannity: No. If this continues, no.
Jeffrey: If this health care plan is not repealed?
Jeffrey: They're not going to? They are not going to have that opportunity?
Jeffrey: If we don't get a government that takes care of these entitlements that Paul Ryan will point out--$76 trillion in unfunded liabilities in the lifetime of our children--are our kids going to live in that free and prosperous country we enjoyed?
Hannity: How could they? They will spend their entire life paying back the debt that we incurred. They will spend their entire life paying for something that is financially unsustainable. Look, I never understood this part of it or this aspect of it: Social Security is headed for bankruptcy, Medicare is headed for bankruptcy, the government is headed for bankruptcy. We have states like New York, New Jersey, California headed for bankruptcy. Government, as Reagan said, is spending too much money. The American people are not under-taxed, they're over-taxed.
We are literally siphoning out from the private sector any ability for people to go out there and invest, and create jobs, and frankly, to advance the human condition because you know that through the capitalist system of risk, and reward, and investment, that's where we created the standard of living that is second to none. That's where the American dream came to fruition. The idea that people will have the nanny state, the cradle-to-grave Utopia, it has been tried, it has failed, it has resulted in poverty, it has resulted in misery. Our own experiments in America: the Great Society, great failure. How many trillions of dollars did we spend on that? Medicare, Social Security, we can't even sustain that, and we're going to advance this even further?
Jeffrey: Given the situation that we face, if Republicans get back in power--if conservatives get back in power--can they turn back to this Big Government Conservatism that we've seen in the past?
Hannity: I hope so, I have a whole chapter in the book--
Jeffrey: Should they turn back to Big Government Conservatism? Big Government Conservatism?
Hannity: I think the answer is they ought to return to Reagan Conservatism. Look, part two of the book is historically what has worked, in terms of not only winning elections, but making the country a better place. Reagan created prosperity. Reagan created 21 million new jobs. Reagan doubled revenues to the government. Reagan gave us the longest time of peace-time government growth in history. Reagan did it by dropping the top marginal rates from 70 to 28 percent. We can duplicate that today. It worked for John Kennedy. It worked for Ronald Reagan. Frankly, it worked for many years for George Bush and now they’re talking about repealing the Bush tax cuts.
Jeffrey: What a lot of liberals won’t to tell you is that when Reagan dropped the marginal tax rates, federal revenues went up.
Hannity: When he dropped it, revenues doubled.
Jeffrey: Right, right.
Hannity: If they would have cut spending, which was also part of his plan but he didn't have a Republican House and Senate to support him, it could have been the perfect storm that would have gotten America on the road to--
Jeffrey: Right. So, if you could replicate Reagan’s tax policies, without the Democratic Congress spending policies, you might be able to generate a surplus that at least might help ameliorate the debt crisis.
Hannity: Do you realize America is about to lose its triple-A bond rating? I read this and I'm flabbergasted. Look, I also have a chapter and warning in there for Republicans and for those that want a third party. Republicans did lose their way. They were the watered-down version of the Democratic Party. The Democrats would offer to spend $100 billion, “Oh, we'll spend 70 billion” That's not the answer. They need to go back to their conservative roots. For those that want a third-party movement, I have a chapter: “To be or not to be a third party.” I don't want a third party. But if the Republican Party, like in the New York 23rd, appoints a liberal to run as a Republican, that liberal should be primaried, challenged and defeated.
Jeffrey: Right. But do you think a third party could ever be successful in the United States?
Hannity: Yeah, sure, absolutely.
Jeffrey: It's possible, like in 1856-1860 maybe?
Hannity: Look, it hasn't happened. There's no need for it, if--I gave a speech recently before the NRCC and I kept saying: Let the Democrats be the party of large deficits and big debt and reckless spending and a take-over of health care. Let the new conservative Republican Party--Reagan dealt with the issue of a third party both at the CPAC '74 speech in February and a CPAC speech in '77--is it a third party we need? No, it's a revitalized second party we need. No pale pastels, bold colored differences. Right now is the opportunity of a lifetime for the Republican Party to return to their conservative roots, and I think we could take the country back. And not only that, Terry, this is important: We can take the country back and we can put it on the road to prosperity. We can take the country back and we can ensure that the blessings of liberty that so many men and women have fought and died for will be preserved and protected. This is why I did this book.
Jeffrey: Sean, one difference I see between the late 1970s, when Reagan rose up and was able to be elected president, and now, is then the Conservative Movement had a national leader in Ronald Reagan—an incredibly articulate and visionary person--
Hannity: --inclusive, funny--
Jeffrey: --who was a viable presidential candidate, who led the movement from the top up and galvanized people and inspired people. Now, it seems to me that we have a grassroots movement that's pushing things forward, and we have leaders in the communication industry like you, Rush Limbaugh, and Mark Levin but we don't have that national political leader it seems.
Hannity: Not yet. But, you know what, I don't think it's time for that. Seriously, I think--we're taping this interview in March of 2010--the first election, and where I think our attention ought to be focused, is on November of 2010. I think Nancy Pelosi can be defeated. I think Harry Reid can be defeated. I think the Republicans can have a banner year, if they run on those conservative values and principles. I suggest that they write a new “Contract with America” in the book.
Jeffrey: Do you think they can take back both houses?
Hannity: It's a long shot, but yes.
Jeffrey: There's a chance? Better chance in the House?
Hannity: Better chance in the House, but I can work the numbers and tell you that, yes, it would work in the Senate.
Jeffrey: Let me ask you about another theme you talked about it your book and I think it's another sharp contrast between President Reagan and Obama. President Reagan was a forceful champion of the right to life. He was a traditionalist conservative on social issues. He never backed down from those. They were central to his understanding of what it meant to be a conservative and what America ought to be all about. Should the Republican Party listen to those people who are saying, “Look, you know, the economic issues are more important, national security issues are more important. We have to compromise on the issues like life and marriage, so that we can make sure we need to get done on these other issues”?
Hannity: I don't, and I talk about it within the book. No, I think we should be the champion of social issues. Life is really important to Sean Hannity. I believe life begins at conception. I believe the definition of marriage should be between a man and a woman. I don't think these are losing issues for Republican candidates.
Now, with that said, if there are libertarian conservatives, social conservatives, the vast majority of issues we agree on--on economic issues, on the size and scope of the influence of government, about bureaucracy and regulation, about national defense, about homeland security--I think if we agree on 80 percent, 85 percent, okay. That's certainly better than what we currently have. Let's agree on the 85 percent. Let's elect good candidates--whoever wins, be it a primary or general election. Ant then the 15 percent—we’ll all go out to dinner, and they can argue on Capitol Hill, and we'll fight those battles out and let the best side with the best argument win.
Jeffrey: But don't abandon the principle?
Hannity: I don't abandon the principle. I can't. Conservative values matter to me.
Jeffrey: So, for you, the key themes going into this fall are?
Hannity: Key themes are very, very simple. I think the Democratic Party can be the party of reckless spending, debt, and deficits. Let the new conservative Republican Party be the party of fiscal responsibility.
The Democrats can be the party of “man-caused disasters” and “overseas contingency operations.” The new conservative Republican Party can be the party that recognizes evil in it's time, that there's a war on terrorism, and that we, to protect the blessings of liberty, must engage and defeat an enemy that wants to destroy us.
Other simple themes: They want to be the party of energy dependence. They don't want drilling. They don't want new refineries. They don't want exploration. They don't want coal-mining expansion. They don't want nuclear power. Let the new conservative Republican Party be the party of energy independence. Let the new conservative party be the choice in education. Let the new conservative Republican Party be the party that says there are free-market solutions to health care: tort reform, portability, tax cuts for people that don't have insurance. Free market solutions--medical savings accounts. All these issues, I think, will resonate with the American people.
Jeffrey: And repeal of the health care bill.
Hannity: Repeal of the health care bill. Top of the list.
Jeffrey: Sean Hannity, author of “Conservative Victory--Defeating Obama's Radical Agenda,” thank you very much.
Hannity: Terry Jeffrey, good to see you my friend, as always.