Editor’s note: The following interview with Sean Hannity, as well as a feature story on his “Conservative Solutions” action plan, are being reprinted from the April issue of Whistleblower magazine, titled “THE WAR FOR THE GOP: How conservatives plan to take over the Republican Party and stop the Obama juggernaut.”
Hannity was interviewed by WND news editor Art Moore.
WHISTLEBLOWER: What prompted you to create your plan?
HANNITY: What really prompted me was the frustration with the political narrative in the country. I listened to all of the political pundits, and I don’t necessarily disagree that the Republicans will probably get a lot of their power back. There are cycles to politics, and this is a good cycle year for them. And I guess a lot of Republicans think they are going to coast into power because Obama screwed things up so badly, both in the economy and foreign policy – on Obamacare especially. But the problem is: What are they going to do with that power?
I have been encouraging them to tell us what they are going to do. What’s going to be different? I don’t see enough of a vision coming from the leaders in both parties that inspires me. So I thought I would just write down my own ideas and hope that maybe some of them pay attention and grab a hold of them.
WHISTLEBLOWER: The Obama administration seems to operate with almost no regard for the Constitution. Many Americans are afraid they’re losing their country to the far left – maybe permanently. Yet Republicans in Congress, with few exceptions, seem so weak and inept and unable to turn the tide. Why do you believe this is the case?
HANNITY: I don’t know why there is this level of timidity. It’s sort of like they are trying to run out the clock and hope that the frustration that the American people feel [will get them elected]. But the numbers are startling: 47 million Americans are on food stamps; 92 million Americans are not in the labor force, the lowest labor participation rate in decades. Those numbers are shocking. Then you’ve got millions who are seeing their health-care costs double and triple. Others are losing their plans. Others are losing their doctors. Each day, every day, every week, every month, we see more and more people suffering. So, people are looking for an alternative.
The Republican Party seems right now like they have it in the bag. And maybe they do. But I want to know ahead of time what their plans are. I would like to see them grab a hold of the principles that we’ve got to live within our means, balance the budget, stop robbing from our kids and grandkids.
I would really like them to be the party of job creation. And the answer, to me, is energy. The energy resources we have, coupled with new technology, make the United States of America the energy capital of the entire world. And we’re very foolish that we’re not tapping into this blessing and resource.
WHISTLEBLOWER: You put out this plan in January. Are your getting any support from conservative candidates or conservatives in Congress?
HANNITY: Yes, yes, a lot of support. I have people now running for office say, “Hey, I support your penny plan.” It’s not my penny plan, by the way. [Editor’s note: The “penny plan” was originally introduced by former Florida Rep. Connie Mack in 2011, when it gained 70 co-sponsors.] They say, “I agree with you on energy, I’m going to push for energy.” I have campaigns writing me every day. “Take a look at this candidate. They support your plan on energy; they support your plan on education. They support your plan on term limits.”
But more importantly, I want whatever party is governing – get rid of the names, Republican, Democrat, I’m a registered conservative and I believe conservative solutions are the answer – I just want to see the country do well. You have to have a vision or else people perish, and the vision here is pretty simple.
We’re missing some very basic principles: You live within your means. You work toward independence in every way imaginable.
I think the Republican Party, if they want to be a strong alternative party, with bold-colored differences, this is their opportunity to spell it out.
Republicans still don’t have a specific plan on health care, an alternative that they have rallied around, and we just had the fourth anniversary of Obamacare. Many Republicans have offered their own plans, but there’s no united plan to explain to the country, “Hey, this is what health care savings accounts are. This is why it’s better than Obamacare, and this is what you’ll get if you elect us.”
WHISTLEBLOWER: If your recommended strategies are based on common sense and proven practices – and some, like securing our border with Mexico, are popular with the public – why don’t they get more traction in Congress?
HANNITY: I think we need new leadership, especially in the House. We need a new speaker. I think we need fresh blood. Look, this is a media age that we’re living in. We need people who can articulate on a regular basis in an inspiring way what the principles are that we conservatives believe in.
There are people in Congress who are calling me and supporting this. Some are telling me they are banging their head against the wall, because nobody in leadership – they’re timid and afraid of their own shadow right now – wants to make a mistake. They think they are headed for victory. My argument is just the opposite. We are headed for really, really disastrous times. So it’s got to be more than, “The Democrats suck and we’re a little less sucky.”
WHISTLEBLOWER: Some Republicans claim the so-called “social” or “moral issues” – such as abortion and same-sex marriage – must be shelved if the GOP wants to win elections? Do you agree?
HANNITY: As we’re saving the country from bankruptcy with the things that I’m talking about, the penny plan, as we’re saving the country from 92 million Americans not in the labor force, as we’re moving toward energy independence, as we’re offering choice in education – all things that would transform this country dramatically – then that coalition of libertarians, conservatives and Christian conservatives can have internal debates along the way.
But I don’t think they ought to get distracted from the big picture. America is a country in decline right now. America needs dramatic, quick solutions to stop the cycle of poverty, debt and dependence. That’s got to be done immediately.
WHISTLEBLOWER: You’re taking action personally, helping people acquire jobs in the energy sector and rise above poverty or unemployment. What motivates you to do this, and what have you learned from the experience?
HANNITY: It all got started organically. I said that if I was one of these 50 million Americans out of work or in poverty and somebody told me there was work in North Dakota or in Texas, and that I could get $60,000, $80,000 or $100,000 year, and all the overtime I’d ever want, I would pack my bags and go. And I said that numerous times on the radio. The interesting thing is, you know, we are on 535 stations, people listen to me, and they said, “That’s a good idea,” and they packed their bags and they left.
I started getting calls – I mean we’ve got dozens of them now – from people that said they took my advice: They went to North Dakota, [because] they weren’t making money and didn’t have any opportunity where they were, and I would ask them, “How much are you making now?”
Some of them are making $90,000 a year this year. Or making $100,000. And I’d say, “Well, how has your life changed?” “Well, I’m about to buy my first house. I got my first car. I’m moving my family here.” And that feedback that kept coming in – the light went on and I said, “Why don’t we institutionalize this a little bit?”
So we reached out to these energy companies – one of the first ones was MBI – and we put them on the air. I don’t know what the final tally was, but after we put the guy on the air, and he explained that he had hundreds of jobs available – I don’t think one of them paid less than $65,000 to $75,000 a year – the last I heard there were thousands of applications.
We’re going to go to North Dakota in May, and we’re going to talk to people who got hired, who found jobs and transformed their lives.
So, once or twice a week on the radio, I just take 10 to 15 minutes and I bring HR people on and say, “OK, what jobs do you have available? How much do you pay? How much experience do people need? What are the job expansion possibilities?”
So it happened organically. Then we’re kind of institutionalizing it. And now I want to mainstream it. And by mainstreaming it, I mean that it be everywhere.
Let me add one thing. I’ve done a lot of things. I started in 1987 on radio. I think this is one of the most satisfying things I’ve ever done in my entire radio career – to hear stories of people that were struggling, hardly making it and then buying their first home, getting that new truck, having money to go out to dinner on a Friday or Saturday night.
You ask what motivates me? I am that person. That is my life. I lived that way. I had to drop out of college three times. No money. I paid my way through school. I know what it’s like to have 200 bucks in the bank, because I had it for about three years. I know what it’s like not to be able to eat dinner. I know what it’s like to buy $350 cars and then have to fix them, because that’s how I lived a decade of my life. So there’s your answer and it’s not fun.
WHISTLEBLOWER: How does your faith inform your ideas and what you do?
HANNITY: In terms of my faith, I believe every man, woman and child on this earth – every single one – was created by God. Every single person has talent and abilities that are unique to them. You know, the very hairs on our head are counted, which makes all of us pretty special, right? And even my gray ones.
If you read Thomas Paine, in 1776, he says, “Were the guides and dictates of conscience irresistibly obeyed there would be no need for any lawmaker.” That not being the case, he described the foundation of building of government. Government, he says, “even in its best state is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one.”
Government now has become intolerable. Government is now the biggest obstacle people face toward achieving the American Dream. Government is now destroying the lives and hope of that American Dream.
Government needs a huge wake-up call and revitalization. Now, it’s we the people that ultimately decide. We the people voted for Obama twice. Obama has added more than $7 trillion to the debt. Obama has the worst jobs record.
What I’m saying here is, I don’t care what party you’re from. I’m sick of parties. What I’m saying is, I want people who are going to get the frickin’ job done. I want people that are going to get these Americans back to work.
I think dignity that comes with work is – you talk about what’s moral, what my religious beliefs are – I don’t think people are designed to sit at home and get crumbs from the government, which is a bare subsistence anyway. How much do you get in food stamps? What do you get in government housing but some of the most dangerous housing units in the country?
You’re not helping these people out. If you really want to help people, believe in their ability, believe in their talent, stop restricting industry from building, like energy, and let these people get back to work, to have the dignity of work.
I’ll never forget when I bought my first home at $123,000. I’ll never forget when I sold it and got a little profit from it. I’ll never forget when I bought my first, real, brand new car.
I’ve been blessed enough in my life. I grew up in a middle class household, and then I went out on my own after high school. And I worked my way, right from the bottom, from restaurants to construction, every job imaginable. And I’ve been blessed beyond measure. … I want people to have that abundance.
It’s here. It’s available. But government literally is stifling the dream. They’re killing it; they’re crushing it. And the Republicans unfortunately are spending their time reacting to Democrats instead of inspiring a whole new class of potential conservatives out there. They’re locked into a myopic debate about immigration, when they ought to be talking about the American Dream and how we can create access for the masses.
Henry Ford built a car that most people could afford. It was built and designed so that the average person might be able to afford that car. Well, government has got to create an environment where the average person can attain wealth, success, greatness and prosperity. And right now they are the biggest obstacle to that.
The April issue of WND’s acclaimed monthly Whistleblower magazine, “THE WAR FOR THE GOP,” offers a path to victory in 2014 and 2016 as the Republican Party faces a sharp, internal divide reflected in the general populace, which is more polarized than at any time in the last century.