There are only a handful of candidates that can help turn the country around - and Glenn believes that Dan Liljenquist is one of them. One of three survivors of a tragic plane crash that claimed the lives of several friends - Liljenquist came through the tragedy and realized “we don't have time in this life to wait.” But would you believe that he also studied under Cass Sunstein when he was in law school? It's an unbelievable life story that you have to hear to believe. Watch it in the clip above!
Rush Transcript Below:
GLENN: Dan Liljenquist, he is running against Orrin Hatch for Senate in the State of Utah and, Dan, is your name on the ballot?
LILJENQUIST: Well, the convention is this Saturday, Glenn. We have 4,000 Republican state delegates who will narrow down the field to one or two candidates and ‑‑
GLENN: But is it ‑‑ what I'm asking you, is it going to be a write‑in? Because I'd never be able to spell your last name. It's got a J in it and it's silent.
LILJENQUIST: Yeah, well, my name will be on the ballot if I get reported for the Senate between 40 or over 60, then I will definitely be on a ballot. You will not have to write in Liljenquist.
PAT: And what are the chances of that happening? What are the chances of you getting over the 40% threshold?
LILJENQUIST: We feel very good about our chances. We just completed our 101st delegate meeting since March 15th and we're finding that we have a lot of momentum going into this thing. Look, with a last name like Liljenquist, you have to do a lot of legwork to get people to be able to be even to pronounce your name right. So we feel good about our chances.
GLENN: Right. And you're going up against Orrin Hatch who is a machine. I mean, this guy is an absolute machine when it comes to, you know, winning elections and has all of the power structure behind him and, you know, has served America loyally and faithfully for a long time. I like Orrin. He's a nice guy, but I think that he is ‑‑ it's time for a change in there and somebody that really, truly recognizes what is ‑‑ what we're facing right now. Tell me about what we're facing. Tell me why, why you would be different than Orrin Hatch.
LILJENQUIST: Well, look, Senator Hatch is going to go down in history as one of our greats here in Utah. But we have a fundamentally different philosophy on what the role of the United States Senate is. The United States Senate is meant to be a check on the president's power and on the executive branch and is also meant to be the work for state sovereignty. Now Senator Hatch over the years, I think there are some things I disagree with him significantly on. The role of advise and consent in the Senate is not to be a rubber stamp for the president's appointees. It was to advise and consent or not consent. And with respect to some of the recent appointments of President Obama like Cass Sunstein, I would have not consented. Look, I know Cass Sunstein. I received my law degree from the University of Chicago Law School. I took a class from the man. He is a nice guy, but he's very, very liberal. And since most of our laws in this country are now being written by the executive branch to regulation, that was an irresponsible move to approve of Cass Sunstein and ‑‑
GLENN: I will tell you, Dan, sorry to interrupt you, but I will tell you this, that I called Orrin Hatch while he was, you know, approving Cass Sunstein and said, what are you doing, man? What are you ‑‑ this is crazy. Do you not realize who this guy is? And he said, Glenn, he's assured me that was just all academic stuff, he's not going to move down that role. And I said you're ‑‑ with all due respect, Senator, you're wrong on this. It's not an academic exercise. This man believes these things. So I'm glad to hear that you would go against Cass Sunstein. How would you stop all this regulation?
LILJENQUIST: Look, the regulatory environment, what has happened over the years is congress has outsourced its job to the executive branch. The executive branch is now judge, jury and executioner. They write the laws, they adjudicate the laws, and they administer the laws. That is what's happening. When you have a guy like Cass Sunstein say we don't need any more laws passed by congress, we can do everything we want to do with regulation, you know congress has outsourced a job. There's very simply a couple of things the Senate has to do in particular: One, you do not vote for a presidential appointee that has the influence to change the course of this country as an unelected bureaucrat. You do not vote those people through. You could stop that in the Senate, and the Senate needs to stand up and do its job. But I also think ‑‑ and you're going to need a Republican president to do this ‑‑ that congress has to re‑exert its control over the regulatory environment in this country by doing something, one simple thing, Glenn, and that's this: That no new regulation goes into effect until congress votes on that regulation. They granted the authority to executive branch to write regulations; they can pull it back and have a veto power. That's going to require legislation through congress. But if we have a prayer of ever getting a hold on the regulatory environment in this country, congress has to re‑exert itself over regulations by not allowing any new regulations to go into effect until congress approves of it.
GLENN: Plot to yourself on the ideological spectrum. Are you Rand Paul, Jim DeMint, Lindsey Graham, John McCain, Mitt Romney?
LILJENQUIST: I am probably more along the lines of Jim DeMint for a whole bunch of different reasons. He has been out there saying the spending is reckless, that too much control is in the executive branch, that constitutional government was always meant to be a balance of powers between the states and the federal government. He understands the role of the United States Senate in particular in that balance, and I align much more with, along the lines of Jim DeMint, Rand Paul, Mike Lee, and, you know, Marco Rubio and others who are taking control over the Senate.
STU: Dan, can you help me explain? Because we were looking at this from outside of Utah. Explain the comments from Orrin Hatch when he's talking about people who are opposing him and thinking that maybe he's not the right guy to go. He says these people are not conservatives, they're not Republicans, they're radical libertarians and I'm doggone offended by it. I despise these people." I mean, this is a guy who told us, this elder statesman, what's going on with him on these, with these comments?
LILJENQUIST: That's a pretty ‑‑ it's pretty remarkable environment. You know, as I go around the state, universally people in Utah, everybody I talk to is concerned about debt and spending. And the groups that are involved in this race, my preference is that everybody would stay out so that we could run our own race, but we can't force them to do that. But the groups are involved in this race who are opposed to Senator Hatch are deeply concerned about debt and spending. I am running personally because Senator Hatch could be chair of the Senate finance committee, not in spite of it. He's had 18 years on that Senate finance committee and in that time we have expanded and he has used the power of that committee to expand government programs. Not retract them. And so the people involved who are involved in this race really want government spending under control and want congress to stand up and do its job to think about the future of this country and not just the next election. So there's a whole bunch of people who are disappointed with the record of congress and not just Senator Hatch's record but Republicans and Democrats over the last 40 years who got us into this mess.
GLENN: All right. Dan ‑‑
LILJENQUIST: So, you know, those are the words I would not have chosen but I understand that's how he speaks.
GLENN: Yeah, I don't ‑‑ I don't understand that the libertarians are offensive and ‑‑
STU: Despise them?
GLENN: And despise.
PAT: I believe he feels that way.
GLENN: Oh, I know he does. I know he does.
PAT: He believed that when Bennett was booted out two years ago that he was next and it scared the crap out of him.
GLENN: Oh, I don't think he ‑‑
PAT: And so he ‑‑
GLENN: Unless Dan ‑‑ unless Dan wins on Saturday, he's not next.
PAT: Thought at the time.
GLENN: Orrin Hatch goes back. That's really ‑‑
PAT: At the time with the Tea Party the way it was and the political environment the way it was, he was afraid he was next.
PAT: And so he lashed out and still continues to lash out at people who are more conservative than he is.
GLENN: I will tell you that ‑‑ I will tell you, Tea Party, if you don't organize and come together behind a candidate and Orrin Hatch gets in, he is not a guy who forgets, and he's not going to forget. He's not going to forget. And if he's ‑‑ if he thinks that you're despicable or he despises you now, he will despise you then and just recognize the power we're giving people in Washington.
All right. One last question, Dan, because the first time I talked to you, I talked about your soul and your condition of it and why anybody who was decent would want to go there, and you told me about the experience that really led you here was a plane crash. Can you explain?
LILJENQUIST: Yeah. Glenn, it was in 2008. I had been ‑‑ I was running for the state Senate. I had won my primary and I was heading to the general election in the fall. In my company, we do a lot of humanitarian work. We were on a humanitarian trip to Guatemala. Got on a plane with 14 people, took off on a beautiful, beautiful Sunday morning to fly to this little town in Northeast Guatemala, and about 45 minutes into our flight, our engine burned up over the middle of nowhere. I mean, I had four minutes sitting in the back of that plane to really think. And I'll tell you where your mind goes to. Your mind goes to the state of your own, your own soul but also you think about your family. And I ‑‑ I realized at that moment that it was my life came down to that moment. I know everybody on that plane felt like they were going to die, and 80% of us were right. But I came through that. But for when we crashed and ‑‑ crashed into this field, it was when I was sitting on the plane that really saved my life, but also two farmers who saw us falling, ran around the corner and pulled me out of the plane. I was on fire, my leg was burning, my legs were shattered, but they came to me first, risked their lives to pull me from that plane. All four of my dear friends and employees died on that plane. I spent five weeks in a hospital bed, in a wheelchair, in a walker and met with each one of these families individually and, you know, I realize that we don't have time in this life to wait. And it's important, if you feel motivated to do something, to do it now. I'm running for the United States Senate because this time and history of this country, we are on the edge of a knife. We can either fall one way and complete the job of moving to a federalized executive branch‑driven view of the world, or we can have the United States Senate stand up and do its job to rebalance our constitutional government and to take control of what they granted too much power to federal governments to take the lead. And I'm running for the Senate to do that. I don't feel like we have time to wait and I feel like this is the election. With elections like mine and Ted Cruz in Texas and John Mandel in Ohio and Richard Mourdock in Indiana and these good people who are standing up all over the country to take control of the Senate, whether or not we survive as a people may just depend on this election cycle. And so I'm standing up and running. I'm very motivated to do it. People said you're crazy to take on Senator Hatch. We have been outspent 30:1, but we are a couple of days away from forcing him to a primary for the first time in 36 years and we think we're going to do it. So make every day count is the message.
GLENN: The web address is DanforUtah.com. DanforUtah.com. This is a very important battle in Utah and in America. Do we send Senator Hatch back or not send Senator Hatch back? It's up to the people of Utah. You've ‑‑ you had a chance to weigh things out. It is critical, critical that you get involved and don't just pass this election by on Saturday as, oh, just something that, you know, whatever. DanforUtah.com. Thank you very much, Dan. Appreciate it.
LILJENQUIST: Glenn, thank you. We'll see you.
GLENN: You bet. Good luck. I have to tell you I talked to him a few weeks ago. I hadn't really talked to him before. I talked to him a few weeks ago and I think the guy is genuine and what really got me was the, you know, eight out of ten people die right next to him and he's pulled out and he asks himself, why am I here. Why am I here. What am I supposed to do? We're all born for a reason. We all have time on Earth, and anybody who sees this may be my last day and I'm going to do something important and right and righteous and stand up for the truth and I'm not going to back down, because I've already faced death. I've already been in the death plane. Nothing frightens me anymore. I am going to use every day that God has given me to do something right. That got me.
STU: We need to start having our politicians get involved in fake plane crashes like scare them, like they get into a plane, they think they're on a plane and, oh, my gosh, oh, wow, looks like it might crash, everybody. And then, you know, of course everything's fine and then it will just scare them and then they will be great politicians.