Daniel Webster of Florida joined Glenn on radio Thursday to us discuss his bid to become the next Speaker of the House. Not knowing Webster very well, Glenn was very frank that it might not be the most friendly environment for him.
"I don't ever like to set somebody up," Glenn said. "I don't know Daniel Webster at all. I know his voting record. And I know who he's endorsed as president. So it's not somebody I would run home and say, 'Hey, this is our guy.' But I wanted to alert him that he was walking into a tough room. Not an ugly room. But a tough room. And he has been brave enough to join us for the program anyway."
Glenn came away from the interview liking the guy, even recommending him to his audience.
"A lot of our friends in Washington say, 'This is the guy that we should be backing,'" Glenn said. "I'm going to take it under advisement myself. And pray on it. And give the audience my recommendation, but I think everybody can do the same themselves."
After Webster hung up, Glenn listed some of the reasons he came away liking him.
"I didn't feel pandered to. I felt he did understand his faith. And I felt he was a faith-driven guy. And I saw that in Florida with Terri Schiavo," Glenn said.
Listen to the exchange or read the transcript below.
Below is a rush transcript of this segment, it might contain errors.
GLENN: Daniel Webster of -- of Florida joins us now, and I don't ever like to set somebody up. And we tried to alert his staff prior to. I don't know Daniel Webster at all. I know his voting record. And I know who he's endorsed as president. So it's not somebody I would run home and say, "Hey, this is our guy." But I wanted to alert him that he was walking into a tough room. Not an ugly room. But a tough room. And he has been brave enough to join us for the program anyway.
And I appreciate that. How are you doing, Daniel?
DANIEL: I'm doing great. Thanks for having me on. We do know each other.
GLENN: Good. How do we know each other?
DANIEL: Well, I sponsored the first bill that actually saved Terri Schiavo's month for about ten months. And it went all the way to the Supreme Court. And then it was -- it was ruled unconstitutional. Then we came back. Did another -- tried another time. It ended up that bill lost by one vote on the floor. Then we went to the federal court, tried to go to the Supreme Court, and we ended up losing. And then you came down and actually did her memorial service. And I was there at that. I'm good friends with all the people that were involved.
DANIEL: Anyway, so --
GLENN: Well, I will tell you, one huge point for you. Because I do remember you now. And that took profound bravery.
DANIEL: Even a lot of conservatives left us on that issue. They did.
GLENN: Yes, they did.
DANIEL: And when she passed away a few weeks later, that was the saddest day of my whole political career. It was.
GLENN: Yeah. Okay. So, Kevin (sic), now you've softened me up a little bit. I want to ask you some questions here.
GLENN: You are being pushed by a lot of people in the Liberty Caucus even, some friend of mine from the Liberty Caucus, Massie called and said, "No, you're the guy that we need to have." And my instinct is to say shame on them, this is the best we can do. Your voting record is worse than Kevin McCarthy. You have -- you have endorsed Jeb Bush, who is a progressive at heart. Your votes -- you voted against limiting warrantless surveillance on Americans. You voted for the Farm Bill. You voted for debt limit suspension. The Omnibus Budget Bill to continue student loan subsidies. Voted for more tariffs. Voted against cutting 3.1 from the Energy and Water Appropriation -- I mean, it goes on and on and on. We have an opportunity to get rid of John Boehner who is nothing, but a progressive nightmare. And to actually stand for things that mean something. Why should we go to you?
DANIEL: Well, because I was Speaker of the House in Florida, first Republican speaker in 120 years. And I totally dismantled the way this House worked and turned it around to what I believe is right. The problem is not necessarily that. The problem is that we have a power-based system. And a power-based system is different from principle-based. And so I created their principle-based system. We took up the most important issues first, not like we're doing kind of this week in Congress. We wait till the last minute, and the government is shutting down or whatever. And so we do something to keep it going. Those issues should have been resolved months ago, when the president had no leverage. He has leverage two or three days before the vote or one day before the vote or the day of the vote. You know, all of that is wrong.
And so I believe that a power-based system, a few people at the top of the pyramid of power make all the decisions. What I want to do, and what I did in Florida was push down the pyramid of power, spread out the base so all the people that have amendments that get shut down, not because of anything other than the process, and so they pass a rule. No amendments. They passed a rule. No alternatives. They passed a rule. We're not even taking up your bill.
And instead of having an open process, a process where every member gets to participate. And when that takes place, then many of these things that don't even happen -- or happen right at the end when there's really no other choice is -- is done away with it. We get rid of it. And I did that in Florida. And received some -- most people said that -- you know, the conservatives took over.
GLENN: Tell me where you stand on the continuing resolutions.
DANIEL: Continuing resolutions. That's the problem. And I voted against those. Here's the problem with continuing resolution. It's a picture of what I just described.
The year before I became Speaker of the House, the first bill we took up was the naming of the state pie. And after midnight on the last date, we passed the appropriation bill. We dismantled Department of Commerce. Created a new Department of Health and rewrote the welfare laws. Thousands of pages of bills. And we did it in 15 minutes. I say "we," the Democrats who were controlling the House at the time. And I just said, "We're not going to do that. We're getting rid of that. We're not going to have any meetings after 6 o'clock. We'll do everything in the daylight." And we're not going to do CRs. We take up the bill first so that we can finish our work and so that we can negotiate way before we get to these deadlines, where in a sense, many members look at it and say, "Well, I guess we don't have any other option."
GLENN: So will you put an end to the continuing resolution?
DANIEL: Absolutely. Because we're going to take them up early, and then you start telling the Senate and the President, "No, CRs. No CRs." You tell them every week, every day, whatever. And I'm talking about back in April or whenever.
GLENN: Okay. So, Daniel, how are you going to do this -- how are you going to get this done when you have progressives on the left -- on the right that love it as much as the progressives on the left? This is the way to dismantle our government is through the continuing resolution. How are you going to get the power structure to change -- and, quite honestly, why should I believe that you -- a guy with your voting record is the guy who says, "You know what, I'm going to return us to the Constitution."
DANIEL: Because I did it in Florida. I'm the only person that has ever run a principle-based legislative body. Every one of them -- in every legislative body, the default is power. So a few people are making the decisions you're talking about.
GLENN: Okay. So then let me rephrase --
DANIEL: Then you're actually getting the work done. And you're getting the work done. And then you lead the other body. Not be subservient to them.
GLENN: So, Daniel, I guess the question I have to ask you -- and it might be impossible for you to do is, "Why should I trust you?" I don't trust anybody, quite honestly. I don't trust some of the guys who are supposedly on my side, I don't trust them. They get into Washington. You could say you did this in Florida. But I don't know you in Florida. Except what you did with Terri Schiavo, which was remarkable and took a lot of bravery. But then you -- and it turned out to be unconstitutional, by the way. Then you come up here to Washington. Usually when people go to Washington, they lose their soul. So convince me that I should trust you. That's what you're asking for the American people. Is our trust. To go fight for you to be the guy.
DANIEL: Well, it's because I -- I'll give you a couple of things. And that is this, if you remember at the -- at the last supper, Jesus had his disciples together. And they got into an argument about who was going to be the greatest. And he said to them, "The kings of the Gentiles exercised Lordship over them. And those that exercise authority over them are called benefactors." That's the power-based system I'm talking about. And so -- and so what happens, you're in power, and you offer up these -- you're in authority, and they are subservient to you. Members of Congress. And then you offer them subcommittee chairs or other things. And then they become -- you become their benefactor.
That's -- and Jesus said -- and you know what he said, "Ye shall not be so. You can't be that way. That's not the way. The way to lead is to serve." And I've proven, whether it's my (inaudible) or whatever, that I've been a servant leader. And that when I've had positions of authority, I've taken that position and made the membership successful. And not me. Not me passing out favors and buying votes or whatever. And so when you get rid of that, then you have now the opportunity to work on principles. And that to me is what I'm all about. And that's why a lot of conservatives are saying, "Yes, this is right." They were there. Many of them that were supporting me were in the Florida legislature at the time. And so I don't know why I can tell you shouldn't trust me, except for the fact of Schiavo like you said. But I will say this, I've had more pro-life bills, I believe, I ruled unconstitutional -- but I tried -- then the entire total membership of Congress together. And so --
GLENN: Daniel, I will tell you this, you've answered all of the questions at least right enough for me to bring it to God and to pray on it. And I -- we have to trust somebody. And --
STU: By the way, Daniel is the only one who has stepped up.
GLENN: Yeah, these other weasels --
STU: None of them have done anything.
GLENN: Yeah. And this is not going to be an easy thing.
DANIEL: No. I did before -- and I'm down to one committee --
GLENN: So let me ask you this. I usually ask people how their soul is. You're about to go into the -- you're about to step into the darkest place you probably have ever been. You know this to be true. The power that you are going to have at your disposal and the darkness that is surrounding that position, how are you -- how are you going to hold on to your soul?
DANIEL: Well, the key is -- I'll say the key -- number one, I pray every day. But what I found is that the way to give up power is to not grab it to begin with. In that, you begin serving people, not have them serve you. That's number one. And then number two, I think the most important thing is you adopt -- there is an unwritten rule that's a bad rule. And that is, it says the leader can never lose. The Speaker can never lose. The guy in charge can never lose. And I don't believe that. And as long as I can hang on to that, I won't have this pressure to guide things the way I think they're supposed to be as opposed to allowing the free exercise of the votes of the membership of this House of Representatives. And so -- and I also have this philosophy.
America is not broken. Washington is. That's the problem.
GLENN: Grade Boehner for me. Can you grade, Boehner for me?
DANIEL: I felt like John Boehner created -- he didn't create, maybe he just fell into. But he had a system based on power. And I just -- I along with -- I -- I counseled him and others that it doesn't have to be this way. They didn't take my counsel. They decided to go that way. So I believe that in a way, he created much of the problems that we have today.
As far as grading, I'm not a judge. I don't judge people. My religion would tell me judge not and be not judged. But I will say this, I think that we could have -- we could have had the golden opportunity to rebuild the party image if we had only shown ourselves to be leaders -- a different kind of leader. A leader that says, "We're going to listen to the people. We're going to listen to the membership. We're going to give power to the membership, and we're going to get away from this power-based system."
GLENN: Who are the people of the Tea Party? Who are they?
DANIEL: The people of the Tea Party are people. They're citizens of this country. You know, there's just a lot of them that I know that are just citizens that actually probably didn't even want to get engaged. Would rather be home working and doing things and trusting that the government would perform correctly. And it just -- it's almost like that -- the acronym of what it means. It's just enough. They've had enough. And they got engaged. Nothing wrong with that. And so I think that's who they are. They're just regular people who've had enough, and they got themselves engaged in trying to transform government.
GLENN: Representative Daniel Webster. He is running for the -- the Speaker of the House seat. Lot of our friends in Washington say, "This is the guy that we should be backing." Daniel, I appreciate your phone call. I'm going to take it under advisement myself. And pray on it. And give the audience my recommendation, but I think everybody can do the same themselves. I've enjoyed our conversation. You had a lot of right things to say. I appreciate it.
DANIEL: Thank you for letting me be on. I really appreciate it.
GLENN: You bet. Thank you, Daniel.
I like him. I like him. I mean, I don't know what --
PAT: You know, I think it was all fair. But he came into something that wasn't a super loving --
PAT: -- environment. And he handled it --
GLENN: No, but I thought it was fair.
PAT: No, I just I thought it was fair.
STU: I think the thing to hit too, the people that have talked to us about Daniel Webster being the guy -- first of all, there's not another choice, besides McCarthy. Second of all, the point was not that he had the best FreedomWorks voting record.
GLENN: No, they all said -- this is where he won me is, I believed his servant's heart idea. I believe when he said I want to reverse the pyramid.
STU: And that's what they said.
GLENN: Yeah, they said structure -- forget about his votes. Structure, he'll do the right thing.
STU: The idea is that conservatives that you might think are even more conservative than Daniel Webster are going to be able to present things, where now they're being squashed. You'll have a chance to get those voices heard, which is important.
STU: The Speaker has so much power, if we can reverse that a little bit even, it would be a step in the right direction. Certainly, the same thing is going to continue with McCarthy.
GLENN: I will tell you, what I liked about him is I liked the fact that he said the right things on that. It was consistent with the guys who I trust in Congress are saying about it.
GLENN: And I also like the fact, I didn't -- I didn't feel pandered to. I felt he did understand his faith. And I felt he was a faith-driven guy. And I saw that in Florida with Terri Schiavo.
GLENN: And that could hold his feet right to the right place.