Late last month, in the run up to the the health-care exchanges going live, MSNBC producer Stefanie Cargill and I went to Belmont, N.C., to ask folks what they knew and thought about the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare. Whether they were for it or against it, they were all confused by it. But three weeks after that trip, the conversation I had with David Jackson at the Belmont General Store still rings in my ears.
Ben Carson’s succinct remarks about Obamacare at the Values Voters summit last week were slightly more incendiary than anything Jackson said. “You know, Obamacare is really, I think, the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery,” Carson said Friday. “And it is in a way, it is slavery in a way, because it is making all of us subservient to the government, and it was never about health care. It was about control.” The man who felt comfortable unfurling the Confederate flag in front of the White House on Sunday took more action to protest President Obama than Jackson probably ever will.
But Jackson’s forceful denunciation of Obamacare and the fact-challenged conspiracy theories he harbors show that he shares with the Confederate flag waver and Carson a troubling view of President Obama that goes far beyond quarrels over the health care law. They don’t like him. They don’t trust him. And they think he’s destroying America.
Below are portions of the transcript of my conversation with Jackson at the Belmont General Store. From illegal immigrants taking advantage of Obamacare (which they can’t) to the Muslim Brotherhood having prayer services “on the East Lawn of the White House” (which never happened), Jackson believes the president doesn’t love this country, “not one bit, not one breath that comes out of his body.” As a result, Jackson fears Obama as “the most dangerous person that’s ever walked in these United States.”
Capehart: What do you think about Obamacare?
Jackson: I think it is the biggest travesty in American history. It is forcing people to pay for other people’s health care, because they’re either too lazy or they know they can get the money from someone other than themselves….
It should be thrown in the trash and be taken off the books as a giant mistake. And if they want to help poor people in this country, that’s what they should do.
On parents being able to keep their children on their health insurance policies until they are 26 years old
Jackson: Twenty-six years old, you should be out on your own supporting yourself.
Capehart: Well, it’s up until you’re 26, then after 26 — they’re no longer on their parent’s insurance.
Jackson: When I was 18, my father showed me the door – good luck. Have a good life. It wasn’t all this, keep you on your parents insurance until you’re 26. Most people are out of college with either a bachelor’s or a master’s or working on a master’s that really want to move forward. Twenty-six years old and still living off your parents? That’s lazy.
Capehart: Given the way the economy has been since the implosion of 2008, we know that lots of young people have graduated from college. They’re mired in student debt. They can’t find work. And the notion that they can stay on their parent’s health care coverage until they’re 26 has been the one bright spot in, you know, dark economic clouds that they face. You know — too bad for them?
Jackson: Yeah. Suck it up. That’s the way I look at it. Why should your parents have to pay your way? You’re an adult. Be responsible for yourself.
On Obamacare and illegal immigration
Capehart: The president and the Obama administration say the whole reason he did this is to get the 50 million Americans without health insurance to have health insurance.
Jackson: They figured out a way to get money out of the American people’s pockets. It won’t benefit — it’ll benefit a very small amount of people, and it’ll be the ones that are too lazy or unwilling to work, along with the millions and millions of illegal aliens in this country.
Capehart: You do know that the Affordable Care Act is not … undocumented workers are not eligible for Obamacare. That’s specific in the law.
Jackson: They can go into any Social security agency, welfare office, social services and they’re giving them stuff. They are handing it out to them left and right.
Capehart: What exactly are they handing out?
Jackson: Benefits! Look at them. They get food stamps. They get welfare, dependent children…. They help them with their housing, and they’re not even supposed to be in our country. They are here illegally, but, yet, they know how to work our system to get what they want. They want our health care. They want our food. They want our money, yet they don’t pay taxes. And they’ll look right at you and they’ll tell you, “No habla the English,” and laugh. But you understand what they’re saying. That really makes me angry.
Cargill: Who do you blame for the problems with Obamacare?
Jackson: Him! This was his creation. He wanted to change our country, and he has succeeded at it. Not making it change for the better, but he has destroyed the American way of life. He has made it a point — you don’t have to work, we’ll take care of it. People hear “free” and they think it’s free. Someone behind them has paid for that with sweat and hard work….
Capehart: You mentioned earlier that the president has, I think you said, come in to change America and not in a good sense.
Capehart: Other than the Affordable Care Act, what other ways has he….
Jackson: We went from a triple A+ economic rating in the world to a –A for trade and for borrowing. The prices, just for example food prices have gone up at least 120 percent and it’s because of imposed taxes that he’s created and come up with. And Congress and Senate have been forced to go along with it because there’s something in the barrel that they wanted. He has forced the United States to make choices that they should never have had to make. “Do I pay the electric bill or do I go ahead and pay for Obamacare for somebody else to go to the doctor?” I don’t think that’s right.
Jackson then went on to lambaste the Democrats for resisting Republican attempts to defund or delay Obamacare. “[Republicans] are fighting for the American people as a whole: Democrat, liberal, Republican — doesn’t matter,” he said. “They are trying to preserve our Constitution.” When I asked Jackson if he believed President Obama couldn’t care less about the Constitution, he said, “Yes, sir, I totally do.” And then we fell through the black hole of conspiracy. When I asked Jackson for an example of violations of the Constitution, he had a quick reply: “Benghazi.”
Respect for the Constitution
Capehart: What specifically about Benghazi [Libya] that’s outside the realm of the Constitution?
Jackson: We are sworn to uphold, defend and protect the Constitution of the United States and parts thereof. Part of that is to protect its citizens. Those people in Benghazi screamed for help for 16 hours and they were told, “No.” They were — they were put out there. The list goes on and one and on. It’s one thing after another. The one quote that he made was, “Well if I didn’t have to deal with Congress, I could get things changed around here.” That’s not an American president. They’re supposed to work together for the common goal to make life better for the people of the United States of America….
Capehart: If you were president of the United States and you had the same kind opposition that he’s facing from the other party, wouldn’t you daydream about being able to do what you believe is the right thing to do for the American people without the obstruction that you’re facing?
Jackson: No. We have a Constitution that we’re supposed to abide by, and he violates … whenever he wants. You guys know this stuff. He makes it a point, “Well, if I didn’t have to deal with Congress, I’d do this. I’ll write an executive order.” That’s not the way our country works. That’s not the way our country was founded. Mutual respect among ALL of its people. He doesn’t respect us.
Cargill: Why do you say he’s flouting the Constitution?
Jackson: ’Cause he doesn’t respect it. He said he was going to change America when he went into office. And he has. He has no respect for our Constitution, the bylaws. He wants to do what he wants and if he doesn’t he throws a tantrum and he writes an executive order…. I can’t tell you the things that bother me about what he does.
Osama bin Laden
Capehart: What about the capture and killing of Osama bin Laden?
Jackson: I don’t think that ever happened. No one would ever give up a SEAL team’s names or what SEAL team went in there. I think that was a great mystery that they created. I do not believe they killed him, I will never believe it. Especially dropping him off at sea. No.
Capehart: So, the rationale that they dropped Osama bin Laden’s body at sea was to ensure that his burial place wouldn’t become a shrine to a martyr….
Jackson: No … nobody could prove whether it was him or not. I truly believe that.
The Muslim Brotherhood and fear of Obama
Capehart: One more question. You mentioned that your father, I think you said he fought in World War II. You said that the president doesn’t respect, honor the Constitution. But the president’s grandfather who helped raise him fought in World War II. The president is a constitutional law professor — was a constitutional law professor…
Jackson: He lost his law license, too…. [Not true]
Capehart: Was a constitutional law professor. So, despite all that, you — and correct me if I’m wrong, I’ve been listening to you these last few minutes — you don’t think President Obama loves this country?
Jackson: Not at all. Not one bit, not one breath that comes out of his body.
Capehart: So why would he run for president of a country that he doesn’t love?
Jackson: Because he wanted to change it.
Capehart: And change into what?
Jackson: Look at what our country has become. You can’t go to church without somebody persecuting you. You can’t say anything about the Muslim religion without somebody persecuting you for it. He makes it very well known what his intentions are and how he wants to change the country. And it goes completely against everything this country was founded on. He’s a smart guy, he’s brilliant. But I think he’s the most dangerous person that’s ever walked in these United States. I fear from him, and I’m not afraid of anyone. I’m afraid of him.
Jonathan: Talk more about that. Why are you afraid of him? He’s taller than I am, but he’s barely bigger than I am.
Jackson: Size doesn’t matter. It’s what’s in his heart. He does not have the American people’s best interests at heart. He doesn’t respect the American people as a whole. There have been many veterans groups that asked to have meetings with him or come to the White House and have a picnic on the East Lawn and he said no. And at the same time, this was about two years ago, the Muslim Brotherhood had 1,000 of their people come to the East Lawn for a prayer session.
Capehart: The Muslim brotherhood had….?
Jackson: They had a huge gathering. They had prayer on the East Lawn of the White House. It was in the news.
Capehart: Where did you hear this? Because if the Muslim Brotherhood were at the White House, that’d be a huge story.
Jackson: There are so many people within his administration that are part of it. They’re admitted members of the Muslim brotherhood.
Capehart: Who? Who exactly?
Jackson: I don’t know their names. They’re not English. I don’t know their names, but they’re proud of the fact that, you know, “we work for the president.” They know what they’re doing to our country, and that hurts me.
Capehart: Alright, Mr. Jackson. Thank you.
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