I saw this last night and cheered (at least in my head)
Full Transcript of video over the jump :o)
Transcript via LexisNexis:
OBAMA: The one concern I`ve got on the stimulus package, in terms of debate and listening to some of what`s been said in Congress, is that there seems to be a set of folks who -- I don`t doubt their sincerity -- who just believe that we should do nothing. Now, if that`s their opening position or their closing position in negotiations, then we`re probably not going to make much progress because I don`t think that`s economically sound, and I don`t think that`s what the American people expect is for us to stand by and do nothing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That`s President Obama tonight addressing some of the anti- stimulus talking points that we have been hearing from Republicans over the past couple of weeks. And, you know, when he puts it like that, it kind of seems like -- yes, that`s sort of a simple point. Does that point even really need to be made? And then you look back at the record and you realize -- yes, that point does need to be made.
May I introduce you to Exhibit A: The new Republican Party chairman, Michael Steele. He has decided to elaborate on his earlier insistence that there is no such thing as a government job. He`s now explaining that he objects to the stimulus bill because it doesn`t create jobs. He says the stimulus bill doesn`t create jobs, it creates work. Huh?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THIS WEEK"/ABC)
MICHAEL STEELE, RNC CHAIRMAN: You`ve just got to look at what`s going to create sustainable jobs. What this administration is talking about is making work. It is creating work.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS: But that`s a job?
STEELE: No, it`s not a job. A job is something that a business owner creates. It`s going to be long term. What he`s creating .
STEPHANOPOULOS: So, a job doesn`t count if it`s a government job?
STEELE: Hold on. No, let me -- let me finish. That is a contract. It ends at a certain point, George. You know that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: But what if it`s like -- what if you are a firefighter or something (INAUDIBLE), like a lieutenant governor of Maryland?
All right. So we have lots of unemployed people but we shouldn`t create work because work isn`t a job, according to Michael Steele. And if your job ends ever than retrospectively, you never had a job. Because your job could go away someday so that means it`s not a job? So, we are all unemployed right now? Michael Steele, I hope you never go away.
It is time now for another tragic comic visit with the Republican Party searching for meaning in the political minority.
MADDOW: Tonight, in his first response to a reporter`s question, President Obama took on the suggestion that FDR and the New Deal didn`t help get us out of the Great Depression. And again, you hear that argument and you think, "He is arguing against a straw-man here." Who could possibly argue that FDR and the New Deal didn`t help us get out of the depression?
And sure enough, I bring you Exhibit B: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, (R) SENATE MINORITY LEADER: We know for sure that the big spending programs of the New Deal did not work. In 1940, unemployment was still 15 percent, and it`s widely agreed among economists that what got us out of the doldrums that we were in during the depression was the beginning of World War II.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: You know, sir, unemployment in 1933 was 25 percent. So, getting it down to 15 percent was technically a big improvement, a really big improvement.
Do you want to see what this looks like in pictures? Maybe that would make it easier here. This is GDP, gross domestic product. The New Deal started in 1933, which is down where everything is bottomed out there. Within three years, the GDP was up over the level than it was in 1929. By the time we did eventually get involved in World War II, the GDP has been up every year except for one little problem there in 1937.
Hey, what happened in 137? Oh, right, FDR hit the pause button on the New Deal and did what the Republicans are suggesting Obama do now -- he started cutting spending. The only time FDR wasn`t helping get us out of the depression was when he was doing what today`s Republicans say should be done.
So, sometimes the arguments against the stimulus don`t make sense, Exhibit A: Michael Steele; sometimes the arguments against the stimulus are wrong, Exhibit B: Mitch McConnell; and sometimes the arguments are completely disingenuous, known to be wrong by the person speaking at the time they are saying it. I bring you Exhibit C: Multiple Republicans complaining about partisanship.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, (R) SOUTH CAROLINA: This is not bipartisanship that I envisioned after the election was over.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R) ARIZONA: So, this is not, quote, "bipartisan."
SEN. JOHN ENSIGN, (R) NEVADA: We should have put the best ideas on the table. This was one-party rule.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: The president meets with House Republicans, meets with Senate Republicans, meets with individual Republican lawmakers, invites the Republicans to the White House in multiple occasions, drinks with Republicans at the white house, turns the bill totally inside and out and backwards to make it seem more friendly to Republicans -- and he is not being bipartisan? Really?
Did you hear today that Republican Senator Dick Lugar refused President Obama`s invitation to fly with him on Air Force One back to his home state of Indiana today? But Obama is the one who`s not being bipartisan enough?
I understand a Democrat trying to win Republican votes for legislation and I understand the appeal of trying to govern by consensus. I get it. But the Republicans are not playing along here.
Their arguments, in many cases, are not rational. In many cases, they`re not correct. And in many cases, knowingly disingenuous.
(all emphasis is mine)
I know that I am tired of elected officials insulting our intelligence. They like to piss on our heads and tell us it's raining, and that's not right. Now, I fully expect President Obama to continue to try to work with the Republicans on the Hill, at least to the point that it's no longer necessary in the eyes of the American people. Maybe the Republicans will wake up and realize that this isn't the last 8 years. This is a new President. A new era. A new day.
I watched today's town hall, and a couple of people who asked questions prefaced their questions with "Wow, we haven't seen anything like this in the last 8 years." Obama took it in stride, but those people were merely saying what most rational people are saying. It appears that Obama is prepared to do everything he promised he would do during the campaign with respect to bipartisanship, but bipartisanship is not a unilateral thing. BOTH sides have to be willing to work. President Obama has said repeatedly that he wants all GOOD ideas, that doesn't mean, GOP, that you go to him with the same TIRED ideas and expect him to incorporate them when they clearly haven't been working all that well. People are scared. A couple of weeks ago there was a story of a man killing his wife, his 5 children, and himself because of the lack of job prospects. It's bad out here, and we don't have time for people to play politics to try to get on top in Washington.
Sure, the Stimulus has passed through the House and the Senate, and Republicans are patting themselves on the back for being completely partisan while accusing the Democrats of being partisan. Really?
I'll leave you with something that happened at today's townhall. The Huffington Post has the video of a woman today who's apparently living in her car with her children. She's homeless and jobless. This is not a story that should be happening in the United States. Hopefully the Senators in Washington who don't have genuine issues, and are merely playing political games, see that video and realize that there is stuff out there that is much bigger and much more important than whether they are the party in power.
So Kudos to Rachel for this segment, she even had a nice graphic for the people who learn better that way.
UPDATE In case you missed the segment with Ben Nelson, here it is. His response to cutting education funding in the stimulus is pure crap, actually I thought most of his answers were crap. This is one of the few times I had that "concerned" look on my face like Rachel does through most of his answers. LOL
Joining us now is Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska. Sen. Nelson has joined with a small group of Republican and Democratic senators to devise the compromised Stimulus Bill that will be voted on tomorrow. Sen. Nelson, thank you so much for coming on the show tonight.
SEN. BEN NELSON (D-NE): Thank you, Rachel.
MADDOW: Wouldn`t the country have a better shot at economic recovery if the Stimulus Bill had a higher ratio of spending to tax cuts than what`s in the bill right now?
NELSON: Oh, I don`t think so. I think we`ve got a good combination of spending and tax cuts because the spending is aimed at jobs. Earlier, the discussion was this doesn`t represent a big idea. It does. Jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs for Americans to keep Americans working and to help people who unemployed get jobs. That`s what is really got to be about.
MADDOW: Why did you push to cut more than $15 billion of school construction money out of the bill?
NELSON: Well, the Republicans who are looking to join with us have an aversion to federal money going for that kind of a program. It is a state responsibility, local responsibility. Local governing boards - boards of education.
I, too, am concerned about money coming from Washington. As governor, I faced the under-funded mandate of special education where the Federal Government promised to be a partner with it. I faced back here a decision about "No Child Left Behind," another under-funded federal mandate.
There is a very sincere concern about the Federal Government getting involved in local education. My colleagues on the other side were very leery about that, and so they insisted that that not be included at the level that it had been.
MADDOW: Certainly, the concern, though, about federal involvement in local education is about the content of education, not literally the physical plant that could be built and thereby create jobs building the school.
NELSON: Well, my concern is once they get involved, they may not be about education, but they tell you what you`ve got to do with "No Child Left Behind" or with special education. And then, you don`t get the money that goes along with it and you have to take money from your own budget in order to fulfill the obligations that are passed on to local schools. But that`s really part of the issue.
The other part of the issue is there are $66 billion of federal money going back to local schools and to governors for education. That`s 1 1/2 times the budget of the U.S. Department of Education. So while the new money that is going to education may not be at the level that it was originally talked about in the house version, it is a sizable amount of money.
$100 billion, if you count the stimulus package of $66 billion, and you have the omnibus budget bill that is going to go through shortly. $100 billion is a lot of money in any state when you look at it.
MADDOW: Sir, and certainly, when you compare the prospect of doing nothing to what we are doing, it looks like we are doing a lot. But the reason I was really looking forward to talking to you tonight is because you had said that you would probably vote against the stimulus if changes weren`t made. And then, the changes you argued for are changes I think make the stimulus plan less stimulative.
I mean, there`s the school construction - I`ll just raise one other. $40 billion in aid to states - you took out of this. I mean, the president addressed that tonight when he talked about firefighters and police officers and other state-funded jobs that will go away if there isn`t enough state-funding to hold on to them. That is almost pure stimulus, isn`t it?
NELSON: There are $200 billion within this stimulus package that will go to states. That is a lot of money. It is not as much as originally, if you will, in the original package. But nobody`s cutting anybody here. We`re just making sure what goes back to the states is stimulative but also is within our ability to pay for it.
The total package here that we put together is $780 billion, right at the target that the president put at $800 billion. We`ve got a mix of the tax cuts as well as spending and when you look at the fact that for education, the $13 billion proposed for special education was untouched.
Pell grants - $13 billion. There is an awful lot of money going to education. It is a myth that they are not getting as much as they want. But it is a myth to say that we are not adequately handling education.
MADDOW: I don`t think it is an issue of whether or not it is being adequately handled. It`s because of your intervention there is less money going states. There is less money going to school construction. There`s less money going to food stamps funding which is probably the single, most effective economic stimulus policy we know of. Before your compromise, those numbers were bigger. And now, they`re smaller and we are trying to stimulate the economy here.
NELSON: I think I can tell you without any question, without the intervention, without the three Republican votes, they would get zero, because this bill was going nowhere with 58 votes with the Democrats. That is not sufficient to pass anything. I think you can do the math. So it was a matter of bringing bipartisan support to get something done rather than losing everything.
MADDOW: But you agree, though, that it made the bill less stimulative?
NELSON: No, I don`t agree with that. 78 percent of the money that is there for infrastructure and that kind of spending will be spent within the first year and a half. There is stimulus. There is broadband. There`s the electricity grid and there`s all the construction for bridges, roads, highways and for sewer projects.
There`s a lot of stimulus in the package that was untouched. So I think it is stimulative. And yes, we want to make sure teachers continue to work, that you don`t lose teachers if we can keep them working. We don`t want class size to become a bigger problem and a bigger issue for us. But when you look at $100 billion going to education, it is pretty hard to say that that is not a good jolt for the economy.
MADDOW: Sen. Nelson, I`m in trouble already on time. I just have to ask you one last question. If Republicans choose to filibuster this, and if you don`t have 60 votes, do you think that Republicans should have to stand on the floor of the Senate and talk this through and not have a technical filibuster, but up stand there and read the phonebook and make it clear to the American public why they are standing against this?
NELSON: Well, you know, I don`t think they are going to do because I think we do have 61 votes. We had 61 votes today. I think we`ll have 61 votes tomorrow. If we hadn`t put this package together, we wouldn`t be voting on this tomorrow, I can assure you. And the president wants it timely, targeted and temporary. And that is exactly what we are attempts to do here.
MADDOW: Sen. Ben Nelson, Democrat of Nebraska. I feel like I understand the political argument. I don`t agree with you all on the policy, but I get you did it for political reasons. And I really appreciate you coming on this show to talk about it tonight, particularly knowing that I disagree.
NELSON: Thank you.
MADDOW: Thank you, Sir.
NELSON: Thank you.
UPDATE #2: Apparently there is no end to GOP stupidity. Yesterday, after President Obama's townhall, Michael Steele said the Stimulus bill was "bling bling." Nevermind the fact that this was a totally incorrect use of the term, and he sounded lame doing it, it was flat out a dumb remark to make. Well, today, Gov. Kaine responded (video@ Link):
"I got to say it is insulting to people that one of the core three elements of this plan ... is tax relief for working families that make $150,000 or less. And tax credits so they can better afford to send their kids to college. You know, what's bling bling about that? I mean, it sounds like tax cuts are okay if it's for the wealthiest or biggest businesses but offering them to 90% of American working families, suddenly that's a bad thing. I don't get it. Infrastructure spending, fix the roads and bridges and retrofit schools and buildings so they can save on energy costs? What's wrong with that? What's wrong with trying to make sure that the millions of people that lost their jobs in the last two months, three months will have unemployment benefits and Medicaid? So I hear them using the phrases that are inside the beltway phrases but I ask them, what are they talking about? In that that's not what this bill is."
He took him on head to head on FAUX, you can see that video on the Huffington Post link (apparently the RNC is circulating the video ~smh~).