Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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February 25, 2011

QUOTE OF THE DAY.... Last night, Rachel Maddow did a segment on two of my favorite subjects: the success of the Obama administration's rescue of the American automotive industry, and projections, from Goldman Sachs among others, showing the House GOP's spending plan pushing the economy back towards a recession. (I especially liked the part of the segment in which she called me "wise.")

I'm including the clip below, but pay particular attention to the comments from the Washington Post's Eugene Robinson, the mild-mannered columnist who was slightly more animated than usual when discussing these issues.

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For those of you who can't watch clips from your work computers, I've included a partial transcript after the jump, but just as a teaser, note that Robinson characterized the Republican plan as "economically insane," adding, "To take two points off the top of economic growth at a time when we're trying to struggle out of the deepest recession since the Great Depression is insanity. Any economist will tell you it's insanity."

He then proceeded to raise the specter of GOP economic sabotage, which one of his Washington Post colleagues probably won't appreciate.

From the transcript:

MADDOW: Joining us now is Eugene Robinson, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for "The Washington Post" and an MSNBC contributor. Gene, it is great to see you, my wise friend.

ROBINSON: Rachel, great to be here.

MADDOW: Steve Benen at the Washington Monthly, who is wise himself, today said this report on the Republican budget should be the lead story in every news outlet in the country. Do you think this is a really big deal?

ROBINSON: I think it's a huge deal for a couple of reasons, Rachel. Number one, it shows how economically insane the Republican -- the House budget plan is, to take two points off the top of economic growth at a time when we're trying to struggle out of the deepest recession since the Great Depression is insanity. Any economist will tell you it's insanity.

And so, now we have Goldman Sachs, which cannot be accused of being some sort of front for international communism, or socialism or Kenyan anti-colonialism saying the same thing, that this is crazy.

Number two, you know, maybe this is the point of the House budget plan. Maybe the point of the plan is to depress economic growth to set up the Republican Party for 2012, so people will be angry with President Obama and maybe elect a Republican. So, I think this should be a huge deal.

MADDOW: Well, for all of -- I mean, the admitted stupidity and distraction in our politics, there is a big salient empirical question at the heart of it, which is: should we try to help the economy by cutting spending a lot? Do you think we've actually been having an empirical discussion about that, a quantitative factual conversation about the answer to that question?

ROBINSON: Oh, no, not even close. It's as if there are two dimensions. There's a real world of people and events and facts, and then there's -- there's a narrative world in which there is only storyline. [...]

MADDOW: Am I right to suspect, in terms of the difference between fact world and narrative world, am I right to suspect that the fact that the G.M. bailout worked, that that fact will not impinge at all on Republican candidates denouncing it as one of Obama's big mistakes for years to come?

ROBINSON: Not in the least -- it will certainly not factor in the Republican narrative of what's happened over the last 20 months. But in fact, it's been, as you noted, a great success. G.M. is making a profit. Even Chrysler has Eminem in the ads now, and they're kind of, you know, bumping up to respectability. I mean, you know, this was -- think about it. Saved the auto industry in the United States, which is one of the great, kind of, industrial machines of the world, or certainly was once and perhaps could be again. That's a great achievement. But I don't think that's a story that Republicans are going to tell.

Steve Benen 3:25 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (14)

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First, I like the part about Steve Benen being wise. I consider myself to be wise for reading his blog religiously.

And yes, I for one am convinced that the GOP is continuing their efforts to sabotage our economy to undermine Obama's credibility and regain the White. It worked for the midterms, and primarily, we have the press to thank for the fact that they get away with this shit.

Posted by: Chris on February 25, 2011 at 3:35 PM | PERMALINK

Wait until all the bankrupt houses that the banks have been sitting on are dumped on the market 3 months before the election. Think that anybody in the media will connect those dots in a way that supports a conspiracy narrative?

Posted by: Jim7 on February 25, 2011 at 3:37 PM | PERMALINK

Now if Obama's political advisors/media consultants are on their toes, they'll get this out in every medium they can: "What's up with Republicans? Why are they doing everything they can to tip the economy back into recession and hurt working Americans? Could it be about winning the next election?" Simple, easy to understand and if deployed right, devastating.

Posted by: dalloway on February 25, 2011 at 3:42 PM | PERMALINK

'regain the White'

Nice double entendre.

The whole anti-Obama RW teabag movement is imbued with the White is Right flavor. This country sucks at the moment.

Posted by: Captain Obvious on February 25, 2011 at 3:50 PM | PERMALINK

Lets just be happy we have a strong president up there talking tough everyday, showing people he means business when it comes the House's budget brinkmanship games. He's called the Republican's bluff already; Americans know Obama never waffles in the face of insane adversity. Indeed, when Obama, flanked by the Democratic Congressional leadership, announced the other day, "I will not sacrifice a middle class standard of living in this country just so the wealthiest 1% of the population can maintain their tax privileges, political clout, and government backing," I've never felt so proud. His strong, unequivocal, forward-thinking message is clearly resonating with Americans. On to 2012!

Posted by: KC on February 25, 2011 at 4:06 PM | PERMALINK

KC: Good one. People might actually buy that you're a real liberal.

Wait, unless you're seriously reacting to the right wing assault on the middle class by trying to depress turnout against the right wing, which would make you a moron.

I'll take door number one.

Posted by: unabogie on February 25, 2011 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

The Republican strategy of voting no to anything Obama wants was evident during the first two years. And to make sure everyone understood, Mitch McConnell clearly announced that his job was to make sure that Obama was a one-term president. It's not like it's a conspiracy. The silence from the media is an implicit agreement that this is a legitimate strategy. Now is the time for your tears.

Posted by: tomb on February 25, 2011 at 4:38 PM | PERMALINK

No two ways about it. Republicans want two things and only two things.
1) to shovel gobs of money to their republican cohorts.
2) to flush the economy down the toilet to get more republicans elected in 2012 (hey, it worked in 2010).

The order changes sometimes but they still remain the only two things they really care about and unless the regular MSM catches on we are letting Fox guard our hen house.

Posted by: kindness on February 25, 2011 at 4:40 PM | PERMALINK

I was glad to hear Steve cited on TRMS, one of Wash Monthly's few peers in the news biz.

Posted by: hells littlest angel on February 25, 2011 at 5:04 PM | PERMALINK

In my old nation, America, these ne'erdowells would have been kicked to the curb for making much to do about nothing, and denigrating the halls of government.

In my old nation, love of country was measured in how one could contribute to the public discourse and to public concerns. (In this instance, the economy is the primary concern.) In today's America, concern for one's own interests and private discourse to get there in spite of public needs is how to achieve the profits for the privately concerned!

Today, the public be damned!
Thank you Ronald Reagan! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on February 25, 2011 at 5:27 PM | PERMALINK

re: Eugene Robinson

I remember seeing an interview on one of the MSNBC nightly liberal programs where a right winger was countering accusations of vicious rhetoric from the right by claiming the Left was just as bad. When they asked him for examples of Left wing hate speech, all he could come up with was - Gene Robinson! (dear, sweet, even-tempered moderate Gene Robinson)

Talk about "running on empty" ...

Posted by: zandru on February 25, 2011 at 5:37 PM | PERMALINK

Oy yeah, it's great that GM is back and profitable. And most of the executive positions are saved. Too bad about those nasty union thugs losing their pensions though. But hey, everything's great for the people that count, right?

Posted by: Nameless Bob on February 25, 2011 at 9:33 PM | PERMALINK

"...2) to flush the economy down the toilet to get more republicans(sic) elected in 2012 (hey, it worked in 2010!)." kindness @ 4:40 PM.

That is SOOOO yesterday. Really. What works in winning a mid-term election does not necessarily do so during the quadrennial Presidential elections.
Ask Gingrich...

Nameless Bob, there's something else you're lacking besides a name...

Posted by: Doug on February 25, 2011 at 9:54 PM | PERMALINK

Is it possible to escape "narrative world" and does it require deprogramming?

Posted by: Jack Hammer on February 26, 2011 at 1:50 AM | PERMALINK



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