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Tilting at Windmills

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April 17, 2011

WHEN MEMBERS OF CONGRESS FORGET WHO WAS PRESIDENT IN 2008.... Rep. Tom Graves (R) of Georgia appeared on MSNBC the other day, and talked about job policy. He probably should have brushed up a bit on the basics before going on the air.

Host Contessa Brewer noted that there were massive tax breaks during the Bush era, which nevertheless were a period of awful job growth. Given the tax cuts the GOP still believes are critical to reducing unemployment, Brewer asked a good question, "How come we haven't seen massive job growth?"

Graves responded, "Well, what we've seen is massive job loss that began in about 2008, and I believe that was under Barack Obama."

job_losses_before_and_after_obama%27s_policies.png

OK, let's take this slowly so Graves can follow along.

First, Contessa Brewer is right that job creation in the Bush era was a disaster. Republicans assured the nation that massive tax breaks would create millions of jobs, and they were spectacularly wrong. Graves doesn't have to like it, and he can try to make excuses for it, but the record isn't in dispute.

Second, Obama wasn't president in 2008. He ran for president in 2008, but was inaugurated in 2009. It's true that the job market fell off a cliff in 2008, but it started to improve almost immediately after Obama signed the Recovery Act into law. I've even put together a nice little chart on this that even Graves should be able to understand.

And third, arguing that the job losses occurred under Obama's watch is itself deeply stupid. I'm including this chart Ezra Klein posted a while back, which, again, even House Republicans should be able to follow.

In his MSNBC interview, Graves went on to say that "high gas prices" were responsible for the jobs crisis in 2008 -- it was actually the global financial meltdown -- adding, "But when we see the stimuluses, the TARPs, the bailouts, the buyouts, cash for clunkers -- they didn't work." All of this is demonstrably wrong.

How guys like this get elected in the first place mystifies me. Why they're allowed to say dumb things on national television is just as baffling.

Steve Benen 11:00 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (24)

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and I believe that was under Barack Obama."

Whether the Treasury Secretary - er, I mean Tom Graves, believes it or not is irrelevant -- he needs everyone else to

Posted by: Danp on April 17, 2011 at 11:04 AM | PERMALINK

"How guys like this get elected in the first place mystifies me."

Rep. Tom Graves (R) OF GEORGIA

(emphasis added)

Posted by: Steve P on April 17, 2011 at 11:09 AM | PERMALINK

Invincible Ignorance -suffered by the voters in his district who came out to elect him! He is the reflection of the collective wisdom of a free and liberty-minded people in one particular area of our nation!

Georgia, did you say? Oh, that explains it where I.I. is the primary cultural trait among the Euro-criminal descendants down there! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on April 17, 2011 at 11:10 AM | PERMALINK

He lies, the true-believers believe and MSNBC doesn't correct it. Repeat a lie often enough and it becomes "a point of view". The birth certificate is a similar issue.

Posted by: Mudge on April 17, 2011 at 11:13 AM | PERMALINK

If you tell a lie loud enough and often enough, and if an obligatory news media never challenges the veracity of what you're saying, then that lie becomes the accepted truth among the populace. It's been working for years; no need for the republicans to change tactics now.

Posted by: sparky on April 17, 2011 at 11:13 AM | PERMALINK

Having lived in Ga for 17 years now, I can't really disagree with either f you, except that there is a sizable minority if sane people here. The districts here are drawn to minimize our influence and keep us all in a few districts so that the republicans can say and do anything they wish and still get elected.

Posted by: atlliberal on April 17, 2011 at 11:14 AM | PERMALINK

Bravo Contessa Brewer. She actually asked a pertinent question.She should have hammered him on the followup. My point to be repeatedly made is where's the proof of what you say Mr Republican. I'm not calling you any nasty names(cough liar) I just want to see some,any factual evidence to back up what you claim.

Posted by: Gandalf on April 17, 2011 at 11:19 AM | PERMALINK

The false claims aired here can be seen as an exaggerated form of the "uncertainty" meme. Even though Bush was still President in 2008, it could be argued that his possible replacement by a Democrat caused uncertainty in that year and hence contributed to the economic crisis. The solution? Ensure certainty and business confidence by making it impossible ever for a Democrat to become President. Only then will the nation's wealthy loosen their purse strings and create domestic jobs. Once one has swallowed that it's easy to justify vote-tampering, disenfranchisement, Citizens United, etc. etc.

Posted by: davidp on April 17, 2011 at 11:25 AM | PERMALINK

How guys like this get elected in the first place mystifies me.

Oh, c'mon! He's from Georgia - the same state that elected Paul Broun and Newt Gingrich as "deep thinkers."

Posted by: TCinLA on April 17, 2011 at 11:34 AM | PERMALINK

All it takes to get elected in GA is to put an "R" after your name. Nothing else matters.

Posted by: atlliberal on April 17, 2011 at 11:37 AM | PERMALINK

He's in the 9th district. It's the 3rd most republican district in the Nation. Plus, he replace Nathan Deal. You know, one of the most corrupt members of Congress. Who is now our governor... Like atlliberal said, we haven't all been body snatched. The gerrymandering is INCREDIBLE here.

Posted by: ComradeAnon on April 17, 2011 at 11:43 AM | PERMALINK

It bares repeting, its the "I believe" part that throws all the facts out and allows any stupid thing they want to believe to be presents as if its a fact. Cue up compliant MSM to keep repeating said non fact as truth.

Posted by: the seal on April 17, 2011 at 11:47 AM | PERMALINK

"They're allowed to say dumb things on national television" precisely because the people "interviewing" them are lazy, uninformed hacks who are no closer to being true journalists than I am to being a brain surgeon. It's a perfect example of the entirely degenerate and corrupt state of American journalism in general and television "news" in particular.

Posted by: bluestatedon on April 17, 2011 at 12:09 PM | PERMALINK

So, is it safe to assume that Ms Brewer didn't correct his assertion?

Posted by: CDW on April 17, 2011 at 1:13 PM | PERMALINK

Wonder how many seniors in Georgia like the Ryan plan to take from the poor and seniors and give to the rich!

Posted by: js on April 17, 2011 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

That's mighty low-hanging fruit there - why didn't Brewer correct him?

Posted by: g on April 17, 2011 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

How guys like this get elected in the first place mystifies me. Why they're allowed to say dumb things on national television is just as baffling.
------------------
Because they ALL believe their own lies~

Posted by: Mike on April 17, 2011 at 5:46 PM | PERMALINK

If one assumes that they believe that they elect what they see as the best and the brightest to represent them in Georgia, it tells you something very distrubing about the abject level of ignorance of the electorate in that state.

Posted by: sparrow on April 17, 2011 at 5:54 PM | PERMALINK

Did Brewer correct him??? If not, there you are.........the lies just keep coming and are never corrected....they are never told they are wrong! So, the lies continue and continue....that's our wonderful press!

Posted by: S. Holland on April 17, 2011 at 6:02 PM | PERMALINK

The typical Congressional Representative noobie story is: "When I first arrived, I looked around at these people and I wondered how I got here. After two weeks, I looked around at these people and I wondered how THEY got here."

Posted by: GP on April 17, 2011 at 10:39 PM | PERMALINK

". . . Graves went on to say that "high gas prices" were responsible for the jobs crisis in 2008 -- it was actually the global financial meltdown. . . ."

While it is true that Graves' statement is so far beyond absurd that it squarely meets the definition of a bald-faced lie, I believe, Steve, that Dean Baker would correct your assertion: the financial crisis was a sideshow; the real impact came from the inevitable collapse of the housing bubble, which, through stimulating new construction and being used to bolster consumer purchasing power, had masked how weak the Republicans' so-called "recovery" was. The 2001 and 2003 tax breaks weighted heavily in favor of the wealthy did virtually nothing to boost job creation.

Posted by: urban legend on April 17, 2011 at 11:57 PM | PERMALINK

Even if his district is too red for a Dem to ever win it, there still should be some ads with the actual video and the truth side by side to try to make some impact.

Otherwise we are just giving in forever. You have to start someplace and this looks like a good place! Shake things up a little!

Posted by: Mary on April 18, 2011 at 12:11 AM | PERMALINK

How guys like this get elected in the first place mystifies me.

Who better to represent idiot Americans than one of their own?

-Z

Posted by: Zorro on April 18, 2011 at 11:23 AM | PERMALINK

Everything - literally, everything - he said was a lie.

The first thing he said in the clip: "The last two years have been a failed experiment of more taxes and more government and more spending..."

Really? What taxes? Obama has done nothing but cut taxes since he came into office. What taxes is Rep. Graves referring to? It would have been nice if Contessa had thought to ask.

Posted by: UncommonSense on April 19, 2011 at 9:20 AM | PERMALINK
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