It looks like Cenk Uygur might have lost his time slot at MSNBC and I don't think it means we've seen the last of him on MSNBC. It would be nice if they give him another time slot, like replacing some of their terrible day time lineup, or one of Matthews' two slots, or maybe a show on the weekends. From the little I've read it sounds like he is going to continue to have some role at the network even though it's not clear what that is yet. Apparently his ratings weren't doing that well during the 6pm eastern time slot and the network is going to give the Rev. Al Sharpton a shot at it instead.
After watching Sharpton in action over the last few weeks taking on these "tea party" Republicans -- and I use that term loosely because there is no such thing as a Tea Party. It's the extreme right wing of the Republican Party that's been with us for decades dressed up as something new so they could get the Bush-stink off of their brand name -- but that aside if he's going to take one of these wingnuts on daily as long as there's a line of them still willing to come on his show and embarrass themselves, I wish Al well with seeing if he can do better with their ratings at 6pm.
This Tuesday's latest victim was Alabama Republican Rep. Mo Brooks, who Matt Osborne recently wrote about here -- Mo Brooks Will Do "Anything Short of Shooting" Illegal Immigrants.
Sharpton hit Brooks for the Republicans protecting their rich constituents and their tax cuts and for refusing to expect any of them to participate in any shared sacrifice when it comes to balancing our budget. He took Brooks to task for the standard Republican talking point he replied with, which is that we cannot raise taxes on the richest among us because they are supposedly the “job creators.”
Sharpton also hit Brooks for saying that the debt ceiling didn't matter and that our credit rating should be improved by not raising the debt ceiling. Here's some of the article Sharpton was quoting from on Brooks.
Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), another freshman, said that a much bigger fear was that raising the debt ceiling would enable Washington to spend itself into paralyzing debt in a few years.
“A debt-ceiling problem, as large as it is, is not anywhere near as a big or as bad as” that, Brooks said. If Aug. 2 arrives without a deal, Brooks said, the federal government could continue paying creditors. He said that a show of tough fiscal self-discipline could actually improve creditors’ confidence.
“There should be no default on August 2,” Brooks said. “In fact, our credit rating should be improved by not raising the debt ceiling.”
That stands in contrast to a warning from Moody’s. The rating agency said Wednesday that it might downgrade the U.S. government’s top-notch credit rating, “given the rising possibility that the statutory debt limit will not be raised on a timely basis, leading to a default.”
Here's the exchange that followed.
BROOKS: Well, it does matter.
SHARPTON: So you did say that?
BROOKS: No, let's talk about what you're talking about here, okay?
SHARPTON: I'm talking about what you were talking about.
BROOKS: That's right. What I was talking about was in the context of whether an increase or a lack thereof in the debt ceiling would have an impact on the credit rating of the United States of America. That's one thing. It's another thing to say whether it would or would not have an impact on the economy of the United States of America, or some of the programs of the United States of America. It definitely will have an impact on the economy of the United States of America.
The ridiculous Brooks went on to try to explain how allowing us to partially default on any of our debt obligations would somehow not cause severe economic damage to the United States and that the markets would not react well ahead of any actual default with enough double-speak to make your head spin.
Sharpton also played back some old tape of the Republican's St. Ronnie-Ray-Gun and his statement on how the hostage taking going on now was dangerous to the country:
Congress consistently brings the government to the edge of default before facing its responsibilities. This brinksmanship threatens the holders of government bonds and those who rely on social security and veterans benefits. The United States has a special responsibility to itself and the world to meet its obligations. It means we have a well earned reputation for reliability an creditability. Two things that set us apart from the rest of the world.
Brooks naturally responded by pretending that if Republicans just had Ronald Reagan in office now, they would not be acting this way, as if Reagan could get elected as dog catcher in today's Republican Party. Sharpton hit back by saying that President Obama sounds a whole lot more like Ronald Reagan right now than the members of the U.S. House do, which sadly is true and a sorry testament to just how far to the right both parties have moved and the fact that one party has fallen off the crazy train to the point that I do not understand how any sane American could vote for any of them.
They've shown themselves to be incapable of governing and willing to blow up our economy if they think it might mean them gaining some sort of political advantage or for political purity and their actions over the last few weeks have been irresponsible enough to make my head spin with their brazen willingness to lie to their constituents and the public about what kind of dangerous game they're playing with pretending default on our debt is something to toy with.
Sharpton followed up with Robert Reich, who explained why Brooks was just babbling nonsense in the previous interview along with the rest of his irresponsible House members who think defaulting on our debt is something we should be toying with or entertaining. This would be amusing if it weren't for the fact that this is the dangerous rhetoric coming out of the better part of the majority party running one of our three branches of government right now and as Reich noted here, the trouble with this crazy talk is the "big lie" and if these wingnuts repeat it enough over and over, amplified by Fox noise, a good deal of Americans will think they're telling the truth and buy into it.
Sharpton, to his credit followed with saying that's exactly why he wants to have one of them on every night -- to expose them and their lies to the public and make them defend them on the air. I'm wondering how long it will take for him to run out of takers willing to debate him. There seems to be no shortage, at least for now.