Erick Erickson Walks Back His Statements That Republicans Should Ignore Warnings on Raising Debt Limit
Once again, we've got to wonder why CNN thought this man was ever fit to be part of the "best political team on television", but I guess given his current company, he may not be much worse than a lot of them on their network as far as being a political hack goes. That said, Red State's Erick Erickson may be one of the more irresponsible ones given his blog post this week, copies of which were apparently was being passed around to House Republicans to read.
Slate's Dave Weigel slammed Erickson for his blog post and here's the beginning where he lays out how ridiculous Erickson's assertions are and why they should hopefully be igored – Erick Erickson's Bad Advice:
The RedState editor tweets that this post of his is being passed around the House GOP's caucus meeting. Hey, lots of things are passed around at meetings. Let's just hope no one takes this seriously, because it's totally incoherent.
Should the United States lose its bond rating, it will be called the “Obama Depression”. Congress does not get pinned with this stuff.
Who actually thinks this? The polling suggests that people will blame Republicans if we lose our bond rating, because 1) Republicans demanded that this vote be used to get leverage and 2) have insisted that nothing will happen if the limit isn't raised. To wit, here's, uh, Erick Erickson.
When Ben Bernanke brings the Grim Reaper in on August 1st to tell you we are all going to die, you must mock death and choose life.
So the Republicans won't get blamed for a downgrade even though they spent eight months politicizing it and saying it didn't matter?
By the end of July, Goldman Sachs, Ben Bernanke, and Timmy Geithner are going to tell you the world will end unless you raise the debt ceiling.
They did it with TARP too.
Indeed they did! And after House Republicans surprised themselves and beat TARP, the stock market lost 7 percent of its value. Bernanke et al weren't actually bluffing about what would happen if it failed. TARP became unpopular, and it wasn't implemented in a way that protected homeowners -- and that was a disaster. It was separate from the disaster that Republicans courted by suggesting creative destruction and some tax cuts in September 2008.
And as Steve Benen noted, In 18 days, blame will be the least of our troubles:
Far-right blogger and CNN media personality Erick Erickson has an item today that’s making the rounds, which is probably a good thing. It offers a helpful reminder about the perspective of a conservative Republican activist.
Reflecting on the debt-limit fight, Erickson demands that congressional Republicans ignore the warnings and resist any urge to compromise.
“Now is a time for choosing. Now is your time for choosing. As I pointed out to John Boehner yesterday, despite what the pundits in Washington are telling you, it is you and not Obama who hold most of the cards. Obama has a legacy to worry about. Should the United States lose its bond rating, it will be called the “Obama Depression”. Congress does not get pinned with this stuff.”
Reading the rest of the piece, Erickson seems unsure of the exact consequences he expects in early August. On the one hand, the post insists that everyone predicting a disaster should be ignored. On the other hand, Erickson believes a “depression” is a possibility. How reassuring.
Either way, though, the economic effects apparently don’t much matter. As far as Erickson is concerned, what does matter is partisan blame — and in this case, the right-wing pundit is convinced Republicans have nothing to worry about, since the blame will rest on the president’s shoulders.
What’s more, according to Erickson, House Republicans were reportedly passing around copies of his screed to one another this morning.
That’s what matters. Not polls, not spin, not which soundbite resonates. The principal concern should be over whether the public is forced to endure pain in order to satisfy the ideological whims of madmen who don’t belong in public office, but who nevertheless yield enormous power over our collective future.
Honestly, the intellectual and moral bankruptcy of the right is truly a sight to behold.
And naturally he got a pass on CNN where John King did not call him out in any meaningful way for what he wrote in his column, didn't mention that it was being circulated to House Republicans and let him walk his statements back and say "of course" there's going to be an agreement reached and his only problem with what's going on is that Mitch McConnell was willing to cede too much power to President Obama. Shame on John King for letting this hack on the air without calling him out for what he wrote in his column.
KING: During his news conference today at the White House, the president had this "Back to the Future" moment.
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BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I always have hope. Don't you remember my campaign?
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KING: Let's talk about hope. Erick Erickson, the editor of the conservative red state.com. He is among those not only questioning the president's plan but attacking the Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell. Paul Begala, a veteran democratic strategist who remembers his old boss Bill Clinton managing to do some important business with his fierce Republican critics.
We're closing out this week, Erick. I want to start with you because you've been quite blunt saying that this plan put forward by Mitch McConnell which essentially says "Mr. President, here you go. Here's the power to raise the debt ceiling." The president gets that power unilaterally. Now they're working on an addition to hit that would have commissioned members of Congress to recommend spending cuts, they vote up or down. Yes or no. You think this is a bad idea and you're urging conservatives to stand up against Senator McConnell. You say "You must win this fight. You must show you are not afraid. When Ben Bernanke brings the Grim Reaper in on August 1st to tell you we're all going to die, you must mock death and choose life - not bipartisan compromises that will keep growing government ever more rapidly and turn this nation into a third class banana republic. In short, you must hold the line."
Really? You think that there's nothing on the table right now, even McConnell plus isn't good enough.
ERICK ERICKSON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: No, I don't think so. We've already had a bipartisan commission. They've already told us what they needed to do and everyone's balking. Mitch McConnell is a guy who for the past several years has defended earmarks saying we shouldn't give the president congressional authority to appropriate money and now he's saying "Hey, let's give the president authority to take out debt so we don't get blamed." It's intellectually dishonest.
You know, I realized that conservatives are going to have to compromise, but I really don't think our compromise should be let's let the president do it so we can turn it into a political issue against him. The policy is much more important right now than the politics.
KING: Only as you spoke did I realize what a salicious (ph) moment this is. Paul Begala has to stand (INAUDIBLE) here and I think defend Mitch McConnell.
PAUL BEGALA, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I may not be able to do it. It does seem when you hear Senator McConnell talking with this, he's only talking about the politics of this. We're going to blame the president for the bad economy, which by the way they failed at that. By 2-1, Americans blamed -
KING: (INAUDIBLE) by the policy he says America can't default even if we Republicans don't get everything we want.
BEGALA: That is where he's right. First off, the founding fathers didn't envision a debt ceiling. Congress votes the debt and they've already voted it. The question is not whether we have the debt. The question is whether we pay the debt.
KING: There's a lot happening in the capitol today the founding fathers did not envision.
BEGALA: Absolutely. And now there's this nonsense that somehow Mr. Madison was wrong and so we are going to have a constitutional amendment? Madison's masterpiece did not stop Bill Clinton from balancing the budget. It won't stop these characters if they just do their jobs.
KING: So if they just do their job, the president says that, too. The president hasn't put together a plan. I think it's fair to criticize him for that. But I think it's also fair to criticize the Republicans for saying "Absolutely not, absolutely not." Before they can at least sit down at the table and try to hash these things out. So you were this when Bill Clinton worked with a guy he didn't agree with on just about anything, Newt Gingrich, to balance the budget. What was there that's missing now?
BEGALA: You know who's there, Bob Dole. I'm serious. Senator Dole - and we can fight with him. He's prepared to go run against President Clinton back then. And Dole was part of the crowd that shut down the government, it's true. But after the shut down, he ended it with these three words. "Enough is enough." And I never thought I'd say "Gee, I miss Bob Dole," but someone on the Republican side needs to say enough is enough, let's stop the madness. Compromise in the middle, some tax increase, some spending cuts, and move forward (INAUDIBLE).
KING: I read your column today, Erick. You don't miss Bob Dole.
ERICKSON: No, I don't particularly miss Bob Dole. I think the Republicans probably should have thought it out a little more than they did in '95. But you know, I will say I agree with Paul in that ultimately as much as I may pound my fist on the table, I know that the Republicans and the Democrats will get in a closed room and they'll come up with a plan. I just - I really think that the McConnell plan is a very bad idea to seed this congressional authority to the president and say let's get another commission. At what point do we stop getting commissions to come up with ideas and actually vote on something? We got a debt of commission. We got the gang of six. We're going to have a Tom Coburn $9 trillion plan on Monday. When do they come up with something other than saying "Hey, let's just blame the other guy?" They've been saying for six months "this is the worst crisis we've had." They pulled the Joint Chiefs of Staff that it's a national security issue, and then they say "But we're going to do it anyway and we're just going to blame the president." That's not policy. That's just politics.
KING: Well a lot of politics in this town this week. We'll check in next week with both of you to see how this is going. I will say Erick, I'm guessing I'll see you right here on the screen. Mr. Begala, I won't say exactly where you're going but aloha, my friend.
BEGALA: We're going fishing.
KING: We'll see you soon.