From this Friday's Morning Joe, former Indiana governor and Bush OMB director, Mitch Daniels told the hosts that he took an "oath of political celibacy" when it comes to discussing the Republicans' latest round of hostage taking. He had no similar qualms when it came to basically turning the entire segment into yet another "Fix the Debt" infomercial on MSNBC.
It looks like these AstroTurfers are gearing up for another full court press in the media and with lobbying members of Congress, so expect more shills like Daniels to be filling our airways again in the near future.
Daniels bragged about how wonderful it was that a "disparate" group of people from all sides of the aisle are coming together to figure out how to balance our budgets on the backs of the poor and the working class. It might be bipartisan, but I guarantee there is one thing all of them have in common, and that's money. I'm guessing there weren't too many members of the working class there to represent our interests.
Rough transcript below the fold.
SCARBOROUGH: So I asked you how was Purdue. How is the Republican party?
BRZEZINSKI: Yeah, how does it took to you?
DANIELS: First of all, you guys I think have been forewarned. I always say I swore an oath of political celibacy when I took the job. I stay away from anything partisan.
BRZEZINSKI: So that would be everything going on in Washington right now.
DANIELS: Well, yeah, in a sense.
SCARBOROUGH: Why are you here? […]
BRZEZINSKI: Is there anything in Washington you can talk about then? Seriously.
DANIELS: Sure, I mean. The problems that they are having, fall out on higher end, all the rest of this. you know, without getting into the who is right or wrong about the tactics that the news is so full of. The fundamental question facing the country is what are we going to do get on a faster growth track so there's some revenues to pay for worthy programs and pay our debts and when is somebody going to get real about the entitlement programs which are devouring the rest of the budget?
I'm in town for a major conference Time Magazine is sponsoring on the future of the research universities. They've been our drivers. They've been our engines. We've got to keep investing in basic research. If the federal government doesn't do it, not much will happen.
Really there's pretty bipartisan agreement about that. Not that people don't appreciate the importance of research. The problem is there isn't any money. We're borrowing a third of all the money we're spending now and the discretionary budgets for research and FBI and everything else is getting squeezed, squeezed, squeezed. So, that's what you want to do...
SCARBOROUGH: Well, you may not be able to say it, but we can say it. We saw it yesterday with the food stamp and a cut in food stamps, we can debate that all we want. I don't think it's great branding for the Republican party, but you have, whether it's food stamps, whether it's research, whether it's education, we're coming for this small pot that's ten, eleven, twelve percent of the budget, and as Erskine says all the time, it's the entitlements stupid.
So we're slashing and burning in this small area and we're leaving these huge entitlement programs that just keep growing throughout the years. And we can take care of it now through the long run and not hurt seniors twenty years from now, but nobody's doing it. Erskine's doing a great job. You can say that, can't you? Erskine's doing a great job?
DANIELS: Absolutely. I was with that whole gang just two or three nights ago in Washington. It was a very bipartisan group together. David Rubenstein organized the campaign, the latest one.
SCARBOROUGH: I thought it was a great event.
DANLELS: Well, it was very heartening to see people of very disparate views in the room. Now, how that gets translated finally into, I'll say, there's plenty I think of responsibility on both sides. There could be more courage on one side and there could be some flexibility on the other side that hasn't been there.
You just said something that's so important, if we just get started. We don't have to solve this problem. In fact it's mathematically impossible to solve in even a decade or two. The pile of debt is just too big. But we're such a lucky country. If we just get started I believe we'll have the positive effects economically that we'll need to have, and the world will sort of bridge finances this, but we got take the first step.
SCARBOROUGH: You start talking about taking the first step and start planning twenty years ahead people start talking about austerity. No. We're not talking about austerity. We're talking about planning for the future. You can invest in education. You can invest in R&D. You can do what Ike did after Sputnik and invest even in new generation of scientists and engineers and mathematicians and IT people. We can afford to do that now, but a day's going to come that will come where we can't if we don't get moving.
HALPERIN: Governor, presidents of both parties, administrations of both parties, have raised the debt ceiling, that's something we've done kind of in a regular way. That's coming up again. Is that something that there should be political fights about, or should that just happen as a matter of course as it has in the past?
DANLIELS: Well, it just happened and it will happen, but the... ugh... I'm so concerned about the problem we just discussed, and I don't begrudge anyone using these moments to try to raise those questions and if they can get a little leverage to force a discussion that's not happening otherwise, then that's not necessarily bad. But, of course, you got pay the debts and pay them on time and, you know, that will occur.
We've seen this. I got a daughter who works here in New York, walking down the street not long ago she heard some New Yorker yell, they're known for talking a little loud you know.
BRZEZINSKI: Yeah, in airports.
DANIELS: He said, you know, I've seen all this before. This ain't my first radio. Well, you know, like this debt thing, ceiling, it's not our first radio.