Martin Bashir may be the most underrated show host on cable television. His show is consistently smart, loaded with facts and good discussion without the incessant screaming and fireworks of other cable news shows. His interview of Rep. Joe Walsh was masterful and yet, polite. Which is why when Bashir closes his Thursday show with a three-minute comment where he's clearly a bit angry, it gets my attention.
Mr. Bashir is frustrated with the constant drumbeat from Republicans about President Obama allegedly turning the US government into a "European-style government" and so he delivers an excellent argument for why they are wrong, and why the ones who are trying to point the United States in the direction of European-style governance are...Republicans.
Bashir targets the Republican fetish for austerity and spending cuts as evidence that they, not Democrats, are trying to transform the United States. At the end, he offers the results of Republican-style austerity measures in Europe, and what they haven't accomplished.
Well done, Mr. Bashir.
Transcript below the fold.
BASHIR: And if the Republican candidates carry on with their usual practice, then tonight at the CNN debate, they will continue to peddle a massive hoax, an incredible myth upon the American people. And what is that myth? That President Obama wants to transform America into Europe.
ROMNEY: President Obama has been building a European-style welfare state.
GINGRICH: Give the American people a chance to decide permanently whether we want to remain the historic America or whether, in fact, we prefer to become a brand-new secular European style bureaucratic socialist state.
BASHIR: Now, it may be that since I was born in Europe I'm a little more sensitive to these things, but in reality this is a massive hoax. Or to use Newt Gingrich's favorite word, the biggest pile of baloney that's ever been served.
Because far from the President wanting to follow Europe, it's actually the Republicans, both those running for President and those already elected to the House who desperately want to follow that continent.
How so? Well, as we know, the global recession which began in 2008, has forced countries to respond in different ways. The President has attempted to stimulate the economy. But others, particularly European nations, have stuck firmly to their believe that austerity is the way to go. And so, they've set about cutting services, demolishing government, reducing the safety net.
And it's this model, as practiced by several European nations, that Republicans like John Boehner, Eric Cantor, Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney want America to follow.
ROMNEY: As President, I will cut spending --
GINGRICH: -- cut spending -
BOEHNER: -- They elected us to cut spending...
ROMNEY: -- cut spending --
BASHIR: So, just to be clear, Republicans accuse the President of wanting to copy Europe, when in fact it's the Republicans that want to follow the European lead in terms of the economy.
So now that we've put the facts straight, how's it all going in Europe with those pro-Republican approaches to austerity?
Well, in Ireland, they responded to their debt with a savage series of austerity measures and unemployment is now at 14 percent.
Across the Irish Sea in Britain, the latest figures are out for economic activity. Unfortunately, there wasn't any. The economy didn't grow at all. It shrank, by naught point two percent for the last three months of last year.
And in Spain, where a series of brutal austerity measures were applied, youth unemployment is getting ever closer to fifty -- yes, fifty -- percent.
These are the indisputable facts. It's one thing for Republicans to misrepresent the President. We expect that. But it's completely shameless in the very next breath to support those nations that they've accused the President of following.
No wonder people say Republicans have problems with irony.