I have to admire Sally Kohn's fortitude in agreeing to be a Fox News contributor and also in sticking to her guns in her debut segment. By the end of it, I realized why this Congress will never get anything done and why Harry Reid's "ditch the tea party" remark on yesterday's Meet the Press has become so controversial in so many circles.
Before I launch into the segment itself, I want to note that I found it interesting that Fox News has brought on someone who isn't a liberal in name only as a contributor. Kohn's background is not the usual Fox News centrist Conservadem fare: she's got ties to the OWS movement, she has strong organizing credentials, and she's decidedly liberal. Does this mean Fox News is responding to their tanking ratings, or trying to bring someone on they think the conservatives can score points on? If the latter, they may be surprised. Kohn definitely held her own in the segment and gently, but firmly, made her points.
This segment was intended to be a 'debate' between Kohn and the tea party representative, David Webb, about Congress and whether compromise is even possible. As Kohn notes mid-segment, most liberals think Democrats are too willing to compromise in the face of rock-solid obstruction from the tea party and Republicans.
But beyond stating the obvious, this segment stands as tribute to the underlying argument about who it is that's willing to compromise and who isn't. I hope every Fox viewer got a clue as a result of their little discussion. Here's the key to the whole thing, at about 5:30 or so:
KOHN: I hate to trouble you with those pesky facts, but we have the lowest percentage of corporate tax -- real corporate tax rates -- in the developed world already. In addition to that, Republicans want to lower that further. In addition to that, corporations are sitting on two trillion in unspent money and they're not creating jobs. So your big corporate --
-- your big business job fairy hasn't appeared and meanwhile, businesses are staying --
-- you've got to create demand, put money in the hands of working people.
WEBB: Sally needs a course in basic economics, ok? The money that's on the sidelines are from corporations who can't spend here in America.
KOHN: The conversation was about obstructionists.
HOST: If you guys are a microcosm of the country -- liberal versus conservative -- I'm not sure it's going to be a new day when the lawmakers come back.
KOHN: Allison, I'm optimistic. If David and I can have a conversation and at the end of the day, when the cameras are off say "All right. I'm willing to give on this if you're willing to give on this" --
WEBB: I'm not willing to give on this. I'm sorry, you come up with these ridiculous progressive trends that have not worked in any country --
KOHN: Democrats are willing to compromise and Republicans have been obstructionists.
HOST: Take it to the green room --
WEBB: I don't compromise on policy and neither should the Republicans.
Well, alrighty then. There you have it, right in a nutshell, courtesy of Fox News. Earlier in the segment, Webb tossed off the payroll tax cut as a trivial thing, saying an average of $83 per month extra in employees' paychecks was nothing. This, from a conservative tax-cutter, except that he's only a tax cutter when it involves corporate interests it seems.
It was refreshing to have someone representing the liberal side of things who was well-spoken, assertive, and made her points clearly. I'll be interested to see if Fox News brings her on more often for some extra fairness and balance. Go Sally, go!