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It's a few weeks old, but I came across this appearance by Alan Grayson on John Fugelsang's Current TV show, and I thought I'd share, especially because he makes a good point I hadn't heard: Republicans only care about the primaries!
John Fugelsang: It is his "Second Coming," in the halls of Congress that is. But if you expected Democratic firebrand Alan Grayson to tone down his comments now that he's back in DC, you don't know Grayson!
—video of Rep. Grayson's "Don't Get Sick" floor speech—
Congressman Alan Grayson: If you get sick in America, this is what the Republicans want you to do. If you get sick in America, the Republican's Healthcare Plan is this: Die quickly.
John: Oh you could sell those signs on E-bay. Come on, admit it! You missed this guy!
—video of Rep. Grayson on MSNBC "He's Baaack!" interview —
Alan: As I pointed out three years ago, their health care plan is: "Don't get sick. And if you do get sick, die quickly." Now we see the same thing is true with guns, in the wake of a terrible national tragedy. [Meaning, "don't get shot."] In fact, in the wake of recurring national tragedies, their answer is, do nothing. They want to instill in us a kind of fatalism and nihilism that means that we can't do anything to solve our problems.
John: The pride of Florida's 9th district! The one, the only, ayatollah of rock-and-rollah, Democratic Congressman, Alan "Boom Boom" Grayson joins me now. Good evening distinguished Representative, and thank you for your time.
Alan: (laughter) Good evening.
John: It's great to have you back, sir. I think I speak on behalf of many who were really thrilled to have you back on Capitol Hill. After two years off, sir, how does it feel? Has anything changed?
Alan: Well, a lot has changed. The Democrats no longer have the House and as a result, nobody is doing anything, unless you hold a gun to their heads. Literally. It's remarkable to see the inaction; I just saw that directly in full force. It was 79 days since Hurricane Sandy before the Republican majority in the House was willing to do something to address the problem. 79 days when people can't flush their toilets. 79 days when people are literally living in the dark, with candlelight. And it took that long for the Republicans to do anything to help those people. It's shocking. They just cannot get anything done.
John: Well you have to understand, sir, those people live in the Northeast, not in actual America. I think that's their rationale.
Alan: I think the rationale is what it always is. The Republicans just don't want to do anything for anybody. And there's a mean streak too that I think you only recognize when you're really close up [to them]. These are people who want to kick you when you're down.
John: Like you've so eloquently described, Republicans' go-to plan for any problem facing the country seems to be at this point, do nothing. So when you see your GOP colleagues do do nothing -- now it's on gun control measures -- what do you think the odds are that when the next mass shooting happens, God forbid, will they be blamed? Will the GOP once again bow to the NRA pressure, or is this time going to be slightly different?
Alan: No, they will bow to NRA pressure. I am almost certain of it, because you have to understand, the real audience for about a hundred and fifty Members of Congress who are Republicans — most of their caucus — their real audience is those four or five percent of humanity who actually vote in Republican primary elections. They don't care what happens in November. They care what happens in June, July and August, when they're having their primaries. It's only a tiny fraction of the public who ends up determining who goes to Congress from all of those many Republican districts. That's their [real] audience. The NRA still has veto power over most Republican Members of Congress. And they will kowtow to the NRA.
John: But sir, doesn't that mean if they go ahead and block or filibuster an assault weapons ban or regulations on magazine size, when the next massacre happens, does the House GOP then own it?
Alan: It just doesn't matter to them. Look, we live in a country where almost twenty-five million people cannot find full-time work. The President and the Democratic Party have been trying desperately to do something about this, for the past four years. And for the past two years Republicans have blocked every effort. The President's job program never even came to a vote in the House of Representatives. It's farcical. They don't want to help people. They don't care. The only way to solve this problem is to simply put them out of power.
John: Well, in your own state of Florida, Governor Rick Scott has been refusing to accept federal money to help disabled children. But it turns out he's willing to use state and local funds to line the pockets of gun lobbyists. Scott gave a $1.6 million subsidy to Colt Manufacturing in 2011. Is there any logic behind this?
Alan: Well the logic, I think, is that they believe that the only real problem this country has is that the millionaires and the billionaires just don't have enough money. And if we keep stuffing money in their pockets, somehow, everything will just come up roses. That's been their plan from the start. They're pretty explicit about it. There's no form of corporate welfare that Governor Scott's ever been against. But if you talk about actually seeing to it that handicapped children can be home with their families instead of being institutionalized, suddenly there's no money for that at all.
John: Last week, in response to criticism from you, and families of disabled children, and the U.S. Justice Department, Florida launched a so-called "Enhanced Care Program" which would enlist twenty-eight nurse case coordinators to work with the families and the nursing homes treating their disabled children. Is this close to adequate? Twenty-eight people for the whole state of Florida?
Alan: No, of course not. Look, we have twenty million people in the State of Florida. We have tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of children who are dependent upon the State for their care. And the question is, "Are they going to be in the hands of their loved ones, their family members, the people who care about them the most, or are they going to be institutionalized and treated like, I don't know, packed like sardines in a can?" I don't know. That's the choice that's in front of us. And the Governor has already indicated that he favors the sardine approach.
John: You know, I'm all in favor of giving criminals a second chance, but [electing one to be] Governor of Florida seems a bit much. Do you think the tide is turning [against him]? That constituents are waking up and beginning to realize the character of the man they put in office?
Alan: You know, it's a tough analogy but I'll tell you this. In the same way that people in Pakistan are sick and tired of seeing drones in the sky day after day [which was the subject of the immediately preceding report on Fugelsang's show], people in Florida are sick and tired of an unthinking, unfeeling government that is constantly doing nothing but taking pot shots at them — particularly the ones who are most in need. I think that it's going to end. I think that people in Florida are waking up. They understand that they are entitled, when they choose our leaders, when we choose our leaders, we are entitled to leaders who care about us, who want to help us, who want to serve us. Not people who just tell us, "If you got a problem, you're on your own."
John: Congressman Alan Grayson of Florida! Great thanks for your time tonight. It's a pleasure to see you back in DC.
Alan: Thank you.
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