Judd Gregg just had a meltdown on MSNBC that came out of nowhere. He's been attacking everything Obama, almost from the minute he turned down a Cabinet post offer from the White House, but his performance today was really weird. The conversation was about spending and, as usual, Gregg was acting like the incredible deficit freak that he is.
Melissa Francis is a CNBC talker who believes just like he does, and for some reason he mistook her for a dirty f*&king hippy and claimed she was setting him up as a man who wants to cut all spending on education. In fact, the only thing people like him and Ron Paul believe will work for America is to cut all government spending and federal programs and then just give tax cuts to the rich.
Then, Contessa Brewer brought up the fact that many economists think that when FDR became a deficit hawk so soon after expanding spending that he helped stop the country's economic growth. She asked him if he thought money from education should be cut, he went off and called them liars.
Gregg: First off, nobody is saying no money for schools, what an absurd statement to make. And what a dishonest statement to make. On its face you're being fundamentally dishonest when you make that type of statement.
Brewer: Senator, you're going to be asked to cut certain programs from government if you're on the Senate banking committee. Which programs -- just tell us -- would you cut?
Gregg: And then it gets misrepresented by people like yourself who say they are going to, if you do any of this stuff you're going to end up not funding education. I mean that statement alone is the most irresponsible statement I've heard from a reporter probably in a month.
Brewer: It wasn't a statement, it was a question.
Gregg deliberately misconstrued what they said, and the conversation went downhill from there. Gregg acted like a typical conservative bully around women, and if they were both men he would not have tried to call them liars. Meanwhile, Contessa ended the interview very professionally. He owes Brewer and Francis an apology for his behavior.
And Digby explains why the question about cutting education is based in reality.
I'll let Gregg's tantrum stand on it's own. But I would just point out that it's not absurd in the least to ask if Republicans would cut education. Indeed, it's absurd to suggest otherwise:
President Ronald Reagan promised during the 1980 presidential election to eliminate the Department of Education as a cabinet post, but he was not able to do so with a Democratic House of Representatives. In the 1982 State of the Union Address, he pledged:
The budget plan I submit to you on Feb. 8 will realize major savings by dismantling the Department of Education.
Throughout the 1980s, the abolition of the Department of Education was a part of the Republican Party platform, but the administration of President George H. W. Bush declined to implement this idea.
So, not only was Brewer right to ask whether Gregg planned to cut education as part of a deficit reduction plan, there has been a very longstanding belief among conservatives that they should not be funding education at all.
If there was anyone at fault for spreading misinformation and lies on television it's Gregg with his irresponsible deficit fearmongering and Hooverite prescriptions for the economy. God help us if he and his ilk actually get their way.
And you can't help but scratch your head when you think that a year ago, when everyone knew that the economy was in deep trouble and would need a lot of stimulus, the administration actually named this guy to be Commerce Secretary, a department which Gregg had voted to eliminate as well. That tells you a lot about their judgment at the time.
Digby wrote up the full transcript: