Tavis Smiley should take a breath between his slams on Democrats to fact-check before running off about who is responsible for the federal minimum wage stalemate.
October 20, 2014

At some point, the Mitch McConnell contingent who resolved to do absolutely nothing until Obama left office must have bribed the perennially dissatisfied contingent who think complaining without action is somehow helpful.

Tavis Smiley has long been an Obama hater and complainer. Either Obama isn't black enough or he just isn't magical enough to wave his Magic Fix-It Wand™ and make everything all better for everyone everywhere but most especially in the black community.

Never mind the things Obama and the Democrats have done, things that cost a ton of political goodwill like the Affordable Care Act and the stimulus bill, which saved a lot of people (regardless of race) from being completely destitute after Wall Street ran the table.

On This Week, Tavis sat at a table with Bill Kristol, Mary Matalin, Stephanie Shriock and GSteph and said this with a straight face, concerning the Democrats' focus on women's issues as opposed to economic populism:

SMILEY: That's a good point. And I think that issue would probably play better. And a lot of the reasons it might not be the top of the agenda is that Democrats respectfully know that they haven't even done everything they could have done on this issue.

The slogan that it could have been worse is not a winning slogan. And I think the economy is certainly better now that we expected it would have been a couple years ago. I think the president gets some credit for helping put what policies that have turned this economy around slowly.

Having said that, there's been no real fight even by Democrats for increasing the minimum wage to a living wage in this country. That measure can only go so far if you don't have the record to back that up.

There's a front-page story, George, as you know, in "The New York Times" today. They talk about the --


SMILEY: -- exactly, that the black vote is what the Democratic Party is relying upon now to save the Senate. News flash: if you're relying on the black vote, in a midterm election -- and I'm not suggesting that black voters don't care about this -- but if you're relying on that vote, then I think it's uninspired because we have double- and triple-digit unemployment in the African American community.

And again, if the message is something other than employment and what we're going to do for you, then what's the reason to go vote?

So here are some headlines for Tavis to consider, from April 30, 2014:

Washington Post: Senate Republicans block minimum wage increase bill

MSNBC: Senate GOP kills minimum wage bill

And from May 13th, this article from Slate, taking on the attitude REPUBLICANS have toward the minimum wage.

For the large majority of Republican lawmakers, there’s no reason to raise the minimum wage. And when Democrats raise the issue, they push back with the usual reactionary rhetoric.

“[W]hen you raise the cost of something, you get less of it,” said House Speaker John Boehner, after the White House revealed its plan to raise the minimum wage for federal contract workers. He continued: “We know from increases in the minimum wage in the past that hundreds of thousands of low income Americans have lost their jobs.”

I suppose no one could have pointed out to Tavis that states where Democrats are in charge have raised the minimum wage with others trying to via ballot measures this time out. But that would be too much like truth, I'm afraid.

One side thinks raising the minimum wage is evil and so they block any legislation from passing at the federal level. The president then signs executive orders raising the minimum wage for concession workers and contractors doing business with the federal government and Tavis Smiley whines that Democrats aren't committed to getting the minimum wage raised.

Way to play that one, Tavis. Which Republican are you hoping to see elected to the Senate so that their majority can just repeal the minimum wage law altogether a few times?

Really, inquiring minds want to know which Republicans Tavis Smiley thinks would really help the cause of economic populism in this country. Because he's sure as hell working hard to elect them.

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