It's bad enough that CNN has decided to make embarrassment to the city of St. Louis and the state of Missouri, resident right-wing radio host and self-proclaimed "tea party" member Dana Loesch a regular contributor on CNN, but apparently ABC decided that we just could not survive the weekend without hearing some of her infinite wisdom as a panel member of This Week as well. Hiring her at CNN ranks right up there with their decision to make Erick Erickson part of their "best political team on television."
I guess it's true that hiring someone like this Breitbart contributor and flame thrower is a good idea if you think corporate America, the John Birch Society and the extreme right wing of the Republican base just haven't had quite enough representation in our corporate media these days.
While discussing whether Texas Gov. Rick Perry might have some problems in the general election with his stance on Social Security, and calling it a "crumbling monument to the failure of the New Deal" and a "Ponzi scheme", Loesch claims that Perry is not going to be harmed by those statements because he's just representing something the "grass roots" of this country have been supportive of.
She also tells one of the lies we've heard over and over from the right wing on the Social Security trust fund -- that it is supposedly broke because it's been borrowed against and all those T-bills that have been issued out there are somehow worthless.
Sadly, the completely useless Christiane Amanpour didn't call her out for it, but she did at least allow Clarence Page to weigh in, who just wrote a recent column on the topic of Perry and Social Security here -- Rick Perry grabs a 'third rail'.
Page reminded Loesch that if Perry wants to turn Social Security over to Wall Street as Bush did, that's not going to go over very well with most of the public and with the majority of voters, no matter what party affiliation they choose to align themselves with.
Full transcript below the fold via ABC News.
AMANPOUR: We'll get to Palin in a second, but, Dana, I wanted to ask you, again, alluding to some of the things that Governor Perry has said. And he is a Tea Party favorite, and yet he's talked about Social Security, he's talked about it as a crumbling monument to the failure of the New Deal. But we know and the polls show that 87 percent of Americans believe, of course, Social Security has been good for the country. Does that not put him completely out of step with the rest of the country on this major issue?
LOESCH: Not really, because I think that what he wants to do is reform Social Security and hopefully take it out of the hands of the government and allow people to be able to decide what they want to do with their own money.
And that's something that grassroots has always been supportive of. We trust ourselves more than we trust the government. And the government has done a horrible job. They said this money was supposed to be there for people who are my parents' age, who are my aunts' and uncles' age. This money was supposed to be there for them when they retired. It was supposedly put in some sort of lockbox. And then when you open the box, when these people hit retirement age, it's not there anymore.
So I think that this is something that grassroots has pushed for. I think Perry is beginning to speak to that. That's not to say, though, however, that there are other issues that I think that he, over the next -- the course of the next several weeks, he's going to have to answer to, to grassroots.
AMANPOUR: Such as?
LOESCH: Well, I think -- well, for one, his stance on immigration. He's spoken out against building a fence at the border. And I think there's also, too, a lot of people want to talk about Reagan during this political time, but some of Perry's stances on immigration, frankly, aren't all of that different from where Reagan stood on immigration.
We have to remember the immigration bill that was signed into law by Reagan in '86. Reagan was very proud of that, but the difference is, is that Reagan wanted to support a strong border, not just amnesty. And Perry doesn't match up on that. So he's got a lot of answering to do.
AMANPOUR: Clarence, you've written today's column on the Social Security issue. You just heard what Dana said, take it out of the hands of government, and it's just a way of Perry saying he wants to reform it. But how difficult do you think his record, his written record on what he thinks about Social Security is going to be for him?
PAGE: Actually, his written record, he's been very consistent about -- more consistent than his own press spokesman who told us in the media a week or so ago, don't take that book seriously. He wasn't planning on running for president then. And then Perry came out across Iowa, stopped saying, "Oh, yeah, read my book. That'll show you how I feel."
His book is very explicit. Dana's right. He wants to take Social Security out of the hands of federal government, put it in the hands of the states. As Michael wrote eloquently this week, he spoke with great admiration of a temporary program that for a couple of counties in Texas that were able to -- to opt out of Social Security program.
This will not go well with regular Americans. Now, with all due respect, the term grassroots, I had a city editor years ago who said never use the term grassroots, because it is meaningless. Everybody has their grassroots.
The fact is, most -- well, President George W. Bush went around campaigning for a program that would just offer us the option of investing part of our Social Security contribution in the stock market. The more he talked about it, the less popular it became. It died on Capitol Hill.
And Perry calls it a "Ponzi scheme." You know what a Ponzi scheme is? Bernie Madoff, wizard of Wall Street.
KARL: Well, he invokes Bernie Madoff in the book. But, you know, I've got to say...
PAGE: He wants to put more money -- well (inaudible) he wants us to put more money in Wall Street, where Bernie Madoff is. The average American I don't think right now is ready to go for that kind of a radical move.