In yet another example of CNN allowing one of their guest to play the "both sides are obstructionists" and a lack of bipartisanship is what's wrong with our politics game, frequent contributor Prof. Peter Morici does his best to lie to their audience about who is actually making sure that nothing gets done in Washington D.C. -- as long as Republicans' primary goal is to make sure that President Obama is not reelected instead of allowing the economy to improve.
Here's Morici on Saturday's Your Money:
VELSHI: So the work needs to be done to fix this economy outside of Washington in the private sector. But the idea there is a road map, there is some destination and there are some agreement as to how to get there is the thing that is going to help businesses make those decisions to employ people.
So ultimately the gridlock you're saying, Diane, is a large part of the problem. Peter Morici, what's the logical fix to that? Do we have to wait for 14 months for an election to finally have the people somehow send the message that you guys have to get something done in Washington?
Are we still going to see this reactionary politics that plays its way all the way down to the voter who now is going to vote on choices that affect them personally?
MORICI: The fact of the matter is we're going to see marginal action on the president's plan. Even the Democrats in the Senate are putting it off. My feeling is there will be a package. It won't be nearly as comprehensive as the president likes.
But a basic problem we have is that when the Republicans win, they think they should get everything their way and the Democrats think they should obstruct. When the Democrats win, they think they should get everything their way and Republicans think they should obstruct.
The reality is folks do want government -- Americans are moderate. They want solutions in the middle. Until politicians are willing to do that, we're going to have this seesawing in elections. I mean, that's all there is to it and we're going to be a country divided.
But I think there are real solutions to getting the private sector going. We haven't had a clear vision from the White House how to do that beyond stimulus. And frankly on the Republican side, cutting taxes and deregulating doesn't warm me up.
Naturally what Morici fails to mention here is that Democrats have not been the ones unwilling to negotiate, to a fault I would say. It's been the Republicans and to the point that they're even refusing to vote for their own ideas if heaven forbid those ideas might somehow even marginally improve the economy.
We've already written about the level of GOP obstruction we've been watching over the last couple of years at Video Cafe. Steve Benen wrote a post on this earlier this year here -- Evil vs. Disgusting -- which did a really good job laying out just how craven the Republican's strategy has been that bears repeating here in the wake of Morici's remarks.
Regular readers know that we’ve been keeping an eye on the “sabotage” question, wondering whether congressional Republicans would consider hurting the economy on purpose, for purely partisan reasons.
Michael Tomasky went even further the other day, arguing that Democrats should start “saying openly what has been clear for months or even years now — that as long as economic recovery would work to the political benefit of Barack Obama, the Republicans have been, are, and will be in favor of sabotaging the economy.” Tomasky added this is “obvious,” though many consider the question to “impolite” to repeat. [...]
Rachel noted, among other things, that the congressional GOP has decided it’s against their own ideas about helping the economy, which necessarily raises some awkward questions about their motivations. [...]
Keep in mind, for much of the country, the problem with policymakers and the economy is that Washington lacks “leadership” and the “political will” to make things better. These assumptions are wrong — the problem is a major party that controls the House and can block at will in the Senate appears unwilling to consider any measures that could improve the economy, and demands measures that would make matters worse.
During the segment after the clip at the top of the post, host Ali Velshi, Morici and Mesirow financial economist Diane Swonk went on to discuss what they thought some of the solutions out there might be for job creation in the United States. And what were those? The first one suggested was naturally lowering the tax rates on corporate America and supposedly closing some of those loopholes we know is never going to happen at the behest of that great bastion of bipartisanship, Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Club for Growth).
Following that, they did actually talk about a few things I agree with, like doing something for underwater homeowners instead of the banks, and the fact that businesses are hurting right now because we just don't have enough demand and that government can play a role in helping in that regard although I disagree with their premise that ultimately it's all up to the private sector to see that happen in the long term. If government doesn't step in and protect American workers, the private sector is going to continue to do nothing but have a race to the bottom on wages and benefits all in the name of taking care their stockholders and bonuses for their CEO's.
What irked me when watching this is that not once did they point to the GOP and let their viewers know what Steve Benen wrote about in his post, and that is the Republicans are obstructing everything possible for the sole purpose of hoping that if our economy is in the tank, President Obama does not get reelected.
They also, of course, failed to address the real divide we've got in America right now and it's not a problem with the divide between Republicans and Democrats. It's a problem with the divide between the powerless in America and the ultra-rich who are controlling so much of the wealth in the country as the middle class disappears.
Nor did they discuss the problem with our politicians having to raise endless amounts of money to get reelected and being beholden to those they're taking the money from once they get in office -- and companies like CNN benefiting from the political advertising money that follows -- so they have no interest in trying to do anything about it because it's earning them a handsome profit.
And if you go read the entire transcript from the show which is linked above, it wasn't just this segment that was playing the "can't all of the politicians just get along" game. It was repeated over and over again during the entire hour, even from one of their so-called liberals they had on there, Roland Martin, who said this later in the program:
MARTIN: I recall President George W. Bush coming in, in 2000 saying I want to end partisanship in Washington, D.C. What happened? I heard President Obama, then Senator Obama, say in 2008, I want to come into Washington, D.C. No politician, Democrat or Republican, they have to be able to confront the problem that you have few moderate Republicans, and you have a decreasing number of conservative Democrats. As long as you have people who are on the extremes, you cannot bring folks together. We still are a split nation. That's the fundamental problem that we have.
Just replace "moderate" with the word "corporate" and maybe what Martin said could be considered a halfway honest statement other than the fact that he's calling those on the left who are tired of a race to the bottom and actually want to fix our economy instead of rigging it for Wall Street and the rich "extremists." That and the fact that he is actually pretending that there is a single person left in the Republican Party that you could rightfully call a "moderate." Sorry Martin, but they're long gone. Just not obstructing every single things Democrats do just because they're Democrats doesn't suddenly earn someone the title of "moderate."
Here's the follow up with Velshi, Swonk and Morici discussing what they thought needed to be done to help the unemployment in the U.S. that I already wrote about above.