Rachel Maddow Exposes GOP Welfare Queens Who Attacked Obama's Stimulus, Yet Enjoyed Billions in Benefits
Editor's note: The following is a transcript from the Rachel Maddow Show.
At the top of the show today, we talked about the myth of bipartisanship, the futility of Democrats, including the president, wasting time trying to persuade Republicans to go along with them on policies that are good for the country.
It totally makes sense in the abstract if people can agree on what needs to be done to solve the country‘s problems than those policies, even if they‘re big policies, should get votes from everyone who‘s in agreement.
In the abstract that‘s how it works. In Washington, that is not at all how it works. Republicans proposed a deficit commission. President Obama endorsed the idea so then Republicans decided they‘re against it.
Republicans proposed pay-as-you-go rules for budgeting. President Obama endorsed the idea. Then Republicans decided they were against it too. Republicans who voted for the bank bailout are now criticizing President Obama for that same bank bailout.
Republicans supported President Bush‘s policy of trying terrorism suspects in U.S. courts. Now that President Obama is implementing that same policy, they decided they‘re against that now, too.
Republicans supported a cap-and-trade policy against global warming. Now that President Obama is trying to pass that same policy, Republicans have decided - say it with me now - they‘re against that, too.
See the pattern here? What Republicans are doing on policy is no longer interesting. It is so thoroughly unrelentingly, consistently predictable that anyone who thinks it‘s an open question as to what Republicans are going to do about the next legislation that‘s proposed just is not paying attention.
Let me be emphatic here. Let me be emphatic about one particular example, the stimulus. The stimulus passed despite every single Republican in the House voting no on it - everyone.
Since then, the consensus among economists is that stimulus has worked, even though it‘s maybe been too small. The consensus among Republicans is that it‘s been a horrible giant thing that hasn‘t done anything good at all.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think everybody would agree now that the stimulus hasn‘t worked.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: $800 billion pork leg in stimulus bill - it was supposed to create jobs.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ): With a stimulus package that has done so well, we now have 10.2 percent unemployment.
REP. PHIL GINGREY (R-GA): The vaunted Democratic stimulus bill has failed to stimulate anything other than a few federal bureaucrats.
SEN. MIKE JOHANNS (R-NE): Many warned as did I that the stimulus would amount to a mountain of wasted money.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you tell me where the stimulus money is?
REP. JOHN LINDER (R-GA): The $787 billion stimulus package only stimulated more welfare.
REP. GLENN THOMPSON (R-PA): We‘re united in imposing the massive waste-filled stimulus, or as I prefer to call it, stimu-less bill.
MADDOW: If there‘s one thing that Republicans agree on now, it is that the stimulus is a bad, bad policy. It‘s a bad idea that does bad things. It‘s a bad president‘s bad way of making a bad economy more bad because he‘s bad. Stimulus bad.
Also? Stimulus good. What you‘re looking at here are pictures of the same Republicans who have trashed the stimulus as a bad, bad thing in their home districts taking credit for all the good things the stimulus has done.
That‘s Bobby Jindal there, governor of Louisiana who has railed against the stimulus, then gone around the state handing out big fake checks with his own name on them as if the money came from him instead of from the stimulus that he‘s been railing against.
Then, there‘s Congressman Phil Gingrey of Georgia. That‘s him getting all Publisher‘s Clearinghouse with a giant check for funds that he voted against and criticized as worst than worthless. He called the money and that check he‘s holding a boondoggle and a dismal failure.
And it‘s not just a couple of these guys who have been caught like this either. Republican John Mica of Florida trashed the stimulus, voted no, then praised its effect in his home district as “helping improve one of our key economic generators.”
Republican Frank Wolf of Virginia trashed the stimulus, voted no, then praised its effect in his home district by saying, “We could use that money desperately. There are a lot of things up here that that money could be used for.”
Republican Bill Shuster of Pennsylvania trashed the stimulus, voted no, then praised its effect in his home state by attending the groundbreaking of a sewage treatment plant that it funded and praising the jobs that it would create in his district.
Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas trashed the stimulus, voted no, and praised its effect in her home state by saying this funding will spur growth in Texas communities.
Republican Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina trashed the stimulus, voted no, then praised its effect in his home district as a great thing for this county. We‘re not accustomed to federal dollars in that magnitude finding their way to North Carolina.
Republican Senator Kit Bond of Missouri trashed the stimulus, voted no and then praised its effect in his home district by saying it would create jobs and ultimately spur economic opportunities.
Republican Joe Wilson of South Carolina, remember him? The “you lie” guy? He trashed the stimulus, voted no, then praised its effect in his home district by saying it would provide jobs and investment in one of the poorer sections of that district.
Republican Senator Bob Bennett of Utah trashed the stimulus, voted no, then praised its effect in his home district by saying said, the addition of federal funds would maximize the stimulative effect on the local economy.
Republican Pat Tiberi of Ohio trashed the stimulus, voted no, then praised its effect in his home district by saying it would support businesses and jobs.
Republican Mary Bono Mack trashed the stimulus, voted no, then praised its effect in her home district by saying the funding will provide much needed assistance.
Republican Senator Mike Johanns of Nebraska trashed the stimulus, voted no, then praised its effect in his home state by saying that just one proposed stimulus-funded project in Nebraska would create 38 new jobs.
Republican Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee trashed the stimulus, voted no, then praised its effect in his home state by highlighting a project he says would create over 200 jobs in the first year, and at least another 40 new jobs in the following years.
Republican John Linder of Georgia trashed the stimulus, voted no, then praised its effect in his home district by saying the employment opportunities created by this program would be quickly utilized.
Republican Mike Castle of Delaware trashed the stimulus, voted no, then praised its effect in his home district by sending out press releases touting how imperative those funds were.
You want to see Mike Castle of Delaware handing out one of those giant checks? Yes, as if he hadn‘t actually voted to kill the money that‘s in that check. Mike Castle is running for senator from Delaware now, presumably on the platform of being a giant hypocrite.
Republican Eric Cantor not only trashed the stimulus and voted no on it, he coordinated the feat of having all House Republicans vote against it. Then he held a job fair in his home district at which nearly which half of the companies who were at the job fair because they were in a position to hire have received stimulus funds.
Even John Boehner, leader of the House Republicans, who has led the trashing of the stimulus and voted no on it and who bragged so enthusiastically on Republicans in the House all voting against it.
When it came to his home district, John Boehner praised the federal funding for shovel-ready projects that will create much needed jobs.
Republican Senator Jim Inhofe of denying-global-warming fame - he trashed the stimulus, voted no, then praised the effect in his home state by saying it would help spur additional economic growth.
Republican Jack Kingston of Georgia trashed the stimulus, voted no, then praised its effect in his home district by saying these funds should help save or create local jobs.
Republican John Carter of Texas trashed the stimulus, voted no, then praised its effect in his home district by saying it was a victory for the economy in central Texas.
Republican Glenn Thompson of Pennsylvania trashed the stimulus, voted no, then praised its effect in his home district by saying it would be great for employment in the area.
Shall I go on? I could. I could keep going until the top of the hour and beyond. But you get the idea, right? This stuff isn‘t secret. The conservative newspaper “The Washington Times” had a big feature on this today. “Politico” has reported on it as well calling what the Republicans are doing here a “cash-and-trash” strategy.
The blog “Think Progress” has done yeoman‘s work tallying up all the Republicans who have done this and posting pictures of them handing out giant checks representing funds that these politicians voted against even though they‘re now taking credit for handing it over.
Even the president has called out Republicans for attending ribbon cuttings for stimulus-funded projects that they voted against. The White House has put some of the documentation of Republican hypocrisy on this in writing.
None of this is a secret, which is the most important thing to understand about it. Republicans right now do not care about policy. By which I mean, they will not vote for things that even they admit are good policies.
On policy terms, they have been caught bragging on the stimulus as good policy. I have no doubt that some of them think that health reform is good policy. We know they think things like a deficit commission or cap and trade or pay-go are good policy because they‘re on the record supporting them.
But they‘re not going to vote for them because - screw policy. Screw what even they believe is good for the country. Screw what even they believe is good for their own districts. They are not voting yes for even things that they agree with, for anything substantive.
They are not going to vote yes for anything substantive that this president supports. It‘s not going to happen. You‘re not going to earn Republican votes for a second stimulus, for example, by pointing out it‘s good policy that creates jobs. We know they already know that.
They concede that in their home districts and they are still not voting for it. And they are unembarrassed about this fact. They are not embarrassed. Charging them with hypocrisy, appealing to their better, more practical, more what‘s-best-for-the-country patriotic angels is like trying to teach your dog to drive.
It wastes a lot of time. It won‘t work. And ultimately the dog comes out of the exercise less embarrassed for failing than you do for trying. Grow up, Democrats. Face the music. Do it alone. You‘re the majority. Kill the filibuster if they won‘t let you use that majority. The country needs you to.