Transcript: Thom Hartmann: The Big Picture: Hartmann: Republicans misread the 2010 election. 31 August '11
This handsome man is Senator Charles Grassley, also known as Chuck Grassley.
And this is a video of Senator Chuck Grassley lying to his constituents yesterday:
I only know of one member of Congress out of 535 and I won;t name him, but I only know of one member out of 535 who wants to privatize social security.
That’s right - when pressed by constituents about his Party’s plan to privatize Social Security and hand it over to the Wall Street banksters - Grassley brushed it aside and said he knows of only one Member - just one loose cannon who he won’t name - who wants to privatize Social Security.
Maybe he doesn’t want to name names because he is that one guy.
Back in 2005 - as Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee - Grassley spearheaded an effort to privatize Social Security.
A 2005 New York Times article documented Grassley’s efforts, writing:
Grassley, chairman of the Senate panel responsible for Social Security...supports private Social Security accounts…Grassley told reporters he would push for private accounts even if a majority of the public does not appear behind the idea.”
George W. Bush - who was president at the time - supported Grassley's efforts, and later complained that the failure to privatize Social Security was one of the biggest regrets of his office.
And 6 years later - Chuck Grassley doesn’t want to fess up to it, but his constituents know that he was hustling the plan to sell off Social Security to Wall Street.
But, you know, you say, oh, there's one. No, Grassley isn’t the only one.
As a ThinkProgress report uncovered - 118 other Republican Members of Congress have - like Grassley - gone on the record with their support to privatize Social Security either through votes they’ve taken or statements they’ve made.
So when Grassley said he knows of only one Member who wants privatize Social security - he was either lying, forgetful or simply off by 117 people.
But Grassley’s clumsy lie speaks to a bigger picture here.
And that bigger picture is….
Republicans are at it...again.
Since coming up big in the midterm elections last year - Republicans took the gamble that they could destroy everything our nation has accomplished over the last century from the New Deal programs like the minimum wage, unemployment insurance, and Social Security to the Great Society programs of Medicare, food assistance for hungry children, and FEMA.
It's what banksters on Wall Street have been spending hundreds of millions of dollars on for years, buying politicians like there's no tomorrow - so those politicians will hand over Social Security and these other programs to them - so that the banksters can skim billions off the top in profits.
But this isn't the first time Social Security has been under siege.
The war started in 1935 when Social Security was first passed - and Republicans argued the program would turn the United States into the Soviet Union.
Luckily - the American people ignored the Republican scare tactics then.
And by the time Republican Dwight Eisenhower was President in the 1950's - even he knew that those who wanted to get rid of Social Security were - in his words - stupid.
As he wrote in a 1954 letter to his brother:.
Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things...a few other Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or business man from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid.
Unfortunately - the stupids have returned today.
And the enemies of Social Security - many of whom rely on Wall Street to fund their campaigns - swept into office last year yelling and screaming about how Social Security is going bankrupt - which it's NOT, by the way.
As the Economic Policy Institute pointed out - if you just raise the cap and make millionaires and billionaires contribute to Social Security the same way working stiffs do - then the program will be solvent forever.
In other words - it's another Republican scare tactic - and the American people are not buying it no matter how hard Fox so-called News pushes it.
Republicans misread the 2010 election.
Voters were not endorsing their radical right-wing agenda to privatize Social Security - they were just duped into kicking all the Democrats out of office thanks to more than $300 million in secret corporate cash - thanks the the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision - that flooded network, cable, and local TV with lies and half-truths.
But these poor Republicans thought that because the banksters and oligarchs could fool people with TV ads that lied about their Democratic opponents and thus got them elected, those same Americans could also be fooled with lies about Social Security.
They even had the cajones - or the stupidity - to vote nearly unanimously to support the Paul Ryan budget which privatizes Medicare.
I'm guessing the Average Republican Congressman didn't graduate in the top half of his class.
But he sure knows how to take money from rich people to screw retired people, young people, and our schools.
And those poor idiots are baffled about why the voters who didn’t ask for these radical reforms which are well underway in town halls all across America, why they're getting these kind of responses:
Constituent: There’s nothing wrong with taxing the top because it does not trickle down.
Paul Ryan: We do tax the top. (Audience boos).
Sean Duffy: ... we have to raise taxes on the rich... and raise taxes on the corporations.
Linda Christman, president of the Carbon County Democrats for Change: Take the tax cuts that were given to the wealthy two percent and put it into Medicare.
Unidentified Male: Sit down!
Unidentified Male: I agree with her. And you know what? Why don`t you tell me to sit down?
Paul Ryan constituent: Do not renew the Bush tax credit for the wealthy. (applause)
Paul Ryan constituent: You want to take a publicly administered program such as Medicare... and turn it over to a private corporation? Tell me how my grandmother's gonna benefit from that. Please.
Representative: I'm not really in favor of raising taxes because to me, we need to get people back to work, and when we start taxing...
Audience: That's not true!
Audience: That's not working!
Constituent: You're not caring about the deficit or you wouldn't have gave away all those tax cuts.
Lou Barletta constituent:You're our congressman. Don;t laugh at us.
Now that their jig is up - other Republicans are trying to figure out a way to avoid this backlash.
Republican Senator John Thune is biting the bullet and admitting his own Party is wrong - he told a local newspaper that the main message he received from his town hall meeting was "don't cut my Social Security and Medicare".
But most other Republicans aren't ready to admit they're wrong - and instead they resorted to ignoring their constituents.
Like the 51% of Republicans who chose not to hold town hall meetings at all this month - and just avoid their constituents altogether.
Or others who are holding closed-door, corporate-funded town hall meetings that charge constituents 40 bucks to ask a pre-screened softball question - that’s what Congressmen Paul Ryan and Ben Quayle, among others, have been doing.
And then there's guys like Congressman Dan Webster of Florida - who are resorting to creating “wanted posters” with pictures and personal details of people who dared to ask them about things like privatizing Medicare, and then passed out those "wanted posters" to other town hall attendees - basically saying - you know, if you ask me a question like that that I don’t like - you’ll end up on the next poster.
And then there’s people like Chuck Grassley - who choose just to lie to their constituents saying He'd Never Privatize Social Security - when he's been working to do that for almost a decade.
Either way - Republicans are desperately trying to hide the truth about their plans to radically re-make America by turning our commons and social safety net over to the banksters on Wall Street and the oil oligarchs.
And we can't let them get away with it.
So it's time to force those Republicans who are hiding under their desks to listen.
That means showing up at your Congressman's district office.
Call them - send them letters - and letters to the editor of the local newspaper - and emails.
Talk about them on local blogs.
Get the message out that these right-wingers want to undo the last 100 years and make us a Third World nation.
And then show up a year from November and send them the ultimate Donald message...you're fired!
That's The Big Picture.