Transcript: Thom Hartmann: The Big Picture: Hartmann vs. Herman Cain - What those dreaded Liberals have done. 17 October '11

Republican Presidential front-runner Herman Cain doesn't like liberals.

Here's what he said about liberals yesterday on Meet the Press:

David Gregory:You've talked as well about liberals in the country. You gave a speech in February where you didn't mince words. This is what you said.

Herman Cain: The objective of the liberals is to destroy this country.

David Gregory: To destroy this country. How so?

Herman Cain: Economically. Look at this economy. David, the engine of economic growth is the business sector. We are growing at an anemic 1, 1 1/2 percent. If we allow this economy to continue to go down, it would destroy our economic capability. And, as a result, we are now looking at how much in defense we can cut. That's destroying it. It...

David Gregory: You think liberals actually seek to do that, that that's their mission, to destroy the economy?

Herman Cain: I--that's the conclusion that I have drawn.

David Gregory: Not mismanagement.

Herman Cain: No!

David Gregory: But it's their mission.

Herman Cain: It is their mission. Because they do not believe in a stronger America, in my opinion. Yes.

But Herman Cain frankly isn't alone in thinking Liberals are on a mission to destroy the country...there are others...

Rush Limbaugh: I think liberals are a scourge! The whole theme of this program today has been how liberals are destroying virtually everything that they touch.

Sean Hannity: Well, by defeating liberalism we solve our problems, Doug.

Doug Schoen: If we all work together, we solve our problems.

Sean Hannity: If we get rid of liberals, we solve our problems.

It is liberals who are out smashing Starbucks windows, committing assassination attempts against presidents, since the founding of this nation.

Of course - Conservatives telling lies about Liberals is nothing new.

But this one might take the cake - as a simple inspection of history tells us that every single step forward - every major act of progress - and every policy that - to quote the Constitution - has made our nation a "more perfect union" - was brought about by those "dreaded" Liberals.

Remember it was the Democrat Liberal Woodrow Wilson who fought and won World War 1.

It was the Liberal Democrat Franklin Roosevelt who fought and won World War 2.

He was also the Liberal who created unemployment insurance, so people who were laid off didn't end up on the streets.

And Roosevelt was the Liberal who created Social Security so people who worked their entire lives could have a decent retirement - free from poverty.

He was also the liberal who put in place Glass-Steagal after the Crash of 1929 that reigned in the banks and prevented another market panic for more than 60 years.

And it was Liberals who brought democracy to the workplace in the form of labor unions and safety regulations.

Liberals created a safer working environment that kept Americans from mangling their arms in dangerous machinery - or dying in factory fires because the fire exits were blocked like at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in New York.

Liberals put in place child labor laws to end the exploitation of 10-year olds.

Liberals worked for women to get equal pay for equal work - and are still working to finish that one.

Liberals fought for women to have the right to vote.

Liberals fought against institutionalized racism - and fought for minorities' rights to fully participate in our society and in our economy.

Liberals passed the Civil Rights Act.

Liberals passed the Voting Rights Act.

It was the Liberal Lyndon Johnson who created Medicare and Medicaid that protected the elderly, the disabled, and the poor from being destroyed by illness.

And Johnson was the Liberal who cut poverty IN HALF in America in a single generation thanks to the Great Society.

Liberals brought us the 40 hour work week and overtime pay; the minimum wage and workers compensation; safe food and drugs; a balanced Federal budget and the FDIC to ensure your bank deposits; clean air and water; the GI Bill and the Peace Corps; Student grant and loan programs; employer paid vacations, pensions, and medical insurance; national parks and municipal fire departments.

As JFK said in 1960:

What do our opponents mean when they apply to us the label "Liberal?" If by "Liberal" they mean, as they want people to believe, someone who is soft in his policies abroad, who is against local government, and who is unconcerned with the taxpayer's dollar, then the record of this party and its members demonstrate that we are not that kind of "Liberal." But if by a "Liberal" they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people -- their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights, and their civil liberties -- someone who believes that we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a "Liberal," then I'm proud to say that I'm a "Liberal."

Liberals did all those things I listed - and what were Conservatives doing the whole time?

Saying "no"....just like they're doing today.

Republicans opposed every single one of those things I just mentioned.

But besides trying to undermine each of these accomplishments I just listed - Conservatives have their own agenda.

It's Conservatives who gave massive irresponsible tax cuts to the top 1% - tax cuts that created massive deficits for our children.

That's how Reagan tripled the national debt.

And how George W. Bush tacked ANOTHER $6 trillion dollars on to the national debt.

It's Conservatives who dragged our country recently into two wars that have bankrupted this nation - killed more than 6,000 American soldiers - and maimed, displaced, or murdered millions of civilians in the Middle East.

It's Conservatives who want to destroy the Environmental Protection Agency - and the FDA - and the USDA - because clean and safe food, air, and water isn't profitable for their corporate overlords.

It's Conservatives like Phil Gramm who pushed to repeal Glass-Steagal, which set the stage for Wall Street to go crazy and crash our economy with the housing bubble.

It's Conservatives who are trying to destroy labor unions - and thus have driven middle class wages into stagnation for thirty years while corporate CEO paychecks just get fatter and fatter and fatter - leading to the largest wealth inequality in America since the 1920's...right before the conservative policies of Presidents Harding, Coolidge, and Herbert Hoover threw our nation into the Great Depression.

It's Conservatives who want to erase the last Century in America and return this nation to a time when the Robber Barons ran the show - and the rest the country, the rest of America, was the working poor.

So when Herman Cain and the rest of the Conservatives say Liberals are on a mission to destroy the United States... you just have to wonder... what the hell are they talking about?

Especially Herman Cain - who wouldn't even be able to make a living - much less run for President - had it not been for liberals of all races being willing to fight and die for the rights of all.

As the famed Conservative ideologue William F. Buckley famously noted:

A Conservative is a fellow standing athwart history yelling 'Stop!'

Well, thanks to Liberals - the forward march of human history hasn't stopped - and let's make sure it never does.

That's The Big Picture.

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