Transcript: Thom Hartmann: Are you prepared to shoot the hostage? 5 August '13
Thom Hartmann: Okay on Sunday’s edition, yesterday’s FOX News Sunday. Welcome back to the program by the way, third hour of our program. Thom Hartmann here with you. Host Chris Wallace was interviewing Jim DeMint, the former senator, now the president of the Heritage Foundation. And he asked if the republican party was ready to “shoot the hostage.” Also known as shutting down the federal government over funding Obamacare. Here’s the clip.
Chris Wallace: Some leading republicans say this is crazy, Tom Cole says it’s suicidal, Richard Burr, your former colleague in the senate, says it is ‘the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard.’ What are they missing? But Senator, you know what they say is you don’t take a hostage unless you’re prepared to shoot them, and if you’re going to go down this road are you prepared to shut down the government because the democrats are not going to along with this. Are you prepared to shut down the government?
Thom Hartmann: Well, and unfortunately DeMint dodged the question, he didn’t say yes or no. And didn’t say whether the republicans were ready to shoot the hostage. Clearly some of them are, some of them aren’t, but the thing to keep in mind is that the hostage here is the American people and the American economy. Jim DeMint refused to answer Chris Wallace’s question but the real answer is that republicans have been shooting the hostage ever since President Obama was first inaugurated. I mean their hostage taking plans were laid out back on the night of January 20th, 2009 when the president and a lot of the rest of us, I wasn’t here in Washington DC, I was living in Oregon at the time. We’re here attending inaugural balls. On that night, while the president and his wife were out dancing, he had just been sworn in, on that night in a private room at the Caucus Room Restaurant in Washington DC, about 14 blocks from where I am sitting right now, republican leaders plotted to intentionally sabotage and undermine the Obama presidency at every turn, no matter how much damage it did to the American people. Remember, at that time, 700,000 people a month were losing their jobs and the American economy was in the most horrible tailspin since the Great Depresison,and the republicans wanted to keep it that way.
As Robert Draper documented in his book, “Do Not Ask What Good We Do: Inside the U.S. House of Representaitves,” on the guest list for that four hour invitation only meeting were republican congressman, and they were all men, Eric Cantor, Paul Ryan, Kevin McCarthy, Pete Sessions, Jeb Henserling, Pete Hookstra, and Dan Lundgren. The republican senators included Tom Coburn, John Enson, Bob Corker, John Kyle, and the now president of the Heritage Foundation, Jim DeMint. Newt Gingrich was also in attendance. And on this program, just a few months ago, he bragged that the purpose of that dinner meeting was to come up with a plan to sabotage the Obama presidency. Here he is.
Thom Hartmann: And you were quoted in the book as saying that after this dinner you’ll remember this as the day the seeds of 2012 were sown. Is that all accurate? So were you guys insurgents against the Obama presidency?
Newt Gingrich: Well the fact is, look, the opposition party ought to sit down and try to figure out how to get back in power, that’s why they‘re the opposition party.
Thom Hartmann: After all, you know, he said that, he said the opposition party ought to sit down and figure out how to try to get back in power, that’s why they’re the opposition party. You would think though that they would want to figure out how to get back into power not in a way that hurts people. I mean during this dinner the republican conspirators vowed to bring congress to a standstill, regardless of how badly congressional inaction would hurt the already hurting American economy and people. In essence, they pledged to each other to obstruct, filibuster, and block any legislation that might improve the economy, and thus make President Obama look good. While the meeting at the Caucus Room Restaurant was top secret, republicans who were there were very frank about it.
And just months later, and you just heard Newt bragging about it. About what went on. Congressman Pete Sessions told the National Journal in March of 2009, January February March, three months later. That the republican sabotage plan was going to borrow a page from the tactics of the Taliban terrorists. He said that this, and this is a verbatim quote. “Taliban insurgency. We understand perhaps a little more because of the Taliban. Insurgency is the way they went about systematically understanding how to disrupt and change a person’s entire processes. And these Taliban is an example of how you go about to change a person from their messaging to their operations to their front line message. And we need to understand that insurgency may be required when dealing with democrats on the other side.” The Texas republican went on to say that “if the democrats do not give us those options or opportunities then we will become insurgency. I think insurgency is a mindset and an attitude.”
At the Caucus Room dinner itself, Robert Draper quoted Congressman Kevin McCarthy as saying “We’ve got to challenge them on every single bill, show you united and unyielding opposition to the president’s economic policies.” Looking back from five years later we can see that that “united and unyielding opposition” which Congress McCarthy called for has succeeded, is succeeding, in harming America and thus preventing President Obama from having any significant progressive successes.
Just ask democratic congressman Charlie Rangel. In an interview with the Daily Beast, published last Friday, Charlie Rangel said that republicans in the house are doing more damage to American competitiveness and to the American people than any terrorist organization. Here’s what he said. This is what he told the Daily Beast: “What is happening is sabotage, terrorists couldn’t do a better job than the republicans are doing.” Congressman Rangel is right there in the house of representatives, he sees it going on every day, he knows these people up close and personal and he is right.
Republicans on Capitol Hill have been relentless in blocking any legislation that could improve the economy and might improve President Obama’s popularity. Since President Obama took office republicans have filibustered a wide variety of bills that would have helped the American people and the economy. Those include President Obama’s jobs bill, Nancy Pelosi’s American Jobs, Closing Loopholes and Prevention of Outsourcing Act, which would have prevented the outsourcing of jobs overseas. And the Small Business Jobs and Tax Relief Act, which encouraged small businesses to hire by giving them temporary tax credits. Yes the republican filibustered them.
Just last week republican vowed to block President Obama’s attempts to cut corporate tax rates, something they’ve been saying for years they want, because to let him do that would be to give him one small victory. Republicans have always also worked very hard to tear down America. They have refused to increase funding for our nation’s crumbling infrastructure, leaving us stuck in the 19th century. They voted to slash billions of dollars from the social safety net programs, like food stamps and Medicaid and radically slashed unemployment insurance. And in the most blatant form of shooting the hostage, republicans pushed the devastating sequester on the American people and afterwards John Boehner bragged that he got 99% of what he wanted. Since Boehner’s sequester went into effect millions of Americans have felt it’s impact, in Michigan alone. Federal unemployment checks have fallen by 10.7 % since last March, sucking about $150 a month out of unemployed people’s budgets.
In California, the Contra Costa County Meals on Wheels Program has been forced to cut its budget by 5.1% because of the sequester. Scale back the number of meals it brings to shut-in, disabled, and elderly poor people. And now as the sequester cuts continue to ravage our country, republicans are refusing to support President Obama’s most recent jobs bill which would have put millions of Americans back to work, and would help solve our nation’s poverty epidemic. Ever since his first inauguration, on that night, January 20th, 2009, republicans have made it clear that they are very comfortable with shooting the hostage. And it seems that even Chris Wallace is beginning to realize that when it comes to republicans being willing to shoot the hostage, it’s really not a matter of if, it’s a matter of how much longer they are going to keep doing it.
So do you see any solutions to this? The big solution I see to it is start calling them out, which is what I just did.
Transcribed by Suzanne Roberts, Portland Psychology Clinic.