Huckleberry Sunday

by digby

President Huckleberry Graham threw down the gauntlet this morning on This Week

TAPPER: Now you have said that if the Democrats use reconciliation to pass the fixes to the Senate bill, it will be catastrophic to attempts to have any sort of bipartisan cooperation. But you have voted for reconciliation in the past when Republicans were in the majority, the 2003 Bush tax cuts, more than $300 billion worth in the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 which slowed the growth of Medicare. Those votes seemed to pass without catastrophe. So why has this changed?

GRAHAM: Well, number one, they related to income and spending. And this is one-sixth of the economy about to be affected here.

Evidently "affecting one sixth of the economy" has nothing to do with income and spending. Interesting. He continued with a non-sequitor:

Under reconciliation, you can't make any changes to Social Security because Senator Byrd understood it was never meant to be used for a purpose like this.

Senator Byrd said you couldn't pass Senator -- President Clinton's health care plan through reconciliation. It was never meant -- and you can repeal the Bush tax cuts if you don't like it. If they use this device called reconciliation to deal out Republicans, it will open up Pandora's box.

The Republicans dealt themselves out -- indeed, they declared health care Obama's Waterloo and left the game completely. Yet the bill passed with 60 votes. The House bill passed with a majority. Reconciliation will pass with a majority. Only one Republican voted yes in the entire process. Evidently Huck believes that means none of those bills were legitimate. Which also means that Huck doesn't believe in democracy.

And the interview I just heard is spin, campaigning. I thought the campaigning was over. Are you trying to tell me and the American people that Scott Brown got elected campaigning against a Washington bill that really is just like the Massachusetts bill?

The American people are getting tired of this crap. No way in the world is what they did in Massachusetts like what we're about to do in Washington. We didn't cut Medicare -- they didn't cut Medicare when they passed the bill in Massachusetts. They didn't raise $500 billion on the American people when they passed the bill in Massachusetts.

To suggest that Scott Brown is basically campaigning against the bill in Washington that is like the one in Massachusetts is complete spin. I've been in bipartisan deals, I was in the "gang of 14" to stop the Senate from blowing up when the Republicans wanted to change the rules and use the majority vote to get judges through.

If they do this, it's going to poison the well for anything else they would like to achieve this year or thereafter.

Yeah, that's a huge risk. What will they do it the Republicans decide to obstruct their agenda?

He went on to blame the Democrats for the failure of immigration reform under Bush. Seriously.

TAPPER: Well, the leader of the Republican charge, other than President Bush, for immigration reform last time was your dear friend Senator John McCain, who, as far as I can tell, is completely AWOL from the debate.

I know he has a tough primary against a more conservative -- arguably more conservative challenger there. But shouldn't -- I mean, where -- what is his commitment? It certainly doesn't look unwavering.

GRAHAM: Well, to me, his commitment is what it has always been. He has done the heavy lifting on immigration. He has been fighting the health care bill that the country dislikes and Republicans can't tolerate. He has fought the stimulus package. And he has worked with the president on (INAUDIBLE).

Here is my advice to the administration, I will release a document with Senator Schumer about my views on how to fix immigration. The campaign is over, you told Senator McCain. President Obama, lead. You write a health care -- immigration reform bill. You do the heavy lifting. You put together a comprehensive immigration reform package. You bring it to the Senate and House and see how many Democrat and Republican supporters you can get.

All you have done is talk about what we should do, now is the time to lead. Tell the people at the rally next weekend that your administration will write a comprehensive immigration reform bill. I will be glad to look at it. If I like, I will sign on. If I oppose it, I'll tell you where I disagree. And see how many votes you can get.

TAPPER: To be fair, Senator Graham, the reason that immigration reform didn't pass last time, even with you, Senator McCain and President Bush pushing for it, was because of the Republican Party. The Republican Party seems in no --

GRAHAM: That's not fair.

TAPPER: Why is that not fair?

GRAHAM: That's not fair at all.

TAPPER: Even Republican members who are part of the coalition voted against it.

GRAHAM: I can show you 10 Democrats in the Senate today who voted against immigration reform: Tester, Baucus, Bayh, Webb --

TAPPER: And how many Republicans voted against it?

GRAHAM: It was a bipartisan --


GRAHAM: A lot of us voted for it. We got over 60 votes at one time. It fell apart because the bill was attacked from the left and the right.

I hope everyone realizes that this is a set-up on immigration reform. Graham is a snake. He is trying to position the Republicans as friends of the Hispanic community, but he will torpedo anything meaningful and then blame it on the Democrats. The GOP has no intention of going up against their tea party bigots, but they'd sure like to demobilize the Hispanic community by undermining their loyalty to the Democrats.

I consider Graham to be one of the most dangerous Republicans in the government. He's a very bad faith player whom the villagers love as a sort of cornpone Jimmy Stewart. I hope the Democrats don't underestimate him.

Also: If you get a chance to see Amity Schlaes on Fareed Zakaria's GPS on CNN today, don't miss it. This mendacious twit has no business on respectable television show, and least of all Zakaria's which hit a low point by having her on today. He validated her lies by presenting her as a serious person and somebody should make him answer for it.

Here's just one example of her ludicrous drivel in an exchange with Jeffrey Sachs:

SACHS: Amity talks about tax cuts. We're already by far lowest taxed country of all of these countries, and we busted so many of our public functions at this point, and we have a 10 percent of GNP budget deficit. You do the basic arithmetic. We come again and again to the same point that since we have the lowest tax take, that is as a share of our income and I'm not talking about the structure of the taxes, we can't fund basic things to have a normal, civilized country right now. That's what's eating us alive. We can't do anything right now. We're just paralyzed because of this huge gap and the idea that no, we got to cut more, cut more taxes, cut more taxes, rather than take an honest piece of arithmetic and say, it's going to have to be both. We're going to have to have some spending cuts. We're going to have to have some tax increases, but let's take this seriously because otherwise, the rot that will come will be very, very serious.

ZAKARIA: Tax increases. Can you go along with the value-added tax?

SHLAES: No, I can't. When you do an honest bit of math and say, supposing I want to get rid of the deficit this year, I want no deficit for the United States, well, the tax foundation did some math this week on that. They said we'll do it through taxes and they found that the top rate would be 65 percent. We would need statically (ph) to get to zero deficit. Also, everyone else's rate would go up, too. It would be needed across, what we call across the board increase. The future of the U.S. --

ZAKARIA: Nobody's saying you have to go down to zero and nobody's saying --

SHLAES: But the future of the U.S. lies in the reforming of the entitlements, not in adjusting the taxes or even necessarily adding that. I would argue that the VAT is part of Europe's trouble. Europe lies about its financial data, its national economic data more than the U.S. does. I remember and Jeff remembers, the days when Italy said, you have to count our black market economy in our GDP --

What a piece of work.