The Ed Show | January 02, 2012
>>> show." let's get right to it. this is what happens when house majority leader eric cantor is confronted with the truth.
>> but, you know, your idol, as i've read, anyway, was ronald reagan and he compromised.
>> he never compromised his principles.
>> well, he raised taxes and it was one of his principles not to raise taxes.
>> well, he also cut taxes.
>> but he did compromise.
>> that's not true. and i don't want to let that stand.
>> and at that point, cantor's press secretary interrupted yelling from off camera that what i was saying wasn't true.
>> eric cantor 's press secretary steps in when cantor is confronted with facts about ronald reagan . the guy actually interrupted the interview? of course, reagan is praised by republicans for his tax cut , but reagan also raised taxes 12 times during his eight years in office include a three-year $100 billion tax hike, the largest since world war ii . reagan even agreed to tax hikes during the 1982 recession. in 1986 , he signed the largest corporate tax increase in u.s. history . we're joined tonight by ezra klein , msnbc policy analyst, and columnist for the " washington post ." how come we don't hear this enough? what do you -- let's set the record straight . reagan didn't just cut taxes, he often raised them.
>> he raised them a number of times, in fact. as you said, about a dozen. i'm actually surprised cantor's press secretary went in to interrupt that. it's a fairly well-known fact reagan did this. look, it's exactly the situation we're in now. reagan passed a very large tax cut in 1981 . that led to large deficits in 1982 . progressively over the next decade, he agreed to packages that raised taxes. we had the bush tax cuts passed in 2001 . we have large deficits now. the argument is republicans should agree to among other things tax increases that don't quite roll back the entire bush tax cut but begin to take care of the deficit some. they have a much more dogmatic stance on taxation than ronald reagan did.
>> why aren't the democrats saying ronald reagan , your hero, not yours, but the republicans' hero, raised taxes on the job creators?
>> i think they actually largely are. there was a "new york times" article earlier this year, that barack obama had a sudden obsession on quoting ronald reagan . you're hearing that and hearing it particularly from the president. but the myth on ronald reagan is often stronger than the reality.
>> i mean, the myth, you know, myth making about ronald reagan by today's republican party has gotten so out of whack that cantor's press secretary actually interrupts an interview with a major network, arguably one of the most watched shows of news on all of television. and he sits there and didn't say, hey, just hold off, back off here. i find that amazing.
>> it was surprising i think, too, that cantor didn't have a stronger answer to that. let's talk about the myth making, right? the head of the reagan legacy project, the folks basically trying to name a schoolyard or post office or a tree or whatever in every county in america after ronald reagan is grover norquist . it is the republican party 's chief anti-tax enforcer. there is sort of an interesting coalition of interest here around making ronald reagan into a paradigm of anti-tax doctrine. the very same people pushing the doctrine, they conscripted ronald reagan in that as the chief icon for them if their pursuit.
>> was he trying, eric cantor , trying to file off ainterview?
>> you know, i can't say because i haven't seen the rest of the interview.
>> well, it sure seemed to me like he was. this was a new image that he was trying to portray. is he going after john boehner 's job?
>> i don't know if he is yet. john boehner looks a bit weaker. over the last four months or so, republicans from mitch mcconnell to john boehner to eric cantor have been trying to put forward a more conciliatory tone because the ratings for congress are incredibly low now. gallup said congress ended the year with the lowest ratings ever, 11%. lower than the democrats in 2010 before they lost 60-some seats. eric cantor and john boehner more so worried about jockeying for one another's jobs. the betting markets gives them a 35% chance of losing the house to nancy pelosi and the democrats in 2012 .
>> ezra klein , always a pleasure.