The Ed Show | February 19, 2013
>>> show." conservative strategist richard vigory is offering a whopping $10,000 to anyone who can come up with a plan to help conservatives take over the republican party and win the november 2016 elections and governor america by 2017 . for those interested in submitting ideaed, the entire $10,000 could go to one person who writes a great plan, or it could be divided among persons who submit specific ideas to advance the project. this is a big deal . if mr. viguerie is looking for a conservative takeover, he should put his checkbook away. number one, it's not a lot of money. number two, they're well on the way. not only has the extreme right wing hijacked the gop, they are wreaking havoc on our political system by bringing crackpot conspiracy theorys to the halls of congress. let me give you a list. senators lindsey graham and kelly ayotte have written a letter to defense secretary nominee chuck hagel asking him to clarify something he may or may not have said back in 2007 . well, graham explains the letter's content on fox news sunday.
>> there was a blog posting about a speech i think in 2007 or '08 that chuck hagel made at rutgers university and put on his blog the next day six points of the speech. question-and-answer session, and point six was allegedly senator hagel said the u.s. state department was an adjunct of the israeli foreign minister 's office, which i think would be breathtaking if he said that.
>> okay. so let's see if we're all on the same page here and have this correct. a right-wing website publishes a resumer from a blog based on something hagel may or may not have said in a speech over, count them, five years ago. and now sitting united states senators are demanding hagel explain himself. hagel provided ayotte and graham with a copy of the speech and notes he does not recall making any such statement. now, folks, this is a pattern for the new gop that maybe mr. viguerie is looking for. senator rand paul pushing a theory about moving guns from libya to syria. paul's theory can be traced back to glenn beck . michele bachmann accused hillary clinton 's chief of staff of having ties to the muslim brotherhood . her source? an uncorroborated report from a right wing talker frank gaffney . congressman darrell issa got in the act. he orchestrated an entire circus over the fast and furious gun running operation, all based on the rambling of one paranoid blogger, congressman dana rohrabacher alleged the government was able to monitor the benghazi attack in realtime based on a made-up hunch from right wing blogger jennifer rubin . so time and time again, we are seeing elected officials peddle rumors and hearsay to further their agenda. they're blocking nominations. they're ruining people's reputations, they're holding hearings, and they are smearing people any possible way they can. no $10,000 price can repair the damage the republican party has inflicted upon itself. let's bring in john nichols , washington correspondent of the nation magazine . john, good to have you with us tonight. there are no boundaries when it comes to making stuff up with the republicans. where is the republican party right now? they are baseless in their facts and their attacks. they claim that there are massive cover-ups of benghazi. the list goes on and on. does anybody believe this is good for our political process?
>> well, it can't possibly be good for the political process, ed. you know, the interesting thing is that the great contribution of the republican party to american politics for many, many years was moderate republicans, responsible players who might well tell a liberal democrat to back off a little bit, but they would also tell a conservative to back off a little. that has just disappeared from the republican party . and now we have a situation, ed, where someone like a lindsey graham , who ten years ago might well have worked with some democrats, is so afraid of a tea party republican primary in south carolina that he continues to spout nonsense. i mean, even when chuck hagel sent him a letter saying, look, here is the details, here is my speech. lindsey graham didn't have the dignity or the grace to say okay, my former republican colleague has clarified this. instead he said if what he is saying is true, we'll have to accept it there is a bitterness and a cruelty.
>> you've been a journalist for a long time. are we at a point now in our news culture that if something is posted on a blog, whether it's right or wrong, there is now a pretty good chance that a united states senator might just be quoting that on a sunday show? i mean, my god, do they have any sense whatsoever when it comes to information and how serious a position that they're in to damage people? i mean lindsey graham went on a sunday show, and he quoted a blog, and he held it against chuck hagel and his reputation. what about that?
>> look at what ted cruz did on the committee. ted cruz was saying, well, he might have thought this, or he might have done this. they are -- they are going in to areas of idle speculation about bizarre things. and this roots back to something, ed. we really have the better part of 30 years within the republican party of saying that you can't believe any mainstream media . and as a result, there is a tendency to reject "the new york times," " washington post ," cbs, nbc, any mainstream media , they say that's just bias. so they push themselves further and further to the right for their sources of information. even rush limbaugh is suspect to some of these folks because he is too moderate.
>> john nichols , washington correspondent of the nation. great to have you with us tonight. thank you so much.
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