The Ed Show | February 22, 2013
>>> good evening, americans , and welcome to "the ed show" from new york . republican lies infecting the mainstream media . it's time to get rid of the virus, don't you think? i'll show you how. this is "the ed show." let's get to work.
>> it's going to be very painful for the flying public. this is a big deal . i think republicans need to step up here.
>> the white house issues a wake-up call as republicans and the right-wing media keep ignoring the facts.
>> this is a problem.
>> the austerity bomb keeps ticking, and republicans have their head in the sand.
>> i would say balderdash. it's untrue, unfair, dishonest, disingenuo disingenuous. the president is making stuff up.
>>> nascar steps up to the plate for the families of sandy hook victims. i'll ask driver michael waltrip about the new 26 car he is driving at daytona this weekend, and about the message he is sending.
>>> 150 fbi agents raid the scooter store.
>> quick, we have to hold him. and fast!
>> i'll show you why this is good news for defenders of the big three.
>>> plus, the ridiculous bail in the pistorius trial.
>>> and everybody in the office is making oscar picks.
>> nate silver is playing the odds, and i'm playing my gut.
>> don't waste that power.
>> the big picks are coming up.
>> get that out of here.
>> good to have you with us tonight, folks. thanks for watching. we are one week away from devastating federal government spending cuts to kick in. republican strategy so far is to keep repeating the lies about the sequester over and over again to catapult the propaganda.
>> we're weeks away from the president's sequester, and the president laid out a plan to eliminate the kuester and the harmful cuts that come as a result of it.
>> speaker boehner has his members in lockstep behind the talking point. they insist the president has no plan.
>> we acted months ago, acted twice last year. the president actually suggested sequester in the first place, has never put a proposal on the table.
>> now, we expect politicians to lie and leave out details like $1.2 trillion in cuts before any kind of new revenue came. in but when journalists get involved in the act, it's really a bigger problem, folks. you see, "new york times" columnist david brooks is a conservative, but he presents himself as someone who is reasonable and willing to see both sides of an argument. so it was rather puzzling today when brooks blamed the president and republicans for failing to avoid the sequester. the columnist wrote "the president hasn't actually come up with a proposal to actually avert sequestration, let alone one that is plausible clot.e "he should know how to use google or at least pick up the telephone. or at least he should know how to go to the white house website, because if he had he would have seen the president's proposal. it is very detailed. it offers a two-to-one ratio of tax cuts to increases. it is by all measures a compromise. brooks was dragged over coals by other journalists for shoddy work. he wrote "the white house has proposed various constructive changes to spending levels and entitlement programs . these changes are not nearly adequate in my view, but they do exist, and i should have acknowledged the balanced and tough-minded elements in the president's approach." you think? this is what brooks should have written in the first place. but it's hard to blame david brooks alone for spreading these falsehoods, because the problem is much bigger than just one writer in new york . meet pete peterson . peterson is a wall street mogul who has spent an estimated half a billion dollars protecting rich investors at the expense of the 99% of americans . you see, peterson is behind the group fix the debt. the group claims spending is way out of control, and we need deep cuts in the entitlement programs . the figureheads for fix the debt are these guys, the austerity brothers, erskine bowles and alan simpson , and believe me, they don't have to worry about their retirement being lost or their pension or their health care . now the current issue of "the nation" magazine reports peter timed the launch of this new $60 million campaign to exploit the wrangling over the fiscal cliff, the debt ceiling and the sequester, the misinformation campaign has worked. a bloomberg poll on the size of america's budget deficit shows 62% of americans think the deficit is getting bigger. 28% of americans think that it's staying the same. and get this number, only 6% agree with the truth. my friends, the deficit is shrinking. the congressional budget office says the deficit is down to $845 billion. it is projected to be $600 billion less than when the president took office. americans need to break out of this misinformation loop, don't you think? if they want to listen to a republican, maybe they should try listening to outgoing transportation secretary ray lahood . he spoke about the sequester consequences today, including the loss of 100 air traffic controllers .
>> this requires compromise. this requires republicans stepping forward with some ideas about how to keep essential services of government running at the level that people have been accustomed to. this is not rocket science .
>> well, it's not rocket science . but, folks, it is just as serious. get your cell phones out. i want to know what you think. tonight's question, will republican lies prevent a deal on the guester? text "a" for yes. text b for no to 67622. you can go to our blog at ed.msnbc.com. we'll bring you the results later on in the show. joining me tonight david cay johnston , professor at syracuse university and pulitzer winning journalist. great to have you on with us tonight. why did these groups like the fix the debt outfit want americans to think the deficit is just out of control?
>> oh, it's central to their whole marketing campaign . they represent very wealthy people like pete peterson who want all the benefits of living in america . and by the way, where are the pete peterson factories and the pete peterson payroll people. they're just financial speculators at blackstone. it's crucial that they're making huge fortunes while not doing anything productive. so they'll do anything they can to argue we are in terrible trouble if we maintain government services that actually help real businesses do business like airlines and food companies.
>> i guess when i look at the numbers that are playing out right now, you have to have the question, is deficit reduction an urgent problem that needs to be faced? because it seems like the president's plan wants to take care of this over time . that if we, you know, mind our p's and q's financially, and don't go off into war and not pay for them, that we are strong as a nation, and our economy is strong enough to recover from this piece by piece . what about that?
>> well, this is where i would be critical of the president, ed. i think we would have faster economic recovery if we weren't laying off police officers and firefighters and school teachers all over the country. if you look at the reagan era, one of the things reagan did was a huge ramp-up when the economy was in trouble of government employees. but without question, the deficit is coming down to where it should be. which is slightly above spending or a balanced budget . it's going in that direction. the president has had the smallest growth in discretionary spending in numerous presidents as opposed to the big spender george w. bush who came ahead of him.
>> dave, stay with us. i want to bring in steve benen, msnbc contributor. good to have you with us tonight. why are mainstream journalists repeating this lie about president obama not having a plan to replace sequester?
>> well, i can only speculate about what brooks and others are thinking. but i would think in all likelihood, there is a forced equivalence between left and right and democrats and republicans , it doesn't really exist. i think for many pundits who are so eager to avoid any sense of bias or any sense of maybe one side is more responsible for problems than the other, that they have to say that both sides are always to blame, regardless of the facts, regardless of the circumstances. we see pieces like the one we saw in "the new york times" today where the president is getting blamed even though he is not ultimately responsible and hasn't done any of the things he is accused of doing. as a consequence you hear a lot of pundits saying things like the deficit is getting worse when it's getting better. that spending is up when it's down. all tease things that are completely detached from reality. it's very frustrating to watch.
>> well, the budget control act, the president did sign it. but a bunch of republicans voted for it to get it to his desk there is shared responsibility here. but the thing that is so frustrating is that the lies are out there by conservative media saying that it's all the president's fault. the fact is they are so draconian. it was a movement to try to get these two sides together so we wouldn't be at this point right now. so the point is here, steve , did democrats and the white house lose the message game on the deficit?
>> i don't think so. i think that if you look at the polling that came out this week in particular, we said to president and the democrats in congress have a real advantage when it comes to public perception and public attitudes here. the president has produced a balanced approach where there is a combination of spending cuts and new revenue from closing tax loopholes. i think that reflects the fact that they have actually done a fairly good job in winning over the american mainstream. it's republicans who are really suffering, however. there is ample polling data this week that shows republicans are on the wrong side of the american mainstream when it comes to the sequester, when it comes to spending, when it comes to compromise. when you look at this larger arc, i think it's fair to say when it comes to the message war, democrats are coming out ahead. and that matters, of course, next week. republicans are thinking if they go through with this and the sequester hits, then they'll be able to say well, this is the white house 's fault. it's the obama sequester talking point they've been so fond of. but all available evidence suggests that the public will blame republicans , not democrats, if this happens next week.
>> all right. let's hear from transportation secretary, outgoing transportation secretary ray lahood . he was explaining today why this is so important. here it is.
>> i would describe my presence here is one word -- republican. they're hoping that maybe i can influence some of the people in my own party.
>> david, is there a chance some republicans can talk sense to the rest of this party, or is this going to happen?
>> i think we have to consider the possibility, ed, that the republicans out in the field and the republicans on capitol hill belong to two different parties. some of the polls are showing a majority of republicans are opposed to what the leadership is doing on the hill. and of course that's trying to deal with the tea party people who are at the core of this.
>> you know, some republicans say the sequester cuts won't be so bad. i mean rand paul is out there saying it's the least thing that we can do. steve , is he right or wrong?
>> you'll be surprised to know that i think rand paul is wrong. i think this notion that the sequester cuts will be meaningless, look no further than john boehner . john boehner himself has said that this will be a disaster. orrin hatch , republican from utah said this week talking to a local newspaper that he thinks this will be a disaster. i think that even rand paul when it comes to his rhetoric on the sequester is part of a very small minority of even republicans , because i think there is bipartisan agreement that this is a real problem, that the american mainstream regular folks are going to feel a real pinch, and it's going to do harm to the economy, the military and public needs. i think rand paul is in the minority on this one.
>> of course, the end of march is certainly going to do something as well. they're going to have to figure out what to do with the budget there. in fact, i want to put it to both of you. what happens when we're approaching another deadline at the end of march and this time to avoid a government shutdown ?
>> well, ed, as i said on the show some time ago, i think we're in for two years of the craziest behavior we've ever seen in washington. not until we get another election are we going to get some sort of sensible, thoughtful how do we develop the commonwealth necessities for creating private wealth and making business work when you have a group of people who don't seem to understand any of the fundamentals that the economy depends and has a foundation in the services government provides, like air traffic control and food safety inspection.
>> steve , your thoughts.
>> i think that's right. but i would just add that republicans a little wary about 2014 mid terms. i think they realize if there is a government shutdown and the public blames them that john boehner 's majority is very much in doubt, and it could be eliminated. so i think that that fear may just possibly prevent a government shutdown in march.
>> all right, david cay johnston , steve benen, good to have you with us tonight. appreciate your time. remember, share your thoughts with us on twitter at ed show and on facebook. we want to know what you think.
>>> coming up, nascar is paying tribute to newtown, connecticut, with a special 26 car at this week's daytona 500 . driver michael waltrip and team owner brandon davis are here next to talk about it. stay