The Rachel Maddow Show | October 12, 2012
>>> i assume you voted against the stimulus and i'm just curious if you accepted any money in your district.
>> no, i'm not one who votes for something then writes the government to ask them to send us money . i did not request any stimulus money.
>> report came out again today in the "ap" a pete of the " wall street journal " article for a couple years ago where you had asked for stimulus money for your district. is that report accurate?
>> i never asked for stimulus. i don't recall -- i haven't seen this report so i really can't comment on it. i oppose the stimulus, because it doesn't work. it didn't work. look at just the dlfr $90. in stimulus. $90 billion in green pork to campaign contributors and special interest groups .
>> i love my friend here. i'm not allowed to show letters, but go on our website, he sent me two letters saying, by the way, can you send me some stimulus money for companies here in the state of wisconsin? we sent millions of dollars. you know why he said --
>> you did ask for stimulus money. correct correct?
>> sure he did.
>> on two occasions we advocated your constituents applying for grants.
>> i love that. this is such a bad program and he writes department of energy a letter saying the reason we need this stimulus, it will create growth and jobs. his words. and now he's sitting here looking at me?
>> paul ryan , no, i'm not one of those people who votes for something and writes to the government to ask them to send us money . i did not request any stimulus money. paul ryan , no, i never asked for the stimulus. i oppose the stimulus because it didn't work. paul ryan , yes, on two occasions, i -- it will create growth and jobs was the quote. paul ryan last night being amazing. joining us now is chris hayes , the host of msnbc's weekend show "up with chris hayess." chris ' new book "twilights of
the elites: america of meritocracy."
>> great to be here.
>> we watched two elite washington operators last night, two men who spent their whole adult lives in washington. does that mean that paul ryan 's sin is such a common sin that it's not an important one?
>> no. no. it is very important, and it is very common. but here's why it's so important. there seems to me sometimes a desire on the part of the romney campaign and equal desire sometimes among liberals and the obama campaign to talk about this grand ideological battle about the size of government. really what we're having, we're fighting about the size of government and there is nothing in the record of the republican party to suggest that they will shrink government. it just doesn't -- it's not there. you've written about this in your book "drift," under reagan, we saw it under george w. bush . government grew as a share of gdp, spending, even things like medicare part d. the question is, who will government benefit? that is question at issue in the campaign. do not let yourself -- the reason that hypocrisy is so important, do not let yourself get suckered into the belief this is a battle over how big government is going to be. i don't think that's actually what's on the table. what's on the table is are the poor going to see their medicaid cut and the pentagon get $2 trillion or is the balance in the other direction? that is what is on the table.
>> it's not just a false debate about the size of government. it's a false debate about whether or not government works. the thing that i thought was important last night about biden and the reason that we cut that sound bite as long as we did there, so you can hear what biden says, is that he doesn't just say, ah, you're a hypocrite, you wanted this money. he say, you wanted this money because as you argued to me, this spending works. it would work in your district. if you believe it would work in your district, how could you argue it wouldn't work in the country?
>> and as you argued in 2002 when you got up in the well of the house and made an impassioned argument for keynesian stimulus, by george w. bush , and when you voted for $700 billion in stimulus, $700 billion in stimulus which was the republican stimulus package that was passed by -- that was voted on by the republicans in the house, in parallel to the actual recovery act. so, again, they can't -- what they want to do now in opposition is create this ideological vision of smaller government, of going after malformed bureaucracies. when they are in power, they do not do that. no one should be suckered into thinking that they will.
>> so here's my question. when it comes to smaller government and malformed bureaucracies what you get from the democrats is arguments against all of those things. you get the argument from the democrats saying, we are also against all of those sorts of things. we are just interested in reforming things in a more compassionate way. so they're still arguing the republicans' line on this even though they're pursuing policies that are more defensively distributi distributive.
>> yes. what i thought was important is that joe biden defended the stimulus last night.
>> in that moment. people should read "new new deal" which i've talked about before on air because he lays out in some ways what joe biden did in overseeing that stimulus spending. it wasn't some petty undertaking. it was actually really remarkable. in fact, they lived up to despite all the solyndra demagoguery that's come from paul ryan and mitt romney they lived up to an incredibly high standard in terms of the efficiency and prudence of spending that much money in that period of time. it was in some ways a great testament to effective bureaucratic deployment. it was a great testament to government doing what it should do. and that story has remained woefully untold.
>> we went through this process with the democrats on obama care which involved them embracing the term obama care which is when they had been running away from their achievement in health reform because they didn't like the way republicans talked about it then democrats, something click, a few braves one first, started running on it saying we see this as a great political asset. are we due for that with the stimulus, too?
>> i would like to say yes. i think the stimulus, when the recovery happens, and if the recovery happens under a barack obama administration in the second term, retroactively, the stimulus will take on this very haloed view. people will go back and look at it and say it in incredibly favorable light. but everything hangs, as much does, as much as, frankly, the general opinion of the liberal project hangs on the re-election of barack obama . frankly. how that story is written is a story that is written about whether barack obama is re-elected or not.
>> exactly right. you're very smart. chris hayes the host of msnbc's weekend morning show "up with chris be the bomb tomorrow. chris ' new book "twilights of the elites." last night's vice presidential debate was full of obvious entertainment value but also two really important and substantive policy issues that finally became part of the campaign that i think changed the campaign in a really serious way. two issues, have not been the focus of the news about the debate today, but they're about to be the focus of this show. that and frank rich coming