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Sean “. . . I Don’t Think the Republican Party Can Lose” Hannity and Michael “This Is A Very Different Republican Party" Steele

Reported by Julie - December 6, 2009 -

Talk about blowing sunshine up someone’s ass . . . On Thursday (12/3/09), Sean Hannity and GOP Chairman Michael Steele blew a whole lot of sunshine, lied a whole lot, recreated a whole lot of history, and convinced each other that this was the new age of the Republican Party -- based in part on the two “victories” in Virginia and New Jersey (ah, ah, boys -- let’s not forget arch-conservative Doug Hoffman’s loss in New York). Steele apparently didn’t listen when GOP leaders took him to task in October, told him bluntly not to meddle in policy, and made it clear he was on a short leash. As Crooks and Liars noted in October, Steele was the token black Republican who was supposed to counter President Obama, but, “You get what you pay for, and the GOP is definitely suffering from buyers remorse.” I know one thing: There wasn’t room for one more person in that room due to the two massive egos taking up a mammoth amount of space. With video.

We all know that, from comments about fried chicken and black people, to trying to turn the Republican Party into some sort of hip-hop machine (can you imagine Mitch McConnell rapping?), Michael Steele is a gaffe-machine. This interview, though, was more along the lines of a descent into madness. Steele and Hannity (never one to worry about shaking hands with the truth) decided that NOW the Republican Party has all the answers – despite the Party’s failure during the Bush years to live up to its idealogies about fiscal responsibility and all that blather – and NOW the Party might just be on the right track to take back the House and Senate and rescue the country from socialism. The two put their tinfoil-adorned heads together and agreed that the 2010 election was shaping up to be “the seedlings” of the debate between free market capitalism and socialism (in which, it was implied, the Republicans would come out on top). Shoot, the 2008 election was about that – and the majority of the country decided that the Republicans’ “free market capitalism” thing basically sucked.

Hannity jump started the segment by sneering about the jobs summit, asking if this was just another White House-orchestrated “photo op,” and Steele jumped right on board.

“Great to be back with you, man,” Steele gushed. Ain’t he hip.

Hannity said he watched the jobs summit and “almost want to laugh. The jobs summit? I thought that was supposed to happen with the stimulus.”

“Well, yeah . . . he gave us the stimulus summit and look what we got. 10.2% unemployment and a $1.4 trillion dollar debt . . . what the President said at the beginning of the summit should have been said the second day he was in office. If you’re serious about recovery . . . you have to engage small business owners . . . create that pathway to credit and capital . . . this Administration hasn’t done any of that . . . .” Oops, Mike, you haven’t been reading Forbes. As Forbes reported in March, President Obama announced a $15 billion plan to help small business owners which, among other things, increased the amount of credit available to them at better terms. In addition, as reported by the Associated Press, in his recent speech President Obama said that he will be proposing new tax breaks for small businesses that hire workers.

And, as reported by Freep.com, President Obama, in an interview, stated that his Administration succeeded in its “first job,” which was “to limit the damage from the financial crisis on Main Street -- and what that meant was a recovery act that would help states not have to lay off police and firefighters and teachers, all of which would have a broader effect on the economy. We passed a tax cut to put more money into people's pockets, 95% of workers . . . And as a consequence ... we have been able to get lending flowing again to some degree, and we're starting to see economic growth for the first time in a year . . . .”

Hannity, never one to let facts get in the way while taking President Obama and his Administration to the woodshed, derided the stimulus, which was passed to stave off economic catastrophy, and said, “Now he’s realizing it’s a failure.”

Steele agreed, saying, “All the spending, all the stimulus, has gotten him nothing.” Notably, neither of them mentioned several pertinent facts, first and foremost that 3 million jobs were lost during Bush’s last year as president, which was just one of the messes that President Obama inherited when he took office. Another fact the pair conveniently overlooked is that, as the President pointed out, economic growth has started; economists believe, as reported by Bloomberg.com, that “the economy in the U.S. probably grew in the third quarter at the fastest pace in two years as government stimulus helped bring an end to the worst recession since the 1930s . . . (emphasis added);” and unemployment went down slightly. As reported by the Wall Street Journal, of the Jobs Bill, “. . . The president favors new incentives -- possibly tax credits -- for small-business hiring, as well as new infrastructure spending and increased aid to state and local governments . . . Service-sector employment rose in November for the second month in a row. Jobs were added primarily in education, health care and some business services . . . Friday's report also showed some encouraging signs, as the number of temporary workers rose for the fourth straight month and the length of the average workweek expanded.”

Despite the fact that the stimulus bill has had an obvious impact on the economy, Steele still insists that following the Republicans’ playbook – cut taxes, cut taxes, cut taxes – is the ticket.

Hannity said that “These aren’t on the table . . .,” to which Steele responded, “This is why this is a dog and pony show, to give cover to the fact that, oh gee, the jobless numbers aren’t the way they should be . . . .”

Hannity did a nice wrap-up if you have no interest in reality, saying, “I don’t think the Republican Party can lose if they run on fiscal integrity responsibility, balanced budgets, a strong national defense, energy independence . . . .”

Steele, of course, agreed, saying, “Mitch McConnell and John Boehner have definitely approached the Senate and the House leadership in a way that now puts us in the game . . . You can’t look at what happened at the end of the Bush term as a predictor of what we’re going to be doing going forward. This is a very different Republican Party.” It is a very different Republican Party – even less popular, if you can believe it, than the Bush years. Since President Obama took office, the GOP brand has declined and, despite its desperate attempts, hasn’t had much of an impact on the Democratic brand. In October, McConnell’s approval rating could barely get into an R-rated movie, and Boehner’s was in junior high. Republican identification in this country is now about 22%. Yessirree, a very different Republican Party indeed.

And we’d be daffy if we didn’t look at the end of the Bush term as a predictor of a future that Republicans dream of. What we really should look at, though, is half a century of history, because history shows that Democratic presidents are better for the economy than Republican presidents. As noted in the Washington Monthly in 2005, “The results are simple: Democratic presidents have consistently higher economic growth and consistently lower unemployment than Republican presidents. If you add in a time lag, you get the same result. If you eliminate the best and worst presidents, you get the same result. If you take a look at other economic indicators, you get the same result. There's just no way around it: Democratic administrations are better for the economy than Republican administrations . . . The dataset that delivers these results now covers more than 50 years, 10 administrations, and half a dozen different measures . . . Republican presidents produce poor economic performance because they're obsessed with helping the well off. Their focus is on the wealthiest 5%, and the numbers show it. At least 95% of the country does better under Democrats.”

That would be the 95% who, since President Obama took office, saw tax cuts. And I believe that would be the reason that the Republican approval rating, as noted recently by White House spokesman Robert Gibbs, “is only slightly above the national drinking age.”