Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) visited Fox News Sunday yesterday where he announced – twice – that President Obama is “eager” to go over the fiscal cliff because he thinks it would enable him to raise taxes and be an all-around political plus. It’s a rather outrageous accusation – yet nobody challenged him on it. Not host Chris Wallace, who otherwise did a decent job moderating the discussion, and not the Democratic guest, Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND).
Here’s the relevant portion of the discussion:
Barrasso: When I listen to the president, I think the president is eager to go over the cliff for political purposes. I think he sees a political victory at the bottom of the cliff. He gets all these additional tax revenue for new programs. He gets to cut the military, which Democrats have been calling for, for years, and he gets to blame Republicans for it...
There was not a word from Conrad. Wallace responded by saying:
Wallace: Well - all right. You heard the president’s plan and he basically said, "This is all I think we can get done in these next nine days, extend the Bush tax cuts, for everybody below $250,000, and, extend unemployment benefits."
As the number three Republican in the Senate, can you guarantee the Republicans will not filibuster the plan?
In short, no, Barrasso would not guarantee that. He said, “I just don’t think this is going to solve the problems—it actually doesn’t solve the problems. We have a spending problem in this country, Chris. We don’t have a taxing problem. The president is fixated on raising taxes.”
Wallace said, “I understand that… We got nine days. Are we going over the cliff here?”
Barrasso answered, "I believe we are and I believe the president is eager to go over the cliff for political purposes. He senses a victory at the bottom of the cliff. I think it hurts our country and hurts our economy."
Once again, nobody challenged him. We know why Wallace didn't. But what's Democratic Senator Conrad's excuse?