Was Super Duper Christian Ainsley Earhardt lying or just shockingly ignorant when she legitimized the Republican poutrage at President Biden’s true statement that the GOP wants to cut Social Security and Medicare?
Biden told the truth about Republicans wanting to cut, gut or get rid of altogether Medicare and Social Security
One of the most notable moments during President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address last night was when he called out “some Republicans” for wanting to “sunset” or cut Medicare and Social Security. Here’s a transcript of those remarks:
BIDEN: Let us commit here tonight that the full faith and credit of the United States of America will never, ever be questioned. Some of my Republican friends want to take the economy hostage -- I get it -- unless I agree to their economic plans. All of you at home should know what those plans are.
Instead of making the wealthy pay their fair share, some Republicans -- some Republicans want Medicare and Social Security to sunset. I’m not saying it’s a majority --
AUDIENCE: Booo --
BIDEN: Let me give you --
BIDEN: Anybody who doubts it, contact my office. I’ll give you a copy. I’ll give you a copy of the proposal.
That prompted Taxpayer-funded Troll and Attention Whore, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, ridiculously clad in a look-at-me fur coat, to shout, “Liar!”
Biden shot back, “I tell you, I enjoy conversion.” He added that he was “politely not naming” the Republicans in question.
MSNBC host Chris Hayes was happy to expose some of them. As you can see in the second video below. Sen. Mike Lee, Sen. Rick Scott, Rep. Matt Gaetz, Sen. Ron Johnson, Sen Lindsey Graham and Rep. Michael Waltz have all publicly called for cuts to Social Security and Medicare or doing away with one or both of them altogether.
Ainsley Earhardt falsely painted Biden as a liar and praised Republicans for heckling his truth-telling
This morning, during his appearance on Fox & Friends, Ainsley Earhardt helped Speaker Kevin McCarthy mislead about Republican goals. This, from the woman who makes devout Christianity her brand and who claims she wants to be a serious journalist.
But first, she took a gratuitous dig at former Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Referring to McCarthy’s seat behind the president, she sniped, “Normally, that is Nancy Pelosi’s seat and we saw her down on the floor and you were in the chair because the Republicans took the House.”
McCarthy replied, “It was an honor to sit there. It was like having a good seat at a bad sporting event.”
Maybe a bad event for McCarhty and Republicans, but 72% of American viewers had a positive reaction to the speech. Not that Earhardt or either of her Fox & Friends cohosts mentioned that.
Cohost Steve Doocy introduced a clip of Biden’s remarks about Social Security and Medicare, with an acknowledgment that he was “talking about what [Sen.] Rick Scott put out a while back.”
After the clip, Doocy said that Fox’s White House correspondents report that Biden’s team is “delighted” at the Republicans' behavior and that polling says independents were turned off by the heckling. “One time it looked like you were trying to shush your side of the aisle,” Doocy said to McCarthy.
Rather than respond to Doocy’s point, McCarthy segued to calling Biden a liar on Social Security and Medicare.
MCCARTHY: Well, the president is trying to goad members. One thing the president was saying was something he knew wasn’t true. I just spent an hour with him. Social Security and Medicare are off the table. He tries to use that for a political ploy.
We need to be smart. He’s trying to play politics by lying about our position.
FACT CHECK: Although Biden brought up Republicans' desire to cut Medicare and Social Security in the context of the debt ceiling, he was not saying that was the only time they planned to put their cuts into action. Meanwhile, minutes after McCarthy’s segment ended. Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-MT) told CNN, he wants to “review” Social Security and Medicare as part of a “dialogue” about raising the debt ceiling. It’s the third video below. (H/T to my Crooks and Liars colleague Fran Langum for the CNN clip.)
Earhardt covered for McCarthy with her own dissembling. “Republicans aren’t going to take away Social Security or Medicare, they all say the same thing,” she claimed.
FACT CHECK: No, they don’t all say the same thing, as you can see in the MSNBC and CNN clips below. More importantly, Biden never said Republicans were going to take away Social Security or Medicare, he said there are some who want to. And that, as you can also see in the clips below, is the truth.
Nevertheless, Earhardt added, “It was nice to see [Republicans] stand up for themselves. I want them to respect the president but they stood up for themselves and everyone agreed.”
Then Super Duper Christian Earhardt changed the subject to praise Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ hate-filled rebuttal that, as Media Matters pointed out, was full of false and misleading claims and was indistinguishable from a Fox News monologue.
You can watch Earhardt and McCarthy mislead below, from the February 8, 2023 Fox & Friends.
Republicans last night: How dare President Biden accuse us of wanting to cut Social Security and Medicare.— DNC War Room (@DNCWarRoom) February 8, 2023
Republicans this morning: We just want to “review it.”pic.twitter.com/EuUzJwRUWe
I wonder … that silly heckling during the SOTU probably showed the GOPers up for what they are: immature, ignorant, churlish, irresponsible idiots.
@Kevin Koster: excellent post (as usual). I’m really in favour of reminding people, ad nauseam, that SS and Medicare are not “entitlements” (as in “freebees”) but programmes financed by the recipients themselves in the form of withdrawals from their pay checks. Any termination of said programmes should be subject to full reimbursement of these “premiums” plus interest.
By the way, fine troll extermination on your part today. Annie Oakley couldn’t have been quicker! They could have used your services at the SOTU :)
First, the GOP’s intent to slash SS and Medicare is well-known and long-documented. They have slagged the programs at every turn for the past 50 years and stonewalled common sense funding adjustments so they could feign “concern” at the “crisis” with the programs today. Make no mistake – if angry Right Wingers pull it off, SS would be reduced to a flat $1200/month, means-tested to disqualify Middle Class employees with decent pensions or 401K plans and these conditions would apply to all Americans 54 years old and younger. That’s the short version of both the 2023 Republican Study Committee plan and the 2010 Heritage Foundation plan upon which it’s based. (And Medicare would be slashed to a tiny means-tested voucher idea.) To be fair, HF only wanted their plan to apply to Americans under 25 years old, but today’s angry Right Wingers want to make sure that middle-aged Middle Class employees really feel a pinch here. In the same way, they were happy to smack Middle Class employees with a massive tax increase in 2017 and then gloat about it on Fox and elsewhere.
Second, if the Right Wingers were to get their way on this, the long-held popularity of SS would quickly wane, since tens of millions of Middle Class employees would be told that their forecasted SS payments would be cut in half or down to a third or a quarter of what they’d previously been promised, regardless of the fact that they’d paid into FICA for over three decades. And that’s assuming the means-testing allowed them to collect anything at all. The gamble the Right Wing is making here is that they’re thinking the public would blame Social Security itself or “government that can’t do anything” for the situation, rather than the angry Right Wingers who sabotaged the programs to make them fail. It is for this reason that angry Right Wingers have been doing all that slagging of SS over the past five decades. Sadly, too many American employees have bought the line that “Social Security won’t be there for me”. But up to now, those employees have been pleasantly surprised by actually receiving regular SS payments as promised upon their retirements. If the GOP is able to default on those promises, it’s a sure bet that the program’s popularity would fall away in a hurry. Since it would have been changed into a form of welfare for the indigent elderly. Which would pave the way for the GOP to have no real opposition to sunsetting SS around the time of its centenary in 2035. Given the patience the Right Wing showed about throwing Roe v Wade in the trash, one should not underestimate the intentions here. The Right Wing has been playing a long game here, and they’re hoping most people won’t notice.
We should underline a point made earlier – FICA and Social Security and Medicare are absolutely not “entitlements” or handouts. They are a public insurance program that all employees fund through their weekly paychecks. The GOP only uses the derogation of “entitlements” to help sell the idea that retirees are somehow getting something for nothing. Again, should the Right Wing succeed in taking SS away from Americans 54 years old and younger, that push would ensure that a majority of Americans would no longer see SS as a worthy idea, since they would see no real benefit from its existence.
All of that said, there is a small case for cautious optimism after the 2023 SOTU address. President Biden somehow managed to rope-a-dope the GOP caucus into publicly proclaiming that they will not slash Social Security. Since they will theoretically not be able to inject this into the debt ceiling discussion, they’re essentially frozen out of doing much more with their plans for the rest of 2023. And they’re not going to push a slash plan in the Election Year of 2024. Which means they’ll have to wait until 2025 for their next attempt to gut SS and Medicare. That is, unless the Dems can somehow get a few GOP members to go along with finally making those small adjustments they’ve been trying to activate for 20 years.
To my mind, not enough is being said or written on the fact that SS exists because people are paying into it. That makes SS an insurance policy, not an entitlement. That simple little fact should be mentioned every time a GOP-er talks about cutting entitlements.