The fundraising appeal was complete with pretending Republicans don't plan to cut Social Security and Medicare at their first opportunity.
Graham, you may know, just lost his appeal to the Supreme Court, meaning he will now have to testify before a Georgia grand jury about his alleged efforts to get the secretary of state not to count mail-in ballots from some counties and help Donald Trump overturn the 2020 presidential election results there. But Sean Hannity didn’t ask a single question about any of that during their friendly chat Thursday night. He was too busy helping with GOP turnout for the midterms.
Hannity began the interview with a blatant lie designed to lull his aged viewers into a false sense of economic security about voting Republican. “There's not a single Republican or conservative that I know, Senator Graham, that is saying they want to cut or take away Social Security or Medicare,” Hannity said.
Hannity has never been the sharpest tool in the shed but it’s hard to believe he doesn’t know what a whopper that was. Not only have Republicans said they want to cut those programs, they have said they plan to hold the debt ceiling hostage to do so. With Republican leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s endorsement.
And it’s hardly a new effort. Media Matters explains:
GOP leaders have been working to cut Social Security and Medicare for decades, and their current efforts go beyond the reported debt ceiling plot. The Republican Study Committee, a group which includes 75% of House Republicans as members, released a proposed budget that would cut both programs by introducing stricter requirements, raising the age for retirement and Medicare eligibility, and turning the latter into a system of means-tested vouchers. Senate Budget Committee member Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) has also suggested that Social Security should be reauthorized annually as discretionary spending, which would necessarily put the program at risk, and according to Richard Johnson, director of the Program on Retirement Policy at the Urban Institute, “would create a lot of uncertainty for retirees and for people with disabilities.”
Senate Budget Committee member Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) has proposed a plan more extreme than even some of its critics have let on, potentially putting “all federal legislation,” which includes Social Security and Medicare, on a 5-year chopping block.
As Media Matters also demonstrated, Hannity is part of Fox's network-wide effort to hide the truth about GOP plans to make life harder and more expensive for Americans.
Not surprisingly, Hannity also knocked President Biden’s speech about Republican threats to democracy. And he suggested that the real threats come from Democrats or non-MAGAs.
HANNITY: And this rhetoric about a threat to democracy, I don't know if he was talking about, you know, what, three of the members on the January 6 committee that are election deniers or Stacey Abrams herself. But that's not happening either.
What was your reaction to Biden's angry speech?
Ever the worm, Graham let the Social Security/Medicare lies go unchallenged. Instead, he replied, “If I'm a liberal Democrat, I would say, Joe, please stop yelping. I thought it was pathetic. I thought it was divisive.”
Graham spent a bit more time attacking Biden before he got to his main mission: Fundraising and getting out the vote for Republicans.
GRAHAM: So let me tell you about politics, I've been doing this for a while. The last 72 hours at any campaign cycle means the difference between winning and losing a point or two. That's when the ground game kicks in.
So, here's what I'm going to ask you to do. Just don't be mad at Biden, don't be disgusted by what you heard in Florida. Do something about it. There are three million people watching here tonight. If 10 percent of you could -- if you could possibly give 10 or 20 bucks, it will make a difference in the last 72 hours.
My website, [which he named], is going to be open tonight and I'm going to share the money. A hundred percent goes to five races -- Arizona, Nevada, and Georgia, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. If we win those five, it is over in the Senate. Kevin McCarthy is going to win the House, everything he passes in the House will come to the Senate floor if we're in charge.
So if you could help, please do, [he repeated the name of his website], and the money that you give tonight will help -- yes, sir?
That’s when Hannity interrupted to push Graham into adding another Republican to his fundraising. Not surprisingly, Graham immediately agreed.
HANNITY: Can you add New Hampshire? Because General Bolduc had a good debate tonight against Hassan and can win that race. He's up by one.
GRAHAM: Done. They'll change the website, actually, you're right
If Graham really cared about divisiveness, not to mention democracy, he would not be so willing to raise money for New Hampshire Senate candidate Don Bolduc. Here are a few details about him, via The New Republic:
Last year, Bolduc called the state’s popular Republican Governor Chris Sununu “a Chinese Communist sympathizer.” In an early October debate with Hassan, Bolduc concocted the notion that fleets of school buses were ferrying illegal out-of-state voters to New Hampshire. The right-wing Republican also recently embraced the bizarro fantasy that students in the heavily Republican town of Derry were self-identifying as cats, licking each other, and using litter boxes at schools instead of bathrooms. (Memo to readers: Am I really obligated to mention that the school in question has denied it?)
But after promising to raise money for this nutjob, Graham went right along with his campaign efforts and suggested that a vote for Bolduc is part of saving the country.
GRAHAM: Well, the point is the 72-hour closing campaign, that's when you knock on doors, that's when you call people who are reliable Republicans, have you voted? If you haven't, please go vote.
So [name of website], we'll add the general to it. I'm trying to raise as much money not for me but for people that can affect the country.
No regrets next Wednesday. Put it all on the field. Act like everything you believe in is at stake.
Graham is right about that last part. So, I implore each and every one of our readers to go out and vote, phone bank, text and canvas if you can.
Let’s ruin Hannity’s and Graham’s night on Tuesday and, more importantly, their plans to cut the Social Security and Medicare everyone works for and pays into - while the two cowards pretend otherwise.
Act like your life and country are at stake. Because they are.
You can also take time to watch the Murdochs allow their “news” network to double as a prime-time GOP fundraising and Get-Out-The-Vote effort below, from the November 3, 2022 Hannity.
-Raising the retirement age by one year for people currently aged 25 or younger
-Lifting the cap on applicable income for FICA
-Including the governmental employees in the FICA pool
-Raising the employer side of FICA by 0.3%
And these steps could have been taken 20 years ago, when the FICA increase could have been 0.1%. But angry Right Wing pundits and politicians insisted that they would never ever ever raise taxes ever. Of course, those same people cheered on the GOP Tax Transfer of 2017, so one should really wonder what they meant by those Grover Norquist pledges.
The Heritage Foundation plan upon which the GOP is relying calls for SS to be reduced to a flat $1200/month payment, which would only be available for those people who means test to not have a decent pension plan or retirement account. In other words, Social Security would be reduced to a welfare plan for indigent elderly people with little or no money coming in at their point of retirement. The Heritage Foundation called for the new rules to only apply to people who were 25 in the year 2010. The current GOP plan calls for the new rules to apply to people who are 54 years old and younger today. Meaning that tens of millions of people who paid into the system for over 30 years would be told they’re out in the cold. Either they would only be eligible for a tiny payment every month, or they would not be eligible at all. The Media Matters summary of the Right Wing plan to slash Medicare is correct – it would be a means-tested voucher that would only apply to the same indigent elderly who would be eligible for the slashed SS payment each month.
And to be clear, this would not apply to current retirees or people over the age of 60 at this point. (I have my doubts that they will hold to the new rules only applying to people at age 54 – my instinct is they’ll carry it up to 60 and say that the economic situation now requires it.) But the current GOP retirees who depend on SS for their existence would continue to collect their current-level checks. Which is how the GOP figures it will avoid a revolt within their own ranks.
The intention here is clearly to lay the foundation for entirely eliminating these programs, since angry Right Wingers never wanted them to exist in the first place. Right Wing pundits and politicians have already spent decades repeating the mantra that “Social Security doesn’t work” and “Social Security is going bankrupt” and “Social Security is a Ponzi Scheme” and “Social Security won’t be there when you retire”. So if they can pull off this maneuver, they figure that they’ve already primed their younger cohort as well as the general populace to expect that SS was going to fail anyway. And it’s yet another “proof” by angry Right Wingers that “government can’t accomplish anything”. And it’s another deliberate punch in the face to Middle Class Employees and Blue State residents who already took a pretty big haymaker during the Pence White House’s single term with the GOP Tax Transfer of 2017. Where before the Middle Class was told to endure a massive tax increase while the wealthy got a big break, now those same Middle Class Employees will be told that their FICA payments have been flushed away.
The Right Wing fully expects people to be outraged at this, but their thinking is that it will just fuel people losing faith in governmental programs in general and allow the GOP to proffer a complete elimination of Social Security and Medicare in another 10-15 years, since most Americans would no longer see any benefit from the programs. Which would allow the GOP to complete the plan of erasing the New Deal and the Great Society from history. If anything, we should acknowledge that angry Right Wingers have been patiently playing a long game here, just as they did with the erasure of Roe v Wade.