MSNBC's Sharpton: GOP 'Tanking the Economy,' 'Exploiting the Bad Problems They Caused'
On Wednesday's PoliticsNation, MSNBC host Al Sharpton seemed to accuse Republicans of deliberately causing economic problems as "part of the plan" to attack President Obama during the midterm elections. Sharpton: "Republicans are the ones tanking the economy, and maybe that's part of the plan. The Hill reports the GOP plans to use the economy as a midterm weapon. That's right. They're exploiting the bad problems they caused."
MSNBC contributor Joy Reid later accused Republicans of having "abject hatred" for President Obama. Reid: "Because with their own base the only things they really do care about and that really unite them are abject hatred of President Obama and this mania about cutting spending, the idea that the government should spend nothing."
She also blamed Republicans for President Obama not being able to run for reelection with a booming economy in a mannter similar to Bill Clinton's 1996 reelection. Reid: "So there really wasn't any incentive to allow him to essentially be Bill Clinton, to be able to run for re-election on a strong and robust economy. So if you want to be completely cynical about their motivation, they've really had a motivation to do the opposite, the worse the economy did."
Below is a transript of relevant portions of the Wednesday, January 15, PoliticsNation on MSNBC:
[AFTER COMPLAINING ABOUT FNC NOT COVERING PRESIDENT OBAMA'S ECONOMIC SPEECH IN NORTH CAROLINA]:
AL SHARPTON: And Republicans in Congress are no better. Yesterday the Senate GOP blocked an extension of unemployment benefits that would have helped 1.3 million Americans. Bu instead of showing remorse, the GOP is indignant.
JOHN BOEHNER, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: The American people continue to ask the question: Where are the jobs? And the fact is the President has taken his eye off of the ball, taken his eye off of the issue of jobs.
SHARPTON: The President has taken his eye off the ball? Republicans are the ones tanking the economy, and maybe that's part of the plan. The Hill reports the GOP plans to use the economy as a midterm weapon. That's right. They're exploiting the bad problems they caused. No wonder this President is taking matters into his own hands.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Long term the challenge of making sure everybody who works hard can get ahead in today's economy is so important that we can't wait for Congress to solve it. Where I can act on my own without Congress I'm going to do so.
SHARPTON: The President will act. Thank goodness because Republicans certainly won't. Joining me now is Joy Reid and Jared Bernstein.
SHARPTON: Joy, the head of the Republican Party, Rush Limbaugh, attacked the President for saying that he's going to use whatever executive orders he can to get the economy going again. Take a listen.
RUSH LIMBAUGH, TALK RADIO HOST: Now, he might have a pen and he might have a phone, but what he does not have is the constitutional power to run this country like a dictator. And yet that's exactly what it sounds like.
SHARPTON: A dictator to use his executive powers?
JOY REID, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: You know, Rev, I love that you call Rush Limbaugh the head of the Republican Party because in a very sort of practical sense that is actually true. I mean, the Republican Party really is governed by its media industrial complex at this point. The media wing really drives policy. And, look, this is a crass political matter.
The reality is that that Republicans have not had an actual incentive to help spur job growth or to spur the economic growth over the last five years. Because when President Obama first came in, their prime directive was to make sure he was not reelected. So there really wasn't any incentive to allow him to essentially be Bill Clinton, to be able to run for re-election on a strong and robust economy.
So if you want to be completely cynical about their motivation, they've really had a motivation to do the opposite, the worse the economy did. Notice how upset Republicans would get every time the unemployment number would tick downward. They'd say, "It's a fraud. The Obama administration's making that up. Nothing's getting better." They are really red in, and their base is married to the idea that Barack Obama is this dictator, that President Obama-
REID: -is the worst thing in the world.
REID: And they in a sense have an incentive to make the country fail if necessary just so he'll fail. But now that he is not running for re-election you'd think that incentive would lift, but it really isn't lifting, with their base, with re-elects coming up in the midterms, their incentive is exactly the same. They're running against President Obama.
SHARPTON: And, you know, Joy, the president was in North Carolina today. And this is a state that shows just how unfair the GOP economic policies are. As of this year, the state has given millionaires a $10,000 tax cut by raising taxes on the poorest 900,000 families.
REID: Yeah, and I think that for a lot of the country they look at numbers like the ones that you just showed, and it just really seems confounding. But for the Republicans in the House in particular and increasingly in the Senate their political incentives are driven only by concerns about the base. Midterm elections are base elections, they're not elections where you really so much concerned about independents.
And I disagree just a little bit with Jared that they have any incentive at all to try to grow the economy or present positive ideas. Because with their own base the only things they really do care about and that really unite them are abject hatred of President Obama and this mania about cutting spending, the idea that the government should spend nothing.