Don’t bring a dolt to an MTP fight

DON’T BRING A DOLT TO AN MTP FIGHT…. If you missed it, there was an exchange on “Meet the Press” yesterday, which only lasted about a minute and a half, but which deserves the attention it’s received.

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For those who you can’t watch clips from your work computers, Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.) joined the roundtable discussion. He argued, at one point, that the stimulus package would have been more effective if it had “stimulative tax cuts in it.”

We know that’s foolish. The stimulus effort included tax cuts, but it was the part of the recovery effort that was the least effective in stimulating the economy. Rachel Maddow reminded the overmatched and underprepared congressman of this pesky detail: “[W]hen you assess what creates jobs, in the stimulus bill it’s the tax cuts that were put in in order to try to win Republican votes — that didn’t come anyway — that are the least effective thing in the stimulus bill. So the theory doesn’t match the practice here.”

But then Rachel made Schock look even worse:

“[I]n your district, just this week you were at a community college touting a $350,000 green technology education program, talking about how great that was going to be for your district. You voted against the bill that created that grant. And that’s happening a lot with Republicans sort of taking credit for things that Democratic bills do, and then Republicans simultaneously touting their votes against them and trashing them. That’s, I think, a problem that needs to be resolved within your caucus, because, I mean, you seem like a very nice person, but that’s very hypocritical stance to take.”

Schock responded, “Well, Rachel, with all due respect, I can assure you Republicans were not consulted on the stimulus bill.” As responses go, this was nonsensical and missed the point entirely. Later, Schock added, “With all due respect, Rachel, does that mean you’re going to give back your Bush tax cuts that you continue to rail against?”

If Rachel were running around bragging about how great Bush’s tax cuts are, after having opposed them before, this might make sense. Instead, it was another reminder that Schock not only isn’t ready for prime-time; he’s not ready for Sunday mornings, either.

But there are also some relevant larger truths here. For example, Republicans really are proud to endorse stimulus funds that help their state/district, even after opposing the recovery effort, and even while pretending the stimulus didn’t give the economy a critically important boost. As Schock helped prove, the GOP does not yet have a coherent response to the obvious hypocrisy, so watch for this to be a key part of the midterm debates.

As for Schock being made to appear foolish, I can’t help but wonder, why is it that Rachel Maddow seems to be the only media professional calling out Republican hypocrisy on this? One of the reasons the clip generated so much attention was because it was something we see so rarely — blatant GOP hypocrisy being called out on national television, accurately and fairly. It seems a little silly to make a fuss over what should be a common occurrence, but since it’s not a common occurrence, moments like these are all the more satisfying.