tv The Ed Show MSNBC June 23, 2011 1:00am-2:00am EDT
it continues. the missouri river does not look to be going down anytime soon. that does it for us tonight. we will see you again. there is lots to add to what you see. we are proud tonight from las vegas, the big news this evening. president obama announces plans to bring home 10,000 troops by the end of this year, and 33,000 by next summer as the afghan forces begin to take over securing their own nation. chris matthews and rachel maddow will join me to discuss the president's plan and the reaction so far. this is the ed show, let's get to work. president obama announces his plan to pull troops out of afghanistan. is it mission accomplished. what about the 70,000 troops left behind. >> starting next month, we will be able to remove 10,000 of our troops from afghanistan by the
end of in year. >> chris matthews and rachel maddow on the policy of the politics. a bipartisan group of senators push for a one-year extension of military operations in libya. what happened to weeks not months? and democrats in confinely called out republicans who they say are trying to sabotage the economy because it will hurt president obama. >> they believe the weak economy is their best chance of winning the next election. >> what will the democrats do about it? good evening, folks, from las vegas tonight. i want to say one thing off the top, i'm not sold. 52 days after president obama announced osama bin ladin had been killed in pakistan, he announces to the country his new plan to draw down a nearly 10-year military involvement in afghanistan. >> thanks to our extraordinary men and women in uniform, our civilian personnel, and our many
coalition partners, we are meeting our goals. as a result, starting next month, we will be able to remove 10,000 of our troops from afghanistan by the end of this year. and we will bring home a total of 33,000 troops by next summer, fully recovering the surge i announced at west point. after this initial reduction, our troops will continue coming home at a steady pace. afghan security forces move into the lead. our mission will change from combat to support. by 2014, this process of transition will be complete and the afghan people will be responsible for their own security. >> 10,000 troops this year and another 23,000 by next summer? in my opinion it's not enough, it's not going to suffice the liberal base. more and more americans, more than ever want this war to end. 56% think our troops should come
home as soon as possible. 39% say the military should remain in afghanistan, until the situation has stabilized. stabilized? after 33,000 troops come home it will still leave 68,000 americans in that country along with all the private contractors, with only 50 al qaeda remaining? it doesn't make sense. this chart shows america will still have twice as many troops in afghanistan as we did the day president obama was inaugurated. america's longest war has come at one big price. the president did a great job communicating he understands the sacrifice and is connected to the soldier. >> my fellow americans this has been a difficult decade for our country. we've learned anew the profound costs of war. a cost that's been paid by the
nearly 4,500 americans who have given their lives in iraq. and the over 1,500 who have done so in afghanistan. men and women who will not live to enjoy the freedom they defended. thousands more have been wounded, some have lost limbs on the battlefield. others battle the demons that have followed them home. yet tonight we take comfort in knowing that the tide of war is recede receding. fewer of our sons and daughters are serving in harm's way. we've ended our combat mission in iraq, with 100,000 american troops already out of that country. and even as there will be dark days ahead in afghanistan, the light of the secure peace can be seen in the distance. these long wars will come to a responsible end. >> well, if the tide is receding, now is the time to bring the war to a responsible end. afghanistan is a graveyard and has been a graveyard for empires that america needs to get out until our nation crumbles
financially. the president still holds out hope for peace. i think security is what we should be concerned about. we can't have peace everywhere. it's wishful thinking. the president made this point tonight. >> over the last decade we have spent a trillion dollars on war, at a time of rising debt and hard economic times. now, we must invest in america's greatest resource. our people. we must unleash innovation that creates new jobs and industries, while living within our means. we must rebuild our infrastructure and find new and clean sources of energy. and most of all, after a decade of passionate debate, we must recapture the common purpose that we shared at the beginning of this time of war.
for our nation draws strength from our differences. when our union is strong, no hill is too steep. no horizon is beyond our reach. america, it is time to focus on nation building here at home. >> i completely agree with the president. but keeping 68,000 troops in afghanistan for the next three years is going to cost billions of dollars. hold it right there when he talks about nation building. there's a political reality to all of this. nation building with what money? with the help of the republicans? it isn't going to be there. the financial cost of the war in afghanistan has already passed $440 billion and it's on the rise. right now we are spending $120 billion a year, twice as much as two years ago. this is not an exit strategy, this is a troop shift. the president said he wants to shift the mission from combat to support. i think we heard bush say that
all the time. i don't think the american people, i will be on board for any more nation building in afghanistan. not the state of the american worker in this country and what we're going through. the president is taking a pragmatic approach to hopefully get a successful conclusion. there's a little bit for the left here tonight. there's a little bit for the right here tonight. there's a little bit for every political facet to chew on. at the same time, we are going to be spending billions of dollars in afghanistan for years to come. and that's not where the american people are. mr. president, i have immense respect for you, but i have to call this one as i see it, it was not a good night at the office. and this talk about nation building, with what money? you can't get money out of the republicans right now. what nation building are we going to do? you have to cut expenses, this country has to cut expenses. meaning, we have to cut the cord over there. not take another bite out of the american worker here on our
soil. i'm disappointed tonight. and i think a lot of americans are going to be disappointed. get your cell phones out, i want to know what you think. tonight's question, do you think president obama is pulling troops out of afghanistan too slowly or too quickly? text a for too slowly. b for too quickly to 622639 and, of course, you can always go to our blog at ed.msnbc.com. i am honored tonight to have my two colleagues tonight here with us tonight on the ed show, rachel maddow and also chris matthews the host of "hardball." watching this tonight, i was almost speechless. i expected more. and i think it's thinking to think we can do rebuilding at home when the republicans are down the street squawking, they're not going to help the president out. rachel, did he go far enough tonight in your opinion? >> i think the president tonight did not answer the question that was on everybody's mind.
the question that's on everybody's mind is, now that we've killed osama bin ladin, can we please go home? if we're not going to go home, what is it that 70,000 americans are going to do in the next three and a half years that we haven't been able to do in the past decade of being there. i think you're right to key in on the president saying we want to nation build. he pointed out the tide of war receding, the light of a secure peace could be seen in the distance. but the deadline he's talking about, that's the same dead line he was talking about in december 2009. and a really important thing has happened since then. bin ladin's dead. the head of al qaeda has been cut off. i think that leaves the biggest question unanswered tonight. >> chris, did he go far enough tonight? how is this going to play for the president going into an election year? >> i don't see how it helps him.
i agree with what you said. i keep looking at this question a couple ways. if barack obama had been elected as he was in 2008, came into office in 2009 and there hadn't been a war in afghanistan, would he have taken us in? no way in the world. would any president take us in under the current circumstances? no, we were taken in under the argument that we were in hot pursuit of al qaeda. we let them go in torah bora. you wonder when we lost the trail, when we wanted to lose the trail and do something else over there. in all of these regards i'm in deep prejudice of american occupation in countries overseas. i believe in what we call patriotism in this country is not unique to us. every country in the world, every village has a patriotic spirit, a resentment of
occupation by others. even the brits when we were fighting the nazis together, in the best possible war in human history, they said of american g.i.'s, overpaid, oversexed, over here. people don't like other people in their country with guns. we are in that country with guns giving orders. no one's going to like us, and as the years go on -- what is it, since 2001, ten years, they begin to hate you. and the easiest thing in the world to do is to be a taliban official right now, if they call them officials, and say, let's get those americans out of this country. an easy battle cry, bring downmen and women into war against us. >> rachel, do you feel confident that this is going to be over in 2014 after going down this road for ten years? >> i want to know if there's going to be a declaration that combat operations in afghanistan have ended. we heard that combat operations in iraq had ended prematurely
from president bush, and then we heard it from president obama almost against his will when the last combat troops left iraq this past august. there have been another 50,000 americans in iraq that will be there until new year's eve this year, and then it will be over. but that's a key point, troops are in a support role, and they were going to manage the fact that we were getting out of the country. it was an important psychological turning point for the country. is it going to be combat until 2014? the president described a nebulous transformation of the mission, but gave no time period for when it would happen. >> chris, two administration officials are saying that general petraeus did not endorse this position. does this give republicans an opening to criticize him and do you think they'll take it? >> look, look, the president is the commander in chief. the civilian leadership makes the calls. general petraeus is an honorable
soldier, a great soldier. he does not set policy. anyone who says he should, doesn't understand the american constitution, with no discredit to the general, he doesn't set policy, the elected officials of our government do. by the way, on the point of iraq, look how we're leaving. look to al sadr, he's saying he wants us out by the date we said we're leaving. here's the guy you can predict will be the next leader of iraq. this is what we've done with all the blood and treasure since 2003. this hilariously ridiculous war in iraq, it's going to put that guy in charge, the guy who tells us to leave. that's what we get over there for gratitude, for all that we've done to get rid of saddam hussein, a little leader like al sadr who tells us to get out of the country. that's how we leave, with the door slamming behind us. i can only expect when the time comes, karzai or whoever he
names to succeed him, will say the same to us, get out of here, we wish you had never come. that's what we're going to get in the end here from both of these countries. >> finally, the question for both of you, do we need to negotiate with the taliban? is this our best exit strategy at this point in the americans want us out of there, it's like -- again, you see the american people way ahead of washington, like a year and a half, two years ahead of washington. is our best option to negotiate with the taliban? >> i think that is how are with as end, you end up talking to people who disagree. you get the people who disagree. i don't think the american people are going to care very much whether or not u.s. officials are involved in talks with the taliban. we know that there are bad guys who you have to deal with, in parts of the world where bad guys have great sway. those are the influencers, i
think if the u.s. left today with no ceremony, there would be no difference in the effect on that region than if we -- >> i agree, and i tell you one thing, charlie bartlett a friend of mine, and a lot of other people are concerned about our whole system about presidents get their scorecard punched on the basis of getting re-elected. presidents who are are involved in wars are very uninclined to end wars that may not look good the way they end them. every president seeks election -- you can't end a war on your watch. that's what johnson went down to, nixon went down to. that's what kennedy would have faced if he hadn't been assassinated. this fear that someone's going to say munich, appeasement, you cut and run. so to avoid the cut and run charge, the instinct is to fight. even when your better instincts as a civilian tell you, this was a mistake to begin with, what makes me think i'm going to
change that fact. two encyclopedias on the ed show tonight, definitely raising the level of conversation. immense respect for both of you. thanks for working extra tonight. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> remember to answer tonight's question there at the bottom of the screen. i want to know what you think. the president talked about the ongoing mission in afghanistan tonight. but we'll ask our guests whether we really need to be in afghanistan at all to keep our country safe. later, republicans are blatantly trying to tank the economy by rejecting jobs programs and tax cuts in congress. can you believe it? today the democrats grew a parks grew a spine and fought back. that's next.
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>> the goal that we seek is achievable. and can be expressed simply. no safe haven from which al qaeda or its affiliates can launch attacks on our homeland or our allies. we won't try to make afghanistan a perfect place. we will not police its streets or patrol its mountains indefinitely. that is the responsibility of the afghan government, which must step up its ability to protect its people, and move from an economy shaped by war to one that can sustain a lasting peace. what we can do and will do is build a partnership with the afghan people that endorse. one that ensures we will be able to continue targeting terrorists and supporting a sovereign afghan government. >> the mission and whether we need to be in afghanistan at all. that's next. pain relief plus massage you can do this... get the ball, girl. hmmm, you can't do that. but you can do this. bengay pain relief + massage
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welcome back to "the ed show." thanks for watching tonight. we're taking a close look at the president's prime time address to the nation this evening on afghanistan afghanistan. he talked about the military mission as well as a need for a political settlement. >> we do know that peace cannot come to a land that has known so much war without a political settlement. as we strengthen the afghan government and security forces, america will join initiatives that reconcile an afghan people, including the taliban. our position on these talks is clear, they must be led by the afghan government. and those who want to be a part of a peaceful afghanistan, must break from al qaeda, abandon violence and abide by the afghan constitution.
>> we should also be debating whether the war as it stands now is really keeping us as a nation safer. let's bring in the interim chairman of votevets.org and nbc terrorism analyst michael sheehan. gentlemen, thanks for your time tonight. did the president make the case that we still need to be in afghanistan for the sake of our national security? what do you think? >> well, i'm not sure in that what the president needs to decide is whether we're going to adopt a full-on counter insurgency strategy or full-on counter terrorism strategy. that's going to drive the question of whether we need to be in afghanistan or not. if we're going to prepare for counter insurgency, he needs to prepare the country for 10, 20 years. on the other hand if he wants to do counter terrorism, it's going to be based around intelligence
and counter terrorism operations, such as what killed bin ladin, then i think we'll need far fewer troops and resources. >> michael, i think that there are a lot of americans out there, i'm guessing, a hunch, that they're out there tonight saying, is this the only way we can do this? is there any other way we can do it? what do you think? >> i think the president is quite aware that the country has a whole is becoming very wary of the effort in afghanistan. and i think what the president did today was -- as your guests alluded to just recently, he clearly narrowed the mission for the u.s. in his remarks he talked about -- now we're talking about the sanctuary to al qaeda. i think what's happening here, ed, is the president is beginning a process of shifting of narrowing our mission there, which will in turn narrow the commitment of our troops to afghanistan. you're going to see that evolve
over the months ahead. >> i want to pose this question to you. both of you, the president mentioned libya tonight. and i thought for a moment watching him, i was getting some bush administration talk about freedom on the march. and that the libyan people deserve an opportunity to have a democracy. and i'm paraphrasing here. i felt that was really open ended. ash win, your thoughts on that. >> well, i agree with you, and i think that anything that happens in libya, ought to be organic from the libyan people, and i think that the american people are quite wary of these adventures in middle eastern countries to build democracies and nations. and i don't think they'd support a mixed ended venture in libya. >> michael, your thoughts? >> i agree. the president is talking about aspirations, of course we support the libyan people, they
have aspirations for democracy, aspirations to get rid of a madman like gadhafi. that doesn't mean we're going to make an open-ended military commitment to do that. that's what we have to think about, how can we support these movements without getting ourselves into entanglements that a lot of the american people are growing very wary of. >> michael, you've been around this a long time, do we have to have 68,000 troops in afghanistan to be protected on our shores and on our soil? >> i think the issue is, as we've already discussed, defining what the issue is. a lot of the military leadership rightfully believes in their own mind in order to really secure the united states homeland from attacks from al qaeda, they have to completely stabilize afghanistan and create a really stable state. i think the president moved away from that formulation tonight, and we're going to see later if the military strategy adopts that, where he narrows the mission.
by the way, our mission in western pakistan is also to deny sanctuary to al qaeda in western pakistan. we do not have u.s. forces permanently there. how do we deny sanctuary in place places -- without having to occupy a country with massive troop numbers. >> great to have you both with us tonight. house republicans are trying to pull the plug on america's military involvement in libya. a bipartisan group of senators aren't having it. tour on ice? sarah palin reportedly quits her bus tour halfway through it. sound familiar? no, we're not making it up. that's next. boy, i'm glad we got aflac huh.
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welcome back to "the ed show." president obama announces a drawdown in one conflict. some members of kochk are trying to put an end to another one. republican house leaders indicated they wanted to bring two measures to the floor this week dealing with american involvement in libya. one is the house version of a bipartisan senate resolution introduced by senators kerry and mccain. it would authorize the limited use of force in libya for one full year. meaning, no ground troops. senate majority leader harry reid says he has the votes to pass that resolution, although it is expected to bail him out. the second measure house
republicans discussed today is an attempt to force withdraw from libya, most likely by cutting off funding. withdraw is a measure senators mccain and kerry strongly oppose. >> gadhafi is going to fall. it's just a matter of time. is this the time to ride to the rescue of a failing tyrant when the writing is on the wall that he will collapse? >> gadhafi's finished, ask the people in the country. the last message that any united states senator wants to send in my judgment is that all he has to do is wait us out. all he has to do is wait for the congress even as the progress is being made, the vice is tightening because we're divided at home. >> interesting, two vietnam veterans saying stay in libya for a year. we can chalk this up as another example as the republican led house of representatives wasting time on ideological statements instead of focusing on creating
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welcome back to "the ed show." let's get to the money, the money. we have spent billions on rebuilding cities on the other side of the world while neglecting our own here in the united states. and now, a group of our nation's mayors, well, they've had enough. the united states conference of mayors is calling on president obama in congress to end the wars in iraq and afghanistan. and "bring these war dollars home."
the mayors have passed a resolution noting the huge price tag american cities have paid to keep these wars going over there. this year, the war effort will cost the people of new york city nearly $6 billion in tax dollars. you folks in los angeles will pay nearly $2 billion for all the shenanigans in iraq and afghanistan. philadelphia $612 million. let's go to boise, idaho, they will fork out over $75 million. are you asking if it's worth it? with unemployment high and congress cutting spending, mayors have been forced to make some real tough choices at home when it comes to job cuts and services. take the $2 billion that the folks in los angeles are spending. that money could pay for nearly 17,000 elementary schoolteachers. or 17,000 firefighters.
or it could have -- you know, helped nearly half a million low income folks get access to health care. do we care about that? it seems like a no-brainer to me, and the mayor's voted on it. great to have you with us tonight. first of all, your thoughts on this vote. a vote like this is really a message to the president and to the administration and the lawmakers in washington that you guys out in the heart land are taking it financially and you're strapped and you can't go any month, you need help. do you think the message will be received and what does this vote mean? >> thanks for having me. i watched the president tonight. i heard him talk about nation building at home. investing in our number one resource, the american people. i hope congress gets the message. we're not trying to make foreign policy, in reality, we're not. this is sun precedent in my time that i've seen them come out and
make as deliberate a statement as this. it is the frustration that you're talking about. i mean, how many cities are having to lay off police officers and firefighters and delay unnecessary roadwork. municipalities have cut about half a million jobs just in the last couple years. we're cutting back at a time when the demands are high. i mean, the shelters are filling up. we can't keep soup on the shelves of the shelters. we are in desperate shape. you are infrastructure is failing, and we're frustrated that we see the infrastructure of other countries being built up. we need to pay attention to the infrastructure here in this country. >> we're spending more money in afghanistan than we are in american cities. >> a lot of the stimulus money is being blocked by these republican governors across the country. i want to get your reaction to the president's sound bite here. >> we have spent a trillion
dollars on war, at a time of rising debt and hard economic times. now, we must invest in america's our people. we must unleash innovation that creates new jobs and industries, while living within our means. >> i hope he's laying the groundwork here. i hope this is a signature event this speech, that he's kind of putting a mark down saying, now, we're going to begin this investment at home. he already has done some of it, but we're hurting out here, it was music to my ears, i heard him talk about the american dream. you and i have talked about the american dream, and how we have to have opportunity for everybody, not just the folks at the top. i know the military industrial
complex has made out real well with these wars, and god speed and god bless our troops who are out there putting our lives on the line. we need to invest here at home. he was talking about a strategic draw down. it was music to my ears, we need help here. we provide real services to real people, we are on the ground. we have to invest in this country and create opportunity and build our infrastructure. >> i'm all about it. >> peter dryer, a professor at occidental college writes a resolution you mayors signed. it's not as strong as the one passed 40 years ago calling on richard nixon to withdraw troops from vietnam. does this resolution that you voted on, the wording does, it have enough meaning? does it have enough teeth? does it call for enough? your thoughts. >> well, i think it does. i think it's a step in the right direction. this is not -- the group is not that political, and it's
democrats and republicans and independents, who are saying enough is enough. you know, we've got to pay attention to our needs here, again, we're not foreign policy experts, most mayors do not want to put themselves in a position of really giving direct foreign policy advice, the point is, don't forget about your needs here at home. do nation building at home. i challenge all of the legislators who have no problem voting for these wars overseas, voting to invest overseas. it's funny, they talk about all this talk from the tea party about this spending that's got to be brought under control. they never talk about the we didn't used to spend money without having a source for it. i'm all for the responsibility, let's apply it across the board, let's address the real
infrastror needs, how are you going to have redevelopment in the heartland when roads and bridges and schools are collapsing. come on, the american people are worthy of this investment, i think if you did a poll, people are willing to support taxes for issues like this. when they know the money is going to stay home and affect and improve the quality of lives in their home areas. >> i totally agree. great to have you with us tonight. i appreciate your work so much. steve is all worked up about taxes, he's complaining about president obama soaking the rich? i think he's all wet. he's going in the zone. stay with us. le announcer ] kiss everything you know about cookies goodbye. new newtons fruit thins. real blueberries and blueberry brown sugar... crispy whole grain. newtons fruit thins, one unique cookie. and today, we're re-inventing aspirin for pain relief. with new extra-strength bayer advanced aspirin.
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through her one nation bus tour, the half term governor of alaska well has apparently quit again. real clear politics dot com has reported palin has returned to alaska for some salmon fishing, because the salmon fishing has gone gangbusters in alaska. the second part of the tour was supposed to be a tour of the nation's heartland. aides had come up with tentative itineraries set for later this month. on twitter, she called out the lame stream media for calling out the story and provided a link to the story for foxnews.com. the coming weeks are tight, because civic duty calls like most everyone else. even former governors get called up for duty, even jury duty that is. the next leg of the tour continues when the time comes or when she needs to raise some
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in psycho talk tonight, steve is rachbting about taxes. he's not happy about the secretary raising the revenue. >> we're going to raise the debt limit which we've been talking about. we need to find another way to come up with some revenues, that's code for we're going to have to jack up some people's taxes. the question is, whose taxes this administration -- not across the board stuff, more like soak the successful things. >> in case you didn't catch that last part, he said, the people who actually create jobs? so he's pushing the right wing line that tax cuts for the rich help the entire economy. that's hogwash. i want to go back to my favorite
graph, the blue line is overall wages for the working folk in america. the green line is the productivity of the american worker, and the red line is the income level of the top 1% in america and how things have been going for them. keep in mind, tax bills are the lowest they've been since the 1950s. but these guys aren't creating jobs, they're just getting richer while everyone else's wages have barely budged at all, according to that graph. if you want to talk about who's getting soaked. how about the middle class workers who are being forced to shoulder the burden of state budget deficits, and the attack on labor. of course, most americans think that the wealthy should have to pay more taxes. over 70% of americans think that. but not duche. this isn't the first time he's pulled this soak the rich nonsense. >> isn't it becoming class warfare, the president and his
men are talking about, you know, soaking the rich. so rather than the deficit reduction to call it the soak the rich tour, do you think one good way to close a budget gap is to soak the rich? >> it's a principle that the president has stood by since the get go, he's said it over and over, i'm going to soak the rich. >> well, from where i sit, and from where i see it, the rich in this country have stayed pretty dry. so far during the obama administration, the president may support taxing the rich, but so far he hasn't been able to get that done. he signed a bill during the lame duck session of the congress extending the bush tax cuts. for steve duche to complain about president obama soaking the rich is outrageous psycho talk. mitch mcconnell has said the number one republican primary is to make president obama a one-term president. the democrats took the gloves off and exposed the strategy of deliberately trying to tank the economy. [ horn honks ] now we're hitting the road with the proglide challenge.
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there are more than 10,000 jobless wisconsinites. they are no longer receiving benefits, because state republicans keep delaying a decision to accept a federal benefit funding. can you believe this? even governor scott walker doesn't agree with this one. he wrote the republican-led advisory council urging lawmakers to accept the extension. but state legislators like republican robin vosse say extending the benefits will discourage the jobless from finding work. that's hard to believe, according to the wisconsin aflcio. the $363 per week in unemployment benefits is equal to a $9 an hour full time job, virtually impossible for a family to live on. the advisory council can approve the benefits extension tomorrow. if they do, the state legislature still needs to vote on it. republicans in wisconsin are not
the only ones dragging their feet on helping the jobless, we'll show you how democrats called out the republican colleagues for deliberately hurting the economy next. theyr that can go the distance. that's why we gave the chevy equinox an epa estimated 32 miles per gallon highway. but do passengers appreciate all of the comfort features we put in the equinox? hey. want me to drive? we'll take that as a yes. the count on chevy event is going on strong with a full selection of chevys to choose from. come claim yours today. visit your local chevy dealer. host: could switching to geico did the little piggy cry wee wee wee all the way home? piggy: weeeeeee, weeeeeee, weeeeeee, weeeee weeeeeeee. mom: max. ...maxwell!
piggy: yeah? mom: you're home. piggy: oh,cool, thanks mrs. a. anncr: geico. 15 minutes could save you 15% or more. you might call this the last straw, republicans in the senate killed a successful job creation program recently. even republicans like susan collins voted down the program despite saying earlier in the day, very seen firsthand that it
has led to the creation of jobs in my home state. and has been a catalyst for the private sector investment. the democrats pretty much have had enough. today democratic leaders in the senate said it loud and clear, republicans are deliberately hurting the economic recovery by voting against everything and anything that helps the economy, even programs they previously supported. >> shouldn't they at least consider some jobs proposal? some? one? two? they've done none. >> when we bring up bills that really have a chance to create jobs, they stop them with 100 amendments. that's not a show of good faith in dealing with this economy, it's a show of bad faith. they want to play political gains at the expense of putting this economy back on its feet. >> if they would oppose something so suited to their tastes i'd yo logically, it shows that they're just opposing anything that would help create jobs.
it almost makes you wonder if they aren't trying to slow down the economic recovery for political gain. >> joining me tonight is jonathan alter. he's also a bloomberg columnist. great to have you with us tonight. >> those are the three top democrats right there, with some pretty strong language. is this going to be politically successful for them to drive this narrative home? what do you think? >> it's a tough sell, even though i think there's a lot to recommend what they're saying. people tend to think it's just partisan whining or carping when they hear something like this, but the evidence supports it. let's take one proposal, a payroll tax holiday extension so that people are paying less in taxes as workers and as employers. you would think that that would be enormously popular with republicans. their religion is tax cuts.
do they support this? no. why not? well, that's the question that's on the table right now. why would republicans not support a republican idea to help create jobs. that's why the democrat have gone to this explanation that maybe they do. it sounds sick, maybe they do want to keep the economy in the doldrums through the 2012 election. >> it's all about the power for the republicans. i've said that all along, the democrats, are they late to the party? are they late to the dance talking like this? because this narrative has been out there, but we never heard the democratic leadership be so strong about it. will it connect with a lot of these jobless americans? will it connect with the wage earners of this country that are looking at pension cuts and health care cuts and wage reductions and stuff like that? i mean, it would seem to me that this is something that the republicans are going to have to answer to. >> it's all in how you frame the
issue. the only one with the power to frame it is the president. congressional leaders can get up and hold their press conferences. but until barack obama decides that he's willing to not necessarily take the high bipartisan road and get down and start to fight on some of these issues, it's going to be very hard to educate the american public as to what's going on. this is a tough choice for the president. politically, he doesn't want to alienate independents, working independents. these are folks who have jobs mostly. the unemployed don't vote as much. have you to remember. >> this president, it's not his nature to come out and punch the republicans in the nose. >> right. >> what are the chances of him doing this? i meaning he's got the senate behind him on this narrative. >> well, i don't think the chances are that good in the short term, you heard him tonight in his speech, in a
non-afghanistan portions of that speech. he talked about being one nation, getting beyond the normal squabbling. if he were to get down in the muck and start making these very serious accusations, i think he thinks it would hurt him. i'm not sure he's wrong about that, because most people are not paying close enough attention to get this bank shot, that they're not supporting bills that they would normally support, because they want the economy to go down. that's like a triple bank shot. people are busy, they're -- they have busy lives, they're not paying attention to all this in washington. making that argument is very tough. what they need to do is have a positive jobs agenda, and lay out that agenda, and then when the republicans reject it. then they can score some political points. so far. >> thank you, jonathan. >> you can't fault the obama folks picks up our coverage right now.