10 February, 2009

Maddow. Is. Awesome.

Here she is on the recovery package and the flavors of Republican opposition: stupid, wrong, and disingenuous. Also, an interview with Ben Nelson (D-NE), in which it appears he may be some delicious mix of all three. The first half is the best (she uses graphs!); Nelson is just annoying. And he's a muppet.

(h/t Coates)


Cassady said...

I think her up-front but respectful style of confronting disagreements is one of the best in the MSM. I don't think it's beneficial to be snarky--I don't think it's particularly conducive to either good journalism or commentary.

When she says, before you compromised, there was more money for these programs, now there's less, isn't that less stimulating--I think that forces a little more critical thinking about the situation.

I actually think the Senator had a good point though, to an extent. When it's the difference between $100b and $120b I can see how we're getting down to splitting hairs. When is the amount stimulating, and when is it just a cursory gesture?

In this case, I'm in favor of all the money we can throw at it. It seems better to use the deficit now and stave off a decade of raging unemployment and cut back on spending when we can finally afford to do so again--maybe by not being in any wars anymore?

Agreed, though, is that Maddow rocks. The graph was just tickling as she told us how the only GDP drop in the New Deal was during FDR's "lapse" when he did what Republicans wanted.

spencer said...

It seems better to use the deficit now and stave off a decade of raging unemployment and cut back on spending when we can finally afford to do so again--maybe by not being in any wars anymore?

I'm not sure I understand what you're saying. Wars are giant spending programs. So...we can't afford to cut back on spending until we cut back on spending?

Trevor said...

Ooh, touche. Let me clarify. I'm in favor of big stimulus spending now to stave off the long-term ills of depression.

My point was that it ought to be easier to manage our way out of a deficit gradually when we have regained the luxuries of time, solid employment and solid GDP growth.

The spending on a war doesn't relate exactly as the spending on construction and education, since a great portion of it would seem does little to stimulate the larger economy--save a total war effort ala WWII, anyway. I want to spend now on stimuli other than the military, and then later on not go to war anymore.

I think the confusion lay in the timeline, mostly, but also the fact that I oppose war--regardless of the benefits.

Elliot said...

Well - the difference is more along the lines of 100b cut from the original plan rather than 20b cut. Maybe not the end of the world, but not splitting hairs either.

But the point is, Nelson's claims are contradictory. Maddow's argument is: the specific 100b that you are cutting is the most stimulative 100b of the entire deal - mostly unemployment aid and aid to state governments that will be spent immediately on goods and services. So, if you want to reduce the size of the package, why don't you cut a different, less immediately stimulative 100b?

Nelson can't really answer this, so he switches to the argument that Democrats have to make compromises to get the necessary Republican votes. Which would be fine; sometimes you need to compromise.

But when pressed by Maddow, he then returns to the claim that the cuts in the Senate bill are not second best, but first best, defending them on their merits. Well, "defending" them, since he doesn't actually provide any reasoning to back up his assertion that the Senate compromise is more stimulative than the original plan.

I feel like its pretty rare for an anchor to press a guest for some sort of logical coherency. And clearly senators are not used to such treatment.

Cassady said...

Oh, I agree with that, definitely. I wasn't disagreeing about his lack of defensibility, just wondering where some lines of distinction are drawn regarding stimuli. It seems pretty ridiculous to me the cuts that are being asked for--because it makes Republicans out to be anti-education, anti-construction, and generally anti-theAmericanpeople.