I just watched some of the best (though most frustrating) 13 minutes of television I’ve seen in a while. CNN’s Wolf Blitzer hosted a discussion between Minnesota Representative Michele Bachmann and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders – and it was exactly what you might expect.
A lot of Michele Bachmann spouting off typical right-wing talking points with Bernie Sanders using common sense to discuss real problems facing this country.
Now normally for things like this I’ll provide direct quotes, then break them down based on my opinion. But not this segment. To say it was a mess would be an understatement. Granted, some very specific points were brought up, but with Rep. Bachmann constantly trying to talk over Senator Sanders it made following these points rather difficult.
So I’ll just basically summarize the whole event and encourage all of you to take a few minutes to check it out for yourself.
Here’s the video:
The obvious main topic was income inequality, which many believe will be the primary focal point of President Obama’s State of the Union speech he’ll give tonight.
Of course when you say “income inequality” to a Republican, all they can ever do is spout off the typical “we need tax breaks to create jobs” nonsense while ignoring the fact that taxes have been at some of their lowest levels in American history, yet unemployment continues to be high.
Which is exactly the kind of idiocy Bachmann spewed forth during this segment. Using the worn out line of “the United States has one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world” while ignoring the fact that the effective tax rates most corporations pay (thanks to loopholes often fiercely protected by Republicans in Congress) is much lower than what she quotes.
When Sanders points out to her that 1 in 4 corporations in the United States doesn’t pay any income tax, she actually doesn’t deny that. In fact, she says that needs to change. Which would be great, if Republicans in Congress didn’t continue to refuse to close many of these loopholes corporations take advantage of every single year.
Sanders continued to pound on the fact that education in this country must be seen as an investment, something that Bachmann clearly didn’t seem to grasp. In fact, she tried to claim that government programs that help Americans get an education are actually what’s causing the cost of a college degree to skyrocket.
Which is absolutely absurd.
She then rants on about people needing to be able to find jobs, to which Sanders slammed her on the education point he had been trying to make saying that Americans want jobs but realize they need an education to get those jobs.
Bachmann never really addressed that point at all. Quite honestly I don’t think she really grasps the concept of how wanting a job is one thing, but having the education to get that job is something entirely different. Which was a point Sanders continued to try to make, but Bachmann simply seemed unable to understand.
There was a lot of this kind of back and forth. Most of it being Bachmann talking over Sanders as he tried to make his points.
Though the most humorous part came when Sanders brought up Republican efforts to cut entitlement programs like Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare. This sent Bachmann off her hinges.
In fact, she basically called Sanders a liar. That’s when the real fun began.
Somewhere in their back and forth she essentially tells Senator Sanders to just ask her what her views on cuts to Social Security are and she’d tell him.
So that’s exactly what he did. He asked her, probably no less than 8-10 times, if she supported what’s called a “chained CPI.” Which is basically a cut in benefits by way of reducing year-to-year cost of inflation raises.
She refused to answer. No matter how many times he asked, or what tone he asked, she wouldn’t answer him. Because, of course, she does support a chained CPI – which is a cut to Social Security benefits. Something she just flat-out denied that Republicans support.
The segment is a bit difficult to really summarize because it was a mess much of the time.
It was basically Sanders trying to make valid points based on actual facts, and Bachmann repeating the same worn out right-wing talking points.
But trust me on this, it’s definitely worth a few minutes of your time.