By JAVIER MANJARRESRepresentative Alan Grayson, the self-proclaimed “Congressman With Guts,” or as many Republicans refer to him as, the “Congressman Is Nuts,” is once again poking at Republican legislators and their grassroots base of support with the standard Democratic Party fall-back, name calling.
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During another interview with Salon.com, Grayson doesn’t pull his punches in expressing his disdain for the “Tea Party’ movement and their wicked ways.
Here some excerpts of Grayson’s interview with Salon. Salon’s questions are in bold text.-
What would you say to the Republican staffers who could be affected by this?
That they’re fools and they work for fools.
What’s revealed by the fact that we’re now talking about opening the government and raising the debt ceiling in exchange in part for getting rid of the portion of people’s compensation that goes to health insurance?
What it shows is that the Tea Party emperor has no clothes — that they never should have, or could have, forced their idiocy on the other house of Congress, or the other branches of government. That their blackmail and extortion and coercion has been recognized for exactly what it is. It’s never made any sort of sense or had any moral strength to say to America, as they’ve said, “If you don’t let us steal your car, we will burn down your house.” They tried to steal the car, which was Obamacare, under threat of burning down the house, which is the U.S. economy. That was always wrong, it’s still wrong. It’s always gonna be wrong. The sad thing is that they were able to extort the concessions that they’ve already received with those kinds of tactics, such as the fact that they took the president’s budget, cut it by 20 per cent, and then threw it in the trash can.
If the portion of congressional staffers’ compensation for health insurance were taken away, how do you think that would affect who comes to work in the House?
Well, I know what the Tea Party would say…They would say that denying healthcare benefits to congressional staffers ensures that we will have a healthy staff. That’s Tea Party logic for you.And what would you say?
I would say that it’s torturing people who work very hard, for very long hours, and for at best modest pay — almost all of whom could be earning more in the private sector — for the sake of some kind of twisted symbolism that only Tea Party fanatics can understand.
Do you think it’s necessary at this point, in order to keep the government open and avoid a default, to give the Republicans some sort of fig leaf at least that they could claim as a concession?
I think the president’s got this exactly right: We don’t bargain over whether the government does its job. We don’t bargain over whether the government pays its debt… It shows an utter disrespect for the law itself, and a sick love of chaos and despair, to drag us down into the mud this way and keep people from getting the benefits that they’re legally entitled to.
If it comes down to it, are you willing to vote for something that has other policy language besides opening the government and/or raising the debt ceiling?
Every proposal will get considered on the merits. That is too broad a question for me to answer — I have to see it first. I’ll know it when I see it. But it should never have come to this.
Under the latest bill proposal, both Democrats and Republicans agree that there needs to be income verification for those individuals who are looking to receive subsidized health care assistance. But Grayson doesn’t see it that way, reverting to Democratic talking point #5, Republicans are suppressing the vote.
This discussion of additional income verification under the ACA, what do you make of that?It’s an effort analogous to the Republicans’ voter suppression efforts: now they’re getting into health suppression. They’re trying to do whatever they can to block people who do qualify…from getting that health coverage by throwing up bureaucratic roadblocks in their way.
Grayson once again reverts back to the Democratic talking points, stating that Republicans are paying off their “corporate donors” who stand to benefit from removing the medical device tax, another measure within Obamacare that both Democrats and Republicans have agreed needs to be taken out of the law.
What about the push to delay or remove the device tax?
It’s an example of the lengths to which Republicans are willing to go in order to give payoffs to their corporate donors. I have characterized many Republicans as corporate shills, and this demonstrates that as well as anything I can imagine. The Republicans are insisting on keeping the government shut down and forcing the government into default in order to be able to deliver a benny — short for a benefit — a benny to a corporate special interest.
Grayson hypocritically rails about ‘big business’ yet fails to mention the thousands of dollars he, President Obama, and other Democrats have received from all of these “Fat Cat” corporate donors. Someone needs to ask Grayson how he made his millions 😉
What does that suggest then about the Democrats who have backed getting rid of the device tax?
I think you’d have to ask them that question. I don’t know what’s on their minds. I do know what’s on the minds of the Republicans, because all you have to do is check their FEC [fundraising] reports.
More name-calling and divisive rhetoric, and still, no real answers
So when we hit midnight Thursday night what is going to have happened?
I don’t know. But I do know that this will prove once and for all, beyond any doubt, that the Tea Party and the Republican Party are agents of chaos. And they are completely unsuited to participating in government.
Are you suggesting the voters will prevent it from happening again?
The voters will prevent this from happening again. Even a dog knows when it’s being kicked.
How will they do that?
By voting the Republicans out of power and relegating the Republican Party to the ash heap of history.
If the end of this shutdown is that Republicans get a change to the medical device tax, can they reasonably call that a victory?
No, not unless they’ve completely lost touch with reality. The only ones they can claim victory to in that regard would be the corporate lobbyists that pay them to obtain that kind of win. But in any larger and more general sense, they haven’t won — they’ve lost.
They’ve for one thing tortured close to a million federal employees who deserve better treatment than this. For another, they’ve wasted staggering amounts of money… For another, they have stuck a knife into the economy… They have created chaos in the financial markets. They have substantially undermined consumer sentiment. And they’ve revealed themselves to be utterly incompetent when it comes to being a governing party. I mean, if they regard that as a plus, then that as much as anything shows how out of touch they are with reality, and how little they deserve to be part of government. –Salon interview
The Shark Tank reached out to Congressman Grayson’s 2014 re-election opponents,Republicans Jorge Bonilla and Carol Platt for comment on the interview.
While Carol Platt did not respond to our request for comment, Navy veteran Jorge Bonilla sent over this statement:
The only fool here is Mr. Grayson , if he thinks that Americans are not going to wake up to the reality that Obamacare is nothing more than a job-killing and tax-hiking piece of legislation that is driving the American economy into the ground. I am willing to discuss the merits of Obamacare with Mr.Grayson, but he seems content with ducking our debate requests. What are you afraid of, Alan?- Jorge Bonilla
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