Lawrence O'Donnell went after these hypocritical so-called "tea party" Republicans who claim to hate "socialism" except of course when it come so their farm subsidies.
O‘DONNELL: Time for tonight‘s Rewrite. Republican freshman who rode to office on the support of free market worshiping Tea Partiers now have a little problem, which—no surprise here—is how much they really love socialism.
As we‘ve discussed in this space before, there is good socialism, like Social Security and Medicare, and there is bad socialism, wasteful socialism like agriculture subsidies. There are 15 Republican freshman on the House Agriculture Committee, the group of lawmakers who will have to deal with the 15 to 20 billion dollars this country spends every year in handouts, agriculture subsidies.
And as first noted in a report by “Politico,” several of those 15 Republicans have actually received hundreds of thousands of dollars in farm subsidies themselves over the years. Farm subsidies have only one purpose, to protect farmers and only farmers from the cruelties of the free market.
But Tea Partiers and Republicans like to pretend that the free market has no cruelties. Sure, it has winners and losers, but the losers, they‘re not entrepreneurial enough. They don‘t really want to work. That‘s why Tea Partiers and Republicans oppose extending unemployment benefits in a recession when the cruelties of the free market leave millions of people out of work.
Missouri Republican Congressman Vicky Hartzler, a freshman, crystallized Tea Party limited government philosophy during her campaign in 2010.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. VICKY HARTZLER ®, MISSOURI: We are a people who honor life, support the individual liberties guaranteed in the Bill of Rights, and believe in the government taking from us in the form of taxes only the minimum required to safeguard our freedom and families.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O‘DONNELL: “Only the minimum required to safeguard our freedom and families.” It turns out there is absolutely no one elected to federal office now—no one—who believes that. No Republican has introduced a bill to abolish all of the government programs that do not safeguard our freedom, but do make life more livable.
Congressman Hartzler and her husband have received nearly 750,000 dollars from the federal government for their farm. How much money did the federal government give you for driving a taxi or running a dry cleaning business? Nothing. Not a penny.
In fact, the federal government took money from you to give directly, and without any questions, to Vicky Hartzler.
Another Republican freshman congressman, Marlin Stutzman of Indiana, sounded like he was ready to kill farming socialism when he was running for office. He said, “we cannot continue to spend on pet projects when our country, children, and grandchildren are going to be facing massive amounts of debt. Even considering the spending bills like the Farm Bill and the stimulus package, we have to stop spending.”
This was an especially brave statement for a guy who personally collected nearly 180,000 dollars in farm subsidies from the federal government. And yes, of course, as a candidate, Stutzman said what Republicans always say, quote, “we need to get back to a free market mind-set.”
Easy for him to say after collecting 180,000 dollars in a purely socialistic payoff from the government, but not so easy for him to do now that he‘s in office.
Now Stutzman says, “I believe we need to make sure we have a strong crop insurance program, a safety net in place.”
A safety net? This from the party that is trying to rip apart the social safety net for senior citizens by destroying the Medicare program? Marlin Stutzman, who has enjoyed the farmers-only safety net, now is in favor of preserving the farmers-only safety net, after he said he was against it.
And so the most pure form of socialism America has, agricultural socialism, a direct handout from the government, will continue. And it will continue with the support of Democrats and Republicans, including Republicans who have inveighed against farm socialism and have fervently preached the, quote, “need to get back to a free market mind-set.”
Regular viewers of this program know that the reason American agricultural socialism will continue is, of course, because it is simply yet another example of why “Newsweek” was right when it said “we are all socialists now.”