Posted 8 years ago on July 7, 2012, 7:02 a.m. EST by ericweiss
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In his recent appearance on Current TV, Alan Grayson discussed the Republicans' "Fast and Furious" investigation, healthcare policy, and Republican vs. Democratic priorities:
JOHN FUGELSANG: It's great to have you sir. I have to ask, what is your reaction to President Obama invoking Executive Privilege? Was that a smart move on his part?
ALAN GRAYSON: Well, I'm not a big fan of Executive Privilege, but remember in this case, what's happening really is a Republican witch hunt. This is the Obama Administration version of Whitewater. The Republicans are going to spend millions and millions of dollars so that they can come up with nothing. Absolutely nothing. I'm surprised they haven't called in Ken Starr to help them yet. It's a very simple situation here. The Obama Administration is trying to protect undercover agents in the field in a sting operation. They know that if they give the identities of those agents and other information like that over to the Republicans in the House, it will be in the newspapers in 24 hours. It will be putting people's lives in danger; federal agents lives in danger. Therefore, they're not turning over some selective information.
They've turned over an awful lot of information already, and at this point, as Congressman Cummings pointed out, there's very little left to turn over. But the Republicans want more and more and more because they're just trying to make a circus out of it.
JF: Exactly. Now you would agree that Fast and the Furious is a terrible idea for a plan, right, to fight crime? Throwing guns at cartel leaders doesn't exactly make us safer does it?
AG: Well, it's a sting operation. I don't think that at this point there's any point second-guessing the Bush Administration. That was a long time ago. But the fact is, it is what it is, and they're not going to be able to make much more out of it simply by beleaguering the President. Why don't they launch an investigation of why 50 million Americans don't have health care? Why won't they launch an investigation of why 25 million Americans can't find a full-time job? When are we going to see those investigations?
JF: Well, I think that that speaks directly to the hypocrisy that we're talking about. In my opinion, having (Rep.) Darrel Issa question your ethics is like having Ryan O'Neil question your parenting skills. How does it feel, sir, watching him run this investigation and rake the Attorney General over the coals?
AG: Well, if there's anything that he knows a lot about, it's how to commit a crime, so maybe he is the right person for the job.
JF: Oh, oh! (Laughter). How do you see this playing out? Do you think this is going to be a losing deal for the Republicans? Or will this actually succeed and stick to the President and hurt him to the 2012 re-election campaign?
AG: I think it is already backfiring on them. You know, people are fed up with the Republicans. The only things they care about are tax cuts and giving the President a hard time. And I'm talking about tax cuts for the one percent. They're perfectly willing to see tax cuts for the working people disappear as soon as possible. And they just have the wrong priorities. People recognize that more and more. I think that Romney, to his credit, is trying to say that he is paying attention to the economy; what to do better about it and how to improve it. But people like Darrel Issa, they're just making it clear that the Republicans don't care about anything about anything except getting rid of the President.
JF: Well you mentioned health care sir. I want to play a clip of you speaking about health care in America.
AG: Do you want the Democratic plan or do you want the Republican plan? Remember the Republican plan:
Don't get sick, and if you do get sick, die quickly.
JF: You caught a lot of heat for that one. Do you ever regret that choice of words sir?
AG: Absolutely not. You know, it's interesting to me to something that's tongue-in-cheek, something that's satire, goes right over their heads. If Patrick Henry today said, "Give liberty or give me death," the Republicans would launch an investigation about his suicidal tendencies. The fact is that I was pointing out their absolute absence of a plan. They have no plan. They didn't have one then. Four years later, they still don't have one. They just don't care.
JF: Well, you're one of those fire-breathing Democrats, who is really not afraid to slam Republicans and take the fight to them. And I applaud you for that. It's nice to see something that wakes me up when I'm watching C-SPAN. But do you ever feel kind of lonely?
AG: Well, as Rachel Maddow pointed out, our website is called CongressmanWithGuts.com, and she noted that there probably was not a lot of competition for that URL.
JF: What was your impression working within the Democratic Party? Were you inspired by your colleagues or did you often find that they were lacking in the backbone that you speak of?
AG: Well it varies from one to the other. But I will tell you this: They were caring about the things that Americans, ordinary Americans care about. They were trying their best, within the limits of their power, to see that people have jobs, to see that their children get educated, to see that they can see a doctor when they're sick, that they have a roof over their heads. The Republicans have an entirely different agenda, and that's the fundamental difference. The Republicans care only about what is good for the one percent. It really is true. I had to sit with them and listen to them for three or four hours a day, day after day, week after week, and two years running. And I listened to all their speeches when I could and it comes down to that. It's who do you care about. The Democrats, the 99 percent. The Republicans, the one percent.
JF: Yeah, I call it aristocracy versus democracy. Your party is no longer in the majority, and I've got to say, the partisan bickering has certainly gotten worse. So I guess I'm wondering, why the hell would you want to run for office again?
AG: Well, I think we did a lot of good. Some of the things we did had nothing to do with voting in Congress. For instance, we cut foreclosures in my district in half by having the local courts adopt my Grayson Mandatory Mediation Plan. It had nothing to do with a vote in Congress, but foreclosures went down in Orange County from three thousand a month, to fifteen hundred a month. There are thousands and thousands of families in Orange County who are in their homes today because of what we did. We were also able to get the only bipartisan accomplishment of the 111th Congress done. That's when I joined with Ron Paul, Doctor Paul, to pass his "Audit the Fed" bill, which had been sitting around for 26 years before I picked it up and got over a hundred Democratic co-sponsors for it. Now we have the details of the $17 trillion in bailouts conducted by the Fed and the rest of federal government during 2008 and 2009.
JF: Well, it's great to hear a congressman who talks about compromise, and I applaud you for your work with Representative Paul. It's great to see people from both sides of the aisle coming together to try and help the American people.