Caught on Tape – Republicans Have Been Planning This Government Shutdown Since 2009

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As the federal government was shutting down last night, Rep. Michele Bachmann, the tea party leader, captured the moment for her cohorts, “It’s exactly what we wanted, and we got it.”

On her MSNBC show last night, As Rachel Maddow demonstrated with archival recordings of comments by tea party politicians going back to 2009 that shutting down the government has been their objective from the outset.

Rough Transcript:

>> thanks to you at home as well for staying with us tonight. home base for our show is in new york city, which you may know, but tonight i am here in washington, d.c., because we are on government shutdown watch, and it looks like it is about three hours away. i will, as i just said to chris, also be back live tonight at midnight eastern. midnight eastern is when the shutdown is expected to go into effect, barring any last-minute developments. president obama called the threatened shutdown the height of irresponsibility, saying “it does not need to happen.” we’re going to be talking with the white house communications director in just a couple minutes. we are right now awaiting movement in the senate. just this past hour, house republicans voted again to make funding of the government contingent on delaying the im implementation of health reform. in the next few minutes, the senate is expected to reject what house republicans just passed. they did it before, expected to happen again. then back to the house, rinse, repeat, ad nauseam. at this point, house republicans are expected to be meeting behind closed doors to plan their next moves. throughout the night, of course, we will bring you live, breaking news as it comes in. when president obama was first elected in 2008, he, of course, came to washington with something every president wants, a house and a senate controlled by his own party. and in the two years where the democrats had the white house, the house and the senate, we got wall street reform, student loan reform, credit card reform, health care reform, obviously, the fair pay act, expanding of the gi bill, they reauthorized the children’s health insurance program, expanded national service programs, they fixed the disparity between crack and powdered cocaine, we got the hate crimes act, the s.t.a.r.t. treaty between us and russia on nuclear weapons. they repealed don’t ask, don’t tell, they did the cash for clunkers, the stimulus, which included the greatest middle class tax cuts ever. that was all done by the congress elected at the same time as president obama in 2008. they were elected in november of 2008. they were sworn in in january of 2009, and in the next two years, they got all of those things done. then the republicans did really well in the midterms, and the republicans took control of the house for the first time in years, and john boehner became speaker. and since then, there has not been a single significant piece of legislation enacted into law. there have been a couple of trade bills. there was a bill that seemed to be inspired by a ” 60 minutes” segment about whether or not members of congress get insider trading tips in the course of doing business in congress, but yeah, nothing. nothing. no significant legislation since john boehner got the speakership. the republicans won the elections in november 2010. they were sworn in in january 2011. since then, zero, zip, nothing in terms of legislative accomplishment. and that, of course, is because they have been otherwise occupied. after getting sworn in in january, by april they threatened to shut down the government. that was april. by july, republicans had forced the first ever debt ceiling crisis in american history. we got our national credit rating downgraded for that one until they eventually blinked. by september that year, republicans were threatening another government shutdown. by april of the following year, more threats from republicans of another government shutdown. by december, by this past december, happy new year! republicans were pushing us over the fiscal cliff! by january, this past january, congressional republicans were talking about forcing another debt ceiling crisis before again backing down. and now, happy september 30th. we are due for that often threatened republican shutdown before tonight is through. this is not an accident that just keeps happening over and over again. republicans control one half of one branch of government, and they have never had any plan to use that control to pass anything into law. if they had had that kind of plan, they might have passed something into law, but they haven’t even seriously tried. we are deep into year three of them running the house now, and we’ve got zip from them in terms of law or policy. and we’re at seven and counting when it comes to can’t keep the lights on failures of basic governance, and that is just as they planned it. in september 2010, just a few weeks before the midterm elections, where the house republicans won their majority and won back control of the house, a republican congressman from georgia, lynn westmoreland, he spoke to a certaonservative audience at the faith and freedom conference, and he exhorted that conservative crowd that the republicans were going to need their support when they move to shut down the government. again, this is ahead of the election. they were already planning on shutting down the government even before they got elected that november. congressman westmoreland said republicans were going to do it again this time, just like the last time they took power in the house after the 1994 elections. the audio here is a little sketchy, but lucky we had a transcript. so, check this out.

>> he can tell you what happened. the government shut down. [ applause ] the american people– that’s what i wanted to hear! i wanted to hear a good clap for that. because here’s what’s going to happen. if we hold the line, if we get those courageous men and women to be part of our majority, if we say, look, we’re in partnership with the american people, we’re listening to the american people, this is what we’re going to do. if the government shuts down, we want you with us. we want you with us. we’ve got to have you. we’ve got to have you there because later on, you all will call us and say, look, i didn’t get nye check. daddy can’t go to the va. you know, the national parks are closed. we need to make sure that you’re going to be with us.

>> we need to make sure that you are going to be with us when we shut down the government, which we will do if we win the majority this year. that was before the 2010 election. when we get the majority, we’re going to shut down the government. that was the plan from the beginning. that was what they were promising to their own base and getting cheers for from their own base if they got the majority. that’s what they’d do. and then they got the majority and then they followed through.

>> we will do what we have to do to shut down the government, if we have to.

>> so, you think even if that were to happen, theoretically, it wouldn’t be as bad as people make it out to be?

>> no, i don’t think it would be, i really don’t.

>> do you think shutdown should be off the table?

>> everything ought to be on the table.

>> i’ve got to tell you, most people in my district say shut it down. this country very well may need some sort of shock therapy.

>> would it be a good thing fiscally and philosophically if the government did shut down for a few weeks and the american people could see life would go on without the federal government for a little while?

>> i don’t think it would hurt one bit.

>> even if it means showing how serious we are, okay, government’s going to have to shut down.

>> if liberals in the senate would rather play political games and shut down the government instead of makinga small down payment on fiscal discipline and reform, i say shut it down.

>> shut it down! cut it or shut it! cut it or shut it! that’s how they campaigned for office in 2010. that’s what they promised they would do if they were elected in 2010. and that is what they started to do as soon as they were elected in 2010. this was their whole idea for governance. this was their whole idea for why it’s worth it to even try to have some control of some lever of american governmental power. and so, within a matter of weeks after they were sworn in, in january 2011, republicans were giving john boehner a standing ovation in their caucus meeting when he said, yeah, we are preparing for a shutdown. that was the first time. hoor hooray, a shutdown! because they weren’t promising a specific result. they were just promising to use this tactic. and i think this is crucial, the tactic itself is the point. the shutdown may or may not accomplish anything. it’s the shutdown itself that is the point. it demonstrates a willingness to go to extremes, which is fun and ideologically desirable, and it shows a decisive lack of respect for what government is. it is a tactical insult to the whole idea of governance. so, it’s just perfect for the american right, no matter what it accomplishes, even if it accomplishes nothing. the shutdown itself is the point. and so, when it started to become clear that republicans were taking over the house– this was back in 2010, ahead of the 2010 election — pundits on the right knew what they were going to get excited for. i’m almost giddy thinking about a government shutdown next year! i cannot wait! why shut it down? because we’ll be able to! because republicans are about to win enough control in washington to be able to do it. they knew that ahead of the election. and then they got elected. and now we’ve got, this is this week, house republicans coming out of their closed-door meeting on saturday when they decided to vote for a shutdown, and they did not see this as a somber thing, a sober thing that they were taking on reluctantly, a bad thing that they were reluctant to do? when they came out of that conference meeting, having just decided to shut down the government, they were psyched!

>> this is exactly what we hoped for. words all getting behind leadership. do you think you’re going to get every vote?

>> we’re excited. we’re united.

>> tell us, why —

>> all good. good plan.

>> how’d it go in there?

>> very good. it went very well.

>> very well! it’s great! we’re shutting down the government! what could be better? they see this as great news. reporters have been staking out the committee rooms and meeting rooms where members of congress has been confabbing and deciding who to do and their description of the mood among republicans is jarring. ” house republicans were ecstatic saturday when mr. boehner and his leadership team presented their plan.” “the mood in the capitol on saturday, at least among republicans, was downright giddy. when republicans presented their plan in a closed-door meeting on saturday, cheers and chants of “vote, vote, vote!” went up. leaving the meeting, many were beaming grins.” and as john coal numberson and his colleagues were leaving for a vote, he shouted, “i said, like nev9/11, let’s roll! let’s roll! let’s bring government to its knees, just like on 9/11, except the other way. yeah. there’s a kind of palpable glee on the republican side about this accomplishment they are bringing about tonight. they are psyched. there is no mirror image between the two major parties. there is only one major party of the two that strives for control in government specifically because that is the place from which you can hurt government the worst. there is nothing about the last few weeks of political back-and-forth that explains why this is happening, there is nothing about health reform specifically that explains why this is happening. in 2011, they didn’t bother making it about health reform, they made it about the budget back then. or maybe it will be planned parenthood funding. let’s just pick something. what we want is a shutdown. what is happening tonight is happening tonight because this is what republicans want to do. this is what they promised to do. this tactic, let’s roll, this tactic is an end in and of itself, and that is why there is no talking them out of it. elect republicans and they will burn the place down and they will laugh while they do it and have a great time. and then what? joining us now is senator charles schumer of new york, vice chair of the democratic conference. thank you for being with us.

>> good evening.

>> what do you know about the latest matters of procedure this evening? we know that the house has been meeting privately to decide how to respond to the senate’s latest action.

>> yeah, look, i think that, as you say, there’s just a faction in the house that wants to shut the government down, that doesn’t mind taking hostages, whether it be a federal worker who needs a paycheck, a highway construction worker who gets a federal grant, a veteran waiting to adjust a disability claim. they don’t really care. but let me say this, the public does. the closer we get to this moment, the more and more people see what the republicans are doing and the less popular they are. and that’s why today we’ve had many republicans, including some conservative ones, say we shouldn’t shut the government down. the real weak kink in this, the real weak link is speaker boehner. even mitch mcconnell, with the tea party opponent, figured out a way that he would let things move forward, not shut the government down. he voted with 24 of his colleagues not to block us, but boehner doesn’t seem to have that strength. and a small group of real fanatics who sort of feel that they have to sacrifice innocent people to the right-wing gods so they can show how tough and resolute they are controls boehner, and unfortunately, controls many in the house republican caucus who really know better. they know it’s a disaster for their party. they know it’s a disaster for the country. they know they’re hurting innocent people. but they don’t care. there is such anger, there is such hatred that they just act on those emotions. and sooner or later, that catches up to you. i don’t think — i would hope that they come to their senses tonight. you know, they always thought we’d cave, but we are united from one end of this democratic caucus to the other. the white house is strong. tonight the president said we’re not doing this debt ceiling either. and we haven’t caved. and now the leadership of the republican house is stuck, stuck between these fanatical right-wingers and what they know is wrong not only for the country, but actually, for the future of their party.

>> senator, you’ve seen a lot of different confrontations in washington come and go, you’ve seen a lot of iterations of the republican party as they have changed over the years, particularly in the last few years. what do you think specifically about republican senators? so, republicans in your chamber advising the house on what they ought to be doing, advising house members to defy their leadership, to defy speaker boehner and do instead what the senate wants?

>> we’ve never seen anything like it. but the bottom line is that senator cruz and his small band did not get a majority of support in the republican senate, and there were some courageous profiles and coverage of people like lindsey graham, lamar alexander, who had tea party opponents but who knew they shouldn’t go along. these are more mainstream conserve pivz. but this small band, given the fact that they have talk radio, they have a whole blogging radio, jim demint does far more damage outside than in with his foundation. they frighten republicans and say you don’t go along with it. even though you know it’s wrong, you know it’s irrational, you know it’s bad, we’re going to give you primary. and too many republicans in the house shrug their shoulders and say okay. i think the jubilation you saw there is not universal in the republican caucus. there are large numbers in the republican house caucus who know this is wrong. very few have the courage of pete king to stand up and say so. but privately, they admit it. and i think that, god forbid we’ll shut down the government. there is going to be such a reaction against them that they’re going to have to back off, hopefully after a few days.

>> senator chuck schumer of new york. thank you for your time tonight. i’ll let you go.

>> thank you. good to talk to you.

>> senate voting right now. and again, what’s expected is that between now and midnight, you see the shutdown clock in the corner of your screen there. between now and midnight, a decision’s going to have to be made one way or the other. fix this, or if it is not fixed, the shutdown happens at 12:01 automatically. 800,000 jobs and some of the pillars of the american economy are on the line. stay with us. [ male announcer ] julia child became a famous chef at age 51. picasso painted one of his master works at 56. doris taerbaum finished her first marathon at 50. not everyone peaks in their twenties. throughout their lives. passion keeps them realizing possibilities. an ally for real possibilities. aarp. find tools and support at now that we’re retired, we don’t have time for stuff like laundry. we’re too busy having fun. we get everything perfectly clean by tossing one of these in the wash. and that’s it. i wanted to do that. oh, come on. eh, that’s my favorite part. really? that’s our tide. what’s yours?

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