Civility was in short supply yesterday on "The Dylan Ratigan Show," as the MSNBC anchor after which the show is named used words and phrases such as "moronic" and "dog's ass" to demagogue the GOP's proposal to trim the federal budget.
"How can you be serious about cutting spending when your spending proposals are truly a flea on a dog's ass?" howled Ratigan, who went on to demonize Republicans as "nasty" frauds who want to "get rid of all the food for poor people."
Ratigan's spurious logic that cutting federal subsidies for food stamps is akin to letting poor people starve to death on the streets is reminiscent of Alan Grayon's mischaracterization of the GOP health care plan, which the former Florida congressman said was to "die quickly."
Toward the end of his bombastic tirade, Ratigan insulted House Republicans for proposing "moronically small" cuts that, by "depriving poor people of food," should be dismissed as "sensationally devastating."
While the $32 billion list of proposed spending cuts does not address entitlement reform, the recently elected Republican majority cannot be expected to undo years of fiscal malpractice in a matter of weeks.
Ratigan also accused Republicans of not taking serious steps to "reform the tax code," even though the House Ways and Means Committee, led by Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.), started holding hearings on tax reform in late January.
"We're going to do tax reform and it's going to ruffle some feathers," Camp told The Hill, a congressional newspaper.
When Ratigan directed his wrath toward Doug Heye, a Republican strategist, his guest rejected the premise of his vacuous argument: "I think your questions are insulting and I don't take them seriously."
Heye, the former communications director for the Republican National Committee, added, "I've heard you talk about an era of new civility and now you're calling people morons."
After being interrupted repeatedly, Heye implored the unhinged Ratigan to "talk about positive issues."
To his credit, although perhaps too little too late, Ratigan confessed, "I get a little worked up, I apologize."
A transcript of the relevant portions of the segment can be found below:
February 9, 2011
4:27 p.m. EST
DYLAN RATIGAN: How can you be serious about cutting spending when your spending proposals are truly a flea on a dog's ass? These people come out with a few billion here and a few billion there. We'll just get rid of all the food for poor people. We'll just obliterate any subsidies for heating oil for the most desperately poor. But we'll continue to account for nearly half of the 1.5 trillion that's spent globally on defense. We won't in any shape, way, or form address that. We will not reform the tax code or investment policies in this country to drive investment in our country, which, by the way, would help people get rich and create jobs because we wouldn't want to alienate those who are using us to extract money from this country.
There was a great tweet. We were going to the break and I said are the Republicans serious or are the Republicans nasty? And @NONOTAGAIN on Twitter said, "They're both serious and nasty. If only the Democrats were any better." That seems to be our problem, doesn't it? Well today House Republicans, friend of I don't know who, released a partial list of what they plan to cut in government spending. Not that we don't spend a lot – Medicare, Social Security, massive defense budget – not surprisingly, they're targeting none of that and instead are targeting peanuts that are central to the Obama political agenda. Why deal with the military industrial complex, or massive loopholes and bleed in the banking or tax code, when you can cut the EPA, high speed rail, renewable energy, and the IRS, which has to help enforce the health care law? And in the process, the other cuts take aim at the most vulnerable in our society, like WIC, which provides food for low-income mothers and children. That will save your budget problems!
The full set of Republican cuts will save about $32 billion this year. I cannot emphasize how moronically small that number is and how sensationally devastating depriving poor people of food is, while you continue to subsidize multi-trillion-dollar tax, trade, banking, and health care scams. It is stunning. Almost as stunning as the Democrats's refusal to deal with the same problems. I get a little worked up, I apologize.
--Alex Fitzsimmons is a News Analysis intern at the Media Research Center. Click here to follow him on Twitter.