Paul Begala Tells Colbert That Obama's 'Going to Clock John Boehner Right in the Face'
CNN analyst Paul Begala sure likes creating what liberals call a "climate of violence." A week after insisting Barack Obama should deck Scott Brown on the basketball court – "throw him an elbow under the hoop" – he appeared on Comedy Central’s Colbert Report and joked about how Obama’s "going to clock John Boehner right in the face."
In addition to that Republican-punching vision, Begala strangely insisted that Taco Bell workers speak Spanish in talking about bipartisanship: "I say gracias to the guy at Taco Bell. That doesn't make me bilingual."
Even more strangely, Begala insisted Obama hasn’t been blaming the Republicans for the faltering economy: "The Republican economic philosophy ruined this country and this poor president inherited it and is trying to fix it."
When Colbert asked what the Democrats were going to do next, Begala offered his familiar formula of always offend, never defend:
BEGALA: They only need to do three things and they have to do all three: attack, attack, attack. They need to get their ass on the offense.
COLBERT: That I can respect, okay. Because I believe that Washington is like a prison. Obama should have come in on day one, picked the biggest guy in the yard and then just jack him into next week. Looked around the room and say "anybody want a piece of that?" Then you make with the nicey, nicey, right?
But he didn't do it and now his enemies have defined him. It's over. He said he would rather be a good one-term president than a mediocre two-term president. What about a great one-year president?
BEGALA: Truth is he has a four-year no-cut contract. He has worlds of time. He can come back from this. But he is going to have to fight. Let's see tomorrow's State of the Union address. Maybe he'll do it.
COLBERT: What does he have to say to get this thing back?
BEGALA: He's going to clock John Boehner right in the face, the House Republican leader.
COLBERT: His fist is going to come back kinda orange.
Then came the part of the interview where he insisted Obama hasn't yet really blamed Republicans for the country's problems.
COLBERT: What's he going to do? Is he going to have to cut the health care bill down to what Republicans will agree on? Because I have a copy. I have a copy right here.
BEGALA: Exactly. That's exactly right. I don't think there's any hope for bipartisanship and a lot of people in the punditocracy are saying they should get at least one Republican who will make it bipartisan. I say gracias to the guy at Taco Bell. That doesn't make me bilingual. [Moans] It doesn't.
COLBERT: This analogy is getting complex, but go ahead. I'm not sure if I can keep up with this.
BEGALA: No, I think they can still pass the health care bill. It's already passed the Senate and the House. If the House can accept the Senate version, we have health care reform. But more fundamentally, I think what the president needs to do is define how we got here.
In his first State of the Union address, Ronald Reagan said this, he said "We cannot understand our state of the union today or where we want to go tomorrow until we look at how we got here." He spent the next five or ten minutes just dumping on the Democrats and blaming them for all of his economic problems. Why can't two play at that game? Why can't President Obama say ‘They destroyed the country. I'm trying to fix it"?
COLBERT: He's already done that. He has been saying that for the past year.
BEGALA: He hasn't said it at all.
COLBERT: Are you kidding? I just said he did.
BEGALA: He should not only point fingers, he should point all ten. Rahm Emanuel has a half finger in his desk. He should point ten and a half.
BEGALA: It is true that the Republican economic philosophy ruined this country and this poor president inherited it and is trying to fix it. What is wrong with making that case? Because it's not just retrospective, if the Republicans were to come back into power they would deregulate Wall Street, cut taxes for the rich, set up a casino economy playing Russian Roulette with our money.
[Hat tip: BHG]