ABC This Week viewers on Sunday were treated to a classic socio-economic debate between liberals and a lone conservative.
With the issue at hand being Detroit's announced bankruptcy and whether the federal government should bail it out, the liberal view was championed by the Nation's Katrina Vanden Heuvel and MSNBC's Steve Rattner. On the right was George Will who clearly won the scrum despite being tag-teamed (video follows with transcript and commentary):
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, HOST: I want to go quickly back to you, Steve, on this question of the Detroit bailout. You, of course, you managed the auto bailout for President Obama. Wrote a piece in the New York Times last week saying he should consider federal assistance. Jack Lew seemed pretty definitive right there it's not coming.
STEVE RATTNER, MSNBC MORNING JOE ECONOMIC ANALYST: First of all, there's is a difference between a bailout and somehow rescuing the creditors -- avoiding the whole bankruptcy process and some kind of help. And what I'm thinking about is in the second category.
I recognize Washington is not going to come in and undo this default and pay off the bondholders. But you have got a situation where 80 percent of the pain from this restructuring is being borne by the workers and the retirees if this plan goes through. You have a situation -- where I have read that whole plan, and I don't believe it can solve Detroit's problems. Detroit needs investment, and that's where the federal government and the state, particularly, can and should help.
GEORGE WILL: Can't solve the problems, because their problems are cultural. You have a city, 139 square miles, you can graze cattle in vast portions of it, dangerous herds of feral dogs roam in there. 3 percent of fourth graders reading at the national math standards, 47 percent of Detroit residents are functionally illiterate, 79 percent of Detroit children are born to unmarried mothers. They don't have a fiscal problem, Steve, they have a cultural collapse.
KRISTINA VANDEN HEUVEL, THE NATION: I find that really insulting to the people of Detroit. I think there is a serious discussion about the future of cities in a time of deindustrialization. But in many ways, Detroit has been a victim of market forces, and I think that what Steve said is so critical, that retirees and workers should not bear this. And this story should not be hijacked as one of about greedy, fiscal, public unions.
WILL: But Steve said he...
VANDEN HEUVEL: And fiscally responsibility.
Don't fret, conservatives. Will was up to the tag team:
WILL: But Steve said in his op-ed was the people of Detroit are no more to blame than the victims of Hurricane Sandy, because apart from voting, he said. Well, what did they vote for? For 60 years of incompetence, malcontents, and in some cases criminals.
Sadly, what we were once again witnessing was liberal media members refusing to acknowledge that decades of Democratic politicians and policies are what destroyed this once great city.
As the Media Research Center's Scott Whitlock observed in his fabulous piece Friday, our media just can't bring themselves to admit this.
Fortunately, Will was there Sunday to give This Week viewers the inconvenient truth most of America's press want to ignore.
Bravo, George! Bravo!