“I think you all know that I've always felt the nine most terrifying words in the English language are "I'm from the government and I'm here to help.” – Ronald Reagan.
On Wednesday night’s All In on MSNBC, substitute host Mehdi Hasan associated Reaganism with “hundreds of thousands of deaths” in the pandemic, and suggested Republicans shouldn’t have the “audacity” to mock socialism, which apparently is easily mistaken for efficiency. He said the mantra that "government is a problem" can't last in "a year of mass unemployment and frankly, mass death."
MEHDI HASAN: That line from Ronald Reagan in 1986 has become the operating governing principle for modern-day Republicans. They want us to believe that government does not and should not help people. And they never miss a chance to repeat that mantra.
He then showed a video medley of Republicans reciting this Reagan quip, and lectured:
2020 was perhaps the year we needed help from the government the most, and yet government was nowhere to be found as a public health crisis exploded in this country. President Trump and his administration went from pretending the coronavirus didn't exist, to not being honest with the American people about what they knew, to completely dropping the ball on testing, to not advocating for policies that would keep Americans safe, to missing the mark on distributing the vaccine, and endlessly delaying a second COVID relief package.
Their abject failure, their dereliction of duty has led to hundreds of thousands of deaths and unprecedented economic turmoil. Not only are they not upset about it or regretful, they have the audacity to be complaining about socialism. Former Trump Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley tweeting the other day, quote, "2020 was the year socialism went mainstream....This terrifying trend threatens the future of every American." As we discussed on the show earlier, at the current rate it could take ten years to vaccinate every American. So I'm pretty sure too much government action is not our problem right now. It's far too little.
Leftists always claim government was "nowhere," like there was no massive federal bailouts, restrictions, supply chains, and vaccine development efforts. Where are the fact checkers?
Later in this segment, New York Times columnist Michelle Goldberg endorsed Hasan’s sermon:
HASAN: Does it make you laugh or cry when you see Nikki Haley and other Republicans obsessing over socialism at a time when food bank lines are growing, millions of Americans are falling into poverty, and even a Republican president is calling for direct cash payments.
MICHELLE GOLDBERG: Well, I would say that the only kind of -- the only very, very thin silver linings of this extraordinarily terrible era is that it really has put the nail in the coffin of Reaganism, right? When Josh Hawley, when very conservative Republicans are calling for $2,000 survival payments along with the entire Democratic Party, I think that this, you know, sort of right-wing austerity has been killed off for good even if there are still people like Nikki Haley and Ted Cruz and some others who are trying to keep its corpse alive.
Hasan asked Linda Chavez "Wasn't it the war on so-called Big Government that Reagan started, and even Bill Clinton joined in on, that left the U.S. uniquely, among advanced industrialized nations, unprepared to deal with a public health crisis like this, rickety infrastructure, lack of universal health care, no real social safety net?" Chavez just couldn't agree, saying she's still a conservative, but not really a Republican any more.