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Last night one of his guests on Hardball was Todd Harris, a top republican strategist, who was there to make the case for republicans taking back the levers of power, at least in Congress, in 2010. Matthews, to his credit, asked him to give a brief rundown of republican accomplishments in the last twenty years.
Reasonable question, right? Except it caught Harris flat-footed. He hemmed. He hawed. He stammered. Finally he gave a feeble answer: "The Bush administration kept the country safe."
And that is where Tweety got exercised. "I just wanted to get the Republican bragging points straight here. So the Republican Party has kept us safe, except for 9/11. Is that the argument? No, really, because you had the worst attack on the American homeland in history, but you're bragging about your ability to defend the country.... That's your defense, right?"
At this point, Harris looks like he wants to throw up, and mutters that when he writes a book about the history of the republican party over the last twenty years, he will be happy to talk about it with him.
Matthews pressed on, badgering Harris to come up with one thing, just one thing, that the republicans have done to inspire the confidence of the American voting public. The piece ended with the closest thing I've ever seen to dead air on a cable news show...Harris sitting there silently, not uttering a syllable, as the screen fades to black.
Watch it, and savor:
Our good friend Steve Benen has this too, and links to the page on the GOP site that lists republican accomplishments since Reagan. Or lack thereof may have been a better way to put it...
That said, Harris was put on the spot. The Republican National Committee has a newly-redesigned website on which party leaders have highlighted the party's accomplishments dating back 150 years. For the past 20 years, the page lists the following: a D.C. school voucher scheme (which didn't work), invading Iraq (which didn't turn out well), tax cuts for the wealthy (which isn't exactly an "accomplishment"), invading Afghanistan (which Republicans didn't handle well), welfare reform (which Clinton signed into law), and the Contract with America (which, again, isn't an "accomplishment" in any meaningful sense of the word).
In other words, it's not just Todd Harris who drew a blank -- even the Republican National Committee can't think of much when it comes to the party's record of the last 20 years.
Yet the M$M talking heads are telling me it is the Democrats who are doomed.