New York Congressman Charlie Rangel appeared on The O’Reilly Factor last night, and tried to make a case for why Republicans should be blamed if the government shuts down.
At the very beginning of the interview, O’Reilly questioned Rangel about why, when Democrats ran both houses of congress, they did not pass a budget themselves so none of this would even be happening.
Rangel’s answer was, basically, that Democrats chickened out and now trying to pass it on to Republicans to do the dirty work.
“We didn’t get to it. We didn’t do it. It was a political hot potato but that has nothing do about where we are today.”
O’Reilly acted like he could not believe what he was hearing.
“You could have had NPR and Planned Parenthood but you guys didn’t get to it? Didn’t you foresee you were going to get your butt kicked in November?”
In response, Rangel tried to downplay even having a budget at all, treating it as just a formality.
“Well, the truth of the matter is, there was no uproar in November about whether or not we passed the budget. The budget is merely a guideline. It’s not really the law. It’s something that we should follow, but I think what we have to do is to really see whether the whole Congress is going to embarrass the nation and the world by not being able to clean up the mess that we have and move forward. That’s the question. Not why the Democratic minority now, why they didn’t do it before. The voters have spoken, they got a huge majority, and they’ve spoken, so that takes care of that.”
Rangel then put the focus back onto the Republican party, and the Tea Party in particular, painting them as
“There are a lot of people down here that really don’t understand the process. Coming down here in the House of Representatives, where you have a tremendous majority, and saying you that you have got to cut everything that you want doesn’t mean that it’s going to become the law. You know, the Constitution has two other groups here. One is the Senate. The other is the White House. So you can’t say ,’either it’s my way or the highway.’ You have to negotiate. And, unfortunately, there is some people who believe when they got elected that they made a promise to their electorate that compromising is a sin.”
“The major problem that we have is that there are some people, about 87 of the new Republicans, that believe that compromise, which is the basic of legislation, is a bad thing. They won’t compromise and we’ll never get anything done until they learn how to do it.”
Rangel is correct when he talks about the need for both sides to compromise, but his answer about why the Democrats did not pass a budget might have just given the Republicans a perfect soundbite for an ad blaming them for a shutdown.