MSNBC's Bashir Tag-teams with Rep. Keith Ellison to Bash GOP: They'll Cause Kids to Shiver with Heating Oil Cuts

"Grab a blanket, kids. Congress wants to cut your home-heating benefits," MSNBC's Martin Bashir teased viewers of his October 4 program as he went out to a commercial break with Dean Martin's "Baby It's Cold Outside" playing in the background.

Upon his return from break, Bashir tag-teamed with Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chair Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) to bash Republicans are heartless bastards who want children to shiver through the coming winter (video follows page break; emphasis mine):

BASHIR: ...Republicans have put together a budget proposal of their own, trimming what they believe is fat: Funding for national public broadcasting, education grants, and some heating subsidies, just in time for winter.

To discuss this political standoff, we're joined now by Congressman Keith Ellison, a Democrat from Minnesota. Good afternoon, sir.

ELLISON: Thank you, Martin, thank you for having me.

BASHIR: Fourteen million Americans are out of work, the president has put forward a plan to create jobs, and what do Republicans offer but to cut heating subsidies and stop funding NPR. Can you explain this, 'cause I don't understand it.

ELLISON: It's just callousness, but it's also the idea, the philosophical belief that the rich don't have enough and the poor have too much, and they believe that if they exacerbate that gap more, that somehow magically things will trickle down. But of course they never do, never have.

BASHIR: So you're saying that Republicans want to increase the disparity of wealth rather than decrease it. That's their intention?

ELLISON:  Well, whether it's their intention or not, it's the effect of their policy...


BASHIR: It's pretty shameless, isn't it, to go after heating subsidies as fall progresses and we move towards winter?

ELLISON: It is, it is morally reprehensible. It is callous, it is cold-blooded, and it's actually pretty scary, because, uh, you know, the fact is that we have seniors, particularly in states like mine, who are really facing real serious problems...

Bashir also groused that Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) "wants to triple funding to the Defense of Marriage Act to $1.5 million despite the fact that in February, the president told the Justice Department to stop defending the Act."

"I just don't understand how they can find one-and-a-half million dollars for something that is pointless given the president's stance," Bashir complained to Ellison, perhaps ignorant that it was precisely President Obama's directive to the Justice Department that makes it necessary for Congress to hire its own counsel to defend challenges against DOMA in the courts.

Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is a writer living in New Carrollton, Md.