CNN Again Uses David Brooks to Pressure GOP to Compromise on Debt Ceiling

July 19th, 2011 6:51 PM

Referencing the sweet reason of the New York Times's "conservative" David Brooks, CNN's Brooke Baldwin urged Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) to listen to the voice of compromise in the debt ceiling debate.

Baldwin pleaded with Hatch that "there are folks out there – including conservatives – saying President Obama has already offered Republican [sic] the deal of their dreams," although Hatch later responded that President Obama has yet to outline exactly what the cuts are that are featured in his deal.

[Video below the break.]

David Brooks is the supposedly "conservative" writer at the New York Times, though some conservatives would strongly disagree with the label. He wrote his op-ed hoping for "intelligent compromise" by Republicans in the debt ceiling debate and said that if the GOP refuses Obama's offer, it would constitute a "missed opportunity."

Baldwin made him sound like the very voice of reason and then asked Hatch if the GOP could agree with this conservative intellectual giant. The only thing missing was Baldwin sticking her hand out in an act of persuasion.

"So Senator Hatch, that sounds like you, right?" Baldwin noted after reading Brooks's sentence on compromise. "You have a reputation of intelligent compromise. At this moment, is your Republican Party able to compromise? Because conservative David Brooks here from the New York Times is kind of wondering that himself."

Baldwin also hastily pointed out that jobs substantially grew while President Clinton raised taxes, while they grew minimally as President Bush cut taxes. "What do you make of that?" she posed to Sen. Hatch. Many Republicans have balked at the notion of raising taxes in the current economic climate, arguing that increasing the tax rates will kill jobs.

Hatch, in response, credited the job growth under President Clinton to other variables which Baldwin failed to mention, including a Republican congress and the passage of the Welfare Reform Act.

A transcript of the segment, which aired on July 19 at 4:01 p.m. EDT, is as follows:

BROOKE BALDWIN: But I have to tell you, Senator Hatch, you know, there are folks out there – including conservatives – saying President Obama has already offered Republican [sic] the deal of their dreams, 4 trillion dollars in debt reduction, primarily through massive – I hear you laughing – massive cuts to the size of the federal government – hang on, stay with me here because I want to read to you –

Sen. ORRIN HATCH (R-Utah): I am. I am.

BALDWIN: – this is from the opinion pages of the New York Times this morning. This is from conservative columnist David Brooks. In an article he entitled "The Road Not Taken," and I just want to read part of it, he says "the Republicans will come to regret this missed opportunity." He goes on, "Fortunately there are still practical conservatives in the GOP who believe in results, who believe in intelligent compromise."

So Senator Hatch, that sounds like you, right? You have a reputation of intelligent compromise. At this moment, is your Republican Party able to compromise? Because conservative David Brooks here from the New York Times is kind of wondering that himself.

HATCH: Well, we'll have to see. Our party doesn't want to raise taxes, because we think we're taxed enough. We think taxes at this time – we agree with the president that he said last December that you don't raise taxes during a bad recession like this or a bad economic time like this, and I agree with that particular statement. But ever since, all he seems to want to do is raise taxes. Well, the way the "Gang of Six" tries to get around this is by doing away with what are called tax expenditures. Well that's not as easy as you think, because tax expenditures are things like charitable deductions, things like home interest mortgage – home mortgage interest payments, 401(k) plans, health care given to you by your employer. These are not little things, that – they were enacted by the Congress because they were needs that were necessary in our society. But I'm open to really looking at this, and I want to complement the "Gang of Six" because they met for months and months now, and they've tried their very best, but basically all they have is an outline, and like I say, a lot of that's got to come to the Finance Committee where I'm the Republican leader, and the devil is in the details. We're going to have to look at it, see what he can do.


BALDWIN: But I do want to talk about this impending deadline, right? So we're staring essentially, over the cliff, at a potential government default. And maybe that's business as usual here, i.e. compromise, not beginning to look – is it not beginning to look more appealing by comparison? Because a lot of folks are saying the current, you know, my way or the highway, gotta have it all climate in Washington is really unworthy of the U.S.A. and makes us look like a banana republic.

HATCH: Well I think that is true. I don't think it should be my way or the highway. But you know, when the president talks 4 trillion dollars, he doesn't outline what those are. I presume a lot of that'll come from defense and from a lot of programs that Republicans will have difficulty with.


BALDWIN: No, I just – and I just know, I've talked to a number of Republicans on this show, and they talk about, you know, raising taxes and how that's a job-killer. But I do want to point out as I did last week with Senator Brown that raising taxes did not kill jobs during the Clinton administration. You know the history, Bill Clinton raised taxes, the economy created 23 million new jobs. Just take a look at the numbers, an eight-year postwar record. Then George W. Bush, he cut taxes, created -- there is the number -- three million jobs. So those are real numbers, they come to us from the Census Bureau. What do you make of that?

HATCH: Yeah, and that's – and that's an interpretation that I think is faulty. Because yeah, he raised taxes. But it was also the first Republican congress in over forty years, and they actually forced a balanced budget on the president, and to his credit, he went along with it. Now remember, he vetoed the Welfare bill, I had a lot to do with that, with passing that bill. He vetoed it twice, and then we – he finally agreed and passed it, and of course that was a great incentive to the economy as well, because people realized we're not going to just keep throwing money down the drain. So it wasn't because he raised taxes that the economy took off, and in the case of George W. Bush –

BALDWIN: He also though, did inherit a pretty tough economy himself.

HATCH: Well he did, and there's no question about that. And so did – you know, so did President Obama, he says. But that fact of the matter is, what Obama doesn't acknowledge ever is that the Democrats had taken over Congress two years before he became President and they started the big spending programs again. In the Bush administration, he did have problems because we got into the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and I think, and history will show that we were right to get into those. And we had – we've had fairly good results so far from them, although they've been very costly.

BALDWIN: I think -- I just always think it's important to look at history to then bring us to the present, and as we come back here to 2011, and specifically your role, sir, in this – I know you're a staunch conservative, but you have compromised in the patch [sic]. Are you, Senator Hatch, are you able to lead the way and compromise today, given the fact that you are up for re-election, and the Tea Party, they're watching your every move, sir?