Wednesday night on “The Rachel Maddow Show,” host Rachel Maddow discussed the fact that Republicans in Washington are recycling the same lies and smears that they’ve used to try and discredit President Barack Obama before.
“In Washington,” she said, “it was Groundhog Day, today.”
Not, she said, the day when people find out whether we’re going to have another six weeks of winter, but the Bill Murray film “Groundhog Day,” where the main character lives through the same day of his life over and over.
In the real world, she said, yesterday was Wednesday, March 13, a day in the second month of the second term of President Barack Obama. For Republicans, however, “We are still stuck in the middle of the last campaign,” she said. “We’re living it out, over and over again, like it never happened in the first place.
In the summer of 2012, Republicans launched an effort to convince the public that Obama has weakened the work requirement for the welfare reform laws that former President Bill Clinton signed into law. In fact, Obama had given Republican governors in some states more leeway to determine work requirements for welfare recipients. Nonetheless, the Romney campaign and other Republican operatives attacked the president for doing the opposite of what they claimed he had done.
“It was one of the brighter, more obvious lies in a campaign that was filled with lies,” Maddow said.
And now they’re doing it again, she said. Congressional Republicans are attempting to pass a bill that attacks the president for something he never did, gutting the work requirement for welfare reform.
“And it’s not just one wingnut Congressman who still thinks it’s October of last year and campaign lies are true,” she said. “This week, they are acting on that bill in the House of Representatives.”
Republicans on Wednesday voted overwhelmingly to stop this thing that never happened, 246 to 181, even winning over the support of some 18 Democrats.
That’s not the only campaign season lie that the right is reviving. The Lifeline program was a program started under President Ronald Reagan in 1984 to provide seniors in need with a dedicated phone line for contacted emergency personnel in case of a health crisis. In the 2012 campaign, Republicans managed to twist this program around into the “Obamaphone” canard, a story that President Obama was giving away free cell phones to buy votes.
The Obamaphone story is back, though. Rep. Tim Griffin (R-AR) is introducing legislation to ban Lifeline.
“The evidence is stacking up: dead people are receiving free cell phones in the mail, eligible and ineligible individuals are obtaining more than one, and electronic kiosks have been stationed in convenience stores to spread the word about this “free” opportunity. The truth is, though, that taxpayers are footing the bill,” reads Griffin’s website.
“So, if you missed the campaign,” she said, “now you’ve got the return. At least the lying part of it.”
This includes the budget proposed by erstwhile vice presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), who has trotted out a slightly modified version of the same budget he ran on in 2012, even after that budget has been shown by multiple sources to be unworkable. The new budget, said Maddow, has “all the same weaknesses” as the old Ryan budget, but they’re trying to make it fly again, anyway.
“It’s ‘Groundhog Day’ in Republican politics,” she said. “Pretty soon they’re going to start floating that Hillary Clinton is going to replace Joe Biden as vice president again.”
Watch the video, which aired Wednesday, March 13, and is embedded via MSNBC, below: