Chris Hayes on why Biden’s defense of the stimulus was so important - and deserved


On Friday’s The Rachel Maddow Show, Maddow hashed out one of the strongest key moments that defined Vice President Biden’s hard-hitting performance over Congressman Paul Ryan. She spoke to msnbc colleague Chris Hayes about why Biden nailing Ryan’s flagrant hypocrisy on the stimulus was so much more than just a “zinger” or a “gotcha” moment.

Hayes said he believes that what made all the difference was Biden going beyond Ryan’s flip-flopping and actually defending the stimulus: 

“People should read Michael Grunwald’s ‘New New Deal,’ which I’ve talked about before on air, because he lays out in some ways, what Joe Biden did in overseeing that stimulus spending, it wasn’t some petty, trivial undertaking. It was actually really remarkable. And in fact, they lived up to, despite all the Solyndra demagoguery that has come from Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney, they lived up to an incredibly high standard, in terms of the efficiency and prudence, of spending that much money in that period of time. It was, in some ways, a great testament to effective bureaucratic deployment, to government doing what it should do. And that story has remained woefully untold.”

Hayes went on to explain that Ryan’s hypocrisy on the stimulus is part of a much larger misleading Republican trend. In 2002, Ryan made an impassioned plea before the House in favor of George W. Bush’s $700 billion in stimulus package, telling the Journal Times “you have to spend a little to grow a little.” Bush’s plan included an extension of unemployment benefits and millions of checks being mailed directly to people’s homes. Ten years later, Ryan called Obama’s stimulus a “wasteful spending spree.”

With that evidence in mind, Hayes cautioned against buying into the idea that Republicans will shrink government.

“What they want to do now, in opposition, is create this ideological vision of smaller government, going after malformed bureaucracy,” he said. “When they are in power, they do not do that. And no one should be suckered into thinking that they will.”