WASHINGTON WATCH ROUNDTABLE: Bush Tax Cuts Contributed To The National Debt, Van Jones Says Dems May Have A Problem (VIDEO)

Roland Martin and the Washington Watch roundtable discuss the GOP unveiling the debt clock, Bush tax cuts contributing to the national debt and Van Jones says the Democrats may have a problem to contend with in the 2012 elections.

This week’s Washington Watch roundtable features Republican strategist Elroy Sailor, founder and CEO of J.C. Watts Company; Angela Rye, executive director and general counsel of the Congressional Black Caucus; theGrio.com contributor Joseph Williams and Georgetown University professor Dr. Chris Metzler.

MR. MARTIN:  Now, Chris, I love –

MS. RYE:  I don’t know –

MR. MARTIN:  — this one here.

MS. RYE:  — how you justify – [crosstalk].

MR. MARTIN:  I – I love the reference to the debt clock.  They had a couple of them in – in the arena.

DR. METZLER:  That was good drama.

MR. MARTIN:  It was.  But at no point did Congressman Ryan say, “Hey, y’all.  By the way, uh, uh, I voted and contributed to $7.8 trillion” –

MS. RYE:  That’s right.

MR. MARTIN:  — “of that debt on that wall.”

MS. RYE:  That’s right.

MR. MARTIN:  And s- — and so – which is a fact in terms of when Pres. George W. Bush was there, when the Republicans had the majorities, they had a spending spree; and it was de- — it was – it was debt –


MR. MARTIN:  — after debt.  And, in fact, in Mitt Romney’s speech, when he talked about not cutting taxes for the middle class, here’s the problem with that.  The Bush tax cuts have contributed to the debt.

MS. RYE:  That’s right.

MR. SAILOR:  You’re absolutely right.  There are many Republicans who are not happy with Pres. Bush in terms of what happened with the –

MR. MARTIN:  But they didn’t –

MR. SAILOR:  — spending.

MR. MARTIN:  — nothin’ when he was there.

MR. SAILOR:  Well, there’s a reason why Pres. Bush isn’t there.  I mean so –

MR. MARTIN:  Well, first of –

MR. SAILOR:  — sometimes things –

MR. MARTIN:  — all, he was o- —

MR. SAILOR:  — speak – [crosstalk] –

MS. RYE:  [Crosstalk.]

MR. MARTIN:  — he – he only had two terms –

OFF CAMERA:  He had two terms.

MR. MARTIN:  — so he had to go.

MR. SAILOR:  No, I’m talking about at the convention

MR. MARTIN:  Oh, yeah.

MR. SAILOR:  — in terms of why – there’s a lot of Republicans who’re not happy –

MR. MARTIN:  Okay.

MR. SAILOR:  — with the spending spree that Republicans took on.  And, clearly, we’re not happy with the spending spree that the Democrats –

MR. WILLIAMS:  But you’re –

MR. SAILOR:  — continue.

MR. WILLIAMS:  — blaming – you’re blaming the wro- —

MR. SAILOR:  No, I’m saying –

MR. WILLIAMS:  — you’re bl- —

MR. SAILOR:  — both part[ies] went on –

MR. WILLIAMS:  — wha- — no!

MR. SAILOR:  — a spending spree.

MS. RYE:  But that’s not –

MR. WILLIAMS:  But the one –

MR. SAILOR:  It didn’t?

MR. WILLIAMS: — the – the Democrats had to spend money to –

OFF CAMERA:  Oh.  We had –

MR. WILLIAMS:  — rescue the eco- —

OFF CAMERA:  — to spend?

MR. WILLIAMS:  — to rescue the

MR. SAILOR:  Oh, my goodness!

MR. WILLIAMS:  — economy, dude!  We’re talking about –

MR. SAILOR:  [Crosstalk] – that’s a –

MR. WILLIAMS:  — the s- —

MR. SAILOR:  — philosophical difference.

MR. WILLIAMS:  — it is not a –

MS. RYE:  It – is it?

MR. WILLIAMS:  — philosophical –

MS. RYE:Really? 

MR. SAILOR:  Actually –

MR. WILLIAMS:  — difference.

MR. SAILOR:  — [crosstalk] –

MR. WILLIAMS:  It’s an –

MS. RYE:  Is it really?

MR. WILLIAMS:  — opinion.

MR. SAILOR:  — [crosstalk] –

MS. RYE:  What about TARP?

DR. METZLER:  [Crosstalk] – a fundamental philoso- —


MS. RYE:  What about TARP?  What –


MS. RYE:  — about TARP –

MR. WILLIAMS:  — the –

MS. RYE:  — which –

MR. WILLIAMS:  — stimulus – everything that he had to do incurs debt.  You talk to any reputable econo- — economist –

MR. SAILOR:  As a businessman –

MR. WILLIAMS:  — you will talk to –

MR. SAILOR:  — with my business –

MR. WILLIAMS:  — you will talk to –

MR. SAILOR:  — I can’t spend my way to –

MR. WILLIAMS:  — but – but –

MR. SAILOR:  — prosperity.

MR. WILLIAMS:  — we’re not –

DR. METZLER:  [Crosstalk] –

MR. WILLIAMS:  — talking about –

MR. MARTIN:  One – [crosstalk] –


MR. WILLIAMS:  — a business.  We’re –

MR. MARTIN:  Fact check.

MR. WILLIAMS:  — talking about the national economy.


MR. MARTIN:  — fact check.

MS. RYE:  TARP – [crosstalk] –


MR. MARTIN:  Fact check.

MR. SAILOR:  As a dad, I can’t –

MR. MARTIN:  Fact check.

MR. SAILOR:  — take my household –

MR. MARTIN:  Fact check.

MR. SAILOR:  — to prosperity –

MR. MARTIN:  After –

MR. SAILOR – spending more money.

MR. MARTIN:  — 9-11, it was Congressman Paul Ryan who stood on the floor of the House and argued vehemently for a stimulus bill to – to get the economy going.  In fact, he argued more strenuously than a Democrat.  This was Congress- —

MS. RYE:  That’s right.

MR. MARTIN:  — -man Paul Ryan who was an advocate for stimulating the economy in the exact, same way we saw with Pres. Obama in 2009, because after 9-11, our economy was harmed as a result of the attacks on this –

MR. SAILOR:  But – [crosstalk] –

MR. WILLIAMS:  And he –

MR. MARTIN:  — country.

MR. WILLIAMS:  — actually requested –

MR. SAILOR:  — [crosstalk] –

MR. WILLIAMS:  — money for his district.

MS. RYE:  Sure –

MR. SAILOR:  I mean –

MS. RYE:  — did –

MR. SAILOR:  — there’s a role –

MS. RYE:  — [crosstalk].

MR. SAILOR:  — for spending, but there’s a –

MR. MARTIN:  Right.

MR. SAILOR:  — point where you’ve got to look at when you’re – when you’re – when you’re spending money that’s not even yours – we’re spending borrowed money –

MR. MARTIN:  Right.

MR. SAILOR:  — first of –


MR. SAILOR:  — all.

MR. WILLIAMS:  — opposed to what, though?  Not spending the money and letting the –

MR. SAILOR:  Well –

MR. WILLIAMS:  — economy –

MR. SAILOR:  — the problem –

MR. WILLIAMS:  — completely crash.

MR. SAILOR:  — in Wash- —

MR. MARTIN:  Hold – hold –

MR. SAILOR:  — -ington is –

MR. MARTIN:  — hold tight, gents.  Here’s the deal.  I got it.

We talked about the Republican convention this week.


MR. MARTIN:  The Democrats get in on the action, and I caught up with Van Jones at the De- — at the Republican convention, and he had some interesting comments to say in terms of what the Democrats are faced with.  Check this out, and I want to get your response.


MR. VAN JONES:  The Democrats have a big problem.  I think the White House has a big problem.  I think Obama has a big problem, because we’re now four years into a catastrophe for Black folk – a catastrophe for middle-class Black folk in particular.  When Black middle-class folks don’t feel that they have a – a place to go in Washington, D.C., you know that working-[class] and poor and other Black folks are going to feel even worse.  And so this is something that has to be addressed.  It has to be taken on, and we – and – and I don’t want to be in a situation in November where Democrats then turn around and blame Black folk for not turning out when, for four years, Black folk were given no reason to turn out.


MR. MARTIN:  What should Democrats say this week in Charlotte to, in essence, kick off this final stretch to November?

MR. SAILOR:  I think Democrats should say, “We’re disappointed that we only have one African-American in the cabinet, and we’re going to try to work harder to make sure that we at least to the three or four that we’ve consistently” —

MR. MARTIN:  Well, first –

MR. SAILOR:  — “had.”

MR. MARTIN:  — of all, Lisa Jackson, EPA, is cabinet- —

MR. SAILOR:  But that’s –

MR. MARTIN:  — -level.

MR. SAILOR:  — that’s a – that’s a sub- —

MS. RYE:  [Crosstalk] –

MR. SAILOR:  — -cabinet.

MS. RYE:  — right.

MR. MARTIN:  No, no.

MR. SAILOR:  Those are not –

MR. MARTIN:  Th- — th- — well –

MR. SAILOR:  — the traditional – those are –

MR. MARTIN:  — first of all –

MR. SAILOR:  — not the traditional cabinet.

MR. MARTIN:  — well, first of all, when you say “traditional,” see, it’s constutionally [sic – phonetic] – constitutionally mandated to speak before Congress on environmental issues.  That’s – that’s a fact.  So, now, whe- –

MR. SAILOR:  And – and I’m speaking as a brutha from Detroit when –

MR. MARTIN:  No, no, no.

MR. SAILOR:  — I say “cabinet.”


MR. SAILOR:  Most people –

MR. MARTIN:  — I – I – [crosstalk]- —

MR. SAILOR:  — don’t know what that means.

MR. MARTIN:  — but, now, first of all, most people don’t know what a cabinet is – [crosstalk].

DR. METZLER:  Ah!  [Chuckles.]

MR. MARTIN:  Le- — let’s just –

MS. RYE:  And that’s why it’s not –

MR. MARTIN:  — go ’head –

MS. RYE:  — that’s why it’s –

MR. MARTIN:  — and go there.

MS. RYE:  — not going to be said at the Democratic National Convention.

What actually should be said is how the President intends to move the country forward.  The reality of it is he did inherit a very bad situation.  He’s tried to make the most of the situation, but we all have work to do.  We have to stand together to figure out how we not only move the economy forward, but how we as a nation work together to rebuild what we’ve started.


MR. WILLIAMS:  And I think, specifically, to African-Americans, because Van is right.  He’s got a big problem in that area.  I don’t think the turnout is going to crash.  I think it’s going to be slightly less, but it’s going to be slightly less across the board.  I think he has to outline and specify what he has done for African-Americans since being in office and, to your point, I think African-Americans have to respond with an ask.  They have to say, “Okay.  We need this for our communities.”  “We need this kind of specified action.”

The problem there is that Pres. Obama has already been painted into a certain corner because of his race.  You know, the Republicans –

MR. MARTIN:  Right.

MR. WILLIAMS:  — they can’t wait to make that an issue.  So, it has to be a stealth campaign, which is the one thing that the White House does not – they don’t want to do it overtly.  They –

MR. MARTIN:  Final comment.

MR. WILLIAMS:  — would rather do it –

MR. MARTIN:  Chris?

MR. WILLIAMS:  — stealthily[?].

DR. METZLER:  Well, I – okay.  So, we have to talk about jobs.  We have to talk about the fact that, you know, the President has been President for the last four years.  And so in terms of Black un- — unemployment, it’s gotten worse.  It’s not gotten better.  So, what is he going to be able to say that’s going to make it any different?  He’s had four years to be able to do that.  He –


DR. METZLER:  — hasn’t done that!

MR. WILLIAMS:  — but I think that’s also kind of a specious argument, because a lot of African-American unemployment stems from public-sector jobs, which have been slashed to the bone by states that didn’t accept –

MR. SAILOR:  What about median –

MR. WILLIAMS:  — a lot aid –

MR. SAILOR:  — that went from $35,000 two –

MR. WILLIAMS:  — I think that –

MR. SAILOR:  — years ago –

MR. WILLIAMS:  — I think that’s part –

MR. SAILOR:  — to $33,000?

MR. WILLIAMS:  — I think –

MR. SAILOR:  That’s a $2500 drop —

MR. WILLIAMS:  — I think that’s –

MR. SAILOR:  — for African-American –

MR. WILLIAMS:  — part of it, too.

MR. SAILOR:  — [crosstalk]?

MR. WILLIAMS:  I’m not saying it’s –

MS. RYE:  But the – but –

MR. SAILOR:  And what about the –

MS. RYE:  — Mitt –

MR. SAILOR:  — tax –

MS. RYE:  — Romney –

MR. SAILOR:  — cut?  You get rid of that –

MS. RYE:  — but Mitt –

MR. MARTIN:  Angela, final –

MS. RYE:  — Rom- —

MR. MARTIN:  — comment.

MS. RYE:  — -ney wants to continue to slash government jobs.  He thinks government is too big.  So, we would have an even worse employment [picture] when you talk about Black unem- –

MR. SAILOR:  Well, I don’t get that –

MS. RYE:  — -ployment.

MR. SAILOR:  — excited about –

MS. RYE:And he –

MR. SAILOR:  — saying that –

MS. RYE:  — and he –

MR. SAILOR:  — I want to go work for the government.

MS. RYE:  — he then –

DR. METZLER:Government.  The government –

MR. SAILOR:  I mean I – [crosstalk] –

DR. METZLER:  The government is

MS. RYE:  I’m sorry.  I – [crosstalk] –

DR. METZLER:  — too big!


MR. MARTIN:  I’m out of time.  Y’all can continue this –


MR. MARTIN:  — in the Black Room.

MS. RYE:  We will.  [Chuckles.]

MR. MARTIN:  Elroy –

MR. WILLIAMS:  Yes, we will.

MR. MARTIN:  — Angela, Joe, Chris, we –


MR. MARTIN:  — appreciate it.  Thanks –

MR. SAILOR:  This is what – [crosstalk] –

MR. MARTIN:  — a lot.

MR. SAILOR:  — [crosstalk] – yesterday.  [Chuckles.]