Sequester: Rep. Keith Ellison Explodes On Sean Hannity For Terrible Journalism

Sean Hannity took a verbal beating on his own show from Rep. Keith Ellison. We have the blow by blow and even a few facts to settle the dispute.

Sean Hannity, smarmiest of conservatives, perhaps even more so than smarm cat Newt Gingrich, makes a lot of people angry, including Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.). Ellison exploded at Hannity on his show, initially for playing threatening music in the background while Hannity played a clip of Obama talking about the sequester cuts, and then, more broadly, Ellison yelled at Hannity for being Sean Hannity.

At the risk of applying facts to a discussion (and a network) where they go to die, let's look at Hannity's attempted question, which Ellison was too fired up to answer: President Bush left office with a $10 trillion debt, which Obama called irresponsible. The debt now stands at $16 trillion. Is Obama a hypocrite?

We can break this down into two parts, the Bush part and the Obama part. For starters, was Bush irresponsible? Well, yes, that is what I would call giving the surplus inherited from the Clinton years (reminder from the 90s: we had a friggin surplus) almost entirely to the rich in the "Bush tax cuts" in 2001 and 2003, and putting two wars on a credit card didn't help either.

As for Obama, the deficit, as a percentage of GDP did shoot up when he took office, but that doesn't tell the whole story. This is U.S. debt as a percentage of GDP, from the non-partisan Congressional budget office:

Budget and Economic Outlook

We see an upward hill around the time Obama took office. However, we have to remember that GDP dipped at around that time due to the financial crisis. Furthermore, GDP was artificially inflated during the 2000s due to the housing bubble, so that further mitigates the steepness of that hill. Now, the economy is still slow, but it is recovering, and spending is gradually decreasing, despite what you may have heard from Hannity et al. Bloomberg reports that the deficit will likely fall below $1 trillion in 2013, as GDP continues to rise.

As for Hannity's contention that he is not a "Republican," he's a "Conservative" whereas Ellison calls him a "shill for the Republican party," I have to give that one to Ellison. As evidence I would point toward Hannity's first statements after election night 2012: that he had "evolved" on immigration. Which is more likely, that Hannity happened to have an epiphany on immigration policy while he slept, or that he saw that Romney lost the Latino vote by 50 points and he didn't like it? And given that he is changing his policies toward Republican victories (for Republican victory's sake), doesn't that make him very much on the team of the GOP?

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