Chafee slams Republican ‘wreckage’ that ‘tanked the economy’November 10th, 2011 at 11:34 am by Ted Nesi under Nesi's Notes
Gov. Lincoln Chafee is a key witness for the prosecution in a lengthy new Rolling Stone article that argues Republicans have “abandoned the poor and the middle class to pursue their relentless agenda of tax cuts for the wealthiest one percent.”
The governor, who left the GOP in 2007, explicitly blames the party’s 2000s-era leadership for the stagnant economic growth that’s taken place in the wake of the global financial crisis.
“The Republican Party went on a tax-cutting rampage and a spending spree,” Chafee says in the Nov. 24 edition. “It tanked the economy.”
“The wreckage was left by Dick Cheney, Grover Norquist and the gang,” he later adds. “This was their doing.”
Chafee describes conversations he had with Cheney and then-Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott during the debate over the 2001 Bush tax cuts as what solidified his distaste for his party’s fiscal priorities.
Chafee says Cheney dismissed the concerns that he and others expressed about whether the tax cuts would leave insufficient funds for education and infrastructure spending. ”The vice president had no interest in what I had to say,” the governor says. “He ran the show right from the beginning, and he suffered no compromise.”
It’s not the first time Chafee has slammed the Bush administration’s No. 2. In 2008, he told MSNBC’s Chris Matthews that Cheney was “one of the most arrogant people I’ve ever come across.” Cheney, for his part, “had no use for Chafee’s program, and he was not the man to pretend,” his biographer Barton Gellman wrote that year.
Chafee tells Rolling Stone that when he asked Lott about why the Republican leadership was opposed to a trigger mechanism that would reduce the size of the tax cuts if the surpluses to fund them turned out to be smaller than projected, Lott replied: ”We’re going to strangle spending.”
Chafee also praises President Clinton’s 1993 budget-balancing plan, as he did in an interview with WPRI.com earlier this year in defense of his own proposal to raise Rhode Island’s sales tax.
“It cost him both houses of Congress in the 1994 midterm elections,” Chafee tells the magazine. “But taming the deficit led to the best economy America’s ever had.”
Tim Dickinson, the magazine’s political correspondent, interviewed Chafee by phone earlier this year as he researched the article, the governor’s office said.