SALMON: I was here during the government shutdown in 1995. It was a divided government. we had a Democrat [sic] President of the United States. We had a Republican Congress. And I believe that that government shutdown actually gave us the impetus, as we went forward, to push toward some real serious compromise. I think it drove Bill Clinton in a different direction, a very bipartisan direction. In fact, we passed welfare reform for the first time ever, and we cut the welfare ranks in the last decade and a half by over 50%. These are good things. We also balanced the budget for the first time in 40 years in 1997, 1998, 1999. And when I left we had an over $230 billion surplus. This was with a Democrat [sic] president, A Republican —
HOST: You think that’s a good idea?
SALMON: Yes, I do. I really do. I think it’s about time!
This is, of course, revisionist history. Newt Gingrich floated the idea that his shutdown balanced the budget and was debunked. Instead, the government shutdown lead to a reduction of the budget surplus. Had Gingrich not played his games, we would have been looking at a far larger budget surplus, sooner.
What is even more puzzling is to find Congressman Salmon even here in this conversation. When he ran, and won, his office originally in 1994, he ran on a platform centering on term limits and pledged to not serve past three terms. After he retired from Congress in 2000, he then broke his pledge to run again in 2012, winning back his seat. This is, of course, evidence that his pledges, promises, and apparently his memory, only last as long as is politically expedient.
Matt Salmon is engaging in a form of verbal terrorism, making threats to tear everything down if he does not get his way. This is the antithesis of the government structure in the U.S. Constitution, but is par for the course from the Republican Party today. The talking points he brings up are feed for the Fox News fanbase, which he is trying to rile up. That he is spewing utter fiction is irrelevant; the misinformed base will believe it regardless. What is truly sad is that Congressman Salmon may actually believe his own lies, in which case he is not only a fool, but a dangerous one at that.
Nathaniel Downes is the son of a former state representative of New Hampshire, now living in Seattle Washington.
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