Grayson Discovers the Beauty of Bipartisanship as Tool to Yank GOPs to Progressive Side
The congressman famous for saying in the Obamacare debate that Republicans wanted people to "die quickly" is trying to take a kinder, gentler approach after regaining his seat in November.
But that doesn't mean Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) still underhandedly won't refer to the GOP "callous, bigoted tools."
"Remember that the only bipartisan accomplishment of substance in the 111th Congress during my first term was when I joined with Republican Ron Paul to pass a bill to audit the Federal Reserve, something that had not been done independently for 100 years. He lined up the Republicans. I lined up the Democrats," Grayson told MSNBC of his new bipartisan fervor. "I picked up a bill that had languished for 26 years, not even gone to committee hearing, and we got it passed. So, this is a winning formula."
But he acknowledged that extending a bipartisan hand goes only so far until he tries to yank them over to his side.
"The fact is that we're able to win just by picking off 18 of them. And what we do is we frame things they find very difficult to say no to. They don't always look at it the same way that we do. You know, for instance, I introduced an amendment recently that they consider to be a state's rights amendment, and Democrats consider to be an environmental amendment," Grayson said. "So we picked off just enough Republicans to get to a tie vote. That`s kind of thing you can do."
"I think that most members of Congress look at legislation like the blind men and the elephant. They think of the bill as whatever the part is that they're touching that they can't see, and we take advantage of that. We take advantage of that through framing it so that Republicans see something good in our amendments and Democrats see something good in our amendments, too, and therefore, we end up with practical results that foster progressive goals."
Grayson was asked if it's a challenge trying to overcome his first-term reputation.
"Listen, they could call me the guy who calls them callous, bigoted tools," he said. "But the fact is that they vote their districts, they vote what they regard in their self-interest and every once in a while, they vote for what's good for America as they see it. So, we can explain to them why something is good for their districts, why something is good for America, I have an audience."
"...We have to show things can get done and that's what we're doing by working this way and getting so many amendments passed that promote progressive goals."