MSNBC political commentator Chris Hayes had plenty to say in response to California Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy asking a classic opposition party question.
While trying to prevent the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act last Friday, McCarthy took to the House floor and asked:
"Is America better off today than they were two years ago?"
McCarthy invoked the rhetorical question Ronald Reagan–the Republican presidential nominee at the time–asked then-President Jimmy Carter during the final weeks of the 1980 presidential debate.
You can see McCarthy ask the question here:
\u201cMcCarthy: Answer me this question. Is America better off today than they were two years ago?\u201d— Acyn (@Acyn) 1660333652
In response to Reagan asking, "Are you better off today than you were four years ago?” Carter emphatically said, "No," after which his numbers tanked during the final crucial moments of the campaign. Carter ultimately lost the popular and electoral vote to Reagan on election day.
While the answer to what has become a common political question is rarely simple, Hayes on the other hand gave a definitive "yes," in response to McCarthy's inquiry on the House floor last week.
You can watch the segment on All In with Chris Hayes, here:
"I don't think he or the speechwriter really thought it through. Because the answer is pretty obviously, 'yes'."
"We are better off today than we were two years ago."
Before going into specifics of how America was better off now than before, Hayes showed a montage of breaking news headlines presented within a span of just three months to illustrate how worse off the country was two years ago.
\u201cLast week, Kevin McCarthy asked the classic opposition party question: Is America better off today than they were two years ago?\n\n"The answer is pretty obviously yes,\u201d says @chrislhayes, discussing the Biden administration\u2019s achievements. \n\nhttps://t.co/L1mOcBURkv\u201d— All In with Chris Hayes (@All In with Chris Hayes) 1660696153
\u201c@RonJohnsonWI @chrislhayes absolutely destroyed @GOPLeader tonight. McCarthy thought he was slick asking the Reagan question of are you better off now then you were\u2026the age old question.\n\nI can honestly say after watching the review of three months of Trump\u2019s presidency, Hell yes! Much!\u201d— Ron Johnson (@Ron Johnson) 1660677329
Some of the footage included:
- violent physical opposition to peaceful protests in the wake of the killing of George Floyd as former Republican President Donald Trump famously posed for a photo op holding a Bible in front of a church
- the plunge on Wall Street amidst fears of a second wave of COVID-19
- the increase in the number of deaths from COVID patients
- the economic disaster resulting in record-breaking cases of Americans filing for unemployment
\u201cOne of the BEST segments EVER on @chrislhayes a retort to @GOPLeader Kevin McCarthy's: "Are you better off than you were 2 years ago?". \nIt featured a montage of Lester Holt giving news headlines for only a 3 month period during 2020 under #Trump. So, are we better off? #HellYes!\u201d— Nancy Jacobson, Retired (@Nancy Jacobson, Retired) 1660696638
Hayes expounded on the images, saying:
"From May to July, the virus was raging. Vaccines still many months away."
"The country was in mourning and in angst over the death of George Floyd."
"We had a President who was running around the country holding superspreader events, getting secret service agents sick, telling people to inject themselves with bleach."
"The entire world had shut down, taking a lot of the economy with it. We lost more than ten million jobs in America. There were miles-long lines at food banks around the country. People struggled to stay afloat and feed their families."
\u201c@chrislhayes your answer to Kevin McCarthy \u201care we better than we were two years ago?\u201d Was breathtaking. Yes I want you to make a full hour of clips to answer that question. Kevin is one of the leading POS of the GOP. That was a stunning 3 months you highlighted.\u201d— Hemlock (@Hemlock) 1660695287
Hayes noted while everything was not perfect, he credited the accomplishments of the current administration under Democratic President Joe Biden for the vast improvement.
\u201c@allinwithchris @chrislhayes I agree. Things are looking up! \ud83d\ude3b\u201d— All In with Chris Hayes (@All In with Chris Hayes) 1660696153
\u201c@allinwithchris @chrislhayes Tonight Chris Hayes spent nearly 1/3 of his airtime\u2014and opened his broadcast\u2014to tell over a million Americans what President Joe Biden and Dems have enacted into law to help all Americans. \n\nGreatly appreciate you, Chris. You counter tyranny and anger with hope.\u201d— All In with Chris Hayes (@All In with Chris Hayes) 1660696153
"Thanks to the American Rescue Plan, passed by the Democratic Party in Congress, House, and Senate–on a party-line vote in the Senate–signed into law by Joe Biden, we have seen the fastest economic recovery, and fastest job growth in American history."
He also said the country regained all the jobs lost since the start of the pandemic, "way ahead of everyone's projections," marking an era of "the most jobs under any President, ever."
\u201c@allinwithchris @chrislhayes Only thing I hear lacking is student loan relief. But lots of positives here for Americans.\u201d— All In with Chris Hayes (@All In with Chris Hayes) 1660696153
Hayes, however, admitted the rapid growth contributed to its own set of problems, including rapid inflation which adversely affected people's wages and purchasing power and thereby became a political problem for the Democrats.
But he added:
"We finally seem to be turning the corner on that too."
Hayes noted prices in general have not increased for months, including the cost of gas which has actually lowered in the last nine weeks.
\u201cjust saw (on chris hayes) you asking americans if things are better today than two years ago \ud83d\ude02 @GOPLeader \ud83d\ude02. U should have thought that through Kevin. Or maybe take a brief tour of where we were 2 years ago. Fools aren\u2019t speakers kevin\ud83d\ude02\u201d— Chris (@Chris) 1660695040
Touching on the pandemic, he reminded viewers we were still not out of the woods but we are coming out of the first wave of the pandemic in which "deaths have not spiked even as cases did."
He also mentioned Trump might finally be held accountable for his actions with the House Select Committee investigation into his role in the insurrection at the Capitol on January 6, 2021. The Department of Justice is also "knee-deep in multiple investigations"–one of which was the recent search at Trump's Mar-A-Lago resort in Florida.
After listing more notable wins by the Biden Administration–including the signing of the Inflation Reduction Act, the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Industrial Policy Bill–Hayes ended his segment by declaring the Democratic Party can confidently answer McCarthy's question with a resounding:
"We are better off."
Hayes, cautioned in spite of the positive outlook, there are no guarantees securing the country's optimistic future as the November midterms will be crucial.
"We know there are historical patterns."
"That means that the outcome of this year's midterms is not written in stone."
If voters can concede they are better off, then in November they need to vote blue.