Hardball | December 06, 2012
>>> in washington. let me start tonight with this. when a party losing an lest, the knives come out. right now we're watching the night of the long knives on the right. these stories breaking tonight. right wing senator jim demint , the man behind to many failed right wing senate challengers christine i'm not a witch o'donnell, richard mourdock announced today's quitting the senate to run the hard right heritage foundation . meanwhile, in the republican house a purge is under way with speaker boehner dumping uncontrollable right wingers from prize committee assignments. they're out because they're too right. so what is too right for the republicans following the defeat this week or their defeat last month? is voting nay in the senate against a handicap rights treaty because it carries the nightmare dread of blue helmets riding black helicopters sweeping into your home school room. is that okay? what's out? what's in. in the republican party that just took a licking. bob shrum is a democratic strategist and columnist at the daily beast and john brabender ran rick santorum 's presidential campaign. i expect you gentleman to play fair and aim directly below the belt . just kidding, bob. i want to ask you as a liberal a progressive, looking across at the right you see jim demint , a guy the late tim russert once said i can't believe jim demint is a senator. he is the leader, the ram record of all those right wing challenges. he put up ron johnson to put up mitch mcconnell because he's too liberal. he's leaving, quitting his senate seat, giving it up, to run the heritage foundation . we have other stuff coming up but let's start with that.
>> first of all, he's going to make a lot more money. ed fuller in who is leaving makes $1 million a year. de menthe has a nert worth of $140,000. secondly the leadership has tried to raen him in. they've said you can't go out and go after these conservative republicans with really conservative republicans in primaries because you're setting us up to lose senate seats. now that he's out of there, he can become a kind of cross between grover norquist and the jim demint he always was. he can drive these hard right ideas, but he can also sponsor hard right candidates in republican primaries . i think he thinks he's going to be more than important at the heritage foundation than he is in the senate .
>> let me ask you about that, john. it looks to me not just -- the money is always a draw for some people, i'm not sure he is here. he would have been chairman of the commerce committee if the republicans had won this fight for the senate . they lost it. is it just one of the things that what happens when your party loses, you look for something better to do?
>> i think this is better where he's looking for a different platform where he can have a louder voice and concentrate on th the issues he wants to.
>> he's the chief recruiter on the right. he liked christine o'donnell and he ended up rooting for people pretty hard on the right like tomby in pennsylvania, murdoch, akin. he tried to run ron johnson against him. he wants to move the republican senate to the hardest possible right position. how can he do that if he leaves the senate ? big question.
>> i think bob has 100% right. he will have a bigger stick -- ?
>> the senate ?
>> no at the heritage foundation . he doesn't have to worry on voting on issues he doesn't care about or being the bad republican like he did this week and was criticizing boehner for rolling over as he saw it on the deal with obama.
>> everybody is playing this down. i don't. eric ericsson wrote his supporters an e-mail saying this, without jim demint we would most likely not presently have in the united states senate pat tomby, rand paul, mike lee , marco rubio , jeff flake , ron johnson , ted cruz . we had not have a republican establishment that worries that conservatives might actually primary them. de menthe also had backed candidates who went on to lose their general elections . richard mourdock in indiana, christine o'donnell in delaware, ken buck out in colorado. bob, i'm going to back to this again. when the chief ramrod of the rift wing senate candidates leaves the post, who would replace him? how is this good news for the right?
>> look, i'm not saying whether it's good news or bad news, i'm tell you what i think his calculation is. his calculation is he can be more of a free agent. i think he will get very involved in primaries, he will push hard right issues. i wish him well because the candidates e succeeded in nominating have quite often lost winnable seats. the notion for example that ted cruz -- the republicans were going to win that seat and it was going to be a conservative republican , but there are at least five senate seats and probably control of the senate that have been lost because of these tea party nominees, and he's driven that process. but you watch him drive it from outside. think of grover norquist and the influence he has. i don't like grover norquist . i don't like jim demint , but that's what i think he's thinking.
>> john, i want to go to the house of representatives . it looks like some real purging going on over there. we have a number of right wing members of the house who have been knocked off their committees. speaker boehner is ex exerting control. look at four republican members who were recently kicked off their committees, justin amash, huelskamp, david schweikert , and walter jones were booted from the house financial services committee . all four of these men have a history of voting against boehner and the house republican leadership. it looks like they have one thing in common, he's too right for boehner .
>> i think the real problem for boehner is he's playing a risky game in the sense that people are starting to whisper that in these negotiations he actually is not being tough enough, that he should be out there saying that this president is addicted to spending. he needs an intervention and this is the fight right now. instead, we're starting to see this inner fight within the republican party . if these negotiations don't go right, you will see the tea party explode again. you will cepheus cal conservatives outraged and so this is kind of a high risk game, i believe, for boehner right now.
>> is there any deal that wouldn't explode the tea party ?
>> well, yeah.
>> what would be the deal?
>> the deal that wouldn't explode it is if you cut a lot of spending and you don't all of a sudden raise taxes to a higher tax rate . i think they would be fine getting rid of some of the loopholes, but if this goes to where it's just higher tax rates on the rich and very little spending cuts, they little reform, i think there will be huge outrage.
>> how about a sizable adjustment in entitlements, a big -- billions of dollars in cuts in regular spending, appropriations spending, and a reduction in the rich person's tax rate , a rise to 37% or 38%, would that sell with the right or not?
>> i think there's a chance if they would see real reform, real cuts, more than what the president was saying, 2.5 times of cuts for every tax increase, but what they don't want are tax increases now and future cuts. that's not going to work.
>> okay. thank you. just want to know what the rules were in the sane world and the insane world. i think it's going to be more like one to one and i think it's going to be something like i mentioned. let me go back to you, bob. i don't know what it looks like to you. just the other day, you don't have to talk about the purging in the republican party , that happens every once in a while . let me ask you about this helicopter fear, this fear that on the republican right, the cultural right that if you simply sign onto a treaty , a worldwide treaty , that takes our handicap rights which people like bob dole fight for, so you can get a wheelchair in the hotel, you can move around and be your own person if you have a handicap, i have seen friends of mine do it. they can get everywhere because of the laws. and i know clint eastwood doesn't like these laws but tough. then you get to -- they want to extend it to europe. other countries we can travel so people in this country can travel to those countries knowing they're not going to be handicapped any more than they are by faciles. why would a republican vote against such a deal? you first and then john.
>> there's a lot of pressure from the right on this. there's the pour nou ya from the u.n.
>> explain it.
>> the notion that the u.n. is going to come in and tell us what to do. the fact of the matter is this treaty raises the world to the standard of the u.s. doesn't require the u.s. to change its standards at all and doesn't in any way give the u.n. power to do anything in this country. but i think it's -- all you have to do is say u.n. and people on the right get very ex or sized. rick santorum helped lead the opposition to this treaty . i think he's out of step with the american people , out of step by the way on this tax cuts for the rich stuff. you know, bobby jindal said today and i that you say it was remarkable, we're in danger of becoming the party that defends the rich, anti-medicare, antisocial security, and there's no future in that kind of republican party nor is there one in a party that's anti-handicapped.
>> let me go to john on this because you and i, john, i think we all know people in our business, in the journalism world, and in consulting who have handicaps, they are in wheelchairs but they raise a ruckus effectively if there's some facility that doesn't allow them access or a reasonable way of getting through that situation. i think it's a nonpartisan issue but your side of the aisle seems to think on the right anytime the u.n. is involved it's frightening.
>> there are some people who say the more control we give to the u.n., we're losing u.s. sovereignty.
>> explain how that works. no, explain in this case how that works.
>> as you said before in the u.s. we have made great progress with people with disabilities . rick santorum has a child who is a special need child with a disability. so he took a hard look at this legislation, and the problem is this isn't as bob said. bob was doing pretty good until this point but he's wrong on this. naer not going to take u.s. standards and apply it worldwide. this is saying we're going to put the u.n. in control, many --
>> name how. stop using generalizations. name what's going to happen.
>> they getd the u.n. would get -- under this treaty they would decide what is considered a person with a disability. not the u.s., the u.n. would do that. so a lot of people with people with disabilities and family members with disabilities were very nervous what this ultimately was going to do was let the u.n. in countries with terrible human rights records decide who is disabled --
>> this is completely --
>> i don't know -- what would they do? would they go into the homes in pennsylvania or virginia, rick santorum 's house, go into where he teaches his kids -- use their helicopters from somewhere out of the country, coming -- how would they get into our country to do this stuff.
>> here is the problem with u.n. treaties. america lives up to their agreements and treaties.
>> you just shifted the argument. chris asked you a question. are they going to go into rick santorum 's house and tell him he can't home school his kids? no. no one thinks that.
>> i never said this was about home schooling .
>> george w. bush signed --
>> i want to give you a chance, john. effectively explain how the u.n. would intervene in the household or schooling matters affecting american citizens. how would they functionally do it? interfere.
>> if the u.s. signs a treaty , they're responsible for living up to that treaty and can enforce that treaty . what you're basically saying is why don't we sign the treaty and we'll just ignore it and hope other countries live up to it.
>> he doesn't have an answer, chris.
>> that's the answer. let me ask you this, why don't we do this --
>> i want to do him a favor. i want to endorse rick santorum for the republican nomination in 2016 .
>> i think you've been very clever there, john, to say some people think. do you think it?
>> i think --
>> do you fear u.n. hopes coming into our country?
>> it makes me very nervous when we take countries that have no beliefs in civil liberties , countries who are terrible on human rights and we say we're going to put you in charge of decisions --
>> that's not what it does. it forces them to live up to standards that we believe in.
>> no, it doesn't. where does it say in there the other countries will live up to our standards.
>> that's what the treaty does. it seds down standards.
>> it does not say --
>> john, happy holidays. bob shrum --
>> giving away all our power.
>> sometimes it comes down to how we look at the world. republicans made no secret to keep democrats from voting. is it possible those voter i.d. laws, the photo i.d. laws, actually encouraged african-americans among others to defy the gop and go out and vote. i kneel happened. i have heard that happened. let's hear about it. did it happen? did blacks and others say screw you, you're not going to stop me the from voting. let's find out how