Hardball | January 07, 2013
>>> might have thought the north and south battles had been fought and one but in today's republican party the rural conservative southern wing of the party seems to be taking down the northeastern republicans . you saw the fight break out in the delay over hurricane sandy relief funding. take a look at how the fiscal cliff vote broke down by region. the fiscal cliff vote. john writes about it in the in you republic. i love these numbers. all in all, 85 republicans voted for the senate resolution and 151 voted against it. the opposition was centered in the old south, southern republicans opposed the measure by 83 to 10. 83 to 10 do down south. the delegations from alabama, mississippi, georgia, virginia, and tennessee, and south carolina were unanimously opposed. in the east, the northeast , house republicans were 24 to 1 in favor, with new york and pennsylvania unanimous. well, the danger for the gop is it's becoming a religious sectional ultra conservative party great at winning and holding gerrymandered seats but too willing to sacrifice entire regions of the country. former congress chris shays is a republican from connecticut and howard fineman is editorial director of "the huffington post " as well as an msnbc political analyst and our pal and my pal. look, chris shays , it's great to have you on because you have always been my notion of a reasonable moderate republican from the moderate reasonable part of the country meaning connecticut . see how i warm you up here? now my question is why have you guys been abandoned by the southern crowd? it's almost like the civil war went the other way and the south somehow took over the party of lincoln, not that there's anything wrong with the south, but it's certainly made your party in a right wingish party .
>> well, we're not going to be a national party of social conservatives basically destroyed any possibility of people in the northeast from getting elected who are republicans . it's just not going to happen. it's not the fiscal side that's of concern to people up north. it's their social agenda, which has nothing to do with running the country.
>> did you ever read the republican platform this year? you ran for office this year. did you take a look at some of the stuff in there about outright --
>> chris , you know that no congressman ever has read the platform whether they're conservative or liberal. it's the most irrelevant document, but ultimately it can hurt some people who, you know, when others read it. it doesn't tell us how to vote. it's useless.
>> i read it once in a while with great pleasure because it's so absurd. it is. howard fineman , i don't know who these turkeys are that write this thing. totally against same-sex marriage even though the country has moved that direct direction. i think they're practically against contraception.
>> and against abortion rights . to give you an example of what's happened, i'm sure chris knows about this, in new hampshire there was a staunch but moderate republican family named the mcclain's. there was malcolm and susan. they were big supporters of george h.w. bush . the thornburgs, the bushes, you name it. that old crowd --
>> wait a minute.
>> that old crowd from new england, specifically new hampshire which is important in presidential politics . when president bush flipped his position on abortion and went the pro-life route they had a falling out with h. wmpl. they became democrats, their daughter, susan mcclain custer, was elected to congress as a democrat from an old line, 100-year-old republican family but as a democrat because of abortion rights , because of feminism, because of gay rights , because of adoption. you name it. it's what chris says. it's the social issues in particular that have really cleved the party in half.
>> congressman, i want you to look at the old ad. talk about regional politics. back in 1964 the lyndon johnson campaign ran this ad against barry goldwater who was openly disdainful of easterners. it's a funny ad. i hope you can imagine it. we're looking at it. zbroo in a saturday evening post article, barry goldwater said sometimes i think this country would be better off if we could just saw off the eastern seaboard and let it float out to sea. can a man who makes statements like this be expected to serve all the people justly and fairly? vote for president johnson on november 3rd . the stakes are too high for you to stay home.
>> here we are --
>> he was not a social conservative .
>> but here we are today with the northeast , i mean, we look at the fight over hurricane sandy and all the loud noise we heard from people like peter king and all saying, wait a minute, you guys, we're part of the party . we're getting treated like you treated katrina now. excuse me, no the that bad.
>> wasn't that $60 billion and shouldn't they have taken this step by step and not passed $60 billion?
>> well, maybe that's a more fiscally conservative argument but the message in the new york daily news, new york headlines called attention to the sandy funding. we're talking politics here, congressman. in the new york daily news, headline, stabbed in the back, new york polls blast sandy betrayer boehner . and "the new york times" had --
>> you know what --
>> look at this stalling of storm aid makes northeast republicans furious. you weren't one of them?
>> no. well, let me put it this way. i was unhappy that boehner didn't respond to the governor. he should have said, you know what? we're going to deal with this step by step and in the first week of the new congress we'll get it done. but we're not going to pass the $60 billion bill. that would have been a responsible way i think to communicate that.
>> remember jerry ford losing a goes collection to jimmy carter after the headline ran, ford in new york drop dead .
>> part of this is pure polite politeness but politeness relates to political power and tribal allegiance. john boehner didn't feel on the night of the big fiscal cliff vote either the energy or the responsibility or the sense of family ties , if you will, to the northeast republicans to make the kind of explanation that chris shays is talking about. he just blew them off. and that sent a big message --
>> that may be more of the story --
>> the more to the story may be john was concerned he wouldn't even get 85 votes to get this bill passed if he had included the northeast aid. i mean, we just don't know certain things that were happening --
>> but he didn't say anythi of that on that night. my point was he didn't care enough --
>> i bet --
>> i want to go --
>> -- about conversations he had with the president and so on. i happen to think john boehner is -- deserves more credit than he's getting.
>> i like boehner , too, but i think he's overwhelmed by the right. we grew up in a country where there was claf ford case from new jersey, hugh scott in pennsylvania , schweiker from pennsylvania and you can wiker from connecticut and ed brook from massachusetts and up and down the -- all these republicans from the northeast . they're blown away. the only person left i think is susan collins now. so what's wrong? what happened to the republican party of the northeast ? the people watching tv right now, by the way.
>> we have to be a party that focuses on the issues that bind us together, and they're not the social issues. . a national party has got to give a member of congress or the senate the ability to represent their constituency and a party that denies them that opportunity, they're not going to get elected.
>> chris , you can't overstate the problem the republican party has with women voters. new hampshire used to be --
>> i know you can't.
>> four male republicans --
>> credit to the senator in indiana, the candidate, and our candidate in missouri. they were just deadly. our brand is hurting badly.
>> and the worst thing that could happen this election was the joke that said when you say the rape candidate you have to say in that campaign which one, the missouri one or the indiana one? thank you chris shays . it was that bad. you'll be back. thank you, chris shays .
>> god bless .
>>> up next, why does iowa congressman steve king of all people keep pushing a bill to change the constitution when he's failed at it each time. he's trying to get rid of the 14th amendment . this is "hardball," the place