Hardball | January 23, 2013
>>> we, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths that all of us are created equal is the star that guides us still just as it guided our forebearers through seneca falls and selma, and stonewall.
>> new polling on this. welcome back to "hardball." that was president obama monday a couple days ago at his inaugural address . it was lines like that one that has defeated the right. anyway, it's got the defeated right braying about mr. obama 's so-called liberal manifesto. how out of the mainstream he is. when you look at polls lately the more you can argue he's moving with public opinion . let's go to the evidence starting with gay marriage . here's what the president said.
>> our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law. for if we are truly created equal , then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.
>> kind of the black church sound there. i love when he does that on a big platform. anyway, is that out of the mainstream? according to our nbc poll last month, a clear majority 51% say they favor same-sex marriage. next, immigration. here is the president on monday.
>> our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see america as a land of opportunity. until bright young students and engineers are listed in our workforce rather than expelled from our country.
>> was that out of the mainstream no? 52% believe they should be allowed to have status. many were surprised with this one. look at what he said.
>> we will respond to the threat of climate change knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations. some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avod the devastating impact of raging fires and crippling drought and more powerful storms 37.
>> well, how about that? was that out of the mainstream? a poll by the associated press and gfk last month showed 78% of americans believe temperatures have gone up worldwide in the past century. and lastly, government programs. president obama took a shot at republicans when he said this about entitlements.
>> the commitments we make to each other through medicare and medicaid and social security , these things do not zap our initiative. they strengthen us. they do not make us a nation of takers. they free us to take the risks that make this country great.
>> i'll take that poll. the public's predominantly in favor here. when we polled on medicare, 54% said it only needed minor modifications if anything. joining us daifld corn and michael sheir. gentlemen, thank you. i didn't know this until you put it all together. i have a sense that on the right if you're a moderate positions like these polls say, you're considered a liberal. if you're in the middle, the right sees you as the left. it's true. what do you think?
>> well, i think the right is screaming that this is a liberal speech which should come as no surprise. barack obama has always been a progressive democrat . a pragmatist as a government manager, but progressive in his values.
>> i know you're on the progressive side. would you call his speech out of the mainstream on the left side?
>> no. i would say he was putting forward the most popular elements of the progressive tradition. which is a safety net , having government invest in the economy, build fracture of the highway system like eisenhower did. i think they're more liberal and mainstream than they've been because the right has moved so far to the right they don't want to see government doing anything. and that's not -- i don't think that's what the --
>> and this is a nonpartisan assessment. the democratic party is where they've always been. in some cases moderate than others. the republican party , however, has moved from a center right party i believe towards the rightist party much more so.
>> over the last few years. it's also true this speech represented a shift for obama . just a few months ago he was in ohio competing with mitt romney who could love coal more. he wasn't talking about gun control during the campaign. now he's talking about gun control . he's started spinning forward.
>> he never played the luddite role. romney talked about switching positions. went from a guy saying of course there's global warming problems to i don't believe it. right? that was a battle on the campaign between a guy who believed in global warming and a guy who denied it.
>> well, he denied whether man had a role. he said there is global warming . he never did. but he did --
>> he didn't push the buttons, no.
>> and on this he's not saying exactly what he's going to do. he's still burned on taking the votes on global warming before the 2010 elections. a lot of people lost their seats in part because of that. i'm curious to see how he moves this forward. there's no big --
>> a couple things now that are going to be very tough if you're a progressive. guns is always tricky business because they keep records who voted against them. and this issue of climate. because i look at states like kentucky, west virginia , western pennsylvania .
>> sure. you have democrats --
>> that's tough.
>> but michael 's right in one sense. that this speech was about emphasizing. he didn't flip on any issues. what he said in the speech he said in the past. but he spoke a lot to his own people. when he said seneca falls , stonewall, and selma, those are -- you know, i don't want to say they're buzz words or code words but basically to his own base saying, listen. the next four years i'm going to fight hard for the things we collectively believe in. and we may get imperfect results, but this is what i'm going to try to do.
>> here's where i think he was probably outside the mainstream. if you listen to the president, he never really brought up debt problems. the concerns that most americans do feel we have a problem. we have $16 trillion in debt now. they are worried because they see what happened in greece and portugal and ireland and all those places. they are worried. as a progressive, he didn't get that.
>> he also barely mentioned jobs which i thought was stunning. and because he just won an election on jobs. everyone agrees that election was about jobs.
>> why didn't he bring up jobs?
>> because it's not something he can really do much about given the current congressional makeup. and this was a base rallying speech. this was a speech to say to the people who elected him this is not like it was in 2009 . i'm your guy now. we need to storm the castle. where in 2009 democrats controlled the congress and he was about negotiating with his own party.
>> also he had some hope to use the word, that you could come up with bipartisan solutions. you could work with this congress. particularly when the economy was in free fall and you'd say okay let's get together and do some of the things that republicans and democrats have always agreed to. i think four years later he certainly is a lot wiser on that front.
>> you have a sense in the last couple days, michael you too, that republicans are beginning to recognize they're off base. maybe he judged too early the notion he couldn't deal with these guys.
>> he'll deal with them but he thinks he only way is to bring a gun to the gun fight . he wants to play this as an outside game mobilizing the country. he's not willing to play an inside game where he looks like he's part of the problem again. so he's positioning himself. i think he will come to the table on immigration.
>> i think republicans are cracking.
>> but i think keeping the pressure on is essential. because what are the republicans doing now in the house? they're attacking the senate. because they realize that obama has mobilized part of the public against them and --
>> the only way we're going to get gun control is going to be about background checks . it's going to come through the senate. got to stick his neck out and do something on background checks right away. thank you david corn and michael scher.
>>> up next, why does the gop, the guns over the people party, keep saying crazy things about president obama 's modest gun safety proposals? the president's trying to do the reasonable thing yet the people on the nra right are going nuts over this. they're armying up for the final struggle against the government, the elected government. this is "hardball," the place for politics. -max hybrid.