Hardball | February 21, 2013
>>> not unusual to hear someone say the republican party has become to extremely and unwilling to compromise. millions of voters said that on election day . but when an elected republican off holders says it it's news. enter virginia 's lieutenant governor bow billing. he said not every government program is bad and not everyone who receives a public benefit is a free loader . it's just a challenging time for the republican party when a conservative mainstream guy like me doesn't really feel comfortable with his party. the party has moved too far and it's become too extreme and too ideological. that's from the lieutenant governor of virginia . that's comments don't seem as surprising when learn bill bolling is considering a run as an independent. right now former clinton adviser teri mcauliffe is tied with virginia attorney general ken cuccinelli at 38% even. if bolling runs as an independent, he starts out with 13% to start with and could go higher, of course, much higher. but what makes his remarks so remarks is he's saying the republican party is becoming too extreme for even conservative republicans. tom davis is a former u.s. congressman from virginia who also ran the republican congressional campaign committee, and chris cillizza is managing editor of post politics.com and an msnbc political analyst . i want to go to chris for the tight political analysis right now. this guy bolling gave a great interview to the post and just to put it in context, he slam banged his republican party as everything you hear on this show a lot of times. too far over, too intransigent, everything bad, won't negotiate, won't do anything for the country. is that to set himself up as a centrist or slightly center right candidate as a general election independent candidate or is that just what he believes and he's angry?
>> well, look, i take him at his word. i'm not going to question his motives. i think --
>> that's all we do here. go ahead.
>> i think it is what he probably believes. 's more establishment guy but context matters. look, this is a guy who in 2009 got pushed out of the race for governor by bob mcdonnell because bob mcdonnell was more conservative and better positioned to win the race. he stepped aside with the expectation from everyone in the republican party that in 2013 he'd be the guy. well, among comes ken cuccinelli and the reality is it's a convention there, a very small group of people, activists, conservatives by and large that pick the nominee. even in a primary i'm not sure bill bolling beats ken cuccinelli . so i think some of it is that he's kind of angry at the way in which his political fortunes have played themselves out but i think part of it, too, is an expression of the kind of establishment for lack of a better word within the republican party who looks at some of the folks in a more conservative wing and says these folks are pushing us to a place that is going to get us losing elections, never getting the hispanic vote, and going to relegate us to minority party status nationally for the future and we got to speak out. so i think it's a little bit of what he plefs and a little bit of his own circumstances that have made him more willing to speak ut 37.
>> i always see you as more of a middle of the road republican. the question is what happened to your state and you may lose an easy one. you could beat terry mcauliffe . he's a democrat.
>> should beat him. nine straight times our governor has come from the opposite party of the president. right now it's a close race but if history is any judge, republicans should win it.
>> they tend to reverse.
>> these are nationalized elections for governor. and mcdonnell has problems with his thesis. it just didn't take. voters were more interested in taking a message to washington. that's been the repeated theme in virginia gubernatorial races. ?
>> i keep thinking it'squestion of politic s. to go to your intensive hardline base risking losing some of the softer republicans in the middle and independents but knowing your crowd will show up or you bring on a guy that's considered too watery a republican or democrat and risking the fact your base won't show up.
>> i think the calculation this time is the fact that this is an off-year election and you want to intensify your base and bring it out in virginia .
>> because it's not the general electorate.
>> if everybody shows up, we know there are more democrats than republicans. obama has proven that twice. but if you look at the off-year turnout models, it's been much more republican.
>> so work your base hard makes sense. so kuch nellie makes more sense. for you that's an odd thing to say. i'm just talking about the raw political calculation. you still need to holgd your party together. the last poll only showed 3% of republicans defecting. there will be so much money going back and forth.
>> how does this vaginal thing, that crazy thing about requiring things to have abortion how is that working in this state?
>> i'm sure it's going to be in a lot of tv ads but kuch nellie didn't vote on that. he was the attorney general but a lot of legislators will have to defend that.
>> bill bolling also told the post, the lieutenant governor of virginia who says he's not going to run in the primary, it seems these day that is caroms is a four-letter word in many people's eyes. they view it as a signs of weakness but in real it's the essence of a workable democracy. chris , you and i cover this all the time. he's talking the way the most middle of the road journalists call it, not knocking the right but saying you have to be able to negotiate. if you don't compromise on a lot of middle of the road things how are you going to get anything done? obviously there's some things you will never compromise on.
>> and, chris , i would say -- i actually think take immigration and marco rubio . marco rubio is not a guy i think most people would describe as a centrist moderate but this is a guy who on immigration is saying, look, i understand that there's a part of the party that's never going to be happy with any kind of path to citizenship, but we have to come together at some point on some of these big issues if we're going to move forward as a country. so i actually think it's beyond just kind of the jon huntsmans and michael bloombergs of the world. i think haley barbour the former mississippi grve and republican national chairman has said, look e we're going to have to find some common ground . may not like obama and where we stand on the issue but we have to find some common ground just to move the country forward and keep us sort of viable in the world of economy.
>> chris , i think you're more hopeful than me. i think the hard right being hard right, i watch that scened in ast the other day, i think those people standing up to a guy like john mccain showed the republican party is definitely ruled almost by its hardest right, the hardest right seems to scare everybody else out. i have yet to hear an elected office official take on rush limbaugh ever on any issue. it's still the hard right that makes the noise. thank you. not thom davis, not a member of the hard right.
>>> up next, republicans have been trying to to make it harder for minorities to vote and now the supreme court of the united states is considering whether a key part of the 1965 voting rights act should be struck down. that's section five. that's the one that makes every state check out any changes in its election law with the justice department . this is "hardball," the place for politics. i'd