Hardball | February 22, 2013
>>> tea party wars. let's play "hardball."
>>> good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. let me start tonight with the strange business on the right. one thing you could say in the old days about this country's right of center politics is that it was tightly organized. there were no huge wars separating the north from the south. the center right from the hard right. well, tonight as we end this week, the chasm today is deep, dark, and alarming. look at karl rove out there barking orders like someone has elected him ring master. look at newt gingrich out there blasting away at rove. consider the mayhem now afoot. the center right wants to bring discipline to the party . they're tired of losing elections they figured they were going to win. the hard right wants none of this proctoring. they want to run free wherever they want for whatever office they want. you have the gop big shots running the little people around and the little people in the party fracking the big shots . it's quite a show. joy reid is managing editor of the grio and david corn is washington bureau chief for mother joans. both are msnbc political analysts. and glad for that. let's talk a like at michael, a pretty smart guy used to write speeches for "w." the self-diagnosis is going on. we'll see what's going on. he wrote today, quote, the republican nominee mitt romney lost by 5 million votes to a beatable incumbent presiding over an anemic economy. the explanation is not purely technical or personalality oriented at the national level. republicans have a winning message for a nation that no longer exists. you got to start with this, joy. it's a well-crafted sentence. they have a winning message for a nation that no longer exists. in all fairness, they didn't know it existed until the day after the election, sometime around 9:00 at night when we all saw virginia looking close. what he, goes og on? it looks like a new country is voting here. they're still playing to the old country.
>> it's like they didn't get the message in 2008 . a lot of people on the right thought 2008 was basically a fluke, but what they have missed is the mi nofert --
>> didn't you worry it was?
>> actually, no, i thought barack obama was going to win to be honest with you. i didn't. because the thing is if you look at the trajectory of the minority share of the electorate, it's been growing by a pretty consistent 2% every four years. so if you look at the electorate when bill clinton got elected versus when ronald reagan got elected, the electorate has been changing for a very long time but the right didn't notice because they have been able to use these tricks to gin up their base and maximize their vote and they have always used the far right to do it. they get them excited over cultural issues --
>> what went wrong this time? for every african-american vote or latino vote you were going to lose a more conservative white person from say the southwest, but that doesn't exactly happen. the white vote sort of been up a bit for obama and then the african-american and the other minority votes zoomed.
>> and part of the problem is number one they have lost the cities. they're losing including the urban white vote, losing more educated white voters among with minority vote% and losing young voters. part of the problem is them. the messaging they use to gin up their base turns off obviously younger people, it turns off women, turns off minorities and this time they really got minute norths excited about voting. there was already loyalty to barack obama among african-americans but when you started doing voter i.d. and things to prevent people from voting that made that vote determined to come out as if it was 2008 .
>> this is the problem they have. the leadership, the michael gersons of the world, god bless them as joe biden would say, are alienated from the people who support the party , the people who vote for the party . we talked about this earlier this week.
>> the angry guy out in arizona.
>> with john mccain , the town hall meetings . there's a reason why a lot of more centrist or less yahoo republicans did not run for president last time. there was all the crazies and mitt romney and if you saw the people turning out, as we keep playing those clips from the republican debates , the audience was one that they don't care what michael gerson says about republicans need new poverty programs or new ways to structure the government to make it --
>> environmental programs.
>> environmental. they don't care. a lot of this for them is cultural. they want to go back to whatever they think the good old days were. they don't like the influx and rising --
>> you give advice to a guy like john mccain and you say, yeah, you have to become a little more today a little more open to the hispanic population in your own state, but the minute he does this happens. here he is at this town meeting . this is what happens when the republican party follows the vice of the thoughtful people like michael gerson . he's a former maverick taking on the current mavericks. let's watch.
>> why didn't the army go down there and stop them? because the only thing that stops them, i'm afraid to say and it's too damn bad, but is a gun. that's all that will stop them.
>> i remember when you were in bed with kennedy --
>> in bed with kennedy? thank you.
>> most of the people that come across the border are illiterate, they don't speak english and they're dependent class. we have a large group of dependent people that are going -- you want to make citizens that are going to be on medicare, they're going to be on welfare, they're going to be on food stamps .
>> again --
>> and you know it. what's going to happen --
>> again, sir, you're not telling these people the truth.
>> you said build the dang fence. where is the fence?
>> in case you missed it, i showed you --
>> that's not a fence.
>> that's not a fence? it's a banana. we put up a banana with $600 million worth of appropriations we have. sir, you're entitled to your opinion, you're not entitled to your facts.
>> well, there he is, joy, and david using words like bananas, an old joke. i don't think irony work was this crowd. number two, quoting the great pat moynihan of new york, you can tout your own opinion, not your facts. it doesn't work. they have a gut attitude that we're being overrun by illegal immigrants that are changing the culture of the south, they don't like it and they don't want to hear this quibbling about we're going to let them say here and all this. they really seem to think -- i wish there was somebody out there to talk like i talk. we've got an illegal immigrant problem. you want to deal with it, put it on paper and make it official. you want to come in this country, you got to go through the reasonable channels. you want to work here, go through reasonable channels. we'll give you a document and you'll get social security . but you have to have a work permit . they know that offends business so they talk about building walls and electrifying fences 20 feet high and you shall be killed if you touch this wire. the crazy kind of fascist talk they get into because they can't deal in reality. you may not be as conservative as i but i think there's a middle of the road position, joy, on immigration which is what every other country, including mexico, does. you can't come in the country without permission. that's the way countries are. it's the world we live in but they don't seem to want to approach it that way.
>> i love the clip you played. if you listen to that crowd and the audience, that's savage nation . that's limbaugh, beck. this is 30-something years of these guys being fed by the entertainment complex on the rights.
>> you think so?
>> i get --
>> do you think they were educated to those opinions?
>> i think it plays into already a feeling of sort of victimhood that the country is somehow being stolen out from under them.
>> that's rush.
>> that's been stoked by rush, stoked by these guys on talk radio saying these people are taking your country whether it's black people or brown people . i get e-mails from these people.
>> when your driving around and you're listening to rush and you hear him talk about femmei nazis and minorities like they're all stomping on the white man's grave and that nonsense. what is your reaction? do you think they're crazy, showmen, manipulators or do they really believe it?
>> i think they're using these people because that's the way they make money. they stoke these people's sense of victimhood. they feel their economic situation is worse than their parents'. they need somebody to blame and you have rush and beck and saarage saying do you know whose fault it is, it's those people getting in your schools. i get e-mails from these people saying, well all of you people, all you minorities are on welfare and then the thing is you played this piece of it, chris, real quick, where the guy threw back in john mccain 's face the build the dang fence because he did it, too. when he needed to get re-elected, he was willing to play that game and now it's coming back to bite him.
>> you're a sweetheart but why do you read these e-mails?
>> i can't resist.
>> you're such a nice person and you actually think you owe these crazy people that attack you racially -- you don't respond to them, do you?
>> no, i don't respond to them but sometimes you have to though what these people are thinking. they authentically think they're making an argument to me about why i'm wrong about policy by saying all minorities are on welfare. they have been fed this for some 30 years. this is their excuse for everything wrong in their lives.
>> it goes back to nixon's southern strategy that are friend pat buchanan tried to put in place. for eight years, 12 years now, these are karl rove 's people.
>> but the difference between pat -- let me defend pat. he's not here. the difference between pat and limbaugh, he's not selling it. he believes it. he believes everything he says.
>> but the thing is --
>> whether you like it or not.
>> i don't care whether glenn beck or rush limbaugh believe what they say or not. it's an interesting academic --
>> i do.
>> it's an interesting academic discussion. the outcome is the same. and you get these people riled up and now karl rove wants to try to put this angry jeanne back into the bottle and they're saying no --
>> you don't focus on integrity? i do. i know you do. it wasn't just john mccain who was the target. newt gingrich went after the architect himself karl rove in his efforts to recruit and back electable republicans as he put it. gingrich wrote this this week. this is gingrich by the way of all people saying i am unalterably opposed to a bunch of billionaires financing a boss to pick candidates in 50 states . this is the opposite of the republican tradition of freedom and grassroots small town conservatism. no one person is smart enough nor do they have the moral right to buy nominations -- this is adelson's best friend here. -- the system of tammany hall and the chicago machine . it should be repugnant to every conservative and every republican. this man is a walking etch-a-sketch. newt can't remember who newt was yesterday. wasn't he the guy with the bank roller from macao pouring in the millions of dollars to him so he could win the nomination?
>> the only reason he stayed in the republican proo marry as long as he did was because of a billionaire trying to pull a tammany hall with him. it's absolutely absurd. without irony he changes positions on this stuff because that's why he's newt gingrich i guess.
>> let's talk about what we want to focus on tonight.
>> it's passover.
>> it's almost like the first time i have seen turmoil on the right where you have a lot of almost literally kind of finger pointing where karl rove is being attacked by newt gingrich and they're all attacking. sort of the establishment crowd, the people that like to win every year and the people that don't care if they win as long as they make a lot of noise. they're fighting with each other. john bain ser almost irrelevant to this.
>> in the '90s we had house republicans turn on newt gingrich . there was almost a coup there.
>> they kicked him out. he forgot that.
>> they're a party on the outs and they have this tremendous division within the party ideologically, culturally and they can't all get together and say, okay, let's get marco rubio out there on immigration and it will solve our problems because you got the guys in arizona. they can't get out there and say, okay, let's do something reasonable on sequester because you have ted cruz and the tea party people saying we want to shut government down. rand paul wants to cut government by 20%, 30%.
>> you know what i saw last year at the convention down in tampa? i think we saw like the rock on top of the bug life. it covered it up. it was a boring convention. the democratic convention was really thrilling actually. but the republican convention was deadbeat and soggy and hot --
>> it was about papering off all this stuff.
>> they papered over with romney who was some ringer they wanted to run. they didn't love him, they didn't know him, they didn't care. they just wanted to hold it together and beat the guy they could beat. had they not beaten the guy that's easy to beat, they just fight with each other.
>> people like karl rove have been telling the bug life in the party for decades, listen, vent we're going to implement your beliefs, vote for us one more time. we'll outlaw abortion, deport all these illegal aliens , do all these things and they never follow through. george w. bush was a tremendous disappointment in that regard. he didn't implement any of this stuff. and i think that the base is fed up. they want their policies implemented. they're sick of being in the background and they're not going to shove them back in a closet as much as they probably want to at this point.
>> it's great having you on joy. thank you, david corn . congratulations on hubris monday night.
>>> coming up look who is becoming the face for gun safety . he wants to teach jill how to use a shotgun. it's almost that funny. serious business here. to fight guns, you have to be for guns. he's laying the groundwork perhaps for 2016 . he's the regular guy with a shotgun.
>>> republican governors are quietly buying into the obama care plan to increase medicaid coverage. many have loudly opposed the plan in the past, especially florida's rick scott . well, he's on board tonight and tonight the man scott replaced and who might replace him, charlie crist is come on.
>>> what are you doing sunday night in probably watching the oscars. this year's movie are filled with political overtones and who better to tee up the big night than the iconic host of inside the actor's studio james lipton ? he's coming here.
>>> finally, it's a right wingers dream. u.s. congressman louis gohmert has figured out a way for americans to keep their guns and prevent the establishment of an islamic caliphate in the old u.s. of a. he's got it all figured. a unitaryian theory for all problems. this is "hardball," the place for politics. i'd like