Martin Bashir | June 20, 2012
>> professor james peterson , associate professor of english at lehigh university . dana milbank is i columnist for the " washington post " and crystal ball is a democratic strategist. while we await representative issa's contempt vote, dana , i want to get your considered opinion about what we're seeing on capitol hill . you've been at the hearing, have you not?
>> i was for a long part of it, but not the entirety of it because of course, every member has to get in his or her five-minute speech even though we know exactly what the outcome is and that's all the republicans votes for this contempt vote and all the democrats vote against it. and nothing happens because the guy in charge of enforcing this vote answer holder is eric holder .
>> so the point of this exercise is what, please, dana ? aside from a witch hunt ?
>> it's going to shock you, martin, to know that there's an election coming up and this is a time when they have these fights. they're not fighting about the underlying issue in this fast and furious program within the department of justice . they're fighting about what happened after this program was canceled. so it gives you an idea of what it's all about.
>> what do you this is all about, crystal?
>> you can't even say it's election year politics because the republicans have been hounding this thing for over a year now. the entire right wing media propaganda empire has seized on this because president obama , his administration has been remarkably scandal free really. so they've been trying with solyndra, with " fast and furious " to get something going. the irony here is because of when the thing is actually coming to a head, it is distracting from what should really be their core mess and right now when economic numbers are slipping and people are feeling increasingly nervous about our prospect foz jobs.
>> professor peterson, there are some people who are saying that this is an issue of race for many republicans. they see this as an opportunity to attack a black president through a black attorney general. how do you see it?
>> well, it's hearty think to get away from some of those conversations but i think some of this is just policy oriented, as well. remember the attorney general has done a lot of things that are really, really important to folk on the left like addressing sentence disparities. they've been very aggressive in terms of prosecuting the stand your ground challenges in florida. obviously, this is a department of justice that those on the right do not like. this is wear that i of attacking and wrestling with that problem.
>> indeed. dana , let's turn if we can for a moment to the race for cash. republicans criticize the president every day for fund-raising with people like sarah jessica parker and george clooney while karl rove and others plan to attends a posh fund-raiser in deer valley this weekend. take a look at this invitation to a july 8th lunch with mitt romney and special guest, the scintillating majority leader eric cantor at the creeks, a mansion in the hamptons. also attending new york jets owner woody johnson and the billionaire co-founder of the blackstone group steve schwartzman. do you think they'll all jump into a ja cue zif cash in the hamptons?
>> you may have a lot of people pay twice as much if they don't have to go and listen to a speech from cantor. it's not terribly surprising that a democrat is going to always be accused of being close to hollywood and that's where most of hollywood 's money is going to go. but this is how the game is played. you know, the romney super pacs just crowing about how it brought in $5 million including a lot from the wall street just this last month. and you know, this is how you have to do it. whether you're mitt romney or you're obama and you're going to have to raise money by the hundreds of millions of dollars.
>> crystal to that point, isn't this what the 2012 election is going to be known as, the moment when the billionaire donors, the super pacs basically the whole process was soaked in cash? and frankly, it's mitt romney who is the beneficiary of most of it.
>> yeah, that's right. i actually hope that that's how this election is viewed because maybe if people see it that way and are upset enough about it, then they will actually make a change, force a change because heaven knows , the change is not going to come from the top down on cash and elections. it has to come from people being so upset about that they force a change. one thing i will say about the hollywood elite supporting the president, you know, at least they're sort of up front about what they want to see happen. and they're actually supporting him against their own economic self-interests whereases are most of romneys supporters are looking at this as essentially a business investment, a way to put some cash down to lower their own taxes.
>> romney 's going to lower taxes and eviscerate the safety net and that will suit them. that's an important distinction. dr. peterson, you've been reporting is repeatedly and writing on the " huffington post " about your anxieties about the way this whole process is being bought by republicans particularly. does that continue to be the theme here?
>> it does. one, crystal ace absolutely right. there's no equivalency between hollywood money and the money romney has access to. i want to know who are the guys who are going to pay $25,000 to be in a picture with him and eric cantor ? that to me strikes me as being very, very strange thing to pay for. what's really, really serious here, martin, we've got to reclaim our political processes from the decision of citizens united . i know we say it all the time. that's just because we want to raise awareness amongst voting populace we've got to dismantle citizens united as soon as possible. the slippery slope we're on is a pathway to hell in terms of american politics .