Martin Bashir | November 12, 2012
>>> fresh off his electoral victory, the president now has exactly seven weeks from today to sell the nation on his plan to avoid the fiscal cliff. his bigger task, convince republicans in meetings this week that it is better to give than to receive when it comes to tax cuts . but that's just the start of it. leaders must also deal with the expiration dates on the alternative minimum tax, the payroll tax , and the extended unemployment benefits, and then there are those big cuts to defense and discretionary spending called sequestration. failure to adequately resolve these matters before january 1st would mean almost certain recession. however, unlike four years ago, some conservatives are sounding, well, down nbs right unconservative when it comes to working with the president.
>> let's have a serious debate. don't scream and yell about what one person says. it won't kill the country if we raise taxes a little bit on millionaires. it really won't. i don't understand why republicans don't take obama's offer to freeze taxes for everyone below $250,000, make it $1 million. really, the republican party is going to fall on its swords to defend millionaires half of whom voted democrat and half of whom live in hollywood .
>> jonathan, who was that man calling himself bill crystal. what have you done with him? unleash him. better yet, maybe keep him there and let this bill crystal come out. do you think more people are listening to him this time around with this kind of reasoned and balanced approach?
>> it sends a clear signal that republicans and conservative republicans have heeded the message from the american people from the election last week and that they want things to work here in washington and particularly they knew the president campaigned on raising taxes on the wealthy. people knew about it when they were exit polled. they said that they voted for the president and that they were fine with the president raising taxes on those making $250,000 a year or more. so the president has a lot of cards, but those cards diminish in value the longer this goes on, so don't be surprised if, you know, well, i won't be standing out here in december because it will be cold, but don't be surprised if you see the president saying, hey, congress, particularly lame duck congress, you're not leaving washington until we get a deal, until we get something that we can sign off on, get the -- do something for the american people by december 31st .
>> well, we got to carve that lame duck up to feed a lot more people. julian , this is what house speaker john boehner told politico the day before the election about whether president obama has a mandate on this issue. listen, our majority is going to get re-elected, we'll have as much of a mandate as he will to not raise taxes. what do you say to mr. boehner and his supposed mandate right now?
>> well, i think that he said that the election would be a mandate, it was, and he lost. and i think that the important point about the crystal comment is that there's now a wedge in the republican party that the president needs to exploit. there's a wedge between the realist wing and the kind of fa fantasy, childish wing. the realist wing understands the president has a mandate. democrats won the presidency and the senate. we won a majority -- we won the popular vote if you add up the house races as well. look, i think it's in both parties' interest to avoid the fiscal cliff. neither of them want it for a whole host of reasons, including it will be damaging to the economy. we learned recently that president obama in august of 2011 was kind of ready to do a nixon goes to china moment on entitlements and i think that's still on the table. have real entitlement reform. on taxes it's as bill clinton said. it's simple math. spending is at 24% of gdp . taxes are at about 15% of gdp right now. even the most conservative member of congress only proposes to bring spending down to say 20% or even 19% of gdp . you still have a 4% to 5% gap. that represents hundreds of billions of dollars that has to be made up. even if you assume growth could get back to 3%, that won't make up the gap. so taxes have to be on the table. there's no way to get around that if you want to actually deal with the fiscal crisis that we have. and what is most heartening to me is to learn today that the president is willing to take this show on the road, to go out into the states and make the case and actually reinforce that mandate he has and make republicans realize that those that want to work with him will be rewarded as people who are trying to solve people, those that want to obstruct will pay a political praice that they will feel at election time.
>> his opening act has got to be rick ross . these haters are not going to hold me back. some of the conservatives are trying to diminish his win last week. here is mr. anti-tax himself grover norquist .
>> just had an election and the house of representatives was elected committed to keeping taxes low. the president was committed -- elected on the basis that he was not romney and that romney was a poopy head and you should vote against romney . and he won by two points. but he didn't make the case that we should have higher taxes and higher spending.
>> mr. capehart, you're a real smart guy . do you think grover norquist has a mandate among republicans anymore?
>> right now, no. but as time goes along, he very well might. leave aside grover norquist 's very eloquent political analysis even though it's wrong. like i said before, the american people went into the voting booth on november 6th knowing exactly what president obama wanted to do in terms of taxing the wealthy. they support what he wants to do in terms of taxing the wealthy, and, you know, with the president leaving the white house and going out and trying to sell the american people , bring the american people along to put pressure on congress, he's taking a page out of his old playbook with the payroll tax cut. that's what he did to bring the republicans to heel on that issue and he's going to have to do it again and he is going to do it again on this issue. he has to.
>> all right.
>> you know, michael --
>> julian , this is a kobe buzzer beater. you have to get it in ten seconds.
>> well, look, i just think the president has to play a much tougher brand of politics this time around. i think this is a wonderful president. i think he's got to bring an element of ruthlessness into it. the fact he's taken this show on the road shows if there's a message in the second term it is no more mr. nice guy . i will work with you to solve problems but i'm not going to go more than 50% of the way if that.
>> sit in that chair that clint eastwood had empty. julian