Martin Bashir | November 14, 2012
>>> it appears a week is a long time in the week of republicans. despite waking up to the news of an emphatic win for the president. some say the president has no mandate to speak of. the man on tuesday laid down harsh truths just a few hours ago.
>> i've got a man to help middle class families and families that are working hard to try to get in the middle class . that's my mandate. that's what the american people said. they said, work really hard to help us.
>> for more now we turn to dana milbank , a political columnist for washington post , and michelle cottle. welcome to you both. dana , on the planet republican, john boehner was just re-elected to the speakership. he seems to think with his re-election comes the bigger mandate. is he serious? does he even have a mandate among hits own house republicans?
>> i'm sure the voters of john boehner 's district near cincinnati, ohio, do -- have given him a mandate to do exactly what he's doing. but he needs to represented the entire country when he's speaker of the house .
>> oh, yes. cue remind him of that?
>> there has to be a little bit of a game going on after the election. as both sides lay out their positions here. the president, i think, was doing some justifiable chest-thumping today saying, look, guys, i won this election last week. he's not budging on his position. it appears, as a matter of policy, the republicans are at least showing some indication to move, even while attempting to rhetorically deny the president this mandate.
>> that's a contortion. paul ryan is leading the charge. here he is about his own shellacking.
>> you don't think there's a mandate?
>> i don't, because they would have put nancy pelosi in charge of the house of representatives . these ideas we're talking about are popular ideas.
>> these ideas we talked about, i think they're popular ideas. they were so popular, michelle , he lost the presidential election , he lost his home state of wisconsin, he even lost his hometown of janesville, but he says he has a mandate.
>> look, mr. ryan has visions of 2016 dancing in his head. he can't admit that what he's based his entire legislative career on, this budget plan of his s a loser. he has also made noises, as dana points out, he wants to be part of the solution going forward. he's going to be a little more conciliatory than they have been in the past if they want to get anything done. because the republicans don't want this fiscal cliff bomb to go off, because then their priorities are going to be in the firing line.
>> you could have fooled me, michelle . when i listened to him giving an interview to abc news and he says i don't believe in raising any taxes, does that sound like a man who's prepared to compromise?
>> but he has said that he thinks that revenues can be dealt with. and really, it doesn't really matter what paul ryan thinks by himself. i mean, we're going to get in there with all of the republicans and democrats together and the president's going to make his case. he has a much stronger bargaining position than he did a couple weeks ago.
>> yes, indeed, because he actually won the election. dana , you recently wrote that the gop is going through the kubler-ross five stages of grief. i know it's still early for them but they seem permanently stuck in denial. what else needs to happen for them to realize that grover norquist actually did not contest last week's election and the people have spoken?
>> well, it's not just denial, martin. there's a lot of anger as well.
>> of course.
>> there's a certain amount of depression. what we're not seeing at all at this stage is acceptance. and i think you have more of that going on. we do seem to see a little bit of the bargaining stage of grief here but not nearly enough of that. you know, paul ryan , as i think we've discussed, he objected the bowles/simpson plan said i want to take this to the people and let the people decide in the election. the people decided in the election. he can't have it both ways. you think he would want to honor that result.
>> that's a good and hopeful wish. michelle , when romney's economic adviser says average rates on the rich need to go up, when bill kristol tells republicans, don't fall on your sword over the bush tax cuts , does that suggest mandate or no mandate?
>> it suggests that even the republican party itself is very, very nervous about where it has landed. and everyone who isn't paul ryan or a lot of his house colleagues who are kind of still fighting that last battle, they're really looking for the party to do some soul searching and figure out a way that they can come up with an agenda that people will like. otherwise, they're going to find themselves doing this again in two years.
>> back to you, dana . we know that, as i said earlier, mr. boehner has been ee re-elected. what about mitch mcconnell . he sounds as object strucktive as he has over the last four years. what's going to happen to him?
>> i went to his photo op yesterday where he unveiled new members of the republican freshman class. they could have had that in a broom closet because there were only three of them and they were sitting there nodding their heads and grinning for the cameras. is he going to play the bad cop here. i mean, boehner at some point is going to be in a position of actually having to lead. mcconnell can still be, because he's in the minority, can still be -- well, he can't make it his top priority to defeat obama but he can make it a top priority to defeat all of obama's policies.
>> wouldn't it be great if they actually worked together?
>> it's important to keep in mind john boehner is an old school guy willing to cut deals and be reasonable and compromise. now, the question is whether or not with eric cantor and the rest of the leadership kind of eyeing him how far he'll be able to go. but boehner is a more reasonable guy in these situations.
>> let's look for the ghost of eric cantor . dana milbank and michelle cottle, thank you