Martin Bashir | November 20, 2012
>>> they voted for --
>> 30,000 --
>> they voted for the fact --
>> what did they vote for, juan?
>> i just told you.
>> but it played a large part, cultural identification played a large part.
>> this was about money.
>> that was mr. bill o 'reilly desperately trying to get his guests to repeat what he and mitt romney firmly believe, that this election was about the takers and not the makers. sadly, they wouldn't follow his lead. in fact, most republicans have run away from these comments, which is exactly why we must applaud mr. o'reilly because the only other place that you're going to hear republicans express their true feelings about half the country is at fund-raising dinners that cost about $50,000 a plate and often take place in boca. for more now we're joined from tucson, arizona, by jared bernstein, stormer economic advi adviser to the vice president and dana milbank , a political columnist for "the washington post ". jared , if i might begin with you, we don't have time to explain why most civilized countries prefer a progressive system of taxation but haven't they got this upside down? because it was mitt romney who was offering the most free stuff in the form of huge tax breaks and tax cuts for the rich. is that not right?
>> you know, you're absolutely right, and one of the kind of impressive things to me about this election was the extent to which his supply side trickle down 20% across the board tax cuts were soundly rejected by a majority of the electorate and even a larger majority in exit polls understood that that's not the way forward. too often we have these discussions about taxes. they're not actually thinking what tacks do in civilized societies. as you mentioned, other countries have figured this out, and we can't afford to fall behind. have you tried to travel around this country lately and looked at the state of our national infrastructure? you think about retirement security. you think about the need for children to have help against disadvantages, getting to school and accessing higher education . so i like to think -- i thought dana captured the spirit in his piece today, that the kind of grover norquist pledge mentality is really on the run right now. now, i wouldn't say that he's down and out. the guy is slippery, but this idea that you can have asymmetric tax policy , it always goes down, never goes up, is not consistent with modern economies.
>> dana , if you can control the size of your head so that it doesn't get too big, you write about the king of tax cuts in your latest piece. i agree, it is magnificent. you speak of grover norquist . he's convinced the president has no mandate to raise taxes on the wealthy. for instance, here is what he told chuck todd at a forum just last thursday. take a listen, dana .
>> did win this debate, did he not?
>> he didn't win the debate?
>> no. he won the presidency.
>> in other words, dana , the president znd win the debate, only the consolation prize called the presidency. what's your assessment of mr. norquist's political acumen post election?
>> gentlemen, i'm blushing from your phrase but the truth is grover norquist make this is extremely easy. he's a one- trick pony . i knew exactly what he's going to say because it's the exact same thing he was saying before the election when he predicted with confidence that mitt romney would win, republicans would take the senate, we would almost instantly have the paul ryan budget implemented with all of the entitlement reforms. now he's carrying right on saying, in fact, the republicans are in a stronger position today and government is on the run more than ever before. look, he has to do this to kind of keep his troops in line. his troops largely being the house republicans . but i heard from republicans on the senate side who are saying, you know, grover is really no longer speaking for the party here. something really has changed and i think this is a rear guard action he's doing to just kind of slow down the pace of the retreat.
>> the thing about it is i have never blamed grover by himself. i mean, he's an opportunistic lobbyist. the people who you kind of blame here are the ones who sign away their democratic, you know, job really by signing the pledge, and when you hear that some of those folks are starting to really back off and do so publicly, that's a very good sign, martin.
>> yeah. one almost wonders what on earth they were doing being elected in the first place. was their fealty and commitment and allegiance to the nation or was it to grover norquist .
>> exactly right. the idea that this guy has had our fiscal policy hamstrung, it's not just him. it's a -- i think a very wrong-headed approach to fiscal policy that has persuavaded the republican party for years. when you hear john boehner and mitch mcconnell say we recognize there needs to be new revenues in the deal, that's big.
>> very briefly, dana , does grover norquist though still frighten some members of the house?
>> oh, he frightens a whole lot of them. that's the thing. there's two-thirds, three-quarters, maybe more of that caucus are the conservative republicans , and jared is right. the problem isn't grover norquist per se . he's an entertaining, happy warrior. the problem is there are people who are following this. there's always going to be a guy like that. the problem is how much power he is.
>> the thing about grover is he's going to march in front of the parade. what matters is whether he's going to have troops behind him and some of those troops are peeling off.
>> let's hope so. jared and dana millback, thank you, gentlemen,