Martin Bashir | November 30, 2012
>>> a happy friday to all of you and we begin with a man that one losing presidential candidate calls santa claus but we refer to as the president of the united states visiting a toy factory outside of philadelphia. the president, who toured the land of tinker toys and angry birds, had a dual purpose. first, promoting american-made products, and then in between a few jokes made at the expense of his vice president, he delivered a stern message to congressional republicans who are in danger of spoiling christmas for everyone.
>> if congress does nothing h every family in america will see their income taxes automatically go up on january 1st . i'm assuming that doesn't sound too good to go. that's sort of like the lump of coal you get for christmas . that's a scrooge christmas .
>> but you forget, mr. president, republicans like coal. in fact, moments after that speech, house speaker john boehner emerged with his own unique brand of humbug.
>> there's a stalemate. let's not kid ourselves. i'm not trying to make this more difficult. if you've watched me over the last three weeks, i have been very a guarded in what i have to say.
>> now, now, now, you know how this works. santa doesn't bring you anything unless you write down specifically what you want, something republicans patently refuse to do. instead, mr. boehner fell back on a plan that he keeps trotting out and that americans keep voting down.
>> well, you can look at our budget from the last two years and there are plenty of specific proposals, most of which were part of the conversation that the president and i had two years ago or a year and a half ago.
>> oh, yes. the paul ryan budget . because what better to bring good tidings of comfort and joy than balancing tax cuts for the rich on the backs of intitlement cuts for the working poor . mind you, that's actually a healthier reaction than that of mr. boehner 's colleague in the senate, mitch mccandle, who repo reportedly laughed at the president's budget . at least he doesn't invoke the civil war . yes, the american civil war , when talking budget cuts.
>> it's not just a bad deal. this is really an insulting deal. what geithner offered, what you showed on the screen, robert e. lee was offered easier terms at appomattox and he losted the civil war .
>> now, now, now, charles, that's not very christmassy of you. we don't mind if you wrap yourself to the flag, just make sure it's the one with 50 stars on it. dr. james peterson is a contributor to thegrio.com and robert reich is former labor secretary a and a professor and the author of "beyond outrage," now available in paperback. welcome to both of you. dr. peterson , i could have sworn we had an election earlier this month, but today i saw the president having to go on the road again to fight a republican who points to the ryan budget plan as his compromising answer to the deficit. did i dream that the election ever happened?
>> you didn't dream it. let's hope that the amnesia will stay limited to the republican leadership in congress and, listen, i don't think that these guys will be able to sing the same tune once we sort of go off the fiscal curb here because once this discussion changes to do you want to vote for a tax cut for 98% of americans , i think that's where president obama will have more leverage in some of thots discussions. it's a shame we can't move beyond the gridlock.
>> but dr. peterson , i have just heard speaker boehner say look at the last two years. look at the ryan budget , which, of course, in neither of the two years received a single vote by democrats.
>> well, listen, like joy reid on this network has said, hopefully mr. boehner will be able to sing a different tune once the tea party caucus is more di anyone initiminished and his speakership is re-established on january 3rd . my sense is going off the fiscal slope or curve or cliff is probably the best case scenario for president obama .
>> professor reich , the president has offered a mix of taxes and spending cuts in his plan. mr. boehner responded with the ryan budget five minutes after saying they wanted a bipartisan solution. have they put any thought whatsoever into any of this? what have they been doing on all their days off.
>> i don't think they've been doing anything but licking their wounds. basically the republicans are hunkered down. they don't seem able or willing to come up with any compromise, any genuine compromise, they haven't for the entire administration up until now. why should we suppose they're going to do so right at this moment? it's a lame duck congress . anybody who thinks this congress is going to come up with and the republicans in this congress are going to come up with some solution doesn't understand the republican house of represent at thises and doesn't under ducks.
>> to that point, 114 million americans will see their taxes go up in four weeks. i mean, you say this is a lame duck congress , but there was an election and there is an impending cliff.
>> well, i understand that, martin, and you understand that, and democratsened that, and the president understand that, but for some reason the fact of the lex and the fact of the fiscal cliff don't seem to penetrate the republican mind in congress , and that is going to be unfortunate for republicans because most of americans , the polls show, will blame the republicans if, in fact, their tacks go up january 1st . that's the big issue. who is going to get blamed? i have been at this game for many years. i remember when newt gingrich played the game of chicken with bill clinton and the question was who is going to get blamed? well, it was the republicans , and it was newt gingrich . and it look as though it's going to happen once again. republicans in the house especially are going to be blamed, and that means bad news for republicans not only over the next couple years but also in -- well, really over the next several elections. we don't even have to limit it to the next election.
>> dr. peterson , mr. boehner also said something very curious today. he said, and i'm quoting him, he took a great risk in his speech the day after the election when he said he was open to more revenue. he was putting revenues on the table, but the only thing he said was exactly what mitt romney had been saying for the last years, closing loopholes and reducing deductions.
>> and, martin, he still had to walk that back afterwards. professor reich is right here. what the american people need to understand is that we're looking at a political party that for different reasons can sometimes put politics ahead of the people. and the reasons here have to do with the monied interests and the way they represent the 1% from a political perspective. so, again, my hope is that once the tea party congress within -- the tea party caucus within the congress is diminished in the new year, we've gone off the fiscal curb, we can have some reality in the discussions we need to have.
>> but professor reich , boehner says there's a stalemate. but realistically, is the stalemate between democrats and republicans or is it more between republicans who want to make a deal and those --
>> and grover norquist .
>> -- that dr. peterson just referred to, grover norquist , who are hell bent on expediting their own ideology whatever happens?
>> i think there's a quiet civil war going on in the republican party right now between those who want to survive and that's who want to go over their own cliff into ooblivion. the survivors, let's hope john boehner is one of them, are saying to their own kind of suicidal group of right wingers, look, i don't want you to take us along with you. we're going to have to compromise. we don't want to be seen by the public as being shills for the super rich. we want 98% of americans to have a tax cut come next year. i mean, representative tom cole was one of them who was quite explicit in saying we need to be on the side of most americans and be seen as being in favor of a tax cut for 98% of americans . well, let's see what the republicans are going to do. i don't know who is going to come out on the winning side of this civil war , but let's hope that the sane, level heads actually prevail.
>> dr. peterson , has it surprised you it appear that is republicans have learned nothing since the election, which after all pitched the very super wealthy and the president repeatedly talked about this, versus the majority of americans ?
>> actually it has not surprised me, martin, because when we're talking about this wing of the republican party , first of all, there's some of them that actually believe in the ideology. they believe in the idea that tax cuts for the rich somehow creates jobs. some of them really believe this. the res of them are beholden to lobbyists and different pledges they have made to different folks like grover norquist who are really outside of politics in some ways. at the end of the day there will have to be a reckoning with the american people . they don't just have to moderate themselves along the fiscal lines, they have to moderate themselves into terms of cultural issues. they have to have more moderation in their party overall. my sense is that i think those folk will win out because the electorate will sort of inform their party in ways that will make them a more sensible political party for the united states .
>> i think that's absolutely right. the question here is do they have more of an allegiance to grover norquist than to the united states ? do they pledge allegiance to grover or to america?
>> and americans can see this. this is not hidden behind the veil. if they turn out to have more of an allegiance to grover norquist and that republican orthodoxy, they will be a minority party for at least a generation.
>> professor robert reich and dr. james peterson , wisdom galore.