Martin Bashir | January 07, 2013
>>> we're less than one full week into the new year and already paul ryan has dealt not just one, but two, devastating blows against his own future prospects as a candidate for national office. the first was his vote to raise taxes on the super rich. a vote that may poison ryan 's reputation among republicans far beyond the 2016 primaries. but the second and perhaps cruelest cut of all was his vote against hurricane sandy relief. he said that helping people in the northeast was fiscally irresponsible even though he supported disaster relief when flooding ravaged his home state of wisconsin in 2008 .
>> if a hurricane or a tornado had gone through janesville, wisconsin , he wouldn't feel the same way. he didn't feel the same way with the midwest flooding. but this is about the northeast and so the heck with them.
>> hypocrisy, thy name is paul ryan . let's bring in democratic strategist bob shrum and professor james peterson of lehigh university . professor shrum, you're also a professor at nyu, paul ryan says it's fiscally irresponsible to help out hurricane victims in one part of the country but back in 2008 he cosigns a letter to then- president bush asking for aid to help flood victims in wisconsin . this is his hypocrisy on a nixonian scale.
>> it goes across his whole career. this is somebody who rails about the deficit and the debt and who voted for the iraq war , the afghanistan war --
>> i wish you wouldn't refer to these facts, professor shrum.
>> without it being paid for.
>> i wish you wouldn't refer to these facts, sir.
>> and i think you can explain the one vote by the other. he's a close ally of boehner 's. i think he felt he had to stay with boehner on the fiscal cliff, but then he could turn around and satisfy the hard right by voting against the hurricane relief. i think the two votes go together. frankly, you know, you said earlier that he's doomed in 2016 . i kind of hope he's not doomed for the nomination. i'm kind of for him for the nomination because i think he couldn't possibly win an election.
>> that's probably true. professor peterson, paul ryan has won an undeserved reputation as a deficit hawk , but when you look at his actual voting record, doesn't it show that he's supported 65 separate bills --
>> some $7 trillion in deficit.
>> nearly $7 trillion added to the national deficit. what is this man about? who is he?
>> well, he represents kind of what politics are in the 21st century and professor shrum is absolutely right. these two votes go together really well for him, martin. these are brilliant political moves to shore up his relationship with boehner , with the one vote. and remember sandy relief vote, although it seems so common sense to so many of us, the reason why it got delayed in first place is because boehner didn't feel like he had the political capital to even bring that vote to the floor because it wasn't quote, unquote offset. they don't care that people are hopeless, that people are cold and freezing and hungry.
>> they can just sleep in their cars for another month or two.
>> they're just thinking it's not offset and the initial version at $60 billion was the equivalent of what they were going to get from tax revenue for the course of this fiscal year. they're looking at it in calculated ways and mr. ryan looked at both of these ways in calculated ways. yes, him saying no on the $9 billion was very important for him politically just as him shoring up his relationship is boehner was also shoring up his political sort of bona fides . not necessarily for the 2016 either. this guy is pretty young. he's younger than i am. he could be looking at 2020 .
>> he doesn't look younger than you if i may say so but keep going.
>> he is younger than i am and he has a long political future and so these kind of votes that seem crazy to us on the outside have certain political value to him on the inside.
>> professor shrum, is paul ryan now hiding from the media? because we saw a big article about him in "the times" today but it seems he didn't grant them an interview for the piece. in fact, one of the last times we saw mr. ryan give an interview outside of wisconsin or the conservative echosphere, this is what happened. take a listen to him.
>> you can do all that by cutting taxes with a big tax cut .
>> those are your words, not mine.
>> thank you very much, sir.
>> that was kind of strange. are you trying to stuff words in people's mouths?
>> i think what's also strange is that he's touted as a future president when his vice presidential run was less than impressive, wasn't it?
>> yeah, it was less than impressive. now, in his defense, and i rarely defend him, the romney people picked him because he was supposed to energize the base. he was going to bring in all these big ideas like slashing medicare.
>> they suddenly realized that was a bad idea. they basically muzzled him and he, therefore, was almost a nonpresence in the campaign. but, look, i think the reason he's not giving interviews right now is he's thinking his way through to the future. i think he could do 2016 . i think he could do 2020 . i think 2016 is probably pretty inviting for him. and it's inviting because you won't have an incumbent president. tough to defeat an incumbent president as we have just seen again. watch him when we get to the votes on the debt ceiling and the sequester. the sequester, the automatic spending cuts that take effect in march. if he votes against the debt ceiling, even if it passes, raising the debt ceiling, then i think you will know for sure he's not trying to be a responsible leader in congress. he's trying to get ready to run for president in 2016 .
>> i think that's absolutely right. professor peterson, according to that article that i referenced earlier in "the times," mr. ryan think that is the coming budget fight will be right in his, and i'm quoting here, sweet spot . now, i'm not sure what that means exactly, but i take it we will be seeing more of mr. ryan just as professor shrum said as this debt ceiling fight gets closer and closer and more difficult.
>> right. what he means is what he really means is that it's actually easier for him to live in this sort of fight from the political perspective that we want to sort of assign to him as a deficit hawk . so although, again, it seems completely irrational when you really think about what the debt ceiling means that anyone would try to use it as leverage or try to hold the country hostage over a debt ceiling at this particular point in our history and also in our economic history is absurd, but from the perspective of a politico who has kind of made his name based on being a deficit hawk , this is a place where i think he can not just sort of continue to build on his identity as something that he really at the end of the day is not when you consider that $7 trillion that he's voted for that's added to the deficit but it is in terms of what his profile is, it fits more neatly into who he's projecting himself to be as a political figure and so that's why you might hear more from him. also, remember, all of the republicans want to make an issue out of the debt ceiling. it's really america that suffers in this particular context.
>> professor shrum, final word to you. do you think that mr. ryan has been helped or hindered by his run as vice president?
>> i think he's been helped because true believers in the republican party think maybe he should have been the nominee, not romney. they actually believe they should have run, for example, on cutting medicare and social securi security. and i think as we look ahead to this coming fight that you're going to ste people like boehner and mitch mcconnell flinch at the idea of crashing the full faith and credit of the united states because they will be in deep trouble with the business community . there will be terrible economic consequences. so my bet would be that it will pass, but it will pass with paul ryan voting against it so he can satisfy the right wing of his party.
>> remarkable. professor shrum and professor james peterson , two of a kind, thank you, gentlemen.
>> thank you.