Martin Bashir | February 25, 2013
>> we're joined by ken vogel, chief investigative reporter from politico and our very own steve kornacki, co-host of "the cycle." steve , mitt romney is back. he's going to sit down for his first televised interview alongside his wife, ann. i bet in a month of sundays you couldn't get which television network has scored that interview.
>> it couldn't be fox, could it?
>> there is a very strong possible that you are correct. what can we expect from the great mr. romney?
>> i wouldn't xm much. i would expect this is the first interview, it will be one of his last high profeel intile interviews. the bigger issue there is i think the problem of the republican party is we can make all the comments we want about what a lousy candidate he was, he had difficulty connecting with people but he was tied down by republican orthodoxy that made it impossible for him from a policy standpoint to market himself to the middle, to market himself to swing voters. he was just stuck to all these tea party positions that the base insisted he take or he couldn't have the nomination or --
>> you give him a beat of a break.
>> i don't know what he's going to say next week. i doubt we'll hear from him again. the question is will the republican party stop insisting every presidential candidate be like mitt romney . so far there's no sign of that.
>> ken, shortly after losing the election, mitt romney came out and said he was beaten because, as you know, the president gave free stuff to minorities, to young people . he doubled down in essence on the 47% speech. now, do you expect him to do the same thing in this interview or when he gives his great speech next month?
>> i think we might see an effort to sort of rebrand himself a little bit. not only is he sort of stuck kind of representing, as steve put it, some of the sort of worst phases at least in the public's mind of the obama era conservative movement , he really personifies them. some of the biggest problems that republicans see moving forward, the inability to appeal to hispanics, this idea that, you know, it's a party of rich people who want the rich to get richer and the poor to go fend for themselves. and so republicans really don't want him out there. the only benefit i could see for himself is possibly trying to rebrand himself and move away from some of these positions so his legacy is not sort of seen as such a black mark on the republican party .
>> steve , you write today in salon.com the risk posed by senator ted cruz of texas and i'm quoting you, threatens to take the party not just back to the embarrassment of jesse helms baugh the embarrassment posed by mccarthy.
>> the comparison has been drawn obviously because you have cruz at these confirmation hearings baselessly asirting we don't know if chalk hagel took money from north korea . you have that sort of reminiscent of joe mccarthy .
>> also a story about when he was at harvard alleging --
>> the professors who wanted to overthrow the government at harvard.
>> you have that same streak and when i invoke jesse helms , he was an irtabt even to the republican establishment. they didn't really like having jesse helms around for all those years but the resistance from the republican establishment only made him more popular with the republican base. the particular danger of cruz though i think for the republican party is the republican party today is less ideologically and geographically diverse than it was in the days of joe mccarthy . joe mccarthy was around when dwight eisenhower , a moderate republican , was running the country. today the republican party is at a moment when it needs to sort of modernize itself ideological. if a guy like ted cruz is the definition of what conservative purity is, that's a troubling development for the party because it's going to keep them in all these critical debates, it's going to keep them from moving to where the rest of the country is.
>> ken, i struggle to understand this obsession with the soviet union and communists. we had alan west claiming that 79 members of the house of representatives were communists. we had mitt romney saying during the campaign that america's number one geo political foe was russia tp do they not realize that 1989 happened, that the berlin wall came down, that the soviet union and its satellite states actually collapsed? what's happening here?
>> well, what's happening is that it is in many ways a throwback to the cold war era when republicans were really peaking at least from a foreign policy perspective and ronald reagan took a great deal of credit and is given a great deal of credit for the collapse of the soviet union . cruz and others are a rest of the new conservative politics where some of these senators when they used to come to washington even if they were fire brands who bucked the party were under a great deal of fresh to come into the tent of party leadership and adhere to their positions and vote with them because they knew the party leaders were the ones who could steer the money and connect them with the influence industry and the folks who could give them the money to run their re- election campaigns . now you have the tea party sort of ground troops who can support a campaign and the big outside money from the club for growth, from freedomworks, freedom for prosperity that were freed by the recent supreme court decision that can support these candidates and these firebrand republicans even when the party doesn't.
>> and so steve with the que ses ter coming, all the signs are things are even more gridlocked.
>> look at the 2014 elections and the two problems of what he just talked about poses for the republican party . one is ted cruz -like candidates running in republican primaries might not want to nominate can get the money on their own and go around the establishment and win nominations. second aaril secondarily, republicans recognize the threat the ted cruz types pose to them and they have to conform to the tea party line unless they want to end up the next dick lugar or mike castle . it hawing tiog-ties the whole party .