Martin Bashir | March 18, 2013
>> let's get right to our panel now. angela rye, political strategist and principal of impact strategies. jonathan capehart is an opinion writer for the " washington post ." ea steve kornacki, my colleague and co-host of "the cycle." at the top of the gop coroner's report, sorry, autopsy, it says, we must recruit more candidates who come from minority communities, but it's not just tone that counts, policy always matters. how well do you think they dress policy toward minorities in this publication?
>> very little to not at all. if you look at the latino vote, there seems to be an acknowledgement immigration is a problem for the republican party .
>> you would have thought so after 74% of latinos voted for this president and 94% of african- americans voted for the president. and 91% -- sorry, 71% of asian- americans voted.
>> immigration covers, you know, basic -- does not cover nearly all of your problems.
>> right there. but what i'm really struck by is i can think back decades to moments like this in the republican party when there have been frank and blunt acknowledgement from party leaders that, hey, we have a problem appealing to nonwhite voters. i heard newt gingrich say this at the end of the reagan presiden presidency. heard ken melbin say this in 2005 . he said, we've learned we're not going to do this again from now on, we're going to every corner of the country, going to talk to every voter. the common thread is they never seem to have anything it say when they embark on these cross country exhibitions to talk to everybody.
>> jonathan , one of the biggest stories coming out of the weekend and cpac was a forum on race that descended into racism, led by k. carl smith of frederick douglass republicans and got into a heated debate with one of the attendees about race and diversity. take a listen.
>> when douglass escaped from slavery, 10, 20 years after he escaped from slavery, he wrote a letter to his former slave master and said, i forgive you for all the things you did to me.
>> just to repeat that, john, the attendee said slave owners don't need to be forgiven because they gave slaves food and shelter. this may be an isolated incident, but does it not speak to a larger problem for republicans?
>> you think? i mean, the idea --
>> i'm only asking.
>> -- that slavery was some beneficial program to help these poor wayward africans who were stolen from another place and brought here to help build this country? it's ridiculous and emblematic of the problem the republican party has. now, look that was one person at one event at a sliver or a sizable faction of the republican party . but the fact that no one around there sort of challenged the guy or shushed him or did something to challenge his facts, to me, is quite stunning and just shows just how far the republican party has to go to make itself even remotely hospitable to african- americans and people in color of general. in general.
>> john, i think there was an attempt to challenge him, actually. but angela , moving on, ironically, the title of that tea party forum was "trump the
race card: are you sick and tired of being called a racist and you know you're not one?" why do some conservatives refuse to admit they may have a problem with minority voters, angela ?
>> martin, i think they really don't know. i mean, look at today, we have this report that they've unveiled. this announcement from, you know, the gop chairman saying, we're going to pour money into these communities for an outreach plan that's going to cost us $10 million. and, yet, right before that, there's cpac where all of these crazy, rhetorical, you know, very, very, very hateful messages are coming out of a conference, and i know, i've been getting tweeted, that the gop is not cpac , and vice versa . however, you can't not acknowledge that all these folks aren't in some ways tied to the party . the grand old party . yet here we are with the same grand old or not so grand ideas. and then on top of that, you have their very last listening session, martin. in brooklyn, last week, two days after this child loses his life to plain-clothed police officers and priebus is in somebody's church in brooklyn and doesn't even acknowledge the issue. you want to know why you can't reach minority voters? you're not speaking to our issues. you're not speaks to the problems of our everyday lives. you're not speaking to the fact racism really exists. you deny it and wonder why we don't want to vote for your candidates.
>> do you think that's fair, john, as an assessment of rein krer ce priebus? he's conducted this autopsy.
>> it's a fair assessment of where the party is. in a bit of fairness, in the gop autopsy, the coroner's report, as you call it, they specifically say this is, we don't deal with policy, that was not our job. our job was to look at, you know, other sort of problematic mechanical things. but that being said, if they don't do something on policy, then the party 's never going to -- the party is never going to get out of the rut that it's in.
>> steve , let me read to you a comment first reported by "salon." one of your employers. that got a lot of traffic over the weekend. it was by bush's former attorney general mike mukasey who was on a panel about islam. here's what he said. "the vast majority of the world's 1.4 billion muslims adhere to a view of their religion that agrees on the need to impose sharia or islamic law on the world." he goes on to say that both the obama and even bush administration were too soft on islamists. does it disturb you that that comes from the mouth of once the top enforcement officer of this nation?
>> well, yes, and it speaks to, you know, sort of the problem we're saying this report does not really get into policy. there's a reason they don't get into policy. if you get into policy, this is the sort of thing you have to say.
>> how can he possibly make a claim like this about such a vast number of people?
>> the entire tone from the right since 9/11 toward islam, toward muslims has been on par with this, roughly speaking . that's because it's sort of -- there was an appetite for that among the conservative base. and there's so much pressure in the party right now. it's a dysfunctional party in so many ways because there is so much pressure to conform to, you know, where the base is on a question like this. and if you don't, if you speak, if you stand up to this sort of thing and you're a republican officeholder, it endangers you into a potential republican primary . that's the lesson every republican officeholder has taken from the last few years. kind of extrapolate that to the chairman of the party doing this report. the chairman of the party is not really -- he's not elected by the public but he's in place, elected by the party . if he starts challenging the assumption prevalent among the party base in report, he's going to be out of a job. there's no wiggle room on policy to expand the republican pert arty to appeal to nonrepublicans because you'll be punished by republic chance in primaries. you'll lose your joobzb as a republican.
>> angela , if there's no wiggle room to be in the factual universe as opposed to this kind of offensive racist stuff, where do they go?
>> they better wiggle in a different direction. look at the fact edge today the president nominated tom perez as the next secretary of labor. that's his pick. then you have folks coming out right after that, this brilliant man who spent a lot of time focusing on voting rights . he's been a huge champion in the civil rights division of doj. they're out saying he's not going to support his nomination because of a black panther case he wasn't even in office for yet. their messaging is wrong. they should wiggle more to the middle.
>> angela rye, jonathan capehart, steve kornacki. thank you all.