Morning Joe | January 08, 2013
>> a look at the playbook executive editor. good morning.
>> happy new year.
>> happy new year to you. with your doing behind the curtain piece this morning, what you call the modern republican party by looking at one freshman congressman in particular, tom cotton , a republican. why do you look at him and what does he represent?
>> you look at someone like tom cotton and figure out why is it we can't get a grand fiscal cli cliff -- fiscal bargain and why gun laws unlikely in the next congress and immigration harder than people think. you look at a guy like tom cotton a mainstream republican, opposed to any new gun laws and pathway to citizenship and willing to default if necessary to get bigger spending cuts in the next two months. to a lot of folks in the media, crazy radical from the south, he is the republican party . until you understood 150 members are just like him, you won't understand the complexities of the president and speaker boehner trying to navigate this republican party in the next congress.
>> you talk a little bit about his rise. he was down 47 points in his first internal poll and then the club for growth stepped in, right?
>> i think a lot of people, when nay talk about why is washington so polarized, they blame it on redistricting. i think there is a much bigger cause, one that has not gotten enough attention. that is groups like the clubs for growth has gotten smart and they intervene in the primary process. in this case, the club for growth sent tom cotton $300,000 in checks from its members and helped him win the primary. he won his republican primary . now, he feels incentive to respond to the club for growth , not john boehner and republican leadership. they weren't involved in the primary. that has really changed how a lot of this new generation of republicans, how they see washington. they don't respond to the traditional incentives, give me a good committee assignment, let me bring back pork to my constituents. they don't want any of that, they don't care about any of that. they care about their constituents and activists.
>> good morning. hearing-impair harold ford . what is the answer? how do we navigate to get them into the process? i happen to agree with you and an unfortunate reality.
>> the only answer is you have to cut spending, all they care about all they've really known. if you're a republican in your first or second term. the only success you've ever seen is when republicans railed against obama-care and spending and won a ton of seats, historic number of seats, i might add, in 2010 . they want to make government smaller, don't want new gun laws and don't want any spending. they really don't care about default. they don't want a default but they think the consequences of inaction are so much more severe than not doing anything right now so they're willing to do it. people who say they'll never do it, they'll never do it, i think you might want to do a vote count and re-look at this republican conference and don't do that.
>> interesting look at tom cotton , veteran of two wars, harvard undergraduate and harvard law school .