PoliticsNation | November 27, 2012
>>> ever wonder where being divisive gets you? what happens when you push people apart instead of bringing them together? if you're governor romney, that sort of attitude, you get 47% of the popular vote . it's now official. mr. 47% will go down in the history books as getting 47% of the vote. how's that for irony? but you want to know what number you get when you compromise? 72%. that's the approval rating for new jersey governor chris christie after working across the aisle with president obama to deal with hurricane sandy. that's the lesson of this election. americans are yearning for cooperation and bipartisanship. but most republicans , they don't get the message. speaker john boehner is threatening to take us to the brink again by refusing to raise the debt ceiling unless he gets what he wants in the tax fight. he told the president, quote, it's my leverage. he said, quote, there's a price for everything. over in the senate, gop leader mitch mcconnell is striking the same tone.
>> look, we already know the president's a very good campaigner. we congratulate him on his re-election. what we don't know is whether he has the leadership qualities necessary to lead his party to a bipartisan agreement.
>> mr. one-term-president mcconnell is resorting to name-calling. the gop lost because of this attitude. and now they're just looking like a lost cause . joining me now is steve car kna krystal ball. why doesn't the gop look to chris christie assist a role model? he's the most popular person in their party right now?
>> hopefully some in the gop do. you have to remember that a lot of people, a lot of folks in the republican party were very upset with chris christie for being so bipartisan, for -- for daring to compliment the president for his responsiveness in hurricane sandy, so there's still some upset there over that. you know, i think the other thing this points out, you were mentioning, chris christie underscoring how important bipartisanship and cooperation is to voters. the other thing i think it underscores is how effective government is important to voters. peel saw him doing a great job handling hurricane sandy and republicans for so long have been the party of obstructionism, of doing everything they can to keep government from working. that's the other message. people to want see a government that actually works.
>> and a government that deals together in crisis, when something is above what is normal. steve , i'm no fan of chris christie , but i give him respect for what he did there. so why don't republicans understand that there's some things that has to rise above partisan bickering.
>> you have to look at incentives at work for these guys. chris christie is up for re-election next year. if he's going to win re-election in new jersey, a state obama carried by 17 points, he has to win a fair number of voters who voted for obama this year, get them to vote for him as a republican next year. most. republicans in congress right now, most republican members of the house hail from safely conservative republican districts where their victory margins were double digits. these guys are much more responsive to threats inside their parties. not being conservative enough, anti- obama enough, all the things that play in the republican universe. they don't have to worry about getting democratic votes to be protected. they have to protect themselves from the republican primary . they look at the fiscal cliff, whatever it is, and no incentive for them to cooperate, even in the broader interest of their party .
>> even if you live in an area that was impacted, whatever party , you want to see cooperation and see people that will make government work, kryst krystal . i don't care if christie did it for facetious reasons or cynical, you might drag me out of the water to get me on the front page of the paper, i don't care as long as i'm out of the water.
>> that's a great point. i totally agree with you on that, regardless of what christie 's incentives are. i will say this is a big question for republicans . you know, they have for so long moved their party to the right to play to their base. and they've had these organizations like club for growth and the tea party , that put forward these far right ideological pure right candidates against more moderate-leaning republicans in primary and it has forced the entire party and the country as a whole to the right. they've forced the center to the right. interestingly where the democratic party is today has also been moved to the right. i think it's part of the problem republicans have now coming back to the center and still striking a sort of ideologically centerest place the republican party is in today.
>> in all this unity we saw with the president and mr. christie , boehner , the speaker and majority leader cantor are calling for health care to be part of the negotiations. take a listen to this.
>> if the president is serious about joining us and fixing the problem, he ought to be putting obama care on the table. no question in my mind.
>> now, why would he be putting obama care on the table? it's been signed into law. it was upheld by the supreme court . the ticket that wanted to repeal it lost. and a majority of americans oppose repeelialing it. so why would you even raise this when you have all of these factors that cement it as law.
>> it was the interview with boehner did with diane sawyer after the election where he took the position, it's now the law of the land . there was immediately, you know, sort of an insurrection on the right. that's what i'm talking about. all of these house republicans , from safely republican districts, some are just true believers. they believe all of the sort of far right ideology. so, have you that component in their conference f you're john boehner . the other component are republicans who are just afraid of getting primary challenges. they may not believe all this put they want to keep their jobs. those two forces together tie boehner down. he can't make a deal, he can't wiggle, maneuver, because if he moves a little in obama 's direction, he's facing a revolt.
>> the other thing for boehner , they don't have a strong hand to play here. he has to make it seem to his base he's being tough with the president to try to posture so that when they do have to give in on certain points, maybe the base is a bit more appeased, more convinced he really went out and fought for them.
>> now, the base is of the republicans , that is, they are preparing their own pr campaign to sort of counter the president. politico is saying is that -- let me read it. house republicans are hoping to counter president obama 's bully pulpit with public relations of their own. gop leadership will host small business owners in the capitol next week. so, they're trying to do a counter pr campaign to the president's bully pulpit .
>> but what it amounts to, we're rerunning the last campaign. obama is giving the same message he gave, income over $250,000, time you play a little more. republicans are playing the game, oh, no, that means small business . we spent a year doing that. that's why obama has so much leverage here. it's part of the logistics of how this so-called fiscal cliff works. also because there's a recognition among people, hey, we picked obama in this election.
>> they don't have a pr problem. they have a substance problem.
>> there's already backlash to a west virginia republican who announced a bid to the senate. shelley moore capito , hugely popular, but she's moderate, pro-choice, voted to extend unemployment benefits and supported the auto bailout among other things.
>> right. therein lies the problem. key conservative groups are already trying to derail her. on day one of her candidacy, capito received criticism from two conservative groups known for mounting primary challenges against establishment programs. a group founded by senator jim demint .
>> maybe they can get todd akin to move into west virginia and mount a campaign. he's more conservative, more to their taste. through the primaries they end up with candidates like sharron ang angle, todd akin , unelectable and put a bad image on the entire party . as steve was saying, forces more moderate members to move to the right to avoid --
>> and moderates are scared of the threat.
>> because they lose their job in the primaries.
>> and they keep electing democrats. steve kornacki and krystal ball, thank you for joining us. catch them on "the cycle" at 3 p.m . weekdays right here on msnbc.
>>> coming up a a secret republican plot to suppress minority voters. we'll talk live to former republican party chairman of florida, who's blowing the whistle. stay with us. if you