PoliticsNation | November 30, 2012
>>> dose of their own medicine. president obama has thrown down the gauntlet on taxes and while the gop is stomping its feet at making the wealthy to pay a bit more, he's making his pitch to the people. at a toy factory today, he warned them to play nice .
>> joe biden was in costco. he wanted to buy some of this stuff. but i told him he had too much work to dochl i wasn.t i told him he wasn't going to build roller coasters all day long. of course, santa delivers everywhere. i've been keeping my own naughty and nice list for washington. so you should keep your eye on who gets come kinects this year. there are going to be some members of congress who get them and some who don't.
>> what sort of plan do you give the republican who won't agree with anything? this one, of course. the president is asking for a $1.6 trillion tax increase, $50 billion in economic stimulus, and the power to raise the debt limit without congressional approval. meanwhile, he will work the fine savings in entitlements. not to the man sitting on the naughty list. senator mcconnell said that he burst into laughter at the proposal. you know what is really funny, senator mcconnell, the president has the leverage. speaker boehner know it is.
>> you think the white house is trying to squeeze you and, if so, will that work?
>> well, most of you know me pretty well. what you see is what you get. and while i may be a fchl fable and someone who can work with members of both parties, which i've demonstrated over the 22 years that i've been here, i'm also rather dernled to spend our spending problems.
>> i don't hear an answer to the question. here's a hint. you are being squeezed. the president has 64 million votes behind him and he has 36 congressional republicans distancing themselves from the anti-tax pledge. and, oh yeah, the simple matter of fairness. if the gop doesn't agree to a deal, they will be responsible for playing the part of scrooge this holiday.
>> if congress does nothing, every family in america will see their income taxes automatically go up on january 1st . every family, everybody here, you'll see your taxes go up on january 1st . i mean, i'm assuming that doesn't sound too good to you. that's sort of like the lump of coal you get for christmas . that's a scrooge christmas .
>> that's a scrooge christmas all right. but this president is going to do everything he can to stop it.
>> i've got a bunch of pens ready to sign this bill. i'm ready to sign. there are no shortages of pens in the white house and i carry one around for an emergency just in case. just waiting for the chance to use it to sign this bill to make sure people's taxes don't go up.
>> he's got the pen and the power. from the look on speaker boehner today, he's getting the message. joining me now is chris hayes , host of "up with chris hayes " here on msnbc and melissa harris - perry , host of melissa - harris perry on msnbc. thank you both for being here. melissa , it does seem that president obama has shifted his tactics this time around and it's all about using his power.
>> yes. in this case we have to remember that nothing has fundamentally changed structurally as these players. it's the same lame duck congress . the new 113 is not seated yet. the power in this case is really the power of percent situation, the ability to convey two things. one, that the american people voted for him based on the sets of issues that are now before the country on the fiscal cliff issue and, secondly, he has to be convincing that republicans will be punished at the ballot box next time if they don't come to a deal.
>> but, chris , speaker boehner keeps arguing for cuts but the second time in as many days he declined to name any of the cuts that the gop would make. they seem to be on the defensive. they refuse to give any specifics on what they offer, any deal. republicans want entitlement cuts but often no specifics. they say they will accept new revenue but offer no specifics. say they will make concessions on tax deductions , offer no specifics. they seem to really be on the defensive this time.
>> not only are we fresh off an election, which this stuff was intensely litigated. we're not talking about subsidiary issues that didn't get enough attention. we're talking about the stuff that was the first stuff that got said in every debate. the position of raising taxes on the top 2% is incredibly popular. it even polls among the majority of some republicans in some polls. cutting medicare , medicaid is is not popular. in fact, much of the election was over each side trying to convince the american people that it was the other side that wanted to go after medicare specifically.
>> yes, absolutely.
>> so now we have to do something about the cost of medicare but no one wants to be the first person to come out and say, we're taking the scissors and --
>> giving no specifics, are they hoping it's boehner , hoping that the democrats will come back with a more conservative proposal, or is he wanting them to say something so he can just disagree with whatever it is?
>> i think it depends on what we think it is that the president is hoping for. the fact is, the president could go over this fiscal cliff and at least p lot of cost to it. there's some real cost to american families and particularly to the most vulnerable. the president from that position may certainly be trying to pull us back from it. but politically there's no reason not to head over. yes, you'll see your taxes increase on january 1st . but you don't have to write a check on january 2nd . he'll have time, then, to introduce the obama tax cuts and basically dare the republican -- the 113th congress not to vote for him.
>> when he puts out his plan, then you hear, chris , i was very intrigued by the statement that charles made on fox, that the obama offer is worse than what was offered to general lee at the end of the civil war . listen to this.
>> it's not just a bad deal. this is really an insulting deal. what git near offered on the screen, robert e. lee was offered better deals and he lost the civil war . this is almost unheard of. mine, what do they expect? they obviously expect republicans to cave on everything. i think republicans ought to simply walk away .
>> chris , i think with lincoln outdone, i think he could have used a better analogy.
>> look, the funny thing is the end of that statement, which is, i keep saying, rush limbaugh keeps saying, walk away . walk away . if they walk away , all of the taxes go up. the delicious irony, i will note, is to have them sunset so the cost was lower than what it would be if therm permanent and the can was kicked down the road two years ago when we had that lame duck and now it's coming back to bite them because it's going to expire and blow up in the republican party 's face when it was the republican party who wanted to put a timeline on it in the first place to get them passed.
>> and general lee -- i'll refrain from saying who general lee was.
>> i think many, many would argue that the generosity of the terms given to general lee at the end of the civil war is precisely why we end up with a system of jim crow with a very short reconstruction and having to fight the battle 100 years again with the civil rights movement . good. i think many would make similar claims about world war i and world war ii . if he's trying to make a claim for really van gishing your enemies, that would do it.
>> since they took over the house, they've stopped anything from getting done. congress is on track to become the least productive congress since 1947 . how much pressure does that put on boehner to make a deal?
>> you know, i think it's a really interesting open question , for this reason. they have managed to defy the laws of political gravity in that respect for basically the first four years. their idea is the normal idea of political gravity is that we have to go back to our districts and campaign on something. we have to tell them things that we have done and they have been relatively successful in not obeying that. the question is, does this election change their mind of what their incentives are?
>> this is one of the basic rules of american congress , congress vote yes. up don't need to know what the topic or bill is. they tend to move legislation forward. but the very fact that they are a do nothing congress may work in the president's favor. it's the dominant strategy in this particular came.
>> that's why it's so clever, right? the way they've set this up is to exploit the biggest weakness of the republican obstruction which is the thing that they are best at doing is doing nothing.
>> the problem is, they have defied political gravity. they did not defy election gravity. they lost.
>> chris hayes , melissa harris - perry , thanks. have a great weekend and be sure to catch up with chris hayes . "up with chris hayes " is the name of the show saturdays and sundays from 8:00 a.m . to 10:00 a.m . eastern and melissa harris - perry saturdays and sundays starting at 10:00 a.m .
>>> coming up, whol would ronald reagan be siding with? think again.
>>> and he's back after his on air meltdown and laughing like we did in the office today.
>>> and bo obama takes us on a tour of the white house . you're watching "politicsnation" on msnbc.
>>> it's official. powerball officials say two people had the right number to win the $580 million jackpot. two people. yeah. so congratulations to the lucky winners. mitt and ann romney .
>> oh, 580 million, just throw