PoliticsNation | January 23, 2013
>>> i think we have to be prepared to go so far as to shut the government down.
>> save your powder for the debt ceiling fight.
>> i think there's going to be a whole new field of battle when the debt ceiling rolls around.
>> our opportunity here is on the debt ceiling. this is where we have leverage.
>> remember that the gop vowing to hold the country hostage for cuts? they had the leverage, getting ready to fight. speaker boehner even tried his hand at extortion saying, "there's a price for everything." but, now, here comes the cave. today, republicans in the house voted to suspend the debt ceiling. what about the hostage-taking? not this time. and remember all the usual bluster in those press conferences of theirs? today, the gop leaders ducked the press. only a few print reporters, boehner 's camera man and a lone fox news camera were there to capture their comments in their entirety. huh? so why the sudden change?
>> the full faith and credit of the united states of america is not a bargaining chip. we are not a deadbeat nation.
>> they will not collect our ransom in exchange for not crashing the american economy . what i will not do is to have that negotiation with the american people . we're not going do do that.
>> they're not going to do that. their once united front buckling. opposition health care ? disintegrating.
>> we cannot mistake absolutism for principle or substitute spectacle for politics or treat name calling as reasoned debate. [ applause ] we must act. we must act knowing that our work will be imperfect.
>> this might not be the end of the gop 's spectspectacle, but, hey, at least we see some action. joining me now is joy reid, managing editor of "delgrio.com" and an msnbc contributor. and ryan grim, editor for "the washington post ."
>>> joy, let me start with you. the gop finally blinked.
>> look, they were going to raise the debt ceiling.
>> take us hostage?
>> no, you know what, they were always going to raise the debt ceiling. they knew it. everyone knew it. the president wasn't even taking their calls on this issue. he was like you can call me if you want to talk, but not about the debt ceiling. they understood they couldn't negotiate. and at the end of the day , the only reason the republicans held the nation hostage over the debt ceiling the first time around was it was a part of their one-thing strategy. the one thing. the one thing they cared about since 2009 , january, was making sure barack obama was a one-term president. that's it. that's the only reason they were able to gamble with the full faith and credit of the united states in the first place. now that they've failed, there is really no reason to do that brin brin brin brin brinksmanship again.
>> clearly, they don't have the same motive.
>> ryan , speaker boehner said yesterday that the president is trying to destroy the gop . listen.
>> we're expecting over the next 22 months, to be the focus of this administration. as they attempt to annihilate the republican party . and let me just tell you, i do believe that is in his circle, to shove us into the dust bin of history .
>> that's pretty strong words, particularly since some believe they're doing a pretty good job of annihilating themselves.
>> i think what john boehner is doing there is he's trying to talk his more extreme elements into relaxing for the next couple years and not making too much of a spect kal of themselves. you know, he wants to put the fear of annihilation in them. and this two years is different from the last four in two really critical ways. leading up to 2010 , republicans wanted to take over the house and take over the senate. leading into 2012 , they wanted to take over the white house , take over the senate and keep the house . and so they had to be extra aggressive to try to get themselves out there. that famous quote of mcconnell saying we're going to make him a one-term president. but their goal in 2014 is not to take the house because they already have the house . there's no presidential election . so what they want to do is preserve the status quo of maintaining the house of representatives . and if they can pick off some democrats in red states and inch closer toward taking the senate, than they want to do that. but they can do that by being a lot more moderate. extremis extremism, right now, is not politically beneficial for them. maybe leading into 2016 , the calculous will change for them. but over the next two years, i think you're going to see a lot more accommodation.
>> so ryan is saying they want to maintain the status quo , joy. and i think it's an interesting point because they seem like they're in disarray on very critical issues. for example, on guns. they seem like they're in disarray. it's almost laughable, the answers they've given when they were questioned about universal background. give you examples, republican senator jams inhoff says i don't know what you mean. senator bob corker says i hate to respond just in the hallway, so i won't. really? and by all means, senator john barrasso even says i've got my wife here. i'm sorry, i've gotta -- thanks. i mean, what happened to these advocates for the second amendment -- a distorted interpretation of it -- but what happened to this is like they're all over the place and no place trying to just keep things as they are?
>> right. why would you want to talk about gun control in the hallway? that's not the right place to do that when your wife is on the phone. there's that saying, nature hordes a vacuum. there's an absolute vacuum of leadership where they really aren't sure what to stand for. the tea party ideology is now unpopular. the tea party is extremely unpopular. that extremist brand is unpopular. people don't like them. they're understanding for the first time now that the glass has been broken on the terrain yum that they've been living in for the last eight, four years, they're unpopular. and because there's no real leader, the leadership is gone and the national view and the weekly standards, those outlets are now neoconservative. no one really wants war. so that's not popular. they've got these talk radio and web site extremists. they're not popular. there's no coherent philosophy anymore.
>> no, there's no leadership, there's no coherent philosophy. and, ryan , we're also seeing even the opposition to health care lose its theme among republicans. michelle bachmann 's repeal bill initially couldn't even find sponsors. governor jan bruin , the latest cave on medicare expansion in arizona. and speaker boehner even calls it the law of the land . these are the people whose main goal in unseating president obama was to go after the health care act. now, they've even weakened on that.
>> right. and one of the key divisions within the republican party is, on the one side, you have people who recognize that the 2010 kind of tea party uprising was a momentary phenomenon. the backlash against it has effectively wiped it out. it will be around because it can be self sustaining because there's enough republican districts that you can have several dozen of these members in the house for the foreseeable future. and the other candidate that looked at the 2012 election and said we're on the wrong side of the demographic and political shifts that are happening here. what can we do to change the course of this. but the problem is that there are a ton of republicans who are just fine with controlling the house , controlling a lot of governor's mansions, controlling the kind of consultantcy corporations. a lot of people are doing very well by this status quo .
>> especially when the extremists have become unpopular. you know, in my rigid diet, i drink only tea now. one thing i can tell you about tea, it is delicious. but when the bag breaks, it's very, very nasty. joy reid and ryan grim, thanks for your time this evening.
>> still ahead, republicans invoking dr. king to defend their politics. it's awful. and it's happening now.
>>> and right wingers have a new effort to take hillary down. it's called the crying game. stay with us. standing in the shadow of love i'm getting ready for the heart ache to come don't