PoliticsNation | March 01, 2013
>> how out there is the geo --
>> members not to paint horns on my head.
>> the in-your-face. he's responding toet in-your-face attitude and style we've seen from the far right that has only gotten worse since the tea party got into the act. now the tea party is pretty much running the republican party . and that is no good for getting anything constructive done. joining me now is jonathan capehart and victoria francesco.
>>> jonathan , this really shows how far to the right the party is.
>> it shows how far to the right the party is. but it also shows how entrenched the tea party caucus is and how powerful they are in, i was going to say getting things done, but, in this case, in keeping things from happening. in the old days, speaker boehner would have been a really successful speaker. he would have gotten the grand bargain done and we probably wouldn't have had the fiscal cliff and all of these other showdowns and manufactured crises we've had over the past couple of years. but because the republican party put all of his chips on the tea party in 2010 and brought these folks to washington, now you have lots of people in capitol hill , and i'm talking about republicans who are constantly looking over their right shoulder worried about whether there's going to be a primary challenge to them if they do something that smacks up governing.
>> you know, it goes to your point when i look at the fact that tea parties who pushed hard for a sequester have won their first big fight in congress with the automatic budget cuts. in many ways, a sequester marks the tea party movement's maturation into a virtually mainstream role in the republican party . cutting the pentagon's buchblgt once was unthinkable. but now it is trumped by the drive to keep down taxes whenever possible.
>>> victoria , when you see this, you actually understand how much in charge of the party the tea party has become -- have found themselves positioned.
>> my dad's favorite saying is don't cut your nose to spite your face. but that is what tea partiers have done. and that has become almost the m.o. of our government these days. tea partiers can definitely claim a win today. they got to march 1st and they held their ground. they didn't budge. but, for me, the real question is what's going to happen in the coming weeks. these cuts are supposed to be rolling cuts. so, in theory, congress can come back to the table and put an end to this craziness and actually do something. but are the tea partiers going to look at the trophy on the wall and say okay, maybe we can do some work to keep the cuts from hurting americans. and that's going to be a really good indicator of what the midterm election is going to be. are the tea partiers going to keep pulling farther and farther to the right or are they just looking for these trophy wins, sitas today with the sequester.
>> well, that's an open question . you know, jonathan , the tea party is determined to bring down the government . and insisting on automatic cuts is their first step in making that happen. he writes, "what they set out to do was not simply change washington u but e vis rate the u.s. government . drown it in the bathtub. the tea party is now running the gop a serious only about dismembering the government. that's a frightening statement, but it appears to be where they're heading.
>> this is sequester was put in place because it was supposed to be something so own rus, so bad that congress would get a deal in place so that those cuts wouldn't be necessary. and, now, here we are. it's happening. and it's happening because people on capitol hill who were actively saying if the sequester goes through, that's not a bad thing. actually, that's a good thing. and that's why we're here at this very moment today.
>> and you know, victoria , tea party representatives push the leadership into the budget cuts and made it clear this week that it would be a good thing for the speaker -- it would not be good for speaker boehner to oppose them or to back off from this sequester. example, ron johnson told fox news i don't believe speaker boehner would be speaker if that happens. i think he would lose his speaker ship. for them to go back on their word certainly threatens the ability to lead. i mean, they are absolutely saying yes, we want to force the sequester. yes u we want to topple government and he would lose his leadership.
>> the tea party of the gop has really morphed because of the responsiveness from boehner . but at the same time, let's not forget that the tea party is alive and well at the state level. here, in texas, my home state, it is a very powerful voice. so that's the other source of the power for the tea party . and going forward, what we're going to see is speaker boehner going to try to find a middle ground . i doubt it's going to happen. and in that case, president obama is going to have to give up on negotiations. there is not going to be a resolution to this through a bipartisan mechanism.
>> now, there are some on the republican side that are fighting this.
>>> rich lowry writes it is not just the winter of republican discontent, it will likely be the spring, summer and fall, as well, and more seasons yet after that. the national party is leaderless and nearly issueless. that's some kind of statement there.
>> yeah, the bad place that the republicans find themselves in, it's not just bad for the party, it's bad for the country. we should expect to see speaker boehner search for a middle ground . that would be wonderful if only he had some folks within his party who are willing to follow behind him on that middle ground . it's one thing to run for congress and bringing down and reducing waste and and all of that. but once you get to washington, i believe it is to put them on par with the interest of your districts. right now, we're seeing that the tea party folks here aren't thinking about the national interest .
>> thank you for your time tonight.
>> thanks, rev.
>> i should say i hope you have a healthy weekend. i don't know how great a weekend we could have with this sequester. ahead, the first lady takes on the right wing, hitting back against her cooky critics. you'll want to hear it. plus, a powerful story about life and death in our schools. ira glass is here live in the studio.