The Cycle | February 18, 2013
>>> hit the streets to find one of these elusive aprofessors.
>> they're screwing it up.
>> doing a terrible job.
>> i haven't approved anything congress has done since -- perhaps 1970 ?
>> statistically, there had to be someone who approved of congress.
>> no, not at all.
>> yes. yes, i do.
>> and there he was.
>> he represents the 14%. an anomaly of sorts at a time of political polarization in this country. where both sides generally only agree on one thing, which is that the other one stinks. but facebook 's latest attempt to unite like-minded americans may actually be on to something. somewhat controversial, because of privacy concerns. the graph search function allows members to isolate other members based on key words expressed in their public profiles. think of it like google for social networking . anyway, when he checked it out, "time" magazine's joel stein found a liberal who appreciate's rush limbaugh 's opinions, a mother and gun control advocate who also likes the nra and a p.e.t.a. supporter who enjoys bacon and owns a vintage fur coat. what do these anecdotes tell us? perhaps maybe america isn't quite as divided as washington would have us all believe. then again, maybe we are. well, i think in general -- next topic. no. i mean, i do think most americans are able to see sort of both sides of an argument. and it is the rare person who believes in the ideal logically pure version. i think on gay rights we have moved in the direction of greater equality. but on some things like abortion and guns, i don't know that we have shifted so much as the political terrain and the way we're debating issues has shifted. typically, whichever party seems like it's further out on the extremes is the one losing the debate. so back when the abortion debate was more about things like late-term abortion, partial-birth abortion, allowing 12-year-olds to have abortions without parental notifications, democrats seemed further out there, so they were not doing well in public opinion . now that's shifted where we're arguing more about planned parenthood funding, republicans on a limb there. and i think also on the gun debate, for the longest time the nra was able to convince people liberals really wanted to confiscate everyone's guns, and democrats played into that by a large extent, arguing about whether the second amendment really guaranteed the right to own a firearm. now i think that we're focusing on specific proposals that people can wrap their heads around, that terrain has shifted. so i do think -- i'll save my rant on mandatory voting and how that would change things for the better for another day. but i think generally people are more sort of open to hearing both sides of the debate and not totally ideologically pure.
>> we felt compelled to be tribalistic about politics. and there is probably a lot of reasons why we have done that. but i really like the idea of showing how contradictory we are within ourselves. how nuanced and complicated some of our beliefs and likes and interests are. and you know, it's hard these days, because it's important for many reasons for us to be team d or team r, team obama, team x republican and check boxes as you go down. when as you said, most of us aren't actually like that. and whether we admit it openly or not, most of us have complicated views on things. the fact that i'm like an athiest conservative who is pro gay rights and pro life , you know -- walking proof that we can have different ideas that you're not expected to have. and if facebook helps you sort of figure that out, even just among your friends, i think that's probably a good thing.
>> yeah, it is. look, the sort of contradictions between when you start asking people about individual issues, you could go through any number of issues with a voter. do you think taxes on the rich, should they go up, down, a lot end up polling well and you'll say this is probably a democratic voter, probably a liberal. and find out they voted for every republican since coolidge. there used to be -- i think the problem i have, the reason i'm not so optimistic about this is that split-ticket voting has steadily been declining now for more than a generation. we're at sort of the lowest level ever in terms of people who vote for a democrat for president or libertitarian. that's not happening. a real sorting out of the parties, culturally, eat logically. you can have these conversations divorced, the republicans from this, the democrats divorced from that. and you'll get these funky mix of positions from people. but as soon as it returns to the political realm, i'm on team democrat, i'm on team republican and i'm going to work backwards from there.
>> that's right. and there is this sort of intellectual gerrymandering in terms of where we get our information. so the source matters more than the actual information. if x source says something, for certain people it must be wrong and certain people it must be right and makes it impossible to communicate because it's like we're dealing with different sets of facts.
>> well, if following our scintillating conversation has you feeling like you need a water break , fear not. marco rubio 's pac, reclaim america is offering a marco rubio water bottle if you donate $25 or more. that's an expensive water bottle . we asked our facebook friends, by 2016 , will this all be water under the bridge? our friend jennifer gregory wants to know if the water bottle comes filled with kool-aid.
>> love her,clever. if you're thirsty to tell us what you think, head over to facebook /thecyclemsnbc. like us and join the conversation. and big, big twitter news, folks. i have gotten rid of the 1. i'm
now@krystalball, period, end of story. say goodbye to@krystalball 1.
>>> there are challenging questions about where the church should go from here and meet a man who nearly became a priest himself but is now asking why do we need