The Ed Show | February 25, 2013
>>> thanks for staying with us tonight. republicans in congress say fixing our crumbling infrastructure is like a crazy left-wing idea. and they'll fight every spending proposal. but there is another group of powerful republicans which totally disagrees. today president obama avoided the naysayers in congress and appealed directly to the tea party republicans who agree with him on infrastructure.
>> i know that some people in congress reflexively oppose any idea that i put forward, even if it's an idea they once supported. but rebuilding infrastructure is not my idea. it's everybody's idea. it's what built this country.
>> the president explained how his fix it first plan would put people to work to make critical repairs. then he sweetened the deal by offering regional teams to help every governor access federal funding . for instance, the president is offering help with renewable energy products in the pacific northwest . the northeast corridor would get faster high speed rail service. governors in the midwest and in colorado would get help improving water access to deal with the drought. and the dakotas and montana, the regional team would focus on oil and gas production. the president is offering this kind of help to every state because the benefits are obvious.
>> didn't this used to be a bipartisan issue? i don't know when that happened. it should be a no-brainer.
>> the president has found the sweet spot with the nation's most conservative governors on infrastructure. republicans like jan brewer , sam brownback , rick scott , and rick perry are asking their legislators in their state for more infrastructure funding. unlike congress, these republican governors realize that compromise is the key to improving their states and their political futures. let's turn to sam stein, political reporter of the huffington 30es with us tonight. heather mcghee, vice president of policy and route reach. and richard wolffe , executive editor of msnbc. richard, you first. employing these republican governors what they're advocating in their states, how good and how effective could this be?
>> the president has faced tougher oppositions not just from republicans , but from republican governors on his signature health care reform legislation. and what we have seen in the last several weeks and months is that these republican governors , no matter what their rhetoric, no matter what their national aspirations have begun to crack. because in the end, they are going to be measured by what they can deliver to folks in their state. so i think it has been effective. i think it will be effective. will it change the nature of the debate among house republicans ? no. but it does say to the public republicans are a much more varied group than just what you hear out of john boehner 's mouth.
>> heather, how can crumbling brings across america be a political issue? you're either going to fix it or not fix it. has he kind of cornered the republicans on this?
>> i think he has there is overwhelming support by the public for not, but the fact that we want to have safe roads to drive on and mass transit to get to work. but also because people know it creates jobs. if you look at what you get in terms of bang for the buck from the dollars that could be spent on job creation , infrastructure spending is one of the highest ones. it's actually five times as strong as corporate tax giveaways. so, you know, we've still got 10s of millions of americans who are out of work or looking for more work to put food on their tables. and we need to be looking at what is going to create more jobs.
>> sam , how effective is governor mcdonaougald going to be in virginia? this could turn him awry with some others. what do you think?
>> the back story here is governor mcdonald passed a landmark transportation plan through virginia, through the virginia state house in large part by, you know, relying on revenue raisers. and it's endeared him to the pragmatists in the party. but it's made him a villain of some sorts among the conservative in the party who think by sheer fact of raising taxes and revenues to pay for this, he is a traitor of some sort. i'm waiting eagerly to see how this place out, whether it helps him politically or not. i have to say i'm not as bullish about the prospects of something done federally on transportation. president obama has tried in various forms in various bills to put a $50 billion infrastructure bank into action. it's failed every single time. i think much more likely scenario is that states go first, ask the federal government for matching funds of some sort, and then the federal government is forced to act. i think that's the much more likely scenario.
>> i mean, richard, the president is going to the people. the president is going to governors . the president is going everywhere he can to try to get the republicans to move. they say no revenue. where does this end up?
>> oh, i think this falls into a much bigger discussion where we are getting into the furlough question and partial government shutdowns. you know, this fever will break. and it will break because people understand what it means for jobs. but it's also the way things used to get done in washington . i'm not saying this was a great period in washington , but earmarks transportation projects were what greased the wheels of legislation along, and it will come back. because that's how things will get done again.
>> heather, what do you think of louisiana governor bobby jindal says the president just trying the scare americans when he starts talking about all the jobs that are going to be lost and all the people that are going to be affected, the programs that are going to be cut, and also the travel appeal. i mean, that's what is going to affect people the most. when business travelers are knocked out for six or seven hours because of logistics, that's going to get a lot of people's attention. but jindal says he is just scaring americans . what about that?
>> i think it's great that the president is going out, speaking directly to the american people about simply what is government and what actually are the millions of different ways that what we do together that we can't do ourselves is actually really helping us on a day-to-day basis. because if he were to stay in washington , he would really be surrounded by the beltway donor class, which is who we know is actually pushing the austerity agenda. affluent americans who make up the donor class is twice as likely to want to push an austerity agenda, to want to protect from tax cuts , want to push for changes to entitlements. so we really need the president to be doing exactly what he is doing, which is going out to people who are close to the ground , talking to the american people directly, talking to the governors and say you know what? this is what government does in our lives and it's worth paying for.
>> can i add the notion that if president obama just saturdays around the table a little more with john boehner and eric cantor and that would persuade them to drop their resistance to hikes is silly. they would never do it. i'm not sure what he gets by visiting their offices, by going to the hill, by having them over to the white house . i think this is obviously a political way of getting them to come to yes on this. and i do agree that there is a benefit to getting outside of the echo chamber of the bubble, seeing real people , getting their stories out there and publicizing it.
>> sam , i've got to ask you quickly.
>> inside the bubble, maybe i'm missing this, why is it the washington media pushing the republicans to identify loop holes? why can't we get one loophole from the republicans in this deal?
>> i don't know. i mean because they've declared that the revenue debate is over, right? and so if you declare that the debate is over, there is no logical follow-up question which says which loophole would you like the close.
>> but they said during the campaign, they said during the campaign that they would close loop holes. they were supporting romney back then.
>> but now they won't support any loopholes whatsoever nor will they identify them.
>> the bigger debate is if you do close the loopholes, what would it go for in republicans say it shouldn't be for deficit reduction, it should be to lower tax codes . it's a non-starter for democrats. great to have you on with us.
>> thank you.
>> just ahead, the republican plan to steal electoral votes is going forward in one state. that's pennsylvania. we'll have the details next. stay with us.