The Last Word | November 12, 2012
>>> well, we knew this was going to happen, but i for one, didn't know it would happen this fast. the republican party is now officially at war with the republican party .
>> there's a battle brewing over the future of the republican party .
>> a war of the worlds .
>> republicans drown in a sea of spin.
>> post election blues.
>> within an echo chamber they lost.
>> a time machine .
>> they were able to create their own reality.
>> this election won't be close. 300 plus for romney .
>> 300 electoral votes .
>> they were fleeced, exploited and lied to.
>> conservative entertainment complex .
>> feeding to mythology.
>> they think of wombs and wackos.
>> wackos, weirdos, and witches.
>> have you grover norquist .
>> mr. anti tax himself. grover norquist .
>> the president elected on the basis he was not romney and romney was a poopy head.
>> poopy head.
>> he actually said that.
>> grover norquist or grover from " sesame street ?"
>> the fiscal cliff.
>> move into high gear this week.
>> taxes on the table.
>> that's a given.
>> some could be splintering.
>> we know there has to be revenues.
>> they really won't i don't think.
>> i think that's a given.
>> that suggests compromise.
>> republicans might blink on this.
>> you don't have to compromise values to come to the table.
>> if there was a mandate, it was a mandate to work together.
>> america has clearly said they have had enough.
>> newton malloy gingrich has been in politics 40 years. 40 long years. and finally -- finally -- newt realizes he doesn't understand america .
>> i was wrong last week, as was virtually every major republican analyst. you have to stop and say to yourself, if i was that far off, what do i need to learn to better understand america ?
>> former bush speechwriter david frum knows who to blame for what happened at the ballot box last week.
>> the conservative followers have been fleeced and lied to by the conservative entertainment complex .
>> there are no republican party leaders. leaders are several appointed now. one of the self-appointed leaders fought back today.
>> just as i predicted, ladies and gentlemen , wait until you hear the sound bites , this election was lost because of your host, rush limbaugh . i am the primary reason, there are others, but i'm the primary reason the republican party , and i am the primary reason the republican party will keep losing, until i am denounced by the republican party . the problem that the republican party gets into is misidentifying the reasons that they lose.
>> yesterday, steve schmidt took up the cry against the conservative entertainment complex .
>> too many swing voters in the country, when you hear conservative , they think of wombs and wackos. we gave up five u.s. senate seats in the last election cycle by people who were just out there. completely extreme. manifestly unprepared for the offices that they are running for. our elected leaders are scared to death of the conservative entire at the same time complex, the shrill and divisive voices, rejecting the social extremism of the republican party on issue after issue.
>> one of the leading lights of the conservative entertainment complex , talk radio host laura ingram told politico blaming talk radio for the problems in the gop elite is hilarious and typical of people who want to continue to get paid to give bad advice to campaigns. right wing anti tax, anti government crusader grover norquist believes there is exactly one person to blame for the republican defeat and it is not rush limbaugh .
>> we just had an election, and the house of representatives was committed to keeping taxes low. the president was committed -- elected on the basis he was not romney and romney was a poopy head and you should vote against romney , and he won by two points, but he didn't make the case that we should have higher taxes and higher spending.
>> joining me now, one of the generals in the republican civil war , david frum , former george w. bush speechwriter and author of the "e-book "why romney lost and what the gop can do about it." and also david karnecki and crystal ball . what about the final points there? what about mitt romney ? didn't mitt romney lose this election for republicans ?
>> mitt romney , of course, like any defeated candidate, partly the author of his own misfortunate. we have had six presidential elections since 1988 , where the republican did not clear 50% of the vote. only once, 2004 , did the republican get more than 50%. look at the previous cycles, and the republicans win five of the elections, including the defeat in 1966 , 2.5% of the vote. you can make all kinds of criticisms of mitt romney , but barack obama is not exactly the second coming of franklin dell nor roosevelt either. he is a candidate that doesn't say thank you to people who vote for him. the president has built a stronger coalition, and the republican coalition has been in trouble for a long, long time. republicans look at elections like 2010 and 1994 where a third of the election for ate is over one state. and then they are surprised where they don't win when 16% of the election for ate is over age 65.
>> what about the argument you will hear, which is romney was not a consistent conservative . had he been a consistent conservative throughout his political career and had had not flip-flopped to conservatism recently, we would have run our test with a solid conservative candidate, and you can't make the argument against conservative republicanism if romney was the standard bearer of that, because he was such a false standard bearer .
>> i voted for mitt romney , and i like moderate mitt from massachusetts, and i am perhaps the last person with something good so say about romney care. i thought that was a good basis for a moderate appeal to the country. but what we got here -- i used this phrase before. the people who put the cement overshoes on romney 's feet are blaming him for sinking. he was remade to a severely conservative candidate. it wasn't natural to him. he campaigned on a big tax cut , on the ryan plan, on interest rates are too low and ben bernanke is too loose, human life amendment for abortion. this was the platform given to him. now, people who follow politics extremely closely, who knew how they would vote a year ago, they may know that mitt romney is a complicated person with a lot of you innance nuances, but people who tuned in late, they got that mitt romney was a generic republican, and that would force the country in default in 2011 . they heard about the ryan plan, the human life amendment and they voted no. they reflected what they heard from romney 's mouth, not what was in his heart.
>> crystal ball , from where you sit, can the republican party possibly make the moves that david seems to be suggesting that they have to make on policy? in order to appeal to a larger constituency?
>> they certainly can. i think it's going to be tough, though, because they sold the base on this idea you have to be ideologically pure, and you have to sort of change who the base is if you're going to get more electable candidates on the primary. i want to touch on something david said. the year that things shifted, before ronald reagan , he 70% top tax rates for top income earners. you had really powerful unions. had you major government abuses of power. now republicans have continued to move right, as democrats have moved right. you point out romney care. that is the basis for the president's health care reform . in a lot of ways, conservative ideas have won the day. we're no longer talking about 70% tax rates , but republicans in response to draw a really stark contrast have moved out further to the right. to move back to the center there, are policy differences, but it requires subtlety and nuances. but it's harder than yelling about death panels and social socialism.
>> the primary voters have been delivering tea party candidates and overthrowing some incumbent senate candidates, ending up with tea party candidates that absolutely cannot win as we saw in indianapolis. so as much as there are leadership questions involved, how do you get control of the republican primary electorate?
>> for a party to be defined as cohesive and functional, they have to have the same thought. the problem is, if that the clip you played from limbaugh, the problem is in today's republican universe, there are powerful incentives for opinion shapers like limbaugh not to win elections. rush limbaugh did not need mitt romney to win to have influence, clout, and make money. in fact, he might have more influence, more clout, and make more money if mitt romney loses. and he's feeding talking points for the base. and there is a beautiful built-in excuse for a guy like limbaugh. run an election like there and romney can lose, and it can be that romney isn't conservative enough. or look at one like christine o'donnell in 2010 , where they nominated the most conservative candidate and still lost, well, the party establishment abandoned the conservative candidate. either way , you can feed the conserve tiffism, and limbaugh can pit himself against the party establishment, and he doesn't need to tell the base, since he will win an election, and he needs to tell them that they feel good and fighting against the powerful, arrogant establishment.
>> david frum , in your e-book, you talk about these members of the conservative entertainment complex , sean hahnity, steve ducey, fox & friends crew, rush limbaugh , how would you expect anything to change in the way that they cheerlead for conservative republican candidates?
>> well, i don't know that they will change. but the -- the desire to win, as was just said. the desire to win is a powerful force. america benefits from having a two party system . politics become very zero sum and waking up to what the american electorate is really like, i hair agaear again and again, talking to a contemporary just this morning. when we were young, 20-year-olds were the strongest part of the republican coalition. those of us who are 203 0 30 years ago is still the strongest part. we just got old. what are we offering to today's 20-year-olds? if somebody in 1980 said i should be republican because tom dewey is a hell of a guy, i would barely know who tom dewey was. we are separated today from ronald reagan as i was from tom dewey . there is so much about republicanism and conservative that is compelling and that is appealing to people of all kinds of ethnicities, men and women, sexual orientations of every variety. americans are entrepreneurial, workers, savers, and want the message, but don't want to be told that they belong to 47% that doesn't count.
>> david , a real fight on your hands within the republican party . david frum , author of "why romney lost," crystal ball and steve kornacki, thank you for joining me.
>>> coming up, the first battle that will be fought in the republican civil war will be over taxes and some republicans are already sounding like liberal democrats on that one. carolyn finney and jonathan capehart will join me. sex, lies, and e-mail brought down the director of the cia . tonight, the story is getting stranger by the hour. the newest twist involves the shirtless e-mails of one of the fbi investigatoinvestigators, and within the hour, law enforcement officials have conducted a search of paula broadwell's home in north carolina , which is just step as way from the home of rielle hunter, john edwards ' form former