The Last Word | November 19, 2012
>>> after losing the presidential election on november 6th , republican vice presidential nominee paul ryan went into the woods . there's no better medicine for paul, his brother told "the new york times," than getting out in the fresh air looking for birds. but as in the past when a republican number two has gone hunting, paul ryan appears to have missed the target. he returns to reflect with these thoughts on his electoral thumping.
>> does barack obama now have a mandate?
>> i don't think so because they reelected the house republicans . the ideas we talked about, they are popular ideas.
>> could you see yourself supporting a plan that raises tax rates ?
>> i'm not for raising tax rates .
>> today "the new york times" reported that speaker john boehner has chosen paul ryan to help strike a deal to avoid big tax increases and spending cuts by the end of the year and bring along fellow republicans . his counterpart, patty murray said, i find it fascinating because his vision was actually on the ballot. and americans decided to go in a different direction. president obama has been speaking out against the paul ryan budget since long before mitt romney was the republican nominee. in fact, the president was speaking out against it even before the republicans in the house passed the original version. here's president obama in april of 2011 .
>> there's nothing serious or courageous about this plan. there's nothing serious about a plan that claims to reduce the deficit by spending a trillion dollars on tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires. i don't think there's anything courageous about asking for sacrifice for those who don't have clout on capitol hill . that's not a vision of the america i know.
>> and here's the president in april of this year five days after the house republicans passed the ryan budget 2.0.
>> this isn't a budget supported by some small dprup in the republican party . this is now the party's governing platform. this is what they are running on. it's a trojan horse . disguised as deficit reduction plans. it's really an attempt to impose a radical vision on our country. it's thinly failed social darwinism . it's to our entire history as a land of opportunity and upward mobility .
>> joining me now are karen finney, former communications director and an msnbc political analyst. karen , if folks want to make a deal on the hill, why is paul ryan even haunting the halls? what is boehner's intel here?
>> because john boehner is smart enough to know he needs to keep paul ryan as close to him as possible. remember, you have paul ryan is part of the young guns . so they caused a little mischief the last time we tried this. this is less about having faith in paul ryan 's actual ideas and more about politics. and sort of keeping his close, keeping him engaged, busy doing something so he's not out there making mischief.
>> rana, it seems maybe that conservatives are coming to grips with the notion that there may be a tax increase on upper income earners e. i point you to bill crystal saying the unspeakable. let's take a listen.
>> there will be a deal by december 31st . i believe republicans will yield on top rates. president obama ran twice and won two elections. he didn't raise rates in 2009 . we were in the midst of horrible downturn. they were able to bargain to a deal. i don't think republicans have the lemplg or that it's worth using whatever leverage they have to maintain rates at 35% instead of 37%. i don't think it's economically important enough. then the big deal has to be big tax reform with lower rates.
>> let's hope they do, but they are going to burn bill crystal's tea party card hearing him talk like this. you're off the reservation.
>> they don't care that much if a few millionaires pay a bit more in taxes.
>> i love the notion that asking them to pay more is going off the reservation. there's some nugget of hope that republicans will come to the table.
>> you were starting to hear this even before the election. a lot of republicans are trying to be sensible. they are going to need higher rates and entitlement reform. in order to get the social cohesion you need to do the cutting, you need the upper bracket paying more. the markets think this is going to happen. they have been raising since the talks began. you have seen optimism on the street. but i look and see that the house is filled with arguably more conservative republicans from a lot of districts. districts in which people voted for president from one party and a congressional level person from another has slunk from 42% to 24%. so in some ways, there's less reason to come across the aisle. i think it's going to be a bumpy ride until the end of december and possibly into january.
>> karen , when we talk about bumpy rides, we focus on the republicans . but at the end of the day , the woman that's maybe driving the bus on all this is minority leader nancy pelosi . she hasn't gotten the credit in the ones that passes legislation. this is pelosi who was on absentee this week talking about revenue raisers and the deal.
>> would you accept a deal that does not include tax rate increases for the wealthy? we have talked about a possible compromise to cap deductions for high income earners. is that something that's acceptable?
>> no. it's far too little money. and it could be they have said they wanted to be revenue neutral. if it's going to bring in revenue, the president has been very clear that the higher income people have to pay their fair share .
>> karen , nancy pelosi wants some revenue raisers. she wants the upper income earners to pay a little more. she has 200 democratic votes in the house and a deal only needs 218 votes to pass. that seems like a lot of leverage.
>> she has quite a bit of leverage. it's kind of an untold story of the last congress. a lot of the ways that things got passed was not because boehner was able to get the votes, but pelosi was able to e get some of the democrats to vote for him. the other things to keep in mind, from the polling perspective, president obama is more popular than ever. 58%. majority of americans actually think he's the one that's going to reach across the aisle. they believe it's going to be the republican's fault. so i think the stakes are pretty high for the republicans despite their rhetoric and the lines in the sand that they are delicate delicately trying to draw. they know that the pressure is on for them to be seen as working with the president to get something done. and i think the stakes are high if they try to be obstructionists.
>> the other thing that's emerged is the notion of the fiscal cliff maybe not actually being more akin to a curb. the more that that is undermined, the better it is for the president. he can sail the country over it until his purposes are served.
>> possibly. it depends on how long though. if you're talking about going a couple weeks into january with serious negotiations underway in an effort to sort of reset and have a discussion be, okay, taxes are now up. let's talk about lowering them on the middle class as opposed to having the conversation about raising them on the rich, then that becomes an easier bargaining position in some ways for both parties. but if we're talking negotiations where the end is nowhere in sight for months and months, no. we'd be talking a recession.
>> rana, the last thing any of us want is negotiations where there's no end in sight. we shall see. karen finney, rana, thank you for joining me tonight.
>>> coming up, obama care faces one more hurdle. the heap of republican governors who want to stop it.
>>> and speaking of republican governors or ex-governors, guess who is already getting one conservative backing for 2016 . yes, america, sarah palin is back. with the