The Rachel Maddow Show | November 16, 2012
>>> one of the things we saw this year, even in a year it didn't come down to a recount in florida, we did see eight-hour long lines in some places. we saw contested rules, some say, partisan-contested rules around early voting and the availability of voting machines . how long it was going to take people to vote. is there -- as you have championed the idea of reforming the role of money in politics, is there also sort of energy right now for the idea of election reform ? there being federal advance thement for the states to get their acts together.
>> the electoral system is a state function . but in a federal election , we should be able to pass legislation that people should be able to vote and the rest of the long lines are an obstacle. they are a form of voter suppression . whether it's money suffocating the air out of the air waves, whether it's suppressing the vote through regulation or state laws, or it's just telling people that this is poisoning the debate so people throw up my hands, i don't want to vote. all of it is really an obstacle to participation. i'm pursuing this, there should be a national law for federal elections that says that people should be able to vote in a reasonable amount of time, that these long lines are designed to suppress the vote.
>> is that -- one of the things i have been trying to understand since the election is what in congress is now politically doable that wasn't politically doable before. and some of the ideas are the same, but the prospects of passage are different now that we have gone through the election process. would you put election reform as doable and what else has crossed over the line because of the election results?
>> electoral reform will be public sentiment is everything. and i think the public sentiment is there for saying enough already with all the money and all the commercials and the length of time these campaigns take place so we can exploit that opportunity to make change. it's a great organizing tool throughout the country. not even in a partisan way, but in a democratic way. and i think that sufficient activism, don't agonize, organize. sufficient activism on the outside, mobilization there, helps us maneuver to get something done in that regard. i would certainly hope that the budget issues, that that has changed with the election. the president was clear about the wealthy paying their fair share in the election. the public supports that overwhelmingly in all the polls. even if they didn't vote for president obama , they support the wealthy paying their fair share . so hopefully the need and the ability of republicans to vote for that has been improved. i don't know. it remains to be seen. i would certainly hope that the participation of so many people in the electoral process sends a clear message that we have to think in a different way about the value of immigration to our country and not in the way that it has been presented by those who oppose comprehensive immigration reform , just to name a few.
>> when you look ahead to the next congress, the rights of the minority in the house are. but you have a decision to be made about how your caucus is going to work with john boehner and his caucus in the house. do you see it as work iing out any differently in the next congress than it did in the last one?
>> it depends on what level of cooperation and respect is extended to the president of the united states . when i was speaker and president bush was president, we worked together and we passed an energy bill and passed a rebate bill that was refundable. i worked for the aids initiative ever. so we were able to do things working together. more than that even. tarp. so the idea that a congress would come in and say to the president, never does never work for you, even when he was extending the hand of friendship saying how can we work together. it was something quite different than any of us had ever seen before. but sure, i worked with president bush . i stand always ready to work in a bipartisan fashion. that's what we came here to do. the last two years is a different phenomenon. it reared its head in the '90s with republicans impeached president clinton , but we offered cooperation to a republican president. i hope they will offer cooperation to president obama . we stand ready to work in a bipartisan way with speaker boehner and the republicans in congress. we have regional concerns that are not partisan. we have issues of human rights in the world that are not partisan where we have come together in a bipartisan way and sometimes in disagreement with our own leadership or our own white house in the past. so i think the american people expect and deserve a bipartisanship to take place and let's hope that it's there because then we'll get our most sustainable solutions. we come here to find common ground . if we can't find it, we have to stand our ground. but we have a responsibility to try.
>> before heading into the so-called fiscal cliff negotiations with the white house and republicans in congress, you heard there the top democrat in the house, nancy pelosi , telling me in an exclusive interview, her first after announcing she would stand to be leader, that the republican attitude towards president obama these past two years is not something that should be seen as normal. when she was speaker and george bush was president, they were able to get a reasonable amount of stuff done together despite their differences. she expects john boehner will have to start thinking about governing in the same way. joining us is john stanton . thank you for being here.
>> it's good to be here.
>> what do you think seems newly possible now? election reform ? filibuster reform in the senate? anything on immigration? does any of that seem viable to you?
>> i hate to be a wet blanket, but immigration reform , yes. there's certainly a possibility that immigration reform in some manner could be done. the problem there, though, frankly is that john boehner has come out and said, look, i want to do this. we learned a lesson from the election. a lot of republicans feel they need to do something. the problem is when you start to dig into what they are saying f you look at what john boehner said earlier this week, he said first a step by step approach. we want to do border and then visas and then do some other things. that's very much what republicans have been saying for the last several years. they don't want to do a comprehensive deal. they want to do rifle shot legislation. and advocates of immigration reform are very opposed to that. they understand if you don't keep them all together, you're not going to get the coalition of people to get a bill through the house particularly. so that may be the best shot . i think election reform is going to be difficult unless it's sort of top line stuff on, you know, donations and things like that -- transparency kinds of things. and filibuster reform is something that everyone has always talked about. if you're in the majority, you want it. if you're in the minority, you don't. you realize eventually you're going to be the minority and you're not going to want it. so i don't know. i hate to say it, but i think we'll have two more years of similar kind of situation.
>> you're not being a wet blanket, but you're being damp. but let me follow up on that idea of rifle-shot legislation about very narrowly targeted stuff. that doesn't take on any of our big problems, but does pry off some of the stuff that we can get people to agree on. on the bush tax cuts , president obama wants those broken into two parts. extending for those under $250,000 and hold a separate debate in terms of what happens on income higher than that. could that happen?
>> it actually could. there's been an interesting thing going on within the republican party in the house the last couple days, particularly the last week since the election. there are a lot of members that are now saying, you know, we may be open to this. especially if you get a high above $1 million. we might be willing to accept that. which is definitely a change. there are members of the republican party willing to do that a few years ago, they sort of became less so after 2010 with the tea party election. they are not coming back to that. the big problem there was going to be john boehner . he has been very explicit about his position on this. he says we're not going to raise tax rates . we can increase revenues by getting rid of some of the loopholes and deduction, but he doesn't want to see that. that's very much an explicit tax increase. the other things are tax increases, but you can fudge in how you talk about it. so it could, if enough pressure comes on leadership and if they feel like they get a majority, they might be able to pull it o off.
>> the key there is the faster that it happens, the more likely it is to happen and the longer it drags on, the less likely it gets. john stanton , thank you very being with us. appreciate it.
>>> best new thing in the world, flat earth edition in a good way, is straight