The Rachel Maddow Show | December 10, 2012
>>> behold! rachel maddow approvingly quotes bill kristol , without sna are k. read about some conservative organizations and campaigns these days, one is reminded of eric hoffer 's remark, every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business and eventually degenerates into a racket. it may be that major parts of american conservative have become such a racket that a kind of refounding of the movement as a cause is necessary. joining us tonight for the interview is frank rich . he is "new york" magazine writer at large. mr. rich, it's great to have you here.
>> great to be here as always.
>> in part, i enjoy these stories because it is fun to figure out ways that people have managed to do politics in a way that works out to be a great business for themselves.
>> free market principles. the market all goes, accrues to them.
>> i sort of wonder about that. should it be okay at freedomworks that you scam people out of their money, thinking it's for the campaign and it really just gets spent on something that you're going to profit from? should that be okay? because they're sort of randian economic anarchists, and if you can scam people out of their money, you deserve their money than they do?
>> it is consistent with randian principles, i think. take a look back at ralph reed and pat robertson . it was all about generating this list, figuring out ways to sell them to others, using them to raise money on the 700 club , trying to sell products, some of seemingly dubious value, and it's -- so i guess at least they're not hypocrites.
>> yes, in a way. but i feel like it was -- i feel like it made sense in an instrumental way before, essentially before the internet. i realize i sound like an old-timer at this point. but in a preinternet, presocial media world, having people's addresses, having people's base contact information was sort of enough to give you the appearance of being a movement. you'd have people send in a million different postcards or send in a million different faxes, and it would look like you were a lot of people before that stuff could be very regimentally automated. now that stuff really doesn't fly anymore and you need to contact people in a much more substantive way in order or the those things not to look fake, i feel that this machinery that the republicans built up worked for them to look like a movement for a long time, and now it's just sort of unraveling into just scam.
>> well, you may be right. it's almost as if the addresses they have now, dick morris 's list of 460,000. how did he come up with that number? why not 450 or 470. who are those people? it seems sort of a form of spam. and i think when we saw the big failure during the actual election of romney 's get out the vote efforts, his attempts technologically to track who is voting, my guess is that some of this misinformation from these sources filtered into him, just as dick morris had fraudulent -- not fraudulent, but completely erroneous polls, very suspect polls. who knows how many people like him, including him, were feeding voter information to the romney campaign.
>> right. sort of an inch deep and a mile wide, that we've got all of these numbers that we can monetize for ourselves, but they don't really translate into real voter contacts and real persuasion and real activism.
>> right. and for all we know a lot of them are just junk listings, you know, the way that magazines, again, back in prehistoric times , a magazine like the saturday evening post would have more subscribers than any other magazine. but they were going to dead letter boxes or going to people who were literally dead or to people who didn't read. but you can generate that stuff. and now when it infiltrates the political system, kit be devastating like everything else that was factually off the republicans this year.
>> i feel like in the lead-up to the 2012 primary process on the republican side , everybody could see from a mile off that newt gingrich was going to run.
>> and i felt like should it have been a harbinger of what is to come, to look at what newt gingrich was doing right up into the moment that he started to run. he is sort of running his newt gingrich enterprises. and the reason that he kept ending up in the embarrassment pages of liberal blogs and liberal tv shows is he was trying to give these fake awards to people in exchange for him giving them $5,000. but the way he was picking his marks is that he was just going through the phone exchange for $5 thou $5,000 who would then make this public that they had received it. he twice targeted the same strip club in dallas which went public with it both times saying, we are not your entrepreneur of the year, newt. it's sort of a churn thing. it doesn't matter what you're doing factually.
>> it is. it's like these marketing schemes where you don't really have the product or you convince other neighbors to sell your product and then you get money for foisting it on them. it's like snake oil salesman and yet this guy was speaker of the house . he's not just clown that walked off the street.
>> and rick santorum and mike huckabee both did well in the republican nominations. what about the bill kristol diagnosis here, which is that the conservative movement has been descended into a racket and needs to be refounded as a cause?
>> well, i'm sure he's right but he's being disingenuous but the biggest racket is the mourdock racket. take karl rove . all right. he's been benched at the moment at fox news. he has a column every week -- now it doesn't say romney is going to win. it says obama is going to fail. i'm sure impeachment is not far around the corner. wall street journal was or at least used to be a serious paper. you don't have someone doing that who is then raising money from super pacs for billionaire and spending them in ways that are off the books that are not transparent. that is a racket. he uses wall street journal and to raise money for his own -- i'm sure he gets a lovely salary from american crossroads, too. so will bill kristol go after mourdock of which he is a contributor? i don't think so. a lot of these scams are ridiculous but dick morris is relatively small potatoes. he's so vulgar and so ridiculous and he doesn't hide it very well and he's so transparent. but what about all of the others and the big stuff? so i think kristol, yes, he's right, but is anything going to happen?
>> and when you're talking about the big leagues --
>> thank you very much for coming here to talk about this. frank rich is writer at large for a new york magazine.
>>> my colleague lawrence o'donnell does not to prove why he is indispensable but yesterday he did it. it's coming up