The Rachel Maddow Show | March 07, 2013
>>> today because members of both parties worked together we were able to renew that commitment. reauthorizing the violence against women act is something i called for in my state of the union address . and when i see how quick it got done, i'm -- i'm feeling -- [ cheers and applause ] it makes me feel optimistic.
>> they said it couldn't be done! today president obama signed into law the reauthorization of the violence against women act . finally. it took a long time, but it finally got done. and it got done in the end mostly because republican leaders in the house decided to get out of the way. look, when it passed in the house, it got more democratic votes than republican votes. that is usually not how it works. usually the party in control in the house won't allow something to come up for a vote unless their own side is for it. but in this case republican leaders in the house decided to get out of the way. they folded. and as a result we got a rare signing ceremony today in washington . i almost feel like i will jinx it if i point it out, but things are actually sort of starting to happen in washington . and they are happening, i think, to the extent that things can get done around the republican leadership in washington . look at this. this very short piece of tape. but watch carefully.
>> that is him.
>> that was him.
>> it was?
>> was that him? yeah, it was. really? was that him? yeah. him. the him in this case would be paul ryan . who was invited to the white house today to talk about the budget. now, typically, it would be the house speaker , john boehner , who'd be going to the white house to talk with the president. but today, no. they went around the republican leadership and just talked to the guy who's not in the leadership but who's working on the budget. similarly, last night president obama hosted a dinner with 12 republican senators. importantly, none of the 12 were members of the senate republican leadership. and here's why that matters. "as for obama's dinner last night, it went very well, according to various nbc conversations with the gop participants. in fact, one senator told us that he learns for the first time the actual cuts that the president had put on the table. leadership had not shared that list with them before." huh? republican leaders didn't share that information with some of their members? we've just gone through three months or so of hand-to-hand political combat on spending cuts, and republican leaders in the senate apparently never told their members what president obama was putting on the table. this kind of seems like a big deal , right? and does not seem to be an isolated incident. one whippersnapper reporter who has been documenting this phenomenon at work in washington is our own ezra klein . he's also a columnist for " washington post " and the bloomberg news. ezra, it's great to have you here. thank you.
>> good evening, rachel.
>> so president obama offered something in negotiations. republican leadership did not tell the rest of republicans in congress that that was true. they apparently don't have google so they can't find out for themselves. he only learn about it after president obama stops talking to the leadership and took a senator guy out to dinner directly to tell him to his face. have you seen this dynamic at work even before last night?
>> i would like to tell you i have not. i have seen it a lot. i was in a briefing with a very senior republican member of congress about a week and a half ago, and it was a background briefing so, i can't say who. but this was a genuinely good guy, very informed guy, one of the guys who knows this issue very well. and there was a bunch of reporters in the room. and somebody said to him, would it matter if president obama put chained c pichlt which is a way of cutting social security benefits on the table? and the member of congress said absolutely, that would be a huge deal. and one of the other reporters said, but he did. it's right there in his budget. and the congressman said, well, who did? and the reporter said, the president. and the guy said, well, i'd like to see that. and it's literally, this is not one of those issues, chain cpi where you need to rely on the reporting out of the secret negotiations with john boehner . it's on the website. if you just look at the sequester plarngs it is litern, it is lite rally in bold letters. a couple of days later i was talking with mike murphy who's a fairly moderate republican strategist on twitter and he too was saying obama needs to put chained cpi on the table and we said, well, he did. and he said well, that was a gimmick, he wanted revenues in return for it. this happens a lot. the lines of communication to folks who are not in the republican party leadership are much weaker than one would expect. part of that is on the white house for not having a great congressional outreach operation. part of it is of course on members of congress , who should probably be going and reading plans on the website. but whoever you blame, people do not have the information they should frankly have in this town.
>> well, what's the motivation of the republican leadership to not tell its members what the white house is actually doing? i mean, it is disappointing that members of congress don't believe things that are publicly known unless they've been delivered to them personally by john boehner . but why would john boehner and mitch mcconnell not actually tell their members what's really been offered?
>> well, i could actually see this being a reasonable thing, right? so it's typically considered a bad thing to leak the other side's proposals. now, it happens quite a bit. it's something that i rely on quite heavily. but it would be a bad thing if the day after the negotiations with the white house john boehner sort of put out an all representatives e-mail and sent out everything the white house has done in paper to everybody sort of on the e-mail that would leak in a minute, and then it would seriously degrade any trust between the two sides going forward. now, if the senator had gone up to mitch mcconnell or boehner and said, what was actually on the table there? my hunch is they probably would have gotten a fairly good idea. also, the reporting of this stuff has been fairly clear. and finally, again, president obama , unlike at this moment the house republican or senate republican leadership, does have a fairly detailed -- not incredibly detailed but fairly detailed proposal on the website that specifically delineates what he wants to cut and how he wants to raise taxes. you can just go -- these folks can just go read it. there's no reason it should be a mystery if you want to know about it. that doesn't mean the white house shouldn't be trying to get that information to people. but this stuff doesn't have to be secret if you don't want to be secret.
>> especially if one of the things you that control as a member of congress is a staff who's supposed to read stuff for you. just amazing. ezra klein , columnist for the " washington post " and bloomberg news and of course our msnbc policy analyst. ezra, thank you very much for being here tonight.
>> thank you.
>> republican leadership, i will say, has let go a little bit in the house and they're just being circumnavigated around in the senate. if republican leadership is sort of out of the way, i think we may see some stuff