The Rachel Maddow Show | March 11, 2013
>> thanks to you for joining us tonight. rachel has a very well-deserved night off. we begin tonight with election day . you remember election day when democrats put their plan for taxes and their plan for spending up against the republican plan for taxes and the republican plan for spending? election day . the democrats said we should raise taxes on the wealthy and make targeted spending cuts. republicans said no new taxes at all and cut programs for the poor like medicaid and food stamps and housing system and so on. these were the competing approaches in 2012 on election day . barack obama and joe biden versus mitt romney and republican budget guru, paul ryan . president obama won on election day . he won with just over 51% of the vote. it wasn't a huge marting margin but significant and enough we do not have to stay up half the night waiting to results. you want to see the big winner on election day ? the idea of raising taxes . on election day more said they should raise taxes than voted for barack obama . 60% said we should raise the revenue for the good of the country and 50% said we should make the rich pay more. another 13% said make everyone pay more. the no taxes, no way, no how, never, huh-uh, crowd did not come close. no one should be surprised that americans say they want higher taxes. as unpopular as the idea of writing bigger checks to uncle sam might sound, in the abstract, americans have been saying that is what they want. at least that is what they want from rich people for a long time now. they have said this over and over and over again. in poll after poll after poll. from july and august. 2012 , 65% of americans said we should raise taxes the way democrats proposed. 32% margin over the no taxes position. in the same period, 44% that responded said raising taxes on the well off would help the economy and only a third said it would hurt the economy. a couple of months later, october, 64% liked the democrats plan for raising taxes on the rich and like it by, a 35-point margin. that is not a poll on taxes. that is a baby slough. we threw there it for fun. they always win the internet. back to taxes. another poll on tax from october 2012 . look at this. asking the rich to pay more gets support from 55% of the voters. the margin is closer but 19 points in politics is not all that close. right after the election, a new poll, 60% support higher taxes on the rich and in case you're wondering what message voters said in the election what they meant when they said not mitt romney , check this out a december poll in which 45e6 65% of those asked said president obama has a mandate to raise taxes. likewise that same month, 57% said we should let the bush taxes expire and raise taxes. last month on the other side of the equation on spending, 82% said do not cut medicare and more people said don't sut social security . 87% wanted social security left alone. except for foreign aid they weren't into cutting much of anything at all. with all of this evidence showing the americans prefer the democrats approach to the federal budget to the republican approach, you would think the last thing republicans would want, the thing they would be most afraid of is another fight between the democratic and republican budgets. republicans have the clearly less popular position here. but after the election when they had lost it at every single level and decided to back down in congress over the debt ceiling the one thing they wanted and something they have wanted for years now, the one thing they demanded is for senate democrats to give them a budget . now something important to note here. white house has been hanged out a detailed budget year after year after year. there is not a year they have missed. republicans , every single year, republicans in congress hate it and they oppose it and say it raises too much in taxes and doesn't cut spending enough but it's there. house democrats have also put forward budgets but that is not enough. republicans in the house say the senate democrats , the senate democrats are the folks who need to give them a budget . for some reason, republicans have become really fixated on this idea. senate democrats must produce a budget . it is always winning. house speaker john boehner is so excited about the prospect of the budget that is coming now from the senate democrats , he thinks the moment this happens people will see how much more popular republican policy is. mr. boehner tweeted this morning americans want spending cuts, quote, are not in a mood to increase taxes. then he linked to this poll. this poll right here. just relieved yesterday. it is about the mandatory spending cuts in the sequester and whether people are noticing them yet and it does include this, quote, generally voters by 53 to 37 prefer to reduce the deficit by cutting programs and services than mostly by raising taxes . one saying, quote, voters are in no mood to increase taxes. that is a real poll that shows finally the republican budget strategy, the republicans want congress and the president to slash spending and not raise another dime in revenues. right? that after months sharing the public wants to raise taxes than take a weed whacker to the budget survey after survey thinking taxes should go up here. finally a poll saying fire up the weed whacker . go for the spending and no more taxes and fiscal cliff deal was enough. that would be very cheering news for republicans . you would understand exactly why speaker boehner is excited except if you read the poll. this poll, the poll that john boehner really wants you to see, is actually just like all of the other polls. now it's true. voters would rather cut spending for energy than raise taxes and rather cut unemployment insurance than raise taxes which seems to me to be a shame. in those two categories, voters would rather cut money than raise new revenue. but voters say they would rather raise taxes and cut money from medicaid and prefer cutting taxes to money for roads and bridges and transportation. voters say raise taxes instead of cutting money for medicare one of our most popular programs. by an even wider margin voters say we should raise taxes rather than cut social security . grandma and cat food not a popular idea. by an even wider margin than that, voters say we should raise taxes rather than cut money for schooling. apparently, people like the future. despite john boehner 's belief that they are in fashion, this new pole he champions like a lot like the other ones. what do republicans want to do has not gotten more popular. so senate democrats will give them a budget this week. they will get a budget from senate democrats . christmas now. it will be a budget that follows all of this polling with the mix of tax increases and moderate spending cuts that the voting public has time and again said it wants. the polling says spending cuts are by and largely popular and people prefer taxing the wealthy and making fewer cuts to medicare and other programs but republicans seem to convinced themselves deem and seem totally persuaded of something that is not true. in the same way they thought mitt romney was 100% going to win the election in the same way they were with the election republicans are excited about these budgets and persuaded with their approach of dealing with government spending and deficits they are constructing a reality in which they believe the broad public, the majority feels the way they do. but everybody does not feel the way republicans do. they do not like the republican budgets. it's just not a true fact that they do. so this week, republicans are going to, once again, as it did in the election when they put paul ryan on the ticket, once again, they will get exactly what they want. a fight between their budget and democratic budget . the question is why that is what they want? what is convincing them? this is a good idea? joining us is melissa harris. your name is easy to remember. good to see you.
>> nice to see you, ezra.
>> why? what is behind the intense republican desire to see a budget from senate democrats and have this fight again?
>> well, i suspect there my be a couple of things. one, remember that house republicans are the group of people most insulated from the realities of sort of what the electorate wants. we remember the electorate wanted president obama over mitt romney and president obama won. they preferred more senate democrats over senate republicans . senate democrats are in control. the public also preferred house democrats over house republicans and yet house republicans remain in control. why? because in 2010 when they redrew the district seeds, they very safe and often very skewed districts. so i think when they go home, particularly in the far right, in fact, are hearing from constituents the same echo chamber cut spending, cut spending, cut spending. because they are relatively they can have this fight with relatively little cost to thems themselves in the 2014 midterm.
>> when you poll republicans , when you break the republicans out of the poll and ask them do you think we should raise taxes as part of a reducing the budget , do you think we should raise taxes on the wealthy or cut medicare or social security , they say raise taxes. something is going to me house republicans are further to the right of their qenconstituents. second, they seem unafraid. of these polls. typically, politicians are afraid of having a lot of people disagree with them particularly when they have just lost an election. you are a professional political scientist. have you a degree in telling me why this would happen. why aren't they more afraid of the majority position here?
>> there could be two possibilities. one is let's go back to the baby sloth for a moment.
>> i would love to do that.
>> remember, the baby sloth the reason we showed it a couple times there i assume is because it's extremely popular but no one thinks that the american public by liking to look at baby sloths or puppies or panda bears or whatever, they don't think of that as reasonable. many leaders will say, well, sure, the voting public wants this but that is because the voting public is childish and they don't raealize you have to cut spending to bring down this deficit so we will give them the medicine they need and they may want to look at the baby sloth all kay but they want to have their cake and eat it too but we have to cut that spending. i think some of them see themselves very brave. certainly we heard that from paul ryan . i think the other thing that that come 2014 when they get to the midterm election cycle they know a way they can spin this and i think it's in that maris poll. you ask about the specific policies people want to kept their medicare and medicaid and keep their education and roads and bridges, but you can say government spending in the context of, for example, campaign commercials, and you can get support for that. when we hear government spending we have this 1980s versions of the welfare queen who is living high off the hog and i think that is part of why that desire to cut the unemployment insurance , that senses some people aren't working hard and therefore, we shouldn't be extending government assistance to them. a political strategy possible and we're better than our constituents and we will lead them to something that they need.
>> melissa harris-perry, i think a very good diagnosis. thanks for being here tonight.
>>> one prominent republican does have a plan but it leeches on to president obama 's success to reach its goals. that