tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC December 20, 2011 1:00am-2:00am PST
that's "the ed show." listen to me on sirius xm radio 127 monday to friday noon to 3:00 p.m. follow me on twitter @edshow and @wegoted. the rachel maddow show starts right now. good evening, ed, thank you. both of the headlines impossible to imagine even a few months ago. here's the first one. monumental one. last convoy of american troops leaves iraq. iraq war now officially 100% over. after nearly nine years of war. started for weapons of mass destruction. that war not there. here's the other headline. ron paul takes the lead in iowa. welcome to news from the department of impossible. these two headlines coinciding
is simply that. a coincidence. but it is a striking coincidence. because ron paul, the new front-runner in iowa, is the only candidate in the republican presidential field who is not a george w. bush foreign policy inheriter. ron paul is the only one who doesn't want the iraq war, say, to go on for longer. and ron paul is officially leading the pack in the first republican nominating state as of the day that the iraq war officially ends. now, if you think that might mean that republican candidates are finally competing to put into practice their party's long popular rhetoric about living within our means and a humble foreign policy and the limited reach of government, that would not be the case. here with the previous iowa republican front-runner, newt gingrich, to disabuse us of that notion. >> one of the things you say is that if you don't like what a court has done that congress should subpoena the judge and bring him before congress and hold a congressional hearing. some people say that's
unconstitutional, but i'll let that go for a minute. i just want to ask you from a practical standpoint, how would you enforce that? would you send the capitol police down to arrest him? >> if you had to. or you'd instruct the justice department to send the u.s. marshal. >> if you like that limited government idea of divided power, co-equal branches of government, newt gingrich has a new idea we should instead be a country where one branch of government has judges arrested if that judge rules in a way the other branch doesn't like. that said, mr. checks and balances there does find himself fading in the polls now. after a full month of newtmentum and jumping into a huge national lead against mitt romney, newt gingrich has fallen down to earth. some of his fading numbers are now, sort of for the first time of the non-romney contenders, for the first time his falling numbers are redounding to mitt romney mitt romney is polling at 28% in this poll by cnn.
he is on the rise. there is, of course, not a national race for the republican nomination. we don't vote nationally. we vote in order. and first we vote in iowa. and what's happened in iowa is that newt gingrich has fallen by eight points in the latest ppp survey. he has dropped eight points in iowa in the span of a week. ron paul is now leading the pack there. is that because of ron paul's isolationist foreign policy, his position on things like iraq and iran? who knows. ron paul is now the sixth front-runner in iowa this year. sixth. it can't be that they've just been waiting for an isolationist to come along. they picked in turn mitt romney, rick perry, michele bachmann, newt gingrich, herman cain and now ron paul. to the extent this race is about the whole country learning what the republican party is like right now and what republican
politics is like right now, it's worth noting at this juncture it is, in fact, possible to be the front-runner in iowa if you're an isolationist. it's possible to be the front-runner in iowa without winning the murdoch primary. without getting fox news on your side. to spend a little time trolling through fox news channel news scripts on lexusnexus searching for the words ron paul shows what it means in 2011 to lose the fox murdoch primary. >> i think right now anybody other than ron paul could beat obama if the election were tomorrow. >> ron paul to me is just a complete distraction. >> look, there is no foreign policy. there's no commander in chief because his notion of foreign policy is impossible. >> single handedly be responsible for the re-election of obama, you would think is the thing he doesn't want. >> i absolutely, positively guarantee you if ron paul is the -- >> he's not going to be. >> barack obama is the next
president. >> if ron paul wins here, what then? >> well, the ron paul people will not like me saying this. to a certain degree, it will discredit the iowa caucuses. >> fox news channel decidedly not on the ron paul bandwagon. for a while when mitt romney was losing the fox news channel murdoch primary, you could tell romney was losing that because he wasn't showing up on fox news anymore. now if it's a day of the week that ends with "y" mitt romney is probably somewhere on the fox news channel. if fox news channel is talking smack about a particular republican candidate, the candidate they're likely talking smack about is ron paul. mostly what they're talking smack about is ron paul's isolationism on foreign policy. literally every other candidate, for each of the thing they prioritize and their policy positions and outlooks, all of them except for ron paul indicated they would like to start a war with iran, please, the sooner the better.
all of them have to a greater or lesser extent criticized the fact that the iraq war is ending. ron paul stands alone on those issues. and he gets pillarried for it by the establishment republicans and by the establishment republican media. but the idea of not getting involved in another war in iran, for instance, is something that does get ron paul applause. from republican audiences, at republican debates. >> you know what i really fear about what's happening here? it's another iraq coming. it's war propaganda going on. and we're arguing -- to me the greatest danger is we will have a president that will overreact. nuclear weapons are loaded over there. pakistan and israel has 300 of them. we have our ships there. we got to get it in a proper context. we don't need another war. >> understood. you make that point quite a lot.
>> you make that point quite a lot. now please stop making it. it is likely that whoever wins iowa, it really will not matter all that much. i mean, it could be ron paul, could be michele bachmann. could be anyone other than rick santorum really. it could be mike huckabee, right? it was mike huckabee in 2008. the uncomfortable truth about the carpet bombing coverage of the iowa republican caucuses is that iowa, itself, doesn't much matter when it comes to the process of picking the republican nominee for president anymore. it is not predictive of what republicans in the rest of the country are going to do when it's their turn to vote. winning iowa mostly means you're popular in iowa. good for you. the persistent popularity of ron paul in iowa and elsewhere, sustained fund-raising, sustained support, sustained ability to turn out big crowds, his appeal across the country, his cross demographic appeal. he can get people without gray hair to turn out to republican candidate events. no offense to people with gray hair. i have some myself. what is most interesting about ron paul is not just his isolationism. there's always been a strain of
that in republican politics. pat buchanan ran as an isolationist among other things when we ran back in the '90s. what's most interesting about ron paul is the extent to which his domestic stuff, his social issue libertarianism, his position on things like not just the war in iraq but the war on drugs, calls out a really uncomfortable truth in modern republican politics which is republicans want their brand to be small hands-off government. but the policies they support are more like big intrusive government. things like forced mandatory drug testing by the government. and federal regulation of every marriage in every state in the country. and rounding up and arresting federal judges i guess now. and the government putting people in jail for smoking marijuana. ron paul is for the decriminalization of drugs, which is a coherent position for a small government conservative. personal responsibility. liberty. that's what republicans say they are for. but to be ron paul in this instance, in this year, in this set of politics, to be ron paul in this republican party, means
that in this next clip from this weekend, you are not with republican congressman paul ryan or conservative columnist george will. in this next clip, you small government conservative, you are with barney frank. >> can i get an answer on marijuana, george? are you with me? i mean, personal liberty. if someone wants to smoke marijuana who's an adult, why do you want to make them go to jail? >> with regard to marijuana, i need to know whether it's a gateway drug to other drugs. i need to know how you're going to regulate it. whether you're going to advertise it. >> it's been around for a long time. gateway, anything is a gateway to anything. let's put it this way. that's the slippery slope argument which is a very anti-libertarian argument. the fact that if somebody's doing something that's not in and of itself wrong, but it might lead later on to something else, then stop the something else. don't lock them up for smoking marijuana. >> what you're calling a copout, i'm calling a quest for information. >> how long is it going to last? we've been doing this for
decades. >> i understand liberalism is a version of information because it often doesn't go in their direction. >> i've been studying this for a long time. medicare. how much longer are we going to have to wait for you to make up your minds? >> i wanted to get back to the issue of social mobility. i think it is the basic -- >> good. let's get off maijuana and on to this. >> it's a great embarrassment to the conservatives -- big government. who can i have sex with? who can i marry? what can i smoke? you guys, not on the whole, not argue, but it's the conservatives who want to intrude on personal liberty there. >> all right. christiane. >> taking that into account. >> please stop talking about the issues. maybe we'll see a barney frank/ron paul wing of the republican party emerge. i wonder how that would do in south carolina. joining us now, dave weigel, slate.com and msnbc contributor. >> thanks. great to see you.
>> you have followed ron paul and his relationship with the republican party for a long time before these primaries. >> since the beginning of 2007, really. >> yeah. some of your -- part of the reason i started paying a lot of attention to you as a reporter because i thought you were trenchant and talked about ron wall in a way that resonated with me. is he more acceptable to the republican establishment than he used to be? >> he talked in 2007 about building up the republican party, adding more people to it. i think he actually succeeded in part bringing people who might have been up for grabs. i talked to ron paul voters in 2007 who liked barack obama and liked ron paul. i was one of those voters. once they were disappointed by what barack obama did in office, they've remained in his camp. if you talk to young people at rallies, you'll hear a lot -- the first things they'll list off, the reasons they go for him, are the social issues. then they'll list the economic crisis issues. they come over to his side the way they could have easily been
convinced. you're at that age where you're receptive to ideas like that. he's added those people to the party. i think also because the economy collapsed in 2008, because he'd been predicting it for so long, doesn't really matter if he was wrong in previous instances, you know. the preachers who predict the rapture are ever right, are we going to forget he got it wrong 20 times? that happened to him. people in the republican party disagree with him on a lot of issues became more sympathetic to him. the coalition in iowa is partly the new voters and partly oldline conservatives who would have listened to him before, but he was right about something. >> it's a little bit, i feel, underappreciated in terms of the iowa dynamic. he's been running a really, really strong antiabortion campaign in iowa. he's essentially campaigning as ron paul obstetrician in iowa when you look at his ads. >> 4,000 babies. >> do you think that's driving his more traditional support? how does that interact with the support that he's driven from younger voters and the people
who are motivated in the way you were just describing? >> they look past it. when voters fall for a candidate, they look past a lot of things. herman cain supporters until the very end looked past a lot of things about herman cain. the people who will social libertarian mostly have forgiven him. when will they get a chance like this again to vote for a guy who promises to end the fed, et cetera? in iowa, definitely, the way he put the current coalition together is him being very heavily on the life issue. sensitive ad where he talks to the camera for a minute seeing a baby thrown into a trash can or fetus thrown into the trash can. he's gotten away with that, because no one wants to attack pim. iowa king makers like bob vander plats point out, he says these things, believes these things but as a federalist who doesn't want to impose this on every single state, as somebody, looks at gays in the military, says it's not any of my concern. we don't want somebody who just
believes it but will enforce it. >> through big government which he doesn't believe in. >> he's gotten away with it so far. but this is two weeks before the caucus. people taking him seriously. we'll see if that lasts. >> do you think the combination of that two-pronged appeal you're describing and what's needed to win in iowa, which everybody says is organization, organization, organization. does he have that other side of it? do you think that he actually could end up winning? >> the organizational side, he's always had that. he was only about 100 votes short of michele bachmann in the ames straw poll. >> that's right. yeah. >> actually they talked about this since then. no one waned to interview ron paul after he last to michele bachmann. he got nearly 5,000 votes in that straw poll. typically you do about at least six or seven times better. he actually has the numbers to put this together. that's why i think that is important. the factor that mitt romney would not mind if this is the guy who ends up being the next
anti-romney. it's very cynical. that can help him. he's got an organization the republican party did not see coming. you put it very well in the first segment. >> romney is not going to spend $3 million destroying him the way he has with gingrich. >> the best man, sometimes you like to have somebody else take care of the mess and you can move in later. >> dave weigel from slate.com and msnbc contributor. somebody who i read every day but do not talk to frequently enough. thanks, dave. good to see you. congressman barney frank who you saw a moment ago making good sunday morning laughs on abc, will be joining us next.
we should have known very early on in the tenure of the republican majority in the house of representatives that the leader of the republicans in the house, speaker john boehner, was having a tough time with his job. here in the beltway broadcasting from d.c. tonight, here in the beltway, the common wisdom is the reason john boehner is having such a tough time is of all those tea party republican congressmen that he's got. they're just wacky and rebellious and nobody can tame them. they're like wild legislative animals. sorry about the common wisdom. since people have started looking at the voting records and concluding that tea party republicans vote with the rest of their party nearly all of the time, i don't believe that explains what's going on with john boehner. i think john boehner's record explains what's going on with john boehner. on day one, the first day republicans were in charge of the house, they flailed their way through a reading of the constitution, skipping some sections by accident, because
the pages got stuck together in the three-ring binder they were reading from. leaving out some sections on purpose because they just didn't want to read them. also day one, two republicans who managed to miss the swearing in ceremony on the house floor tried instead to take their oath from a television that was broadcasting the ceremony. and then they tried to start voting on stuff as if they had actually been sworn in by the television. that had to be undone. the brand new republican majority also passed a bunch of new rules about transparency and accountability and citing the constitutional authority for every single bill they introduced and almost immediately they started violating those new rules. their own rules. the john boehner-led house republicans also promised to cut spending for every bill that adds to deficit. they broke that promise by exempting their own legislation from the new rule. there's their jobs, jobs, jobs problem. john boehner eegs republican majority keeps talking about jobs. what they've been working on is stuff like rolling back abortion rights and defunding planned parenthood and defunding npr. there were competing state of
the union responses from republicans. the official response from paul ryan and randomly the tea party response that cnn aired live from michele bachmann. don't forget the legislative losses. the john boehner-led house republican leadership has repeatedly brought up bills for a vote only to have them fail because they don't have enough republican support which is the kind of thing you're supposed to know in advance. remember when house republicans promised to cut $100 billion from the budget? yeah, me neither. nearly a year into his tenure as speaker of the house, yet again, republicans thought they had a deal. they did, in fact, have a deal on extending the payroll tax cut. here's the top senate republican, mitch mcconnell, high fiving over that deal with another senator on friday. woo, we did it, got a deal, yeah, give me five. oh. on a saturday conference call, mr. boehner, himself, reportedly called it a good deal and a victory for republicans. but now it is up to john boehner's caucus to actually vote on it and all signs point
to a new vote. house republicans under the leadership of john boehner are poised tomorrow to vote against the deal their own party brokered and high fived over and pitched as a victory. >> we outright reject the attempt by the senate to kick the can down for 60 days. >> and that's why there is now a real threat that everybody in america who earns a paycheck is about to get a big tax hike starting in january. when the tax break everybody's getting right now is set to expire. it's because the republican leadership in congress thought they had a deal to extend it, but it turns out john boehner couldn't keep the deal together. it's the same reason extended unemployment benefits might expire. republicans thought they had a deal to get that done. john boehner does not seem to be able to pull it off in the house. blame this on a crazy tea party revolt. without evidence that people identified with the tea party are voting any differently than the rest of the republicans in the house, there's a simpler explanation for why republicans can't pass something they came
up with. there's a simpler explanation for why republicans can't get anything done. it is, as yet, only a hypothesis, but there's a growing body of support for it. it could just be that john boehner is bad at this job. joining us now with the latest is congressman barney frank. democrat of massachusetts. joining us from the hill. congressman frank, thank you for being here. >> thank you, rachel. >> from the outside it looks like the republicans after a very long meeting tonight are still going to vote against extending the payroll tax cut. is that what you understand is about to happen? >> well, it's even worse. by the way, i agree with you, this is probably a measure of john boehner's incompetence. but increasingly, i think, you know, if you look at the republican position, there are a lot of inconsistencies. they are for any possible tax cut except the one we're talking about right now when it's so critical for the economy. they're for tax cuts for the wealthiest people in america, not offset, but when you do a payroll tax on a tax that hits working people more, they take a
different position. on the one hand, the republicans, in fact, exaggerate the degree of difficulty in the economy. and they say, look, there are no jobs. then they blame people who don't have jobs as if they're not looking and want to deny them unemployment. there's one common thing. the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, was having a good time. the current republican ideology is they fear that the american economy might be recovering. we are doing better than europe. things are starting to come back. these are people who are so dedicated to the defeat of barack obama that they are clearly prepared to sabotage things that every economist says are in the national economic interest right now because they do not want to see obama go forward. now, boehner's incompetence, his inability to figure things out is a part of it. the other thing i would say agree with you, it's not true to
say the tea party republicans. because the republican membership in the house is divided pretty much in two. half of them are people who agree with michele bachmann. but the other half are people who are afraid of losing a primary to someone who agrees with michele bachmann. so you have the only thing that unites them, the only thing they can get together on is trying to sabotage barack obama. and if that means blocking economic activity that almost every economist including the very conservative ones thinks would be helpful, that's what they'll do it. >> in terms of the coherence here, to describe it as sabotage, would mean that this is a plan. that they are deliberately trying to ensure that nothing passes, particularly if something passing would help the economy. that would imply that they are actually sort of coherently organized enough to at least make sure nothing gets done. >> that's a fair point. that overstates their coherence. i would say this. they certainly are happy if the consequence of all this is that nothing happens. that is, i agree. they didn't set out and plan this like a chess match. but at some point it occurs to
them that deadlock is in their interest, that chaos is their friend because it means undermining what, you know -- look, six months ago there was talk about a second recession. that's clearly not a problem here in america. we have a european situation that holds us back a little. we're moving away. the other interesting point i want to make is this. you said they planned to vote against it. there are enough republican, a handful maybe, who are worried about political survival if they do vote to let taxes go up and if they vote to cut unemployment. boehner as of now, we are told -- i just left the democratic whip's office. they're not going to allow this to come up for a vote. you correctly talked about their views about transparency and openness. the republican leadership is apparently afraid that if the senate-passed bill came up with all the democrats being supportive, enough republicans would vote for it so it would pass. so what do these people committed to majority rule and transparency and democracy do? they have announced they're going to use their control over
the procedures not to allow it to come to a vote. because they are afraid that there might be out of the 245 republicans, 35 or 40 who out of sense of survival will vote with us. >> in terms of that sense of survival, if this doesn't pass and if the payroll tax cut expires at the end of the year and people start seeing their paychecks shrink in january, does your political sense tell you that people will blame washington in a generic sense? and democrats in the white house and republicans will all get hurt equally in the court of public opinion? do you think people will discern this is something republicans weren't able to bring themselves to do. >> i'm hoping, obviously, it's the latter because that's accurate. this is a deal that mitch mcconnell made with harry reid. it is clear given where we are in the senate, the only way to get this through -- i'd love it to be an indefinite extension. the only way to get it through is to do this. there may be some of this, oh, it is all their fault. i will say that troubles me when people said, well, why can't you work it out? i can't work out constructive measures with people who are
dedicated to kind of tearing things down. the thing that worries me more, though, is not just who gets blamed for this. this will be very bad for the economy. the economy is doing better. it's not nearly as good as it should be. but if you look at various indicators, there is reason to think that next year we will have significant growth, much better than our people in europe. and if europe doesn't collapse, we could get significant growth. this will undermine that. and the tragedy is that the republicans are gambling, maybe successfully, that they can cause damage to the economy and then benefit from it politically because the president will always get a blame when the economy's not doing well. >> congressman barney frank, democrat of massachusetts. there on the hill working late tonight. and joining us. thanks for your time tonight, sir. i appreciate it. >> thank you, rachel. appreciate it. i have an imaginary tinfoil hat that you have to imagine me putting on. although when i'm on this set with these pretty poinsettias, i don't feel like i can put it on. i'd ruin the look.
tonight, none other than sarah palin said during an appearance on the fox business network that, "it's not too late for folks to jump in. who knows what will happen in the future?" indeed, who knows. one thing we do know that if governor palin wants to run as a republican, it sort of is too late. she has missed the filing deadlines for all the early primaries. she can't even adopt the rudy giuliani memorial wait until florida strategy. may it rest in peace. because florida's ballot deadline was this past october 31st. on halloween. so if sarah palin wants in, she'll have to run as a third party candidate. she cannot be the republican nominee for president. i have another prediction. really more of a theory that somebody else might give it a go. former half term governor of alaska is not your last hope, dissatisfied republican voter. there may be another one. that's coming up. [ female announcer ] removing facial hair can be irritating.
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it turns out. has a down side. there are few, if any, deaths worth celebrating in the world, but this year has been a banner year for those that come close. may 1st, the death of so osama bin laden. the death of moammar gadhafi in libya. and word from north korea of the death of the dear leader, supposedly died of a heart attack while on a train. kim jong-il's statements from media are often made up. read into that what you will. it's hard not to see the sunny side of the death of an autocrat who kept his citizens on the brink of starvation and worse. in this case, the down side of kim jong-il dying is the american government was on the brink of announcing a historic agreement with north korea, an agreement to give them hundreds of thousands of tons of food. essentially in exchange for north korea putting their nuclear program on ice. it was 2006 when north korea joined the nuclear club. a club that threatens to become less and less exclusive all the time. north korea detonated in 2006 a
rather feeble but nevertheless nuclear explosion. what was reportedly in the works for this deal, this current deal, was north korea would hit the pause button own enriching uranium for the nuclear weapons program in exchange for us giving them food for their people. back in the 1990s a similar deal was in the works. north korea would push the nuclear pause button in exchange with getting help with electricity. that deal fell through for different reasons. this is what north korea looks like at night from space these days. the diagonal strip of bright lights that looks like a sea horse, that's japan. across from the southern part of japan is south korea. above that, the part we outlined there, the dark empty space, that's not empty, it's not the ocean. it's not wilderness. that's north korea after the sun sets and the lights do not go on. when you look down from space, this nation of 25 million people looks like it could be a thousand years ago. in may, amnesty international published their own satellite images of north korea's prison
camps where it's believed people are not just sent for punishment but sent to work to die in starvation. for the past ten years we have been able to get aerial data from at least six north korean prisons. see them here in satellite images from twup 2001. in one of the camps there are an estimated 50,000 people. prisoners in many cases worked to death. 40% of prisoners were dying of malnutrition, alone. amnesty international found this year when they looked at new satellite pictures is the gulags were growing, they were getting bigger. >> we understand that there are at least six political prisoner camps, and these are vast areas. these are huge areas and that there's, we think, a total population of around 200,000 people. >> here we see the main layout
for the entire yodok prison facility. these areas you see at the very beginning are administration buildings and there are also barracks for the guards where they live. particularly we've seen the growth in this first area that you're entering the camp in, but there's also been some growth in other areas. the camp spreads up along two river valleys, and so there has been growth in roads going in both of those directions. >> it is thought that the camps spread up along valleys and rivers, the way you heard described there because kim jong-il and the north korean government have been trying to hide them. that strategy might work for eyes at ground levels. these days you need to not only hide from eyes at ground level but satellite eyes in the upper atmosphere. hiding atrocities on a mass scale is technologically more difficult than it used to be. now that kim jong-il is dead, maybe that is an opportunity for change in north korea. maybe.
maybe it's a chance to pry open that society to some semblance of international normalcy. after decades of personality communist autocracy. and maybe even if that's true, this has just become a very dangerous time for the 25 million people who live in north korea who have had stolen from them the opportunity to even fend for themselves. of people who need food. and whose fate including on this big u.s. food deal right now, has just been delivered to the ministrations of kim jong-il's young son. joining us now, josh rogen, staff writer for "foreign policy" policy and author of the blog "the cable." was it a very bad sign the first thing we heard out of north korea after kim jong-il is dead, oh, by the way, here's our next missile test? >> there's two ways to look at it. nobody knows what's in the mind of the north korean leadership as they do these things. i've heard from administration sources today the missile tests were already planned and the obama administration is trying to play this as, oh, look, this is something they always do and the left hand might not know
what the right hand is doing. on the other hand, that's the biggest problem you mentioned. nobody knows who really has their hand on the button in north korea. the new leader, kim jong-un is 27, 28, 29, depending who you ask. he may or may not be controlled by kim jong-il's brother-in-law or sister. nobody knows if he has control or over the military or if the military has control over him. what's happening with the loose nukes. whether he's able to consolidate his power. what's going to happen next? will his policies be different? there are so many unanswered questions. it's bobbles the mind. >> when you worry about loose nukes and also nuclear weapons and them being used as nuclear weapons. in pakistan, even with all the instability in pakistan, there is this assurance that there's a military and intelligence establishment that for whatever your beef is with them in other ways, they actually do have the nuclear thing sort of under control. at least that's the argument that is made. can you make any sort of argument like that in north korea?
>> there's more transparency in pakistan. not to say there's a lot of transparency in pakistan. we've seen explosions that we assume are nukes. we don't know how many they have or where they are or who has control over them. remember here, kim jong-il's single biggest project was to acquire the bomb. he believed the survival of his regime was depend on north korea being a nuclear nation so nobody, including the united states could challenge that rule. he achieved that. no matter what we give them in food or money or whatever, they're not ever likely to give up the bombs they have. they might slow down the pace of the bombs. they might try to tell us they're not going to build anymore. let's realize that north korea is going to be a nuclear nation as far as the eye can see and deal with them based on those terms. who has control over the nukes is a huge, unanswered question. >> you hear numbers as high as 6 million people in starvation conditions in any one time in north korea. we're not talking poverty.
this food deal, i realize the administration's perspective on this is there's never a direct trade. we're never giving them food in order to get a concession on nuclear issues. but both of those things are supposedly on the table at once. make of that what you will. do you have any reason to believe either side of that might still happen with kim jong-il dead? either the nuclear concessions or getting them the food? >> isn't this a crazy situation? they were going to announce the food deal today. they were working on it for months. u.s. food and nuclear officials happened to be in beijing last week at the exact same time though the obama administration says there's no link, it's just a coincidence. they were about to roll out this huge, ambitious controversial project in the face of a lot of republican opposition, by the way. that's all on hold for the indefinite future. what does this mean? doesn't mean the north koreans are going to starve much but be more dependent on china. the one country that gives north korea enough food to keep the people above the starvation line is china. the ball is in china's court. they have all of the leverage. not clear how much leverage that
is. will they use it? what is their stake here, what is their agenda? these are also unanswered questioned. the focus shifts away from the u.s./korea bilateral leadership to the u.s./china relationship, the south korea/china relationship. that's where the action is now and going to take weeks to play out if not months. >> do you have any hope this is a crack, kim jong-il dying is a crack that it could be destabilizing enough that it changes? >> i'm an optimistic guy. i have a little bit of hope. the indications point the other way. a 27-year-old, 28-year-old leader who has no quantitisy. kim jong-il was trained for 20 years. he was rumored to have scored 11 holes in one in his first round of golf. this was to convince the north korean people he was a supreme figure. his son doesn't have any of that going for him. he's a much weaker position, only been prepared for a couple of years.
he's much more dependent on the organs of power inside north korea. we're talking about the generals, his family members, the rich families. there are some very rich families. so they will control the agenda as much as he will. that's a big problem. that points more toward the status quo rather than some radical change. >> i used that hole in one thing to get the gig at msnbc so i need a new one. i'm going to watch closely on the succession there. nice to see you. josh rogin is a staff writer for "foreign policy" magazine and author of the blog "the cable" which you should book mark. it's tinfoil hat time. follow me down the election conspiracy rabbit hole starring the bush family. that's coming up next.
i'm just going to ask it. why does jeb bush have an op ed in the wall street journal today? and it's brainy. we can return to the road we once now. and congressman paul ryan. that's a sure sign that a republican politician is feeling ambitious these days. mitt romney is making it look like paul ryan is the candidate. but mitt romney is running for president officially.
what's jeb bush doing today with his public mash note to ryan? and his vote for me op ed? jeb bush isn't running for anything, is he? is he? a lot is exciting but it's not out of the blue. newt gingrich's bubble is bursting on schedule. down eight points on one pole in iowa today. and his lead over mitt romney in national polls is going poof. the next looks to be ron paul showing up first in iowa. he is ahead there. mitt romney is still mr. meyered in support. he did perk up a bit. but his numbers ought to be the biggest google image for flat. but in the midst of that 2012 news, here's something that doesn't have an explanation. someone is asking voters in new hampshire for their opinion about jeb bush. last week we brought you this story from our guests early this evening. someone is robopolling new
hampshire about obama versus mitt romney and obama versus newt gingrich and obama versus jeb bush. rove says bush told him he's not doing the robopolling. that rules out two possibilities. karl rove or jeb bush. but this costs money. who would spend money asking voters about jeb bush for 2012 and why? polling on jeb bush would do no good in the new hampshire primary. there's no way to get on the ballot if he tried. what's the only other way new hampshire voters may get a chance to vote if not through the republican primary? since he wouldn't be in the democratic primary, mom wouldn't allow it i'm sure. how else might bush get on the ballot? that brings us to the less conspiracy theory.
that brings us to the other inexplicable story of the month. a group called americans elect are trying to get on the kbal lot in 50 states. they are on the ballot in 12 states already. they picked up california just today. they're working on the other 38 states and observers say there's no reason they won't get to all 50. there will be an item on the ballot. in every state next november. who will be the candidate listed on that line? the group says they will pick their candidate starting this spring through online voting and a virtual convention. by june they'll have a candidate who will go on the ballot for real in all 50 states. if they're worried that a newt gingrich or fox forbid even a ron paul might successfully challenge mitt romney for the nomination.
what's their safety valve if they're worried about that? may i present a figment of my mind. a ballot with democrat barack obama republican newt gingrich and the republicans elect jeb bush. we asked if they were doing the polls in new hampshire and they said absolutely not. jeb bush's spokesperson has disavowed them from the start. quote, nothing's changed. the governor has said he would not be a candidate. so this one's impossible, right? right. probably. but it has had me tossing and turning and up all night anyway. who's funding those calls in new hampshire? and why? uyjl6ns'4m4oxl,f3+
you may remember this a couple weeks back. >> with that i think we'll open it up with q & a from the audience. yes, sir with the beautiful beard. >> that was three weeks ago in new hampshire. kind of weird about the beard, right? not bad, just a one off, right? wrong. not a one off. here's what happened when the governor made the rounds with the saturday morning breakfast crowd in iowa this weekend. according to the abc news following him he stopped when he set his eyes on one voter with a white beard. you've got a good full one. this is what that exchange looked like. see. there's the man with the long white beard. although you cannot see the tug and the audio isn't very good, when our producer cranked it up she said she thought she could make out him saying we got you a lot going on there.
that was his first stop of the day. at his second event he zeroed in on someone else. i like your beard and greeted and expressed a touch of jul si he can't grow one. this is kind of zz toppish the man said about his own beard. they're from texas. at the mention of zz top he shared a personal moment he had with the band. one of the fun things i got to do was play with zz top. the best beards of all. governor perry did play with them at a bush inaugural event in 2005. rick perry loves beards. once is amazing, twice is a coincidence. but three times here is kind of a trend. based on the magical three instant sample set, governor rick perry is an entertainedly and fondly proud of the beards. you openly loving beards to the need of touching them on