tv Hardball Weekend MSNBC March 16, 2014 4:00am-4:31am PDT
making trouble for republicans. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. let me start tonight with this. have you noticed that the liberals usually win the argument, eventually? it's been true for the beginning of our country. back in the 18th century, the tories opposed independence thanks to thomas payne, an immigrant, the once radical case for separation from england emerged to win the day. the case for the abolition of slavery was so fiery it led to
war as well as argument, but with it all came emancipation. women wanted the right to vote and won it. jim crow lost his fight with dr. king and civil rights became law. gays were once shouldn'ted aside, today they're winning the battle for full acceptance and even marriage equality. the same is true of the social safety net. conservatives fought social security. ronald reagan championed the fight against medicare. the republicans voted as a bloc against affordable care. and in each case the liberals won, eventually. even as the struggle heads to another test this november with the gop rear guard sniping away at health care, promising to chop away at the social safety net that the progressives have built in this country. and every voter obviously has a stake. john heineman is the co-author of "double down" and jonathan capehart is a columnist with "the washington post." both are proud and needed msnbc political analysts. gentleman, i want you to look at a couple things. here is a political candidate, a republican out in arizona going after the social safety net.
if you want to see by the way how hell bent some republicans are, take a look at this. buzzfeed is reporting this arizona congressional republican candidate, his name is jim brown, went on a racially charged rant earlier this week by comparing social safety net programs to slavery. here's what i wrote. i want folks to think seriously about how slavery really works. back in the day of slavery, slaves were kept in slavery by denying them education and opportunity while providing them with their basic needs. it is my sincere belief that overentitlements are a means of enslaving the people by robbing opportunity by denying people and taking care of their basic needs. brown apologized yesterday for those remarks there is still this sympathy, john heilemann. you constantly hear republicans say we've got to cut entitlements. entitlements, if you look at -- are social security and medicare mainly and yet they keep saying we've got to cut back on government, we've got to cut back on all the safety net entitlement stuff and yet they
don't pay a price for it 34ri9ically. i'm determined they pay a price for their words like every politicians should. your thoughts, it seems the democrats better be focusing on what republicans are promising to do on issues like choice. on issues like voter suppression, or they're going to get their asses handed to them this november. your thoughts? >> boy, there is a lot to say there, chris. >> i have a lot to say. >> i know you do. there is no doubt that democrats need to rally their troops if they're going to hold the line. it's very unlikely they're going to advance much in the midterm elections this november. and there is no doubt they have to rally the troops because the republican electorate in an off year is already fired up. it's going to be more fired up. they have a very pointed message, specifically on health care, but more broadly on entitlements as you say, so democrats need to get their forces out there and get them rallied around something whether that's around opposition to the republican party or a positive vision like increasing the minimum wage. democrats have got to get up off the ground or they're going the
face worse losses than they're already looking like they're going to face kind of inevitably in this off-year election. >> jonathan, i think the republicans benefit from a lot of vague talk. they go after entitlements, people think minorities, welfare, somebody in an urban area, in a rowhouse somewhere. they don't think the massive nature of entitlements that are being threatened by republicans. every time they get to do a budget, they always go after them. they're constantly talking about chain cpi, whatever they can go after, cutting cpi, cost of living adjustments. they're constantly looking for ways to chop away what they don't like which is the new deal and the great society. your thoughts. >> well, look, i think democrats have to force republicans to answer some questions. so they want to cut social security. they want to cut medicaid and medicare. democrats need to ask republicans, so what are you going to do about the people whose benefits are cut? when will they be cut? whose benefits will be cut? when will this take place? the affordable care act, how many votes have we gone through
now? 50 votes to repeal the affordable care act, and yet no one has pushed republicans into the position of answering the question, for instance, what happens when we repeal obamacare and all those people who have gotten insurance, even with the preexisting condition, what happens to those folks? republicans need to answer some questions because i think when it comes down to all the issues that you were just talking about, health care, entitlements, equality -- >> their parents health care. >> equality under the law, democrats and progressives have an answer to the questions. republicans don't. and they need to be called out on that. >> well, john, my main point is i think a lot of the voters because of the atmospherics right now, the blues out there, and there are blues in this country because the economy hasn't perked up the way it should or people believe it should and are feeling it. all they do is go in the voting booth in november and vote no, and the only consequence is it will feel bad for the president that night. but in fact the consequences of elections are always bigger than
that. they affect who will get reapportioned, who will get gerrymandered. who is going to lose the access to voting? who is going to lose the programs they believe in? the other party isn't just a no to obama, it's a yes to what they want. i'm afraid it's going to be a free ride this november. people are going to be oh my god, did we vote for that? i thought i was just showing my anger against the president. >> what they're trying do again in 2014 is to nationalize the elections and to raise the stakes and get their voters out in that way. democrats have to meet that head-on and say okay, this is going to be a nationalized election. let's have another big fight over big values and big vision issues. but the one thing that makes it more complicated for democrats, i think, is that you are president of the united states in barack obama who in principle and has in practice been in favor of reforming entitlements. he's put significant -- >> i know. he is reasonable, fortunately. >> at different times of the course of his administration, he has been on record for proposing relatively large cuts to medicare.
he is in principle for trying to reform social security. and frankly, for the long run fiscal health of the country, those things probably need to happen. the question is how they get done. and that's where the real argument that democrats should want to have is. the republicans just want to say cut everything. >> john, i'm with you. i think in the end you have to compromise. but when you go into an election with a posture, jonathan, alex sink in an election in florida, this week, the big test election, she went into it with an idea of compromise, let's work across the aisle. we saw her commercials. we showed them. she also said obamacare isn't perfect. it's got to be fixed. i'm not going to hold the line and say everything is great. but that point of view, which was so darn reasonable and good for the country in the long haul is exploited on the other side because they come in like demolition derby. they say we're getting rid of everything. you people are all weak. we got a strong view. back to religious values, get rid of all government and we hate obama. that's simple, what you call black and white view of the world seems to beat the softer, more reasonable view of the world you got from alex sink.
i think she can win the general. i'm with steve israel i think she should try again in november with a bigger electorate. you can't get a smaller one than you get in a bi-election and in these sorts of specials. but i do think it's a problem i'm trying to look at here. >> that's the thing. alex sink lost the election in a special election which just by definition gets fewer number of people voting than say in a presidential election or even in an off-year election in november. perhaps she should jump back in the race and run for the general in november, because lots of analysts say if the election had happened in november, she would have won. but you know what? one thing that i think, we all know that the democratic party base just doesn't typically show up during a midterm election. and that has to change. and one of the things that people always say is that, well, midterm elections, the turnout is lower because the president is not on the ballot. well, the democratic party faithful have to realize that while president obama is not on the ballot and won't be on the
ballot ever again, he indeed is on the ballot in november 2014 because everything he has been working for, everything that he has been pushing for is on the line. if republicans hang on to the house and take the senate, the obama presidency basically is done. you think he can't get anything done now? >> it might even literally be done. i've been saying all week, jonathan, the democrats are better off going on the offense, not getting into a defensive crouch. that's what some of them are. on tuesday, we saw a canadian doctor showed how many republicans are not just against obamacare, but any health care system whatsoever. here is an exchange between republican senator richard burr from north carolina attacking a doctor from canada at tuesday's hearings in washington. this is getting a lot of attention today. let's watch this. senator burr tries to box the witness into a corner, but it doesn't work out that way. take a look. why, are doctors exiting the public system in canada.
>> thank you for your question, senator. if i didn't express myself in a way to make myself understood, i apologize. there are no doctors exiting the public system in canada. and, in fact, we see a net influx of physicians from the united states into the canadian system over the last number of years. >> how many canadian patients on a waiting list die each year, do you know? >> i don't, sir. but i know there are 45,000 in america who die waiting because they don't have insurance at all. >> john, isn't there a rule in the courtroom never ask a question unless you know what the answer is going to be? this guy got cold cocked by this woman. she just nailed him on his two main points. the canadian system is no damn good and ours is great. your thoughts? >> there is a television show i'm familiar with called "hardball" that was hardball right there. and he got knocked out of the park. look, the debate over health care has always been filled with canards and a lot of no-nothingism. and there is no doubt that a lot of republicans look at he has
refused to acknowledge the fact that almost every industrialized country in the world, including canada, have better health care systems than ours and better by the measures that matter in terms of mortality rates, in terms of the cost per capita, in terms of life expectancy. all those things are true, and they've always been true. it's why there has always been an imperative one way or the other to have a better health care system. and the affordable care act may have flaws, but it's trying to move us in the direction of where every other rich country in the world is. and canada is a scapegoat, but it is true by every metric a better health care system than ours. >> thank you, sir, as always. jonathan you're getting better all the time. happy st. patrick's day to both of you. may you celebrate it with all the joy you can find. coming up when will the nation's leading chicken hawk, dick cheney who told us how to pronounce his name this week, get five deferments for a war he fully supported. when is he going to exit the stage and stop his war whooping? also, look at where republicans are now eliminating
weekend voting, the time when many african americans go to the polls. wisconsin republicans, they just want to be fair. i think what's really being the motive here, you think they might be out to get the blacks to stop voting? anyway, plus, the senate versus the cia. late night tv is now focusing on dianne feinstein's who is right in her battle with the agency. finally, let me finish tonight with the irish, like me. and that is "hardball," the place for politics. yeah. it's i it's going to cost me an arm and a leg. you shoulda taken it to midas. they tell you what stuff needs fixing, and what stuff can wait. high-five! arg! brakes, tires, oil, everything. (whistling) are you still sleeping? just wanted to check and make sure that we were on schedule. the first technology of its kind...
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welcome back to "hardball." when presidents and vice presidents leave office, there is a protocol here in washington, d.c. that has been followed for as long as i can remember, certainly. you leave the stage. you don't publicly second guess your successor. and you certainly don't stick around washington. but former vice president dick cheney is writing his own rules. he has repeatedly criticized president obama, most recently
this sunday. >> we have created an image around the world, not just for the russian of weakness and indecisive. the syrian situation is a classic. we got all ready to do something. a lot of the allies sign on. at the last minute, obama backed off. >> you know, the way he leans his head sideways and he gets avuncular and he bonds with you, especially with the anchor. he calls the anchor by his first name, whoever it is. anyway, cheney criticized the president's ukraine strategy for not using the military options available. he had a military option. he could have fought in the vietnam war. he didn't like that option. anyway, let's watch now. >> there are military options that don't involve putting troops on the ground in crimea. we could go back and reinstate the ballistic missile defense program that was taken out. it was originally going to go in poland. czech republic, obama took it out to appease putin. >> this is a far cry from former president george w. bush who in his first speech after leaving the white house said of president obama, i'm not going to spend my time criticizing
him. there are plenty of critics in the arena. he deserves my silence. well said. joining me is david corn, msnbc contributor and washington bureau chief for mother jones, and dana milbank, columnist for "the washington post." gentlemen, i know i'm on this cheney case. part of it is his chicken hawk thing. five deferments but gung-ho, we got to fight the war in vietnam. that was a military option available to him. he said at the time i had other priorities. and now every time a war comes along -- >> he is saving his butt. >> he wants to push further. you don't know the motive, i just go by the conduct. pushing, pushing, pushing, war, war, war. he is now talking options in ukraine, about building the anti-ballistic missiles. we're not worried about missiles. we're not fighting the soviets over nuclear weapons. i don't want to talk about it. he wants to talk about it. he is basically pushing the iron curtain further and further east to see if he can get the former soviets crazy. >> see, i have a theory. i think he is obsessed with his legacy. and i think he has good reason to be. this is a guy -- >> what does he want his legacy to be? >> i think he wants it to be
that he saved america, not that he led us into a war with lies and misrepresentations, not that he started torture. >> killed 186,000 people. >> so he can't leave the arena because he is unsettled. you know, he left things kind of -- >> no, no, no. i think he thinks he is never wrong. >> i think that's true. but i think bush doesn't think he is wrong either. but bush is willing to lay low. >> no. >> we disagree twice. >> i think bush thinks he was led around with a bull with a little hook in his nose, a little ring. >> i don't know about that. >> i agree that cheney is unsettled. but i think it gives him a little too much credit to say that the strategy, i think the man is driven by anger and animus, as it has been. it's been ten years since brent scowcroft, his old friend said i don't know this dick cheney anymore. >> you hear that by the way. the former vice president couldn't even give president obama unqualified praise for capturing and killing osama bin laden. this is cheney, on a radio show
last fall. let's listen to this. >> you don't go out and broadcast the fact that you got the guy. you want to take that intelligence and be able to exploit it over the next few nights and wrap up large parts of the network. they were in such a hurry to go out there with bin laden, such a hurry to go out and announce victory that i'm convinced that they probably did not get maximum damage out of the intel that they had captured. >> excuse me, who was it that put on a flyers uniform and declared mission accomplished a bit early about ten years prematurely. >> also, what he says doesn't make sense. there is a firefight at the compound that was covered on national tv in pakistan. i mean, people knew what had happened. it was oh, let's keep this quiet. so they exploited the intelligence as fast as they could. and so, i mean, this is what he always complained about when he was in power. second-guessing. >> we have man who covered all this. you covered.
because it was you and dana -- >> covered the white house. >> and dana, get you mixed up. and walter pincus. you covered the fight over who screwed up the iraq war. you got the fight that was going on for months, all that issue. what is cheney up to in that regard? he was trying to blame the intelligence community, they're trying to blame him for all the lousy information we're getting about the wmd over there. >> right. and he was the force who was always taking things one step further, who was saying that these people in iraq are the ones who attacked us on 9/11. he is saying we believe that iraq has reconstituted a nuclear weapon. so he wasn't operating even by bush standards he wasn't operating in the same realm of fact. and eventually, you saw in the second term, bush finally said look, i've had enough of this. cheney became more marginalized and the big rift. >> well said. that was very important. even the president, who he was supposedly serving realized he had been mis-served. >> and he was also saying at that same time that the cia was too soft. that only -- >> they set up the special unit.
>> that only cheney himself and a few acolytes had the true wisdom and truth about 9/11 and terrorism and what to do about it. the cia, they were panting away. said they didn't have any -- >> how do you explain the guy's brain soup? a phrase i hear once in awhile. what makes the guy such a dr. strangelove. why is he so ferociously for war, for partisan combat in a kind of way that is really not aimed at any positive purpose? >> well, it is a world view in a sense. but it's more -- i think it gives too much credit to say it's a philosophy. cheney sees himself in a bunker, sees himself besieged on all sides. >> when he was there in congress, everybody in congress covering him on capitol hill he was like leon panetta, a regular button-down, he wore button-down shirts. he was a moderate speaking guy. they thought he was a moderate. i said no, he was always the biggest partisan in the business i ever came across. thank you. hi, dick. david corn and thank you dana milbank. up next, the late-night comedians have a little fun with dianne feinstein's fight with the cia.
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time for the sideshow. david letterman is clearly following the latest news out of washington these days. just look at his take on senator dianne feinstein's charge the cia stole documents from the computers of her senate intelligence committee. >> this is dianne feinstein yesterday talking about the cia sticking their nose in the secret business of the united states senate. did you see this? take a look at this. >> there are thousands of such documents in the committee's secured spaces at the cia facility. now prior removal of documents by cia.
in early -- >> see? >> next, california's former governor is back again. in january, arnold schwarzenegger wore a disguise to prank customers at gold's gym. now he is holding a raffle for a chance to ride around l.a. with him in a tank. take a look. >> i finally have achieved my life-long dream, and it is not the terminator or conan the barbarian or anything like that. no, not at all. it's to finally possess my own [ bleep ] tank. look at this. come to l.a. and crush in my tank. let's crush a taxi cab. let's crush a piano. a weight bench with 521 pounds. i'm going to crush it. 66 years old and everyone has birthday cakes. why? because i wanted to crush them. i'm going the crush a copy of
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