tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC October 2, 2013 9:00pm-10:00pm EDT
thing that has me genuinely worried. i didn't think we would be here, thank you so much for your time. that is "all in" for this evening, the rachel maddow show starting right now, with steve kornacki sitting in for rachel. >> good evening, welcome to another day of this extraordinary shutdown of the federal government, with offices emptied, twitter accounts frozen, national parks are all closed. this is something we have not been through in nearly 18 years. in washington today, president obama met with leaders of congress with republicans and democrats from both houses of the senate. in the interview with john harwood, he was pretty direct. >> am i exasperated? absolutely i am, this is
entirely unnecessary, we have a situation where john boehner, the speaker of the house puts a bill out on the floor, at current funding levels so we can then negotiate on a real budget that allows us to stop negotiating from crisis to crisis, it would pass. the only thing that is stopping it, is that john boehner right now has not been willing to say no to a faction of the republican party that are willing to burn the house down because of an obsession over my health care initiative. >> the president there is continuing to point out that while the shutdown is often describeds a fight between democrats and republicans, it is just as much if not more so a fight between speaker john boehner and a fight between his own republican party. the idea of the tea party, any legislator being powerful in the traditional sense is kind of
archaic, what boehner was before was an institutionalist, he was first elected to congress in 1990 and has been there ever since. he has risen through the ranks, climbed back, fallen again, and finally reached the top. when he got there, the problem is he is exactly the sort of republican politician, a d.c. lifer and d.c. insider that fuelled the tea party's rise to begin with. that is the best way to understand what the tea party actually is. it is a movement that is fighting a two-front war, one front is the all-out partisan war on obama and the democrats we all know about. but the other front is essentially a purge within the republican party, against not just ideological icaical inpured
the people who liked john boehner, long before he was speaking bringing big government policies like "no child left behind." but in the right place and the right time from 2010, from the minute he took that gavel, he has become an extremely weak speaker. we have known this the whole time. he has always been just one false move away a from being the next tea party victim. what we didn't know, though, what we didn't know until now is that the incredible weakness of his first two years as speaker actually got worse. it got about a thousand times worse because of two events that played out nine months ago. let's go back to the last really big standoff between the house republicans and the white house, the one called the fiscal cliff. you remember it maybe. it dealt with people making more than $200,000, the taxes that
would go up on everybody gave him leverage. but the right wanted to fight it, so john boehner decided he wanted to fight it, too. his strategy was to place taxes on people only making a million or more. he thought it would give him leverage against obama. turns out his own party, the republicans in the house, didn't have his back. they rejected their own speaker's plan, plan b, if that doesn't ring a bell. they didn't think they could trust boehner. it was a humiliating blow for the speaker, and then things got worse after the new year, when they plotted against him. the congressman, one of those tea party freshman who is now a tea party sophomore, he met with the group the day before the vote on the speakership. but late that same night, he then stumbled on a bible passage
that seemed to him a sign from god. i don't know how your education in these things holds up, but i personally found this super helpful. the story of david and king saul from the hebrew bible, david is the one with the red hair, going to replace king saul, but when david gets a chance to kill him and take over, he orders a soldier not the kill him and lets saul remain in power. in that story of the old testament coup delayed was the one that congressman sutherland said, he said it to the "washington post," he said boehner's way, and based on that inspiration, he decided it wouldn't be right to oppose boehner, so boehner stood by while the republicans cast their vote in that speaker's election. >> gomr.
out the names, was something they never endured before, he won barely by six votes, including the vote from the congressman who based his vote on the bible story. that is how close john boehner came to being overthrown this past january. and that is the john boehner that we are seeing right now. washington lifer trying to lead the tea party newcomers, knowing full well that his fate is ultimately in their hands. this week, our friend ezra klein got a chance to ask an editor at the national conservetor, he told him ever since plan b failed, and you saw john boehner near tears in front of his conference, he has been crippled. what we're seeing is the collapse of the institutional republican power. if this is true, as it seems to be, that john boehner is so weak
as republican house leader then you have to wonder where he is capable of doing anything in this situation. tonight, it appears that boehner is at least going to try. in the same posted news, speaker boehner wants to craft a grand bargain, he is reportedly urging his colleagues to stick with him now. robert costa reports there is even bigger unity, the guy with the scoop on speaker boehner's grand bargaining idea. robert, thank you for joining us tonight. we set up sort of the story you were telling ezra klein, john boehner's particular weakness as speaker. but i wonder if you could just start out by explaining in a little more detail the news you have today about the republicans sort of shifting towards a grand bargaining strategy maybe? >> the big story on capitol hill. we had speaker boehner go to the white house at 5:30. and according to both my republican and democratic
sources, speaker boehner floated a grand bargain of sorts, something to combine the debt limit with the cr, to get a compromise for the deal. and earlier today, speaker boehner met with several republicans in his office and talked about his potential grand bargain. >> so we were just talking about the weakness he has, the basic lack of trust, and the conservative in the house. we think back to the last grand bargain negotiation in 2011 where at the end of the day, john boehner had to sort of walk away from it because he did not have that support from his own members, presumably, this would involve -- if this is real, something republicans pursue, and the democrats at least would entertain, this would entail real negotiations between the two parties, is the john boehner we were just describing, the john boehner you were telling ezra klein all about, is does he have the support to negotiate with the democrats? >> i don't think he has that
much support, but he has the ambition to seek a grand bargain, this is the john boehner of the fiscal cliff, trying to seek a pact. i think you had it spot-on, since the fiscal cliff, john boehner's arm really has been crippled by a block of about 30 to 40 republicans in the house. they stopped the negotiations, they are obsessed with the deal that you don't have regular order or closed door talks, and this puts john boehner at issue. he is something who wants to do something big before he retires. that is what makes this flotation of a grand bargain, you have to throw cold water on it, but he wants to show his hand. and i hear that paul ryan is trying to help him. >> when we look at the math maybe, on the house side, we talk about this group of two dozen, three dozen, maybe sort of hard core conservatives who are really sort of -- the ones
john boehner really has to worry the most about. at the same time we're talking about dozens, maybe 150. i don't know what the exact number is, who are content to be quiet in all of this, maybe they secretly want to reopen the government but they're not speaking up and saying it, what are the numbers for them on the great majority on the republican side? >> and it is a great question, 30 to 40 members, 10% of the house, it is not a big number, so many wonder how can this group of conservative dominate? because the silent majority, a little more conservative and to the center, they stay silent because of pressure from that block, pressure from the conservative movement and talk radio, and other interest groups on the outside. and so that little group is a little group. they're able to force john boehner's hand and really shape the conversation day in and day
out on capitol hill. >> and finally, robert, given just the basic lack of trust that we're describing for john boehner, that sort of really hampers him, are there any republicans on his side who may be able to lean here and have trust. i am thinking specifically of paul ryan? he has been quiet this week, is there any conversation between john boehner and paul ryan? >> paul ryan is his top ally, they really developed his trust, ryan can be boehner's conservative whisperer, john boehner has his trust gap, but at the same time, ryan has their trust, is considered a movement member. john boehner is trying to move a grand bargain. it will have a difficult path again, there is a chance of ryan is moving john boehner out to get something moving forward. >> all right, robert costa, national editor of "the
washington review" magazine. thank you for your time. and one amazing thing is this, they have already won the fight we are scheduled to be having. a democratic member of congress joins us next to help explain. oh. ♪ [ female announcer ] stress sweat smells the worst. and secret clinical strength gives you four times the protection against it. secret clinical strength. but, dad, you've got... [ voice of dennis ] allstate. with accident forgiveness, they guarantee your rates won't go up just because of an accident. smart kid. [ voice of dennis ] indeed. are you in good hands? [ voice of dennis ] indeed. at a ford dealer with a little q and a for fiona. tell me fiona, who's having a big tire event? your ford dealer. who has 11 major brands to choose from? your ford dealer. who's offering a rebate? your ford dealer. who has the low price tire guarantee, affording peace of mind to anyone who might be in the market for a new set of tires? your ford dealer. i'm beginning to sense a pattern. get up to $140 in mail-in rebates when you buy four select tires with the ford service credit card.
make my mark with pride. create moments of value. build character through quality. and earn the right to be called a classic. the lands' end no iron dress shirt. starting at 49 dollars. earlier this evening, the president met with top congressional leaders in the white house, in the hope they could bring an end to the shutdown, when they emerged, it
seemed like very little head changed. >> the president reiterated one more time tonight that he will not negotiate. we have divided government, democrats control the white house and the senate. the republicans control the house. we sent four different proposals over to our democratic colleagues in the senate, they rejected all of them. >> my understanding that speaker boehner said that democrats won't negotiate. what the speaker has to accept is yes for an answer. >> i don't know why they haven't accepted their own number, we stood on the steps of the capitol, as i said, with the support of the other members of the caucus to say we're making a firm offer to the speaker as to we're willing to compromise to accept their number. >> sort of looks like house republicans don't know when they won. house speaker john boehner came out of tonight's meeting saying he will not bring a clean cr to
the floor. so here is a trivia question for you, if republicans just gave up right now, said okay, democrats, you get your way, we'll stop trying to keep the affordable care act from passing, and a clean bill, if republicans did that that, here is a question, what would happen? the answer is, the thing to remember the shutdown which is the failure of congress to authorize government spending is not actually about government spending. president obama came to office in 2009, he put together a budget that would have been enacted at 1$1.2 trillion, they authorized about the same amount of spending, $1.1 trillion. you can see it there on the bar autograph. then 2010 happened, republicans took over the house, in the summer of 2011 they forced what
was an unprecedented fight over the debt limit, which resulted in significant spending cuts. the republicans wanted more than that. a provision of the deal is spending would be slashed even further if the bipartisan budget was not passed in a year and a half. of course the deadline for the comprehensive bipartisan bill came and went in the spring, and so forgive me, we have what is known as the sequester. so the deep cuts that everybody used to say was a bad deal, now republicans kind of decide they like them, so they seem to be here to stay, which brings us to the government funding bill that the house keeps passing and the republicans keep rejecting. the democrats keep telling republicans they should just suck it up and pass. that clean funding bill is for $986 billion. 986 billion you see right there. how signal small is that number? only a few billion more dollars that paul ryan proposed, the same that was brought to be
impossibly small. here is the kicker, every bill the house republicans sent to the senate contains the exact amount of spending, the same 906 billi billion. the fight is only about obama care, if the government reopens, there is now no difference between the two parties in washington. keep that in mind if the republicans do back down on obama care, if they do end up accepting that clean funding bill and letting the government reopen. you may here rush limbaugh or jim demint call him a traitor, but if the government opens for business it will be operating on republican terms. that game is already over and republicans have won it. joining us, congresswoman degette, thank you for your time. i want to pick up that point. this is sort of the forgotten fight, if it is forgotten, it is because the fight really has not been waged. but we talk so much about how republicans were able -- i hesitate to use the term
"sequester" here, but how much republicans have been able to reduce the size and scope of the government through the sequester. what sort of is forgotten here if the government reopens, the sequester is not forgotten, did your party make the mistake by not having that fight as part of the shutdown deal? >> the problem is, the republicans have insisted on putting this completely irrelevant issue, one that they know the white house wouldn't compromise, one that they know that the senate wouldn't compromise on. and that is the affordable care act. has nothing to do with the budget. and so now a lot of people are saying well, you know what? just take the so-called clean cr. but it is not clean at all. because it does have the sequester in it. >> but you -- it seems like you have ended up in a situation, i don't know if this is by grand design on their part or just a happy coincidence for them. but you ended up in a place where exactly what you described is happening, the democrats are
in a place of, well, fine, have your sequester, we just don't want a debt default, should democrats have been applying pressure the other way so that the terms are not just that, they are oh, do something about the sequester, too. >> well, don't forget, the sequester is only six weeks, it only goes into the middle of november. what we should be saying is oh, you can have your sequester for six weeks. in the meantime, you have to reopen the government. and you have to raise the debt ceiling with no limits without putting all of these ridiculous extraneous issues on the debt ceiling. for six weeks, if we can come up with what our appropriators really call a grand bargain, which is a budget for 2014, that would make a lot of sense to me. and even i, somebody who opposed the sequester from day one, i would hold my nose and vote for
a six-extension, but i'm not going to hold my nose and vote for anything explore than that. >> we're not sure that republicans and john boehner are open to pursuing some kind of grand bargain, again, you look at the history of john boehner and the republicans on the lines they have drawn in this, which is basically absolutely no new revenue. do you think of those talks reopened again in any way, do you think anything is going to be different in terms of the republican bottom line which is absolutely no new revenue, which sort of blows up the idea. >> well, actually the people i talk to on a private basis think the only way out of this is a grand bargain. because if you look at the effect of the sequester on the national institutes of health, on all of the programs that we care about for our districts, head start for the kids, and for seniors programs, the only way out of the sequester which gets worse by january first, 2014, is
by doing a grand bargain. more people are talking about this. and in a way, even though this is a political disaster, it may be a bigger path. if your business community wants this, your constituents want this, what they want is certainty for not just six weeks, a year, not just until the debt ceiling comes up. because they want to know that they can hire employees and that we will have a federal government operating. and that we will be paying the debts of our government. and so that is what people want to see. >> all right, congresswoman diana degette of colorado, thank you for your time. we all appreciate it. we all know where we are, but why are we here? one possible answer is coming up. [ male announcer ] need help keeping your digestive balance in sync?
. there is a tv channel where you can watch american politics completely uninflected, and from there, lies the answer to my favorite question, how did we get there? starting with the news call channel, and the man who is still on the news channel, and from ted cruz, every bit of them can be traced back to newt gingrich. the archives don't lie, stay tuned.
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picked up two senate seats. so the sort of cocktail chatter wisdom in washington that oh, the shutdown was a political disaster for republicans, it is not borne out by the data. >> chances are, you heard some of that in the past few days, the last time of the government shutdown, in 1995 and 6, the republicans didn't actually pay a price. the tea party republicans are desperately trying to keep the house gop from going wobbly right now, this is one of their favorite talking points. it is not just republicans saying it. there was a poll together from 1995 and 6, with the headlines, history showing that shutdown stake may not be that high. it showed that bill clinton's approval rating didn't spike before or after. it was in the low 50s before and after the shutdown, newt gingrich's approval rating didn't actually get bad or worse, it was bad before the
shutdown, bad after the shutdown. in 1996, republicans lost a net total of three seats in the house and you gain two. so yeah, you put all of this together and you can make the case that the the '95 shutdown didn't hurt the republicans all that much. but this is only part of the story. the real version is more complicated. because there was more damage inflicted on the republican party after the election, the damage that they're still living with today. basically it was the 1996 elections, the first election after the 1995 shutdown, and the first election after newt gingrich took control of congress, they took a bunch of swing states and turned them into deep, dark blue states. take for example, new jersey, the garden state, from world war ii to the bush senior years, there were two things you could count on in new jersey, the rutgers football team would be bad and the state's voters would
go republican. heading into the 1992 election, they voted in six straight presidential elections, and in 1992, bill clinton managed to eke out a win, that is really the way to put it. look at what happened just four years after that. in 1996, bill clinton wins new jersey again, this time his margin explodes, 18 points, ten points more than he beat bob dole nationally. that is a huge swing. and there is a reason for it. new jersey swing voters were, and really still are moderates. they're suburbanites, there may be a little less liberal and economic issues. for years, they were open to supporting republican candidates. but that all changed when newt gingrich and the gop took control of congress in 1995. suddenly those swing voters in new jersey were forced to confront what the republican party had become, how far they moved to the likright.
this was the most dramatic illustration that the republican party they had happily supported to years was now something quite different. new jersey was a swing state before 1996, but ever since then, no one has even bothered to contest it. it is a safely blue state, taken off the board completely in presidential races. this didn't just happen in new jersey, it happened across the northeast, look at new hampshire, live free or die new hampshire. this was the most republican state north of the dixon line ever. ronald reagan won it by 40 points, george bush 30 points, because the congress was still weak, couldn't win it by a single point in 1992, and then in 1996 when he won it. since then, the democrats have won new hampshire all but one since the presidential race, and with the switch of the votes in 2000, it would be a clean sweep for them. connecticut, maine, delaware, illinois, michigan, a whole bunch of states that were in
play, that were winnable for republicans all through the reagan and bush senior years, they went big for clinton in 1996, and never went back. now no, the 1995 shutdown is not the only reason this all happened. there are a lot of other factors. but the real story of the '90s, both parties sorted themselves out. the clear and deep cultural and geographical divisions between them, the states stopped voting for democrats and painted themselves deeply red. other states, the states i just talked about went the other way, leaving us with the basic red state/blue state divide we know now. the question is, is it sorting out. the divide that is the legacy of the last shutdown, whether that means republicans really may not pay that much of a price this time. does the damage they did to themselves last time mean there is no more damage to be done
this time? joining us now, he first won his seat in 1996, beating the republican incumbent who was part of the 1994 landslide, congressman, i remember you from my new jersey days, thank you for joining us. i wonder if you could talk about your experience in 1996, running against the newt gingrich shutdown, running against the newt gingrich of congress, what that experience was like and whether you think the same climate can exist in 2014. >> there are some similarities, steve, when you look at the '96 election a and look at what the possibilities are for 2014. if you remember in 1996, our efforts, if you look at every one of those races, particularly the ones that changed from the republican to democrat, the focus was newt gingrich. the focus was his leading the republican party at the time where they closed the government down. and that the republican congressional candidates, many
of whom were incumbents, were like puppets of newt gingrich. and they suffered in that election. we didn't take over the house, but they suffered tremendous losses in the '96 election, particularly in the house. and you know, newt gingrich knew that the people he brought into office in 1994, he called it a revolution. and it was a revolution, no question bit, to make the republican majority. were the same ones that turned against him for multiple reasons. he brought people in that never had any experience in government. that were true believers, and did not believe really in the democratic process of everybody is equal to the table when we debate. a a and that is what you might have this year. i can't predict what is going to happen in 2014. but i have a good feeling that
we've done, the democrats have done the right thing. when they say we're not willing to negotiate, that is so much bull it is not funny. they had six months to negotiate the budget. the senate passed the budget, they were always criticizing the senate for for the passing a budget. the house passed the budget. the protocol means you bring both parties of together, and you sit down and have a compromise, this was planned. this was a gift to the far right of their party. i don't blame the far right. i blame the republican leadership and that is what happened in '96. and that is what happened when clinton ran for president. >> but what about congressman, the difference, you can look back at '95 and 6, and say a state like new jersey, bush carried it, reagan carried it. that was something the republicans could lose in the '90s, they did lose it, they had a lot of congressmen in
districts like yours who can win before the shutdown, they can't win anymore. have we reached the point where for the republicans, the biggest threat is the primary -- >> nothing is impossible to overcome, steve, if you remember my election in 1996, my opponent who was the incumbent at the time, had so much money, he had more money than carter had liver pills in the '96 election. but you want to know something, when you continue to fight for what you believe in, be you a democrat or republican, you work hard at it. what happened in this election as we look forward to 2014 is they're relying on a right wing take-over of the federal government. that is not going to happen. what boehner has allowed to happen, and beginning in 2011, was for the right wing of this party to start calling the shots. to deep them in line, to protect his own leadership. i like john boehner. i happen to think that he is a
good american and wants the government to really do what we're supposed to be doing. is that we're helping people where people can't be helped any pertain further by their own initiatives. i personally believe he is in for a sad awakening next year. and i would like him to stand up and say let's have a clean vote on the budget. that is what we need right now. let's get on with the other issues of the debt and the other issues of where this country is going in terms of its investments. if you look at the last four months in terms of economic growth. if you look at the housing prices and where mortgages are going and where -- now we have a decline, thank god, in foreclosures. we're going in the right direction. but these republicans don't want this president to succeed. and that is where it is at. people are not dumb. they can understand this. i support the health care act, i
think it is going to work. they don't want it to be successful. why not? should they have a plan to take the place of the aca, the affordable care act. they don't have anything, all they have is rhetoric. >> all right, congressman bill pascrell, nobody can ever accuse feelings. >> thank you, steve, good to be with you. >> we'll be right back. than a ft of the leading ordinary brand. use less with bounty select-a-size. of the leading ordinary brand. she loves a lot of it's what you love about her. but your erectile dysfunction - that could be a question of blood flow. cialis tadalafil for daily use helps you be ready anytime the moment's right. you can be more confident in your ability to be ready. and the same cialis is the only daily ed tablet approved to treat ed and symptoms of bph, like needing to go frequently or urgently. tell your doctor about all your medical conditions and medications, and ask if your heart is healthy enough for sexual activity.
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just a few hours ago, the republican house passed on a mostly part line bill, the stop gap institution of health. this is called a piece meal strategy, the government funds a clinic in maryland, the government shuts down, the clinic doesn't get funding, the kids don't receive their experimental treatments. it is a very bad situation, also political poison to be associated with it. so the republicans have made a big deal to keep the clinic open. the democrats see it as a trap, because if they go along and fund only random parts of the government, not the whole government, just the parts the republicans don't want to be associated with closing, how do they get them to close the gap? they may get americans to see it this way if they didn't accidentally say things like
this. >> listen, senator durbin said it on the floor, he said it here, what right did they have to pick and choose what part of government is going to be funded? they have no right to pick and choose. >> but if you can help one child who had cancer, why wouldn't you do it? >> what -- why why would we want to do that? >> and with that, 27 million fox news segments were born. joining me now, the msnbc reporter, her segment just went on line. susie, thank you for joining us, i love it when politicians like harry reid slips up, i guess this will spawn a million new talk radio segments. i guess the question is, i'm trying to separate the noise of the moment. do you think what harry reid said today, sort of falling into
the republican trap on this, do you think this has ramifications on any of the negotiations we're now talking about? >> well, that is the hoop of the republicans, basically they staged a series of revolts, all of which president obama said he would veto. the stuff the government can agree on what they like, troops, veterans, kids with cancer, that sort of stuff. i do agree that there is a danger that democrats can go down this sort of slippery slope. if we spend the entire time putting the government together piece by piece, this could take months, the government is very large, the shutdown hurts a lot of people. so it is politically treacherous, and i think that is the republican hope that they can take on the government shutdown narrative. >> do you think right now the democrats are basically holding strong against it, they have the senate holding strong, if they say we're not going to do this.
but are there signs that there will be uneasiness among democrats from marginal red states, saying you know, maybe we should go along with this one thing, and that creates that slippery slope, saying well, how do you open this and not that? do you think democrats will stand strong on this? >> i think the democrats will stand strong on this. the shutdowns are going on only for two days. we'll hear more horror stories, if somebody gets infected by a disease because they ate a piece of food that was imported. and the imported food is not being inspected right now? as time progresses, i believe the pressure will go forward, folks will realize that a lot of people across the board are hurt by the shutdown, it is not enough to just choose and pick which agencies you want to stay open. >> it seems to me, maybe it is a
little too complicated. but is there a strategy where you could look at democrats, saying why don't you open this, open that? maybe that is a back door to opening the government. maybe that is i pointed out in my story, republicans are talking less and less about obama care. the reason they did all this inflicted all this harm to begin with. i think it is because they have held vote after vote. it's gone nowhere. they need a new narrative. if democrats throw out the question why we are in this place in which we are having to possibly make tough decisions to begin with. that's really going to point out the flaw in republican strategy going this piecemeal approach. >> susie kim, thank you for joining us tonight. people look to say, wait long enough and everything comes back. apparently this applies to newt gingrich too. that is next. cer ] your smile...
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>> if the senate cooperates we would get this passed by the end of the day. we could respond to the national security threat the two gentlemen have laid out. the only impediment to doing so is the prospect that majority leader harry reid would object to doing so. if god forbid we see an attack on the united states because the intelligence community was not adequately funded every member of the committee would be horrified. >> that was the freshman senator from texas, ted cruz earlier today. warning that the government, shut down could lead to a terrorist attack in the u.s. does ted cruz remind you of anyone. let me give you a clue. last week, cruz in the senate, ramble on the senate floor for 21 hours. does that remind you of any one? try to give you the answer. his name, style, tactics in congress are rooted in something
that happened years ago. back when ted cruz was just 13 years old. back in may of 1984. this is "nbc nightly news." here is john palmer. >> they're having a family feud on capitol hill over television, and who will be on it. house sessions have been carried on a special cable tv channel lately. and house speaker tip o'neill, trying to control this particular airwave. >> that special cable tv channel john palmer, the anchor you saw, special cable tv channel he was talking about was c-span. delivered gavel-to-gavel coverage of every session and public affairs programming to fill out the rest of hours. in the niche world of cabled, c-span has been such a hit there are three of them. three different c-span channels if you can believe that. in 1984, c-span was five years old. cable television itself wasn't
much older. that a where newt gingrich comes in. the significance of cable television, significance of having a cable tv channel she v sharing everything. he was an outsider, irritant to republican leaders. congress was a very different place back then too. there were real authentic moderate republicans, liberal republicans. lots of them. gingrich took charge of a small band of conservative back benchers. the mission was ideological, but tactical. no more compromising with democrats. just open partisan warfare. this was their vision. it was a vision that resonated powerfully with the conservative grassroots. and c-span was integral to the gingrich game plan. house rules allowed for something called special order speeches. so members could take to the floor after hours and hold court on any subject they wanted. no one ever did it. what was the point of droning on
to an empty chamber. but when c-span turned its cameras on, that changed the equation. the chamber was still empty. for the first time, ever, any american will cable television could watch at home. gingrich got this. he got it right away. he and his crew. bunch of back benchers they started gobbling up special orders time. night after night. stand on the house floorturns r democrats. and preach the gospel. >> i will pick up what's the matter with the democratic foreign policy. >> remember, no fox news back then. rush limbaugh, an ex-disc jockey working in pr for the kansas city royals. talk radio, conservative talk radio. still in its infancy. newt gingrich and buddies talking for hours on the house floor on c-span. this became a thing for conservatives across the country. they would tune in. they would absorb the message. feel the outrage. they would embrace the cause. and then came the night in 1984
when gingrich read off the games of 10 democratic congressman who signed a letter to dale ortega, the lead r who seer who seized . they urged him to hold elections they had undercut and crippled the foreign policy of the evidence. he suggested prosecution under an 18th send schur century law. then, only then, the speaker of the house. tip o'neill, democrat from cambridge mass, only then he know tigsed wh noticed and he ordered a policy. from now on the camera in the house would pan periodically during special order teaches to show viewers the scham wechambe empty. next time gingrich called democrats no one would think the democrats were taking it. and it set the stage for an infamous day, the day that mate newt gingrich. 10:00 a.m., may 15, 1984, this
time, the chamber was full. gingrich got the fight with tip o'neill he had been dreaming of for years. >> you deliberately stood on the well before an emteam house and challenged the people and challenged their americanism and it is the lowest thing i have ever seen in my 32 years in congress. >> i move we take the speaker's words down. >> as a matter of fact i was expressing my opinion, very mildly, because i think mucht wor -- much worse than i said all. up ait is my patriotism being impugned. what we are seeing comes class to a mccarthyism of the left. >> it really is impossible to everstate what this did for gingrich's place in his party. the gop's leadership spent six years ignoring him. treating him like a gadfly. he baited tip o'neilo'neill, in fight that made national news. a fight in which o'neal became the first house speaker in near lou 200 years to have his word taken down. this was