tv All In With Chris Hayes MSNBC October 17, 2013 8:00pm-9:00pm EDT
"tip and the gipper" i never knew that that book coming out right now would be so relevant to the times we've just been living. and that's "hardball" for now. thanks for being with us. "all in with chris hayes" starts right now. good evening from new york. i'm chris hayes. and you can now set the days without a government shutdown counter to one. the government is open. government workers finally returned to their jobs today, greeted by some high fives. some were also greeted by vice president joe biden bearing muffins. and president obama took time to talk to the nation about his agenda going forward. as for republicans, well, they tried to figure out just how they blundered themselves into the disaster they engineered. and today, there's plenty of blame to go around. >> this morning, the crisis is over. >> we fought the good fight. we just didn't win. >> folks said we were going to lose turned out to be correct. i can't argue with that.
>> it was a fool's errand. we were not going to defund obama care. >> instead of bringing people through crisis, we are creating it for them. >> republican senator burris said, it's the stupidest idea i've ever heard. and i think a lot of establishment republicans really never thought it would come to this. >> in the last 24 hours, conservatives tried to come to grips with the depths of their defeat. >> i was pondering if i can ever remember a greater political disaster in my lifetime. >> all this crap about the law of the land. the law of the land is the constitution! john boehner was never going to fight hard on obama care. >> i voted no on the bill, because this means barack obama got 100% of what he wanted. >> senate republicans were divided and became basically an air force, dive bombing the house republicans and conservatives. >> it would be hard to gin up this kind of effort again. i just think that's clear. >> those are the people who will tame blame for shutting the government down. but the so-called suicide caucus shouldn't take all the blame. the preservation caucus of self-described moderate
republicans could have stopped the shutdown before it started. you see, on the eve of the shutdown, congressman peter king of new york waged revolt in the house. >> sort of a republican revolt on capitol hill with five hours to go until a possible partial government shutdown. >> spoken to some moderate house republicans, who are working as we speak to stage what effectively would be a revolt to try to stop their own party from passing their plans. >> king went on the record, saying he had enough votes to kill the house bill and shut down the government. >> what we need is 15 to 20 votes to defeat the rule, and that would keep it from coming up. so i think -- put it this way, i can tell you at least 25 people on saturday night who told me they were definitely going to vote no. >> but when the votes were ta y tallied, just one other so-called moderate, charlie dent of pennsylvania, voted with peter king. a dramatic win for the tea party that cleared the way for the shutdown. so much for the preservation caucus. but the government shutdown and the democrats pushing speaker boehner to bring a clean cr to
the floor, the speaker pushed back. >> there are not the votes in the house to pass a clean cr. >> but according to whip counts from nbc news, "the washington post," and others, the speaker was dead wrong. "the huffington post" reported there were up to 29 republicans who favored ending the shutdown with no strings attached. >> it's called arithmetic. the votes are there. >> all 29 could have voted with king and the democrats to avert a shutdown, but members like devon nunez and darrell issa and tom cole took the easy away out and let the country suffer. members like john runyan and lew barletta sat on their hands and let the suicide caucus hijack the country. and in the end, 25 of the 29 people who "huffington post" reported would support a clean cr supported a clean cr. if they had voted with peter king in the beginning, none of this would have happened. >> and i think we have to do some of that. we have to be willing to say no and vote against rules and do whatever we have to do, just let the leadership know that it's not just the cruz people we have to worry about.
there are others that feel very strongly. i think that will get us on an even keel. otherwise, we'll let 30 to 35 ted cruz republicans dominate the house. >> today the president told republicans, there is a were the way to change things than shutting down the government and bringing the nation to the brink of default. >> you don't like a particular policy or a particular president, then argue for your position. go out there and win an election. push to change it. but don't break it. >> joining me now, bruce bartlett, senior former policy analyst in the reagan white house, former assistant deputy secretary for economic policy in the george h.w. bush administration. and bruce, you got a tweet yesterday. you said, some republicans missed a golden opportunity to stand up to the whackcos and a be a hero. not one did. what is your takeaway about what this episode says about the so-called moderates or establishment or sensible members of the republican caucus? >> well, i can only conclude that there are no moderate
republicans. none. zero. peter king, i mean, if that's the best we've got, then he's not very moderate. what i think there are, however, are a few pragmatists, who understand that the party is going over a cliff, and they're going to get taken with it when it goes. but i'm just astonished by the cowardice of, for example, the former treasury secretaries that i knew and have worked for who didn't say a single solitary word about defaulting on the debt and potentially bringing down the entire world financial system. >> yeah, you were calling out former republican treasury secretaries to say, hey, guys, can anyone maybe come out and say, this is a bad idea, to go through the debt ceiling, at least pierce the bubble of delusion that has been building, that this is going to be fine. and no one did. >> not that i know of. i mean, if they had, i would have trumpeted it to the skies. but, we have quite a few living former republican treasury
secretaries, george schultz, paul o'neil, my old boss, nicholas brady. henry paulson, john snowe. not one said that their party was crazy, stupid, insane. i'm the only one who was around saying that. >> bruce, you're in this position that i think is fairly novel. a small amount of people in this position. you're kind of apart from the conservative movement, the republican party. i think you still consider yourself a conservative. what it seems to me is that there's basically no place for people like you to stay within the conservative movement. what happens is, occasionally, someone will kind of come out and say, hey, guys, what is going on here? this party is off the rails. we are headed in a bad direction, we're not very popular. we're doing destructive things. we're denying just basic science or empirical facts about the economy. and what happens is, you get excommunicated as opposed to to having any kind of constitutional place to reform the party and change it. >> well, that's exactly correct. but what i don't understand is
that just the total silence. i mean, anybody can start a twitter account, you know? >> don't i know it? >> i'm sure colin powell called up abc or your network and said, i got some things to say. you'd give him all the time he wants. i don't understand why they're so afraid to speak out and say that their party has been hijacked by crazy people, stupid people. >> why is that? i mean, this goes back to these so-called moderates, the people that were saying, let's have a clean cr. they could have voted with peter king on the rule and spared all of us. what is it about the culture or psychology of the modern conservative movement that keeps those folks silent? >> well, at least in congress, it's perfectly understandable. you've got these crazy tea party people, you've got a primary system, where a very few number of people decide who the nominee is of the republican party, in a given congressional district.
these people have unlimited sources of money, from the koch brothers, from the club for growth, from the various billionaire plutocrats. we have seen people like sharron angle and christine o'donnell and richard mourdock and todd akin and other complete and total crackpots who have gotten the republican nomination for the senate. you've got even lower, dumber people who are capable of winning the congressional -- the nomination for congress in any congressional district. but why are exmembers of congress, why are ex-administration officials, why are people who have no races to run for, why are they afraid? i don't know. i want to know. please, tell me. >> economist bruce part let's, former republican treasury official, thank you so much for your time tonight. really appreciate it. joining me now is political analyst michelle bernard from the bernard center for women policy and public policy, and
james pethokoukis, with the american enterprise institute. and michelle, i'll begin with you. you've had a trajectory not unlike bruce bartlett's. you were a republican, you were in the conservative movement. you've migrated out of it. as someone watching what unfolded over the last couple of weeks, what conclusions do you draw about the state of conservative and republican politics? >> it has been splintering for a very, very long time. quite frankly, i was listening to mr. bartlett speak, and all i could think was, ditto, ditto, ditto, ditto. the republican party and the quote/unquote conservative movement have been hijacked by people who i -- it's unfathomable what they are thinking. so, for example, we know that today's republican party is not really run by the people who have been elected to govern it. it is run by radio talk show hosts. it is run by heritage action, it has run by the club for growth, and those people are not elected officials. we have a republican party that is horrible on social issues, many people in the republican party, many people in the
conservative movement don't like african-americans. they don't like women, they don't like hispanics. so we ignore them on social issues and we are left with a party that is supposed to be the party of economic common sense and instead what we see today is a party that does not care about the full faith and credit of the united states. we are supposed to be the greatest democracy in the world, and our democracy is in tatters. we are the laughingstock of the world when a small minority of right-wing zealots can virtually destroy the economic well-being of the country in just a little more than two or three weeks. and they never had a chance of winning. that's the only conclusion that you can draw, is that this is a suicide attempt. this is a party that wants to be a party that is only being -- that's being governed through the south, and that is not going to win national elections ever again. >> jim, what's your response to that. >> well, i'm going to put aside her comments about hating women, minorities. i think it's absolutely ridiculous, and not hating poor people. let me focus on the tea party
from their perspective. the folks at tea party they talked to and i read what they're saying, i think they understood, there were some who didn't, that defaulting would be a bad thing. but i think, a, they didn't believe that we would actually default, that treasury could come up with the money, that they could prioritize payments. my bigger complaint is that they didn't think the huge budget cuts that would have to happen if we didn't raise the debt ceiling. that those would be just fine. so they weren't worried about that. but what they are really worried about, and i think too worried. and i'm worried, but they're way more worried than i am, one, the debt problem. we're about to go into a debt problem in the next year or two. i don't think that's the case. and i think obama care is going to lead to a socialist takeover, a single-payer -- they're very worried about that. so from their perspective, these are both existential threats to the united states, and listen, and breaching the debt ceiling, small potatoes compared to that. >> here's my question for you, jim. and to move away from the kind
of social issues and to litigate that and talk about economics here. you know, there was this period of time where republicans would describe themselves as pro-growth. this was this, you know, i'm a reagan republican, i'm a supply-sider, i believe in growth. and there's this famous quote from a conservative economist who says, once you start thinking about growth, it's hard to think about anything else. and i sit here and look at this economy. it's growing at 2 or 2.5 or 2.2% gdp. and i think, we need more growth. i want more growth. i want to see higher growth and lower employment. and here is the republican party, which was supposed to hold the mantle for growth, that used growth as their symbol, doing things that demonstrably retard growth, that affect growth. how do you understand that, jim? >> well, listen, there has been a pro-growth message, but unfortunately, it has not gotten beyond corporate taxes. but there has been an extreme focus on cutting debt. that cutting debt by itself, that that is why we are growing slowly right now. they think cutting debt is in itself a pro-growth policy. i don't think that's a problem.
i don't think that's why the economy is growing is slower because of the debt. i think the debt is a, you know, it's a medium to long-term problem. i don't think it's a right-now problem. so they are focused on that to the extent of everything else. and i think that's a huge problem. >> and that, michelle, is because the debt to me, as taken on this kind of symbolic residence, it's not necessarily about the numbers attached to it, it's some manifestation of the ills of the country, and there's no amount of empirical argument that could dissuade people that that's the problem. >> chris, if you look at this, everybody wants to lower the united states' debt, but we also want our members of congress to actually govern the country. they've done nothing to deal with the debt through governance. we had the gang of six. they couldn't get anything done. we've had the president talk over and over and over again about how the government should be smart, that we need smart government. no one disagrees with that. but congress can't pass a bill. we have a sequester, because no one wants to make the hard decisions that need to be made on entitlement and everything else that we need to do, to be
fiscally sound. so what do they do? they take the easy way out and they shut government down. that's not dealing with the debt and that's not fiscally responsible and it has nothing to do with dealing with the nation's debt. that is governance by cowardice. >> well, we are now going to enter a phase in which we're going to have a prolonged negotiation about the way out of sequestration, and all eyes are on what you just rfeferred to a entitlements. the long-term debt projection, the elusive grand bargain, which we are going to talk about in just a moment, including the reappearance of one paul ryan, who voted for default yesterday, an amazing thing. political analyst michelle bernard and cnbc contributor, james pethokoukis, thank you both. coming up -- >> let's work together to make government work better. instead of treating it like an enemy or purposefully making it work worse. >> that was president obama's message for house republicans early today. and after the past 16 days, all i have to say about that is, good luck, mr. president. i'll explain, coming up. it's a growing trend in business:
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we always love hearing from you on facebook and twitter. many of us today are breathing a deep sigh of relief, many of us, but not all. not house republicans. so let's soothe their pain with some good old-fashioned counseling. what advice would you give to sensible house republicans on how to deal with the less-sensible party members? tweet your answers @all in with chris. i'll share a couple at the end of the show, so definitely stay tuned for that. [ mom ] because we have people over so often, we've learned how to stretch our party budget. ♪ the only downer? my bargain brand towel made a mess of things.
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filibuster, if we don't make this the focus, we had already heard what was coming. as soon as we got beyond this summer, we were going to have an amnesty bill come to the floor. that's what we would have been talking about. and that's where the pivot would have been, if we had not focused america on obama care. >> that was texas republican louie gohmert on fox news, essentially giving away the game. what he was saying was that he knew the government shutdown was an abject failure for the republicans. it accomplished nothing, except for one thing. it ate up the clock for nearly three weeks, so that none of the other agenda items, such as comprehensive immigration reform, could move forward. but today, fresh off signing a budget compromise to reopen the federal government, the president addressed the country and laid out with surprising clarity his immediate legislative agenda. >> first, in the coming days and weeks, we should sit down and pursue a balanced approach to a responsible budget. number two, we should finish the job of fixing our broken
immigration system. number three, we should pass a farm bill. so, passing a budget, immigration reform, farm bill. those are three specific things that would make a huge difference in our economy right now. >> of course, in order for these bills to move forward, they'd have to pass the house of representatives. perhaps you've heard of it. that's the same house that just allowed a minority of its republican members to shut down the government for no ostensible reason. joining me now is bob herbert, a distinguished senior fellow at demos, former "new york times" columnist, and congressman mark polkhan. already everybody's starting to talk about what this budget deal is going to look like, because obviously we have just reset the clock. we passed a continuing resolution, another deadline coming up in january. this is a joint statement from senator patty murray, who's the chair of the senate budget committee and congressman paul ryan, who are heading up the budget conference committee.
"in months ahead, we hope both sides can work together to grow the economy and tackle our debt responsibly. we hope we can reduce the deficit in a smarter way. we hope to restore stability to the budget crisis and end the lurching from crisis to crisis." do you share the same hope and is that a delusional hope? >> i think assiit's a good hope. it's something democrats have been talking about since the senate passed their budget back in march. we've been trying to get the house republicans to appoint conferrees so we could do just this. but we haven't had a budget for four years in this country. you need a road map and we need to have this budget done. so i'm hopeful, and zdespite th last three weeks, i think we can move forward on this. >> here's the trade everyone's talking about. first, i want to play about what the president said about long-term government debt, right? this is the social insurance programs that are medicare chief, that are drivers of long-term debt. take a listen. >> need a budget that deals with issues that most americans are focused on.
creating more good jobs that pay better wages. the challenge we have right now are not short-term deficits, it's the long-term obligations that we have around things like medicare and social security. we want to make sure those are there for future generations. >> okay. so this is what -- this is always what it -- it's the grand bargain, the elusive grand bargain. now, here is -- so what everyone's been talking about is you've got sequestration, which everyone hates. which is in place. which is a drag on growth. it's austerity, it's stupid austerity. the deal on the table and what paul ryan is kind of talking about in that "wall street journal" op-ed a few days ago is, we trade sequestration for quote/unquote, entitlement reform, right? >> entitlement reform, right. >> what do you think about the odds of that and what that would mean? >> you know, i can't, frankly, see it happening. if you got real entitlement reform, i don't call it reform, but something that would appeal to the republicans, the president's going to have a revolt on the left. you'll have liberals who will be
upset about it. >> you're already seeing it today. the afl-cio essentially sending out a warning shot about a benefit cut to social security. >> exactly right. but before we ever get to that, i think we have to recognize that we still have such a dysfunctional government. we've defined dvnc down to the extent where if we don't have a debt ceiling crisis again in february, we'll consider that to be a victory. >> that's right. >> that's a long way from a grand bargain. >> yeah. congressman, i want to read you something harry reid said today about the idea of this trade that people have been talking about. you know, get rid of sequestration for what i will call cuts to, you know, very important social insurance programs. he said, "that's no trade. we are going to affect entitlement so we can increase defense spending. don't check me for a vote there. i'm not interested in that. it is the most successful program in the history of the world." i don't even know if that fact checks. "the program is not about to go broke, so take it easy on social security." that sounds pretty strong to me. is that in line with your
thinking? >> absolutely. you know, i know at least 107 of us signed a letter months ago to the president that said, don't cut social security or medicare as we figure out these budget issues we need to. you know, i sit on the budget committee. paul ryan's budget is the same recycled stuff he's put out there, that's not realistic. we can't even pass appropriation bills, based on their ideas, they're so unrealistic. it's like sasquatch economics. it's something you want to believe in, but it's just not real. and that's why they can't even pass bills assigned to those numbers. i think we need to stand strong. >> i want to sort of hang a lantern on that for a second. this is really important. the transportation bill. i mean, there's routine work that congress did, passing an appropriations bill. they tried to come up -- the republicans tried to get a transportation bill that came in under the caps that were put in there by the ryan budget, and the cuts were so deep, the republican leadership had to pull it off the floor at the last minute, because it was going to get voted down. >> exactly right. and this is why, i think, it's
even silly to be talking about long-term cuts to entitlement. if you're talking about medicare or social security. we have to get back to having a functional government from day to day, where the government provides the services that american families and businesses need. >> and can be reliably counted on not to screw up the recovery. >> exactly. we cannot even assure people that we'll even go ahead and pay the bills that we've already contracted. so we're in a very difficult place. >> congressman, the savvy insiders, the people that cover capitol hill have been saying for months, there's no way this house is doing anything on immigration reform. obviously, it's doa. obviously, it's not going to get a vote. i have been in a small minority of perhaps hopeful contrarians that there's a probability, there's daylight. am i wrong?
>> and he has been pretty consistent on why he thinks we have to have immigration reform. it's for different reasons than i think. he realizes they won't ever be a national party again if they don't do it. but the fact that you still have people like that in the party, realizing that this is something that's important, that you have a bipartisan deal in the senate, tells me it's still alive. i know the democrats feel very strongly, just like the president does, and we're going to fight to have meaningful comprehensive immigration reform. >> one of the big problems facing the push for immigration reform, is that a lot of people on the right in the republican party, believe that this would be a political disaster for them. they don't believe that this is a way for them to maintain their national party status. they think this is a way of assuring democratic victories going forward. >> because you bring in 11 million new voters. >> they think those are going to be democratic voters. that's one of the things standing in the way of it. >> here's the point i would make, is that the issue here is precisely the same issue that we just had with the shutdown. which is, if john boehner
brought the senate bill to the house of representatives right now for a vote, i think it would probably pass. ting there are probably 20 republican votes and almost all the democrats, almost all the democrats to pass the thing, and yet it's going to take some courage on the part of the same people who have shown themselves so feckless in order to get this done. bob herbert from demos and congressman mark polkhahn, thank you both. all right. there was a little something slipped into last night's bill to reopen the government that looked suspiciously like it could have been a big boon for republican senator mitch mcconnell. but there's more to the story than meets the eye. we'll unravel the mystery, coming up. (vo) you are a business pro.
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there is an unsolved mystery about last night's bill to open the government and sit centers n this little piece of legislate i have language slipped in in the 11th hour. section 123, you be section 3a6 of public law 100-676 is amended by striking both occurrences of $575,000,000 and inserting in lieu thereof $2,918,000,000. confusing. but what it amounts to is $1.2 billion more in authorization for an infrastructure project on the ohio river that just happens to be adjacent to the state of kentucky, that just happen happens to be the home state of the senate minority leader, mitch mcconnell, who finds himself in a tough re-election battle. the center of conservative fund rushed to call it the kentucky
kickback. but how did over $1 billion for ohio river construction project actually get into the bill? and the mitch mcconnell really the culprit? here's the story. way back in 1988, congress authorized $775 million for the ohmstead locks and dams project to deal with a choke point in the ohio river. the locks and dams is supposed to reduce ship delays through this busy stretch of river. its completion date was once slated for 2006. it is now 2013, seven years later, and the project remains unfinished and the price tag has soared. the projected costs are now $3 billion. the urs corps is the contractor on this army corps of engineers project. so the project is now, if you're keeping track of this, costing four times as much as originally slated and is behind schedules seven years and counting. and yet there it is, in the legislative language of last night's deal, after a government shutdown ostensibly about government waste and the debt
and deficit. and so the senate conservative fund, by calling it the kentucky kickback, immediately fingered the culprit, mitch mcconnell, that dastardly barren of the senate is trying to knock off with a primary challenge to his right. and pinning it on mcconnell was not a ridiculous assumption. here's mitch mcconnell in 2009, visiting the ohmstead locks and dam project. mcconnell has secured earmarks for the project before, hundreds of millions of dollars, up to 2009. >> our goal would be to try to meet the annual challenges and to keep this project as close to on schedule as possible, which in the end, will allow it to be finished sooner and cheaper. >> well, you don't really need these. and that's because everything here at the ohmstead locks and dams is on a grand scale, from the floating walls to the construction equipment to the cost. >> but then, republicans started getting squirmy about ear marks. here's mcconnell in 2010. >> and what i've concluded is that on the issue of
congressional ear marks, as the leader of my party in the senate, i have to lead first by example. nearly every day that the senate's been in session for the past two years, i've come down to this very spot and said that democrats were ignoring the wishes of the american people. when it comes to earmarks, i won't be guilty of the same thing. that's why today i'm announcing that i'll join the republican leadership in the house in support of a moratorium on earmarks in the 112th congress. >> so has mcconnell violated his pledge to lead by example? did he try to sneak it in in the 11th hour when no one was looking? no, heavens no. alexander came forward to say, it was yours truly. he said the chair, senator dianne feinstein, and himself, were responsible for this request. so lemar alexander gave mitch mcconnell an alibi. it wasn't mitch, he was at my house that night. i was the one, coincidentally not up for re-election or a
primary challenge, who stuck the pork in there. of course, mitch mcconnell and leid wrote the text of this bill together. and even though mcconnell's office said he played no role in securing the language, if mcconnell didn't want it, it would not have been in there. all of that said, i an happy to see 27 republicans in the house voting for an infrastructure project that creates jobs. now, if we could just rustle up votes for the bill that president obama presented in march of this year for the nation's crumbling infrastructure, we'd be getting somewhere. ♪ vicks dayquil powerful non-drowsy 6-symptom cold & flu relief. ♪ no matter what city you're playing tomorrow... [ coughs ] [ male announcer ] ...you can't let a cold keep you up tonight. ♪ vicks nyquil powerful nighttime 6-symptom cold & flu relief. ♪
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♪ [ male announcer ] eeny, meeny, miny, go. ♪ ♪ more adventures await in the new seven-passenger lexus gx. lease the 2014 gx 460 for $499 a month for 27 months. see your lexus dealer. big election news last night that should make you think hard about the democrats chance to retake the house in 2014. there are, in fact, two americas and they come out for different elections. what that means for the future of progressive politics later in the show. but first, i want to share the three awesomest things in the world today. while we breathed a sigh of relief that this chapter is finally over, we have to admit, it gave us some great click three fodder. we take a look back at some of
the moments that define this mess, in a tone befitting the congressman who fell asleep in the middle of the whole thing. good night, shutdown, wish it was all just a dream. good night to the guy in the corner of the screen, good night, conan, who furloughed his crew. good night to the couple who still say i do. go good night, priests, good night to the congressman who fell asleep. the second awesomest things on the internet today, the debt ceiling was raised, so it's no surprise that fix the debt has once again showed up. it's the brainchild to have peter peterson, who uses the comedy duo of alan simpson and erskine bowles to go out in public, but instead of sitting on a balcony, they try to kill social security. today, fix the debt held a q&a on twitter, and they got trolled epically with questions like, is it true billionaires have money vaults. do uh ever get the urge to drink
from a chalice. or this. why don't your bios disclose your corporate ties and conflicts of interest, with a helpful link to a page disclosing all the conflicts of interest. susie kim did a little research and concluded the entire q&a was 100% trolling, making it the most disastrous online interaction since the ill-fated hashtag, ask anthony weiner anything. and a real reason for sports announcers to flip out. this is cam zinc. he's competing in the red bull rampage mountain bike competition. if you're watching this and your nerves are already frayed, wait until you see the record-setting backflip. >> lots of speed for cam zinc. >> a little double drop. >> cam zinc, up sidedown! >> he did it! he landed the flip! cam zinc just landed the biggest stepdown backflip in two-wheeled history! >> oh, it was the biggest
stepdown backflip in two wheels history? i, of course, this guy, who finally got respect when he did the triple lindy. and if you thought cam zinc's amazing feat needed further embellishment, our trusty announcer was standing by. >> the doors have just been shattered on what can be done on a mountain bike. >> certainly reason to celebrate, because i, for one, have been trying for years to shatter the doors on my mountain bike. you can find all the links for tonight's click three on our website, all in with chris.com. we'll be right back. i am today by luck.
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make it delicious with swanson. [ woman #1 ] that's why i cook. today, the state of new jersey has its next senator-elect. it's newark mayor cory booker, who won a special election last night, but was not the resounding victory his supporters once might have expected. booker beat his tea party opponent by 11 points. last year, president obama won new jersey by a significantly larger margin, 17 points. now, this is a little bit of an anomalous situation. a special election in october on a wednesday, but the discrepancy points to a simple truth that is often forgotten. the nature of the electorate, as much as the will of the people, is what decides elections. in an off year, and especially in a special election, there is lower voter turnout, and an older voter population with, and that tends to favor republicans. for democrats, the big challenge going forward is to try to
leverage the near-catastrophe engineered by the gop to convince their voters to come out in 2014, a year from now, even though the president won't be on the ballot. >> reporter: the story of how we got to the brink of economic catastrophe is not just a story about ted cruz and a bunch of gop extremists. it's much bigger than that. it's a story about how we elect a our leaders in america. there are two fundamentally different electorates that shape american politics. there's the one that comes out to elect a president and there's the one that votes when the president is not on the ballot. >> it's pretty clear that the obama/pelosi agenda is being rejected by the american people. they want the president to change course. >> i'm not recommending for every future president that they take a shellacking like i did last night. >> reporter: the president was introspective that day after the midterm elections in 2010, but john boehner's claim that america wanted the president to
change course only made sense if you pretend that the 41% of people who cast ballots are a good representation of america. and they aren't. this is america. this is what the electorate looked like in 2010. and this is what it looked like in 2012 when 58% came out to vote. in the 2010 shellacking, the electorate had fewer african-americans, fewer latinos, and more whites. it looked, well, less like america. in short, the 2012 electorate looked kind of like the audience that watches the super bowl, while the 2010 electorate looked more like the audience that watches fox news. the shutdown and debt ceiling fight was a standoff between those two electorates. the big question that will determine the shape and future of american politics, the one that will decide whether we keep having these destructive fights over and over and over again is whether democrats can turn the marginal voters who came out in 2008 and 2012 into the habitual
voters who come out in off year elections like 2014. there are signs it may be happening. democratic polling shows that top of the parties in the house are more vulnerable because they backed the shutdown. before that debacle, democrats lacked likely to fall short of winning back the house next year. f a lot can change in a year, and more importantly, the president won't be on the ballot in the midterms next year, and he won't be there in 2016 either. which leads democrats with a major question. can the obama coalition in 2008 and 2012 become the permanent democratic coalition. the answer will dictate if we continue government by crisis or if the suicide caucus can be dismantled for good. >> nice sunset shot there, producers. that was beautiful. joining me now is nahlini stamp,
sam seder, and co-host of the ring of fire radio show, and josh -- you're not the host of the online -- you work at emily's list. >> i do. >> i was like, oh, my god, everyone! so i want to bring up two pieces of information here. because i think this is the big question, right? this is the big question about progressive electoral politics, the kind of trajectory that we're on, whether we're entering some era in which we can really move the center of american debate to the left, whether we can move policy in a progressive direction, or whether we're going to be locked in this kind of generational war, this kind of split that was embodied in what brought us to the shutdown. so there's two things here. one, i just want to show, the 2010 electorate, versus the 2012 electorate. 2010 electorate, 77% white, 2012, it was 72% white. 2010 electorate, 12% under 30. 2012 electorate, 19% under 30. and you see also, it's the same
thing with senior citizens. 21% over 65 in 2010, 16% over 65. those look like relatively small differences, but those margins are everything. when we're talking about elections, you're talking about closed elections. and the other things is the rothenberg political report, today, which basically is tracking races, they are basically saying, there's a lot more races moving into the possible democratic column after the shutdown, right? so the big question is, can this amount to anything? and i want you to weigh in on that right after we take this break.
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we're back. i'm here with nalini, and joss mcin tosh, the communications director for emily's list. why does this problem exist, why does this gap exist, and is it fixable? >> absolutely. it is true that historically democrats come out in smaller numbers in midterm elections, but we have never played with this hand before. we were dealt something in 2012 that we frankly have not seen. we had historic jrnd gaps. more women turned out -- that was the one demographic that you left out. 10 million fewer women voted in 2010 than in 2008, and that was one of the big reasons why we saw the republican wave. those women, and i work for an organization that only works to elect pro-choice democratic women. that's all we do. our membership quintupled over the 2012 cycle. that is an astronomical level of
political engagement and we need to take it through. >> here's the question, though. why was it there was such a dip between 2010 and 2012. and nalini, you work on channelling is energy into politics. how do you understand that dip after the obama machine had built this incredible, incredible get out the vote operation, that totally changed the electoral map. >> absolutely. in 2008, a lot of it was the narrative was hope, change, you know, young people turned out, women turned out, latinos turned out in a big way in 2008, as they did in 2012. but you saw a dip, because a lot of these things weren't necessarily -- you know, we had a student debt crisis. we have a climate change crisis. and we did get health care, we got the affordable care act, but what you see is a lot of times in off year elections, in state and local elections, fewer people turn out. the same year as off year elections, midterm elections is when we happen to elect governors and that's when people need to go out and vote as well. >> we are living with the legacy of that 2010 wave election for ten years. because those statehouses that
did the redistricting that gave republicans these ridiculous advantages in congress. >> this is the first year we can get some of those governors out. a lot of them got in, rick scott in florida, got in -- tom corbett in pennsylvania, sort of the perfect one. they got in on this wave, they have no busy being there. and i think this is the year we're going to take them back. >> and i think part of the problem in 2010 is illustrated by the fact that today, you mentioned earlier, that the afl-cio had to come out and say, no cuts to social security in any deal. harry reid came out today, no cuts to social security in the event that we just give back on the sequester. and who are they talking to? they're not talking to the republicans. they're talking to the president. and there should be -- >> okay. >> if democrats have to play defense against their own president. >> i want to say two things. one is we left out the most masterful trolling of fix the debt that was single handedly done by you. we should all go follow you on twitter and answer the questions you asked, which were hilarious.
second, i do not buy that argument. the argument you're making is the following, that subsequent policy decisions are things that depressed the turnout in 2010. >> i disagree. >> completely a structural issue that has to do with getting these margin no voters who come out and are sort of not as attuned to the political process, getting them to come out as habitual voters as a matter of course. not because, oh, you didn't have a public option. >> oh, no, no, no. it's not because of that. it's because the people who bring out those voters are the activists who are trying to -- >> that's a more nuances -- that is a more nuanced theory. >> they're trying to protect their rear guard. the unions right now should not be worried that the president is going to push to cut social security. what they should be doing is pushing right now for comprehensive immigration reform. they should be going out there and convincing candidates to run on increasing the minimum wage. these are things that if you bring out that youth vote. but instead, they're watching their rear guard. the president has to let the democrats go forward on offense, instead of forcing them to play defense. >> do you think that makes sense? this sort of bank shot theory about how demoralization of
activists has a cascade effect in terms of -- >> absolutely. as sam just said, we need to go out there and tell people, it's our speedometresponsibility to the vote. and weeed to go out there on off year elections for comprehensive immigration reform, for, you know, raising the minimum wage. >> here's a perfect example. comprehensive immigration reform is the perfect example, okay? here's what's going to happen. and i've seen this from activists on the immigration front, who i respect enormously. who have been so kickass and amazing. but i see them saying they were frustrated, we've had broken promises, directed at the president. the answer to comprehensive immigration reform not getting through, if that's what you want, is to vote out republican members of the house. it is that simple. there is no electoral calculation to be made here other than that. and yet, sometimes, delay and obstruction ends up serving to demoralize people, so that they don't go out and vote -- >> i'm not talking about demoralization. i'm talking about, where our efforts and energies going to go? the fact is that if we need to
rally democrats to prevent social security from being cut, because the administration wants to do that, that means that there's less time for them to be -- >> do you buy that? >> i actually don't. i think that there are factors in place in 2014 in terms of villains and heroes, which are the two things that are going to motivate people to come out to the polls. . >> i work in cable news, i'm aware. >> that are not unusual -- usually the off year is sleepy. we get to take long lunches. we get to go home on the weekends. it's not like that this year. this year we are dealing with presidential levels of partisanship. we just shut down if government. >> you're saying that organizationally in terms of what you're saying day in and day out. >> it's easier to engage the activists. >> i totally agree with that. but you're just saying, don't screw it up. >> and the people who are going to talk about those villains and those heroes, they have to be on board and feel like they -- >> yes. >> i'm just being the optimist here. >> i'm being optimistic too. >> i think there's a lot to be optimistic about, but i think you're right, channeling that energy and getting that infrastruc