tv The Chris Matthews Show NBC August 22, 2011 12:00am-12:30am PDT
[captioning made possible by nbc universal] chris: back in thed isle again. is rick perry the new ronald rage season is this like 1980 when reagan lassoed the nomination from the first george bush? is the republican party thinking roundup time or outrider? is the texas governor just too texas for the g.o.p.'s own good? amid all this talk about job creation, is there too much logo wield? perry says we need a military
vet like him to be commander in chief. maybe, maybe not. but one of those soldiers who's been out there nation building might well be the great president of the future. welcome to the show. with us today, "new york magazine"'s john heilemann. the bbc's katty kay. "the new york times" helene cooper and tim magazine's rick stengel. all of a sudden we have rick perry shaking up both the republican race and maybe the whole she bang. how about this for a notion? that we're looking at 1980 all over again. like ronald reagan, the werner dethroning the establishment, mitt romney in the way reagan pushed aside george bush 41. reagan found a way to play a big debate moment in new hampshire to make bush look too small for the role. >> i am -- for this microphone -- chris: democrats hope barack
obama won't be like jimmy carter, whose economic times were so tough they got reagan elected and reagan's far right views weren't even in focus. could the same be true for rirk perry? if he were the republican nominee, would his controversial views get ignored? >> i'm not real sure you're a bunch of right wing extremists, but if you are, i'm with you. >> john is this what the republican parties wants? a guy wo -- who kids around and embraces the far right? >> certainly i think that the republican party right now is a very it logical party. the story of reagan is a guy with extraordinarily good skills, with deep conviction, with a degree of certainty about himself that was lacking on the part of any other candidate. all those things are present in rick perry and not as pretty in
mitt romney and they give perry a real advantage going into the race. chris: can you see this kind of hard right candidacy cock sure about i know the truth and i know the enemy, that's the president. can that run over the middle of the road over mitt romney? >> my first instinct is to say yeah, i think it can. can he beat romney? maybe. he might be able to. but i think what in the end will save mitt romney is that at the end of the day, republicans are going to have to be thinking about the general election and when i talk to people at the white house and the candidate they are still most worried about is mitt romney. chris: here we are, the tea party seems to be setting the terms. the language is tea party. don't believe in evolution or climate change. all the language will be harmed for romney to speak.
>> it's political fizz six. when will the extreme is so far to -- physics. when the extreme is so far to one side it moves the middle as well. what you're going to have -- your analogy i think is not flawed. but the person that obama has to become is harry truman in 1948, running against congress and all of this thing that seems so alien. he wants to make them alien. chris: are the republican right, the people of the tea party world, more afraid of eight years of mitt romney than four more years of obama? they can kick the hell out of obama for four more years but imagine having to defend mitt romney for eight years? >> that's a hard one to call. in the end they still want to be the party in power which is probably why they'll end up nominating romney because they think he is more electable.
there seems to be a meanness of spirit now. it's hard to imagine ronald reagan coming in and saying the kind of things that rick perry has said about bernanke this week. chris: imagine talking about treating bernanke ugly if he goes to texas. >> it's very much the mood of the republican party. this is what's so interesting, is that we are about to see what the republican party is now. as you've seen in this last week, a lot of the republican establishment who thought that perry might be acceptable to them have been scared by that they've heard in the last week. you have people like karl rove, who have never liked perry and all kinds of other people sending out warnings. if that continues, those people will pile in behind mitt romney and then you'll have pretty much a square face-off between the accomplishment --
establishment, relatively moderate old kind of the party, vs. this new part of the party. chris: questions about the possibility of chris christy coming in or anyone else. you sound like now they're more likely to get behind mitt romney? >> they are hungry for another candidate. if they should get either paul ryan or chris christy into this race this ed do this. i think they both want to run more than at any other point but i think the hurdles are so high at this point they'll probably stay out. >> doesn't perry make it much harder for them to come in? >> i think so. >> it certainly makes it harder for sar hay palin to come in -- sarah palin to come in. chris: we asked the meter, 1 of our regulars, could perry
actually fire up the right if her the nominee? could he fire up the right and statement appeal to the centrists? john, you said he could. >> i said he could and i think it's going to be the huge challenge for him and i think there's a chance he can't but he's going to have to deal with that. if you say that he can't then there's no chance he can win a general election and i think in the mood of the country with the economy as bad as it is he might be able to. >> i don't see how you move to the point where you're saying that ben bernanke can't come to texas to getting to a point where you can appeal to moderates. >> bernanke, he first said treacherous. it's a lot harder to appeal to the right now than it is to appeal to the middle and he appeals to the right.
he could, in a general election, appeal to the middle in a way we've seen before. americans like southern governors. >> the problem with rick perry. look at that first clip you showed. the one where he's talking about being a right wing extremist. i think americans like social conservativism but they don't like mean and this gets to where the country is at the moment. the tone. chris: reagan used to talk about well fare queens, the young buck using food stamps to buy liquor and then all of a sudden he became the guy who just talked about the economy. >> he did. and i was interested in the whole premise, but one of the things i think is most similar between rageen and perry is that reagan was very, very much understood estimated. chris: my main reason is why i think romney doesn't wear well is you have to vote for manage -- something and i'm not sure
what romney stands for. do people vote strategically? >> i don't think so. there are a lot of republicans who think he's fine and they say they somewhat approve -- approve of him. very few say they really like him. the level of intensity behind romney's support is very shallow. and that makes him very weak. chris: you think the southern appeal of this guy, rick perry is that he's not a mormon? hayes southern baptist? well, -- >> well, he checks always boxes on the right and he doesn't have to actually say all those conservative things all the time because people know he does that. it's not so much about reaction to mormonism, it's a reaction to obama. it makes the contrast with obama seem much greater than romney does. romney and obama can seem
similar, if you close your eyes. perry and obama, no. >> the republican party is a very conservative party now and a lot of people in the republican party don't believe that romney is a genuine conservative. there's a piece of it that is very angry. there are a lot of different parts of the middle. a lot of suburban moms are not going to like rick perry but there's some anger about the economic condition of the country and some ire that perry can tap into. >> which is all good and fine during the primaries. but there's a general election coming up in 2012. >> i'm talking about the general election. chris: it's a busy august. turmoil in the markets, a president under heat for taking even 010 days off with so many out of work and the approaching 10-year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. in august, 2001, things were so much different.
while bin laden's hinchmen were in the final stages of planning the 9/11 attacks, america slept. the big story, the disappearance of congressional intern chandra levi. local police and the media placed the spotlight on u.s. congressman gary condit of california after it was confirmed he'd had an affair with levi. it was egged on by condit's refusal to answer questions until he finally had an interview in late august. >> did you kill her? >> i did not. chris: this year the contributed killer went to jail. august 2001 was also the so-called summer of the shark. >> it's happened again and again. six swimmers and surfors -- surfers off the coast of florida were bitten by sharks over the weekend. >> george w. bush faced the biggest zicks of his presidency up to that point.
where whether federal funds could be used for stem cells. >> i have concluded that we should allow federal funds to be used for research on these existing stem cell lines, where the life and death decision has already been made. chris: president bush gave that speech from his crawford ranch, where he spent the entire month of august on vafplgtse jon stewart had this quip. >> my president went on vacation. all i got was this lousy sense of impending doom. chris: impending doom. while clearly a joke it was very pressurian. that was five weeks before 9/11. when we come back, so many wonder why this crop of politicians is so weak? on the bright side will we find real in the soldiers who have been fighting our wars?
chris: welcome back. one of rick perry's more controversial utterances was that barack obama lacks the respect of the troops he leads in commander in chief. when pressed about what he meant, he ad libbed. >> go ask your veterans if they'd rather see somebody who's never served as the commander in chief. chris: history might remind him that in every race since 1992 the combat vet has lost. two decorated world war ii vets, bush and dole and then al gore and john carrie and john mccain all lost. the new issue of rick stengel's "time" magazine is about the vets of our post 9/11 wars. joe klein, his writer argues
that future presidents are likely to emerge from today veterans. rick, explain this. >> it is a wonderful story by joe klein. when he started going to afghanistan as an embed, he'd come back and say these young men and women are the greatest our country has to offer. they're a new greatest generations. one of the things he's looked at and what happens to them when they come back home, all the skills they've learned in the military they're using here. when you're organizing a village in afghanistan, how hard is that to do here in america. when you're making decisions about life and death and being entrepreneurial in the military, how hard sit to do when they come back here? these men and women have extraordinary skills and this is a new paradigm of looking at vets as the best of what america has to offer.
chris: this is a face night -- nating irony but rick's piece is saying hey, we're learning how to do things politically that our young people have never learned before. >> it shows how the wars are different and that's why you have this particular group coming out of afghanistan with new skills. it's very different from the first world war and different from the second world war that they are having to really get involved in civic affairs and that's what's making them equipped to do the same sorts of things in this country. chris: let's get to the politics of the statement that rick perry said, the governor of texas. he said that troops needed a commander in chief they can be proud of. what about this issue of having served? there a picture of him in his fly boy uniform. he's a pilot with a jet plane behind him. the white house worry that that might be a permission slip to
some voters to vote for him if he gets to be the nominee? >> no, when it comes to the whole commander in chief thing, they're cocky, president obama can still say he got osama bin laden. every time i look at that clip of rick perry, clearly he's trying to say he's served in the military, he would be a good commander. he seemed to start tripping up into how does that translate into how obama is not commander in chief material. people said that about president clinton. john kerry is the under all the circumstances mat example right now. chris: is this the amen chorus? that he's used to getting these one-liners from the right and then he has to talk to regular people. >> i think there's some of that and it's always been part of the republican playbook when you have a veteran to say that
the nonveteran doesn't have the respect of the troops. since 1992 the veterans have won. i don't think it's the people that don't like the military. it's just that fewer and fewer have served. since the time the draft ended, the military is the thing they admire in the abstract but not like if they'd been in it. that generation of leaders may become important political figures and leaders but only because of what they learned. not because of their stat us as having been in the army. it's not that we stand up and salute politicians who have military backgrounds but they've learned things now. >> we did an event the other night after the cover story and i talked to a number of vets who were offended by what perry said. they said one of the things we're fighting for is civilian leadership of america. they take the same oath to the
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chris: welcome back. john, tell me something i don't know. >> president obama and his team have promised that when they come back from vacation, they're going to have a big jobs push. one of those things i think is going to be a big increase in the payroll tax cut on both the employer side and the employees side. going to dare the republicans to be against them on that when they come back.
>> this weekend marks the 20th anniversary of the beginning of the fall of the soviet union, the big empire of the last century. since the end of the cold war american presidents have ordered u.s. troops into combat 22 times which has cost the country huge amount of money and resources. and you wonder if this empire declines that will be part of the factor. >> at "lost," after months, the obama administration, president obama finally called on the southeastern president to step down. -- syrian president to step down. they've used the last bullet in the american arsenal and now the biggest worry is that america is completely out without any influence there. chris: he'll just stick around? like so what? we came out against you. so what? >> speaking of rick perry, look for him to have a huge advantage over romney and bachmann in these so-called
chris: welcome back. katty was in london during those riots this month. we've seen some flash mobs in places like philadelphia. there's a scene from that. that brings us to this week's big question. is this country vulnerable to the same widespread rioting we saw in england? >> i think yes and philadelphia is a good leading indicator and as long as we have huge disparities of wealth we're always going to be on the precipice of that. >> in britain, a huge number of public sector jobs getting cut. if we see that here, you have
the same impulses. >> that's absolutely true. as you see the american economy and the unemployment rate stay in the doldrums, i think yeah. i'm very worried. chris: young people out of work. >> i'm not as pessimistic. england has the worst social and economic enequity in europe. it has the most diversity in europe. people don't think they have an opportunity and a chance there and i think people still do in america. chris: i'm sticking with you. i think it's isolated so far. thanks to our round table. that's the show. thanks for watching. see you back here next week.