tv The Chris Matthews Show NBC September 19, 2010 11:00am-11:30am EDT
[captioning made possible by nbc universal] >> the time for change has come. chris: republican voters are mad, mad as hell, but when it comes to choosing their 2012 idcand wate,ill this zesty brew of outrage be too hot to handle? could the anger get so hot it scares the country back to obama. if they drink too much of the tea party, could they end up belly up? and too much caffeine, what happens when the tea partiers
reach washington in january. will they jam up the works in healthcare? bring the national government to a standstill? hi, i'm chris matthews. welcome to the show. with us today, nbc's chad todd, cnn's gloria borger, nbc's kelly o'donnell and the "chicago tribune's" clarence page. any establishment power this year is a force to behold and republicans who want to beat barack obama next time are studying up. anyone who wants the g.o.p. nomination has to get the tea party force without being a crackpot himself or herself. when richard nixon brought in the goldwater party, it was different. most disappointed right-wingers had lost in 1964. same thing when jimmy carter brought in the mcgovern crowd in 1976. they were in no position to put up a fight.
not so the tea party. they'll be coming off a big win and on a roll. listen to minnesota governor tim plenty, not a tea party guy, trying to signed one. >> the federal government is a drug dealer trying to give out free samples, give people a free taste, get them addicted. and get your own house in order, by the way. chris: they're all trying to act the part, trying to be tea party types. will this work, the establishment-types echoing like tea party people? >> i think it's going to be very, very hard for these guys, particularly a tim polenty who thought they wouldn't walk this line. i think they never thought they would get their hands dirty to figure out a way not to ignore or condemn them, but not have to get involved. now they're going to have to get their hands a little dirty and as editor of "national review" said, what we learned this week
is that the entire 2012 republican primary field will all have to take a step to the right and what that means to barack obama is good news in the long run. chris: that's the power of the right. if all these characters, even 3/4 win, won't that give them the upper-hand, people like romney, you better start talking ine. l >> i think the challenge is is to corral the enthusiasm of the tea party. chris: we hate government. >> we hate government is good, it easy. everybody's talking about we hate g. shutting it down, not so much, that reminds me of the beginning rich overreach in 19- gingrich overreach. i think of ronald reagan being able to capture the christian
right. chris: can you charm the far right, can you canoodle with them? >> one of the challenges, the tea party name has become a brand in a time when brands and imaging and packaging, it's so much more compelling than the other examples you gave before. you need the establishment candidates to use a personal pronoun and tea party in the same sentence. will they acknowledge them? as chuck was saying, it's not about benign neglect where you look the other way, they have to respect them. and the signs that they are not respected only makes them more angry. chris: there's a class aspect to this, education aspect. sarah palin, for example, you have to be able to walk up to a microphone as a politician and say, she's uniquely qualified to be the president of the united states. >> you certainly have to be her ally in order to win republican votes. you cannot be a critic of her. you don't want a civil war
breaking out in the party right now over how far to the loonie right do we go. at the same time, though. chris: so you're saying, you can't say words as a republican candidate. >> using the word nutty. >> that's the thing. it's going to depend. you say a lot of these candidates are going to win. i think the christine o'donnell case is the most interesting in delaware because she is the candidate that other republicans have singled out as not credible, period, not joe miller in alaska. chris: there are a lot of people that are favorites right now. the governor's race, down there in south carolina. john miller is probably win in alaska. there's aot l of people that are going to win that really like
sarah palin. >> i don't know if they -- i actually would separate that. i think sarah palin, getting her endorsement was a way to say you're not part of the establishment. it was a way to brand yourself in the republican primaries. it was a way to say, she, for instance, at the time was trying to distinguish herself from the male primary opponents who have been in politics forever. does that transfer back to her? i don't know. i still don't buy the idea that she runs and i don't know if they're necessarily endorsing sarah palin. what will make it harder, i'm trying to figure out how mitt romney, i think nobody had a worse week in washington than mitt romney. >> it's mitt's turn. >> it's his turn. he's right out of wall street, riutt o of the country club. >> look at how badly mccain was
doing. i'll tell you one more thing. this whole republican party prospects, what's the convention look to look like in 2012 in florida, swing state of florida, tampa, labor day. >> it depends who the nominee is. >> no, george h.w. bush dominated that convention in 1992. >> if you say to a republican, be you think sarah palin would a great president if she ran? would they say that with enthusiasm and if they did, wouldn't they lose support? >> they talk about how she's an ambassador of all of this enth.iasmus chris: but would she make a good president? >> many hold back on that. i think because she has not made clear whether she wants to run or not and she's carved out an niche, there isn't an overwhelming expectation that she must run. people seem to be giving her a chance to define -- chris: in iowa, the reagan
event. >> that's something, knowing how to keep people on the hook is something she does very well. when you are a potential candidate, you continue to have a giant megaphone. everything that leads to the possibility that she could run keeps her power growing. until she tweets something else. chris: to all of our regulars, the g.o.p. presidential nominee more likely to be accepted by tea partiers or actually a tea party favorite? just two say heor she will actually be a tea party favorite. kelly, clarence and gloria. you're all on the meter. let's talk about tampa. you get down there, it's still hot in september. they're looking for something to
excite them and out comes polenty or romney and they go, nice to see you. what happened? >> i think the model, at best, is going to be a mccain model where he sort of stumbled on this with sarah palin at the time but that if it isn't romney or frankly even haley barbour, i don't know how he gets to run as a nonestablishment candidate, they're going to have to do something, washington lobbyist whose name is on one of the biggest pharmaceutical firms. >> who better to put against barack obama,nt ai-lobbyist. >> i'm talking about the tea party guys. chris: can you imagine at convention where they're all riled up, they used to have demonstrations in the old days. they still have to get excited. how can they get excited with sarah palin, true believer, and
a guy like romney comes up there who is dressed for success? >> romney plays the part. ronald reagan was good at drawing together everybody around a common agenda and using the right rhetoric to fire people up. what they want is victory. if you want victory, you have to go with a winner. >> i think the only guy left is jeb bush. >> can i just say something. it has to do with how republicans govern. if they end up getting majority in the senate, people judge opposition differently from the way they judge people who are in charge. if you suddenly become in charge and you don't do well, then even republicans will take a look at the candidates they've ected and say, you know what, maybe we need something else, so i think it's a long time. >> don't forget the candidates. i think some of this stuff will be played out. chris: will the tea party be the power center the republican
party will use through 2012? >> no, i think they're going to self-destruct in 2011. chss: i that hopeful or what you believe? >> it's history. chris: do you get a sense this will last a couple more years? >> i wouldn't go that far. i think it will be more moderated and diluted. >> there is no other power center right now in the republican party so it's still a vacuum. >> that's what happens with these movements, the insurgencies eventually become the establishment. the question is how long. chris: before we break. east coast -- take christina o'donnell, there were big similarities between o'donnell and sarah palin. what is it? there's something evocative of bailin in o'donnell. same style of dress, perhaps,
that thumb's up thing. both explain their reasons for colorful ways they explain their public service. >> the problem in our country today is apathy. it would be apathetic to go with the flow. we know that only dead fish go with the flow. >> here's o'donnell relating what she told a friend about what drives her. >> i shared with her the many stories that i read about how the revolutionary soldiers ran to battle bare foot leaving trails of blood in the snow. how they had to eat lice from each other's heads in order to get protein and how the passions formed a free nation is what fueled them. chris: so o'donnell and sarah palin? >>yohen u take on the status quo and career politicians that
kind of have an entitlement mentality too often, they're going to fight you. >> i am not a career politician! do you love your freedom! you, you have the power to remove the claws and the grit of government on our freedom. >> there are a lot of mocomnn-seonse catservive candidates ready to put it all on the line. >> the common-sense men and women of delaware. >> you betcha. >> you betcha. chris: when we come back, tea partiers have the power and a plan. yes, repeal healthcare and maybe even shut down the u.s. government.
chris: welcome back. one of the tea party cries is take our country back. what would they do next year if republicans won the congress next november. here's a short list, take away government funding, sarah palin calls it starving the beast. >> we need congress to hear us when we say please, those in the positions of power and authority that cast the votes, starve the beast, don't perpetuate the problem. chris: also under a g.o.p. congress, there would be investigations of the obama administration and healthcare repeal would be on the agenda. >> uncle sam has no business in the examination room coming between you and your doctor. i would fight to repeal the bill. >> we, the governed, do not consent to a government takeover of healthcare and we will not rest until we repeal obama care lock, stock and barrel. >> we will stop the
out-of-control spendingnd a tax increases and repeal and replace obama-care. chris: that rambunctious republicans out there. are they going do this when they get back there, are they going to be newt-like and really jam up the works? >> there is an aggressive mindset. they want to go after those things. the question is, at what point do theyid avo looking like the shstructionists, the government utdown types. they can pick apart healthcare. chris: can they stop healthcare? >> they're going to try. they may not have the numbers do it, they may break it down into pieces, going after segments of the law, breaking down pieces. >> it's all about spending bills. in order to make sure the government mandates work, you have to hire more i.r.s. agents, well, they're not going to fund hiring more i.r.s. agents.
chris: what if the president, send him a bill. >> there's going to be one fight in washington next year and it's going to be over the budget. they're going to be at the brink. it all depends on who controls the assistant. senate. if you only have a democratic house and republican senate, at the end of the day, congress has to figure out something. if this is a republican-controlled congress, i think shutdown is probable, because -- i think they will see this as a way to do contrasts. they're both going to try to find a way. chris: does he have bill clinton's finesse and plainness. >> obama doesn't play
confrontation politics the chicago way. this is where the rubber meets the road. chris: you mean jimmy the cop, if they go after you with a knife, go after him with a gun? >> exactly. gingrich versus clinton, who was blamed for the shutdown? >> clinton worked with republicans. isis he going to be clinton or jimmy carter? >> obama can work with republicans. he did it in illinois. chris: who are the democrats more afraid of, the republican agenda or the fear that they're going to shut it up? >> i think they're more concerned about the obstructionist, because the positive thing is light and airy. it's the people who say we're going to stop, we're going to end. that's more visceral. when republicans go to the senate floor and say, i think we ought to end social security. so maybe there's a center right compromise. you have a deficit committee
coming, so maybe there's a center right compromise about social security. >> you're going to have the grass-roots right that fuel the tea party will not tolerate mitch mcconnell cutting deals. and those guys, if anybody is caught cutting a deal, then you're going to see people in the rank and file saying they got to go and there is a real fine line. one of them may not last a year. chris: these guys seem like stiff republicans compared to the tea party. when we return, predictions from my top reporters. [ male announcer ] it's ram truck season.
es tax on everything you buy? that's in andy harris' unfair tax plan. 23% sales tax. a 23% sales tax will cut my business in half. would be devastating. andy harris' 23% sales tax absolutely makes no sense. 23% sales tax would really make things unaffordable. that's too high for the average american out here. i don't know how we would manage it really. don't like that idea. we can't afford andy harris' idea. i'm frank kratovil and i approve this message.
>> in talking with christine o'donnell, she said, expect there will be no rnc makeover of christine o'donnell, middle-class edges, they want to keep that in place. chris: i think it works for her. i think being broke helps. >> you probably heard about congressman jesse jackson jr. and rom emanuel. jesse jackson jr. would do well if he can clear the air about blagojevich mentioning him suspiciously. you could see rom, jesse jackson chris: there's no run-off? >> it's a run-off. the more the merrier.
gimme in the fight for the senate. can republicans win control of the senate this fall even without having delaware in the bag, which they counted on? >> of course they can. it's california, washington, connecticut, west virginia. if they sweep everything else, they have to win two of those four. on paper, they can win two of those four. >> the answer is maybe. >> i think wisconsin is interesting. ron johnson, businessman, first-time candidate could do well. >> yes, definitely. chris:the historic rule. thanks for a great roundtable. chad todd, gloria borger, clarence page and kelly