Transcript for Powerhouse Roundtable: This Week in Politics
More from the powerhouse roundtable. Joined by george will, donna brazile, louis gohmert, republican, and joaquin castro, democrat. Both from texas. Setting aside donald trump, it appears there's an intensity of activity in iowa, particularly on the republican side. We saw claire mccaskill out for hillary this weekend. It's in part because it's so wide open in the gop. Both parties will be nominating someone who's not president. That opens it up a lot. The democratic field, they have a weak bench, and be careful what they wish for to clear the field and have no competition. The last time almost uncontested nomination was '56, with stevenson. He probably would have been beaten anyway, but he was beaten. Competition is good for parties. The republican party is going to get their fill of it. No question, but there does not appear to be that much competition yet, understandably, with hillary clinton out there find of freezing the field. I don't think so. Martin o'malley made noise he's interested, joe biden, and kristen gillibrand, elizabeth warren, a lot of buzz, and governor cuomo from new york. A lot of talk. And let me not forgot joe biden. He will call me this afternoon and remind me. It's too early to handicap the race, if hillary clinton gets into the race, there will be a coronation of her because there are so many democrats who last time around supported her, who i think are anxious to see her out there again. I read your brother, mayor of san antonio, heading to iowa as well. You accompanying him? He's not running for anything. He's headed out to the harkin steak fry in september. A lot of tilling of the ground. Let me bring this back to you, congressman, because it seems there's a brewing potential civil war inside the republican party. You heard sarah palin last night said she was on the team of rand paul versus chris christie. There's a lot of competition out there. With regard to the democratic side, I seem to remember in 2007, this was hillary's nomination. Obama may run just to be ready in 2016. The point being you never know. I think that's true where we are with the republicans. I don't think you could say. I would never have predicted THAT SOMEBODY named McCain would end up being the nominee after 2007 when the story was he was so low he had to carry his own bags. I don't think you should underestimate the power iowa has to attract people to the state fair of the fried butter. It is absolutely incredible. You have an excellent point. Republicans have a lot of experience with civil war, 1912, roosevelt and taft. 1964, rockefellers and bhoop -- whoops, excuse me, goldwater. What republicans need to bear in mind is one number, 28. 18 states have voted democratic in six consecutive elections back to 1992. If they hold the base, and they look for 28 electoral votes, they've got 242 in those states, they'll find them. I think what's most problematic for republicans is they seem to be taken by the tea party more extreme base, so the candidates that are most appealing right now are the ted cruzs, the rand pauls, those folks. If they nominate them, it's 1964 all over again. That's not majority of americans. Is that your fear? Not really. At the tea party, I see people from all races, ages, genders. The thing they have in common is they're paying income tax. I don't think you should rule out district of columbia voting for republican if we'll pass my bill that ends the unfairness for d.C. In their income tax. They don't have a full voting member of congress. D.C. Goes -- so get rid of their income tax. The gohmert bill. The pew survey says 84% of tea party voters vote in primaries. They're intense, they're organized and they come out to vote. That's going to matter. Particularly in iowa with a crowded republican field. And rand paul starts with his father's constituency in a crowded field, that's a plurality. But the tea party is like a -- a controlled wildfire that is now burning the republican party, especially the republican party establishment. So I don't know if the tea party is good for the republican party in 2016 given the fact that it has narrowed the base of the party. And it's igniting an immediate confrontation. And I think that's why, george, I really think they have one or two more election cycles where they can continue like this. Otherwise the infighting is getting so severe that I don't see how you sustain that. Let's talk about the one coming right now. SEPTEMBER 30th, GOVERNMENT RUNS Out of funding. Rand paul and ted cruz, other republicans, marco rubio, saying unless obamacare is defunded, we shouldn't approve the government funding. President obama took that on friday. My friends in the other party have made the idea of preventing these people from getting health care their holy grail. Their number one priority. The one unifying principle. That's the only thing that seemed to get the president really riled up on friday. He says it's an ideological fixation. How does it play out? Do you believe that faction is going to succeed in pushing the leaders to hold the line? That's a false narrative. He says we're trying to keep people from getting health care. That's just not true. That's an absolute, blatant lie. We're not trying to keep anybody from getting health care. Whether or not they have insurance under an exchange or not does not prevent people from getting health care. Want to take that on? Sure. The fact is you have millions and millions of americans who can't afford health insurance. It's helping people get health insurance. Republicans have offered no other solutions or plans. We have -- but at this point, it's just ideology. It's just extreme ideology. Does the government shut down? The congressman says that's a lie. Remember when mark stain said the difference between a lie and a cat is a cat only has nine lives? The fact is the president has the power, particularly when supported as this one is by the mainstream media to set the narrative. The narrative will be that the republicans have chosen to cause chaos. It's a bad idea. To go down the line. You can not govn the country from one-half of the three branchs of government. Can't be done. It appears the speaker of the house, john boehner, agrees with that. Mitt romney gave a speech, one of his few. Mitt romney was warning republicans of being accused of shutting down the government. Mitt romney, romneycare is obamacare. They're not what I call distant relatives, maybe kisses cousins. BUT HE SUPPORTED john McCain and others that this is a foolish idea to try to shut the government down. And many of the veterans of previous government shutdown, newt gingrich and others are speaking out as well. What's going to happen? I don't know. Even though we're one-half of the legislating body from which no spending occurs unless we agree, that is a position that allows us to force others to adhere to the constitution. We don't have to wait for the supreme court. We can force that. And we can say you're going to abide by the constitution whether the supreme court gets it wrong or right. We have the ability to force respect for the law. And some of us think that we ought to force them to do that. Do you think you have the votes to defund obamacare? Not right now. We'll see after august after people go home. As far as obamacare, though, when the president himself says it's not ready, so I'm giving this break to all big business. What about the poor guy making $14,000? He's going to pay extra income tax if he cannot afford to pay the several thousand dollars for an obamacare policy. Who's caring about him? A lot of us do, but not this president because he didn't let the individual mandate have a year off. That only goes to big business. That's not fair. Well, I would say, first of all, it's the law of the land. The congress passed it, the president signed it. And a conservative supreme court upheld it. It's the law of the land -- so how does he get to they a year for just rewrite and say we're going to delay it for a year. The problem is the house republicans, with all due respect, I'm a former hill staffer, not a member. They cannot agree on spending. Just before the recess, they could not pass a transportation hub bill. I don't understand the republican party these days. They have set these budgetary goals and they're afraid to meet them. We're not afraid to meet them. Too extreme. But you have to remember, and I think lyndon johnson said it, if two people agree on everything, one is unnecessary. It's good to have a good disagreement. That's how we got to the constitution -- lots of disagreents over immigration reform. We heard donald trump say passing it would be death for the republican party. And president obama spoke out on that on friday on friday as well, making this claim. I'm absolutely confident if the bill was on the floor of the house, it would pass. The problem is internal republican caucus politics. Which means that the senate bill, unlikely to reach the floor of the house of representatives. And if it did, it wouldn't pass. It's unconstitutional, it goes back. What republicans are hearing, the new york times which wants the republican party to go away, saying that if only they would pass immigration reform, it would prosper. There's a dissonance there republicans don't like. I'm much more sympathetic to immigration reform than most republicans are, but how many of your members, probably none, face electoral defeat if they oppose immigration reform. I don't know. But I think you would be shocked how many -- I think most everybody in our party would vote for an immigration reform bill once they can be sure the boarder is secure. But until -- including legalization for the undocumented in the country? I think we could get an agreement on all of those things. But if you pass a dream act without the border being secured, you're going to have to have another one and another one and another one because people are going to continue to come. George, you had an editorial we had a net zero, but you still continue -- our border patrol are saying we're getting three to five times the numbers coming while we talk about legalization. Secure the border and we get the bill passed. The number of apprehensions, the crossings is at a 40-year low. We have double the number of border patrol agents than 2004 when president bush was in office. The border has never been more secure than now. In 1916 it was. Right now the plan is to take immigration reform in pieces. Take border security first and then consider other aspects. Can that work? Is there a way to get comprehensive reform? As democrats we want a comprehensive bill. Theoretically, if you did it piecemeal, if you had a bill for each piece, you could send it to conference, have a final conference bill and have each chamber pass it. But that's not the intention of the republicans in the house. They're cherry picking. Do you support the kids act? I guess it's the dream act. I support securing the border, and until that, with i don't think we ought to be talking about who gets legalized. Once we secure the border as determined by the border states within not homeland security. Your new, brilliant, one of my favorite democrats -- here comes the but. What I've learned in my eight years, when you hear comprehensive, republican or democrat, it means we have a lot of bad laws to pass, but can't do it unless we have a big bill. George, you get the last word. Furthermore, the well has been poisoned by the president insisting on his unilateral anti-constitutional power to rewrite laws and not enforce laws he doesn't like. No one on the republican side believes that anything in the immigration bill will be binding on an unleashed president. We're going to have to leave
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