'This Week': Powerhouse Roundtable

Rep. Adam Kinzinger, Rep. Donna Edwards, Peter Baker, and Matthew Dowd.
3:00 | 10/20/13

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Transcript for 'This Week': Powerhouse Roundtable
Our thanks to byron. Let's bring in the round table to weigh in. Maryland correct me if I'm wrong woman donna edwards. Republican congressman adam kinzinger. Peter baker, author of the book "days of fire: Bush and cheney in the white house" and matthew dowd. I want to start with you, representative kinzinger. React to what you heard from the tea party supporters. Those are some genuine emotions. There is a lot of passion out there. We are a country $17 trillion in debt and this has to stop. My concern with what's going on and we saw the interview with ted cruz and everything is we're seeing conservatism being redefined and it's being redefined by heritage action, club for growth, freedom works. You have a small group in congress that has become the surrender caucus. They've's surrendered their voting card to the wishes of these outside groups. My voting card says illinois 16th district and that's who i represent. Let me ask both of you and it's essentially what I asked nancy pelosi. Aren't you humiliated by this week. Aren't you ashamed? The country looks at congress, all of you, and they're disgusted. Are you ashamed this week? Let's start with you on that. Yeah. That has been a bad chapter from october 1st to the day we re-opened. America is the most powerful country in the world and that's something I'm very proud to say. But when you look at what's going on -- I had a friend in europe that just wrote me and he said I don't understand what is happening. Are you guys going to stay powerful, are you guys going to stay together and work this out. It's time for us to come together. I'm looking forward to it because the president said if we re-open government he's coming to the negotiating table. I'm excited to see him there. Is that possible, representative edwards? We got the "wall street journal" saying 60 percent of people want to replace all members of congress. I understand that. I'm proud to represent the 4th district of maryland and an awful lot of federal workers and to join with 200 of my colleagues to re-open the government and pay our bills. That's sad is 62 percent of the republican caucus, I thought it was a small number. It turns out 144 members of the republican caucus in the house of representatives actually voted against re-opening government and paying our bills. So it isn't just a small group that's being driven. It's a larger group that's being driven and I think that should concern all americans. Everybody has to move forward, matthew dowd. We've got all these new deadlines. Do you have any hope that those deadlines will be met and that this won't be an exact rerun? I think we're headed toward the same things. They bailed a little bit of water out of a sinking boat and never fixed the holes and the holes of the boat are the dysfunction and the incredible polarization and the divisiveness that exists in washington. I think that folks in washington haven't come to terms with the what exists between what goes on in washington and the rest of the country. We can blame this on 40 tea par ta members or blame this on the crazy stuff that ted cruz says and does and blame this on a lot of people but the problem is that average americans say the federal government is not meeting my hopes, dreams and needs. Whatever partisan make up they are in that and they see washington and this is where the republicans I think have been bad about this as representing the status quo. Okay, that's fine we'll cut this but we'll have a big government program but we're going to do the best job we can. The establishment republicans represent the status quo which gives source and oxygen to this movement out there to people that say enough is enough. If you are going to do it the wrong way, then shut the government down. That problem is not going to be fixed. Peter baker, days of fire, it's about bush cheney. It could be about the last two weeks as well. What lessons can you learn from this book about what is happening now? What lessons could president obama learn? What lessons could speaker boehner learn? What's interesting is this is not george w. Bush's republican party. It's not what he would have wanted I don't think. He's staying quiet in dallas. He's not participating in the political discourse but privately he talks to friends and advisers and is concerned about this tea party movement. Even in his last years of office he talked about growing isolation that he spotted in the country and a growing nilism that he was worried about. He talked about compassionate conservatism and he tried to work with democrats on immigration, education, medicare. I think this is probably as jeb bush's interview indicates, not the bush way of looking at republican politics right now. Peter has a great novel and i started reading it and I don't know if I should because I'm reliving days that I don't necessarily want to go through again. I think the fissures that are being exposed in the republican party right now are not new today. They existed in 2000 when the president ran for election the first time. He was able to cover them up because of his name. He was a dominant candidate but those fissures started to surface in the midst of that. How do you coalesce that? We did that in 2000 and 2004. Then they started surfacing in 2008 which is one of the reasons john McCain -- this seems much more serious, very different, much stronger. Because the college establishment is no longer in charge of the dorms, the dorms are in charge of the college establishment. This is a different moment. I'll call it the ron paul movement which all belong to the republican party, whether you support ron paul, ted cruz or chris christie. We are a big tent republican party. But as a party we have to have a conversation about the fact that you can have different views, vote with the tea party 8 out of ten times and be a conservative. The conservative movement is s redefined to what freedom works and club for growth want it to look like which are outside elected groups run by a couple of 30-year-old staffers. That's my concern. The other point I want to make is this. The president of the united states is the only one, whether he's democrat or republican that can really lead a country together and give a vision. I can do that as a member of congress but it's not going to have the impact that the president of the united states will. He needs to come out and start to lead the country and say it's time to be unified. He has three years left to make a name for himself. It's really easy to cast this off on the president, but the fact is when you have now what looks to be a majority of republicans in congress who want to stop the president at any point who want to say, we want to undo your signature health care act and shut down government over that and not pay is very extreme. I think even a president who -- and this president in my view is a progressive democrat has bent over backwards to try to accommodate the republican party and construct bipartisan support. This doesn't sound like we're going to do anything. Martha, part of the real problem and until this part changes I think we're going to be in this situation. We need to redefine winning differently. We define winning today is us versus them. I'm going to score points and if I don't score points I'm going to determine the winner and the loser and everything is a battle and civil war. The president tried to balance the tension. I think he constantly falls into -- I think he would like to bring the country together and be accommodating. He ran on that like bush ran on that. The end result of bush didn't turn out well and president obama's didn't turn out well. But president obama lapses into a dualistic thing. I wasn't able to do it. I'm going to point fingers. His speech last week was a perfect micro cosm. It is really important here. We don't want to do a rewrite of this and you actually have to understand who was at fault and there was real fault here. We had a majority of republicans and democrats who wanted to keep the government open. Let me switch a little bit here and I want you to talk about obama care. Obviously that rollout was not a good one and I can't imagine the republicans not using that as ammunition. That wasn't what the republicans were worried about. They're worried about the whole affordable care act but the rollout was so bad. It was terrible and the white house knows. It the truth of the matter is the republicans have given president obama a gift here. Had this not happened, the narrative for the last few months would have been how syria went in a way that was very disconcerting to the country, didn't have support among democrats. The democrats forced him to give up on larry summers for fed chief. They're upset about that about nsa. Then in the fall the health care rollout would have been bad. The republicans would have watched things go badly for president obama politically and instead he comes out looking or feeling like a winner. He may be re-empowered and democrats who were upset at him are now pretty united and happy to watch republicans fall apart. I tried signing on the first or second day five different times. I was curious to see what it would look like, the technology. It didn't work five straight times. I always said it is the law of the land. The supreme court said it is the law of the land. Elections said it's the law of the land and I always said the tests will be in the implementation. The problem is that the implementation has been disastrous. All of us want to get it right. Everybody wants to get it right I assume. But obama care is still a huge issue, a huge issue going forward. Very quickly all of you going around, will the government shut down again, do you think? Well, it better not. No. I just want to add, we need to start finding win-wins. I think it's going to. It may not be for a few weeks. Sglz. Merry christmas. The government hasn't been fixed. It's possible. Republicans don't want it to happen.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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