'This Week' Transcript: NEC Director Larry Summers

REICH: Well, you know, there's obviously a kind of an off- message problem here for the Republicans. And, Matt, when you talk about hypocrisy, yes, but hypocrisy is not exactly something new in this town. I think there's -- there's a larger issue...

DOWD: Which is why this town's ratings are so bad.

REICH: But there's -- I wanted to get to that, because I think that voters -- and it's not just Tea Parties -- voters all over this country right now are saying, as they've said before -- but I think with a greater sense of commitment and intent right now -- they're saying, the establishment politicians just don't get it. They don't know where we are. They don't understand what we're suffering with regard to unemployment or the economy. They don't understand fiscal responsibility. They don't -- they don't get any of the -- anything that we are talking about in our families and among our friends.

And this is bad. It's bad for Democrats. It's also bad for Republicans.

DOWD: Well, I agree. I think the -- I mean, the big...

REICH: Incumbents. It's bad for incumbents.

DOWD: The big problem today is a total lack of public trust the public has of trust in Washington, whether it's Democrat or Republican. This is not a partisan problem, is when you have corrupt scandals with Charlie Rangel and all of that, just who have come up -- Republican scandals and new Republican scandals, is which is why the Congress as a whole is rated at the lowest point it's ever been rated. President Obama's numbers are dropping. There is a lack (ph) of total trust in the institution of politics in Washington.

REICH: And Washington is just totally out of -- out of -- out of keeping with America.

FINNEY: Of course it is. But there is a deeper problem that the RNC has. Let's be honest. Any time when you have the first African- American president and the first African-American chairman of the party of a party with a very dwindling base, you may be able to win race by race with the Tea Parties, but you cannot win a national election if you can't bring in a broader coalition of voters.

Privately, people have admitted that -- and, you know, this is not the first time Michael Steele has been an embarrassment or has misappropriated funds or not done what he's supposed to be doing. Privately, people have admitted that part of the reason, in addition to the technical aspects of two-thirds vote to vote him out, he's an African-American, and you have to be very careful about, what signal does that send, if you were to remove an African-American, again, at a time when the base of your party is dwindling?

That is a longer-term problem than simply going to a strip club or spending money on jets.

DOWD: I'm not going to argue against the liabilities that the Republicans have and their lack of a real strategy and their lack of a real program. The interesting thing...

FINNEY: Or message.

DOWD: The interesting thing to me, granted all those things? They're going to pick up 25-plus seats in the House this year. They're going to probably pick up five or six or seven seats in the U.S. Senate. They're going to pick up governors races.

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