Roundtable II: This Week in Politics

James Carville, Mary Matalin, Paul Krugman, George Will, Matthew Dowd.
20:09 | 12/09/12

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Transcript for Roundtable II: This Week in Politics
I'm actually looking forward to returning living a life that enjoys a lot of simple pleasures and gives me time for family and friends. Marco is joining an elite group of past participants of this reward. Two of us so far. I'll see you at the reunion dinner table for two. Know any good diners in new hampshire. Paul, thank you for your invitation in iowa and new hampshire. But I will not stand by and watch the people of south carolina ignore it. The joking and the jockeying have already begun for 2016. Let me reintroduce everyone. George will, paul krugman, matthew dowd, james carville and mary matalin. But first, the supreme court took up two big gay marriage ca they took up the proposition 8 case which banned gay marriage in california. Which leaves up to the possibility that they get to the underlining question is gay marriage a guaranteed right? Peter finley dunn, great american humorist, his character famously said the supreme court follows the election returns. This decision by the supreme court came 31 days after election day in which three states for the first time endorsed same-sex marriage at the ballot box, never happened before, maine, maryland and the state of washington. Now, the question is, how will that influence the court? It could make them say it's not necessary for us to go here. They don't want to do what they did with abortion. The country was a constructive accommodation on abortion, liberalizing the laws, the court yanked the subject of public discourse. Let democracy take care of this, but on the other hand, they could say it's now safe to look at this because there's something like an emerging consensus. The opposition of gay marriage is dying. It's old people. That's true. But, at the same time, james carville, right now at least, split the difference position that george argued, 41 states still outlaw gay marriage. Right. It depends on whether they're going to allow this to happen. His logic point is actually correct. The election just matters in profound ways, look at salt lake city, the mormon church after the election said, well, maybe we're going to change our position on homosexuality is a choice you're not born that way. The effects of the election reverberates all of the way through society. I can't believe that they took this up. The fact that they took it up, just tells me that they're going to uphold some of these. Mary, not just the election, but the trend has been pretty clear over the last dozen years. I want to show this pew poll. It shows right now, back in 2001, 57% of the country opposed gay marriage, only 35% were for. This year, it's crossed -- the lines have crossed. 48% approaching. Going above 50%. Support gay marriage in the country. Well, because americans have commonsense. Important constitutional, theological questions relative to homosexual relationships. People living in the real world, say, the greatest threat are the heterosexuals who don't get married and create babies. That's more problematic for our culture than homosexuals getting married. I find this important dancing on the head of a pin argument, but in real life, looking down 30 years from now, real people understand the consequences of so many babies being born out of wedlock to the economy. That chart. I don't know why they highlighted 2001. It was a wider gap in 2004 gay marriage was a losing thing for democrats in 2004 is now a winning thing, that's amazing. Eight years, this country has changed dramatically. I think it's actually a positive, because this is a significant bloc of voters that will make a decision based on which party they feel as being favorable to equal rights here. To me, the consensus has already emerged on this issue. It's just a question of, is the supreme court going to catch up or get ahead of it? I mean, if you take a look at this, there's still a division in the country over this issue. But there's no division in the country under 35 years old on this issue. I have a perfect example. My son went in the army, they asked him ten years before, raised that hands, who's for gays in the military, 80% said they're opposed to gays in military. When he got in, five, six years, they were for gays in the military. To me, we still, you still have to know that there's a huge group of folks in this country that believes this issue not ready to be established nationally. They're over 35. Go to church regularly. But in the end, this issue five years from now, is going to be more settled. George will, that's still the president's position, he didn't come out with a complete federal solution, he didn't say it was a right guaranteed by the constitution. He said let the states continue to decide this. Married law is a prerogative of the state. A new york woman married in canada her female partner, they lived together 44 years. The partner dies, because the partner wasn't a man, the woman is hit with $363,000 tax bill from the federal government, there are a thousand or more federal laws or programs that are at stake here and the more the welfare state envelops us in regulations and benefits the more the equal protection argument weighs in and maybe -- it's hard to see how the supreme court is going to allow them to continue deny those benefits. Something of a surprise, senator jim demint of soh carolina left the senate to become the head of the heritage foundation, and it created a big debate on whether he had impact. I believe that I can do more good for the conservative movement outside of the senate. Well, I think it's safe to say boehner is not forcing either of you guys out, right? That's pretty true. It might work a little bit the other way, rush. Right. Mary, do you think demint made the right choice if he wants to have more influence? Yes, absolutely. As our hero once said, ideas drive history. Ideas drive progress. And heritage has long been a vaunt of so many good ideas. And they have -- they're respected. They're cutting edge. We find in congress, it's a piecemeal process. These guys have big ideas and they have big frameworks, he has a conservative, as a constitutionist, that was a brilliant move, a good move for us, a brilliant move for him and it also leaves nikki haley to fulfill her legacy, her vision of real legislative reform and real economic reform by appointing someone like tim scott. Who would become the only african-american in the senate right now. The actual quote, ideas which are dangerous for good are evil. I'm more interested in, what does this do to heritage? This is sort of taking the think out of the think tank? Right? This is turning -- george, you were there at the beginning, sort of, at the heritage foundation. 40 years ago this year I was crucial to establishing heritage because I was working for senator, a republican from colorado, and a letter came from joe coors, very generous to conservative causes, he said that I got a quarter of a million dollars and I want to do something to disseminate conservative ideas. I was out of the office that day, which was a good thing. I went to the press secretary, a young man who knew exactly what to do with it. A few years later, they opened up the heritage foundation. This was an important part of conservatism building an alternative infrastructure. Liberals have the media, academia and hollywood. Conservatives said let's build our own. The interesting part of the insfrak truck -- infrastructure is when dick armey, he left with $7 million severance package. At the same time, senator demint, this is a guy who thought that unmarried schoolteachers. If you unmarried and living with somebody you shouldn't be teaching. He had a big influence in the senate. He had big influence. He's a very gutsy guy. He was gutsy, I'll give him that. Well, that's what I was going to say. Two things. First thing, his biggest influence was keeping the majority in the senate. But let me make a bigger point, I think is actually a very sad commentary on our politics today. Because, here you have a guy that was a well-established u.S. Senator with tremendous amount of experience in a group of body that was supposed to respected in the world. He leaves that and becomes a is epidemic in our political world, they now think their best route to success is to work for super pacs. As we step further and further away, people's success in politics I'm going to hold office and do something good, they now think they can't do that anymore in washington. Holding the office. Theyave to leave in order to have more influence in washington. Yeah, I mean, all that really matters for the most part in congress is whether you have a r or d after your name. He can have a lot more influence by moving off to the heritage foundation. Meanwhile, there has been this real debate of where the republicans go after the election, there were two serious speeches this week by paul ryan and marco rubio at the american enterprise institute where they took on that challenge. Both parties tend to divide americans into our voters and their voters. Let's be really clear, republicans must steer far clear of that trap. I have heard it suggested that the problem is that the american people have changed. That too many people want things from government. But I'm still convinced that the overwhelming majority of our people just want what my parents had, a chance. George will, I think marco rubio used the phrase, middle-class, more than two dozen times in that speech. Yeah, usually the forgo middle class and it's all we talk about. Is the forten middle class. The republicans' problem is the national problem, the sense of stagnation among americans who are not on the ladder of upward mobility. Right now, the widening disparities. Health care costs and the cost of that which puts you on the ladder, the cost of college. In about four, five weeks, we are going to pass a milestone, a trillion dollars of student debt. More than credit card debt in this country. Two-thirds of kids leave college with student debt, average $29,000 a person. They're graduating from college with a mortgage already. How are they going to buy houses, form families and everything else? One of the big ideas that marco rubio was talking about, making sure there were a lot more transparency as kids are taking out loans. Sure. I thought that what was striking by both speeches, we need to reach out to lower-income working americans, and the idea for that, tax cuts for the rich are actually good for them. No substantiative policy change in either speech. It was amazing stuff. Well, the gop isn't a very difficult position. Because the american country has changed and the republican brand and their candidates today don't match where the country is, fundamentally the american electorate looks much different. Can I -- wait a second, mary. Fundamentally different than american -- I think they need to stake out a ground that says, we not only look different but we're going to say things different. They have to run against washington and run against wall street. They have to become the party of the middle class, and whether they look at marco rubio or governor christie, their brand has to change to win the election. Mary? You just say that one of those guys don't look like normal problems. That's disdifference between conservatives and liberals. Ideas are dangerous for good or evil. Can I just say we're missing the reality here, the federal office aren't the entirety of our problem. We have mayors who are making progress in all kinds of states and all kinds of different people are stepping up to run for office. Rubio and ryan are very deep in policy. Policies have been reflected in huge successes in indiana and wisconsin and across the country and everywhere republicans hold the majorities of the governor ship. Two speeches, written, a nice-looking guy, take a good shot. They had a vote, they had a vote and it was a treaty that dick thornburg negotiated that bush pushed through, that everybody was about how you treat disabled people, it was not enforceable. Somebody said, if you pass this, they're going to break into your house and you won't be able to homeschool your kids unless you have ramp. 36 republicans voted against this. If they can give a speech, but when it comes time to vote and the same thing comes back, they need to break out, I think the vote was the most illustrious thing of the week. Just as mary suggests, the country is mixed in its views right now. Next week, michigan, the fifth highest unionization rate, and the fifth highest unemployment rate in the country, may become the 24th right to work state. My suggestion, matt, wall street, main street, and all the rest, I'll know that the republican party is on the way back when they have a good sense from breaking up the biggest bans. Absolutely. I don't know whether the gop sold to wall street or vice versa in this last election. But clearly, wall street tends to be relatively democratic in the past. Now it's that close to the republican party right now. Meanwhile, at the same time, we got front page of "new york times" this morning, look at it right here, hillary clinton, 2016, all of her choices hinge on that. We also did a poll at abc news, this week, 57% of the country right now would support hillary clinton for president. James carville, of course, you worked closely with her for many years, it's safe to say that no one knows what she's going to do, the point is, every decision she makes now, she has to look at it through the prism of that bigger decision. Right? Since 1974, sitting here, republicans have always craved order. We have always been people fell in love we're looking for the next argument. This is entirely different. Every democrat I know says, hope she runs. We don't need a primary. The republicans they need a fight. Somebody has to beat somebody. You got to beat somebody good. You got to go through the difficult processes. You got to beat somebody. The republicans know that they need a primary. We don't want to be slugging this thing out in april. We like winning presidential elections. She's popular. Let's just go with it. The pressure is going to be nor -- enormous. You're making mary laugh over there. Well, the idea that this defies. I love hillary. I wish she would run. Democrats, even though they are redistributionists and utopians would not be competitive, others waiting in the wing, would have a dynasties. They'll have another clinton step up? Furthermore, the democratic party is split. 17% of them are extreme liberals and the rest of them are centrists. The senators that are running are centrists. The ones that just got elected are centrists. She would to run with the country which would alienate -- she bridges that divide right now. What's happened is, the extreme liberals, I guess I talk to a lot of those guys, they're also pragmatic. They compromised a lot on health care reform. They wanted medicare for all. They would see hillary clinton as someone who could continue to make incremental progress toward what they want. I have never seen this much love for someone. I do think -- the whole race of 2016 pivots off of her. I think, whether or not other democrats run, it will all pivot off of her. Republicans are going to pivot off of what she does. To me, this is a moment where we're going to have a dominant woman candidate for president. Whether hillary clinton runs or not, if she doesn't run, another woman is going to run. Washington is in dire need of women leadership. In the congress. If you look at the exhibition and all of the dynamics, i think -- this country would be served well, whether it's hillary or somebody else, a woman candidate emerged as a dominant force in this country. The junior senator from new york will be that woman who's now occupying hillary's seat. Senator hillebrand. And hillary? I have no clue and I'm not going to think about presidential elections. I don't know what she's going to do but I do know this, the democrats want her to run. I don't just mean a lot of democrats, I mean a whole lot of democrats, 90% across the country. We don't -- we just want to win. We think that she's the best person. That's across the board. Until then, it freezes the race for a long time which is blessing for george will. We have one more round coming up.

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

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