'This Week': Powerhouse Roundtable

Cokie Roberts, Bill Kristol, Ana Navarro, Brian Schweitzer, and Ben Smith on "This Week."
3:00 | 01/05/14

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Transcript for 'This Week': Powerhouse Roundtable
We are called to put an end to economic and social inequalities that threaten to unravel the city we love. It's only the tip of the iceberg in fixing our deeply keynesian justice system. The decrepit homeless shelters and housing developments stand in the shadows of condos. So, today, we commit to a new progressive direction in new york. That was the inauguration of NEW YORK MAYOR bill de Blasio this week. I'm joined by bill kristol, editor of the weekly standard. Cokie roberts from abc. Ben smith, the editor-in-chief of buzzfeed. And brian schweitzer. And republican strategist and cnn contributor, ana navarro. Bill, let's start out with what we heard from senator rand paul and senator chuck shurm. I don't want to overstate this, you started to see some optimism on a couple of fronts there could be cooperation between the two parties. I think there should be. Co-sponsoring a bill. Challenging the obama administration on iran. There have been democrats that have voted for delaying parts of obamacare. They're deciding to separate themselves from the obama administration. It's amazing how strong the white house has been. You've been in the white house. Obama has been very successful at keeping democrats alive. I think one of the big stories, is can he do that issue after issue? Outside groups are still going to play a role. The degree that can stay inside, the institution itself, we're seeing it right now happening on that big budget deal that was made before they left. The word in washington, the grownups are now in charge. The appropriations committee, the money spending committee, they're coming up with something. The outside groups are agitating. A big meeting of conservatives in virginia saying, we can't let them cooperate like this and start by opposing janet yellen's nomination to the fed. You could see this kind of dynamic, ana, on that issue of immigration. I don't agree with chuck schumer, but I agree with this. I think it might be the one sweet spot and bright spot this year, let's not fool ourselves, 2014 is an election year. This isn't going to be about love and peace. Right now, the afterglow of the holidays. Lot of issues that are intended to political wedge issues. The minimum wage issue, obamacare, there's going to be a lot of fighting this year, i hope I'm wrong, but I think I'm being realistic. Immigration has a shot, because -- you know, it's not the issue that counts. Really republican leadership, republican outside groups want to do it. As senator schumer said, there are a lot of republicans who can move the ball that want to get it done. Tomorrow, governor chris christie in new jersey is signing the new jersey version of the dream act, he's having a ceremonial signing for it. He's doing it his own way. He's thinking long term, nothing speaks more than the national implications than getting immigration done for the republicans. Than what governor christie is doing. You're nodding your head there. When we have high unemployment, people want to blame somebody, they blame immigrants. Now, we have unemployment coming down. People are hiring again. We need people to go back to work. So, whether you're a business republican or a business democrat, you understand that we got to have a young population who are workers. None of these republicans are in the house of representatives. That's ultimately every year, this wishful thinking and consensus. Then, you go to house of representatives and it dies. I think there's an idea maybe right after these guys win their primary they're not yet worried I don't know. Every year we kind of say this. There is a legislative way to do it, though, to bring up border security in one bill and bring up amnesty in another bill and that's exactly what happened, you know, in the compromise of 1850, california came in as a free state but the fugitive slave law was part of it as well, and so, you know, you can say this was a terrible thing. But this is the way it got through. We have a fed-up, unplugged john boehner that we didn't have last year. Fed up in trying to accommodate folks that aren't going to be accommodate ever. I think what kind of leadership xerts on this is the key. The republican party, chamber of commerce or the republican party who's boiling tea in the back room, that's what we're deciding right now. How about the party that represents middle-class americans? You know what, passing immigration reform may further undercut working class wages. You just said, unemployment is down a lot over three, four years. And there wasn't immigration reform. Immigration is down, too. Maybe we take a serious look at what kind of immigration we want. Meanwhile, this is what's going to be talked about in washington. At least at the beginning of the year. One of the points that you were making earlier, and I want to get into that, despite all this talk about immigration, health care insurance, one of the things that we're just seeing just this weekend, al qaeda taking over two major cities in iraq, a year after the president pulled out all of the troops. Yeah. And a few months after he didn't intervene in syria and backed off in syria. It turns out, 150,000 people are getting killed in syria and al qaeda taking over opposition there has effects across the border in iraq. I do think, people don't want to talk about foreign policies for various reasons on both sides. I think foreign policy will be a big issue. Cokie, ronald reagan back in 1986, it was his salvation coming out of iran contra. Presidents tend to have more room to maneuver. As bill points out a lot of real crises for president obama. And the middle east isn't an easy place to maneuver. John kerry is there, god love him, constantly, trying to bring it together. But it is a difficult region. But, there is a stronger feeling that you're picking up, especially among europeans that the united states is absent and that there is no leadership from the united states at the moment. There's a sense that kerry is almost freelancing and that he is not getting a lot of support from the administration himself. The europeans are right. We have had 12 years of war. For the last 11 years, you can't find anyone left in america to tell you why are we still there. Afghanistan, al qaeda attacked us, they're not in afghanistan, we're fighting someone called the taliban. Why are we still there? Because, there is -- first of all, we went there and we promised that we would stay there. Who did we promise? We proomsed karzai, who's a crook. Do we think we're safer? Do you think al qaeda would be weaker if we got out of there? The people that we know are the most dangerous actors in the neighborhood, when we went into iraq, al qaeda didn't function there. We destabilized iraq. We threw saddam hussein out, and now we have al qaeda, it's our problem, now we're going to have to go back in. What's your solution? My solution is to be serious about being in the middle east. But not to pull out 100% from iraq. Perpetual war in the middle east? No, being responsible as a world power. Are you against that? Are you against that? We went to middle east 60 years ago because we wanted to get a supply of oil in the middle east. From saudi arabia. We'll be now exporting oil and gas during the next six years, they are competitors. We have a moral obligation as well, it's not just an economic obligation. We said to the women of afghanistan, we're going to make your lives better, we're going to get educated, we're going to get your children educated. The crisis of syrian children right now is outrageous, there are children dying every day in these refugee camps and we are just not making anything happen to make their lives better. You make a compelling point right there. I'll bring this to ben smith, I see no appetite whatsoever from the white house to put troops back in the middle east. I mean, this president was elected in a fundamental way to pull troops out of the middle east. In 2008 that was it. I think it's become very clear that this is not a president who's going to very vigorously intervene in any of these theaters. One thing that happened this weekend, iran is going to be welcomed at these talks on syria. And in the sense they can turn iran into a constructive ally in the region. That's a very new thing. One point on that. Put down their nukes? This president sent tens of thousands of troops to iran in 2009 and 2010. That was just to hold things off for a year or two? One of the points that senators McCain and lindsey graham recently said, what we're seeing in iraq proves that the united states has to leave some troops behind. They also have been saying, look, we warned that this was going to happen, you got al qaeda right now in charge right now of fallujah. There's the bigger problem of the overall roll of the united states. This hasn't been a good year for leadership. You're hearing democrats in the senate foreign relations committee, saying we're not happy with the way things are going with iran and having great reservations. And governor schweitzer, clearly your passion on this issue right now we're seeing this morning and also in iowa. You say this is relevant for democrats, here's what you said last month in iowa. George bush got a bunch of democrats to vote to go to that war. I was just shaking my head in montana, and the reason I'm in iowa, in part, is because I'm asking you to pick the leaders that are going to say, we're not going to make those mistakes. We might make mistakes again, but we're not going to make those mistakes. Now, governor, lot of people took that no so subtle bow to hillary clinton. Are you thinking of challenging her? Come on, brian, stop teasing. Give us answer. Those people in washington, d.C., Most of them didn't live in the middle east. I lived in libya and saudi arabia. I watched iraq fight that war. Now we've created a vacuum in iraq. Those people who supported that iraqi war didn't understand the politics of the middle east. Al qaeda wasn't there. Iraq hadn't attacked us. We made a very big mistake there. It cost us a lot of blood and a lot of treasure. But does that mean that you're going to challenge her if she runs? Are you seriously looking at this? I'm looking around. Gosh, I like iowa. My first trip to iowa was when i was 4 years old. Yeah, right, right. Give george stephanopoulos something to talk about. The ground is frozen in montana. I can't get a stake in there. Florida is an early primary state and it's 80 degrees there. I'll take it as not a no. That's right. Look, there's a market in the democratic party and you saw THIS WITH YOUR CLIPS OF de Blasio here in new york for a blasio here in new york for a populist democrat who will run against hillary clinton. And I do want to bring that to ben. I think the clintons are intensely aware of that. The most either clinton talked about inequality on that stage. But that is a big danger zone for her, because he can fail and he can fail quite spectacularly. And then, you know, she's associated with him. Guys, it's not all about you. We're from montana and miami. And we were talking before the show, brian, you think anyone in MONTANA KNOWS WHO bill de Blasio is? Not the mayor. But the themes he's running on. On this inequality theme, this is a theme that you have been hitting as well. Love to talk about it. You're a mayor, buster, you got to make sure the snow gets plowed and the garbage gets picked up. Mayors have to balance budgets. That's where he can fail and be a problem. It's also true that this notion, resurgence of liberalism, there's a different between populism and liberalism. Liberalism, we never see a poll that shows more than 20% of americans identifying themselves as liberals. De BLASIO CALLS IT Progressivism. What you saw this week is probably what you'll see in new york. The snow actually got picked up. I mean, his tatical choices tot not reach out, write off anyone who disagreed from him the start. This issue of national implications from bill DeBLASIO IS IN MY HUMBLE OPINION Is overblown. We're just about out of time. I want to go around the table. Big question, biggest thing congress is going to get done this year? I don't know. Nothing -- I mean, I think they'll succeed in taking care of the debt ceiling in february and march. There won't be a government shutdown. Do no harm? Right. They might do immigration. I think that is a big possibility. That would be a big th the wildly optimistic forecast is not shutting down the government. The only thing they really care about is raising money from the powerful and get reelected. I think we may see something on nsa the recommendations get put into law. Thank you all. Up next, bob woodruff talks

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

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