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The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 12/09/11

Guests: Chris Hayes, Steve Kornacki, Theda Skocpol, Vanessa Williamson

RACHEL MADDOW, HOST: Good evening, Ed. Have a great weekend. ED SCHULTZ, "THE ED SHOW" HOST: I hope so, too. You as well. Thanks. MADDOW: Thanks. And thanks to you at home for staying with us the next hour. Happy Friday night. This Friday in politics started with some sort of sketchy rumors of a Rick Perry resurgence, sketchy rumors that Texas Governor Rick Perry ought to be taken seriously once again as a Republican presidential candidate. "Rick Perry, the Iowa x-factor," was the headline today in the "Washington Post." "The Post" reporting, quote, "There is some chatter in Republican political circles that Perry`s ads are finally starting to take hold in the Hawkeye State and that his support is beginning to bump upward." "Roll Call`s" political wire asking this morning, quote, "Is Perry moving up in Iowa?" -- before themselves noting the sketchy nature of the reports on which their question was based. Quote, "No polling has picked up on that movement yet." Everybody`s been sort of waiting for the big Rick Perry comeback. And this morning, there appeared to be some maybe glimmer that it was finally upon us. The underappreciated thing about Rick Perry`s candidacy is that he does have a lot of money, more money than you`d think looking at his polls. He`s got lots of money. It`s because on paper, Rick Perry was supposed to be competitive. He looked like a good candidate -- again, on paper. And so, he did raise a lot of money right away. It was only when he started talking that things fell apart. Can we actually just keep this -- can we keep this around as a little sound bite? (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GOV. RICK PERRY (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Oops. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Oops. Because Rick Perry`s candidacy turned out to be an oops candidacy, his poll numbers have just fallen off a cliff. He became very unviable very quickly. I mean, look at his poll numbers over time. But since Mr. Perry`s campaign has money, they have not been giving up. The Perry campaign appears to be pursuing a strategy of doing paid media and lots of it -- paying for TV ads to blanket the airwaves in Iowa, in the three weeks leading up to the Iowa caucuses. Do some good ads, do some bad ads. Hi "Brokeback Mountain" jacket. But do ads, ads, ads all the time. Keep yourself in a controlled, scripted environment where you, Rick Perry, control the message. If the Perry campaign could only do that then maybe they would have had a comeback. But they also have their candidate out there not just doing ads, but talking to humans. Live. They have him in settings where he is not just reading off a cue cards and that sort of thing has turned out to be a disaster, when he`s not reading off a cue card, Gov -- (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) PERRY: Oops. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Oops, yes. Rick Perry has had an unending string of oops, an unending string of weird, wrong and strange moments on camera in public where he appears totally confused. It started at the very beginning of his campaign, as soon as he started talking in public and continued to today. There`s new stuff today. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS) PERRY: I think Americans just don`t know sometimes which Mitt Romney they`re dealing with. Is it the Mitt Romney that was on the side of -- against the Second Amendment before he was for the Second Amendment? Was it before he was before the social programs from the standpoint of he was for standing up for Roe v. Wade, before he was against Roe v. Wade. I would do away with the education, the -- REP. RON PAUL (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Commerce. PERRY: Commerce. And let`s see. I can`t. The third one, I can`t. Sorry. Oops. This is such a cool state. I mean, come on. Live free or die? I mean, you know, you got to love that, right? (APPLAUSE) PERRY: I come from a state, you know, where they had this little place called the Alamo and they declared victory or death. You know, we`re kind of into those slogans, man. It`s like live free or die, victory or death. Bring it. Those of you that will be 21 by November the 12th, I ask for your support and your vote. When you see his appointment of two -- from my perspective, I inarguably, two activist judges, whether it was -- no, not Montemayor -- UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sonia Sotomayor? PERRY: Sotomayor. (END VIDEO CLIPS) MADDOW: That last clip came from an interview that Rick Perry did today with the editorial board of "The Des Moines Register," sort of sorry that they helped him out when he went to him for help. Don`t you wonder what he would have come up with after Montemayor? Or if he would keep talking about Montemayor. Mr. Perry making up a new last name for Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. There a little later, in that same interview, Mr. Perry stated that there were eight unelected Supreme Court justices. Of course, there are actually nine. So the day in politics opened with Rick Perry`s got a chance. And the day in politics closed with, ah, never mind about Rick Perry. We are still three weeks out from Iowa, so anything could happen. But Rick Perry flubbing another one today more or less solidifies the fact this seems to be a two-man race. It`s Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich - - or as I keep saying Newt Romney and Mitt Gingrich. If I do that on air tonight, I`m sorry. I keep doing it in the office. It`s really embarrassing. Anyway, the thing that`s now emerging as maybe the biggest hurdle to Newt Gingrich getting the nomination is the establishment wing of the Republican Party. Today this came out into the open. There are people in the Republican establishment who have been willing to voice concerns or even outright opposition to Mr. Gingrich in recent weeks. But, today, the flood gates just really opened. Conservative columnist David Brooks at "The New York Times," quote, "He has every negative character trait conservatives associate with 1960s excess: narcissism, self-righteousness, self-indulgence and intemperance. He would severely damage conservatism in the Republican Party if nominated." Former Reagan speechwriter, Peggy Noonan, writing in "The Wall Street Journal," quote, "Those who know him fear or hope that he will be true to form in one respect. He will continue to lose to his number one longtime foe, Newt Gingrich. He is a human hand grenade who walks around with his hand on the pin saying, `Watch this.`" Quote, "Is he erratic and unreliable as a leader? Yes. Ego maniacal? True." Quote, "He`s a trouble magnet. A starter of fights that need not be fought." Peggy Noonan saying today the people who know Mr. Gingrich are mostly not for him. And she reminds her "Wall Street Journal" readers today that Mr. Gingrich was not just sometimes trouble as a leader in the House, he was also sometimes just plain weird. She reminds us today of his claim in the `90s that women should not serve in combat because women are prone to infections. I had forgotten about that one. Thank you, Peggy Noonan, I think. Ew. Former Republican Senator Alan Simpson came out today and said that he is against Newt Gingrich because as speaker, Mr. Gingrich lied to President George H.W. Bush`s face back in 1990. And quote, "I am ready to tell that story around the United States," says Mr. Simpson. That was all just today in Republicans versus Newt Gingrich. And this adds to a laundry list of criticism of Newt Gingrich by establishment Republicans just in the past few days. The conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer this week writing, quote, "Gingrich is possessed of an unbounded need of grand display that has already led him to un-conservative places even he is at a loss to explain. He`s untamed by self-discipline." Karl Rove writing in "The Wall Street Journal" yesterday, quote, "When a man of his self-confidence begins to feel on top of the world, bad things often happen." Oh, but wait, there`s more. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS) GEORGE WILL, ABC: Gingrich is an amazingly efficient candidacy and embodies almost everything disagreeable about modern Washington. He`s the classic rental politician. He denounces the Ryan budget as right wing social engineering. He sits down to talk about climate change and cap and trade with Nancy Pelosi and others. The list goes on. He was -- but, on top of all this, there`s the absurd rhetorical grandiosity. SEN. TOM COBURN (R), OKLAHOMA: There`s a lot of candidates out there, I`m not inclined to be a supporter of Newt Gingrich`s, having served under him four years and experienced personally his leadership. CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS: Why is that? COBURN: Because I found it lacking oftentimes. I will have difficulty supporting him as president of the United States. CHUCK TODD, NBC NEWS: Do you believe Gingrich is a faux conservative? FORMER GOV. JOHN SUNUNU (R), NEW HAMPSHIRE: I believe Newt Gingrich is a Gingrichite. All he cares about is Newt Gingrich. I don`t think Newt Gingrich cares about conservative principles. Newt Gingrich cares about Newt Gingrich. (END VIDEO CLIPS) MADDOW: These are all establishment Republicans, essentially shredding Newt Gingrich in the press this week. That last gentleman you saw there, the former Republican governor of New Hampshire, John Sununu. It should be noted that Mr. Sununu here is acting as a Romney campaign surrogate. But, you know, by attacking Mr. Romney`s only viable rival for the nomination right now, all of these guys are effectively acting as surrogates for Mitt Romney. The rise of Newt Gingrich is the first real stress test of the Romney campaign. You think running against Barack Obama is going to be easier than running against Newt Gingrich? This is the Romney campaign`s first real test. And the way they decided to handle it is by throwing everything in on their candidate`s firm support of Paul Ryan and the Paul Ryan kill Medicare budget. The Romney campaign put out this ad today that makes it look like Paul Ryan is the guy running for president -- they all about brag on Mr. Ryan`s tight abs. Their line of attack, while Newt Gingrich criticized Paul Ryan in his kill Medicare plan, Mitt Romney stood with him. No, Mr. Romney, no, you didn`t. Here`s the problem: it would be one thing if you were like Mitt "Paul Ryan" Romney. You doing P90X together all the time, if you guys had been in cahoots, if you`ve been standing with him, you`ve been with Paul Ryan along the way. But Mr. Romney, you are the one guy that did not jump in with Paul Ryan on the Republican side. Newt Gingrich has been more with him than you have. I know it`s true because we covered this for weeks. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS) MADDOW: The Republican Party and conservative establishment are even now insisting that all of their presidential candidates pledge they, too, want to kill Medicare. Tim Pawlenty, officially announcing. Mitt Romney expected to announce. Both have been trying desperately to avoid getting pinned down on the question of whether they, too, would vote to kill Medicare. The only major candidates who`ve been able to avoid taking a position on this so far are Tim Pawlenty and Mitt Romney. Both men have been trying to sprint as far away from this issue as possible. A spokesperson for Mr. Romney told us Mr. Romney is on the same page as Paul Ryan in terms of reducing the budget. But the spokesperson told us that Mr. Romney will be proposing his own changes regarding Medicare. After days of dodging that question, today, Tim Pawlenty took the plunge. I would vote to kill Medicare. The only major Republican presidential candidate who has not signed on to this joint proverbial suicide pact in the Republican Party is Mitt Romney. Mitt Romney so far managed to avoid signing on to the kill Medicare thing. Every major Republican presidential candidate except for Mitt Romney so far, every one has pledged they, too, would kill Medicare. I`m genuinely puzzled as to why this hasn`t received more attention as a central issue in his campaign for the presidency. Mitt Romney is the only major contender for president on the Republican side who has not said if he wants to kill Medicare. Mitt Romney standing alone as the only major candidate who has not committed himself one way or another on the Paul Ryan kill Medicare plan. (END VIDEO CLIPS) MADDOW: Right. For weeks and weeks, Mitt Romney refused to take a position on the Paul Ryan budget, as everybody else in his party did. But now, he`s making him standing with Paul Ryan, the centerpiece of his campaign against Newt Gingrich. Mitt Romney`s decided to build the next leg of his campaign on a really watery foundation. You don`t have a leg to stand on here, not to mix my metaphors. Mr. Romney, you have not been Mr. Pro Paul Ryan. If you`d like to discuss the finesse you`re trying to put on this, I would love to talk to you about it on this show., any time. The Republican establishment is clearly signing up with Mitt Romney, more enthusiastically than they have in the race so far. And it seems to be because they are so horrified by the prospect of Newt Gingrich winning this thing. But this is turning out to be a great test. It`s almost like a controlled experiment of the great American adage, or the great political adage that Democrats fall in love, and Republicans fall in line. Republicans do like to think of themselves as being very anti- authority, as anti-establishment when it comes to politics. But they do tend to fall in line behind whoever the Republican establishment supports. I mean, we did see in the 2010 elections that the Republican establishment choices in the Delaware Senate race and race to run against Harry Reid in Nevada and the Lisa Murkowski primary up in Alaska. All of the places, the choice of the Republican establishment was rejected by Republican primary voters. Maybe the old adage isn`t true anymore. Maybe Republicans will buck the establishment again in their political choice for president this year. Or maybe you can`t actually run a campaign for president while all of these people with all of this sway in the media and in politics constantly trash you and call you things like a human hand grenade and unstable and someone I don`t think I could support as president. This is a test. This is a test of whether Republicans really do still like to fall in line and essentially do what the establishment tells them or whether or not there`s an anti-establishment insurgency in the Republican Party that`s going to defy what all of the bigwigs are warning them about Newt Gingrich and they`re going to pick him anyway. This is a test. It`s going to be a really, real he, really fun test. Joining us now is Steve Kornacki, political news editor at "Salon." Steve, it`s good to see you. Thanks for being here. STEVE KORNACKI, SALON.COM: Sure. MADDOW: Do Republican honchos hold sway over Republican voters anymore? KORNACKI: Well, I mean, it`s a traditional formula. Everything you just laid out, I think, in any presidential election in the modern area would work, have worked, did work. But I think the way to understand this, at leas the way I understand this, is in the context of what`s happening in the Republican Party since January 20th, 2009. Barack Obama`s inaugural basically marked the launch of the Tea Party movement. The name it eventually took. And what the Tea Party movement represents is two things. One is conventional we`ve seen before. The other is brand new. The conventional thing is the Republican Party base reacting with hysteria and resentment toward a Democratic president. The second part of it, it`s a two-front war. The other war is against the Republican establishment. The conclusion of the Republican Party base, the conservative base, was that for 10 years or so, before 2008, leaders of the Republican Party had compromised too much and sold out conservative principles too much and enabled Barack Obama`s rise. And so, we see a level of suspicion now I think on the right, an inward directed suspicion we`ve really never seen before. And I think it`s created the emergence of a new establishment. So, we can look at all these voices that we cite right now, whether it`s Alan Simpson or Peggy Noonan or George Will or whoever. But look at a guy like Rush Limbaugh who I think has absolute credibility with this exercised Republican base. What did he spend this week doing? He spent this week making this a tribal test for his listeners. Hey, anybody out there trashing Newt Gingrich right now, they`re not one of us. You don`t have to listen to anything you say. If you`re part of our tribe, you`re going to ignore them. With that going on, there`s a new establishment I think. MADDOW: It`s amazing because Newt Gingrich was being trashed by Rush Limbaugh -- KORNACKI: That`s right. MADDOW: -- very, very recently. When Newt Gingrich came out and said that the Paul Ryan plan was right wing social engineering, Rush Limbaugh flayed him alive on the air and has been no friend of Newt Gingrich while Gingrich is in this current incarnation as a presidential candidate. But now, Limbaugh, just in a pure partisan commitment is say, let`s pick Gingrich, let`s not pull him apart, he might be a frontrunner. KORNACKI: Yes, I think there are a few things. One is Limbaugh and a lot of these other people are really invested in not having this be Mitt Romney. So, they need some vehicle. They need some alternative. They exhausted everybody else. Now, it`s Gingrich, now, it`s three weeks to go. But the other thing, the interesting thing with Limbaugh is, if you look back 10, 15, 20 years, the rise of Rush Limbaugh as a media force and rise of Newt Gingrich as a political force, they basically had an informal alliance for years in the late `80s and 90s. You have the clip from Alan Simpson saying, you know, Newt Gingrich lied to George H.W. Bush in 1990. The context of that was over George H.W. Bush breaking his no new taxes pledge, and Newt Gingrich leading the rebellion on the right against it and Rush Limbaugh giving him cover on the airwaves. So, that`s sort of the foundation of their relationship. They had a rough patch earlier this year, but it`s almost like old times now listening to Rush talk about Newt. MADDOW: But when you talk about people in this type of authority position that a Limbaugh is in on the right being so desperate -- to avoid Mitt Romney being the nominee, how is Mitt Romney handling the ascendancy of Newt Gingrich as a rival for the frontrunner position? I mean, time is short in terms of Iowa. And New Hampshire happens as soon as Iowa is over. How do you think he`s dealing with it as a campaign? KORNACKI: Yes. Well, I mean, there`s everything we saw in terms of questioning Gingrich`s competence as a leader, some of his flip-flops in the past. But the other element of it that I find really interesting is, you know, the basic knock on Romney is, you know, too moderate for the conservative base, they want their guy. We know that. But there`s some vulnerability, too, for Gingrich, that Romney doesn`t share. And that`s personal life. And that`s the three marriages, that`s the horrible story about the hospital visit, it`s all the stuff that`s out there. His extramarital baggage like we really haven`t seen for a Republican candidate or any candidate since Nelson Rockefeller back in 1964. And if you look at the base of the Republican Party, especially in a state like Iowa, or in South Carolina, these are people in a lot of ways who still think it`s 1964. And so, the baggage that Newt Gingrich brings this race is something that Mitt Romney I think has started to try to exploit. He had an ad this week that basically said, "I`m a family man." Hint, hint. MADDOW: Yes. Right. KORNACKI: He had Chris Christie go out in Iowa and basically make the same case. There`s some vulnerability there for Iowa for Newt Gingrich when you have Iowa, with 60 percent of the electorate being fundamentalist Christians. So, that might be something that takes a value. MADDOW: Running on that one doesn`t hurt -- also doesn`t hurt him in the general election. Running toward the Paul Ryan kill Medicare plan he was cautious about before, that seems to me like a major fumble by Mitt Romney. But this is going to be so much fun. This is turning out to be so much more fun than I thought it would be. KORNACKI: Yes, I agree. MADDOW: Steve Kornacki, political news editor at "Salon" -- Steve, it`s good to see you. Thanks for coming up. Appreciate it. All right. It`s December. Christmas lights are up. There`s a chill in the air. And just about now Republicans in Congress should be playing a senseless came of chicken with the economic health and wellbeing of the American people. What time is it? Oh, yes, `tis the season. What can be done about this latest bit of political chicanery is next on this show with the one and only Chris Hayes. Stay tuned. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Democrats are in charge of the United States Senate. They have a majority in the Senate, albeit a slim majority, but a majority nonetheless. Which is why, in the last couple days, Democrats have been able to pull off votes like this. This is Richard Cordray, President Obama`s nominee to run the new agency tasked with protecting you from Wall Street firms and banks that might be tempted to act dishonorably when it comes to things like your credit card, your mortgage, your student loans. The agency is the Consumer Financial Protection Agency. Yesterday, the Senate voted on Mr. Cordray`s nomination to lead that agency. He got a clear majority vote, 53 to 45 in favor of confirming him to run the new agency. Democrats get a majority vote for Richard Cordray. And then another big win for Democrats in the Senate yesterday. This one on the payroll tax cut extension. That, too, was a narrow victory for Democrats, 50 yeses to 48 nos. So the Democrats` payroll tax cut, again, gets a majority vote. Woo-hoo for them! Also, this week, another big win for the White House and Democrats in the Senate, President Obama`s nominee for the federal appeals court in Washington, Caitlin Halligan, the Senate votes for her this week, 54 to 45. So, like I said, big week of victories for Democrats winning all of those majority votes in the Senate. Richard Cordray, 53 votes in favor, 45 against. Payroll tax cut extension, 50 votes in favor, 48 against. Caitlin Halligan for the U.S. Court of Appeals, 54 in favor, 45 against. And that means none of those things passed. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Senate voted along party lines against confirming former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Senate has voted down both Republican and Democratic compromise proposals to extend the payroll tax break into next year. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: And, of course, you may have seen the headline, "Senate rejects cloture on D.C. Circuit nominee Caitlin Halligan." That cloture word is important. You`d never know it from the way these things get sort of shorthanded, headlined, right? But all these things, that judge nomination, the consumer protection nomination, the payroll tax cut extension -- they all did get majority yes votes in the Senate. But they still did not pass, because Republicans did something that`s called a filibuster so a majority vote doesn`t count. It`s not enough to pass something. Republicans do this on everything -- everything over the past few years, every vote of substance. They have taken a rule that used to be for exceptional extreme circumstances only and they are applying it basically to every vote now, effectively changing the constitutional structure of our government so one house of Congress doesn`t run by majority rule anymore. Everything needs a supermajority of 60 votes instead of 51. This is not normal. It was not like this before. In 2005, when Republicans were in control of the Senate, Senate Democrats were in the minority, Democrats back then decided to filibuster some of President Bush`s judicial nominees. Republicans got mad about that. They threatened to get rid of the filibuster, called it the nuclear option. In order to avert the nuclear option, seven Republicans and seven Democrats formed a gang, a gang of 14. And that gang of 14 came up with a deal. There would be no more filibustering of judicial nominees except in extreme circumstances but the filibuster would be saved. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP0 BRIAN WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS: The cots were in place and senators were all ready for an all nighter. They were girding, in fact, for a virtual shutdown until 14 senators who call themselves moderates emerged from a marathon meeting with a deal. It means the president will get his way on some federal judges, but he will lose on others. And it means all eyes will be on the next vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOWE: Republicans were in charge of the Senate then. They made a deal. President Bush got his nominees confirmed. And the Senate kept the filibuster as an option for extreme cases. Then Democrats took charge. Republicans went to the minority. That gang of 14 agreement -- yes, not so much for that. Republicans now filibuster everything, literally every single substantive vote in the Senate. Of the seven Republican senators from the gang of 14, four of them are still in the Senate. All four of them voted to filibuster that judge`s nomination this week. Republicans made that deal to limit filibustering by Democrats, but they reneged on the deal when it started to applying to them. And this is why we can`t have nice things. Joining us now is Chris Hayes, host of MSNBC`s "UP WITH CHRIS HAYES" and editor at large of "The Nation." Hello, papa. Good to see you. CHRIS HAYES, UP WITH CHRIS HAYES: Thank you. Thank you. My daughter, Ryan, has a massively swelled diva head, huge head after you debuted her on television. MADDOW: How is fatherhood treating you? HAYES: It`s really unbelievable transcendently sublime. It`s really incredible. It`s really incredible. MADDOW: I know we have other things to talk about. But how`s your life different? I mean, obviously, sleeping and everything. But like -- how do you -- are you seeing the world differently? HAYES: I am. I think it`s just extremely intense and difficult to articulate, visceral feeling of attachment and affection that is -- it`s transformative. MADDOW: You seem different. I thought you`d seem different because you`d be, like, beat. You seem -- you actually seem different. I feel like you were looking at your feet before and now you`re looking at the horizon. HAYES: Yes, I think that`s right. Well said. MADDOW: Not to say -- HAYES: I`m looking at how we can break the filibuster. So she has a better future. Like that segue there? MADDOW: That was very well done. In fact, I might just leave. You obviously have this in hand. (LAUGHTER) MADDOW: Senate Republicans, I don`t think objected to Richard Cordray. He`s not, like, he`s not a fire brand guy. He`s a pretty noncontroversial guy. But they admit that. They object to the agency he was nominated to lead. It was not about him ever. What happens to the whole idea of consumer financial protection without him and wow important is this filibuster? HAYES: First of all, I thought it was great you just called out the gang of 14 because I hadn`t thought of that. But it`s really preposterous that those four people voted against that, that you judicial nominee. On Cordray, there`s a deeper and more profound constitutional question that I think is really more extreme than almost anything we`ve seen from the Republicans which is this: a law was dually passed by both houses. It was passed with a filibuster in place in the Senate. So, it got a supermajority. Scott Brown voted for it and nudged it across the line. It was signed by the president. It went through the constitutional mechanisms to create a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Our Constitution says that`s now the law of the land. The Republicans in the Senate are saying, we don`t like that. We don`t like that. We just don`t like it. We don`t like the outcome. We lost and we`re not going to confirm anyone. They`ve written a letter saying it`s not Cordray. You could nominate Jesus Christ, himself. We won`t confirm him to be the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau because the dually created law that was passed into law by majorities in both Houses and signed by the president of the United States for constitutional procedures, we do not like. MADDOW: Not to our liking. HAYES: And there`s something really, really, really destructive and toxic about that. I mean -- MADDOW: The filibuster, itself, is destructive and toxic to a majority rule. And so, I mean, the whole idea of it is upsetting for those exact reasons. But we still have it because we believe in minority rights. We believe that even a single senator ought to have almost, almost inexplicable levels of power to stop stuff. HAYES: Yes. MADDOW: So is the horror of this just that they are -- that a filibuster exists or they`re reneging on a deal or is it that this agency needs somebody to run it? I mean, what is notable and new about this? HAYES: Well, there`s a bunch of things. There`s the practical problem that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is going to do important stuff. And, look, there are banks out there promulgating all sorts of loans right now as we speak and have this conversation, that are as deceptive and terrible as all the loans that got us into this mess. That`s happening, right? So, the actual substantive regulatory responsibilities are important and we need someone to do it. MADDOW: Yes. HAYES: But the deeper question to me is, really face a Democratic crisis at a certain level when the filibuster becomes normalized. It`s very hard for the institution to respond and people in the media to respond because it has become so normalized. MADDOW: Yes. HAYES: What you showed the clips off, and James Fallows of "The Atlantic" has been writing about this, I think, in a great way, is that the headlines become "Rob Cordray`s voted down." MADDOW: Yes. HAYES: So, now, we`re in a situation where we have a one-way ratchet, right? It only gets worse. There is nothing pushing back that says this is abnormal, this is not right, this is a departure from our norms and traditions. MADDOW: Yes. HAYES: And until we come up with some way to break that open, it`s only going to close further, right? The question is, how do you get back to majority rule and, you know, we had an opportunity in January. You covered it a lot. And I was on the program talking about it. And Senator Udall was pushing it. I think, ultimately, it has to hit a crisis point when the Democratic minority, whoever`s in the minority, recognizes the long-term interest of the institution and their own long term political interest rests on restoring majority rule in the Senate. I don`t think we`re there yet. MADDOW: Yes. And that the abuse of it is more harmful than the prospect of losing it. HAYES: In individual cases. That`s exactly right. MADDOW: Chris Hayes, the host of MSNBC`s "UP WITH CHRIS HAYES," 7:00 a.m. on Saturday, 8:00 a.m. on Sunday. I`m sorry about the long divergence in your private life. It was unfair. HAYES: I`ll talk about my daughter and you just pull the string. MADDOW: We`ll be right back with more of Chris -- (LAUGHTER) MADDOW: We`ll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: The best new thing in the world is about GWB. Not the GWB you`re thinking of. Our featured GWB tonight on the show is a GWB that is extremely popular. And also very good for the American economy. So, not the guy on the right, but a different GWB. Best new thing right at the end of the show. That`s coming up. Stick around. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Newt Gingrich does not seem all that more Tea Party-ish than Mitt Romney as a politician. I mean, he`s a career politician. He`s a guy with the Nancy Pelosi global warming ad following him around. He`s Mr. Insider Republican Establishment, decades in Washington. There`s nothing crusadering or outsidery about him. So, why is Newt Gingrich getting so much Tea Party support? Well, for those of you keeping track at home, Newt Gingrich is getting a ton of Tea Party support. A Gallup poll out last week has him with a 30- point lead over his closest competitor among self-described Tea Party supporters. A FOX News poll out this week shows the same trend. Mr. Gingrich 29 points ahead of the closest competition when it comes to support from self-identified Tea Party voters. Here`s an idea why Mr. Newt Gingrich, Mr. D.C. Insider, might be the new Tea Party darling. Take a look at this. In polling out last week, the folks at Public Policy Polling noted that Mr. Gingrich`s strength in the early primary state of Florida, for example, quote, "points to his appeal to senior citizens. As Public Policy Polling notes in handy chart form, Mr. Gingrich is polling better with older voters than he is overall in at least five states and nationally. Newt Gingrich has disproportionate support from old people. And here`s an underappreciated thing about the Tea Party movement. It tends to be made up of old people. We know it`s conservative people, right? We know it`s not the most racially diverse thing in the world. But in a pronounced way it`s also senior. In the new book, "The Tea Party and the Remaking of Republican Conservatism," Harvard government and sociology team who studied the Tea Party movement found that active participants in the broader circles of Tea Party supporters come from similar social backgrounds. Although not every active Tea Partier is a senior citizen, most are middle-aged and beyond -- a key social characteristic. As older, middle class white people, Tea Partiers tend to be better cushioned against economic upheaval than younger Americans, especially minorities. So, lots of older middle class people in the Tea Party. Another key conclusion of the new book studying the Tea Party is the Tea Partiers for the most part know what Medicare and Social Security are. They`re not dumb. They get those are government programs. Even if you`ve seen the guy holding the sign that says "keep the government hands off my Medicare," it`s probably PhotoShopped. Most Tea Partiers understand what`s going on with federal benefits. And they`re very comfortable with Social Security and Medicare for the most part. They`re very comfortable with those things they are getting, as older middle class Americans. They`re comfortable with anything they are getting. But, again, they`re older middle class folks. Not by in large poorer people. The things they don`t like, the things they are against are things that young people or poor people are benefiting from. Not the stuff they`re getting. Quote, "Tea Party people know that Social Security, Medicare and veterans programs are government-managed, expensive and funded with taxes. It`s just they distinguish these programs which they feel recipients have earned from other social benefits which they feel unnecessarily run up expenses or might run up public costs in the future, placing a burden on hardworking taxpayers to make placements to free loaders who have not earned public support. A well-marked distinction between workers and non- workers, between productive citizens and the freeloaders, is central to the Tea Party world view and conception of America. Not only do Tea Party Americans think that public assistance for lower income Americans is more expensive and open-ended than it is, they are also angry about huge new handouts like health reform, Obamacare, and other expanded benefits for younger, less privileged Americans championed by President Obama and legislated by Democrats in 2010." So, the things they don`t like, the things they`re against are things young people get and things poor people get, because they`re happy with things that old middle class people get. The benefits you get because you`re poor or access because you`re young, those are the ones that are suspects in Tea Party circles. And so, Newt Gingrich has tons of support among Tea Party supporters, and among old people who disproportionately make up the Tea Party. And what`s Newt Gingrich been doing in his campaign? He`s really singularly been waging a campaign against poor people and specifically against poor kids. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) NEWT GINGRICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And in very poor neighborhoods, you have to literally reestablish the dignity of work. I will tell you personally I believe the kids could mop the floor and clean out the bathroom and get paid for it and it would be OK. They`d be dramatically less expensive than unionized janitors and you`d begin to reestablish the dignity of work. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: When it`s all over, Newt Gingrich has the race locked up on his account of turn poor kids into janitors plan. Seriously, though, the open question now really is whether Republicans do still fall in line, like we were talking about earlier, or whether we could potentially see conservative voters bucking the Republican establishment that has turned all its guns on Newt Gingrich. The establishment really sort of seems to be against him. But his polls are still good. Could the people answering the pollsters and going to the caucuses and primaries and voting actually defy the establishment and vote for Newt Gingrich? Or is this movement that gets so much credit, this Tea Party movement, is it actually going to turn out to just be made of standard issue Republican voters who are going to do what the honchos in the Republican Party say is right for the Republican Party? Joining us for the interview: Theda Skocpol, professor of government and sociology at Harvard, and Vanessa Williamson, who`s a PhD student there. They are co-authors of the new book, "The Tea Party and the Remaking of Republican Conservatism." It`s a sociological analysis of the Tea Party movement done through research and interviews and field work. It is empirical and it is very impressive. Thank you both for being here. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Great to be here. MADDOW: Let me ask if I got anything dreadfully wrong in summarizing parts of your book. THEDA SKOCPOL, TEA PARTY STUDY CO-AUTHOR: No, you hit the nail right on the head about the views about work. When Newt Gingrich says the dignity of work, he`s hitting just the right chord with many conservatives and Tea Partiers. And they make a distinction between benefits for those people and things going -- even like Pell grants for college students that go to folks who haven`t paid their dues yet. MADDOW: Because which you can`t have done as a young person. SKOCPOL: That`s right. MADDOW: What is the difference between people who are in the Tea Party movement -- what is the difference between the Tea Party movement and the conservative base of the Republican Party that existed before we ever talked about Tea Parties? VANESSA WILLIAMSON, TEA PARTY STUDY CO-AUTHOR: I think that`s a great question. The Tea Party is very conservative. One of our interviewees told me that he -- he considers himself just a little bit of the right of Attila the Hun. So, that`s absolutely true. But just because they`re conservative, it doesn`t mean they`re always happy with the Republican Party. So, they can always vote for a Republican over a Democrat, certainly. But that doesn`t mean that they don`t want to push the Republican Party rightward. I think that`s what we`ve seen. MADDOW: It is easier to push the Republican Party rightward if they think your vote is at stake, though. You found that there`s really no circumstances under which Tea Partiers would support a third party movement or God forbid a Democrat. Is that right? SKOCPOL: Almost none. I mean, we found people were very pragmatic about what it takes to beat Democrats or to get rid of Barack Obama, which is the number one goal. And I think Mitt Romney has been banking on that. He`s been assuming that if he can just ride through this turbulent period in the Republican primaries, where Tea Party identified people are the most active and attentive of the Republican base, that he`ll have them in his camp when he goes against Obama. But the Newt Gingrich upsurge here which is, what, the third or fourth non-Mitt Romney upsurge is throwing a little bit of a monkey wrench into that because even though I don`t think anybody could have predicted that Gingrich would be a Tea Party favorite, he does remind a lot of these older white conservatives of the takeover of the Congress back in the 1990s by the Republican radicals. MADDOW: And the language that we talked about earlier, and the introduction at the top of the discussion, about him really hitting it on the head in terms of some of the anxieties that are motivating Tea Party activism I think helps understand the enthusiasm for him as well as the really targeted age-based stuff. I wonder, though, if you have insight into why the Tea Partiers might have tolerated so many rises of other candidates against Mitt Romney. Is there something repellent about Mitt Romney to the Tea Party mindset? Is there something he`s getting exactly wrong? Because they really seem to hate him. SKOCPOL: They think he`s inauthentic. I don`t think hate is the right word. We interviewed people in the spring of 2011 and asked them late in the interview process, did they have a favorite for the GOP nomination? And the one thing they all agreed on is they weren`t enthusiastic about Romney. That`s because they just don`t believe he`s for real -- something which many Massachusetts liberals might agree about. MADDOW: Right. Newt Gingrich has been so many different things, though. It`s hard to see why he seems more real than Mitt Romney does. I mean, Newt Gingrich has taken pretty much as many contrary positions on major issues as Mitt Romney has. I imagine the Romney campaign is very frustrated people think of Gingrich as more authentic, given he`s having as much of a patchwork record. WILLIAMSON: I think for a lot of Tea Partiers, there`s a question of tone. That Newt Gingrich is hitting the right notes, he`s hitting the right sort of message. SKOCPOL: And they like kicking ass. That`s what they want. MADDOW: OK. WILLIAMSON: And Mitt Romney just hasn`t quite provided that. It`s not to say they wouldn`t vote for him. They might not be enthusiastic. But, again and again, interviewees told us what they need to do is beat Obama. MADDOW: Yes? Go ahead. SKOCPOL: And also argue with Obama. I mean, they want somebody who`s hard hitting. So, each of these non-Mitt Romneys that`s risen and fallen has had that style. That, you know, we`re going to sock it to the Democrats and Obama, which Romney tries but somehow it just doesn`t come across. MADDOW: Can I ask you about one last factor about the age issue which I found really interesting. Having been involved in a lot of different liberal groups over time, as somebody who`s roughly to the left of Mao, to use your construction, in groups that have mostly older liberals, there`s a lot of anxiety about that. And groups of older liberals want to get young people involved and worry about that a lot. Do Tea Partiers worry there are not young Tea Partiers? WILLIAMSON: Well, I will say, you know, as a sort of younger person, I would attend the meetings. There was light in the eye that this might be the young person finally coming to the meeting before they realized I was there to do interviews. So, it wasn`t that they don`t want young people to attend, but I think they take a pleasure and pride in their own sort of older person`s wisdom, that they`ve worked their whole lives and that`s given them perspective they can`t imagine young people have. MADDOW: So, they`re not expecting or looking for a tide of young people. They don`t worry about it the way hippies do. It must be very freeing. Theda Skocpol and Vanessa Williamson, both of Harvard, the co-authors of "The Tea Party and the Remaking of Republican Conservatism -- I know you came to town to talk to me tonight. I really appreciate you being here. Thanks for doing this. SKOCPOL: Thank you very much. MADDOW: Thanks. I appreciate it. All right. The best new thing in the world makes its triumphant return to the show tonight. That`s coming up. And it is very good news. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: He`s a former FOX News personality. He`s a former Lehman Brothers executive. And now, he`s the Republican governor of the great state of Ohio. He is John Kasich. His approval ratings in Ohio have dropped somewhere between those of rush hour traffic and slush, dirty slush, in your shoe. Not only is he down to 38 percent approval in Ohio, last month, Ohio voted by a 22-point margin to overturn John Kasich`s signature legislation, stripping union rights in Ohio. That got recalled by 22 points, a landslide against John Kasich and the Ohio Republicans. All of which must be weighing heavily on Governor Kasich as the 2012 race heats up, since Ohio is expected to be as hotly contested a swing state as it ever is. Governor Kasich and the Republicans did have a plan for that, too. They passed a law early this year to severely curtail early voting in Ohio, to make it harder and less convenient to vote in the state of Ohio. That, of course, political common wisdom says hurts Democrats and helps Republicans. Now, Ohio voters have done it again. They are going after Kasich`s kill early voting law as well. Ohio secretary of state confirming today that the more than 300,000 valid signatures submitted to recall John Kasich`s Republican kill early voting law in Ohio are sufficient to put that issue on the ballot for recall in November. That means the law is on hold until it can be voted on, which means early voting is saved in Ohio for the presidential election next year, and it means that Ohioans will be voting on whether they want to repeal John Kasich`s kill early voting law on the same day they will be voting for president. And if this next Ohio effort to overturn a John Kasich law brings out anywhere near the enthusiasm that the last one did, President Obama and Vice President Biden will probably be really psyched to be sharing a ballot with the latest opportunity for Ohio voters to tell John Kasich what they think of him. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Best new thing in the world today, this is the George Washington Bridge. It connects New York City to Ft. Lee, New Jersey. It`s the most heavily used vehicular bridge in the entire world. More than 100 millions cars driving over the decks every year. It`s a suspension bridge so those two decks of road are hung from suspender cables which in turn are hung from the main cables that are strung between the two towers. This is what the G.W. Bridge looked like when it was first built, when the last steel girder was put in place back in 1931, 80 years ago. That`s when with the suspender cables were new. The suspender cables haven`t been replaced since. This week, the agency that owns that bridge, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey authorized the first chunk of a more than $1 billion project to clean up the bridge`s main cables, the really big ones and to replace the smaller cables, the suspender cables, all 592 of them. The suspender cables alone, if you put them end to end, would be about 9,000 miles long. They`re all different lengths depending on where they are on the bridge. The shortest ones way 1,500 pounds, the longest 10,000 pounds. The suspender cables aren`t there for decoration. They`re actually holding this thing up. So, while they`re replacing them, they can`t take more than three down at a time. You want to know what all that engineering awesomeness means for this part of the word and for the country? It means jobs. Port Authority officials say this part of the project alone, to fix up the bridge, will create 3,600 jobs. Right, because when you work on your infrastructure, it means jobs. It also means that big things you build that are used by lots and lots of people keep working as they were designed to and we`re all proud of them. This is how it`s supposed to work. And on this beautiful span across the mighty Hudson River, it`s working. We could be doing this everywhere -- best new thing in the world today. Have a great night. THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END