IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 10/01/13

Guests: Karen Tumulty, Scott Rigell, Louise Slaughter

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC ANCHOR: In Denver obviously. In the heartland, the "Des Moines Register" on the left side of your screen there, in Iowa, "The Vindicator" in Ohio, "Shutdown: Lawmakers Missed Deadline." At opposite corners of the country, the far northwest, the "Spokesman Review," from Washington state, "Deadlocked: Congress Shuts Down Government," and the "Tampa Tribune" in Florida, "Government on Shutdown." Of course from here in New York City, here was the "New York Daily News," this cover I am not totally sure I`m allowed to show on television. If I am breaking a rule or just ugh-ing you out by showing "The Daily News`" "House of Turds" cover from today, I`m sorry. Sorry. But that is the news. This is a historic day. This is not a good news day but it is a big news day. And if you are a news junkie or a politics junkie, this is the kind of day where you save the front page of the paper, right? When I was leaving Washington to come back to New York this morning, I picked up the print versions -- I never pick up the print versions anymore. Picked up the print version of the "Washington Post" and the "New York Times" with their big shutdown stories today. Shutdown, shutdown in big type, right? But I also picked up "The Washington Times," which is a conservative newspaper. They`re a really conservative newspaper. They really only market themselves to conservatives. So the one big in- house ad that they`ve got in the paper today is this one, which is selling "Washington Times" T-shirts that say, "conservatives are cool" and the O`s in the -- (LAUGHTER) Hipster glasses. Conservatives are cool. You know it when you read the "Washington Times." The only other large scale ads they have in today`s paper are these half- page ads for right-wing talk radio. They advertise eight talk radio shows and all eight of them are old right-wing white guys, eight for eight. They also have an expensive wrap-around front page ad, wraps around the whole front page outside of the newspaper. It must have been really expensive. I don`t know. It`s the "Washington Times." Anyway, it`s for the NRA. The third century of the NRA and it highlights this inspiring story of a young woman with a gun who says she wants to grow up to be an NRA lobbyist. Aw. Today the "Washington Times" also published a hair on fire letter from the conservative game show host Chuck Woolery, warning that the U.N. is encroaching on our national sovereignty. There`s one book review on the "Washington Times" today. It`s a biography of FDR and "The Washington Times" reviewer gets so worked up in condemning the predations of FDR as a sexual adventurer. Wow, really? That "The Washington Times" reviewer sort of forgets to review the book. Yes, this is technically a book review of a biography but did I mention how terrible FDR was? The conservative media exists not just on FOX and on AM talk radio. Conservative media exists in print and it is just as weird there as it is on TV and on the far side of your radio dial. It is a completely different universe to the rest of the media world at least. So where the rest of the world is marveling today at "shut down, shut down, shut down, " the largest government on earth for the first time in nearly 20 years is shut down. On that day, here`s the shutdown front page of the conservative paper. Look at their front page. "Obamacare Drama." (LAUGHTER) Which may have something to do with abortion. There`s apparently a problem in Washington right now that has something to do with Obamacare and too much abortion. Yes. There is a mention of shutdown on the front page of the "Washington Times" today. They put it in the same font and the same type size as -- it`s up top, there it is. See? (LAUGHTER) As the date of the paper. See right there below the date? See where it is? Yes, technically there it is. No need to make a big deal out of it. Shutdown. The one in-depth article they do have on this minor issue of the government shutdown is on the inside pages of the paper, on page A-6, and as you can see from the headline there, it is all about how it is really no big deal. "Shutdown poses little threat to national economy." It`s not so bad. Nothing like the "Obamacare Drama," something, something abortion. A trip to conservative media land right now is a trip to a very different experience than the rest of the country thinks we are having with this historic government shutdown. At the FOX News Channel, for example, they are not calling it a shutdown of the federal government. At FOX News Channel, they are calling it a slim down of the federal government. Not a shut down at all, a slim down. And as these things do, what happens first in the conservative media is now crossing over into official Republican politics and so now the Republican Party Senate Campaign Committee is saying it`s not a shutdown at all, it`s not a slim down even, it`s a slowdown. Slowdown, slim down. Take a load off, there`s no crisis here, this all sounds kind of good. At the conservative magazine "The National Review" today they want you to know that look, from the headline, this is not actually a shutdown. At the "Daily Caller," conservative Web site, they do admit it`s a shutdown because -- not only because they have found 11 reasons to love the government shutdown, it`s awesome. Taking a field trip to conservative world today is taking a long strange trip away from what a shutdown of the federal government means in the rest of the country. It is different there. And in some way it is literally different there. These are the 80 Republicans members of the House to wrote to House Speaker John Boehner just over a month ago demanding that Speaker Boehner shut down the federal government, demanding specifically that he make the funding of the federal government contingent on dismantling health reform. The letter was spearheaded by a freshman congressman from the most Republican district in North Carolina and he got 80 signatures on that letter from himself and his Republican colleagues before he sent the letter to Speaker Boehner demanding a shutdown. Of the 80 Republican members of Congress who signed this letter, 79 of the 80 are white, 76 of the 80 are male. Your average House district in America is 63 percent white. These guys` districts are 75 percent white. Overall, Latinos are 17 percent of the average House district, but for these guys` disabilities it`s less than 10 percent. You might recall that a man named Barack Obama won the last presidential election by millions of votes but not in these guys` districts. Not even close. Even as the president won overall and by a pretty large margin, in these guys` districts, President Obama lost by an average, an average of 23 points. Republicans in the states have gerrymandered these districts so that they are essentially pure Republican. In order to get them that way and keep them that way, they have to keep making them whiter and whiter and whiter. If they could make them more male, I`m sure they would do that, too. But white works for now. Lower education levels work, fewer Latinos, fewer blacks, all of that is crucial, and they have to be rural in order to create districts that safe for these guys. Republicans have had to create districts for themselves that are less and less diverse over time, even as the rest of the country gets more diverse. Ryan Lizza wrote this up this week for the "New Yorker" once it became clear that these 80 Republicans who signed this letter were getting exactly what they asked for. Crunching the numbers he found, quote, "These 80 Republican members represent an America where the population is getting whiter, where there are few major cities where Obama lost the last election in a landslide, and where the Republican Party is becoming more dominant and more popular." Meanwhile in the rest of the country, in our own national politics, each of these trends is reversed. So the faction that is driving the government shutdown, that demanded it from John Boehner a month ago and now has it exactly on the terms they demanded, they represent geographically specific slivers of the country, that were specifically shaped, specifically chosen, specifically designed to be very white, less educated, almost entirely rural and as close as you can get to 100 percent Republican. None of those districts is competitive. From their perspective, from those districts, it is utterly rational for those specific members of Congress to want a government shutdown, sure. To want the most confrontational stance they can possibly take towards this president who is so unpopular in their districts. It is politically rational for those 80 members of Congress to want a shutdown. But why is it rational for the Republican Party to let those folks drive for the whole party and to the whole country? Yes, there are 80 Republican members of the House at least whose narrowly drawn districts make a shutdown seem like good politics. They`re never going to go home and listen to an angry town hall about why did you shut down the government? Why were you too confrontational with President Obama? The only anger they`re ever going to hear is that they didn`t go far enough. If someone wants to poll on secession from the country in those districts, I bet you`ll find some eye-opening results there as well. It has always been the case that there is a minority of folks in the Congress whose interests are locally rational but extreme for the nation. The question is why that group is now setting policy for the whole party and therefore for the whole country. And what would you do right now if you were a Republican who did not agree with those folks in your own party? What would you do? Even if you were a conservative, if you were a conservative in the Republican Party right now and you did not agree that there should be a shutdown. Inside your party right now, inside the House, what would you do if the agenda that was being followed was the agenda of those 80 members of Congress who will never, ever, ever have to answer for shutting it down? What would you do if you didn`t agree? Joining us now is one of only 10 Republicans in the House of Representatives who says that we should just pass a clean, stand-alone bill to fund the government and stop the shutdown. He represents a district in Virginia that is home to one of the highest proportions of military personnel in the whole country. Conservative Republican congressman, Scott Rigell. Thank you very much for being with us tonight. I really appreciate your willing to talk about this. REP. SCOTT RIGELL (R), VIRGINIA: Happy to do it, Rachel. MADDOW: Let me just start by asking you something that I think the whole country is wondering about. And maybe you as a House Republican, you know even though we don`t. How long do you expect the shutdown to go on? Do you see a way out yet? RIGELL: Well, it will probably go on a few days. I hope it stops tomorrow. I certainly listened to your introduction. If I may say that the gerrymandered districts, you`re on to something there. Now you only got it half right because yes, there are some districts that are skewed hard R`s but there are -- conversely there are just as many that are skewed hard Democrat. MADDOW: Sure. RIGELL: And so I tell you, this -- both sides have contributed to the dysfunction that we have up here. I really believe that gerrymandered districts are the principal cause of gridlock in Washington. And we`ve got to get away from this. And I`m committed, whether in office or not, next time we have these redistricting efforts, certainly in Virginia, we got to do something about this. It`s not right for our country. MADDOW: If we did nonpartisan districting, some states do that. Not every state works the way that we`ve seen in these intensely partisan processes. If we have some sort of national standard for expert re-districting and district line drawing that was not done by one of the parties for their own advantage, do you think any Republicans would support that? RIGELL: Well, they`ve got to. Look, I tell Americans in our district, look, we`ve got to be involved in this process because we really can`t continue this way. And, Rachel, some of the things that you said I agree with but some I really sharply disagree with. That won`t surprise you. MADDOW: Yes. RIGELL: You know, those 80 members that you said are absolutely committed to a shutdown, I disagree with that. I`ve never heard that privately or publicly. You know, we don`t have a regular appropriations process here anymore. And not since I`ve been in office in 33 months. The House has been dysfunctional. The Senate has been dysfunctional. I blame both parties, both Houses of government. We went on a five-and-a-half-week break when only four of our 12 appropriation bills have been passed. The Senate hadn`t even passed one of the four that we did send over there. So what do we end up with? Continuing resolutions. They harm our country and they`re not right. And so we have to -- we were trying to express our best ideas for policy via the continuing resolution. I was one who was saying, look, I don`t think that we ought to advance the Affordable Care Act. I got a call just yesterday from a union member who was upset. I thought he was going to be upset with me. He said, no, I`m upset with this law because it`s affecting his health care. So I think a delay certainly was in order and I`m sorry we didn`t get it. MADDOW: I understand that you and I would disagree and a lot of Americans who disagree about the health of the budget process and how the parties in each House of Congress is proceeding, but where we`re at right now is pass a continuing resolution that doesn`t make policy, that`s just a continuing resolution or the government stops. You obviously believe it`s not worth stopping the government. RIGELL: Well, that`s true. You know, I fought -- MADDOW: In order to try to force policy into this process. RIGELL: That`s right. MADDOW: But why don`t any -- I mean, you are one of 10 Republicans who have said this is the way to go, that we shouldn`t have the shutdown. That`s less than 5 percent of your caucus. Why don`t more Republicans -- RIGELL: Well, I think there`s more. MADDOW: -- see the shutdown as too costly. RIGELL: I think there`s more. I look at it this way. We are down to -- the lift that we are trying to get across the curb here was the delay of the individual mandate. We`d given up lots of things. We`d actually made major concessions along the way. And I was disappointed, maybe not surprised but disappointed that the Senate basically told us to pound sand really. I thought we were negotiating and trying in a good faith effort to advance something. But we got down to the individual mandate, the one-year delay plus the stopping the subsidies of health care for members of Congress and staff. Both things I think got to be advanced. But we have to consider the trade-off, which is a lot of pain economically, damage to our military. And to me it just didn`t make sense for to us continue to hurt our economy and our men and women in uniform to advance those two goals. We`ll fight another day. But I do think we ought to stop where we are now and go ahead and fund the government and get us back on track. MADDOW: I hear you when you say that what you have to balance now is the cost of not moving ahead versus moving ahead. RIGELL: Right. MADDOW: Whether or not this was the t right place to be negotiating over Obamacare I think of some place where we would dramatically disagree. But where we stand right now, you are one of the few Republicans who actually is trying to get us out of the shutdown and I appreciate your willingness to explain your point of view to us tonight, Congressman. RIGELL: Sure thing. MADDOW: Thank you, sir. Appreciate you being here. RIGELL: Thank you so much. MADDOW: Congressman Scott Rigell of Virginia. All right. So it turns out one of the ways members of Congress have been coping with the pressures of this week, the impressive pressures of this week, is that they`ve been calling on their own friend John Barleycorn. And that doesn`t mean anything to you, that`s what Wikipedia is for. Why the House of Representatives has sometimes smelled like a distillery in these past couple of days is coming right up. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: America, meet Herman the sturgeon. As sturgeon go, Herman is kind of a big deal. He`s 10 feet long, he weighs 450 pounds and he`s really quite old, he is roughly 70. Herman the sturgeon lives in the Columbia river about 40 miles outside Portland, Oregon. And if you would like to see Herman at home he has his own special underwater viewing area where you can watch him swimming around at the Bonneville Fish Hatchery. Herman the sturgeon is pretty much the star of the hatchery there. They say he`s a hit with the elementary school sect from the surrounding areas. He`s often the highlight for class field trips to the Bonneville dam. That particular field trip is a rite of elementary school passage in that part of the country. Unless of course your rite of passage gets cancelled by your country. Fourth graders at the Louis Elementary School in Portland, Oregon, were all set to visit Herman the sturgeon this week. They were due to go this Friday but the hatchery is funded by the federal government. And so the hatchery is closed and so no trip to see the Herman the sturgeon. The school`s principal Instagrammed this picture today of the kids receiving a disappointing, teachable moment about the meaning of a federal government shutdown and what it means to them. Learning the hard way in fourth grade and on short notice. What happens when Congress can`t do its basic work? To the disillusionment of those fourth graders in Oregon today, the finance losses of more than 800,000 federal employees who will be missing paychecks for as long as this goes on, not to mention all the work the federal government does. Today was the day when all the closed due to the government shutdown notices got put up sometimes at the last thing federal employees did before their furloughs started. Today there was one half-hearted effort in Congress to try to stop at least some parts of the shutdown. Republican House Speaker John Boehner proposed re-opening just some select parts of the federal government, really visible ones that people might complain about like, say, the V.A. or the national parks. One by one Republicans proposed that they would just reopen things that they liked or that they were already missing or already hearing complaints about, but otherwise they would let the shutdown go on with presumably less embarrassing pressure on the Congress to every get it back open. Tonight the House voted on three separate piecemeal bills to fund the national parks and the V.A. and the city government of Washington, D.C. All three bills failed in the Republican-controlled House. So that like, like, plan K. Plan L? Maybe Plan M. It`s hard to keep track at this point. Is there a next plan and is it any more likely to work? Joining us now is Congresswoman Louise Slaughter of New York. She is the top Democrat on the House Rules Committee. Congressman Slaughter, thank you so much for being with us tonight. REP. LOUISE SLAUGHTER (D), NEW YORK: Don`t we live in interesting times, Rachel? (LAUGHTER) MADDOW: That is an ancient curse for a reason. You are the top Democrat on the Rules Committee. What has it been like for you watching the Republicans maneuver themselves into the shutdown and now watching them try to get out? SLAUGHTER: If I tell you that every now and then you have to really be very harsh with your brain and say please don`t try to process that, it doesn`t make any sense and it`s giving me a headache. It`s been absolutely awful. All of this, all of this is about stopping giving 30 million Americans health care. MADDOW: I just asked Republican Congressman Scott Rigell of Virginia if he sees light at the end of the tunnel there. And he expressed a hope. He says he thinks more Republicans will come around to his way of thinking that the House audit just passed a clean funding bill and -- SLAUGHTER: No. MADDOW: And into the shutdown. Do you think he`ll -- SLAUGHTER: No. No. (CROSSTALK) MADDOW: You think there`s no reason to hope. SLAUGHTER: As a matter of fact, I learned just before I left the capitol, we`re going in at 10:00 in the morning, Rules Committee, to give Hill`s Bills a rule so they can pass them just by a majority vote. So that`s tomorrow`s assignment. They will then send it to the Senate, and Senator Reid will send it back. Rachel, you know, what they are so frustrated about is after they got cloture on the bill in the Senate, they didn`t ever have to vote on that party anymore. So all they`re doing are amendments and therefore the Senator Reid only has to get 51 votes. They`re desperate to get out of that. This whole conference idea was to get them back up to the 60 vote necessary pledge that they made. I really would love to see that go. But that`s what that was about. And did you hear about Cantor`s picture today? (CROSSTALK) MADDOW: The eight -- with the appointed conferees and empty chairs? SLAUGHTER: Eight white guys. MADDOW: Yes. SLAUGHTER: Yes. They never learned anything. And they certainly got a lesson today. In fact I went down to the floor to tell them that by this afternoon 7.5 million people had accessed New York state`s own health exchange. How about that? And they had glitches all day long. That`s 10 percent of the population of the state of New York. MADDOW: Wow. What do -- what do you think about what they`re trying to do -- what they tried to do today and what you said they`re trying to do tomorrow in terms of this piecemeal approach to funding? What`s your reaction to that as a -- (CROSSTALK) SLAUGHTER: I think they -- you know, they high fived -- they were whatever. (LAUGHTER) I`m not that hip. Anyway, they were just gleeful last night, they were giddy, as they said, in their own language, on shutting down the House. I think that this is -- this, as you know, is Senator Ted Cruz`s strategy. I think they will continue doing that. In fact one of their members said that the two agencies they will open will be the EPA and the IRS. They`re enjoying themselves. But I don`t believe anymore that there`s some wild-eyed group over there making Republicans do want they don`t want to do. That -- we`ve got to (INAUDIBLE) ourselves of that. Whatever they may say about it, they vote unanimously for this stuff. Yesterday was the first time they had any break at all. Peter King thought he had 25 people. I think he ended up with two. I`ve been around here too long. So I`ve been through this. I went through the Clinton health care bill. And I want to tell you, we went through the same kind of thing. It was trying to stop it. But, you know, you`ve been on to this for quite a while. What they`re afraid of is success. And I would certainly think with 7.5 million people wanting to find out what it`s all about, it looks pretty good to me. MADDOW: Congresswoman Louise Slaughter of New York, I -- last night in watching our own coverage flipping back and forth to see, spend the whole night to see you holding court on the floor of the House Rules Committee. Thank you for being both up there so late and being consistently entertaining in the way that you`re addressing these issues, kept me into it the whole night long. (LAUGHTER) SLAUGHTER: Bless your heart. Well, it`s always great to be with you. Thank you for the invitation. MADDOW: Thank you, Congresswoman. I appreciate it. All right. Congressional behavior of late at least on one side has been enough to kind of make you wonder what they`re drinking. Seriously, though, what were they drinking? Because apparently they were drinking. Do you think cataclysmic political news happens by itself? No, it apparently needs lubrication. We`ve got the details next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: So the government shutdown is a crisis that we could see coming from a long way off. We knew in advance when it was going to happen. That`s why we were able to have countdown clocks, right? These countdown clocks that everybody including us had on our screens last night as we calibrated down to the very last minute with plenty of advance notice when this huge news was going to occur. When you know in advance that it`s going to be huge news and you know in advance when that huge news is going to happen, that is a great time to plan ahead to bury some other news that you really don`t want to get much notice. So in the last couple of days we have had the Marine Corps announced the forced retirement of two Marine Corps generals, specifically for poor performance on the battlefield in Afghanistan. That is the first time that that has happened in the United States military since 1971 in Vietnam. We also had the withdrawal of a nominee to be one of the nation`s top energy regulators. He was nominated by President Obama, he was opposed bitterly by the coal industry. He did not therefore get the requisite support he needed from U.S. senators. He chose to withdraw his name from consideration in the most quiet of all possible exits. By leaving in the middle of the shutdown hubbub. The United States Air Force chose this week to announce it has taken action against the number two commander in charge of our nation`s nuclear arsenal and cyber warfare. It`s not like those are sensitive jobs. The deputy commander of the strategic command in Omaha was accused of using counterfeit gambling chips at an Iowa casino. That`s what he was doing apparently when he wasn`t second in command of our nation`s nuclear war fighters. Yes. Or if you don`t want to trouble the nation with yet another weird report about something going wrong, in the forces that care of all our hair trigger nuclear bombs, I suggest announcing it during the shutdown, and maybe nobody will notice. Meanwhile, members of Congress are reportedly coping with the tremendous stress and around-the-clock hours and all-consuming nature of the government shutdown by getting hammered. First reports were on Saturday from "Politico`s" Ginger Gibson who tweeted that night that she could literally smell booze wafting from members as they walked off the floor. She said, "I am not over-exaggerating." "BuzzFeed`s" Kate Nocera also reported seeing members of Congress drinking out in the town on Saturday on Capitol. She then said she ran into two members of Congress at a local liquor store. That was all on Saturday. You know, Saturday. Then yesterday, which was not Saturday, it was Jennifer Bendery from "The Huffington Post" who reported, quote, "about every other House lawmaker I just talked to smelled like booze. And it`s only 9:00 p.m." Sam Stein, her colleague at "Huffington Post" confirmed that report and noted for the record that, quote, "It was a bipartisan affair." It`s after 9:00 p.m., the government is due to shut down at midnight unless we handle this delicate negotiation just right. What could possibly go wrong? Let`s get sauced. You know, I am all for a cocktail moment, with your colleagues, with your loved ones, especially after a trying time or even just because. But the point is, that it`s supposed to be after you`re done with your trying times. After. When it`s over. Not when you`re right in the middle of hurling the country into the abyss. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: There are not a ton of moments in life when some things, some news inspires so much unadulterated glee that you find yourself breaking into spontaneous applause, that you find yourself physically clapping with happiness. I mean, babies do it all the time because the babies are joyful little dumplings and so they clap, yay! But it`s a little harder to elicit fits of clapping at a full grown adult. It has to be really, really good news. It`s got to be something like winning a million dollars on a TV game show, for example. You might jump up and down and start clapping. But it`s kind of a high bar, right? For one contingent of the Republican Party in Congress, the contingent that happens to be running the Republican Party in Congress right now, the events of the last 24 to 48 hours have been something akin to winning the showcase showdown or picking the right vowel or whatever. From "The Washington Post" yesterday, "On cusp of showdown, House conservatives excited." "It`s wonderful," said Republican Congressman John Culberson, clapping his hands to emphasize the point. "We are 100 percent united," he said. Congressman Culberson was also the person who described as giddy, the atmosphere at a House Republican meeting over the weekend where they voted to shut down the government. Representative John Culberson of Texas said that it`s he and his colleagues were clamoring for a vote. He shouted out his own encouragement, "I said, like 9/11, let`s roll." As Congress hurdled through last night`s midnight deadline and we shutdown, in those final moments when it became clear that we would shutdown, Republican Congressman Dave Schweikert was so psyched about what was going on that he found himself at a loss for words. Talking to a reporter from "The National Journal", Congressman Schweikert was eager and excited, his eyes wide and his smile broadening. He had a discernible spring in his step. News that to the rest of the country had been caused for disappoint and anxiety and anger. For some Republican members of Congress, this has just be awesome. They`ve been really happy. Congresswoman Michele Bachmann told "The Washington Post," quote, "We are very excited. It is exactly what we wanted." The Republican Party, of course, took control of the House in the 2010 midterm elections. They got the House. John Boehner became the speaker. But before that election, before they even got control of the House of Representatives, six months before that election, Republicans running for Congress and conservative media and prominent voices on the right were already promising, already hoping even that if the Republicans could win themselves the majority in the House, they would go for a government shutdown, even before they got elected. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS) DICK MORRIS, POLITICAL ANALYST: Now, there`s going to be, there`s going to be a government shutdown, just like in `95 and `96. But we`re going to win it this time and I`ll be fighting on your side. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So starve them -- starve them of the fun, starve the bee, so to speak? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely and have the courage to shut down the government, if we have to. REP. LYNN WESTMORELAND (R), GEORGIA: If we say, look, we`re in partnership with the American people, we`re listening to the American people. This is what we`re going to do. If the government shuts down, we want you with us. RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO HOST: There are a lot worse things than shutting down the government. You know what one this evening is? One thing worse than shutting down the government is the government continuing on like it is now. (END VIDEO CLIPS) MADDOW: We run those things chronologically. Those were all before the 2010 election. That was August, September, September, October, all 2010, all before the election. Giddy was the word used repeatedly to describe how Republicans felt before the 2010 election, about how winning that election mean that they could shut down the government. Quote, "I`m almost giddy thinking about a government shutdown next year." Utah Senator Mike Lee, then a candidate for the Senate, he also clap your hands, jump for joy giddy at the prospect of being voted into government in order to be allowed to shut it down. He was giddy about winning and then using power in the Senate to do just that. It was not a secret that the wave of Republicans who swept into office in those midterm elections in 2010 were psyched about sticking a wrench in the government, about making the government stop working. They ran for office promising their base that`s what they would do with power if they got it. And starting right after the election, just days after the 2010 election, they got to work on what they said they would work on. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you willing to participate in what would lead to a shutdown of the federal government to stop this monstrosity from going down the tracks? REP. ALAN NUNNELEE (R), MISSISSIPPI: I think I agree with Congressman Boehner. We need to do whatever`s necessary to make sure this bill never goes into effect. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Congressman Nunnelee, would you be willing -- I think you just answered it with health care -- but when it comes to fiscal policy, are you willing to participate in a shutdown of the government if it`s the only way to get the president to come to the table? NUNNELEE: Yes. REP. JOE WALSH (R), ILLINOIS: We will do what we have to do to shut down the government if we have to. REPORTER: So, you think if that were to happen, theoretically, it wouldn`t be as bad as people make it out? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I don`t think it would be. I really don`t. REPORTER: Do you think shutdown should be off the table? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think everything ought to be on the table. WALSH: I got to tell you, most people in my district say shut it down. This country may need some sort of shock therapy. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would it be a good thing fiscally and philosophically if the government did shut down for a few weeks and the American people could see life would go on without the federal government for a little while? FORMER REP. RON PAUL (R), TEXAS: I don`t think it would hurt one bit. REP. LOUIE GOHMERT (R), TEXAS: Even if it means to showing how serious we are, OK? The government is going to have to shut down. REP. MIKE PENCE (R), INDIANA: If liberals would rather shut down the government instead of making a small down payment on fiscal discipline and reform, I say, shut it down. CROWD: Cut it or shut it! Cut it or shut it! Cut it or shut it! (END VIDEO CLIPS) MADDOW: It`s been roughly two and a half years since Republicans got control of the House in that election. In those two and a half years, they`ve threatened to shut down the government or default on the national debt seven times. They were unsuccessful six of those times, but the seventh time is the charm apparently. This week has not given them any sort of legislative victory and has not helped them achieve some sort of policy change that they believe addresses the nation`s problems. They just ran out the clock and got the government to stop working, which is what they said they wanted all along. There`s been a variety of reasons why they said they wanted it. The only thing that`s been consistent is they said they wanted it shut down. President Obama today said that he wants a successful Republican Party. He says we need a Republican Party that`s interested in governing. We need both parties to function if we want to make sure the underlying stability of the country is maintained. Yes, if we want a stable and functioning government, that is exactly what we need, but that is a big if. And it can`t be denied that a lot of Republicans in Congress now ran for Congress by promising their constituencies that if they got to Congress, they would use their power in Congress to shut down the government. And you can tell from the smiles on their faces mission accomplished as far as they`re concerned. Now that we are shut down, why do we think they are suddenly going to get embarrassed about this? Joining us now is Karen Tumulty. She`s a national political reporter for "The Washington Post." Karen, thanks very much for being with us tonight. It`s nice to see you. KAREN TUMULTY, THE WASHIINGTON POST: Hi, Rachel. MADDOW: So, for Republicans in the House, what -- what is the political resonance, what is the political appeal of a shutdown? Going back to when they were campaigning to get into Congress in the first place? TUMULTY: Well, I think one thin you need to know is that if you look at the House of Representatives now, the Republicans, fewer than one-fifth of those Republicans were in the House in 1995 and in early 1996 when it shut down. And let me tell you, Rachel, you talk to those guys who were here before, they are not clapping their hands because they`ve seen this movie and they know how it ends. But I think that, you know, these men and women ran in a different environment, and they also ran in sort of a mythology about what happened the last time around. And they somehow think it comes out differently. MADDOW: I wanted to ask you about that last point specifically because I have been hung up on this idea that every time I start researching in the conservative media and I look at transcripts of conservative talk radio hosts or I go back and look at old conservative speeches on the subject of the lesson of the 1995/1996 shutdown, I feel like I`m seeing a pretty consistent revisionist history of the shutdown wasn`t so bad, didn`t really hurt the Republicans, certainly didn`t explain Newt Gingrich losing the speakership, didn`t hurt the party at all, Bob Dole was just a bad candidate and Clinton was going to win anyway. I feel like there is a real consistent revisionist history. Is that explain what they`re telling each other? TUMULTY: Well, what people forget is that the Republicans were really riding high and President Clinton was pretty much flat on his back prior to that shutdown. In fact, I went out today and looked at our polling numbers. And going into that shutdown in 1995, Bob Dole was only behind Bill Clinton in "The Washington Post" poll by six points. Coming out of that shutdown, he was behind by 16 points. MADDOW: Wow. TUMULTY: And while it is true that in the next election that certainly sent Bill Clinton on his road to a landslide in the next election, really resurrected his presidency, but also the Republicans will say, look, you know, we held on to our House majority, we only lost two seats and we picked up two seats in the Senate. And what that overlooks is what happened in 1996. You get to the middle of 1996 and the polling is suggesting they`re going to lose the House. So what the Republicans did is they begin to do a lot of deals with Bill Clinton, including welfare reform, a crime bill. Essentially it was a Sophie`s choice because they had to sort of cut Bob Dole loose. They, you know, took his best issues away from him. But that`s what happened. MADDOW: Karen, terms of the way that governing is going now in this last couple of years, you coined the phrase this week that this is "governing by near death experience," this crisis to crisis, to crisis. If that is how we are governing now, how does that affect what we can and can`t do in this country, not just partisan balance but what we`re capable of? TUMULTY: Well, I think the sort of scariest thing, the most corrosive thing about this is that after each of these near-death experiences, they haven`t resolved anything. In fact, the two sides become sort of more fixed in their positions. In fact, this is the first time we have come right up to the 11th hours and the two sides are not even talking to each other. The Republicans have made a demand that Barack Obama is never going to meet and Barack Obama has decided that, you know, his previous negotiations with the Republicans suggest there`s nothing in it for him to engage as well. So, we`re not settling anything with any of these crises. All we`re doing is sort of pushing the two sides further apart. MADDOW: Karen Tumulty, national political reporter for "The Washington Post" and somebody I think who has been writing with particularly incisive wit about these issues recently -- Karen, thank you very much for being here. TUMULTY: Thank you, Rachel. MADDOW: All right. OK. So, what Congresswoman Louise Slaughter said just a moment ago on this show about the Republicans and the empty chairs and the eight white guys, hold on, I will explain. That`s next. (COMEMRCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: One reminder, the government shutdown resulted from what was supposed to be an argument about the budget. Democratic Senator Patty Murray is chair of the Budget Committee in the Senate. And for months, Senator Murray, chair of the Budget Committee, has been asking Republicans to conference with Democrats in order to reach a budget resolution before last night`s deadline. She asked them to do that 18 times. And they said no. No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, 18 times no. Until late last night, when House Republicans had an epiphany, OK, Democrats, we decided we would like to conference. Let`s get together and work this out. They said, no 18 times. They said no, for months. Then last month before midnight, we think we`d like to talk now. Then, today, to make the point that they have been ready to negotiate for hours, or at least for minutes. The Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor tweeted this picture of the newly picked group of Republican conferees who want to pick about the budget. It`s quite an array of white shirts. They posed their eight white guys across from a row of empty chairs because the photo is supposed to indicate where are the Democrats, empty chairs, empty chairs, because apparently nobody learned anything from the Republican National Convention this year, debating with an empty chair is hilarious. Until the time when you are debating an empty chair and you are losing the debate -- Clint. Hold on. That story is next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: World War II began in Europe in 1939. The U.S. military deployed troops into the war in 1941. Then the war ended four years later in 1945, 16 million Americans served in the arm forces in World War II. More than 400,000 Americans died in that war. Almost half of a century later, a Democratic congresswoman named Marcy Kaptur of Ohio, was approached by a constituent, a World War II veteran, who wanted to know why there was no World War II memorial in Washington, wanted to know if a memorial could be constructed in Washington, That year, in 1987, Congresswoman Kaptur introduced the World War II Memorial Act in the House. The bill did not pass. She reintroduced it again two years later, in 1989, and it did not pass. Then, two years after that, in 1991, she introduced it again, and the bill did not pass. Finally, 1993, the fourth time around, Marcy Kaptur introduced bill again, this time, it was a day after a Republican senator named Strom Thurman had introduced companion legislation in the Senate, and finally, this time in 1993, Marcy Kaptur got it passed. And President Bill Clinton signed it into law, and the World War II Memorial was finally going to happen, it was finally going to be built. Took about a year to pick the location. Took another four years to pick a design. Finally, in 2001, they broke ground, construction started. And three years later, the memorial was complete. Almost 60 years after the end of World War II. It took so long for Congresswoman Kaptur to get the World War II Memorial green lit. Then, it took so long to build, and finally open. There was one very sober, very serious consequence of this delay, for this honor built for the soldiers who served in that war. It was just too long down the road. Many veterans who served in the war did not live 60 years beyond the end of the war to see the memorial that was built to them. So, in 2005, the year after the memorial opened to the public, a nonprofit organization called Honor Flights started helping World War II veterans get to the memorial from wherever they live in the country, free of charge. The organization arranged travel, flying vets from across the country to Washington to see this memorial to their contribution. The goal is to get every veteran who wants to see the memorial to see it. Well, when the government shut down early this morning, one of the parts of government that shut down was -- the World War II memorial, and all of the memorials. That however did not stop dozens of World War II veterans who showed up on an Honor Flight trip to see the memorial today. Together they walked, they cut the police tape, they removed the barriers that the memorial and they want on in. They had traveled from across the country to see the memorial honoring their service and they were not going to let the pesky government shutdown get in the way because they are awesome. Some of the veterans were escorted by members of Congress, some of whom kept their mouth shut. But some could not resist the opportunity for self serving photo-op, to try to wrap themselves up in those veterans` glory to lament loudly the closing of this memorial to these honorable veterans, even though they themselves had voted for the shutdown that closed the memorial. These veterans, of course, earned the right to visit the World War II memorial whenever they want. It`s only right that they ignored the government shutdown to complete their journey to Washington. Members of Congress who made it their own story today, their own hypocritical story in particular, should be embarrassed if they`re capable of it. With that, the same members paid similar tribute to all people serving in military right now. While the men and women in uniform will continue to get paid despite the shutdown, bases across the country are issuing furlough notices to civilian workers who provide a wide range of services. Marine Corps installations, in Southern California and Arizona, more than 3,500 employees are subject to emergency furloughs. Fort Bragg in North Carolina, they`re going to be furloughing about half of their almost 15,000 strong civilian workforce. Fort Bragg is also going to be cutting back on family counseling and survivor outreach. If we as a country feel there is political capital and moral investment in making sure that veterans in this country get treated right, and honored, even when we are otherwise having political kerfuffle that screw everybody else over, then it is not just cutting the ribbon and getting into the memorial, it is about making sure at a time government is shutting down, that they get all that`s due to them. That does it for us. We will see you again tomorrow night. Thanks for being with us. Now, it`s time for "THE LAST WORD." Have a great night. END THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END