Guests: Stephanie Gosk, David Corn, Pat Buchanan, Grover Norquist, Richard Socarides, R. Clarke Cooper, Michael Wolff
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: GOP means “govern on protests.”
Let‘s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I‘m Chris Matthews in San Francisco. Leading off tonight: My way or nothing. That‘s what the Republicans are basically telling President Obama these days, Do things entirely our way, or we‘ll put the government in default. In these debt ceiling negotiations, the Republican Party has shown that it‘s not an opposition party looking to govern or even co-govern, it‘s a protest party, a party that neither makes deals nor takes responsibility for its actions. And a poll out today shows voters are not supporting this Republican Tea Party approach.
Plus: Pay attention to the man behind the curtain—really pay attention. The GOP‘s refusal to raise any taxes under any circumstances is matching the clear purposes of the man pushing Republican tax policy right now, one man, Grover Norquist. The most powerful man most Americans have never heard of plays HARDBALL here tonight.
Plus, another day, another resignation in the Murdoch scandal. This time, it‘s the number two man at Scotland Yard, one day after number one man went belly up. We‘ve got an easy-to-follow flow chart tonight of the tangled relationships between and among Murdoch‘s people and the police. And we‘ll ask, Is it happening here in America, as well?
And if you‘ve never heard that Michele Bachmann has referred to homosexuality as “bondage, despair and enslavement,” gay rights groups have and they‘re making sure you will. Tonight, anything you say, or certainly anything Michele Bachmann says, will be used against you in the court of public opinion.
And “Let Me Finish” tonight with a great moment for America, even in defeat, at the World Cup.
We start with the Republicans as a protest party. David Corn is the Washington bureau chief for “Mother Jones” magazine and an MSNBC political analyst and Pat Buchanan is an MSNBC a political analyst, as well.
Pat, working both ends of the clock today, and I was watching you on “MORNING JOE.” And I have to ask you this question 12 hours after you began your day. This party—I‘ve never seen a political part, Republican, Democrat, Ross Perot, that simply says, We have a position. Take it or leave it. We‘re not dealing at all with you. What do you think of the party platform right now of the Republican Party, the Tea Party platform, in effect, coming out of the House?
PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think the Tea Party is probably taking a PR beating, as you‘ve described or others have described, Chris, in public opinion as an intransigent group.
But the truth is, they‘re going to win this battle. And I‘ll tell you why. At the end of the day, we are going to get an increase in the debt ceiling. We are going to get budget cuts, maybe of $2 trillion, $1.5 trillion or $1 trillion. We‘re going to get no new revenue. We‘re going to get no new taxes. And that is exactly the position of the Republican Party and the Tea Party movement—no new taxes and let‘s cut the budget.
And they‘ve gotten it, quite frankly, Chris, by digging their feet in, being tough, being...
BUCHANAN: ... resistant and standing by their principles.
MATTHEWS: And what day will this occur, this deal‘s success, the success of the intransigent party that says, My way or the highway? When will they win that battle? This month or next month?
BUCHANAN: It may be before August 2nd. And if not before August 2nd, it‘ll be a week after August 2nd.
MATTHEWS: And that won‘t be a damage to the country? They won‘t have inflicted damage on our country to get their way?
BUCHANAN: My guess is that the Republicans, Boehner and the others, after they get their “cut, cap and balance” vote behind them, they will move to do it by the 2nd of August. And if not, I think Boehner and the Democrats will agree to a one-week, say, increase in the debt ceiling so they can put it all together. So it‘s perils of Pauline, and the Tea Party wins.
MATTHEWS: OK. OK. The Tea Party wins. David Corn, I don‘t agree.
Do you agree?
DAVID CORN, “MOTHER JONES,” MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: No. I mean, I think the GOP is all tail and no dog now. And that tail is the Tea Party. And if you look at the recent polling—we may get to that later—right now...
MATTHEWS: Well, let‘s look at that new polling. You‘ve raised a good question.
CORN: Yes, put it up.
MATTHEWS: Here‘s a new CBS poll. It shows—you giving orders now, David?
MATTHEWS: Shows the public is unhappy with everyone on debt ceiling negotiation, but they‘re far less disapproving of President Obama. There aren‘t any great winners here. The president‘s at 43 approve, 48 disapprove. That‘s not so great, but it‘s better than this. Democrats in Congress, only 31 percent approve, 58 percent disapprove. And look at the number for Republicans Pat was talking about. They are taking a beating—
21 percent approve and 71 percent disapprove.
Pat, you‘re saying that even though the public doesn‘t like their approach, which is to say, We‘re going to amend the Constitution, we‘re going to cap and do all this stuff about 18 percent of the GDP and all this social engineering here, or fiscal engineering, and we‘re going to risk default by our government, perhaps a spike in the interest rate, and all this at no cost, the absolutism of that party, your new Tea Party confederates, will succeed?
BUCHANAN: I think it will succeed to this extent, Chris. First, I think we‘re going to get the debt ceiling increase. But secondly, at the end of the day, Barack Obama‘s going to have to go to his Democratic Party and say to them, Look, we got $1 trillion in cuts or $2 trillion in budget cuts, spending programs, the programs we love. We didn‘t get any revenues. We didn‘t get any new taxes. You‘re going to have a war inside your own party because you‘re going to have lost this battle.
MATTHEWS: OK. Let me ask you, David...
MATTHEWS: David, I don‘t agree with that at all. That whole proposition, Pat, I think is just troublemaking. I think you‘re suggesting a deal that‘s not going to be cut.
David, do you think the president of the United States, a Democrat, would ever cut a deal that was all spending cuts on the domestic side and no cut—no increases in revenue? Could he ever make a deal like that?
CORN: Chris, I was on a call, an on the record conference call, with the White House this afternoon with Dan Pfeiffer and Jason Fuhrman (ph), and I asked them that question. Can there be any package without revenues? And they said the president‘s position, which he talked about last week, is, no, there will not be.
On the Democratic side—it seems like right now, John Boehner doesn‘t have 218 votes for almost anything, no matter the deal is, whether it‘s $10 trillion or $100 million. And so you‘re going to need Democratic votes. The Democrats I don‘t think, will go along with a package if there are just cuts, particularly if there are benefit cuts to Medicare and Social Security, and no revenues.
So there‘s still a lot of negotiations to be played out. And in the meantime, day by day, the Republicans are looking intransigent and like they are willing to play with fire because you know what? At least half of the members of the House Republicans do want to blow up the government. It‘s like blowing up...
MATTHEWS: OK, Pat...
CORN: ... burning down the village to save the village.
MATTHEWS: Pat, you‘re laughing, but are you happy with your party being the party of Mrs. O‘Leary‘s cow?
MATTHEWS: Basically starting the fire that was just mentioned. Oh, we‘ve started it, but we helped put it out. This is where I think you got a problem. Sure, you do your show trial with all this stuff about how we‘re going to cut the budget down, use the Constitution.
MATTHEWS: You won‘t get the two thirds vote anyway. You won‘t even get the 290, probably. But all this effort to just put on a show, and then you say you‘re going to dance back from your dance with the devil and somehow, after you‘ve started the fire, sneak back to a position where you get 218 for some sort of cover, keep it going, kind of, kick the can.
Why do you think the Republicans, having been galvanized into this far-right position, are going to go so easily into the good night and accept a deal that keeps the debt ceiling going up?
BUCHANAN: Well, Chris...
MATTHEWS: Why do you think they‘ll cut the deal after being so aroused by the Tea Party types?
BUCHANAN: Because—they‘ll cut the deal, I believe, Chris, because they will have gotten their vote on their “cut, cap and balance.” That will go...
MATTHEWS: So what?
BUCHANAN: That will go through. But look...
MATTHEWS: It‘s a “so what” vote.
BUCHANAN: ... you keep talking about—you keep talking about Obama‘s not going to sign anything doesn‘t have tax increases. He indicated over the weekend we‘re not going to get tax revenue. How are you going to get taxes...
MATTHEWS: Well, I think they‘re going to...
BUCHANAN: ... on the president‘s desk...
MATTHEWS: ... do a McConnell deal...
BUCHANAN: ... if you can‘t get them through the House?
MATTHEWS: ... which is—I think they‘re going to—don‘t you think, guys, they‘re going to end up separating the two issues of debt ceiling and deficit reduction?
CORN: It‘s what—it‘s what should happen because if you want to have fights over revenue and over spending cuts, you can do that separately all the way up to the next election. At this point in time, I think the public is spooked enough...
CORN: ... I think, you know, Mark Zandi...
BUCHANAN: The public isn‘t...
CORN: ... and Moody‘s are spooked enough...
CORN: ... that Obama has leverage.
MATTHEWS: Pat, I think you‘re wrong here. You‘re usually right about this, but you‘re saying your party‘s going to be so hopped up and so red hot and so Tea Partied, and then they‘re going to come back from this week and be sort of team players.
Here‘s Congressman Jim Jordan, chairman of the Republican Study Committee, on voting—on getting 218 votes for Mitch McConnell‘s plan, which is sort of the stopgap plan here. Let‘s listen to what he says.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JIM JORDAN ®, OHIO: Well, the McConnell plan doesn‘t have 218 Republican votes. No way. Who knows if there‘s a combination of Rs and Ds that‘ll go for it, but I‘m telling you House conservative members, members of the Republican Senate, they‘re not going to support the McConnell plan. I‘m not going to support the McConnell plan.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Pat, you said, in the end, they‘ll come back from the red hot position of this week, after putting on their show with their constitutional amendment and all that other stuff, and they‘re going to be deal makers. You stick to that?
BUCHANAN: Sure. I think—I think Boehner will work out a deal with Steny Hoyer. But you know, the McConnell plan...
MATTHEWS: For 218?
BUCHANAN: ... has no new taxes in it!
CORN: But within the Tea Party guys, Pat!
BUCHANAN: Chris, it has no taxes in it!
MATTHEWS: It has no cuts in it, either.
BUCHANAN: It has no revenue in it at all.
MATTHEWS: It has no spending cuts.
BUCHANAN: It‘s going to be $2 trillion—it‘s $1.5 trillion in spending cuts. What are you talking about? That‘s what‘s going to be the deal.
MATTHEWS: No, I don‘t think they‘re going to—I think they‘re going to go with a separation. David, get in here. I don‘t think they‘re going to go with big spending cuts and no revenues. That would make no sense for Democrats.
CORN: Yes, I think the president, I said earlier, has leverage at this point because the Republicans have depicted themselves as hostage-takers who are ready to blow things up, and the public doesn‘t like this.
So they have stood their ground. Pat‘s right about that. The Tea Party people would be happy to see $100 billion cut out of the next budget, which is in the bill that‘s up this week, even if that leads to 700,000 lost jobs. They‘re happy to get rid of food safety...
BUCHANAN: But Chris...
CORN: ... inspections, environmental protection.
BUCHANAN: But Chris, let‘s get back...
CORN: They‘re happy to do—this is what they want to do. And stand by...
BUCHANAN: Well, just call them all the names you want...
BUCHANAN: ... but let‘s get back to reality. Let‘s get back to reality, can we?
CORN: No. This is the reality!
BUCHANAN: All right, but let me...
MATTHEWS: David, let Pat make his case.
BUCHANAN: Let me ask you this, Chris. The Republicans—let‘s say the McConnell plan has a trillion or a trillion-and-a-half in budget cuts in it.
MATTHEWS: I don‘t think it does!
BUCHANAN: It goes over to the House, it passes. They send it to the president. He‘s going to veto it and shut down the government and put us default? Come on!
MATTHEWS: Pat, the whole idea of McConnell was to separate spending cuts from debt reduction—debt increasing. The whole idea is to separate this ideological warfare you enjoy from the need to keep the government from default.
MATTHEWS: You seem to be one of the happy Indians. By the way, the Tea Partiers, the original ones, dressed up like Indians and put on a little show. These guys are running around burning down houses.
BUCHANAN: That‘s history.
MATTHEWS: It‘s a different kind of Tea Party.
BUCHANAN: They threw the tea in the harbor, Chris. You‘re no historian!
MATTHEWS: Right. Well, that was pretty good, by the way. That wasn‘t exactly the kind of dangerous stuff they‘re doing right now.
CORN: That was (INAUDIBLE) OK.
BUCHANAN: Well, what...
MATTHEWS: This is Mrs. O‘Leary‘s cow politics!
BUCHANAN: ... don‘t seem to think it‘s that dangerous. The markets understand what‘s going on here.
CORN: No, no.
BUCHANAN: That‘s why the Republican dollar is—I mean, that‘s why U.S. bonds are at 3 percent!
MATTHEWS: Pat, they know that your brand of politics is not 218 votes in the House of Representatives. They know it‘s probably the right—
Steny Hoyer will come up with 100 Democrats.
MATTHEWS: And this fellow Boehner will come up with 118. They‘ll pull 218 together on a package which basically separates debt ceiling increasing from deficit reduction.
BUCHANAN: Will it have deficit reduction...
MATTHEWS: Don‘t you agree, David? That‘s what they have to do.
BUCHANAN: ... deficit reduction and no taxes.
CORN: This will not be a package...
MATTHEWS: We‘re arguing facts here.
CORN: This will not be a that the Tea Party can claim credit for and it‘s nothing they can take to the bank.
MATTHEWS: You‘re not sounding like a winner, David.
MATTHEWS: OK, let me ask you about, Pat—Pat, let‘s get back to brinkmanship. Do you think this is healthy for America, that one party becomes a protest party? Instead of waving placards and spitting on congressmen when they walk by, this protest party has now moved into the halls of Congress. It‘s now controlling the process, these guys.
You think that‘s good for American politics, to have 200 or so members of Congress who basically have an attitude of, If the other side doesn‘t agree with us, we bring the house down? Is that good for America?
BUCHANAN: I think the reality is America‘s a deeply divided country culturally, politically, economically, every other way. There is no area of agreement, and the only way you can decide these things is to fight it out in the center of the field. Negotiations were absurd. Obama used them to beat up the Republicans. Republicans ought to vote what they believe, send it over, let the Democrats in the Senate and the president take it or leave it.
MATTHEWS: What‘s the point of passing measures like constitutional amendments that don‘t even get the two thirds vote, even in the Republican-controlled House? What‘s the purpose of show events like that, Pat?
BUCHANAN: The purpose of that is to go home to your people and say, We tried to do this. And Chris, an awful lot of Democratic House members are going to vote for that balanced budget amendment.
BUCHANAN: You bet.
CORN: The clock is literally ticking, and they‘d rather have these show votes than actually get together. And you know, Pat, back in December, the president showed, as did Mitch McConnell—I‘ll give him credit—that you can compromise. It was a compromise that both people on the left and people on the right were not always happy with. But on the tax cut deal, they got together, they did the hard work, and they showed that...
BUCHANAN: In December, the president of the United States...
CORN: ... and worked things out. But when you have the Tea Party saying, We‘re not going to even—we‘re not even going to talk to you about anything you want, we‘re going to cut off the air supply...
MATTHEWS: Well, let me just end it right now...
BUCHANAN: In December, the president of the United States...
CORN: Let me finish, Pat!
MATTHEWS: It‘s David‘s turn.
CORN: ... not responsible governance.
MATTHEWS: OK, let me ask you this. I just way to say—it‘s David‘s turn for a second there. Let me just report on what‘s going on here. As my hero and your nemesis, Winston Churchill, once said, I refuse to be non-partisan between the fire brigade and the fire. The fire brigade in this case are the grown-ups, people like McConnell and John McCain and Lindsey Graham and John Boehner and the Democrats. They‘re trying to put out the fire.
I‘m not saying the Pelosi crowd aren‘t trying to win their side. But generally, the grown-ups say, Stop fighting over this. Let‘s protect our nation‘s economy from default, and you don‘t want to play that game.
BUCHANAN: Chris, you are saying...
MATTHEWS: You want to join the crazy protesters.
BUCHANAN: That is a terrible thing to say! You are saying the motivation of the Tea Party is to damage the country. Whatever you say about these people, it‘s unpopular what they‘re doing. They‘re getting beat up. They‘re standing by their principles!
MATTHEWS: No, their leaders...
CORN: ... see the economy suffer.
MATTHEWS: Their crazed leaders are telling them—people like Bachmann...
BUCHANAN: (INAUDIBLE) they‘re all independent!
MATTHEWS: ... and Steve King are saying, Oh, you don‘t have to worry about default because there won‘t really be any. That‘s the problem. They‘re being...
CORN: They‘re playing fire with other people‘s lives!
MATTHEWS: OK, thank you.
BUCHANAN: ... Tea Party patriots!
CORN: Prices will be paid for this, but not by them.
MATTHEWS: OK, Pat...
BUCHANAN: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: ... otherwise known as Mrs. O‘Leary‘s cow.
MATTHEWS: Thanks for joining us. Anyway, David—just kidding, of course. You are a patriot in your own strange way, Pat Buchanan. Thank you, and thank you, David Corn.
BUCHANAN: America first!
CORN: Thank you, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Coming up, he‘s the most—well, oftentimes, it has been. He‘s the most powerful man most Americans probably never heard—here he is, Grover Norquist. He‘s got the anti-tax pledge. He‘s got these Republicans hog-tied, supporting his position on the debt fight. Let‘s talk to one of the most powerful men in America. When we come back, Grover Norquist. You‘re going to know him in a minute.
You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.
MATTHEWS: In a bit of a surprise, President Obama has named former Ohio attorney general Richard Cordray to head the newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The president passed over Harvard professor Elizabeth Warren, who was the driving force, of course, behind the bureau‘s creating and is supported passionately by many on the progressive left. But Warren drew strong opposition from Republicans. And now there‘s talk she could run for the Senate—I‘ve heard it myself—up in Massachusetts against the new senator up there, Scott Brown.
We‘ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. We‘re quickly approaching the president‘s deadline for a compromise on the debt ceiling, and I want you to meet the man who‘s been dubbed the unofficial enforcer of the “no new taxes” pledge which may be holding up that deal. I think it is, in fact.
Joining me now, Grover Norquist, who‘s president of Americans for Tax Reform. Grover, thanks for coming on. I think we ought to—just to get the people informed in our audience about your pledge—and we‘re going to read it right now. We have it right now.
“I pledge to the taxpayers of whatever direct or state to the American people that I will, one, oppose any or all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates for individuals or businesses—and/or businesses, and two, oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions or credits unless matched dollar for dollar by further reductions in tax rates.”
Now, how successful have you been in nailing down Republicans in the Congress to this pledge?
GROVER NORQUIST, PRES., AMERICANS FOR TAX REFORM: Sure. We‘ve been offering this pledge to candidates for the House and Senate and president for the last 24 years. Today, 235 members of the House have signed the pledge that are sitting in the House of Representatives, 41 senators. So a majority of House members and 41 senators, 1,200 state legislators, 13 governors.
MATTHEWS: Well, this is the first time it‘s really had sort of the drama, as you know. And you‘re probably happy about this. A lot of people aren‘t happy. So explain why you are willing to hold people to this tax pledge, even if it means, at least between now and early August, no deal and therefore a possible default. Why are you pushing so hard at this point on keeping people to their pledge?
NORQUIST: Well, because the pledge, again, has been around for 24 years. In 1990, George Herbert Walker Bush signed the pledge, which is why he got—won the Republican primary...
MATTHEWS: Yes, but why are you holding them to it now, at this point, when we‘re facing this critical situation, where many people believe we face a default sometime early in August, or sooner, perhaps, and there—because there‘s been no deal in raising the debt ceiling? Why are you holding members of Congress who have pledged to your organization to risk a default? Why are you doing it?
NORQUIST: Chris, as you know, because you just read the pledge, the pledge is not to my organization. You just read the fact...
NORQUIST: ... that the pledge is to the American people.
MATTHEWS: But you wrote it.
NORQUIST: So—yes. And we offer it to all candidates.
NORQUIST: What the pledge does is, it allows a candidate who wants to run for office to make a credible commitment to the American people that he or she won‘t raise taxes.
NORQUIST: Without the pledge, which is the same wording in all 50 states over the last quarter-century...
NORQUIST: ... a promise not to raise taxes is like any other political promise and means nothing.
So the strength of the pledge is not that I or ATR enforces it. It‘s that the voters enforce it because they know what it means. They have read it. They have seen it.
NORQUIST: They voted for somebody because he or she promised to vote for it. The power of the pledge is the power of the American people, not me personally or Americans for Tax Reform, but, rather, that the pledge is not something you can walk away with and say you were misquoted.
MATTHEWS: Right. You‘re defining this in a way. I understand it completely. You have dramatized it.
But I‘m getting back to this. You have asked people to make an ironclad pledge. And your organization, you have written the thing. You have promoted it. You have gotten people to sign it.
MATTHEWS: Those who haven‘t signed it, you have encouraged to sign in various ways. You have put push pressure on them in various ways through grassroots efforts. I assume all that.
My question to you is, you hold these people in this organization to this pledge, right? Your organization holds them to the pledge, not just the American people generally. You, Grover Norquist, and your organization, hold them, right, to the pledge? You personally hold them to the pledge?
NORQUIST: We urge them to keep the pledge.
MATTHEWS: Right. That‘s what I‘m saying.
NORQUIST: ... people who break the pledge, as George Herbert Walker Bush did, were defeated by the American people.
MATTHEWS: OK. You keep going back—I know. That‘s the American people.
Let me ask you about this situation we‘re in right now. You are telling people to keep their pledge. Right? Let‘s be honest. You‘re telling them.
NORQUIST: Yes, of course.
NORQUIST: These people ran for office.
MATTHEWS: In the face of a financial default, you‘re willing to take the heat and say, I urge these people to stick to a pledge which I know will prevent a deal which allows the debt ceiling to go up? That‘s just a definition. Do you agree with that, what I just said?
NORQUIST: No, because I don‘t think the president of the United States is such a left-wing ideologue that he would close down the government because he‘s having a hissy fit that he can‘t get a tax increase.
MATTHEWS: Oh, what, a hissy fit? Is that how we talk now, a hissy fit? What‘s that? What‘s a hissy fit?
MATTHEWS: What‘s a hissy fit?
NORQUIST: When he says he wants to raise taxes and he‘d rather close the government—you just said the president would rather close down the government than have a budget cut.
MATTHEWS: No. I‘m saying to get a deal between the Democrats and Republicans, everyone watching the show knows you need some kind of a deal, 4-1, whatever, cutting spending, and raising revenue, some kind of deal. You‘re saying no deal, is what you‘re saying, no deal.
NORQUIST: No, a deal which reduces spending and doesn‘t raise taxes.
MATTHEWS: That‘s the only deal you accept? In other words, nothing that would be agreeable to any of the Democrats?
NORQUIST: Well, you‘re suggesting that the Democrats would rather close down the government if they don‘t get a tax increase. I think they‘re better than that.
MATTHEWS: No. The Democrats will agree to someone kind of compromise, even if it‘s 4-1, because the president is putting pressure on them.
You‘re saying that even a 4-1 deal isn‘t good enough for you?
NORQUIST: Well, the American people have elected a Congress committed not to raising taxes. And they‘re not going to raise taxes.
MATTHEWS: Well, I have asked you for about five minutes, Grover. You‘re a very smart guy and very politically aware. Will you answer the question? Are you happy with this situation that‘s developed now that because of this pledge that you have arranged people to sign, encouraged them to sign, and they‘re watchdogging, this pledge will keep a deal from happening between the Republicans and the Democrats which will allow the debt ceiling to go up and avoid default? You‘re happy with this crisis we‘re in right now?
NORQUIST: I disagree with your assumption and your assertion.
MATTHEWS: Well, tell me—tell me how I‘m wrong. Tell me how I‘m
NORQUIST: OK. The—I am glad that taxes will not be raised.
MATTHEWS: Under any circumstances?
NORQUIST: Under any circumstances, of course.
MATTHEWS: Any circumstances?
MATTHEWS: It‘s better not to raise taxes—it‘s better to have a default than to raise taxes? You said any circumstances?
NORQUIST: It‘s better to bring spending down than to either have a default or to raise taxes.
MATTHEWS: They‘re going to bring spending down. Both sides have agreed. The president of the United States is full-force for at least a $3 trillion cut as part of a $4 trillion package. You say, I don‘t want the package, I would rather have default, is what your position is. Just tell me if it isn‘t.
NORQUIST: I would rather have the American people move forward without a tax increase and without...
MATTHEWS: And have default.
NORQUIST: And—no, without a default. Let‘s bring spending down.
MATTHEWS: How do you avoid a default if you don‘t—if you refuse to raise taxes, and the Democrats and Republicans can‘t make a deal...
NORQUIST: Do I get to talk?
MATTHEWS: No, you have been talking quite well.
And the Democrats and Republicans don‘t reach a deal, you‘re happy with that resolution because it proves your point that people will fight taxes more than they will fight a default?
NORQUIST: I want an agreement that brings down spending. That‘s what we‘re fighting for.
MATTHEWS: And no tax increase?
NORQUIST: The president says he would rather—he would rather close down the government. You‘re asserting the president of the United States would rather close down the government if he doesn‘t get his tax increase.
MATTHEWS: No. He‘s put out a proposal. Let‘s get to the facts.
The president says he wants a $4 trillion package, including perhaps $3 trillion in spending cuts. And you say, no deal, right?
NORQUIST: It would be more impressive if he‘d write down the spending cuts. He still hasn‘t put together a budget that he can show us.
MATTHEWS: Because you people are refusing to deal on principle. You have just said five or six times now no tax increase under any circumstance. That was your phrase. Isn‘t that what you just said, under any circumstance?
NORQUIST: Of course, taxes are not going to be raised. The problem we have is too much spending.
NORQUIST: Raises taxes does not solve the problem of too much spending. Why would you cut—raise taxes when the problem is spending?
MATTHEWS: Well, let me give you some numbers. What percentage of GDP right now is coming in, in revenue? Sixteen percent. What‘s going out? Twenty-four percent? So you got to reconcile the two.
Sixteen percent is not enough in revenues and 24 percent is too much in spending if you‘re only going to raise 16. Your own balanced budget proposal among the Republicans is about 18. So, at minimum, you got to raise 2 percent of revenues. And you guys—of GDP—and you don‘t want to give anything to this guy, even to get back up from 16 percent to 18 percent, which is where you say want to end up with your balanced budget amendment.
Can‘t you even meet the terms of your own balanced budget amendment?
Is that unreasonable?
NORQUIST: Chris, as you know, the reason why tax revenues are closer to 16 percent than the norm, 18 percent...
NORQUIST: ... is because so many people are out of work.
NORQUIST: The reason so many people are out of work is that this administration has spent an awful lot of money and wasted it on stimulus spending and has been raising taxes.
MATTHEWS: OK. You have got all the arguments, except the logic here.
Anybody listening right now knows the arithmetic, Grover, is which our revenues are too low for the amount of money we have committed to government spending.
NORQUIST: Because of unemployment, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Yes, of course.
NORQUIST: Because of unemployment.
MATTHEWS: And under your balanced budget amendment—your balanced budget amendment makes no allowance for unemployment. It just raises—it sets a hard-core...
NORQUIST: A ceiling, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Yes, it does.
NORQUIST: A ceiling of 18 percent, not a floor.
MATTHEWS: Of course not. But the fact is, you‘re not providing here for bringing up revenues in any instance.
Your position basically is right now, just to clear this now, when it gets to July 30, what‘s your position going to be on revenues?
NORQUIST: On July 30, that we should...
MATTHEWS: No revenue increase?
NORQUIST: I‘m in favor of more federal revenues through more employment and more economic growth.
MATTHEWS: No, but not through any act—not by act of Congress?
NORQUIST: Not by act of Congress, of course not.
MATTHEWS: OK. August 15, what will your position be on revenues?
NORQUIST: That we should grow the economy and we should cut spending.
MATTHEWS: OK. So, your position as we go deeper and deeper into what everyone in the world recognizes will be perhaps bankruptcy, basically spikes in the interest rate, reduction in our bond ratings and everything else, perhaps the bond vigilantes will come in, and all that is going to happen through August, and you‘re going to stand fast to say, even in the face of that terror, you‘re going to say, I‘m holding my people. I have got 41 senators. I have got 235 House members. And they better not budge, because I, Grover Norquist, said so.
NORQUIST: Actually, Chris, the American people said so, not me.
MATTHEWS: No, in your document. You wrote it.
NORQUIST: Yes. And the American people voted for the House and the Senate.
MATTHEWS: The American people didn‘t write that document. The American people, in every poll I look at, says—Republicans are now running 21 percent in approval now because of this stand-fast position you have asserted here and prescribed for them, by the way. Let‘s be honest. You have diagnosed the problem, high taxes, and you gave your prescription, no new taxes, and you got 41 guys to go along with it.
And, by the way, what do you do with the ones that don‘t go along with it? You just let them go and give them a kiss goodbye? No. You go after them and pressure them, right?
NORQUIST: We highlight to the American people who has kept their pledge and who hasn‘t.
MATTHEWS: How about people who haven‘t signed a pledge? How about people who say this is bad policy, people like Lugar and Grassley, real conservatives who don‘t believe in your approach? What do you do to them?
NORQUIST: Actually, both of them have staked out a position of opposition to any tax increase.
MATTHEWS: Well, not with you.
NORQUIST: They have not yet taken the pledge.
MATTHEWS: What do you do with them?
NORQUIST: Well, they haven‘t signed the pledge.
But Lugar says he hasn‘t because he wants to go to a retail sales tax. And I hope that, someday, we will be able to explain to him you can move to a retail sales tax. It doesn‘t violate the pledge.
MATTHEWS: We‘re in a really—a—it looks to me like a real conflict here between you and me on this, because I think we need to deal with this debt ceiling issue. And you say we have to deal with a revenue issue, period, under any circumstances.
NORQUIST: I think we need to deal with the spending issue, Chris.
NORQUIST: The government is spending too much money. They need to spend less.
MATTHEWS: You know what? The president has agreed with you. He will reduce spending by $3 trillion in exchange for a $1 trillion increase in revenue, which is a 3-1 deal, which your party earned by doing—winning an election.
But if you don‘t deal, nothing gets done. That‘s how politics works.
It may not be the way...
NORQUIST: But if the problem is spending, raising taxes doesn‘t help.
MATTHEWS: You know what it does?
NORQUIST: The problem is spending.
MATTHEWS: It deals with—it lowers the deficit and it begins to show that American government can work without people like you basically dictating to politicians what they have to sign to avoid your heat. You are very successful.
NORQUIST: But, Chris, as you know, it‘s the American people that have said that, not Americans for Tax Reform.
MATTHEWS: Well, we will see. We will see.
Hey, Grover, thanks for coming up. I really appreciate you coming on. It‘s a good argument. I think we have cleared up the way people know where you stand right now. I hope I have helped.
You‘re watching HARDBALL.
NORQUIST: We‘re against overspending.
MATTHEWS: Well, you know what? That‘s not the issue.
It‘s the issue—you won‘t cut a deal.
NORQUIST: That‘s the only issue, overspending by this administration.
Grover, thank you for coming on. I appreciate it. I mean it. You know I do. Thank you.
You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.
MATTHEWS: Up next: Michele Bachmann once referred to homosexuality as bondage, despair, and enslavement. Now she would like you to forget all that, but gay rights groups are using Bachmann‘s words against her—that fight coming up next here on HARDBALL.
You‘re watching it, only on MSNBC.
HAMPTON PEARSON, CNBC CORRESPONDENT: I‘m Hampton Pearson with your CNBC “Market Wrap.”
Stocks ending lower, but off session lows, the Dow Jones industrials falling 94 points. It had been down about 170 points around noon. The S&P 500 sliding 10, the Nasdaq giving up 24.
One investor telling CNBC today that it wasn‘t like uncertainty had gone away over the weekend. Ongoing European debt concerns and a lack of progress in the debt ceiling talks here at home all weighing on stocks today.
Financials were under pressure after Barclays cut its price target on Citigroup and analysts started digging into those stress tests on European banks that came out last week.
News Corp. continues to slide with that phone hacking scandal expanding over the weekend. And IBM posting quarterly earnings after the closing bell. Shares are climbing in after-hours trading on better-than-expected results and an improved forecast. The tech giant reported double-digit increases for hardware, software and services.
That‘s it from CNBC, first in business worldwide—now back to
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Michele Bachmann‘s political star rose in Minnesota when she decided to take on same-sex marriage and pushed an amendment to the state constitution to ban it. Now she would like everyone to ignore all that, but gay rights groups say they intend to put Bachmann‘s views on gays and her husband‘s views front and center in the 2012 presidential race.
Richard Socarides is a friend of mine. He‘s president of Equality Matters. And R. Clarke Cooper is executive director of Log Cabin Republicans.
Gentlemen, thank you for joining us.
First of all, is this going to be a political issue for the presidential election, Richard? Do you expect to raise this issue again and again, the position of Michele Bachmann?
RICHARD SOCARIDES, FORMER SENIOR ADVISER TO PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON:
Well, we do.
I mean, the bottom line is, her views are way outside of mainstream of American political thought and American scientific thought. She has a long history of opposing the most basic rights for gay Americans. I mean, all we want to be able to do is have the same rights as everybody else, but she has a history of scapegoating and a history of using anti-gay rhetoric in a very potentially dangerous way. So we will call attention to it whenever we think it‘s appropriate.
I want to get to Clarke with a quote she gave here. Here it is. A
Minnesota state senator not many years ago, Michele Bachmann said—quote
-- “If you‘re involved in the gay and lesbian lifestyle”—that‘s her term
“it‘s bondage. It is personal bondage, personal despair, and personal enslavement.”
I mean, she makes a big distinction between orientation and lifestyle. I‘m not sure what that means exactly, Clarke. Are you comfortable with the way she even talks about gay issues politically?
R. CLARKE COOPER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, LOG CABIN REPUBLICANS: Well—well, for starters, let‘s just—it‘s orientation. It‘s not lifestyle.
But the point was made in many areas about electability. So it doesn‘t matter where you stand on the political spectrum. Just pragmatically, looking politically, her position regarding the gay community does puts her at a fringe even with the Republican Party.
I‘m not the only conservative strategist...
MATTHEWS: Why is she so anti-gay, Clarke?
COOPER: Well, that‘s a good question. That‘s a good question. Why is anybody anti-gay? You know, obviously...
MATTHEWS: But it‘s an obsession with her in terms of her politics. It seems to be more than just winning votes. I don‘t know how many votes she can win on it, first of all. That‘s certainly problematic in the most conservative areas.
She doesn‘t—here‘s her husband. He also seems to be focused intently on this question of reparative therapy. Here he is talking about homosexuality on a radio show last year.
Let‘s listen in.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RADIO HOST: What do you say when your teenager says she‘s gay?
DR. MARCUS BACHMANN, REP. MICHELE BACHMAN‘S HUSBAND: There‘s that curiosity. But, again, it is as if we have to understand barbarians need to be educated. They need to be disciplined. And just because someone feels it or thinks it doesn‘t mean that we‘re supposed to go down that road.
We have a responsibility as parents and as authority figures not to encourage such thoughts and feelings.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RICHARD SOCARIDES, EQUALITY MATTERS: I mean, Chris you know, just listen to that language. I mean, that language is like --
MATTHEWS: Well, what is he afraid of? Like it‘s a slippery slope like if you even hear about homosexuality, you got to run toward it.
I mean, it seems to me people who are gay are gay. They know it from a fairly early age. They accept it. They try to make the most of it. They live a good life, if they can.
Obviously, you know, Rich, you know all about this. This idea if you hear about it.
MATTHEWS: Yes. Well, that‘s right. This idea that if you hear about it, you‘ll be so enticed by it. If a teacher is gay, you‘ll want to join him or her in this orientation. It seems like it‘s scary to people like her and her husband, so scary they‘ve formed this institute to talk people, pray them out of the gay orientation.
What do you make of this? Because I think—I thought this was going away. I thought the American people—I thought the American people have moved dramatically. Your thoughts?
SOCARIDES: It is going away. You know, I do think—I think it is going away. And I think that this—some of this language is a throwback to the old days when, you know, anti-gay rhetoric could be used to excite conservative base voters, and to excite people about particular candidates.
But I think that you know, this—these scare tactics don‘t work anymore. This is a very mainstream issue. I mean, in New York where we got, you know, same-sex marriage through just last month—I mean, it was the Republicans. Republican caucus in the --
MATTHEWS: Well, yes, with some wealthy guys, too.
OK. Let‘s not overstate the overwhelming Republican push for same-sex marriage, Richard. Let‘s go to Clarke on that.
SOCARIDES: But there are a lot of mainstream Republicans who are for this.
MATTHEWS: I know. Let me give you one example --
SOCARIDES: Laura Bush, Ted Olsen.
MATTHEWS: OK. Yes, there are some. And you‘re right.
SOCARIDES: There are some.
MATTHEWS: Richard, you‘re trying to cross the aisle here.
Clarke, (INAUDIBLE) segment, here‘s Rudy Giuliani questioning the Republican Party against getting involved in this kind of gay marriage issue. Let‘s listen to the former mayor.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDY GIULIANI ®, FORMER NYC MAYOR: I think that marriage is between a money and woman, but I think that Republican Party would be well-advised to get the heck out of people‘s bedrooms and let these things get decided by states. I don‘t know what the heck the Republican Party wants to do getting involved in the people‘s sexual lives and personal lives so much for. Stay out of it. I think we‘d be a much more successful political party.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Clarke, you know, my dad used to go to bed at night worrying about the national debt, worrying about fiscal responsibility. I do occasionally. I do worry about $14 trillion debts and bigger than our GDP. I‘m with Grover on at least the idea of dealing with spending. I wish he didn‘t want to try to pick the fight in that front. It‘s his intransigents on the other stuff.
But this thing about—are there Republicans in your party that go to bed at night, straight people, worried about gay people?
R. CLARKE COOPER, LOG CABIN REPUBLICANS: No. Most Republicans are worried about spending.
MATTHEWS: Then why this focus here? Why this focus here?
COOPER: Yes. But, Chris, most Republicans are worried about overspending in the government.
MATTHEWS: Yes, I‘m with you.
COOPER: Most Americans --
MATTHEWS: I do, too.
COOPER: Most Republicans want to address debt, want to address the size of government. So, because most Americans and most Republicans who are elected to office want to address those broader issues that affect all Americans, everybody needs a job. Everybody‘s affected by the economy. And most people want to see resolution to government, you know, lower government spending and address tax reform.
That said, when an issue like one‘s orientation starts to eclipse the dialogue, then any solid fiscal conservative messaging that‘s out there is lost. It gets lost in the cacophony of any anti-gay rhetoric. So, there are many --
SOCARIDES: I tell you. I wish it were true that Republicans had dropped this. But I tell you, you know, Barack Obama, who, you know, has got, you know, not a perfect record. But, boy, I tell you, compared to any of these Republicans running today, he looks pretty good.
MATTHEWS: Can we end on this? I want to end on one point. I‘m going to be watching the Republican platform on this coming year. If it‘s in there, I‘m going to jump on it. If you get rid of it, we‘ll get rid of it. I‘m still thinking the Republican Party, Clarke, is still going to jam something in this sacredness of marriage and therefore, they don‘t like gays.
Anyway, thank you, Clarke Cooper. Thank you, Richard Socarides for coming on.
COOPER: By the way, it is being addressed within the party. So—
Barack Obama‘s failed economy. Here it is—his position there—
MATTHEWS: OK. Got to go. I‘m sorry, Clarke, you got your shot in there and I appreciate it.
COOPER: All right.
Up next, Scotland Yard‘s top two officers resigned as the Rupert Murdoch phone hacking scandal explodes again and again. Just how tight were Britain‘s top police with the Murdoch empire? And is the same thing happening here? We‘re talking about Jude Law and people like that.
This is HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.
MATTHEWS: Texas Governor Rick Perry says he‘ll decide in the next two or three weeks whether he‘s going to run for president. But in his clearest statement yet, he told the “Des Moines Register” that he‘s been called—been called to run. The governor said, “I‘m getting more and more comfortable every day that this is what I‘ve been called to do. This is what America needs.” Those are his quotes.
Perry who famously talked up Texas secession once is holding a prayer event in Houston three weeks from now.
We‘ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: We‘re back.
News continues to break in the Murdoch hacking scandal in Britain. A former top Murdoch aide Rebekah Brooks was arrested yesterday. The top two men at Scotland Yard have resigned over questionable relationships to a former “News of the World” reporter. And a whistleblower in this case has turned up dead.
NBC News‘ Stephanie Gosk is covering this story for us in London. Michael Wolff, he‘s author of “The Man Who Owns then News: Inside the Secret World of Rupert Murdoch.”
Let‘s go right now to the tangled web that may be the best way to describe this hacking scandal as the parties involved, Murdoch‘s empire, government and the police all have ties one to another.
MATTHEWS: It begins with Rupert Murdoch, the chief of News Corporation, which includes the British company, News International.
His son James handles European operations for News Corp.
On Friday, Les Hinton resigned. He ran Murdoch‘s Dow Jones and published “The Wall Street Journal.” He previous ran News International.
Rebekah Brooks worked for Les Hinton, ran the tabloid “News of the World” and went on to run News International. She quit and was arrested yesterday.
Brooks‘ deputy at “News of the World” was Andy Coulson, who ran the paper when much of the hacking went on. He resigned and became top communications aide for David Cameron, who became prime minister. Coulson later resigned from the prime minister‘s office over the hacking scandal.
The prime minister happens to be also friends with Rebekah Brooks and James Murdoch.
Another Coulson at the paper, though, was a royals reporter named Clive Goodman who hired a private investigator named Glenn Mulcaire to hack the phones of aides to the royal family.
Scotland Yard ran the investigation into the hacking and arrested Goodman, Mulcaire, Coulson and Brooks.
Paul Stevenson, the top man at Scotland Yard, resigned yesterday in part because he hired Neil Wallace as a P.R. consultant. Wallace used to work at “News of the World.”
John Yates, the number two at Scotland Yard, stepped down yesterday because he refused to reopen the hacking scandal investigation a few years ago. He also has ties to Neil Wallace.
MATTHEWS: Stephanie Gosk, we‘ve tried to put this together the best we can. Give us more. Give us more color on this tangled web in Britain.
STEPHANIE GOSK, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it‘s not easy. And people are going to look at that and go, huh? It is very confusing and it‘s just been a mind-bending story and that‘s because News Corp and its influence in this country is widespread. And we are now seeing that.
This has been an unbelievable 36 hours where you have the top two men in charge of Scotland Yard resigning. Rebekah Brooks, one of the Murdoch‘s most trusted executives, is getting arrested. And now, and this strange news of this journalist who has shown up dead.
And what you are seeing right now is the effect of this web on various facets of society here in this country, including the police force and parliament and the government. David Cameron coming under increasingly intense rebuke for his relationships with News Corp as well—Chris.
MATTHEWS: Michael Wolff, bring it on home. When you look at this story as you cover it and develop it, what do you make of this thing?
Andy Coulson, the whole thing—he apparently add role here.
Tell us what you know about this and how it relates it up-to-date here in America?
MICHAEL WOLFF, VANITY FAIR: Well, it‘s just extraordinary. I mean, when everyone who‘s involved with this talks about it, it‘s—they just shake their heads. And it‘s not just 36 hours. It‘s literally two weeks of the most incredible developments.
Every one of these, each one of these developments would be—would be in a normal time headline making for months on end. But there‘s new development everyday.
MATTHEWS: OK, let‘s get to the question of the prime minister. Why did the prime minister hire Andy Coulson? Was it at the advice of Rebekah Brooks? Did he do it to keep cool and make friends with Rupert?
WOLFF: I will tell you, I‘m going to tell you exactly why they did this. And I was involved with—I mean, they talked about this openly. I have spent time with all of these people, including the prime minister.
Rupert Murdoch did not like David Cameron. I have spent lots of time with Murdoch mumbling about Cameron, what a slickster he is. He liked Gordon Brown. Rebekah Brooks, however, likes David Cameron and she set out to convince Rupert that he ought to go with Cameron.
And one of the things here, one of the chips, one of the trades was she went to Cameron and said, “You hire our guy, Andy Coulson. If do you that, I can help bring Rupert around”—and she succeeded.
MATTHEWS: And he hired—the prime minister, the candidate for prime minister, hired Coulson and then ended up getting, what, the respect or a base (ph) or what—how would you describe how Rupert responded to that deal?
WOLFF: Well, actually, Rupert responded grudgingly. He still doesn‘t like David Cameron. He actually liked Gordon Brown. But he felt that if Rebekah and his son, James, wanted this, this was their show. He was trying to be hands-off.
WOLFF: And plus, he got a man in number 10 Downing Street and that was a victory.
MATTHEWS: Tomorrow—back to you, Stephanie—tomorrow, we have the hot case, and this case is going before a parliamentary committee. You‘re going to have the man himself, Rupert Murdoch, his son, James.
You‘re going to have, Stephanie, you‘re going to have—what‘s her name—
Rebekah Brooks. They‘re all going to be there under oath—under oath.
Will the name Jude Law come up? Will the name—who else is going to come up in this case? Jude Law has apparently been involved in this.
GOSK: Well, first, Chris, let me back up just a little bit. It‘s unclear whether they‘re going to be under oath in the same way that people are under oath in testimony in Congress. But you are going to hear some very pressing questions and some difficult questions and what they have all three of them have said is they are going to avoid any question that jeopardizes the ongoing investigation in Scotland Yard.
So, they may be silent on a number of these issues.
MATTHEWS: OK. Thank you very much. This case is wide open and it just gets bigger.
Thank you so much, Stephanie Gosk, over in London. To Michael Wolff, who is on top of this.
When we return, “Let Me Finish” with a great moment for America—actually, even in defeat, some great news about America and women and sports and what men root for these days. It‘s amazing to watch.
You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.
MATTHEWS: “Let Me Finish” tonight with a grand American sighting. It‘s what everybody saw yesterday when they went past a restaurant, a bar, any other place there were people and a television. It‘s the huge bunch of men mainly cheering the American women soccer team in the World Cup. The whoops went up every time they scored. The haws every time Japan scored a goal.
As I said, the groups I saw were overwhelmingly men, and not all young men by any means.
Soccer, we call it. The world calls it football. And everyone in this country lucky enough to have kids knows how much girls, especially, love the game.
Ever since 1972, when Title IX was added to our civil rights, girls and women have had an equal shot at sports in school. It‘s that‘s why there is nine times the participation in school right now by women that there was before the title was past in 1972.
Here‘s a more recent statistic. There were more—there was tweeting per second during Sunday‘s match than at any time in human history. People not just wanted to watch and see us compete and hopefully pull it off, they wanted to share the excitement with friends and family. This is great stuff for the country. Great stuff.
Enormously important—much more important than politics, I think, sometimes, because it‘s about an equal playing field starting when you‘re young. Learning equality at a young age is a very good thing to learn, especially for an American. We all need teams, we all need the cheers of America cheering for us.
So, good for Japan, but great for us.
That‘s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
More politics ahead with Cenk Uygur.
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