CENK UYGUR, HOST: Good evening, everybody. I`m Cenk Uygur. We have got a great show for you tonight.
Sarah Palin is coming — uh-oh. Newt Gingrich might be going. Uh-oh for him. And the Republicans are generally standing their ground.
Well, let`s start with that one.
Even though Paul Ryan`s plan to end Medicare is dragging them over a political cliff, the GOP is still standing right behind him. Forty Republican senators just voted for his bill yesterday.
And just listen to Dick Cheney.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICHARD CHENEY (R), FMR. VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I worship the ground that Paul Ryan walks on. I hope he doesn`t run for president because that would ruin a good man.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UYGUR: Man, that`s amazing. He sounds like a schoolgirl with a crush on Justin Bieber. That was fun. Man, I`ve got to hear that again.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHENEY: I worship the ground that Paul Ryan walks on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UYGUR: Oy. By the way, when you`re further right wing than Dick Cheney, you might be a little too right wing. But Cheney is not alone. Republicans everywhere are doubling down on Paul Ryan and claiming Medicare didn`t lose him that election in Upstate New York.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), HOUSE SPEAKER: The fact is we didn`t win. And part of — the small part of the reason we didn`t win clearly had to do with Medicare. Well, we have outlined a plan, frankly, that we believe in.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UYGUR: That`s great. I love how he starts. He`s like, I`ve got to be honest with you, we didn`t win. Yes, we already knew that. It`s not like a big concession.
And then he says Medicare, this is a small part of the reason we didn`t win. Really? OK. You want to go down that road? Have at it, Hoss.
Now, Ryan himself, of course, is telling Republicans not to get all wobbly on him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you say to maybe these weak-kneed Republicans?
REP. PAUL RYAN (R), WISCONSIN: Yes. It`s not the time to go wobbly. They`re going to run these attack ads at us regardless. This is a time for leaders to be leaders.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UYGUR: All right. It looks like Republicans are deluding themselves into thinking what`s wrong is their sales pitch, but not what they`re actually selling.
Listen to Oklahoma Tom Cole. He says, “If we`ll just stay with our argument and do a better job developing it, we`ll be fine.” Just fine.
Florida`s Allen West says, “We need to be stronger in marketing who we are and our message.” I know, it`s just marketing.
And Karl Rove himself says, “Republicans need a political war college that schools incumbents and challengers in the best way to explain, defend and attack on the issue of Medicare.” I thought they had that. I thought it was called Fox News Channel.
Anyway, hey, listen, Republicans. You guys are all right. Just keep going. Hit that cliff? Don`t worry about that cliff.
You`ll be fine — just a little further now. No (INAUDIBLE).
Well, look, you have got to give the Republicans on one thing. They do stand their ground, which isn`t always the case with Democrats.
So will the Republicans be able to swing public opinion with enough ads bought by millionaires by the time we have those elections in 2012, or will they find themselves over that cliff they seem itching to walk off of?
Let`s discuss. Let`s bring in Congressman Jim McDermott. He is, of course, a Democrat from the great state of Washington. He serves on the Ways and Means Committee and is a proud member of the Progressive Caucus.
REP. JIM MCDERMOTT (D), WASHINGTON: Hi, Cenk. How are you?
UYGUR: I`m awesome.
So, first question — the Republicans continue to go down the Paul Ryan path. Are you happy or unhappy about that?
MCDERMOTT: I hope they stick with that all the way up to the election of 2012. It`s a losing plan and they knew it. They had polling — Ryan had polling before he went out on the floor with it, and they went with it anyway because they`re true believers.
They simply thought they won the last election in 2010 on the basis of jobs, and then they pivoted and said it`s all the deficit. Let`s cut grandma, throw her under the bus, and the people will elect us in 2012.
It simply is bad politics.
UYGUR: But here`s what I`m concerned about. Honestly, I would rather have them run for the hills. And I know some of them have. You know, five of the Republican senators voted no — Collins, Snowe, Scott Brown, Murkowski and one other.
OK. So that`s good. I like that, because I don`t want this policy to pass because I care about the policy more than that, more than anything else. But if they double down and they got all those ads with all the money that they buy, is there any concern that they might actually be able to swing public opinion?
MCDERMOTT: The American people have figured it out and they`ve decided that the Republicans wants to get rid of Medicare as we know it and give a voucher out to people. And that`s not good for grandma and it`s not good for grandma`s children or grandma`s grandchildren.
And there`s nothing they can do with advertising that will change the American perception of that. The Americans have made up their minds on this. That`s what New York 26 showed. That race they lost because people in a Republican district said this is crazy, we don`t want these guys in here.
UYGUR: Congressman, of course the key is for people to fight back. And Kathy Hochul, in that district, of course did a great job fighting back, and that`s why she won the election. But, you know, some are concerned — and I say “some,” let me keep it real — it`s me — I`m concerned that the White House is going to do a deal where they say they`re going to reform Medicare.
Now, so let`s get a little bit more realistic here. What do you consider reform and what are you willing to live with? And what will you draw the line on as a member of the Progressive Caucus?
What will you say, hey, you know what? If you, for example, move up the age where we get Medicare, I`m out, we`re not going to do that, where do you drew those lines, Congressman?
MCDERMOTT: There are two ways to deal with Medicare. And I agree with that the costs are a problem just like Paul Ryan does. His response is put the cost on to grandma, and we`ll just give her a voucher, and whatever else she needs has to come out of her own pocket.
My review of reform is you have to start looking at drug companies and at pharmaceutical companies and medical prices and hospital prices. You have to start looking at the ways you control costs inside the program. It can be done. It`s been done in every industrialized country in the world except the United States.
UYGUR: So if they try to say, hey, you have to get Medicare at a higher age, are you going to draw the line on that and say you`re opposed to that?
MCDERMOTT: Absolutely, I`m opposed to that. The problem is now it ought to be 60, because people are being laid off from jobs, they can`t find jobs.
You have more long-term unemployment in this country right now than you`ve ever had in our history. And those people are desperate to have the security of having health insurance. So I think Medicare ought to come down rather than push it up.
UYGUR: All right. That is very clear.
Washington Congressman Jim McDermott, always happy to have you on. Thank you so much for joining us tonight.
MCDERMOTT: See you again.
UYGUR: All right.
Now let`s bring in a pair of old battle axes — Bill Press, host of “The Bill Press Show” on Sirius Radio, and MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan.
Do you guys mind that?
BILL PRESS, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: You didn`t say experienced, Cenk.
UYGUR: OK. Experienced battle axes.
UYGUR: Battle axes is cool though. That`s fun. I`d like to be a battle axe.
All right, Pat. I want to start with you tonight.
Are the Republicans genuine here? Do they really think that they didn`t lose the Upstate New York race because of Medicare? They can`t believe that, right?
PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, they`re realistic, I think. I think Medicare was probably the primary reason why they lost that district up there, which is a heavy Republican district.
But I will say this, Cenk — and I think you might agree with me — they are showing some courage and grit not running away from their principles after they have suffered a single defeat. And while they have suffered a defeat, and this is a problem for them, I think Bill Clinton is the one who is wise on this. He said, look, simply because Ryan`s plan might not be the right one, we`re going to have to do something about Medicare, because Medicare, Social Security, defense and Medicaid, they`re going to take us down to where this country may have to default. And if we do in the next two or maybe six years, and Barack Obama is in the wheelhouse, then he is Herbert Hoover and they have forgotten Paul Ryan.
PRESS: Hey, Cenk, by the way, it didn`t take Bill Clinton to say that. Part of President Obama`s health care reform plan, which is now the law of the land, reformed the way Medicare is delivered in a way that you don`t have so much repetition and procedures and docs, which according to the Congressional Budget Office, will pay $200 billion over the next 10 years.
But let me tell you what this is, Cenk. This is classic political overreach. And Pat has seen it. I`ve seen Democrats do it and Republicans do it.
They get in office. There`s that arrogance of power. Think ignore the polls, they ignore their consultants. They`re determined, they think they`re right. And they go and they just simply overreach.
I think it`s like political Jonestown. You know, Paul Ryan mixed the Kool-Aid, John Boehner served it and forced everybody to drink it.
BUCHANAN: You know, Bill –
UYGUR: But Pat, you have got to be worried about that, right?
BUCHANAN: — this isn`t Jonestown.
UYGUR: This could be the end.
BUCHANAN: Oh, come on, Cenk.
UYGUR: I mean, if you look at what happened to the 26th District, I mean — no, but that`s a heavily-Republican district, Pat.
BUCHANAN: Cenk –
UYGUR: I mean, if you`re not concerned about that, I`m surprised by that.
BUCHANAN: Look, they`ve lost a district, there`s no doubt about it. They have a got problem with this issue.
But let me tell you, the United States of America has a hellish problem. We have got a deficit that`s running at 10 percent of the gross national product for the third year in a row. Barack Obama — the big O`s budget went up there, voted down 97-0, and here`s what — let me tell you, if you don`t address this, and Medicare is part of it, and this country goes down, it`s the man in the White House that`s accountable.
PRESS: Pat, what are you talking about? Pat, come on. What are you talking about?
Joe Biden is leading a group right now which is looking at responsible ways revolving (ph) against the Democrats to balance the budget. And here`s the problem. These phony Republicans up there, they talk fiscal responsibility, and yet, at the same time, they want to continue the subsidies to the oil companies and they want to continue the subsidies stop the wealthiest of Americans in terms of taxes.
That`s a total contradiction. You can`t have it both ways. Instead, they`ll take it out on grandma.
UYGUR: Look, we`ve had that oil subsidy discussion before. Obviously, I agree with Bill on this.
I know where you stand, Pat, but let`s stay on Medicare here. And I want to see if we can get any kind of agreements.
Bill, what would you agree is proper reform of Medicare? What would you be willing to cut?
And then, Pat, you tell me if you`re willing to go in that direction at all or if you think it`s right to stay on that Ryan plan.
So, Bill, you go first.
PRESS: Well, I just mentioned, look, having worked in the health care thing last year with a big labor and business group, there are enormous wastes of money in Medicare the way it`s delivered, the duplication of docs, the duplication of procedures, procedures that are –
UYGUR: But that`s easy, Bill. Everybody says that.
PRESS: Wait. No, no, no. But do it. Do it, Cenk. We talk about it, we don`t do it.
And the other thing is, built into the health care law again is this panel which Republicans want to get rid of that says if they see too much overbilling, that they can move in on a hospital or move in on a doc and do it. You need those kind of cost controls in Medicare. At least start there.
BUCHANAN: All right. You know what I`d do, Cenk?
UYGUR: Yes, go ahead, Pat.
BUCHANAN: Here`s what I would do. Look, I was with Ronald Reagan and they put together the Social Security Commission. I didn`t like the results of it, but clearly you had to give some here.
Age is going to have to go up, the benefits are going to have to be pared back. Then you`re going to have to get both parties behind the thing and agreed upon, and the leaders, and they`ve got to come forward.
I don`t agree that you can have any change that`s dramatic because it lends itself to demagoguery, as it did in the 26th District. But if we — let me tell you this –
UYGUR: So you think the Ryan plan is a bad idea then.
BUCHANAN: Here`s the problem. Look, when it came out, I said if I were a presidential candidate, I would say Ryan clearly has shown courage here, he`s worked on this thing, he`s a guy that you ought to respect, he`s an intellectual. But I would not embrace it as a presidential candidate, because you`ve got 18 months to a presidential campaign, and you don`t lock yourself into a fixed position when you`re an outsider, as a candidate, because the party in power does that.
PRESS: Cenk, there`s one other reality here which I think we saw in New York in the 26th. The political dynamic for 2012 has changed dramatically. I mean, the House is now in play for Democrats on this issue alone. This is a battleground. Every race is going to be run, Ryan plan: are you up or down?
BUCHANAN: But you know –
PRESS: Wait a minute, Pat, just a second.
Every presidential candidate. That`s why some of them are really nervous about that.
BUCHANAN: Let me tell you what`s wrong with the analysis, Bill. It`s not going to be the issue for this reason –
UYGUR: No, no.
PRESS: Yes, it is.
UYGUR: It`s already an issue, Pat.
BUCHANAN: We`re going to get an agreement –
UYGUR: Pat, it`s already an issue.
BUCHANAN: No, it is an issue, but Cenk –
UYGUR: They`re all going to get asked about it.
So let`s show you what Pawlenty said and then you guys can react to it. Let`s show you Pawlenty first.
BUCHANAN: But Cenk, it`s a year and a half between now and the election. Here`s what`s going to happen. Either Biden or the other fellow is going to come up with changes in Medicare which are going to go through, and that`s going to supersede Ryan.
That will be the issue. If they go through, Ryan is –
UYGUR: Guys, hold on. Let`s look at Pawlenty and then get your reaction.
Go to the clip.
PRESS: All right. Let`s go.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TIM PAWLENTY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We`ll have our own plan, and it will have many similarities to Congressman Ryan`s plan, but it will have some differences. And the Medicare part of our plan will have some differences, too. You`ll have some similarities also. But if I can`t have my own plan — as president I`ll have my own plan. If I can`t have that, and the bill came to my desk, and I had to choose between signing or not, Congressman Ryan`s plan, of course I would sign it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UYGUR: All right. Look, they all get asked, they all get put on the record.
UYGUR: But as Pat said, there`s going to be a different plan probably by the time the election rolls around.
So, Bill, does this hurt them, people like Pawlenty? Or do they get beyond it because at some point the White House makes a deal?
PRESS: Well, first of all, I deny the premise. There is — what do you think, this gang is going to get something that — they haven`t gotten anything done in the last two-and-a-half years. What makes you think they`re going to get a plan done in the next 12 months? They`re not going to.
This is going to be the issue. It has already started. It was the issue in 26. And every Republican presidential candidate is going to have to answer that question.
UYGUR: Last word, Pat.
BUCHANAN: All right. Now, Cenk, now let me tell you. You`ve heard Bill.
Let me tell you, if Barack Obama, president of the United States, does not get some kind of deal which involves the big items, Medicare, defense, all those things, Barack Obama is a failed president. And Barack Obama alone will be responsible if this country goes over the cliff toward which everybody agrees it is headed.
PRESS: Yes. Nice try, Pat. Nice try.
BUCHANAN: The economy will be the issue in 2012, not Paul Ryan.
PRESS: Here we go, Cenk. You can`t defend Paul Ryan, so you attack Barack Obama. That`s what they`ve been doing for the last –
PRESS: It doesn`t work. They`ve got to take a stand on Paul Ryan.
UYGUR: Pat, I know you`re going to agree that part of that package should be big revenue increases, right?
BUCHANAN: Well, this is — well, and I`ll tell you, the whole deal, Cenk, you`re exactly right.
UYGUR: All right. All right.
BUCHANAN: Republicans are burned on this thing. They are burned. And you watch them back off on any kind of deal as well. And if there`s no deal, who`s on the ballot in November, 2012? It ain`t Paul Ryan.
UYGUR: Well, he actually is going to be on the ballot in his own race, and he may suffer from that.
PRESS: Hey, Cenk, I just think we heard Pat agree to getting rid of those tax cuts for the wealthy. Didn`t you? I think I heard him agree to that.
UYGUR: Well, that`s what it seemed to be. But all right –
PRESS: Good for you, Pat.
BUCHANAN: Hey, Cenk, half of all Americans don`t pay any income taxes. Take a look at them for a change.
UYGUR: All right. All right.
PRESS: Come on, Pat.
UYGUR: You got that one in, Pat. All right.
Bill Press and MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan, thank you both. Great as always.
Transcribed by the Barefoot Accountant of Accountants CPA Hartford, Connecticut, LLC.
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