Obama may have found his “Trump” card: GOP’s worst nightmare

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UYGUR: It‘s official, we‘ve got a war within the Republican Party. That must mean that the 2012 race has started in earnest. Ladies and gentleman, start your engines. This time the fight is between Donald Trump and the GOP establishment, and it‘s ugly. When Trump first jumped into the 2012 discussion, it looked like he was just trying to get attention. But now that he‘s at or near the top of just about every poll out there, the GOP is getting scared and they have started a full-scale war against Trump. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor took the first shot last week painting Trump as a joke.


REP. ERIC CANTOR ®, HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER: I don‘t think he is really serious when we see a campaign launch on the birther issue.


UYGUR: What do you think Trump is going to do about that? Do you think he‘s going to just sit back and take that? No way, of course he‘s going to fire back. So over the weekend, he told Talking Points Memo just what he thought of Eric Cantor.


DONALD TRUMP, ENTREPRENEUR: And I think it‘s a very bad thing for Cantor to have done because I will tell you, people love this issue, especially in the Republican Party. And there‘s something to what we‘re saying.


UYGUR: This is like the WWE now. Then Trump takes a chair out of nowhere and swings it at Romney.


TRUMP: Mitt Romney is a basically small business guy. If you really think about it. He was a Hedge Fund, he was a fund guy, he walked away with some money from a very good company that he didn‘t create. He would buy companies, he‘d close companies and get rid of the jobs. I have thousands and thousands of jobs that I‘ve created over the years. My net worth is many, many, many times Mitt Romney.


UYGUR: Yes, yes, yes, I got it, you‘re rich. I think he‘s totally full of it, by the way, on how much money he has. But even if it‘s true, is that like a real selling point in an election? Ha ha, I‘m richer than you, so vote for me? I don‘t get that strategy. But maybe the Republicans are actually scared of his money and his poll numbers, because The Weekly Standard Stephen Hayes then randomly jumped in the ring and hit the Donald over the head.


STEPHEN HAYES, COLUMNIST, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: The problem I think he has is that he‘s sort of a clownish figure. He doesn‘t really have any ideas. He was supporting Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama two years ago. He‘s been on every side of every issue in every conceivable political position over the past decade.


UYGUR: Now, remember The Weekly Standard is the bastion of neo-cons, so apparently they‘re not on the Trump bandwagon. But then out of nowhere, here comes the big guy, the reigning king of the GOP establishment. Off the top rope.


KARL ROVE, FORMER BUSH ADVISOR: His full embrace of the birther issue means that he‘s off there in the nutty right and is now an inconsequential candidate. I‘m shocked. The guy is smarter than this. And, you know, the idea that President Obama was not born in Hawaii, you know, making that the centerpiece of his campaign means that he‘s, you know, now, you know, just a joke candidate.


UYGUR: Remember, like Snooker would do the full body slam but a lot of guys go from the top rope in wrestling, and they do elbow from the sky. That‘s what Rove just did and the Donald is reeling. But just like in wrestling when you sometimes can‘t tell who‘s hitting who and sometimes they hit the wrong guy, Rove even accidentally helped the president while swinging away at Trump.


ROVE: Now in his weird conspiracy theories, same thing that people, you know, none of his family knows what hospital he was born in at Hawaii. Wait a minute, you know, yes, his family knows what hospital he was born at. Nobody knows him in college. One of my White House deputies was a classmate of Barack Obama at Harvard and they get him elected the law review editor.


UYGUR: So that‘s it, right? I mean, the Donald must be knocked out by now. Oh, no, here he comes again, watch out, Rove!


TRUMP: I heard Karl Rove today on television. It was terrible. He was so against me, because I am questioning. All I want to do is see this guy‘s birth certificate. Republicans have to be very careful of that. Because obviously Karl Rove didn‘t do very well the last couple of years in the Bush administration because, hey, whether you like him or not, George Bush gave us Obama, and I‘m not happy about it.


UYGUR: So we‘ve got ourselves a full-scale civil war within the GOP. There‘s nothing more fun than when Republicans attack one another. Because Democrats wouldn‘t be half as vicious to them as they are to each other. But someone is feeling left out of this parade. So here comes Sarah. She wouldn‘t want to get left out of all the fun, so she hit the GOP establishment guys from the other side. So this weekend at a tax day Tea Party rally in Madison, Wisconsin, she showed that like Trump, she‘s not afraid to take on the Republican Party.


SARAH PALIN, FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: And yes, I‘ll take on the GOP establishment. What more can they say about us, you know? We didn‘t elect you just to rearrange the deck chairs on a sinking titanic. We didn‘t elect you just to stand back and watch Obama redistribute those deck chairs. What we need is for you to stand up, GOP, and fight.


UYGUR: I love this, it‘s just like wrestling. You know, like when they zoom to the, you know, who‘s coming out of the locker room and you hear the music and then it‘s like, uh-oh, there‘s Sarah and she‘s helping Trump. Oh, my gosh, he hit Rove. It‘s so much fun. But the other way to look at this, is basically it‘s Sarah Palin saying, hey, wait a minute, I‘m the real fake candidate in this race. If you‘re going to attack anyone with a reality TV show, it should be me. All right, Sarah, we got you, we got you.

All right. Now, joining me is MSNBC contributor and Slate Political reporter Dave Weigel, author of recent piece called “Enter the Donald, Take Two.” And also with me is political columnist for Salon.com, Steve Kornacki who also just wrote an article on Trump called “Is the right finally turning on trump.” So, Steve, let‘s start right there. Man, they seem pretty mad at Trump. That was fascinating. Why are they so mad at Trump?

STEVE KORNACKI, COLUMNIST, SALON.COM: Well, I mean, I think it‘s amazing what a couple of polls will do when they show a guy like Donald Trump suddenly, you know, taking the lead and even starting to put some distance between himself and the rest of the pack. I mean, I think everybody‘s instinct in politics, republican, democrat, media, for the last few months is, OK. You know, it‘s just another Donald Trump publicity stunt. But he‘s carried this to a length I think so far the people weren‘t quite expecting. He‘s done it with this very, you know, controversial rhetoric over birtherism. And then when he starts taking off in the polls like that, there‘s the immediate concern of what is this doing to the Republican Party brand right now. And then it starts to enter their minds a little bit. If this guy ever got close to the nomination, if this guy ever got for being won the nomination, this is an absolute catastrophe for us in the fall. And, you know, I think they went through this a few months ago, Sarah Palin, a lot of those things.

UYGUR: Why? Can I just stay on their.

KORNACKI: Same reason. They woke up after the 2010 midterm elections, the Republicans did, and they did very well but they left seats on the table because in some of these key high profile Senate races, it‘s like in Delaware with Christine O‘Donnell, Nevada with Sharron Angle, they nominated fundamentally unelectable candidates. They looked at Sarah Palin and they saw the same ingredients in place, and so they rose up against her, sort of subtly in many cases, and they delivered the message to the conservatives, they don‘t what to go near her in 2012. I think they‘re doing it now with Trump.

UYGUR: So there is a real fight between that base and the GOP establishment. It‘s not fake, that‘s real. And Dave, let me turn to you here. Are they right about Trump? Because, you know, Trump has said many curious things in the past, given what he‘s saying now. You know, he said that Barack Obama could be a great president. He said, before he said Obama was the worst president, he said Bush was the worst president, et cetera, et cetera. Are they right about Trump? Does he, you know, does he not know what he‘s talking about?

DAVE WEIGEL, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well, you know, more importantly, in 2000 when he thought about running for president under the reform party ticket, if you remember that, he was for universal health care, he was for a one-time enormous surtax on people make, not making more, worth than $10 million. So, when you hear somebody like Steve Hayes say, he‘s been on every side of every issue, that‘s what he‘s referring to. If you, saw with the club for growth said today, the very influential, I mean, when we talk about Tea Party candidates, we used to talk about the club for growth. These guys who bundle money for conservative candidates.

They came out against Trump this morning saying, look, he‘s on the record for an enormous, I think 25 percent tariff on Chinese goods. He says, we can drive the price of oil down to 40 or $50. I guess that means going back in time and killing more ferns so they become oil. We just can‘t have this guy take over so much of our debate, because we Republicans are having a pretty good political debate we thought before this guy barreled into it.

UYGUR: Yes, you know, the thing is he‘s also clownish in so many different ways. And I guess, he‘s saying, if we go into Libya, we‘ll just take their oil.

WEIGEL: Yes. Honest.

UYGUR: Yes. I guess it‘s honest in a way. He says that if he went in the room with OPEC, he could just rough talk them and they‘d give him better prices. That‘s not how the real world works. It reminds me of Bush when he said, I wish I had a magic wand that said low gas, right? There is no magic wand, Donald. So, but, look, turning back to the other candidates, he‘s sucking all the oxygen out of the room. And Pawlenty is trying to compete with goofy jokes. Let me show you another once, I‘m obsessed with Pawlenty. Let‘s show you a joke here and then come back and talk about it.


TIM PAWLENTY ®, FORMER MINNESOTA GOVERNOR: I know Donald trump is getting a lot of attention. The one thing that I think we could embrace from his other TV show, “The Apprentice,” then we should tell President Obama in 2012, you‘re fired. I‘m not one to question the authenticity of Barack Obama‘s birth certificate, but when you look at his policies, I do question what planet he‘s from. You‘ve got to give him credit for at least this. He‘s proven that somebody deserves a Nobel Prize less than Al Gore.


UYGUR: Steve, now he‘s reminds me of Bush. We should tell him, you‘re fired.

KORNACKI: You just need Ed McMahon off camera with the Hi ho (ph).

UYGUR: Hi ho.

KORNACKI: He‘s hired like every Republicans—and they need to hire at least one more speechwriter, I think.

UYGUR: Right. No, but Dave, that‘s the thing. I want to ask both you guys.


UYGUR: I mean, are guys like Pawlenty in a lot of trouble, because they can‘t get any attention and they have got to get desperate and make these terrible, cheesy jokes? Or maybe that‘s just the way Pawlenty is. But isn‘t a kind of embarrassing for a so-called legitimate candidate to be getting his house cleaned by Trump?

WEIGEL: Well, I want to hear what Steve thinks too. Because I think he and I both wasted a number of hours in 2007 covering Rudy Giuliani, who basically existed to take a lot of flak, get a lot of coverage and then implode before the primaries happened, so that people, you know, other candidates didn‘t get as much attention. They got some. They got some scrutiny, but remember, Mike Huckabee basically dodging all real scrutiny until he won the Iowa caucuses. So there is an advantage in a kind of weird backwards way to having a couple of guys out there taking all the flak for months, you know…


UYGUR: Real quick, Steve, let me actually go on because that‘s real interesting. I think that‘s what Huckabee is doing here. I think he‘s letting then punch each other out and then he‘s going to come in at the end.

KORNACKI: Well, I think, if you‘re Mitt Romney or you‘re Tim Pawlenty, you‘re feeling good about what‘s happening right now because not only is the conservative establishment is mobilizing to try to marginalize Donald Trump like they did with Sarah Palin, it‘s a signal that they‘re going to do that to other candidates who emerge in the next few months and pose the same threat. And at the end, maybe that means that Romney or Pawlenty, maybe that‘s how they survive. They get that.

UYGUR: That‘s exactly right. Romney has got the real money behind him. That‘s what‘s going on. Dave Weigel from Slate, Steve Kornacki from Salon.com, thank you both for joining us. Great discussion.

About William Brighenti

William Brighenti is a Certified Public Accountant, Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, and Certified Business Valuation Analyst. Bill began his career in public accounting in 1979. Since then he has worked at various public accounting firms throughout Connecticut. Bill received a Master of Science in Professional Accounting degree from the University of Hartford, after attending the University of Connecticut and Central Connecticut State University for his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees. He subsequently attended Purdue University for doctoral studies in Accounting and Quantitative Methods in Business. Bill has instructed graduate and undergraduate courses in Accounting, Auditing, and other subjects at the University of Hartford, Central Connecticut State University, Hartford State Technical College, and Purdue University. He also taught GMAT and CPA Exam Review Classes at the Stanley H. Kaplan Educational Center and at Person-Wolinsky, and is certified to teach trade-related subjects at Connecticut Vocational Technical Schools. His articles on tax and accounting have been published in several professional journals throughout the country as well as on several accounting websites. William was born and raised in New Britain, Connecticut, and served on the City's Board of Finance and Taxation as well as its City Plan Commission. In addition to the blog, Accounting and Taxes Simplified, Bill writes a blog, "The Barefoot Accountant", for the Accounting Web, a Sift Media publication.
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