tv The Chris Matthews Show NBC February 27, 2011 4:30pm-5:00pm PST
>> this is the "the chris matthews show." >> ask not what your country can do for you. >> i can hear you. >> time for change has come. >> making the cut. suddenly the spending cutters are the all-star team. a week ago jobs were the buzz, now it is cuts. some governors are making big rely takeses for this. can republicans ride this push for austerity to victory? slamming the doors. when newt said it in the 190 -- 1990's,. if they shut down the government, could it be a big win for speaker boehner. could the spike in oil prices
added to the food price hike smack the recovery. >> we have dan rather, trish regan, nbc's savannah guthrie and john heilemann. first off, is cuts replacing jobs as the winning four-letter word in application? the fight for the middle-class is joined, and republican governors clearly think the middle-class is cheering for cuts. in a prank call from a blogger, wisconsin's governor thought he was talking to one of his big conservative contributors and was candid about the unions. >> this is about public sector unions, having taxpayer money used. it is absolutely ridiculous. this is our moment. this is our time to change the course of history. chris: this is our moment. the governor of new jersey wasn't the won who was tricked, but he was just as confident this week. >> in new jersey we are not
trying to break the unions. the unions are trying to break the middle-class. >> that same fight for the middle-class is at the heart of what is going on in washington. some think that cutting is political gold in the fight for the middle-class. >> we have some democrats here on capitol hill threat threatening to shut down the government rather than follow spending and follow the will of the people. >> the republicans think they have the hot hand. they love this issue, cutting at the state level, the national level, even if it means breaking unions, even if it means shutting down the government, maybe was it does. >> short term they have the best of the argument. there is the sense in the public that we are spending ourselves into oblivion, and they are tying into that. two things. one, they fry and separate and have separated the public unions from the others. those who work for the government have guaranteed jobs. that is a big part of this. so they are breaking that off.
i don't think the argument in the long-term is going to work. the unions are part of the backbone of the middle-class. but i say with historical reference that part of what raid ronald reagan-ronald reagan is when he broke the air controllers union in the 1980's. republicans are trying to follow that script now. short term, maybe midterm, maybe. long-term, i doubt it. chris: you have to have somebody to brame. i think dan is right. sometimes you blame the guy or the woman who has the permanent job, who can't lose it. has it changed so much in application? just a week or two ago we were worried about the unemployment rate around nine. are political peel more worried about cutting in spending than getting the neighbor back to work. >> it is a political issue that
resonates. after years of being accused of being focused on other things like health care and regulatory refoorm, now the president is going out and talking about job creation. what is so interesting is at this moment when it feels like everybody wants to talk about where are you cutting, that is what republicans are talking about, the president's jobs message is act wrapped up in investing, which is washington speak for spending. on the jobs issue, he is talking about jobs, but it is coming across as he is talking about spending. it is a very emphasis, an interesting choice. >> every day we see the president with a hard hat on visiting an industry. is wall street laughing at that? do they like cutting? >> well, wall street knowing that you can't spend more than you earn. if you are a corporation and you were trying to balance your budget, you wouldn't survive doing what this administration is doing right now. so i think they are coming at it
from that angle. as far as going out to the midwest and talking jobs, the reality is until you actually see a real reduction in the unemployment rate, it is not going to resonate that much. until they are employed, until their neighbor is employed and family members are employed, it just doesn't matter. chris: walker says this is our moment. do they really think they have the bull by the horns, cutting federal employee unions out of the right to collective bargain. do they think they can go for the kill here? >> the governor of wisconsin thinks that. i think the calculation has changed somewhat. there is no question that a lot of people believe correctly that the long-term unions are a problem. that is why a lot of unions are admitting they have to give things back and make pro mices. the union there is saying we will make the deal with you, but not on the end of collective
bargaining. chris: they are back on their heels. they didn't want to give back those gift bags of pensions and medical. >> but that is the core issue. that is the issue at stake because that changes the whole picture of how things operate in america. the public is not with the governor neither in wisconsin nor across the country that unions should give up collective bargaining. you have seen it from rich dance in indiana and scott in florida, they have said we will give back some of the unions, but we are not giving up collective bargaining. the governor of wisconsin is on wrong side of that issue. chris: it seems like the democrats and liberals on television and radio want to shift the topic away from spending where liberals lose the argument, i think we can agree, to the issue of survive. should a man or woman going to work have the right to collectiveburg an. if you google it, the democrats
say the government is shut down more than washington. do they still think they can win on the shut-down issue? >> if you look at their rhetoric and how often they brick up shut-down. democrats relish this notion that republicans will over reach and shut down the government again. they are thinking it is 1995. chris: do you think they are right? >> the conventional wisdom is the republicans paid for that politically. >> newt gingrich was not a likable person. bill clinton was more like abbling. when it came to the battle of the personality, bill clinton is cool. >> cool in temperment, yes. >> and this likable guy who has his said against the wall, boehner, the speaker, he has to do it, dan, right? >> the person who comes off as
cool hand luke is president obama. i'm not sure that boehner comes off that well. on this business of shutting down the government, we are talking about the political effects of it. there is a country here to run. whoever gets the blame for shutting down the government, we are a country at war. we have people at war in iraq and afghanistan, and you are going to shut down the government? the public at large is going to be very negative and it is vital which side gets the blame for shutting it down. >> you are 65, 70 or 80 years old. you go to the mail box and your check hasn't come in for social security. who do you blame? >> i think they are going to blame whoever is in office. people are set up. they are saying i cut back on my spending. my family is making sacrifices. i can no longer use my homes a ena a.t.m. machine.
they say i changed this in my personal life. why can't the government do the same? chris: our regulars, including john, who is here, if there is a government-shut-down, who would win the p.r. win? >> 11 say the president wins. only one, peggy noonan says wall street wins. are you that sure that the government wins a showdown? >> the key distinction is between the president and the democratic party. senate democrats are not looking good. it is perfectly possible that if this all falls apart that empeople will blame the parties. president obama is in a perfect position to do what he has been doing since december, which is to put himself above the argument and find the compromise. bring the parties together and get the big compromise. he turns out being the savior.
chris: you don't want to be the one who is absolutely rigid on this. i think this one is an easy one, but i am not sure after all this talk on cuts. what will be a bigger issue when the voters go to the polls, when president obama runs next fall, what will be bigger, who who will cut government spending or jobs? >> it depends. the spending argument may prevail over jobs. if spending levels off, then jobs come back to the fore. >> american voters vote their pocketbook. if they don't have jobs, they are going to be very angry and look for someone to blame. if things are ok and it looks like the economy is improving, then they can focus on other things. >> i think unemployment. chris: that number has to get down to 8 or lower. that is what i think. >> jobs matter more than anything else. the republicans will, if the job
numbers are high, the issues get melded together. they will try to push all that together into one big argument. >> you don't need to spend money to create jobs. chris: before we break, it is the end of february, and four weeks ago, dana urged his colleagues and competitors in the news world to give sarah palin as a topic as a rest for the month of rest. no interviews, columns, nothing, starvation diet. under that proposal, how would palin get through the month? the comedic jean reduces at will fairly's place imagined how it went up at her headquarters in alaska >> i am telling you, this is the best vacation i ever had. todd, get your hand off me! katie, hi!
listen, i will do whatever you want. i will talk magazines, newspapers. [applause] >> oprah, i am glad to answer that. of course trying wasn't mine. it was track's or bristol's one of them. no, no. i can't go anywhere without everyone trying to take my picture. oh, todd. come on, todd. i'm not going to hurt you. oh, spirits of the beast, mother bear and sister caribou, i cry out to you in solidarity, in pain. >> every minute i stay here, i get weaker, and every minute katie couric does that, she zpwets stronger. each time i look around, the walls move in a little tighter. ♪
>> what? what do you mean there are only 28 days in february? chris: so the good news for governor palin is that the black out is over for her. the bad news for her is she doesn't know there is 28 days in february. when we come back, libya has oil way up in price. are we looking at a dangerous inflation, a lower stock market and fewer jobs? plus, predictions with the notes from the top reporters, right back.
kind of menaces prediction. >> it also creates a kind of nervousness and unease that cause people to pull back just at the time you need people to step forward and be confident and spend. >> timing is everything in politics as far as the economy. trish regan, you cover the markets. just when we thought we had a lift-off coming, people say a $10 increase in the price of oil can keep the economy going down a half a point. >> yes. it acts as a tax on consumers. every time you go to the gas pump, you are looking at $4 a gallon, and energy traders said brace yourself, we will see higher than $4 a gallon in the coming weeks. that is less money that consumers have in their pockets. they make up 2/3 of this economy. but it is also corporations. think about their profitablity
margins squeezed. wheat is up triple digits in the last 12 months. cotton is at the highest levels. chris: it seems like we have been here before. the saudis have the power. they turn on the tap, and everything is fine again. in the 1970's, this set up the environment for watergate. the lines in jersey. >> the higher price for oil, all of it. >> it hurt a lot of presidents. it killed ford, nixon and hurt carter. >> talking about the price of oil, gasoline going up, also the price of mike and bread is going up. if you think you are about to lose your job, this gets really critical. if the stock market reboots a little bit and the economy takes it down, this is very dangerous for president obama. i agree right now he is odds-on for re-election.
but there are perilous roads, perhaps none more perilous than this. chris: this is about the election. >> the administration was counting on, after having gotten the tax cut deal, they were counting on 2011 as the ramp-up year where the economy recovered, and consumer demand was going to drive that forward. this puts a damper. if you get to the end of 2011, and this economy has not come back to life substantially, 2012 looks very tricky and dangerous for president obama. chris: so when you are banging around the phones, what is going on at the white house? the president's top kick, what does he say? >> you have to believe this is the fact that wakes them up in the middle of the night. in 2009 there was talk of green shoots in the economy, and then suddenly the greek debt crisis hit. it suddenly knocked the wind out of roar. perhaps another g force, gas,
could slow it down, which is so important to the country and the president's political fortunes. they believe that the economy is strong now to withstand even this rise in oil prices, but it is of grave concern. chris: we see the president trying to jaw bone the economy up. what do you see? >> it will be a harder argument to make when people are paying more for gas and food. that is why it is so potentially hazardous. it shot through the economy, the corporate and private sector. >> this is a world-wide inflation issue we are talking about now. chris: thank you. when we come back, scoops and predictions. tell me something i don't kno
chris: welcome back. dan rather, tell me something i don't know. >> well, particularly with oil prices going up, the so-called nuclear energy renaissance is going to be picking up steam. smaller, saver, cleaner, so the designers say, and portable. they can take it to small towns. we are going to hear a lot about this as oil prices keep going up. chris: you are going to report on this? >> yes, we have something coming. chris: is this a partisan issue where the democrats are anti-nuclear? >> much less now. france has had if a long time.
chris: triche? >> i want to go back to the inflation's. they are talking about the possibility of qe-3, which would mean more dollar bills getting flooded into the economy. what that means for all of us is . will be worth less. why that matters? commodities like oil, they are priced in dollars. so it takes that many more dollars to buy a barrel of oil. so just as the fed is trying to fight inflation and get the economy back on track, if it does it by pumping more dollars in, it may be fighting itself. chris: savannah? >> the president is going to be talking about education in the coming weeks. he feels it is an area where republicans and democrats it work together. he will appear out of washington with a very high-profile republican with a famous name. i'm not telling you who it is. chris: i know who it is. jeb bush. >> however this gets resolved,
the larger fight is going to happen in a lot of states and places across the country. but nowhere will it get more attention than south of wisconsin in chicago, where rahm manuel is going to have to take on the cops, firefighters and teacher's unions in the coming years. chris: it is a liberal or a moderate? >> he is a ruthless pragmatist, straight down the middle. chris: what is he going to be when he grows you and becomes a mayor. when we come back, this is sheer sugar for me. who is the greatest movie actor, male and female of all time. i want to hear both from everybody. we will be right back.
chris: welcome back. it is oscar time this week. so our big question this week is i want each of our people here to name the greatest movie actor, male and female, of all time. i am starting with a real pro, dan rather. >> sir lawrence olivier, and mayoral streep. >> those are two good choices. i would go with carey grant, and
grace kelly in to catch a thief. that was tops. >> all right. >> i can't stand the pressure of all-time, but i will sfick to i love. i love tommy lee jones and jessica lang. >> tommy lee jones? >> speak for yourself, bro. just kidding. >> well, mayoral sfreep is a slam dunk on the women, but on the men, marlon brando. >> i am going to say carey grant and katherine hepburn. thanks to a great round table. dan rather, trish regan, savannah guthrie and john heilemann. that is the show. thanks for watching. see you back here next week. an ltening to ouravoritsong