NBC's Chuck Todd on Sunday said the Tea Party movement has made it impossible for President Obama to buy the Republican votes he needs to pass his agenda.
Appearing on "Meet the Press," Todd told his fellow panelists, "I think the most striking thing about the minority party today...is that a Republican can't go home, and it's mostly because of this tea party crowd, cannot go home and sell a piece of pork that they got from Washington."
In Todd's view, this makes it tough for Obama because "it's not as if he can trade, you know, go and have these trades with a Susan Collins or Olympia Snowe, or let's say Lamar [Alexander]...or something like this, because they're not getting a benefit at home of bringing something back" (video embedded below the fold with transcript):
DAVID GREGORY, HOST: There's also the issue of the sort of opposition that the president faces. Where is the Republican Party? We talked a little bit about that. Again, part of the conversation we've had outside the hour today in some outside interviews includes one with Dick Armey, a former congressman who's now part of FreedomWorks, who is part of this tea party movement that was influential in Massachusetts and elsewhere. Here's what he said about the center of American politics.
FMR. REP. DICK ARMEY (R-TX): This is the broad center of American politics. Look at the polling data. Right now the tea party polls higher than the Republicans and the Democrats. And it is becoming increasingly clear to the electorate out there, and they're expressing their understanding, it is the Democrat majority in Congress and the president that's on the liberal fringe and we are on the center. There's no doubt about it.
CHUCK TODD, NBC: Oh, well, I don't know if they're in the center. I mean, when we did our own polling on this, it's clear that the tea party gets a big benefit because there's one news organization that gives them a huge bump all the time. I mean, their favorable rating among Fox viewers is through the roof, and the rest of the country sort of doesn't know a lot about these folks. But the message of the tea party sort of saying "the government doesn't work, these institutions, and we've got to shrink the size of government," is tapping into what we were just discussing before...
MR. GREGORY: Mm-hmm.
MR. TODD: ...which is this, this--I would--not disgust, but it's sort of this distrust of all institutions that are out there, government included. But I think that -- I want to go to something E.J. said about the Republican Party. I think the most striking thing about the minority party today versus, that is that a Republican can't go home, and it's mostly because of this tea party crowd, cannot go home and sell a piece of pork that they got from Washington. It is now, when you bring home something, saying, "Hey, I brought federal dollars to this." You're on the defensive now.
MR. GREGORY: Mm-hmm.
MR. TODD: And so that does make the president's challenge. So it's not as if he can trade--you know, go and have these trades with a Susan Collins or Olympia Snowe, or let's say Lamar --let's go to -- move over to maybe more conservative center-right, Lamar Alexander or something like this, because they're not getting a benefit at home of bringing something back.
MR. GREGORY: Right.
MR. TODD: Because we have, like, destroyed this, this, this idea that somehow anything from government that comes through is bad.
How interesting that this remark came roughly a week after MSNBC's Chris Matthews expressed concern to Todd that there weren't any left-leaning votes for the Democrats to buy to help them win last Tuesday's special election in Massachusetts.
Now this has morphed into Obama not being able to buy Republicans to get his agenda through.
But in 2006, liberal media members assisted Democrats in taking back Congress by regularly reporting on the so-called Republican culture of corruption.
With Obama and Company at the helm, these same folks are suddenly disappointed by the lack of political influence peddling.
Somebody cue Alanis Morissette.