Chuck Todd: Both Parties Have ‘Nuclear Bombs’ That Could Bring Gridlock

On Sunday, Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd continued to push the line that Washington is broken and despite the GOP now controlling both houses of Congress, gridlock will likely continue. 

Speaking to his political panel, Todd argued that both the Republicans and Democrats have “two nuclear bombs it sounds like to me. Is that a fair way to put it? That each side has potentially, and it could, gridlock comes back like that.” 

The segment began with former House Majority Eric Cantor (R-VA) arguing that “we've heard a lot about the president saying he's going to unilaterally act on this question of an executive order for immigration. If he does that, that's incendiary.” 

In response, Chuck Todd hit Cantor from the left and suggested that “Democrats would say, you know, that Republicans held just as much responsibility for the gridlock…Isn’t repealing health care just as incendiary?”

The Meet the Press moderator didn't seem to see the difference between both houses of Congress voting to repeal ObamaCare and President Obama unilaterally issuing an executive order surrounding immigration reform. 

Instead of explaining this important distinction, the NBC host proceeded to hit Obama from the left on immigration and wondered “what's the Hispanic community going to do if the president doesn't act? What if he tables for another six months? Is that incendiary?” 

As the segment progressed, Todd pushed the liberal line that Congress is broken and proclaimed “this is two nuclear bombs it sounds like to me. Is that a fair way to put it? That each side has potentially and gridlock comes back like that?” 

Amy Walter, National Editor of the Cook Political Report, eagerly took Todd’s bait and concluded the segment by suggesting that the GOP has some soul-searching to do despite their electoral victory: 

I think it's right now much more within the Republican Party deciding who they want to be. I think that's exactly right. And knowing what they're up against in 2016, which is their own map problems in 2016. A lot of blue state Republicans up, can Mitch McConnell help protect them while also pushing an agenda?

Nowhere in the segment did the panel, other than Republican Eric Cantor, consider that the Democratic Party, which lost across the board during last week's midterm elections, might be the party who needs some soul searching. Instead, the Meet the Press panel predicted that most of the post-electoral fighting would occur within the GOP ranks, and failed to fully consider the Democratic Party's future electoral challenges. 

See relevant transcript below. 

NBC’s Meet the Press

November 9, 2014 

CHUCK TODD: Welcome back. The panel is here with lots to talk about. Eric Cantor, Stephanie Cutter, Amy Walter, and Jose Diaz-Balart, welcome to all of you. Mr. Cantor, since you're new to this punditry world, and you were formerly over there. Norm Ornstein and Tom Mann have an interesting op-ed today. And they basically say, "Which Republican party shows up to govern?" I pose the question to you. Which one will show up and which one should show up?

ERIC CANTOR: Well, I think, Chuck, first of all, you ought to take a look at, you know, history over the last couple years. The House was extremely productive in passing legislation. And as we all know, bills just started to stack up in the Senate. And I do think that's part of the outcome that we saw on Tuesday is the inability for Congress to work, for the Senate to act.

TODD: You certainly won that argument. I think Democrats would say, you know, that Republicans held just as much responsibility for the gridlock.

CANTOR: Significant frustration about the inability of Washington to work and you'd have to look at that process and say, "Hey, wait a minute." So now we're going to have a Senate that works. So the question will be, as the speaker, has said this work, "Is there going to be common ground?" And I think you're going to see very quickly within six weeks whether there's going to be common ground. And on the one hand, we've heard a lot about the president saying he's going to unilaterally act on this question of an executive order for immigration. If he does that, that's incendiary. And I think we are going to be in store for a very, very difficult--

(OVERTALK)

TODD: But isn't repealing health care just as incendiary?

CANTOR: No, but listen. We--

TODD: Why isn't that incendiary?

ERIC CANTOR: Well, I would say this. And there's probably something more incendiary, but that's not incendiary because we know that that's going to happen, just like after the 2006 election when the Democrats won, they went over and over again to pass bills condemning the position on Iraq. In the end, Congress ended up supporting President Bush's position.

TODD: Stephanie, is this sort of equal incendiary?

STEPHANIE CUTTER: Yes.

TODD: Do you believe it is?

CUTTER: It is. I think the difference is that even though the House and the Senate, the new Republican majorities have already committed to attempt to repeal healthcare, the president has said, "I disagree with you. I vehemently disagree with you. But that's not going to stop me from working with you on other issues.” Now, contrast that to Republicans, who say, "If you move forward on immigration, Mr. President, even though we have not acted over multiple years, then we're just going to shut down and stop working with you." That is no way to start a new Republican majority. We have to find ways to work together, even if we disagree on some issues.

TODD: So Jose, what's the Hispanic community going to do if the president doesn't act? What if he tables for another six months? Is that incendiary?

JOSE DIAZ-BALART: Yes, that would be very incendiary. And by the way, Stephanie, the Congress did act before going on the break. They did act and they voted to defund any future deferred actions that the president may take. So they did act and they did make a statement.

I think that the key here for immigration is that with a loss of Mr. Cantor, among other things, back then, it was a message that the House should not support immigration reform. If they had done it back then, we wouldn't be dealing about this now. The president made a promise. I think he's going to keep it.

TODD: Amy, this is two nuclear bombs it sounds like to me. Is that a fair way to put it? That each side has potentially, and it could, gridlock comes back like that.

AMY WALTER: Well, gridlock could come back like that. Look, I think the biggest challenge right now is intra-party rather than, you know, the Democrats versus the Republicans.

TODD: Each side has to sort their own politics now?

AMY WALTER: Well, and I think it's right now much more within the Republican Party deciding who they want to be. I think that's exactly right. And knowing what they're up against in 2016, which is their own map problems in 2016. A lot of blue state Republicans up, can Mitch McConnell help protect them while also pushing an agenda?

TODD: All right. You guys are going to get to weigh in a little bit more. We've got a lot more for you guys to talk about. 

Campaigns & Elections 2014 Congressional NBC Meet the Press Amy Walter Chuck Todd Eric Cantor

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