MSNBC's Chris Hayes Welcomes Ex-Reaganite to Say 'There Are No Moderate Republicans,' No Denouncing Right's 'Crazy People'

October 22nd, 2013 7:06 AM

MSNBC’s “All In With Chris Hayes” hosted two Republican refugees on Thursday night, starting with former Reaganite Bruce Bartlett, whose favorite word for conservatives on Twitter is “wankers.” Then came his "dittohead" Michelle Bernard.

Bartlett pleased Hayes oh so much by insisting “There are no moderate Republicans” because no one will stand up and denounce the Tea Partiers because “they're so afraid to speak out and say that their party has been hijacked by crazy people, stupid people.”


CHRIS HAYES: Bruce, you got a tweet yesterday. You said, some Republicans missed a golden opportunity to stand up to the wackos and be a hero. Not one did. What is your takeaway about what this episode says about the so-called moderates or establishment or sensible members of the Republican caucus?

BRUCE BARTLETT: Well, I can only conclude that there are no moderate Republicans. None. Zero. Peter King, I mean, if that`s the best we`ve got, then he's not very moderate. [Apparently, it's weak beer to call Ted Cruz a "fraud."]

What I think there are, however, are a few pragmatists, who understand that the party is going over a cliff, and they're going to get taken with it when it goes. But I'm just astonished by the cowardice of, for example, the former treasury secretaries that I knew and have worked for who didn't say a single solitary word about defaulting on the debt and potentially bringing down the entire world financial system.

HAYES: Yes, you were calling out former Republican treasury secretaries to say, 'Hey, guys, can anyone maybe come out and say, this is a bad idea, to go through the debt ceiling,' at least pierce the bubble of delusion that has been building, that this is going to be fine. And no one did.

BARTLETT: Not that I know of. I mean, if they had, I would have trumpeted it to the skies. But, we have quite a few living former Republican treasury secretaries, George Shultz, Paul O`Neill, my old boss, Nicholas Brady, Henry Paulson, John Snow. Not one said that their party was crazy, stupid, insane. I`m the only one who was around saying that.

HAYES: Bruce, you're in this position that I think is fairly novel, a small amount of people in this position. You're kind of an apostate from the conservative movement, the Republican Party. I think you still consider yourself a conservative. What it seems to me is that there`s basically no place for people like you to stay within the conservative movement.

What happens is, occasionally, someone will kind of come out and say, 'Hey, guys, what is going on here? This party is off the rails. We are headed in a bad direction, we`re not very popular. We`re doing destructive things. We're denying just basic science or empirical facts about the economy.' And what happens is, you get excommunicated as opposed to having any kind of constitutional place to reform the party and change it.

This is rich business from MSNBC, which isn't exactly celebrating any anti-Obama Democrats -- in the center or the Cindy Sheehan Left. Cenk Uygur was choking on his hummus at home.

BARTLETT: Well, that`s exactly correct. But what I don`t understand is that just the total silence. I mean, anybody can start a Twitter account, you know? I mean --

HAYES: Don`t I know it?

BARTLETT: I`m sure Colin Powell called up ABC or your network and said, I got some things to say. You`d give him all the time he wants.

HAYES: Right.

BARTLETT: I don`t understand why they`re so afraid to speak out and say that their party has been hijacked by crazy people, stupid people.

Bartlett stumbled into something, about say, Colin Powell: Once you've endorsed Barack Obama for President twice, you're not a Republican any more. You also should never claim to be a conservative while you breathe heavily and tweet links like Rolling Stone's "Inside the Republican Suicide Machine" and Salon's "Stop enabling the right: The media just makes dysfunction worse Our politics are a disaster because the media -- and the president -- pretend conservatives are dealing with facts."

Also speaking for the Silent Colin Powell side was that ditto-ing Michelle Bernard, an MSNBC treasure:

MICHELLE BERNARD, THE BERNARD CENTER: Quite frankly, I was listening to Mr. Bartlett speak, and all I could think was, ditto, ditto, ditto, ditto. The Republican Party and the, quote/unquote, "conservative movement" have been hijacked by people who I -- it`s unfathomable what they are thinking.

So, for example, we know that today’s Republican Party is not really run by the people who have been elected to govern it. It is run by radio talk show hosts. It`s run by Heritage Action. It has run by the Club for Growth, and those people are not elected officials.

We have a Republican Party that is horrible on social issues, many people in the Republican Party, many people in the conservative movement don`t like African-Americans. They don`t like women, they don`t like Hispanics.

So, we ignore them on social issues and we are left with a party that is supposed to be the party of economic common sense. And instead what we see today is a party that does not care about the full faith and credit of the United States.

We are supposed to be the greatest democracy in the world, and our democracy is in tatters. We are the laughingstock of the world when a small minority of right-wing zealots can virtually destroy the economic well-being of the country in just a little more than two or three weeks. And they never had a chance of winning.

That`s the only conclusion that you can draw, is that this is a suicide attempt. This is a party that wants to be a par that is only being -- that`s being governed through the South, and that is not going to win national elections ever again.

Hayes then turned to economic analyst James Pethokoukis of the American Enterprise Institute, who at least began by saying “Well, I’m going to put aside like her comments about hating women, minorities. I think it`s absolutely ridiculous, and not hating poor people.” He then elaborated on his own feelings on how Tea Party legislators may be over-frightened on the debt.