Tea Party Holding Debt Debate Hostage?

Beckel: Anarchists don't understand compromise


This is a rush transcript from "The Five," July 29, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

BOB BECKEL, CO-HOST: Is it my turn? Welcome back to "The Five." We're talking about the debt showdown in Washington. Of course, can we get into who's actually running the situation? Because to a lot of folks, they seem to think it's the Tea Party that's in control. No kidding.

Now, I also want to say is that last segment, we love each up other here. We all got a little excited about that and we talked over each other. We'll be calm this time around after I talk to Eric quietly.

OK. No, look, the Tea Party did, we know, hold up the Boehner bill yesterday. Boehner clearly got himself enough votes, he will need on the floor, and a lot of Tea Party people went with him.

But, nonetheless, the Tea Party -- and I've given them credit for bringing this issue to the floor -- I mean, to the forefront of American politics -- I think they are wrong. I also have called them anarchists, and somebody on this panel asked me if I would take it back. The answer is no.

You know why? Can I - could we have a definition of Webster's -- of anarchist? Can you read that?

ERIC BOLLING, CO-HOST: A person who rebels against any authority, established order, or ruling power.

BECKEL: Right.

BOLLING: Or a person who believes in, advocates, or promotes anarchy.

BECKEL: OK. Good. There's the answer to my question.

The ruling powers in the House of Representatives were John Boehner and a vast majority of his own caucus. They rebelled against that. They wouldn't go along. They have rebelled and rebelled and rebelled.

I know that elections have consequences, but I'll tell you something, when the consequences begin to threaten the vast majority, then you become anarchists.

GREG GUTFELD, CO-HOST: Bob, here's -- I think -- the mistake you're making, you're seeing the Tea Party as this recalcitrant group of evil people when it's actually --

BECKEL: I don't think they're evil.

GUTFELD: But it's actually a principle. It's a bedrock principle about small government that was missing from the Republican Party, that they've reintroduced, they've reenergized the party with their principle.

Now, if the Republicans win, they deserve the trophy, which is a bill. If they walk away without the bill, they don't get the trophy. It's like winning the World Series and not going home with the giant thing that they carry.

BECKEL: In politics, you stick to your principles, right? But when you win, and they won, you ought to declare victory and move on because you're not going to win 100 percent.

GUTFELD: So, you're admitting that the Tea Party won?

BECKEL: I said. Certainly. The stuff they got in that bill, I'll give them that. They're not going to win ultimately, but I'll give them that. I'm saying in politics they don't understand they ought to compromise.

BOLLING: I'm sorry. How did the Tea Party win? I mean, Tea Party won if the cut, cap and balance bill went over to the Senate for approval.

This one that Boehner is marking up, who knows what that is? True conservatives are saying, no, that's -- no way. No way we trust you 2 years -- 10 years down the road to hold the spending cuts.

ANDREA TANTAROS, CO-HOST: Here's how I think they won. The president came out. He proposed to be in control and leading, right? Buck stop with him. He wanted a clean vote on the debt ceiling.

He said no short-term deals. And he said, you know, I don't want any spending cuts. I want tax increases. He didn't get any of that. OK? Maybe he didn't get the short-term deal.

I think that the Tea Party absolutely, as we talked about, deserves credit.

Here's my fear, though. We have a media that's so shocked that we still haven't even gotten a deal. They're literally amazed by this.

And they're going to be writing the headlines, and you're going to see President Obama in the Rose Garden signing a bill and they're going to be so quick to glorify for him for this. He's going to take credit as he's the one who did it. He's got a media riding shotgun until November to help him do it.


BECKEL: He tried. He tried to do a good deal with Boehner. And he and Boehner agreed. The problem is the Tea Party stopped it.

But let's turn to Peggy Noonan. Peggy Noonan wrote in the "Wall Street Journal" an editorial that frankly was not exactly my -- can you read this for me? Because I can't stand to read it.

BOLLING: Sure. "Losing a battle in which he had superior forces, the presidency, the U.S. Senate. In the process, he revealed that his foes have given him too much mystique. He's not the devil, an alien, a socialist. He is a loser. And this is America where nobody loves a loser."

BECKEL: All right. Can I just make, I have a great deal of respect to Peggy Noonan as a writer. Now, if she would just travel beyond Manhattan and the Hamptons, she might get a sense that, in this country, Republicans overall don't agree with the Tea Party. Certainly Democrats don't, independents don't.

And by and large --

BOLLING: How did he bring this back to the Tea Party? He's talking about Obama.

BECKEL: You put the list of politician on it. Barack Obama is still, by far, the most favorite politician.

TANTAROS: Can you pull up the Gallup Poll that shows him at a historic low of 40 percent --

BECKEL: No, I'm talking him against -- show me that Mitt Romney more popular than he is.

TANTAROS: Generic Republicans.

BECKEL: Forget generic Republicans, we've been through that.

GUILFOYLE: That's the reality, Bob. And you have to come to terms with it, because --

BECKEL: Well, the reality would be generic -- if you can put generic up, you might win.


GUILFOYLE: -- has totally changed, in terms of whether or not people are feeling that this president is moving the country in the right direction, you cannot discount the Gallup Poll numbers that show 40 percent is nothing to celebrate about and it's nothing to ride into the sunset through 2012.

BECKEL: The last thing I would like to do is haven an election today, believe me.

GUILFOYLE: OK. That's fair.

BECKEL: But generic doesn't make it. You've got to put one these people up there against him. And when you do, and you put Mitt Romney or somebody else against him, I think he's going to plow them under.

Go ahead.

GUTFELD: Well, here's the thing. I want to address Noonan's point which she said that there's a lack of connection with Obama, and it seems like he doesn't care. And when you don't have a passionate leader, people no longer support you. She cites Clinton and Bush as passionate people, even if you dislike them, they're passionate.

The reason why he has -- it's not his fault. It's not President Obama's fault for the state he's in. He was placed in a protective bubble by the media and by his supporters that prevented any sort of criticism.

If you were to criticize him, you were perceived as racist. So, he's never been challenged. This is the first time he's ever been challenged, by Boehner, by the Tea Party. He's being challenged by America who's dissatisfied, and he doesn't know how to respond.

GUILFOYLE: Well, then, it's about time, but at the same point, are we going to give him credit for failing to lead a complete abdication of leadership and authority that he, you know, interrupts prime time when we're all hoping that he's going to come up with a plan and shows who's in charge, that he deserved the election, and he didn't do it.

BECKEL: He wasn't challenged? It seems to me when he brought his healthcare bill up, every Republican --

GUTFELD: That was the American public that challenged him.

BECKEL: Well, you may think so. We'll see.

TANTAROS: Bob, real quick, the reason we're in this is not because of the AAA credit rating -- we're ready to leave -- it's the FFF credit grade from that White House.

BECKEL: And so, the Tea Party, if they were at lower score, I give it to you.

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