On the Monday, September 30, The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, substitute host Alex Wagner read a tweet written by guest Bruce Bartlett in which the former George H.W. Bush administration official expressed hope that the Tea Party would soon "die a well-deserved death."
After Bartlett referred to "Tea Party clowns" as he hoped that Republican leaders would manage to "put them down or limit their influence," Wagner expresed her approval of her guest calling Tea Party Republicans "clowns" as she began her response: "Bruce refers to the 'Tea Party clowns,' and I think a lot of people would agree with that designation..."
Wagner had raised Bartlett's tweet:
Bruce, you sounded a note of hope in the wilderness earlier tonight. You tweeted: "There's a slight possibility that Boehner is a genius and the Tea Party will die a well-deserved death in the next few days. Fingers-crossed."
Lots of fingers crossed on that. Can you explain your thesis there?
Well, it was based on a report by Byron York in the Examiner, and Byron is very, very well-connected on the right side of the Republican party, and he was saying basically that there's really only 30 members who are really, really dug in on this anti-Affordable Care Act position and absolutely refuse compromise. And he said there's 175 who will instantly vote for a clean continuing resolution if they are simply given the freedom to cast that vote.
And, as yet, they have not been given that freedom. And I think -- my thinking was that Boehner is waiting for the public opinion, for Wall Street, for the other players in the Republican party to finally read the riot act to these Tea Party clowns and maybe put them down or limit their influence in the Republican party to where we can have a meaningful governing coalition.
Before reading a quote from former Senate Republican Leader Trent Lott criticizing the Tea Party, Wagner began her response:
Bruce refers to the "Tea Party clowns," and I think a lot of people would agree with that designation, but the question is, where, what happens at the end of this in terms of national standing? And, in particular, I want to focus on Ted Cruz because David Corn of Mother Jones interviewed former Republican Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, and Trent Lott said this about the Tea Party wing of the GOP...