MSNBC's Wolffe Chides Texas Voters, Some GOPers 'Should Never Have Been Elected'

On Wednesday's PoliticsNation, MSNBC.com Executive Editor Richard Wolffe asserted that Republicans like Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert "should never have been elected [to] office in the first place," as he joined host Al Sharpton in lambasting several Republicans who have talked about impeaching President Obama.

Wolffe, who was a regular on Countdown with Keith Olbermann and other MSNBC shows during the years when the subject of impeaching Bush administration members was sometimes raised, was critical of Texas voters as he responded to several soundbites of Texas political figures talking about impeachment. Wolffe began:

Well, what's remarkable is, you got to think, look, some of these people should never have been elected [to] office in the first place. I don't know what's happening with Texas, but Louie Gohmert really, the whole state, it's a great state, but somebody voted for the guy. And  it's not just one offense, it's everything that comes out of his mouth. Look, but there are other people, you know, we've been talking about Senators who get elected statewide who feel that they can pander to something.

He continued:

There are people who want to hear this stuff. They know that this stuff is nonsense. I mean, even Ted Cruz knows there's not the votes there. How extreme does it have to be? And I do think as statewide officials, if not national speakers, they have to know that they are driving their brand and their party into an unelectable place, even just pandering to this stuff.

Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Wednesday, October 16, PoliticsNation on MSNBC:

AL SHARPTON: We are waiting for the Senate to vote finally to end the government shutdown and avoid a government default. The House is scheduled to vote late tonight. While Republicans have lost this whole process, it has made one thing clear. The GOP thinks if they can't beat the President they should just try and get rid of him, impeach him. This week, Sarah Palin railed against Obama's impeachable offenses.  And so did a truly great mind of the GOP.

REP. LOUIE GOHMERT (R-TX): If the President instructs the Treasury Secretary, though the money is there to pay interest, if he instructs  them to default, I think we're getting close to a high crime and misdemeanor.

SHARPTON: You heard him. It would be a high crime and misdemeanor. But let's not forget the President's other impeachable crimes. Since his  inauguration in 2009, Republicans have wanted to impeach him because he really wasn't born here. They've called for his impeachment over  immigration reform, over the Defense of Marriage Act, over Fast and Furious. They wanted impeachment if he didn't extend the Bush tax cuts,  because he made recess appointments, because of the Dream Act, because of the war in Libya, because of gun control, because of, quote, "all  the czars" he appointed. But that was first-term stuff, right? I mean, in 2013, who's out spouting this garbage besides Sarah Palin and her right-wing party?

REP. STEVE STOCKMAN (R-TX): We want all tools available to use, including  impeachment.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: If he continues this, could that build up to make a case for possible impeachment?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: All options should be on the table.

REP. BLAKE FARENTHOLD (R-TX): If we were to impeach the President tomorrow, you could probably get the votes in the House of Representatives to do it.

SENATOR JIM INHOFE (R-OK): People may be starting to use the I-word before too long.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Okay, the I-word meaning impeachment.

INHOFE: Yeah.

REP. KERRY BENTIVOLIO (R-MI): I've had lawyers come in and these are lawyers, PhDs in history and I said, "Tell me how I can impeach
 the President of the United States."

SENATOR TED CRUZ (R-TX): To successfully impeach the President you need the votes in the U.S. Senate. With Harry Reid and the Democrats controlling the Senate, it can't succeed.

SENATOR TOM COBURN (R-OK) CLIP #1: UNIDENTIFIED MAN: You have to establish the criteria that would qualify for proceedings against the President. And that's called impeachment.

COBURN CLIP #2: Barack Obama is a personal friend of mine.

SHARPTON: This impeachment talk is deeper than disagreeing with policy. It's not about politics. It's about hatred. They can't beat him, so they try to impeach him. But let's look who's still standing today. Joining me now, Abby Huntsman and Richard Wolffe. ... Abby, this knee-jerk call for impeachment is almost a code among anti-Obama extremists. What do you make of it?

HUNTSMAN: Well, he first of all has to do something to be impeachable, right? Is there a crime that he's committed that we're not aware of? It's amazing that they're still using this rhetoric, that he's well into his second term as President. It's not all surprising, though my question is how are these individuals elected? We're talking about elected officials that are calling for him to be impeached, and some of which
 are trying to get into office.

So my question is, you know, here we are with, you know, struggling economy. We need to be talking about immigration, education, tax reform, so many things that need to be discussed. And this is their agenda. This is their idea of the future success of the GOP? And, sadly, because the party is so fragmented, so divided, so weak, it's these voices that are dominating the narrative. Otherwise, we probably wouldn't even be talking about it.

SHARPTON: Richard?

WOLFFE: Well, what's remarkable is, you got to think, look, some of these people should never have been elected [to] office in the first place. I don't know what's happening with Texas, but Louie Gohmert really, the whole state, it's a great state, but somebody voted for the guy. And it's not just one offense, it's everything that comes out of his mouth. Look, but there are other people, you know, we've been talking about Senators who get elected statewide who feel that they can pander to something.

There are people who want to hear this stuff. They know that this stuff is nonsense. I mean, even Ted Cruz knows there's not the votes there. How extreme does it have to be? And I do think as statewide officials, if not national speakers, they have to know that they are driving their brand and their party into an unelectable place, even just pandering to this stuff.

SHARPTON: But, you know, there's something deeper here because, I mean, just two weeks after he took office they started talking about impeachment. And we keep hearing it over and over and over again, Abby.

HUNTSMAN: You hope, though, that today is some sort of a reflection point for the Republican Party where they say, you know, where do we go from here? How can we wrap our arms around the party once again and actually strengthen it? Is this a moment where you say the Tea Party is no  longer going to hold the government hostage? Is this a moment where the moderate tone might prevail. Or are we going to see this game of chicken  just continue as we, you know, hit another budget crisis just a few weeks from now? I think this is a real moment for the Republican Party. And, Reverend, we talk about this all the time, that no matter where you find yourself on the political spectrum, we should all be hoping for a stronger Republican Party because that's what makes for a better democracy, and it makes for a more robust debate, and it makes for more compromise. And that's what the American people deserve.

SHARPTON: But, you know, when we look at this impeachment, it has almost Richard become a badge of honor for the right. Texas Lieutenant Governor
 David Dewhurst, he lost as a moderate Senate candidate to Ted Cruz last year.

Just this week, he told Tea Partiers he wants to impeach President Obama over Benghazi. Then you have Steve Stockman, GOP congressman,  he plans to distribute a book about impeachment. He bought 435 copies of the World Net Daily book, Impeachable Offenses: The Case for Removing Barack Obama from Office, and he plans to give a copy to every member of the House.

WOLFFE: That's one way to sell a book, I guess. You know, here's the thing. We have seen in the past, in the recent past, in the last few weeks,  how this extreme talk suddenly moves into the mainstream. And before you know it, they're too scared. And fear is what is ruling at least the  House Republicans right now. They're too scared to say, "Boo, this isn't going to work, this is not going to fly, and we've got to stop it."  So what happens? They take one of these crazy ideas, they run with it. And then they realize, "Gee, didn't work and we look really foolish."
There is a danger that this kind of fringe talk about impeachment moves to the heart of the Republican Party because there is no leadership, there are no grown-ups to say that stuff is just crazy, stop it.

HUNTSMAN: And I think that's what rhetoric, I think you're exactly right. I think it's when they feel threatened, when they feel like they don't have control, then they throw out this crazy right-wing rhetoric, talking about impeaching the President. I think that's exactly the time when you see this come out.

SHARPTON: But aren't they intimidated by the loud voices, by the radio talkers, by those that have been able to use the right-wing media from
 blog to Fox to radio that really have put them in a state of intimidation? I'm talking about the moderate grownups in the Republican Party?

HUNTSMAN: Right, and it's sad because it's really difficult for them to have any sort of control. And, you know, we know that there are these wacko birds on both sides of the political aisle. But, unfortunately because the moderates don't really have a lot of control, they are dominating  the narrative. And that becomes very, very dangerous. And that's what we've seen play out over the past few weeks. And that's why I think today,  it's a really important moment for the Republican Party, for the future of the party, and for the future of this country, and I hope that they lean more towards a more moderate tone because I think that`s what's better for everybody.

SHARPTON: Richard, do you think today, the way it seems like it will end? We're waiting on the Senate vote, later House voted, if it goes as planned. Do you think that some of the far right will lose their steam since it's going to be hard to make, to even spin this as a victory? Or do you think that they are such believers it won't even matter?

WOLFFE: I think they will say this was a real victory for them because in spite of this temporary bump in the road, they are really the ones  who have set this country on the right track and they'll come back and do it in February. They need to understand that this is not an electable platform. They have to lose again to really get the lesson.

HUNTSMAN: I think you're right. They'll have to lose the House. And I think that's probably unlikely, but they have to hit that rock bottom.

SHARPTON: Well, they set on the right track, $24 billion for nothing. Abby Huntsman and Richard Wolffe, thank you for your time this evening.

--Brad Wilmouth is a news analyst at the Media Research Center. Click here to follow Brad Wilmouth on Twitter.