Lauer On New Congress: Will the Right's Yellers and Dissenters Win Out?

NBC's Matt Lauer, on Monday's Today show, feared cooler heads would not prevail in the newly GOP controlled House as he worried that those who've "staked their entire careers and reputation on dissent" are going "to do a lot of yelling in these first couple of days and weeks." Lauer, apparently not realizing that many Americans voted in the midterms for "dissent" against the likes of Obamacare, asked David Gregory who would win between the aforementioned yellers and those "who really listen to the voters."

Gregory responded that the Tea Party comes to Washington with a "mandate" to "stick to some of the principles" they campaigned on, but then added that the incoming chair of the House Government committee, Republican Darrell Issa, was going to use his subpoena power "to take that opposition to the next level." This prompted Lauer to huff: "But is that what Republicans across the country want, David? Do they want investigations or do they want other things accomplished?"

Later on in the segment, on a different topic, Lauer, Gregory and Todd, piled on New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie, as well as New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg, asking if their political futures were "hurt" by their handling of the recent snowstorms. Todd affirmed both were hurt as he asserted: "Both of them have sketched out this idea that they are the competency candidates." and "If they ever ran for president they'd be like, 'Look we can make this thing work.' Well the first test of competency is managing an emergency crisis like this. And on this one, right now, it looks like they had a tough time passing that test."

The following exchanges were aired on the January 3 Today show:

MATT LAUER: Let's also bring in David Gregory, moderator of Meet the Press. He can join the conversation. David, good to see you, good morning.

DAVID GREGORY: Good morning, Matt.

LAUER: It seems like we got a lot of forces at work here, David. On the one hand you've got some people who've staked their entire careers and reputation on dissent and they're gonna do a lot of yelling in these first couple of days and weeks. And, on the other hand, you may have some people who really listen to the voters in the midterm elections and those voters said "we want things accomplished." So is the question, who's gonna win?

GREGORY: I think it is. Look in the Republican Party there are crosscurrents. They're gonna be - an amazing story here. The Tea Party activists who now are lawmakers in the House, in the Senate, they come to Washington saying, "Look we had a mandate here, and it's not just to get along here. It's not just to compromise. It's to stick to some of the principles that we campaigned on." You hear from a Darrell Issa who's got the subpoena power now to launch some investigations and to take that opposition to the next level...

LAUER: But is that what Republicans across the country want, David? Do they want investigations or do they want other things accomplished?

GREGORY: It's not clear that they do. I think this is ultimately over role, size, scope, in terms of spending, taking on health care, kind of goes under that, the stimulus. And ultimately who's best, who is best to get people back to work? That's still the backdrop for both parties here.

...


LAUER: I don't get to say this to you two very often, but let's talk about snowstorms and garbage collection, alright? We had, we had a major snowstorm here in the Northeast in the last week and just go back to John Lindsay-

GREGORY: Right.

LAUER: -and, and realize what can happen to a governor or a mayor of a large city or state in the Northeast, if they don't get the job done when it comes to snowstorms and garbage. So what's gonna be the fallout from all the criticism that is being leveled at that man right there, Mike Bloomberg for the job that was done in New York City, and that man Chris Christie for the job that was done in New Jersey. And by the way we should mention, some did it well. Cory Booker in Newark, getting kudos this week, for the job he did. What's the fallout gonna be?

[On screen headline: "Snow Mad, Will Anger Over Blizzard Clean-Up Hurt Bloomberg & Christie?"]

GREGORY: You know I think we're still, we're still waiting for this Matt. Certainly it's been pretty ugly so far. If you go back to that John Lindsay campaign when he ran for reelection there was an ad that we played on Meet the Press where he's saying, "Look I guessed wrong on the storm but I did some other things right." I think the mayor is gonna have to explaining this and keep tightening up the process for declaring a snow emergency and ultimately making the response faster. People expect it.

LAUER: Right.

GREGORY: And in the, the Twitter age it's so easy to document when things go slowly.

LAUER: Chuck, real quickly we look at these people like Chris Christie and Mike Bloomberg as possibly having a bigger profile in the future. Does this hurt it?

TODD: I actually think it does. You know both of them have sketched out this idea that they are the competency candidates. Right? If they ever ran for president they'd be like, "Look we can make this thing work." Well the first test of competency is managing an emergency crisis like this. And on this one, right now, it looks like they had a tough time passing that test.

LAUER: Alright Chuck Todd and David Gregory. Thanks guys, appreciate it. Nice seeing you.

GREGORY: Thank you.

TODD: You got it.

—Geoffrey Dickens is the Senior News Analyst at the Media Research Center. You can follow him on Twitter here

Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens is the Deputy Research Director at the Media Research Center.