Rachel Maddow talks to Congressman Barney Frank about the President's speech, the Republican response and whether there's any point in negotiating with them given how far to the right the Republican party is now.
Some of the better parts of this interview- Frank on Joe Wilson’s outburst:
I’d say what Wilson did was a mark of their frustration and you know, Barack Obama is a big boy. I think I must say that any Republican, particularly a Joe Wilson who’d want to get into a debate with Barack Obama is tugging on Superman’s cape and pulling the Lone Ranger’s mask, but if that’s what he wants to do… free country.
The Republicans represent an extremely conservative faction and the notion that those of us who won the election with a solid majority should compromise 50/50 with those who won’t… well then why have elections?
[T]his annoys me a little bit, this kind of like, I’m above the battle. I think the President underestimated when he came into office exactly how right wing the Republicans are and I’m glad he asked them today to join. I have no great hopes for it because they are in the control of the most conservative, knowing how right wing the Republican party has become, my only bad moment with Barack Obama during the campaign was when he said he was going to be post-partisan, and I got post-partisan depression, because I knew that that meant dealing with these people.
Again, I think they forced him to get to the basics. I think he may have thought that they were more reasonable than they are. This collection of loons that you scrolled down there, I’ve got to say those people, if anybody needs a health plan in America, it’s those people who are in severe need of mental health services.
On some Republicans now complaining about their party's fringe:
I noticed last week in the New York Times that the responsible conservatives are starting to complain now that the arguments against the Obama plan and against our effort to do health care are being dominated by the crazies. Well, that’s their fault. They were very happy to have the crazies getting out there doing Hitler stuff and etc. But I think the Republicans, they don’t have good arguments. When people make ridiculous arguments against something, it’s because that’s all they’ve got.