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TODAY   |  March 05, 2013

Rachel Maddow: US is governing ‘crisis to crisis’

The host of MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show” talks about the upcoming sequester budget cuts, saying the government needs to be better prepared for crises, and discusses her book “Drift: The Unmooring of the American Military Power.”

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> we're beginning to see some effects of the sequester, including longer lines at airport security checkpoints. rachel maddow show and the author of "drift," which is just out in paperbook. rachel, good morning. nice to see you.

>> good to see you, savannah.

>> the book is timely, as we speak. let's talk about the sequester. terrible phrase. we hate the word.

>> yeah.

>> it was supposed to be something that forced both sides to the table, cuts that were so bad that they would never go into effect. here we are in the sequester era. how does this end? what gets them to the table?

>> i was trying to come up with the perfect metaphor. in prohibition, to stop people from drinking, the government would put poison in industrial alcohol. they didn't do anything to stop the underlying problem of stopping people to drink so what they did was poison people. this is supposed to be the same thing, aver sichlt on therapy. we've gone ahead and done it.

>> to borrow your metaphor it's not a poison that kills you overnight, a slow, rolling poison.

>> it is designed to be harmful. that's the way the sequester cuts were put together. they were designed to be dis distasteful. they were blunt and to use the president's words, dumb. they were supposed to be enough to get us not to do them. the fact that it wasn't, we are in a failed aversion therapy situation right now and we can't keep governing this way. if we stop being scared of the things we might inflict on ourselves.

>> as we watch this unfold in slow motion , both sides didn't really seem to be negotiating at all but rather seemed to be positions themselves to not take the blame. i don't want to perpetuate the blame game this morning but to the extent that's what gets people to the table, the perception that one side or the other is losing. who do you think is better positioned to weather the storm?

>> the person who is better positioned to come out of this well is the person who says we need to stop governing this way. we had the fiscal cliff, debt ceiling standoff, two government shutdown standoffs, now the sequester standoffs. we have to start naming these things like hurricanes at this point.

>> you know politics. do you think anyone has the high road here?

>> if you want to get out of this by doing a balanced approach, you are in a better situation than getting out of this by only getting what you want. republicans saying we won't compromise at all, that puts democrats in a better light. crisis to crisis to crisis is not the way our country should govern itself. other countries spend their times trying to build up resilience so if there is a crisis, they can handle it. we, instead, invent our own crisis. we already have longer ts a-lines than we otherwise would have. now we're headed into a big storm. why inflict that upon ourselves?

>> "drift" now in paperbook. it's very relevant. just yesterday, vice president biden was saying to a pro israel lobbying group that the united states is not bluffing when it comes to the military option against iran. your book is all about military intervention and the founder's intent, that this country would actually be slow to intervene militarily. what do you make of it?

>> they structured the country not so that we would be passivists, but disinclined to war. if we hadn't been upset by the -- what was difficult for us about supporting the british military , america wouldn't exist in the first place. we didn't want to pay for their military exhibitionism. we have a peaceful bias in our structure. that ends up being sub verticaled if it comes very easy to go to war or if we're at war we don't notice.

>> how do you apply them when you describe, in iran basically talking about getting a nuclear capability, when you have something like syria, even libya?

>> the most important thing founders i think would tell us to do is to have a realistic debate about this. if it's efficient to go to war, it should not be the president alone. congress is vested with the power of whether we go to war. it doesn't work that way. it's supposed to be congress that makes that decision. it's harder for congress to make decisions as a group of more than 400 people than it is for the president to do it alone but that's how it's supposed to be. military families have had such a different life since 9/11 than the rest of us. we should not feel so separate from their experience. we should feel like one country that went to war, not like a country that sent 1%.

>> rachel maddow , great to see you as always.