SUMMARY: Syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks join Judy Woodruff to discuss the week’s news, including the biggest talking points at this year’s CPAC, an assessment of the Republicans’ fight over funding Homeland Security and the politics behind Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s upcoming speech to Congress.
MARK SHIELDS, Syndicated Columnist: We should take away, first of all, there’s a generational divide in that room, which Rand Paul reaches across to particularly younger voters.
But what I found most — I guess — and I thought Jeb Bush did a lot better in a question-and-answer than he did in a set speech last week. I thought he was far more effective.
But, Judy, what’s coming out of that room — and it’s basically the first primary for Republicans — is exactly the kind of language of no consensus, no compromise, compromise is capitulation, compromise is surrender. And it’s exactly the wrong message that was going to Capitol Hill this week, where Republicans collapsed in handling Homeland Security.
And I just think the atmosphere created by that room and by the people there is harmful to the party. It could be crucial to the nominating process, but it’s an unelectable message.
JUDY WOODRUFF: But isn’t that the message — isn’t that message of no cooperation, David, what — that’s been the trademark for these conservatives, hasn’t it?
DAVID BROOKS, The New York Times: Yes. Well, this is CPAC, remember. There’s conservatives, and then there’s conservatives, and then conservatives, and then way over on the other side of the room is CPAC.
And so you look at the people they have nominated over the years as their favorite speaker, it’s Ron Paul, Rand Paul’s father. President Ron Paul has been elected, Gary Bauer, Christian conservative. So this is like the hardest of the hard core.
MARK SHIELDS: Mitt Romney three times.
DAVID BROOKS: Mitt Romney did get it, but he packed the house.
DAVID BROOKS: They all do pack the house.
But you learn a few things. First, Jeb Bush did well. And so that was important, that if he stumbled, then a little rhythm gets going that Jeb Bush can’t really campaign very well, and so he did well. Scott Walker seems to do OK with Tea Party and with the establishment part. So that’s good.
Marco Rubio, fine, but what was, I guess, interesting was the foreign policy split. As we just heard, the hard-core interventionists were cheered. Rand Paul was cheered on the other thing. So, people are looking everything right now.
But I suspect the two main trends, so far, we see — I’m about to list three one, after saying two — one, pretty good candidates, better than last time, a lot of good candidates. Two, the party doesn’t know where it stands on foreign policy, but it’s a little more interventionist than they seemed. And, three — I’m not Rick Perry — I do remember — the social issues, abortion, a little less emphasized than in years past.