updated 3/17/2010 10:40:18 AM ET 2010-03-17T14:40:18

Guest: Sherrod Brown, Arlen Specter, Ben Cardin, Susan Molinari, Tom Andrews, Keith Erekson, Stephen A. Smith, Tom Tancredo

ED SCHULTZ, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT:  Good evening, Americans.  Welcome to

“The Ed Show” from New York tonight.  These stories are hitting my hot

buttons tonight.  I guess you could say the Right Wing crazy train was back

on Capitol Hill today.  Michele Bachmann and her crowd trying to kill the

bill while the President and Nancy Pelosi are doing a full-court press for

all the votes.

Senator Sherrod Brown and Arlen Specter will be joining me in just a

moment.

Small businesses can‘t get credit and big banks, I think they‘re to

blame.  Some Democrats want the small business administration to start

making direct loans.  The President, he disagrees with that.

Plus, a revolt inside the Tea Party Movement.  Dick Armey is out for

Tom Tancredo.  Why?  I thought they were Republican brothers.  Tom is going

to be here later in the program to respond to all of that.

But first, tonight‘s top story  that‘s got me all fired up. The Tea

Party crowd.  Back on Capitol Hill today, trying to kill the bill with this

big rally with you know who Michele Bachmann kicking the whole thing off.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

               

MICHELE BACHMANN:  We are at the bottom of the ninth.  We‘ve won every

inning so far, so that should feel pretty good. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes.

BACHMANN:  All we have to do is keep this up until Saturday.  We do

not want this bill passed.  We want to kill the bill.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Kill the bill!  Kill the bill!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  And we know for a fact there absolutely were no Capitol Hill

staffers in that crowd whatsoever.  There‘s just been this huge mob that‘s

just moved right into Washington to say kill the bill.  Dog darn-it, the

Republicans are good at choreography, aren‘t they?  The bottom line here,

folk, is they in the last 72 hours have not addressed one thing that they

would like to see in the bill.  It‘s all negativity across the board. 

That‘s all it.  Tell me what you think in our telephone survey tonight. 

The number to dial is 1877-Ed-msnbc.

And my question tonight, let‘s lay it right at the doorstep of the

Democrats, if the Democrats fail to pass the health care bill, who will you

blame?  Press 1 for President Obama.  Press 2 for speaker Pelosi.  I‘ll

bring you the results later on in the Show.

Joining me now, Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, mixing the Show  up a

little bit tonight because, of course, the senate has just  got votes that

have been called.  He, of course, is on the senate health committee.

Senator, the President has made a full-court press to get Dennis

Kucinich, a colleague of yours from Ohio.  Where do you think that‘s going

to come down in the House?  Do you think the congressman is going to change

his vote and go with this bill?

SEN. SHERROD BROWN, (D) OHIO:  I was with Dennis yesterday, so was the

president.  We talked as a small group.  We talked individually.  I don‘t

know.  I mean, Dennis plays it close to vest.  What I was thinking, though,

Ed, as I was listening to Michele Bachmann, is you know, I just wonder if

the opponents of this bill ever talk to people who have lost health

insurance.

People that got disqualified because they got a pre-existing condition

or people who lost their insurance because it was so expensive.  I mean,

because they got sick  and it cost the insurance company so much they

dropped them from their plan.  Or people that are, you know, they‘re 23

years old, home from  college, can‘t get insurance, can‘t get on their

parent‘s  plan.  I talked to a small business who can‘t afford it anymore

because like a guy in Columbus—or Cleveland yesterday I talked to—

runs a group home of 200 employees and premiums went up 40 percent or 50

percent.  I don‘t know who these people that are opposed to this bill are

talking to.

SCHULTZ:  They don‘t.

BROWN:  They see these suffering, they don‘t see these huge economic

problems for working families or for small businesses.  I mean, I don‘t

even get it.  I don‘t get how they keep shrilling, screaming, you know, men

and women both in the Republican Party against this bill.  Don‘t they talk

to any real people?  Do they just talk to people that dress like this?

SCHULTZ:  They don‘t care, Senator.

BROWN:  I don‘t get it.  I don‘t get it.

SCHULTZ:  Senator, they want to see President Obama fail.  They want

to see the Democratic majority fail.  This is all an ideological war.  And

that‘s the term that they‘re using right now.

BROWN:  You know that‘s probably right.

SCHULTZ:  The word “war” has been used by Orrin Hatch, the word “war”

has been used by Senator Jon Kyl.  I feel like we‘ve wasting all these

months.  I want to ask you, there‘s some NBC poll numbers coming out at the

bottom of the hour, and there‘s been some other surveys out there as well. 

Do you think that the country is politically exhausted with this story? 

That—and also do you think that it‘s really starting to do damage to the

entire process of Washington trying to get something done?  I mean don‘t

the Democrats just have to get the deal done?

BROWN:  Yes.  That‘s why I‘m really glad speaker Pelosi is moving this 

week.  Will move next week.  It‘s got to be done.  The President‘s tired. 

I mean, the President has such a huge job anyway.  Everybody‘s is tired

this.  The public country want to hear about it.

We need to get it done.  Not that we can‘t get two things at once, but

we have to get health care done, put it aside,  focus exclusively on jobs,

how to create jobs in 100 different  ways.  But the health care stuff we‘ve

been doing it long enough and the Republicans just want to delay.  I mean

everything, start with a clean sheet of paper.  They know that kills the

bill.  That‘s the same old stuff that‘s all about delay and we can‘t let

them delay any longer.

SCHULTZ:  Yes.

BROWN:  They‘re going to do amendments and after amendment after

amendment Tom Coburn and Jim DeMint and David Vitter next  week, we stay in

24 hours a day until they‘re talked out, until  they get laryngitis,

whatever it is.  They can‘t talk anymore.  They‘re done with their

amendments.  It‘s all about delay.  We have to hold their feet to the fire. 

Make them vote.  We vote over and over and over again until they run out of

words and we pass this bill. 

SCHULTZ:  Senator Sherrod Brown, good to have you with us tonight. 

Thanks so much. 

BROWN:  Always - thank you.

SCHULTZ:  Folks, what is happening here is very clear.  You have got

some base Democratic progressive groups in this country that are going to

start fighting back against conservative Democrats who are going to block

this bill.

Now, there are 22 Democrats who have decided to go with the

Republicans and vote no on this  bill.  What we‘re going to be seeing

across the country is a bunch of primary challenges.  This one coming in

late this afternoon in the state of South Dakota. 

And I find it very interesting  that Senior Obama campaign official

Steve Hildebrandt is eyeing a Democratic primary  challenge to South Dakota

congresswoman Stephanie Herseth Sandlin.  Congressman Sandlin she voted

against the health care bill once before.  She‘s saying she‘s going to do

it again.  Hildebrandt, who was in Tom Daschle‘s staff and was a big wig in

the Obama campaign, he said if the vote is very, very close and we lose it

or come close to losing it, I will take seriously a look at challenging her

in a primary.

Now, this is going to be happening in Colorado, it‘s going to be

happening in Ohio, in Kentucky, and in Arkansas.  And I think it is a real

message to the rest of the Progressive Democrats that are out there, there

is such an angst amongst  the base they‘re willing to challenge their own. 

For more on this and what‘s going on as far as working together across the

aisle, let‘s go to Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter.  Senator, good to

have you with us. 

SEN. ARLEN SPECTER, (D) PENNSYLVANIA:  Nice talking to you, Ed. 

Thanks for the invitation.  Thank you. 

SCHULTZ:  Yes, yes, sir.  There seems to be a narrative going around

right now.  Hey, we‘ve never done this before.  Well, I thought I‘d ask a

veteran.  Have we done this before?  Has the procedure that‘s being

discussed right now, in the House and the Senate, has it been done before?

SPECTER:  Yes.  22 times.  I filed a statement today which  is just

about a legal brief on the subject, pointing out where  it has been done in

the past on similar circumstances.  For example, Welfare Reform in 1996. 

For example, Cobra, Changing  Insurance Policies.  For example, children‘s

health.  For example, Medicare advantage.  And I have cited in this legal 

brief the specific Republican Senators who used it and who are now

complaining about it.

It is well established.  It is a legitimate way—look,  Ed, we‘re

really facing more than health care reform.

SCHULTZ:  Yes.

SPECTER:  We are really facing the confidence to govern.  You have 40

Republican senators saying no, all of them.  You have 176 out of 177 in the

House saying no.  We have to fight fire with fire.  This is legitimate. 

It‘s a question of whether Washington can govern.

SCHULTZ:  Well, it looks like the American people, the polling  that‘s

coming out, they‘re disgusted with it.  They‘re politically exhausted with

this story.  And they just want change,  whether it‘s Republican or

Democrat, it seems like right  now.  So how pivotal, in your opinion, is

this for President Obama‘s presidency?

SPECTER:  Well, I think it is very important.  Look here, I crossed

the aisle, in fact, I may have crossed the aisle one time too much to suit

my Republican colleagues who were outraged when I voted for the stimulus in

order to avoid sliding into a 1929 depression. 

Now President Obama‘s on the spot, but Congress is on the spot to see

if we can legislate.  If we get tied up in knots it‘s really a suicide

pact.  Justice Jackson said years ago that the constitution is not a

suicide pact.  Well, technical rules are not a suicide pact.  Especially in

the context where they‘ve been used before.  But this is a real test as to

whether President Obama can act, whether the Congress can act.  I predict

we‘re going to do it, Ed. 

SCHULTZ:  Yes and senator, for our viewers across the country tonight,

give us a sense of what it‘s like in the halls of Congress right now. 

Passing one another in the hallway.  These demonstrations that are taking

place outside.  The moment of history here and the angst amongst the

American people.  What would you compare it to, Arlen?

SPECTER:  Well, I would compare it to a hurricane.  I would compare it

to a tsunami, to a volcano eruption.  This is a question as to whether

government can function.  And there‘s a lot of anger that‘s flowing both

ways.  Look, I went to those town meetings.  I went to Lebanon, the guy was

apoplectic waving his arms at me.  America is furious and largely about the

gridlock and inability of Congress to govern.  And it is more than health

care.  It is more than a piece of legislation.  It is more than any of us

who hold office about re-election.  It‘s a matter about whether our system

can function. 

SCHULTZ:  Senator I have to cut you off, I got to do you a favor.  You

have to go vote.  That‘s what I‘m told.  Good to have you with us. 

SPECTER:  Okay. Thank you, Ed. 

SCHULTZ:  Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania with us tonight. 

America undoubtedly I believe is sick of the fight.  The numbers are going

to be showing that.  They want Washington to get this bill passed and just

to move on and let‘s get to the polls.

Now I showed you a survey last night, the Bennissen (ph) strategy

group that clearly indicates 88 percent of Democrats want immediate action

on this health care issue.  69 percent of independents view this as an

urgent problem.  It‘s the inaction that‘s doing this.  People are drained

by the Right-wing lies and all these ridiculous demonstrations by psycho

talkers out there in my opinion and the Democrats are dragging their feet. 

They‘ve done everything to be bipartisan.

I think the American people, because of all of this are politically

exhausted with the health care story.  But hold it right there.  I‘m doing

this tonight and I‘m going to see this thing through because it‘s going to

save lives.  And it‘s going to help a lot of Americans.  I said at the

beginning of all this I was willing to lose friends over this, believe me,

I have.  But this is the moral thing to do for the country.  The new NBC

news/”Wall Street Journal” poll might slow the process down even more. 

Believe it or not.  Respondents were asked, they were asked, if you knew

your representative voted to pass the current health care bill, would you

be more or less likely to vote for them this fall?  The numbers are

staggering.  36 percent say that they will be less likely.  That‘s eight

points higher than 28 percent who would be more likely. 

Nancy Pelosi at this hour is fighting for every last vote.  Any

Democrat that lets this moment or any poll scare them is begging for a

primary challenge.  This is about life or death.  It‘s a gut-check time for

Washington.  If this bill fails you know who wins?  The Michele Bachmanns

of the world who have never done anything for anybody.  The bill fails,

people will die.  No doubt about it.  That‘s not an extreme statement.  I

have had a lady on this program several nights ago, if this bill had been

enacted a life would have been saved.  How much more evidence do we need?

Moveon.org blasted an e-mail to its 5 million members today.  They

have pledged to use donations to help primary challenges defeat any

Democrat who votes against the bill.  We never thought we were going to be

in this place.  If you‘re a strong Liberal we never thought it would

happen.  But it has.  We have to have the intestinal fortitude to see this

thing through.  You either want to talk about the money and you want to

talk about people?  Pick your party.  Pick your movement.  We may be

frustrated with the process but the moral thing to do is support those who

are going to vote yes on this bill. 

Coming up, I think the big banks, I think they‘re hoarding the money

from small businesses because they want this guy, President Obama, to fail. 

Senator Ben Cardin is fighting to help the little guy.  He‘ll be with us

next here on “the Ed Show.”

And Tiger Woods is making his move and he‘s going for the green

jacket.  Steven A. Smith will join me in the “Playbook” and we‘ll talk

about the comeback.

It‘s all coming up in the “Ed Show” stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to “the Ed Show.” let‘s talk business.  Small

businesses are hurting for capital and big banks, I think are to blame. 

The major financial institutions are sitting on credit.  I don‘t think they

want to do anything to help this President succeed.

They are invested in his failure, at least they‘re acting that way, in

my opinion.  But business owners, they need access to credit.  They have to

get their hands on cash.  If the big banks won‘t provide it, the small

business administration should step up.  Maryland Senator Ben Cardin

introduced a bill calling for the SBA to directly lend to small businesses.

Senator Cardin joins me now.  He‘s a member of the senate small

business committee.  Senator, look, this is just an opinion here.  And you

can give me yours.  It seems to me credit is way too tight and that

businesses are cash strapped.  They want to move.  They want to do

projects.  But they can‘t get access to capital.  So where does the small

business administration step in on this in your opinion?  What should

happen?

SEN.BEN CARDIN (D), MARYLAND:  Well we know that banks have money and

they are not lending money to small businesses.  We know that.  We know

many worthy small business owners are not able to get the credit they need

in order to create jobs and get our economy back on track.  More new jobs

will come from small business than from larger companies.  More innovation

comes from small business.  So I think it‘s important that we make credit

available for credit-worthy customers for small companies.  That‘s not

happening today.  What I have suggested and, yes, let‘s beef up the SBA

programs.  Let‘s look at direct loans to help during these extraordinary

times.

SCHULTZ:  Why doesn‘t the president want direct lending?

CARDIN:  Well, the president has an alternative proposal to try to

make credit easier to community banks.  I respect his views on this.  I

think community banks, given some help that could also help.  I know our

states also have programs.  But I think we need to have, at least as a

backup, the ability of SBA to come in and help when we know that there are

important business decisions that are being denied because credit‘s not

available. 

SCHULTZ:  Well, the argument that‘s being made is that this would

create a greater bureaucracy.  Why wouldn‘t they have this direct lending

go through local banks and they could be part of the deal?  And that, of

course, would alleviate all of the administrative stuff that would add to

the infrastructure.  Why can‘t we just use the private banks, but it would

be government money and direct lending?

CARDIN:  Well, you‘re right we also have the SBA structure that‘s in

place.  They‘re already guaranteeing 90 percent of small business loans

under their major program.  So they‘re already involved in evaluating the

loans.  They do have partnerships with banks.  So, I think this could be

done very quickly and efficiently.  I agree.  I think this could be done

with minimal cost and get the money out quickly. 

SCHULTZ:  Do you think the financial sector, the big-money people in

this country do not want to see President Obama succeed?

CARDIN:  Well, I think that it‘s important that our economy get back

on track.  Our President has a game plan to help small businesses.  We have

to help small businesses grow.  To me, the key is going to be to get credit

out to small companies who are being denied credit today.  If they don‘t

have an existing relationship with a bank it‘s impossible, very difficult,

to get a loan today.  We have to correct that. 

SCHULTZ:  They‘re tight with the dollar.  No doubt about that. 

Senator Cardin.  Thanks so much. 

CARDIN:  Thank you.

SCHULTZ:  Coming up, I‘m not sure what I should be more disturbed

about when it comes to Senator Inhofe‘s rant on the senate floor last

night.  His story about ostrich heads?  Or the naked Al Gore cartoon he

used as a prop?  You know where that puts him.  He‘s in the “Zone.”  Stay

with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  And in “Psycho Talk” tonight, Oklahoma‘s foremost global

warming denier.  And that would be Senator Jim Inhofe.  He‘s the guy who

said global warming was the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American

people.  Well yesterday on the senate floor he decided to ignore all the 

important things that are going on in Washington and instead spend time

regurgitating old  attacks on Al Gore. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JIM INHOFE, ® OKLAHOMA:  Gore seems to be drowning in a sea of

his own global warming illusions.  When it comes to practicing good science

Gore stands alone.  He wants the world to put its head in the sand and

pretend nothing‘s happening.  It kind of remind me of the story of the two

boy ostriches chasing the two girl ostriches through the woods and they‘re

catching them.  The one girl ostrich said to the other as they came to a

clearing, what do we do?  Well he said let‘s hide.  So he took each of the

girl ostriches stuck their heads in the respective  hole and the boy

ostriches came galloping up to the clearing.  And one looked at the other

and said, where do the girls go?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Did you get that out of the “Weekly Standard,” senator?  I

tell you what, senator, if there‘s anyone with his head in the sand, it‘s

you, buddy.  First of all, you‘re ignoring basic science that supports

climate change and your head is really in the sand if you think the cute

ostrich analogy does anything but waste time.  Save it for the grandkids. 

Will you, Jimmy?  It‘s no place for the senate floor.  A complete waste of

time.  At a time when congress needs to take serious action on major issues

facing our country, your attacks, attacks on Al Gore, are irrelevant

“Psycho Talk.” poor Oklahoma.

Coming up, a bunch of loonies in Texas.  They‘re trying to fill your

kids‘ school textbooks with “Psycho Talk.”  I‘ll tell you what that‘s all

about.  What you can do to stop it. 

And the tea they‘re drinking in New Jersey is really strange  brew.  A

court just ruled that the righty fringe can force their Democratic Senator

right out of office.  Just because they disagree with him on health care. 

All that, plus I‘ll tell you what I think of Tiger‘s decision to play at

the Masters, you‘re watching “The Ed Show” on MSNBC, stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) 

SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.  Thanks for watching tonight. 

Our NBC News/”Wall Street Journal” poll has just been released.  The

numbers aren‘t good for the majority party when it comes to health care

reform.  Only 36 percent think it‘s a good idea; 48 percent say it‘s a bad

idea.  Despite that, people still want the Congress to pass it; 46 percent

say it‘s better to pass the current bill; 45 percent say it‘s better to

keep the status quo. 

The American people don‘t trust either side right now.  They‘ve been

turned off by a sausage-making process and all the politicking that‘s

taking place. even from the president; 57 percent disapprove of how

President Obama‘s handled health care; 59 percent disapprove of how the

Republicans in Congress have handled health care. 

Now, the question is whether the country will come around once the

Democrats pass reform, if they succeed in passing it.  For more on that,

let‘s bring in John Harwood, CNBC‘s chief Washington correspondent.  John,

I don‘t know if the word to use is frustrated or the other word that starts

with a “P” that says really upset.  Where is America right now? 

JOHN HARWOOD, CNBC CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT:  Oh, it‘s more on

the latter.  You could go even worse than that, but this is a family

network.  Our colleague, Peter Hart, Democratic pollster, who does this

survey with us, says the findings, if you take them together, amount to a

memo from the American public to Congress that says, you stink. 

I think the question, Ed, is the one that you framed.  You know,

health care polls show that the American public is sour on the process. 

You do show a plurality of people saying the Obama plan is a bad idea.  But

the politics for Democrats are all in favor of going ahead of this because

the consequences would be much worse, in the estimation of all the

Democratic political people, if they don‘t do it, if it fails and goes

down. 

Then you have the question of how much can they mitigate their

problems, can they blunt their problems with the public if they pass it? 

That‘s what we don‘t know. 

SCHULTZ:  There‘s other information tonight, obviously relating to the

president.  How‘s he faring in all of this?  His job approval rating is at

48 percent.  Also the views of the stimulus package, 42 percent a bad idea;

35 percent a good idea; no opinion at 23 percent. 

And which party would do a better job on the economy?  John, I really

found this interesting.  There is no winner here.  There is no winner. 

HARWOOD:  Yes, but it‘s clear Republicans have made headway damaging

the reputation of the stimulus package, and you see that in these numbers. 

They have never been all that strong, because when you have a huge

government-spending plan in this environment, you have a lot of misgivings

about it.  And you know, Democrats are in the position of trying to sell

the argument that things would be a lot worse, we could have had a Great

Depression if we didn‘t do what we did.  It‘s hard for people to imagine a

consequence that hasn‘t happened. 

So the challenge for Democrats, in this very tough environment, very

favorable environment for Republicans, is to try to fight through it and

see if they can take, for example, the health care plan, if it passes, and

sell the individual components, some of which are popular, and turn a

failure story in a success story.  That‘s their challenge. 

SCHULTZ:  The big question every politician is asking is—when it

comes to the midterms now, is this a yes or a no?  Will this be—will

these numbers, or any poll for that matter, be a deciding factor on where

they go on this major piece of legislation?  And I think one thing that

we‘re seeing is all this talk of primary challenges.  Do you think any of

these numbers would push any politician over the edge to go one way or

another? 

HARWOOD:  Well, you do have a lot of people on either fringe of the

party. the Tea Party right, or the activist left in the Democratic party,

seeing what‘s happening in the bases of the two parties, how polarized they

are and how strongly they feel about this.  You may see some consequences. 

You mentioned earlier in the show Steve Hildebrand potentially

challenging Stephanie Herseth Sandlin.  That‘s an example of what will

happen if the Democratic base is disappointed by the failure of health care

bill.  That‘s a means of the left putting pressure on some of those Blue

Dogs who are withholding their votes. 

It is a rough environment out there, though.  There‘s no question the

Republicans have the high side in this election.  And it‘s—what

Democrats have got to do is simply limit their losses.  They know there are

going to be losses. 

SCHULTZ:  John Harwood, thanks so much for joining us tonight.

HARWOOD:  You go tit. 

SCHULTZ:  Now I want to get rapt fire response from our panel on these

three stories tonight.  The John Edwards scandal is the kind of thing that

makes Americans hate politicians.  This could have a major impact on the

vetting process for whoever wants to stand up next.

Republican leadership says that it could be war.  Could be war?  If

Democrats try to pass health care reform through reconciliation with just

51 votes. 

And the Tea Party crazies, nuts, whatever you want to call them, in

New Jersey won a court victory today to move forward with the recall effort

against Democratic Senator Bob Menendez.  The senator has 45 days to appeal

that ruling before the Tea Partiers can act on it. 

With us tonight, Tom Andrews, a former Democratic congressman and

executive director of the New Security Action, and Susan Molinari, former

congresswoman and Republican strategist with us. 

Let‘s start with the John Edwards story.  Susan, you first.  I mean,

it would seem to me, with the disappointment that John Edwards caused in

the political arena, this is going to really open up a brand new effort to

vet candidates. 

SUSAN MOLINARI, FMR. CONGRESSWOMAN:  I think John Edwards is in a

category all by himself here.  It is a story that continues to be told in

the pages of magazines now, with his girlfriend posing in just a nightshirt

and on beds with a little doll. 

You know, yes—I don‘t know how to answer this, Ed.  I mean, my

goodness, clearly you have to vet your candidates, but how deep can you

get?  I mean, would anybody have ever thought to say to John Edwards, a

United States senator and vice presidential candidate, before he was a

candidate for president, have you ever had an extra-marital affair on your

wife who is—you know, has cancer?  And do you have a child? 

I mean, it wouldn‘t occur to people that people would be this

narcissistic, this crazy, to put themselves out there. 

SCHULTZ:  It happens and a lot of people were hurt.  A lot of

organizations came out in favor of John Edwards.  Tom Andrews, do we ask

for cell phones and passwords on the Internet?  How far do we go with this? 

TOM ANDREWS, FORMER CONGRESSMAN:  You know, the reality is, Ed,

unfortunately, neither political party has a monopoly on this kind of

bizarre behavior.  It‘s just obviously inexcusable.  The people that John

Edwards was talking about and reaching are, of course, the people that you

said earlier on the show—this health care debate is literally a matter

of life and death. 

So you need those voices out there loudly and clearly.  The problem

for the Democrats, frankly, on this issue, is it‘s not the lack of

messengers or messengers compromising themselves, it‘s being off message,

allowing the Republicans to take control of that message.  That‘s what we

have to be focusing on in this debate. 

SCHULTZ:  Susan, talking about what the Republicans are saying, that

it would be war if the Democrats try to pass health care through

reconciliation.  Is this a scare tactic, or is this really a signal that

we‘re not going to work with the Democrats on anything if they go

reconciliation on health care? 

MOLINARI:  I think what they‘re saying is if the Democrats feel like

they‘re going to do a self-enacting rule, they‘re going to do

reconciliation, you know, that this is the way they‘re going to go—I

don‘t think when Jon Kyl and others said this is going to be war, we‘re

never going to work for the American people ever.  But we‘re going to make

sure that their feet are held to the fire, and that this is a vote that‘s

going to be taken very seriously, and will be played politically, in the

right sense of the word, towards election. 

SCHULTZ:  Tom, does this embolden the Democrats to just go ahead and

pass it? 

ANDREWS:  Absolutely.  This is war.  And it‘s about time the Democrats

in Washington stand up and fight in this war, and fight for the people we

elected them to fight for.  This Republican reaction—I just think of

“Casablanca” and Claude Rains saying, I‘m shocked—shocked that they‘re

using—the Democrats are using exactly the technique that we used when we

were in the majority.  Nobody buys that. 

What we want to see is Democrats standing up, fighting, getting

results and getting this thing passed.  I think the word for this is

hypocrisy, this complaint about the process that the Republicans, of

course, made famous when they were in the majority. 

MOLINARI:  The republicans weren‘t the ones that stood up and said,

we‘re going to do government differently; we were going to have this

transparent, this translucent government; we were going to have everything

on C-Span; everything was going to be regular order.  It‘s anything but

with regard to health care. 

SCHULTZ:  The president took enough heat and he did open up the

process.  Everybody showed up. 

MOLINARI:  That‘s right. 

ANDREWS:  We all remember the Contract on America, you know.  And how

that all went for the Republicans.  Listen, people want to see results. 

They want to see results.  The problem is that Democrats, frankly, have

lost control of this—the terms of this debate.  Finally, the president

is out there swinging away.  He‘s going after the insurance companies that

are ripping off the American public. 

And we‘re seeing those poll numbers that you talked about earlier in

the show, Ed, are beginning to move in a positive direction because

Democrats are starting to fight and fight hard.  That‘s what we expect them

to do. 

SCHULTZ:  Tom, I want to switch now to the Senator Menendez story in

New Jersey.  If the Tea Partiers are able to recall, or at least put the

senator‘s back to the wall, what does that say about them being a political

force? 

ANDREWS:  Well you know, Ed, I‘ll tell you.  This is why we have

elections.  If you disagree, if you‘re opposed to someone who‘s in public

office doing things that you don‘t like, then by all means, go out and run

against them and vote against them. 

You know, I tell you, there are an awful lot of Republicans that folks

in my party would like very much to see recalled all over the country.  Of

course, there was a big movement when George W. Bush was president. 

Frankly, I think that‘s what elections are for. 

SCHULTZ:  Susan, how should Republicans respond to this possible

recall of Senator Menendez? 

MOLINARI:  I think this goes way beyond Senator Menendez.  I think the

fact that we have 18 states that allow for recalls of state officials, that

the state of New Jersey has now deemed that even though the US Constitution

says you can‘t recall a senator and a congressman, that you can maybe, in

fact—that the state Constitution would supersede that.  You‘re going to

see this happening throughout the United States if this is allowed to

stand, to Republicans and to Democrats, first starting with the United

States Senate. 

I wouldn‘t be surprised if there‘s actions throughout this United

States to try and change state Constitutions to try to deal with members of

Congress, too. 

SCHULTZ:  I don‘t disagree with that. 

MOLINARI:  This is going to be the next big debate that both

Republicans and Democrats, and every elected official is going to have to

deal with.  It does not end in New Jersey, by any means.

SCHULTZ:  Susan Molinari and Tom Andrews, great to have you with us

tonight.  Thanks for the rapid fire response. 

Coming up, after four months of hiding, Tiger says he‘s ready for the

comeback.  And he‘s going big.  He‘s headed for the Masters in Augusta. 

Stephen A. Smith will be here to talk it over with me in the playbook. 

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  In my playbook tonight, four months after his infamous

Thanksgiving night car crash, Tiger Woods will be back on the golf course

for the Masters golf tournament.  He announced his return to golf today

with the following statement.  He said, “the Masters is where I won my

first major and I view this tournament with great respect.  After a long

and necessary time away from the game, I feel like I‘m ready to start my

season at Augusta.  I have undergone almost two months of in-patient

therapy, and I‘m continuing my treatment.  Although I‘m returning to

competition, I still have a lot of work to do in my personal life.” 

Joining me for more on this story tonight is Stephen A. Smith,

nationally syndicated radio talk show host, and columnist for the

“Philadelphia Enquirer.”  Stephen A., I got to tell you, on my talk show

today, I asked people if they were rooting for Tiger Woods and the

comeback.  It was 50/50, but it was emotional and passionate.  There was no

gray area.  How is he going to be received at Augusta? 

STEPHEN A. SMITH, “PHILADELPHIA ENQUIRER”:  It‘s going to be a mixture

of both.  You‘re going to hear jeers and cheers.  The fact is he‘s the

greatest golfer in the world.  so you‘re going to see people who love the

game of golf, love watching him perform in the game of golf, that are going

to be rooting for him to perform, because that‘s going to bring theater to

the sport.  Clearly, the game of golf, as well as the Masters, itself, are

in desperate need of his arrival and his participation. 

On the other hand, you‘re going to have a lot of people out there that

find his acts very, very egregious, find his betrayal, his infidelity very

egregious, and they‘re going to try to act accordingly. 

But don‘t make the mistake of assuming they‘re going to be louder than

the cheers, because the Masters, itself, will assist in making sure the

cheers outweigh everything else.  That‘s a very controlled environment. 

It‘s no accident why Tiger picked this event to come back. 

SCHULTZ:  Network executives are predicting this is going to be a huge

television audience all four days.  Will it?

SMITH:  No question.  You‘re going to have people who want to see him

succeed, because they‘re going to adopt that underdog role when it comes to

him.  Oh, it‘s Tiger against the world, we‘ve got to root for him.  Then

you are going to have people rooting for him to flop and fail and fall flat

on his face, because of his egregious acts that violated his family and

marital vows. 

Either way, whether you‘re loved or you‘re hated, you going to be

watched, which means you‘re not being ignored. 

SCHULTZ:  Do you think he‘ll feel a lot more pressure coming back this

time or is it just going to be another big tournament for tiger? 

SMITH:  It‘s another big tournament.  If anything, this will help him

to perform even better.  The reality is that he can either stay on the golf

course or he can be in some sexual addiction clinic, or, even worse,

sitting next to the wife that he has admittedly betrayed.  I don‘t know

about any other man, but let me tell you something right now—actually, I

think I do know most men.  If they had a choice to pick between the three,

they‘d pick to get back on the course. 

SCHULTZ:  I would say so.  I think, you know, the demeanor of the fans

at Augusta is really going to be a good environment for him.  It‘s not like

going to some of the other tournaments, where they heckle the players quite

a bit.  It will be interesting.  Stephen A., great to have you on tonight. 

Thanks so much.

SMITH:  No problem, buddy.

SCHULTZ:  Another page in my playbook.  This is a story I really

wanted to do.  A handful of ultra-conservative Texans could end up deciding

what kids learn in social studies class all over the country.  On Friday,

the Texas State Board of Education voted to change their state‘s curriculum

making it—I guess you could say—more Tea Party friendly. 

For example, they plan to remove the word “democratic” from the

description of the United States government, describing it as a

“constitutional republic.”  They also voted to include information

justifying McCarthy‘s communist witch hunts.  And they‘ll even remove

Thomas Jefferson from a list of people who influenced the 18th century

revolutions.  Religious icon John Calvin made the list, instead. 

These changes won‘t just affect Texas schools.  Texas buys so many

textbooks that nationwide publishers often tailor their texts to its

standards.  Joining me now for the academic response to all of this is

Keith Erekson.  He is the director of Social Studies Teacher Education

Program at the University of Texas El Paso. 

Professor, good to have you with us tonight.  What is the academic

response to this move by some political ideologues in the education arena? 

KEITH EREKSON, UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS, EL PASO:  Thanks for having me on,

Ed.  The response is probably quite predictable.  Several people are quite

alarmed.  Others are throwing their hands up in the air, wondering what can

be done. 

SCHULTZ:  What can be done?  What will you do?  What do you think

should be done? 

EREKSON:  Well, it‘s a rather tightly controlled process from here on

out.  In the next few weeks, the State Board of Education will post their

new draft online for public comment, and they‘re scheduled to have another

hearing in May.  But the question remains how open they will be at that

hearing to take feedback or comments, or whether this is a done deal. 

SCHULTZ:  In your opinion, are they distorting history or just

omitting some things? 

EREKSON:  Well, even omission is a form of distortion, and they‘re

pulling a lot of maneuvers here to—their choice of emphasis, their

choice of topic, and those, of course, are choices that historians debate

and should be debated.  That‘s partly the feeling that people have, is that

these are just amendments that have been sort of pushed in in the last

minute after the year-long process of debate. 

SCHULTZ:  As an educator, how should they handle it?  How would you

handle it? 

EREKSON:  Well, the process called for expert opinion.  Unfortunately,

it did so only at the beginning of the period.  So, a year ago, there were

committees made up of college professors, high school teachers, concerned

citizens, who went through the entire curriculum, made recommendations. 

The board called on some outside experts. 

But now those doors are closing.  And the final decision will be made

by the board.  So the expertise was sort of frond-ended.  It‘s kind of like

if you hired top-rate designers to create a car, and then nobody stood

around at the end of the line to check if the accelerator pedal worked. 

SCHULTZ:  Mr. Erekson, do you think this will push some families to

move their kids to private schools? 

EREKSON:  I think that could be a possibility.  One of the other

interesting possibilities, as well, lies in the fact that you mentioned

about the prominence of the Texas textbooks.  Because the California

textbooks are not widely used, because they are so strict in what must be

covered.  If the Texas textbooks become more tightly controlled, more

viewed as having more of an ideological bent, that may turn away other

markets.  And it may backfire in the end for Texas, in their sense of being

a prominent player in the textbook market. 

SCHULTZ:  Keith Erekson, thank you for your time on this subject

tonight.  I appreciate it so much.

Coming up, a civil war has broken out in the Tea Party nation.  Dick

Armey calls my next guest destructive.  I‘ll give Tom Tancredo his chance

to respond.  You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC.  Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.  Final story tonight; former

House Majority Leader Dick Armey is lashing out at fellow Tea Party icon,

former Congressman Tom Tancredo because of his hard line against

immigration.  Last week, Armey said he wasn‘t happy about Tancredo being

associated with the Tea Party movement.  And yesterday, he went further,

taking a swing at him at a speech at the National Press Club. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DICK ARMEY, FMR. HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER:  When I was a majority leader,

I saw to it that Tom Tancredo did not get on a stage because I saw how

destructive he was.  Ronald Reagan said, tear down that wall.  Tom Tancredo

said, build a wall.  Who‘s right?  You know?  America is not a nation that

builds walls.  America‘s a nation that opens doors. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Joining me now to respond to all that, former Republican

Congressman from Colorado Tom Tancredo.  Tom, your response to that

tonight. 

TOM TANCREDO, FMR. CONGRESSMAN:  Well, first of all, calling me an

icon, that‘s cool.  Thank you.  I didn‘t think that was the case, but I‘m

glad. 

SCHULTZ:  It was that speech he gave at the Tea Party event that just

tipped me over. 

TANCREDO:  Yes, three standing ovations.  OK. 

SCHULTZ:  All right.  So what‘s going on here?  What‘s your response

to this? 

TANCREDO:  Well, this is not new.  It is true that we have had a

running battle, Dick Armey and I, for a long time.  I don‘t know what stage

he kept me off.  But I probably never will know.  It wasn‘t the House

floor, I guarantee you that, because everybody has a right to go down there

if you‘re in Congress.  I did all the time. 

Here‘s the problem.  Both of us, we just have two different ideas, I

suppose, about what illegal immigration means to this country.  First of

all, I truly believe that it is an extremely important topic.  I do want to

talk about it a lot because I think it matters a great deal.  There‘s an

economic aspect to it.  There‘s all kinds of political aspects to it.  So

it deserves discussion. 

He doesn‘t like my point of view.  He is—you have to also think

about this: follow the money.  You know, you always do that.  Right? 

SCHULTZ:  Yeah.  I want to know, are we seeing a fight for the

leadership of the Tea Party movement break out here between you and Dick

Armey? 

TANCREDO:  Well, I can‘t say that, because truly I do not believe I am

a leader in the Tea Party movement.  I went.  I spoke.  I will speak two or

three more times to different groups.  But that‘s a lot different than

being a leader.  I don‘t know there is a, quote, leader. 

SCHULTZ:  What do you mean follow the money?  What do you mean by

that? 

TANCREDO:  Well, Dick Armey is trying to be a leader in the Tea Party

movement because it is a very powerful movement.  He wants to try to

control it or at least influence it.  Why?  Because, of course, his group -

and how, I should say, is because his group has a lot of money to spend

and they do spend it on the Tea Party, trying to influence it, trying to

direct it their way. 

And so that‘s a big part of this problem, is that you have people who

are patriots for profit.  Unfortunately, that‘s what Dick Armey is.  He‘s a

patriot for profit. 

SCHULTZ:  Is he wrong on illegal immigration in your opinion? 

TANCREDO:  Totally wrong, totally wrong on it. 

SCHULTZ:  Is the Tea Party correct—is the Tea Party position on

illegal immigration in line with the way you see it? 

TANCREDO:  I don‘t know that they have one.  I certainly want to do my

best to make them understand that—make everybody in the Tea Party

understand that there are fiscal implications to massive immigration,

especially people who will come into this country illegally.  It costs us a

fortune. 

SCHULTZ:  I just find it amazing that he would go so far to

characterize you like that, compare you to a dead guy, Ronald Reagan.  And

it‘s just so out of character.  I didn‘t know Armey was—we have dirty

politics inside the Tea Party movement already. 

TANCREDO:  It is peculiar.  I must admit, I was surprised, myself.  I

haven‘t responded to him.  This was the first time I‘ve ever even talked

about this. 

SCHULTZ:  Tom, good to have you with us.  Thanks for your time

tonight.  I appreciate your time tonight. 

TANCREDO:  Sure, buddy.

SCHULTZ:  Tonight in our telephone survey I asked you if the Democrats

fail to pass the health care bill, who will you blame?  Sixty four percent

of you said it would be President Obama‘s fault; 36 percent would lay the

blame at the doorstep of Speaker Pelosi. 

That‘s THE ED SHOW.  I‘m Ed Schultz.  For more information on THE ED

SHOW, you can go to Ed.MSNBC.com or our radio website, WeGotEd.com. 

“HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews is next.  We‘ll see you tomorrow night.

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY

BE UPDATED.

END   

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