Guests: Sherrod Brown, Byron Dorgan, Leo Gerard, John Feehery, Bill Press,
Katrina Vanden Heuvel, Hendrik Hertzberg, Steve McMahon.
HOST: Good evening, Americans, and welcome to THE ED SHOW
tonight from New York.
These stories are hitting my hut buttons tonight.
The Republicans, well, they‘re back in action, fighting an extension
of unemployment benefits. It‘s the same old crowd. And of course they
don‘t want to crack down on Wall Street.
Senators Sherrod Brown and Byron Dorgan will join me in just a moment
on those subjects.
Virginia‘s Republican governor thinks it was widely insensitive for
him to honor the confederate forces without noting that slavery was wrong.
But the head of the Republican Governors Association, Haley Barbour from
Mississippi, says African-American outrage doesn‘t amount to diddly.
Plus, Al Gore. Yes. Should he be on President Obama‘s short list for
the Supreme Court? I think so.
That‘s coming up in the “Playbook.”
But this is the story that has me fired up tonight. It‘s the story
about whether you really care about people or not.
The Republican Party is filled with fiscally conservative frauds. The
Senate is back from their two-week-long vacation, spring break. The first
order of business is a $9 billion extension of unemployment benefits.
That really has affected over 200,000 Americans who saw their benefits
cut. Senators have been, let‘s see, flying around the globe and eating in
the best restaurants while the unemployed Americans have basically been
shut out in the cold on this deal.
Now, at this hour, the Senate is trying to end the debate and give
these folks the lifeline they need until they get another job. And if the
Democrats are successful, the final bill should clear on Thursday.
Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, you know, “Dr. No” of the Senate,
blocked the extension before the lawmakers went on break. In a telephone
interview with “The Hill,” Coburn said, “The easiest thing in the world is
to pass this bill unpaid for, but consider the millions of Americans whose
financial futures would be damaged versus the relatively small amount of
people who will be affected by this delay. Now you tell me which vote is
the most courageous.”
Wait a minute. We spend how much money a month in Iraq and
Afghanistan? And we never question the expenses. But now a 30-day
extension of unemployment benefits? I mean, does it really take a lot of
courage to kick somebody when they‘re down like this, Tom?
Nobody who picks up an unemployment check gives a damn about the
federal budget deficit. You know what they care about? They want to know
if they‘re going to be able to afford a trip to the grocery store and maybe
keep from begging the landlord for a little bit more time to pay their
Let‘s see, their credit rating would probably be destroyed if they
miss a car payment the way things work out today. Hell, they can‘t even
afford the gas in the car, but good old Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, he says
that‘s courage to vote that way?
Folks, when you lose your job—and families across America know this
it‘s a crisis. When you lose your unemployment benefits, it‘s an
“Courageous” isn‘t the C-word I would use for Coburn on this deal.
How about coward?
Here he is today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TOM COBURN ®, OKLAHOMA: If we pass this bill and we continue
to pass more bills, not having made the tough choices, we are steaming
towards a catastrophe.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Catastrophe -- $9 billion after all we‘ve been through is
just going to absolutely ruin or fiscal house, you know?
If senators like Tom Coburn think it‘s right to throw billions of
dollars at Iraq and spit on American workers like this, they have, in my
opinion, really distorted priorities.
Let‘s get to the midterms.
The party that ran on the slogan “America First,” remember that? They
need to start putting America first. If Coburn is worried about paying the
bills, he can go get it from the top two percent and the boys on Wall
Street, can‘t he?
Get your cell phones out. I want to know what you think about this.
Tonight‘s text survey question is: Does the federal government have a
moral obligation to support our unemployed Americans?
Text “A” for yes, text “B” for no to 622639. We‘ll bring you the
results later on in the show.
Joining me now is Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown.
Good news off the top tonight. The Senate just moved forward to begin
debate on this extension of benefits. The vote was 60 percent to 34
percent, four Republicans voted with the Democrats.
Senator, good to have you with us tonight.
SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D), OHIO: Glad to be back, Ed.
SCHULTZ: It‘s good news right there. There are four Republicans that
have a conscience on this.
And my question, what do you think of that?
BROWN: Well, it is good news. I think when I hear what you said
about Tom Coburn and, you know, I guess 33 of his colleagues, and the ones
that blocked this week after week -- 11 times Jim Bunning dropped
unemployment extension, and Coburn‘s done it, and several others have done
it. They forget it‘s not unemployment welfare. It‘s unemployment
People have been paying into the unemployment fund. When you have a
job, you have an income, you pay into an insurance fund. When you lose
your job, you get assistance from that insurance fund. And it‘s as simple
And these are people not sitting home. They‘re out sending out 10, 20
I‘ve talked to people that are sending out 50 resumes a week and aren‘t
getting responses, or at least aren‘t getting hired. So these are people
that deserve this, and it‘s good for the economy, that we‘re putting this
money back into the economy so people can start finding work.
SCHULTZ: But Senator, this is going to be a recurring issue, because
there‘s a lot of economists out there that say we‘re going to be possibly
in the neighborhood of double-digit unemployment in this country all the
way into 2011. Wall Street is cooking. Main Street is slow. The stimulus
package has only been 50 percent put out to states.
What do we do? Do we just keep re-upping unemployment benefits?
What do you think?
BROWN: Well, we need to do a lot of things. In terms of—the
answer is yes, we do re-up unemployment benefits.
Again, it‘s an insurance policy. And people—and granted, the
insurance fund has run out of money because we‘ve been in this recession
for a long time now, but if you‘re an individual worker, you‘ve paid in,
you ought to be able to get assistance. And that‘s the social contract
just like Medicare is a social contract, Social Security is a social
contract between the people and our government.
And we‘ve got to live up to that. And it‘s just the morally right
thing to do.
And when I hear my friends—friends—when I hear my colleagues say
we‘ve got to deal with the budget deficit, of course we do. But they don‘t
want to do it on the Iraq War, they didn‘t do it in the tax cuts for the
rich. They didn‘t do it on the giveaway to the drug companies in Medicare
and on the insurance companies. You know that.
SCHULTZ: Senator, you‘ve been home for a couple of weeks. What‘s
Ohio like right now? How are people feeling?
If you listen to the conservatives, you‘d think we‘re on the verge of
doomsday. We‘re adding jobs now. The market looks a heck of a lot better
than it did a year ago. Housing is coming around.
There are some positive things happening, but the grassroots folks
there in Ohio, what‘s the mood of your state?
BROWN: Well, the mood is still frustration, and they want more. I
mean, I think, first of all, the mood on the health care bill is much
changed. It changed from what the national media report.
People are seeing the good things about the health care bill, that the
22-year-old can stay on his parents‘ plan out of college or out of the
Army; that the tax—small business—I talked to a small business group
today, that they know these tax cuts are going to help them insure their
employees. There are several things like that.
But in terms of the economy, Youngstown had some good news, the best
news they‘ve had in 30 years in terms of hiring. A thousand people at GM,
several hundred at a steel company because of a decision the president made
on international trade law with the Chinese.
So there‘s some good things, but people don‘t see a recovery yet.
They‘re not seeing the jobs we need. We‘ve got to keep fighting.
SCHULTZ: Yes. Are the Democrats in trouble, in your opinion?
BROWN: Well, the Democrats are in trouble because we‘re in control of
the House and Senate, but the Democrat—but the public knows that this is
a recession, a deep recession caused by George Bush economic policies. And
they‘re giving us a chance, still, to fight back.
But we‘ve got to deliver. We‘ve got to do unemployment. We‘ve got to
do a stronger jobs package. We‘ve got to help the states. We‘ve got to do
SCHULTZ: Senator, great to have you with us tonight. Thanks so much.
BROWN: Good to be back. Thanks, Ed.
SCHULTZ: Senator Sherrod Brown from Ohio.
Another major battle ahead is cracking down on Wall Street. Today,
the Obama administration called again on the Senate to pass tougher
financial reform. Democrats would like to move on a bill next week, but
the problem is still the Republicans, as it always is.
The righties pretend to be populists when they‘re talking about Tea
Party crowds like they‘re really with you. But they‘re all about
protecting big business and leaving the consumer out in the cold.
For more, let‘s bring in North Dakota Senator Byron Dorgan. He is the
chairman of the Democratic Policy Committee. And I will remind our
audience, again, the gentleman who voted against Glass-Steagall, some,
what, 11 years ago?
Senator, good to have you with us tonight. Which we had heeded that
warning back then.
What has to be done, Senator Dorgan, to bring in Wall Street and to
get this back to some type of oversight situation? What do you think?
SEN. BYRON DORGAN (D), NORTH DAKOTA: Well, and, by the way, I voted
against the repeal of Glass-Steagall when the repeal of Glass-Steagall—
which was a protection put in place after the Great Depression. It set us
up for a huge fall.
Well, look, in about a week we‘re going to have reform of Wall Street
coming to the United States Senate. And we‘ve got to give the American
people the confidence that we‘re willing to stand up to the job here and
make sure we change the rules so that Wall Street can‘t do what it did
In 2008 -- think of this, 2008, the Wall Street firms lost about $35
billion and paid $18 billion in bonuses. Now, there‘s no business school
in the country that ought to teach that. I mean, it‘s unbelievable what
they did to this country, steering the economy into the ditch.
So, what we‘ve got to do is make sure this doesn‘t happen again. Too
big to fail, in my judgment, means too big. We‘ve got to fix those things.
SCHULTZ: You and Senator Dorgan (sic) want to go on the offensive
with this legislation, although it seems that Senator Dodd wants to tone it
down a little bit.
Where are the Democrats going to come down on this, and will it take
reconciliation to get reform on Wall Street?
What do you think?
DORGAN: You know, I was just asked coming over here by a press
person, “Are you worried that the Democrats are going to go too far?” And
I said, “No, no. I‘m worried that we‘re not going to go far enough to fix
the kinds of problems that caused this country the economic wreck that
occurred in the last year and a half.”
You know, whatever it takes to get this job done, ending proprietary
trading my financial institutions, getting rid of “too big to fail,” you
know, a whole series—getting rid of these exotic instruments that are
treated as if they‘re playing blackjack in the bank lobby—credit default
swaps, synthetic derivatives—that‘s just gambling. We‘ve got to change
the rules and make sure that this doesn‘t happen to the country again.
SCHULTZ: This is a heavy lift. I mean, it seems to me it‘s as heavy
a lift as health care reform.
Would it take a year to get something done? I mean, can you get it
done before the midterm?
DORGAN: Well, it should have been done before, frankly. I think the
Wall Street crowd has organized pretty effectively. But my hope is that
the American people will be heard in a pretty loud and clear way here in
the halls of Congress—
DORGAN: -- demanding that something be done. I mean, this is very
SCHULTZ: Senator, what‘s it like back in North Dakota? What are
people upset about? If you listen to right-wing talk radio in this country
you‘d think we were on a cliff right now.
What‘s happening out there in the heartland, in your opinion?
DORGAN: Well, look, there‘s reason to be concerned in our country.
And I understand that. Reason for people to be angry.
You know, 17 million people or so wake up in the morning jobless, will
go out looking for a job today and can‘t find one. So I understand all
But it‘s also the case this country has been through a lot in 200
years. We‘ve been through worse and we‘ve come through it. One of the
things we can do, it seems to me, as a country is install—re-instill some
confidence here by passing Wall Street reform and doing the things that
tell the American people we‘re not going to let this happen to you again.
SCHULTZ: Why are they so against the health care bill? Why are there
I mean, we‘re a 50/50 on this across the country right now.
DORGAN: Well, I think there was dramatic misinformation put out there
all the time, a relentless attack by the Republicans saying this was a
government takeover of health care. That‘s absolutely untrue. Just
There‘s no government takeover here at all. We use the private
insurance industry, but we do expand coverage to those that don‘t have it,
and trying to put the brakes on some of the cost increases and so on. But
it‘s just untrue that it‘s a government takeover, and yet I think those
that were pushing it on radio and television, and the people in the
Republican Caucus here, I think they probably won the day on that message
despite the fact they were wrong.
SCHULTZ: OK. Is it too early to handicap the midterms right now?
DORGAN: You know, it would be foolish to handicap something this far
out. I mean, it is clear our party is in some difficulty, but six months
is a lifetime in politics.
SCHULTZ: Senator, great to have you with us tonight.
DORGAN: Yes. Thanks a lot, Ed. Good to be with you.
SCHULTZ: Thanks so much.
Senator Byron Dorgan of North Dakota, he is a great loss for the
Democratic Party deciding not to move on.
I wish you‘d change your mind, Senator.
Coming up, when she‘s not chasing around psycho sister Sarah Palin,
Michele Bachmann‘s talking in circles. Just wait until you hear what she
has to say about why she‘s a lightning rod.
Plus, the Republicans just brought the new meaning to the term
“grasping at straws.” “The Mittster” didn‘t attend the party but won the
More on that at the bottom of the hour.
And Haley Barbour whistles diddly on slavery?
And Tiger‘s talking about taking more time off.
You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC.
Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. And thanks for watching
The flags in West Virginia flying at half-staff today to honor the 29
miners killed in an explosion at the Upper Big Branch mine. Here‘s how
it‘s going to work.
Soon enough, the TV crews are going to pack up, the media is going to
lose interest. And this tragedy is going to be forgotten until the next
time. Keep in mind there never has to be a next time.
Leo Gerard, president of the United Steelworkers International, says
the slaughter must stop. He‘s not afraid to call it the way he sees it.
What happened at this mine was not an accident. It was wrongful
The mine ignored safety warnings because it was cheaper to pay fines
than to fix the problems. That is a failure of government to effectively
regulate when a company can put its workers‘ lives at risk with no more
than a slap on the wrist and them ignoring every infraction and violation
that comes their way.
Leo Gerard, president of the Steelworkers, joins us tonight here on
THE ED SHOW.
Mr. Gerard, you used the word “slaughter.” Is that a little extreme?
What do you mean by that?
LEO GERARD, PRESIDENT, UNITED STEELWORKERS: What I mean, Ed, is that
people are dying at work at the rate of 16 people a week. The explosion at
the Upper Big Branch mine is clearly one of the ones we ought to focus on,
but just that same week we had five people killed in an explosion at a
And what I‘m saying is that people go to work to earn a living, they
don‘t go there to die. And when we go to the Upper Big Branch mine, I
mean, this CEO said that these regulations were silly. He said he doesn‘t
pay attention to the violation count, and that you see from his behavior he
views this as simply the cost of doing business.
GERARD: There‘s a lot of other industries that see this as the cost
of doing business. I think we‘ve got to reform OSHA. One of the things
that I think has to happen is where you get this kind of blatant neglect or
ignoring of the rules, we have got to have the ability to not just fine
them, but to charge the CEO with criminal negligence.
SCHULTZ: You‘re going down that road. And to go down that road,
you‘re going to have to get the attorney general in West Virginia or you‘re
going to have to get a local prosecutor. We all know how this company and
the mining industry is intertwined with politics in West Virginia.
How are you going to do this?
GERARD: I think we‘ve got to expose what‘s gone on. I think the
comment you made is one that we have to be aware of, that after today‘s
moment of silence, the media will start to drift away. And in a week from
now they‘ll be on to something else. Probably, you know, something about
some entertainer somewhere who got drunk.
But we‘ve got to stay on this because it‘s not just the Upper Big
Branch mine. This is the one we‘re focusing on. It‘s not just that
Sixteen workers a week are getting killed in the workplace. It‘s a
slaughter that‘s going on. And part of the reason that‘s happening is,
obviously, the last eight years of the Bush administration we had a
regulatory process that was not only ignored, but it was encouraging to
They had what they called voluntary protection programs where the
industry would agree not to be monitored. You can‘t do that on the
And let me make my point about criminal neglect, negligence.
If somebody drinks some whiskey in a bar, or has too many beers and
leaves and gets in their car and runs into somebody and kills them, they‘re
going to be charged with criminal negligence or criminal manslaughter
because they took the risk. This CEO took a risk. He took a risk of—he
ignored the rules more than 12 times in that month that they were cited for
SCHULTZ: Well, he also said that violations are just a part of it.
It‘s like a standard operating procedure. You‘re going to get violations,
you‘re going to get some infractions, and you just deal with it, and you
write the check and you move on.
GERARD: That‘s right. He said violations are a part of doing
business in the mining industry. That‘s not true.
We have a mining industry all over North America that functions, and
violations aren‘t a part of doing business. They should not be a part of
doing business. And, in fact, I would argue the safety rules aren‘t strong
SCHULTZ: So you say you want to do something about OSHA. You‘re
going to need the president big-time on your side on this one. And I know
that he made some phone calls quickly asking questions about after this
disaster took place.
But how do you keep it alive? I mean, the mining industry, they are
an unparalleled political force in West Virginia.
GERARD: Well, ,I think we‘ve got to just not focus in just on the
mining industry. I think that the mining industry in West Virginia and
some other places, but let‘s focus in on this guy and this example, this
The reality is that it doesn‘t have to be that way. We can fly in a
spaceship and make those two spaceships connect in outer space without
accidents. We can do—we fly airplanes that have fail-safe systems so
that we don‘t have plane crashes every day. No one says a plane crash is a
factor of doing business in the airlines, we try to prevent them.
We can do that in not only in mining, but we can do that in industry.
I make the argument that OSHA was brought in by Richard Nixon. It was
updated then. That‘s close to 40 years now.
The workplace has changed, and to be honest, I think corporations have
gotten more powerful. So we need to have regulatory reform so workers go
to work to earn a living, they don‘t go there to die.
SCHULTZ: Mr. Gerard, always a pleasure. Good to have you with us.
We will stay on this story.
And I just—before you go, Leo, what‘s your legal avenue here? Are
you going to get a bevy of attorneys? Are you—what‘s the next step?
GERARD: Look, I think that it‘s important for all of us to give the
families time to grieve --
GERARD: -- and to pay respect to those families. During that period
of time, I want to work with whoever I can work with to do the kind of
research, bring the set of facts to the folks that are going to be able to
file the criminal negligence charge. And if we can‘t get a prosecutor to
do it, then we have got to investigate whether or not we can do it
ourselves as individuals.
GERARD: Because I just don‘t think—Ed, we can‘t accept this as the
way that business is being done for workers in this country. Workers
deserve better. Their families deserve better. Their kids deserve better.
SCHULTZ: No doubt. We will be on this story. And I appreciate your
time tonight. Thanks so much.
GERARD: Thank you.
SCHULTZ: Coming up, a righty trying to defeat Harry Reid thinks
people should be allowed to barter? Barter with their doctors for health
care? That brand of alternative medicine earns her a checkup in the
Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: And in “Psycho Talk” tonight, watch out, Nevada. The front-
runner for the Republican nomination for Senate is Sue Lowden, and she‘s
got some real nutty or goofy ideas when it comes to health care reform.
At a candidates‘ forum last week, Lowden was asked what she would have
suggested instead of the Democratic health care bill. She started out
rambling about health care savings accounts. That‘s old news.
Then she threw out this dandy --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SUE LOWDEN ®, U.S. SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: And I would have
suggested, and I think that bartering is really good. Those doctors who
you pay cash, you can barter. And that would get prices down in a hurry.
And I would say go ahead out and pay cash for whatever your medical needs
are, and go ahead and barter with your doctor.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Barter. In the radio business that would be, like, a
So I should go to my doctor and offer him, say, a fishing trip at Big
Eddie‘s North Country Lodge, or maybe I‘ve got some real good pheasant
hunting in western North Dakota in exchange for a physical? How many trips
does open heart surgery get?
Look, even if Mrs. Lowden got a little mixed up in the vocabulary
department, negotiating fees with a doctor is not a legitimate long-term
plan to expand insurance coverage and lower health care costs in America.
Bartering, haggling, negotiating it is all “Psycho Talk.”
Coming up, the White House wants Hillary to keep her day job. So do
I. But here‘s an out-of-the-lockbox idea for the Supreme Court—Al Gore.
More on that in my “Playbook.”
And the Republicans had their very little leadership rally down South
this weekend. Here‘s a shocker. There was plenty of hate and absolutely
More on that in just a moment.
Plus, I‘ll give you my take on what was a very emotional Masters
victory. And what‘s Tiger‘s future?
That‘s all coming up on THE ED SHOW. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. Thanks for watching tonight.
“The Nation‘s” Katrina vanden Heuvel will join us in just a moment to talk
about tax issues in this country. It‘s time to get some rapid fire
response from our panel on these stories.
Mitt Romney beat Ron Paul by one vote at the presidential straw poll
at the Southern Republican very little Leadership Conference. The
gathering of Republican leaders didn‘t appear to produce a single new idea
that would help the middle class in this country.
Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour says African-American outrage over
Virginia‘s confederate history month, quote, “doesn‘t amount to diddley.”
And a new poll in Nevada shows Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, he
is losing to the Republican, even with a Tea Party candidate in the mix.
With us tonight, Bill Press, nationally syndicated radio talk show
host, and John Feehery, Republican strategist. I have to throw one more
topic in there. Say if we barter health care, Feehery, what do you have to
JOHN FEEHERY, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, you know what, Ed, if you
want to control costs, you got to be able to bargain with the providers.
Bargaining is part of that process. If you just let the cost go without
bargaining, you‘re not going to control costs.
SCHULTZ: I mean, but bartering health care, John? Come on, we have
to do more than go to dinner and have a bottle of wine for a physical.
BILL PRESS, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Hey, Ed, I don‘t know about you. I
don‘t want to carry a chicken or a dozen eggs to the doctor with me and see
what I can get for it.
SCHULTZ: Bill Press, what do you make of Mitt Romney not even showing
up and winning the straw poll? What do you think?
PRESS: First of all, I think the message is clear: the less people
see of Mitt Romney, the more they like him. He ought to just stay away.
Here‘s what gets me about this: Mitt Romney is the only governor in the
country—Republican governor he happens to be—who has put universal
health care in place, almost the same plan that Barack Obama did. Now John
Boehner today says Republicans ought to repeal Obama‘s health care plan.
Then the Republicans in Louisiana nominate Mitt Romney as their favorite.
I think these guys can‘t figure out what the hell they stand for when
it comes to health care.
SCHULTZ: John Feehery, is he the front-runner? Does Romney look the
best on the heels of this Southern Republican whatever conference it was?
FEEHERY: No question he‘s a front-runner. I think he came in second
last time around. I think that he‘s written a book, which is a good book.
He has got some good ideas. He‘s definitely the guy with the most moxy, I
think. Right now, he‘s the front-runner.
SCHULTZ: OK. You have Romney just edging out Ron Paul.
SCHULTZ: How seems to be gaining ground.
FEEHERY: That may be part of it, Ed, that he‘s beating Ron Paul.
He‘s also beating Newt and Palin. It‘s not the strongest field out there.
Maybe that‘s another reason.
SCHULTZ: What about Newt Gingrich just barely edging out Sarah Palin?
Sarah got 330 votes. That‘s respectable.
PRESS: You know what, Ed, I think this—this conference—the
leadership conference had everything but leadership. I mean, Sarah Palin‘s
a big hit down there. According to “Politico,” the people that they all
interviewed said we like her, but she‘s not ready for prime-time. Then
they give the nod to Ron Paul, comes in second. They were trying to throw
Ron Paul off the platform, remember, two years ago because he‘s against the
Iraq war. Crazy.
SCHULTZ: If I was Harry Reid, I‘d be as nice to every media person I
could ever come in contact with. He‘s in big-time trouble in his home
state of Nevada. They‘re on the verge of taking out the Senate Majority
Leader. Lowden leads Harry Reid 46-38. That‘s with a Tea Party candidate
in there and only 11 percent undecided. John Feehery, what‘s this mean?
FEEHERY: There‘s a story in “Politico” today that Reid is looking for
a strategy hoping to bolster the don‘t care, or the don‘t know, or the
fourth person, nobody above, in hopes that nobody above takes enough votes
away from Lowden so he could possibly win. He‘s in really desperate
trouble. He‘s desperately unpopular back in Nevada. And I think he‘s a
SCHULTZ: Tarkanian also leads him. If you throw his name in there,
he were to get the nominate—well, it‘s tied at 39 percent. That‘s a
loss if you‘re an incumbent. He ought to be ahead of that. Harry Reid is
a trouble. Again, 11 percent undecided. Bill Press, how do you score it.
PRESS: Let me give you my quick take, Ed. Look, Harry Reid is
definitely in trouble. But that clip you just showed of Sue Lowden I think
shows the whole story. People know Harry Reid. They don‘t know her. They
don‘t know the Tea Party candidate. Once you get down to the real
campaign, and they get to see who Harry Reid is running against, I think
Harry Reid‘s going to pull it off. He‘s at least saying she seems nuts.
SCHULTZ: Let‘s go to Haley Barbour. His comment—the former
Mississippi governor, what do you make of this, John Feehery? Why would he
even venture into a comment like that, saying all this about the
Confederate History Month in Virginia, it didn‘t amount to diddley?
FEEHERY: Well, I like Haley Barbour. I think he‘s a smart guy. I
think he‘s a very effective governor of Mississippi. I think if you talk
to anyone who lives in Mississippi, he‘s focused on trying to create jobs
I think that this comment shows that he was saying that the focus on
this particular issue is not the focus that the American people care about
right now. What they care about mostly jobs, their community, and the
future of this country. They don‘t care about the past. I think that‘s
what he was getting at.
SCHULTZ: Bill Press?
PRESS: Hey, John, I think you‘re being too kind to him. First of
all, I like Haley Barbour, too. He called himself last week a fat red neck
with an accent. Still, what he said about slavery is totally, totally just
John, people care about jobs. But if you‘re talking about the
Confederacy, if you‘re talking about the Civil War, slavery was a major,
major factor. You can‘t say it‘s diddley.
SCHULTZ: Isn‘t it rather crass that he would come out and say that,
after the Virginia governor apologized for it.
FEEHERY: Bill, I‘m from Illinois. I‘m from the Land of Lincoln. I
know my history. I agree with you 100 percent on what the war was all
PRESS: Why did he say it?
FEEHERY: I think what he was getting at is this issue is a
distraction from the real issues facing this country. I think that is what
his comments were really all about.
SCHULTZ: John, Bob McDonnell, the governor of Virginia, left it out
of the proclamation. Haley Barbour said no big deal. It is a big deal.
FEEHERY: Which was a mistake.
SCHULTZ: John Feehery, Bill Press, always a pleasure.
The Tea Party nut jobs love to shout about taxes and our growing
deficit. No doubt about that. Their anger should be directed at the
former president, George W. Bush. A group called Wealth for Common Good,
they have a new report out that shows just how much the Bush tax cuts for
the super rich in this country have fundamentally messed up our economy.
It‘s created potentially permanent imbalance of wealth in America.
If you want to know how radical the Bush tax cuts were, just take a
look at this chart. Under Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower, the
federal tax rate over—people making over 400,000 dollars a year was at
91 percent or higher. Until the 1980s, it was 70 percent or higher.
George Bush put it at 35 percent. Repealing the Bush tax cuts would bring
it to just under 40 percent.
Joining me now is Katrina Vandal Heuvel, editor of “The Nation.” She
has a new piece about all of this in “The Nation.” Great to have you with
We don‘t have enough money in the Treasury. And we‘ve made a
conscious decision in this country that the rich can‘t live fat enough.
How do we correct all this? And do the Democrats have the intestinal
fortitude to address it right now?
KATRINA VANDEN HEUVEL, “THE NATION”: That‘s a good question. Part of
why I wrote what I did, Ed, is I think that come this tax day, this
Thursday, I worry that our suffocatingly narrow media, with a few good
exceptions, is going to let the Tea Partiers dominate a conversation that
needs to be had, and needs to be had with cold, clear-eyed facts.
That‘s why Wealth for the Common Good, a group of business leaders,
high income households, others, did this report. And it documents the
great tax shift over the last 50 years, and how the wealthy have benefited
so enormously at the expense of a healthy, secure middle class.
I think there are several things that need to be done. One is to
begin to think really hard about progressive taxation. That means, first
of all, rolling back the Bush tax cuts, which looted our treasury, Ed, to
some 700 billion dollars between 2001 and 2008. I think we need some
fairness in there. One thing—the other good group that is going do be
holding counter-Tea Party rallies on Thursday called the other 95 percent -
check it out, TheOther95.com—points out that President Obama has given
95 percent of Americans a tax cut. Only 12 percent know it. And that tax
cut has gone overwhelmingly to working and middle class families.
We need a whole slew of things I‘d like to fix. Briefly, one thing
the Tea Partiers should be all over is that the nonpartisan GAO did a
report showing that corporations—two thirds of U.S. corporations didn‘t
pay any federal income tax from 1995 to 2008. Close these tax havens that
Citigroup benefits from.
SCHULTZ: Going to be hard to do because --
VANDEN HEUVEL: I know.
SCHULTZ: -- they shake down the wallets of the politicians.
VANDEN HEUVEL: They grease the wheels.
SCHULTZ: Absolutely, they do.
VANDEN HEUVEL: But I think if we want to have a truly secure country
and really look hard at what the real problem with debt and deficits is, we
need to start pulling back some of the money from the very richest. The
top 400 richest people in this country, Ed, in 1955 paid about 55 percent
in federal income tax; 16.1 percent now. We can do better.
This is about fairness. This isn‘t about class warfare. If these Tea
Partiers want to go into the square on Thursday and call President Dwight
Eisenhower a socialist, they‘re going to have to bear with reality. Look
at that figure you cited, 91 percent marginal tax rates.
SCHULTZ: That‘s what amazes me about the Tea Party rallies, is that
they think they‘re of the mind-set that the super wealthy in this country
can damn near get off Scott-free, and it doesn‘t bother them. Yet they
turn and blame Washington for not making the numbers work. We‘ve seen the
tax rates go down for the super wealthy and the spending go up. That‘s not
even on the budget. That‘s what happened during the Bush years. Yet now
their blaming the Congress now.
VANDEN HEUVEL: I do think you asked a good question. Do Democrats
have the intestinal fortitude? I think part of the problem is until we get
money—the big money, the lobbying money out of our system, it gets
tough. The ordinary people, the Tea Partiers are represented by those
lobbyists. They think they are. But the Tea Partiers, if they truly are
the middle class of this country, they should be common-sense citizens, and
not enthralled to Wall Street and thee corporate powers that have not done
well by a healthy, secure America.
SCHULTZ: Do you think that progressives in this country would ever
support a user tax?
VANDEN HEUVEL: A user tax?
SCHULTZ: Some kind of a sales tax. I mean, if you use it, you pay
VANDEN HEUVEL: You know, my problem with the user tax, Ed, is that
it‘s pretty regressive. It hits hard those who can least afford it. I
think we need to look hard at those who can most afford it. You know, this
is not a class warfare argument. This is about if people have benefited
from this country, from its educational opportunities, from what is paid
for in taxes, they should pay their fair share.
SCHULTZ: Katrina, great to have you with us. Thank you.
Coming up, I want President Obama to pick a Supreme Court justice that
will make Glenn Beck‘s head absolutely—well not spin, how about explode?
The inconvenient truth is next.
SCHULTZ: The judicial guessing game is in high gear over who
President Obama is going to nominate to replace retiring Supreme Court
Justice John Paul Stevens. One interesting pick would be former Vice
President and Nobel Peace Prize winner Al gore. Now, I‘m not sure if he‘s
on the president‘s short list, but a Gore nomination would make for some
pretty explosive summer hearings, wouldn‘t it? And confirmation talk.
Last year, when David Souter stepped down and President Obama got his
first chance at a nominate a Supreme Court justice, Hendrik Hertzberg of
the “New Yorker” wrote a piece that really caught my attention about a
hypothetical justice like, maybe, Al Gore. He wrote, quote, “Gore would
make a superb addition to the court and, of course, it‘s pleasant to
imagine the opportunity his appointment would afford the four remaining
members of the Bush v. Gore junta, especially Antonin get over it Scalia to
contemplate and perhaps repent of their sins.”
For more, let‘s bring in that writer, Hendrik Hertzberg of “the New
Yorker.” What‘s the argument for Al Gore, who‘s not an attorney. And it
would be somewhat out of the mix, out of the fold of your traditional
Supreme Court justice. What do you think?
HENDRIK HERTZBERG, THE NEW YORKER”: I think the fact he‘s not an
attorney is one of the arguments for him. There‘s no requirement in the
Constitution that a Supreme Court justice has to be an attorney. And the
kind of issues the Supreme Court deals with are not the little technical
this—little technical problems of the law or the interpretation of
particular statues. It‘s much broader questions about the Constitution.
And you know, Ed, you and I are in many ways just as qualified to make
those kind of decisions as somebody who spent his life in a law firm or
even as an appellate judge. So I think it would be great to nominate
somebody who‘s not a lawyer. That was a theme of—remember the movie
HERTZBERG: That was part of the theme of that movie. I know it‘s a
SCHULTZ: This would be guaranteed filibuster stuff, though, wouldn‘t
HERTZBERG: Yeah, it would do it. Probably three quarters of the
Senate would filibuster that one.
SCHULTZ: I think obviously the point you‘re making is that his
diversified background would give the court much more of a broad insight
into how Americans are living their lives and how the Supreme Court can
affect them. At least that‘s what I‘m taking from your writing.
HERTZBERG: You‘re right. I think we can get part of the way there.
The president can get part of the way there by nominating somebody who‘s
not a judge, not somebody who spent their entire life within the kind of
claustrophobic confines of practicing law. I‘d like to see a politician
SCHULTZ: What do you think of Hillary Clinton? This is Senator Orrin
Hatch today talking about it on this network, or NBC. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. ORRIN HATCH ®, UTAH: I even heard the name Hillary Clinton
today. You know, and that would be an interesting person in the mix.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In your opinion, would she be qualified?
HATCH: Well, I‘m not going to judge anybody right now. I happen to
like Hillary Clinton. I think she‘s done a good job for the Democrat
secretary of state‘s position. And I have a high respect for her and think
a great deal of her. I‘m not going to prejudge that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: What do you think the republicans are doing here, Mr.
HERTZBERG: I thank they‘re trying to be a little bit mischievous and
maybe plant the idea that what Obama should do is nominate somebody who‘s
SCHULTZ: Hendrik Hertzberg, great to have you with us tonight.
HERTZBERG: My pleasure.
SCHULTZ: One final page in my playbook. The 2010 Masters was a
phenomenal show. It was a lot about Tiger Woods‘ comeback, but it was
Mickelson who walked away wearing the Green Jacket. Mickelson clinched his
third Masters title on Sunday, dedicating the win to his wife, who attended
the tournament despite her on-going battle with breast cancer. What an
Mickelson shot a five under 67 yesterday, finishing the tournament at
16 under 272. The best score of a Masters champion since Tiger Woods won
it back in 2001.
Meanwhile, Tiger finished five strokes off the pace in fourth place.
He says he‘ll take another break from golf to re-evaluate things.
Coming up, machine gun Michele reloaded the Psycho Talk and made her
debut on the Sunday morning TV—yeah, Fox News. Where else is she going
to go? They‘re hard up for news, aren‘t they? We‘re next with this story
on THE ED SHOW. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. Finally tonight, we all know
Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann as a Tea Party and Psycho Talker
who just loves to spew lies on a regular basis. But apparently the right
wing network thought she was worthy enough to appear on their Sunday
morning show as a serious news anchor. Turns out Chris Wallace, well, he
ended up correcting her quite a bit.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MICHELE BACHMANN ®, MINNESOTA: We‘ve gone from the United
States having 100 percent of the private economy private to today the
federal government effectively owns or controls 51 percent of the private
CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: A lot of that was done by a
Republican president, President Bush, and --
BACHMANN: That‘s right. That‘s right. That was unfortunate.
Right now, the president is proposing a western European style tax,
the Value-Added Tax, a very expensive tax. You might call it a form of a
national sales tax.
WALLACE: I think in fairness, we have to point out the president
hasn‘t proposed that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Well, after that, he just gave up and let Bachmann run her
mouth unchallenged on health care, Tea Parties and 2012 candidates. For
more on this, let‘s bring in democratic strategist Steve McMahon. Was she
just kind of the first one back from vacation?
I mean, let‘s see. She wants Minnesotans armed and dangerous. She‘s
talking about indoctrination camps. Is she a serious national figure?
What do you think?
STEVE MCMAHON, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: She‘s not a serious national
figure. Obviously, Chris Wallace figured that out. The question is why is
Sarah Palin parading around the country with her on the Bachmann/Palin
overdrive tour? It‘s like a bad rock band doing “Taking Care of Business”
She makes this stuff up. She knows it‘s outrageous. Most people
don‘t call her on it. To Chris Wallace‘s credit, he did call her on it.
And he couldn‘t take it anymore at some point.
She does this every single day, Ed. Most people don‘t call her on it.
The Republicans simply stand up and cheer at these rallies. Thank God that
there was a journalist—I know it was on a network you don‘t always agree
with. But thank God Chris Wallace pointed it out because most Republicans
don‘t do that.
SCHULTZ: Well, this is up one of the reasons why they were able, I
think, to win the debate when it comes to health care, because they just
spew stuff out there and there‘s so much of it, you don‘t have enough time
to correct it. We don‘t have enough air time to correct it.
What do you make of Sarah Palin? She got 330 votes, the straw poll
down there at their Southern Republican Leadership Conference. Was that a
good showing or a not a good showing considering how much publicity she‘s
MCMAHON: I think it wasn‘t a very good showing for her. Imagine if
you‘re Newt Gingrich, who really is a thoughtful, smart guy—I don‘t
agree with him on very much, but he‘s very, very smart. To get beat in a
presidential straw poll by Sarah Palin, oh my God, that had to hurt.
SCHULTZ: It was Gingrich by one, but not by much. It shouldn‘t even
be in the neighborhood.
MCMAHON: In the recount, Ed.
SCHULTZ: Gingrich, you know, the way he presents himself is that he
is the party higher up and no one can match his intelligence. That‘s how
he comes off to me, anyway. I‘m surprised that it was the vote the way it
MCMAHON: When you think about Sarah Palin, who seems to be trying out
for a television talk show—no disrespect, Ed—rather than running for
president, and a guy like Newt Gingrich who—love him or hate him, he
comes up with a lot of ideas. He‘s a thoughtful, professorial kind of guy.
To be tied or to win by one vote --
SCHULTZ: Steve McMahon, we‘ve got to run. Great to have you with us.
Text survey question tonight, does the federal government have a moral
obligation to support the unemployed? Ninety percent said yes, 10 percent
said no. We‘re back tomorrow night with THE ED SHOW. “HARDBALL” with
Chris Matthews is next.
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