updated 4/13/2010 9:22:16 AM ET 2010-04-13T13:22:16

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. 


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. 


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

as that.

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

all that. 

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

popularity contest. 

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


Mr. Gerard, you used the word “slaughter.”  Is that a little extreme? 

What do you mean by 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

petroleum refinery. 

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

ignore it. 

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

ventilation problems. 

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 -- 



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. 


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

no ideas. 

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. 

Don‘t we?

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.  

PRESS:  Right.  

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

down there. 

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

stunningly incentive. 

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

us, Katrina. 

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 --  


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

for it?  

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


SCHULTZ:  Yep.  

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.  


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.  


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

emotional finish.

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.  


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.  


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”

or something. 

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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