Guests: Rep. Chris Van Hollen, Bill Press, Hubert Williams, Hilary Shelton,
Joan Walsh, Tony Blankley, Jim McDermott
ED SCHULTZ, HOST: Good evening, Americans, and welcome to THE ED SHOW, tonight from New York. These stories on the table and hitting my hot buttons this evening.
I‘m stunned over the sucker punch Harry Reid threw at President Obama, saying that he‘s not tough enough? Those two came face to face this morning. Must have been one heck of a meeting. I‘ve got a commentary on it in just a moment. The timing is terrible.
The Republicans have financially destroyed the state of California, but if you‘re a violent criminal or sex offender, there‘s a silver lining. The state‘s most dangerous city is about to lay off hundreds of cops. You won‘t believe what crimes the police department will stop responding to in that city.
And Jon Kyl, the second highest-ranking Republican in the Senate, says unemployment benefits are a necessary evil. Hold it right there. You know what‘s evil, Senator, is your party and the way you have outsourced millions of jobs and then turn around and cut the water off on hard-working Americans, no fault of their own.
And legendary baseball analyst Peter Gammons is here tonight. He‘ll join me in “The Playbook” to talk about the passing of Yankee owner and legend George Steinbrenner.
But this is the story that has me fired up tonight. I just can‘t get over this comment by Senate majority leader Harry Reid.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: On a few occasions, I think he should have been more firm with those on the other side of the aisle. He is a person who doesn‘t like confrontation. He‘s a peacemaker. And sometimes, I think you have to be a little more forceful, and sometimes I don‘t think he is enough with the Republicans.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Give me an example.
REID: He‘s a very strong man. He‘s calm. He‘s cool. He‘s deliberate. But as I just said, I think sometimes he—I would like him to be more confrontational.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: This is a huge story for the Democrats! The Senate majority leader is basically calling the president of the United States a big wimp! I mean, I am completely puzzled why Harry Reid feels the need at this time to throw the president under the bus like this politically. I mean, I just don‘t see the up side of a comment like this, especially in this political climate.
NBC‘s Chuck Todd asked White House press secretary Robert Gibbs about this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHUCK TODD, NBC POLITICAL DIR./WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: He said that the president doesn‘t like confrontation, he‘s too much of a peacemaker, that he wishes that he‘d be a little more forceful at times with the opposition.
ROBERT GIBBS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I‘m happy to take a look at the context of that. I doubt that—I doubt what you think they might have meant or whether...
TODD: No, he‘s just saying he thinks the president doesn‘t—isn‘t forceful enough with the opposition.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: No comment, basically. The White House isn‘t saying anything publicly, but Reid and the rest of the Senate leadership went behind closed doors with the president earlier today, and I hope President Obama reminded Harry that he‘s been out to his state in the last month two times to try to save his job.
I also hope he showed Harry this number. According to the new poll that‘s out of “The Washington Post” and ABC News—this poll—despite how tough things are in this country, 50 percent of Americans still support President Obama.
The whole story underscores just how desperate Harry Reid is to hang onto his job. The Republican strategy has backed him into a corner, and I think hammering President Obama is just the easy way out.
Now, I just want to know, you know, Harry, how long have you felt this way, for a long time, or just starting yesterday when you finally realized that you‘re in a tough battle? It would have been a heck of a lot better if you had done this in the middle of, say, the public option fight that was going on, and I think we would have had a hell of a lot better health care bill if you had called the president out to fight more early on.
Harry, you need to remember, when single-payer didn‘t get a seat at table, when Jim DeMint and the Republicans pledged to break President Obama, that would have been the time to step up and coach the president up a little bit on how he should act politically, not now. Harry Reid‘s fight is with the tea party nutjob Sharron Angle, not Barack Obama.
But you know, since Harry is big on confrontation, being the former boxer, I‘ll just tell it like it is tonight. Harry, you‘re the one that can deliver confrontation. You‘re the one that can deliver real change. Change the rules of the Senate! We‘ve had a record session of filibusters. Change the rule of the Senate. Get rid of the filibuster, and let‘s start getting some real stuff done in this country, like we could revisit health care and make it a hell of a lot better. We could also get immigration reform. We could get that jobs bill. We could help the 99-ers. We could do a plethora of things pretty fast, I think. That would be change. That would be confrontation.
Harry, the ball is in your court, not in President Obama‘s court. President Obama hasn‘t stopped any of this stuff, but you have. And I question your leadership at a very crucial time. And your timing for this is horrible! Here‘s a time in a country—in this country where liberals are frustrated. Liberals didn‘t get enough. And here you are saying, Well, you know, President Obama, I mean, he‘s a peacemaker. I wish he‘d just be more confrontational. I wish he‘d be more forceful. We‘re saying that about you, Harry. We wish you would do that.
Tell me what you think in our telephone survey tonight, folks. The number to dial is 1-877-ED-MSNBC. My question tonight is, Do you agree with Harry Reid that President Obama needs to be more confrontational with the Republicans? Press 1 for yes, and press 2 for no. We‘ll bring you the results later on in the show.
And we should probably point out that if the president was more confrontational, he would probably be labeled by the right-wing Republicans as an “angry black man.”
Joining me now is Maryland congressman Chris Van Hollen, chairman of the DCCC. Congressman, good to have you with us tonight.
REP. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN (D-MD), DCCC CHAIRMAN: It‘s good to be with you, Ed.
SCHULTZ: You bet. I want your response. Does President Obama need to be more confrontational? Doe he need to be more forceful? I mean, you guys over in the House, how many bills have you passed that they‘re sitting on over in the Senate? What do you make of this?
VAN HOLLEN: Well, we‘ve got a lot of bills in the Senate. But let me say this, Ed. The president has been very clear about calling out the congressional Republicans, House and Senate Republican leaders, on a whole host of issues. He‘s focused on the comments made by John Boehner, the Republican leader, when John Boehner said that the financial meltdown and the economic pain it caused throughout the country was like an ant. He called out Joe Barton when Joe Barton apologized to BP. And the president has pointed out that if you vote for Republicans for the House, you‘re going to get a party that‘s more interested in apologizing to the big oil companies than moving to a new clean energy policy. And he‘s called them out on trying to privatize Medicare and partially privatize Social Security.
So the president is very clearly laying out the choices American voters are going to be making in this next election and making it very clear that if you vote for the Republicans, you‘re going to get the same old economic agenda that got us into this mess. So I would say that the president is clearly painting the lines, the battle lines, in this campaign going forward and making it into the clear choice that it is.
SCHULTZ: What would be the motivation of Harry Reid or any Democrat to call out the president on being forceful, on being confrontational, and being tougher on Republicans? What would be the motivation there, other than to say to the base in his own state, Hey, it‘s not my fault that we haven‘t got a lot of stuff done? What do you think?
VAN HOLLEN: Look, Ed, I really don‘t know. I wasn‘t at the meeting that took place at the White House between the Senate Democrats and the president. All I know is what the president has been saying very clearly...
SCHULTZ: But isn‘t this...
VAN HOLLEN: ... across the country...
SCHULTZ: I don‘t mean to interrupt you because—you know...
VAN HOLLEN: Yes.
SCHULTZ: But isn‘t this something that your candidates are going to have to deal with on the campaign trail because now it‘s in the minds, Heck, the leadership of the Senate says that President Obama isn‘t strong enough. Why in the heck should I support any Democrat in the House?
VAN HOLLEN: Well, I think that the results are pretty clear. The results are in. In other words, we can engage in some Monday-morning quarterbacking on how a particular piece of legislation was enacted, but we got health care reform done. We‘re on the verge of getting Wall Street reform done.
The point that we all need to get together and make is on all these issues, the Republicans have been on the ones on the other side. So let‘s focus on where the Republicans in Washington are because time and again, they‘ve been on the side of the big corporate special interests.
VAN HOLLEN: I would agree with your earlier point here, though, Ed, with respect to the Senate and filibusters. You know, it wasn‘t that long ago when Senator Bunning, the Republican from Kentucky, decided to try and block unemployment compensation, and the Democrats called them on it. They said, Let‘s have a filibuster. Let‘s show the American people...
VAN HOLLEN: ... who is standing in the way. They need to do a lot more by way of filibuster to...
VAN HOLLEN: ... to make it clear to the American people that the Republicans are blocking progress on all these important issues to jobs and the economy.
SCHULTZ: Congressman, good to have you with us tonight. Thanks so much.
VAN HOLLEN: Good to be with you. Thanks.
SCHULTZ: Appreciate your time.
Let‘s go now to radio talk show host Bill Press, former Democratic Party chairman in California. All right, Bill, let‘s have at it here. Harry Reid has the power to change the rules in the Senate, correct?
BILL PRESS, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Absolutely.
SCHULTZ: OK. So if he changes—and we get rid of the filibuster, hell, we can really get some change in this country, can‘t we? So isn‘t he the one that should be looking for confrontation and not President Obama?
PRESS: Well, Ed, that‘s what surprises me about this. Listen, I‘ve got to be honest with you. I do think that President Obama has spent too much time with Republicans. I think he‘s too nice to them. I think he should be more confrontational with these Republicans.
But coming from Harry Reid? I mean, talk about Mr. Meek, you know? I mean, this is not blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth. In politics, it‘s woe are the weak because they‘re going to get screwed.
And Harry Reid is a very weak leader.
Yes, he ought to—should a long time ago have forced the Republicans to stay there overnight, right, and not just threaten these filibusters, make them filibuster, change the rules of the Senate and get rid of the filibuster. And what about this, Ed? Why doesn‘t he keep the senators here over—no August recess until they pass unemployment benefits extension?
SCHULTZ: Well, or the jobs bill. How about the jobs bill.
PRESS: The jobs bill, yes.
SCHULTZ: I mean, they could get the jobs bill—they would have 51 votes for the jobs bill...
SCHULTZ: ... which would change everything. I mean, this is—it‘s really—in perspective, this is—historically, this is a hell of a story! I mean...
PRESS: No, it is.
SCHULTZ: ... here you have the Democrats, some think, on the verge of losing the majority, the president reeling in the polls and looking like he doesn‘t have the mojo that he had in the past. You have the obstructionists in the “party of no” actually planting the seed of doubt in the minds of a lot of Americans. And with one move in the Senate, you could bring so much change to this country because there are a majority of Democrats that want to do jobs, that want to do immigration reform, that might even want to go back and get the public option, that want to do a lot of other things.
So is Harry just doing the old duck and cover with his base there in Nevada, saying, Hey, you know, I‘ve really been fighting these Republicans. I really haven‘t had any help from the White House.
PRESS: Yes. You know, Ed, the timing of this stinks. I mean, he says this two days after President Obama comes out to Nevada, campaigns for him, takes on Sharron Angle. Obama leaves the state, and then Harry Reid throws Obama under the bus.
He‘s trying to have it both ways, milking Obama for his fund-raising skills and then distancing himself from Obama to try to appeal to independents in Nevada. But I‘m with you. Why didn‘t Harry say this a long time ago? Why didn‘t he go to the president a long time ago...
PRESS: ... and say, Let‘s you and I gang up on these Republicans? If Harry had done more of that, Obama‘s record would be a hell of a lot stronger today.
SCHULTZ: And I want to point out, you know, this wasn‘t, you know, an off-the-cuff remark to a blogger. It wasn‘t somebody with a microphone catching somebody walking down the street saying, Oh, you know, if he‘d have been tougher. I mean, this was a professional setting! He knew exactly what he was saying and how he was going to say it. And I think the White House—and I think that Gibbs is dodging a bullet here. He won‘t take it on. They know exactly what this is all about...
SCHULTZ: ... and it was really a cheap shot.
PRESS: Yes, let me make just one final point here. You know, what stuns me about this is Harry Reid was not afraid to say it because nobody in this town is afraid of President Obama. The Republicans aren‘t. The Democrats—the Blue Dogs aren‘t.
PRESS: Harry Reid isn‘t. The liberals aren‘t. I think the White House has got to show these guys, You mess with us, we‘re going to break your legs.
SCHULTZ: Bill Press, great to have you with us, buddy. Thanks so much.
PRESS: You got it.
SCHULTZ: Coming up: You‘ve heard me say the rich Republican Party is out of touch with Americans who are struggling to put food on the table and pay their rent. Senator Jon Kyl just proved my point. I‘ll show you the tape and deliver him a message in the show coming up.
Also tonight, the NAACP is calling out the tea party. They‘ve declared the party is full of racists who are a threat to our democracy. More on that at the bottom of the hour.
And the Newtster‘s eyeing 2012. I hope he runs! Rand Paul—he lands in the zone, and Alvin Greene‘s got stars in his eyes. I‘ll explain in the “Playbook.”
Stay with us. You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC.
SCHULTZ: Coming up on THE ED SHOW, the state of California—well, it‘s falling apart at the seams, and its problems are a sign of things to come if the rest of the country doesn‘t listen up and pay attention to this one.
Budget problems have led its most dangerous city to dramatically cut back its police force. You know, so if you‘re a victim of burglary, extortion, you name it, nobody is coming to your rescue. This is America. Something‘s got to change. That‘s next on THE ED SHOW. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW, and thanks for watching tonight. Let‘s see, last week, it was Colorado Springs. Next week, it might be your town. But tonight is a big decision that is on the verge of being made. Less than two hours from now, the city of Oakland, California, is on track to fire more than 10 percent of its police force unless city officials and police union leaders can come to a last-minute agreement.
But if the layoffs go through, the city‘s police chief says officers will have to stop responding to 44 situations, including burglary, grand theft, identity theft, extortion and vandalism. If residents encounter one of these situations, well, they‘re just going to have to report it on line.
For more, let me bring in Hubert Williams. He‘s the president of the Police Foundation. Mr. Williams, good to have you with us tonight. It‘s all about the money. Colorado Springs is a conservative community. Oakland is a liberal community, for the most part. You‘ve got a $32.5 million shortfall in the city of Oakland. It‘s all about the money, but the people are going to suffer here. What‘s the remedy for this, sir?
HUBERT WILLIAMS, POLICE FOUNDATION: Well, first, Ed, let me say that the rhetoric that we‘re hearing now from people that are engaged in this process may be pure political moves to minimize the damage that they are exposed to as a result of the budget shortfalls. There‘s going to be big problems for cities that are experiencing these budget shortfalls because police will not be able to respond to everything.
But they have an obligation to use their resources as efficiently and effectively as possible. They‘re required to think through the process of what they can cut back and make certain that the core services are maintained. Core services are to protect the citizens of the community. Any crime that impacts public safety has to be the very highest priority. There are things you can cut back, but certainly not robbery and crimes of that nature.
SCHULTZ: Well, is this what‘s happening all over America, municipalities just don‘t have the money? This is the infrastructure of America that is crumbling before our eyes. I mean, to cut back 10 percent of the police force, to not answer and send out a list of 44 situations that they‘re just going to have to report on line—I mean, that‘s not police protection, is it?
WILLIAMS: No, definitely not. And quite frankly, I think that there‘s an obligation on the part of leaders and policing in America to show that they have sufficiently analyzed and studied their force, the resources that they have available, and they‘ve made the cutbacks in ways that they have the least impact on public safety. That‘s a duty they‘ve got.
SCHULTZ: Is this contagious, do you think, other cities, other city councils across the country will see this happening, Well, Oakland‘s doing it? You know what I mean?
WILLIAMS: Well, the cities—if you‘re going to go duck hunting, Ed, you‘ve got to go where the ducks are. If you are a mayor, you‘re going to go where the money is. The money in municipal government is not—is not with the teachers because they get subsidized money from the federal and state government. But the police and the fire are the most exposed, and that‘s the reason they‘re going there.
I think we‘ve got to be creative. We‘ve got to be innovative. We‘ve got to find ways to function more efficiently. We‘ve got to direct our resources to deal with the most serious problems. We cannot just lay police officers off. But if you‘re going to look at this issue, you must build in the equities. It is not just the police, it is municipal government. These cuts should be made across the spectrum, if you‘ve got to make them, and they should have the least impact upon the people that live in the city.
SCHULTZ: Mr. Williams, great to have you with us tonight. Thank you for insight on this. I appreciate it.
WILLIAMS: Thank you, Ed.
SCHULTZ: Coming up, tea party psycho talker Rand Paul says the poor in America—well, they don‘t have it so bad. They‘ve got TV sets. I‘ll change his channel in “The Zone” next. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: And in “Psycho Talk” tonight, tea party and Kentucky Republican Senate candidate Rand Paul. Now, he‘s been following instructions pretty good from the party leaders to stay out of the national spotlight because he‘s—well, he‘s a loose cannon. But they can‘t stop him from flaunting his awful all-Libertarian colors in his home state of Kentucky. At a recent candidate forum in Kentucky, Rand Paul used the example of Soviet propaganda to explain why poor people in America—well, they really don‘t have it that bad.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RAND PAUL (R-KY), SENATE CANDIDATE: The Soviets used to show a propaganda film, and they wanted to show how horrible America was and how our poor were doing so poorly. And they filmed a building in the poorer section of New York with some broken windows and they said, Oh, this is how the poor in America lives. But it backfired on them because the Soviet citizens looked at that video closely and they saw flickering color television sets in all those windows.
The poor in our country are enormously better off than the rest of the world. Doesn‘t mean we can‘t do better, but we have to acknowledge and be proud of our system of capitalism, be proud of our American way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Did you hear that? Now, hold it here a second. How could the Soviet citizens see it unless they had television? Interesting.
But if you‘ve got broken windows and you‘ve got a color TV, you‘re doing OK in America by his standards. And another thing. How many Soviet families has Rand Paul come in contact with? This guy isn‘t a spy, is he? No, couldn‘t be! I mean, this has to be one of the most out-of-touch candidates I‘ve ever seen! Rand Paul‘s own state of Kentucky—look in your own back yard, buddy—has got the second highest poverty rate in America. More than 17 percent of the people live below the poverty line. And using a Soviet-era example to downplay the huge gap between the rich and the poor in this country is insensitive, real “Psycho Talk.”
Coming up: The NAACP is fighting back hard against the tea party.
They say the party is a dangerous threat to democracy and Civil Rights. One of their fearless leaders will speak the truth next right here on THE ED SHOW.
And—well, it‘s a story made for Hollywood. Unknown, unemployed man becomes Senate candidate. Now Alvin Greene is casting his own movie. You wouldn‘t believe who he wants to play. All that, plus Louisiana senator David Vitter supports birther lawsuits. OK. And the gusher might finally be capped. And legendary baseball analyst Peter Gammons will join me live from the third baseline to talk about the legendary George Steinbrenner and his passing today.
You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. The Battleground story tonight, well, the Tea Partiers are a threat to our democracy. That‘s what the NAACP alleges. The civil rights group just voted unanimously to pass a resolution that condemns what they call the explicitly racist behavior of some Tea Party supporters. Tea Party activists have repeatedly said, it‘s not about race, it‘s about President Obama‘s policies, but the NAACP is calling their bluff saying, quote, “the movement is not just about higher taxes and limited government but about something that could evolve and become more dangerous.
Joining me now is Hilary Shelton, the director of the NAACP‘s Washington bureau. He comes to us tonight from Kansas City, Missouri, where the NAACP is holding its annual convention. Mr. Shelton, great to have you with us tonight. How.
HILARY SHELTON, NAACP DIRECTOR: Great to be with you.
SCHULTZ: You bet. How important is this, and how serious of an issue does the organization see the Tea Partiers and their activities at some of these demonstrations?
SHELTON: Well, we‘ve been deeply concerned. We began really paying close attention to the Tea Party during the major health care debate that took place in August. As you remember, as we went in Tea Party activists actually ended up giving members of Congress, particularly African-American members of Congress, and even one of the only openly gay member of Congress a really hard time by not only being upset and disagreeing with their policy position but actually spitting on them, calling them the “N” word, calling Barney Frank the “F” word, throwing bricks at their offices in places like Georgia, so what we‘re seeing is a real uncivilized approach to our very important democratic policies and policy approaches, so we began focusing more carefully on what the Tea Party is and what they do.
SCHULTZ: Well, I‘d like you to respond to this billboard that has been placed in the state of Iowa which we should point out that President Obama did win in the first Iowa caucus. It shows President Obama, Adolf Hitler and Vladimir Lenin on the South Federal Avenue in Mason City, Iowa. What‘s your response to this, “radical leaders prey on the fearful and naive.” National Socialism over Hitler. Democratic Socialism over Obama and Marxist Socialism over Lenin. What do you make of this?
SHELTON: Well, it‘s outrageous. It‘s outrageous to suggest that Barack Obama is anything less than a democratically based capitalist. Very well, these are the same people that don‘t believe Barack Obama was even born as a naturalized citizen in this country. We took a closer look at who these people are that are putting up these billboards, that are saying the kinds of things they are saying in the open but even more insidiously, if you listen to their internet radio programs, it becomes even more outrageous in places where people are not listening.
SCHULTZ: What are they saying?
SHELTON: They are not only calling Barack Obama the “N” word and other things, they are actually saying crazy things about how he‘s a socialist and he‘s moving a socialist agenda and somehow or another, he‘s truly un-American. You heard from the billboards, saw on the billboards, comparing him to Stalin, to Hitler and so many others. That is so outrageous it‘s—if it weren‘t true, it would be funny.
SCHULTZ: You have an elected official in Minnesota Michele Bachmann, who says that President Obama is turning us into a nation of slaves. What‘s your response to that?
SHELTON: That is not only outrageous, it also doesn‘t truly understand the nature of what‘s going on in our country. For her to equate in any way Barack Obama who is an African-American to a slavery movement in our country is outrageous. It also speaks to some of the concerns that have been raised before. There are those that believe that Barack Obama is trying to do to the citizens of the United States what were done to African-Americans during the period of slavery and reconstruction, and even the dark ages in our society where we were treated so badly as second class citizens, that somehow or another, he would do that to someone else.
There‘s nothing to indicate in his programs, there‘s nothing to indicate in his agenda that he would do anything along those lines. They are so outrageous. As a matter of fact what, we found in our research is that a number of the factions of the Tea Party are actually the descendants of the council of conservative citizens which is the outgrow for the white citizens council. There are those that are part of the minute man movement, that very reactionary element that tries to go after those that they perceive as being undocumented aliens in our country. If you look up close, if you go to some of the websites, if you trace back.
SCHULTZ: It‘s in their DNA is what you‘re saying. It is in their
SHELTON: Absolutely true.
SCHULTZ: Mr. Shelton, great to have you with us tonight. Thank you for speaking up.
SHELTON: My pleasure.
SCHULTZ: I think it is very courageous and the correct thing to do to call them out with this vote tonight by your organization, the NAACP.
Now, let‘s get some rapid fire response from our panel on these stories. Newt Gingrich says, he‘s seriously considering running for president against Barack Obama in 2012. Louisiana Senator David Vitter. He‘s a birther sympathizer. He says, he thinks the conservative legal challenges to try and force President Obama to produce his birth certificate are valid? And Harry Reid gets 60 votes for financial reform. Three republicans and Ben Nelson have signed on but Russ Feingold from Wisconsin, he‘s a no. He says, the bill is just not tough enough.
With us tonight Joan Walsh, editor-in-chief Salon.com and Tony Blankley, a syndicated columnist. He was the press secretary for former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, so we‘ll go to you first, Tony. What do you make of Newt Gingrich saying that well, here it is. He says, “I‘ve never been this serious. It‘s fair to say that by February the groundwork will have been laid to consider seriously whether or not to run.” Is he going to run, Tony?
TONY BLANKLEY, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Yes. I actually had dinner with him a couple of weeks ago, and while he‘s not made any formal announcement privately or publicly, he said, in February he‘ll make his decision, but he‘s very seriously considering it. Yes. I take it very seriously. He‘s got a national organizing capability. Joe Gaylord who was his chief political consultant that helped us win the elections of ‘94 is back on the payroll as it were working on that, so I take it seriously, and I think, if I were a republican primary aspirant, I would take it seriously because I think, they will have to face the prospect of standing on the debating platform and debating Newt. And my guess is, they are going to lose, because at a time when about two-thirds of the country thinks we‘re going to hell in a hand basket, Newt has got some—you may not like Newt personally, I understand, but Newt has probably got more smart ideas. He‘s thought longer and harder about deep policy issues and he will make a tremendous argument for how he thinks we can fix the mess the country is in.
SCHULTZ: I don‘t have anything personal against Newt Gingrich. I wish he would come on this program but he won‘t. I‘m sure they are shaking over at FOX News. But what do you make Joan, how formidable a march could he make to the nomination and how would the match would be with the President Obama?
JOAN WALSH, SALON.COM EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: I don‘t think he‘s formidable at all and I don‘t necessarily even take this seriously. Tony, I agree, certainly I acknowledge knows more than I do. But you know, Salon did a hilarious time line of this today, Ed, and we showed that this is the third time Newt has said he is seriously running for president. He said it in 1995. He was seriously considering a challenge to Bill Clinton.
BLANKLEY: That‘s not true.
WALSH: Yes, he did.
BLANKLEY: No. I was with him.
WALSH: Tony, we have the quotes, go to Salon.com.
BLANKLEY: Wait a second. He wasn‘t serious. It was in June.
WALSH: -- About in November, about whether they were going to do it. This time, he‘s going to talk to Callista, his wife. His third wife, excuse me.
BLANKLEY: Here it comes.
WALSH: Whether he‘s going to do it. So, that‘s what changes. The wives change but the story I‘m seriously considering.
BLANKLEY: That‘s a very—that‘s a very sleazy response.
WALSH: Why is it sleazy?
BLANKLEY: I was in with Newt in, I think, it was June of ‘95 when he very briefly gave it thought. He dismissed it quickly because he realized he had more to do as speaker.
WALSH: It was November 10th that he told the “Boston Globe,” he and Maryann were sitting down to discuss it.
BLANKLEY: That was entirely different than what he‘s doing right now which is a very systematic—a very systematic approach. You know, the proof will be in the pudding.
BLANKLEY: He didn‘t run then. My hunch is he is going to run this time.
SCHULTZ: All right.
WALSH: And he did it in 2007 as well I remember.
SCHULTZ: Tony, I think, if President Obama was on his third wife, I think your party would probably be mentioning that from time to time.
BLANKLEY: You know, Obama is on his first wife and he‘s imperially slim and he‘s making a hash of leading the country.
SCHULTZ: OK. Well, we‘re not shaving off the jobs that we were when he took over, so something is working.
SCHULTZ: All right. Louisiana Senator David Vitter is a birther sympathizer. He told a town hall down in Louisiana that he is OK with the legal challenges, but then he goes so far to say that the only thing he really knows about it is what‘s been reported in the media, so his research isn‘t too good. Joan, what do you make of this?
WALSH: It‘s so irresponsible. I mean, Louisiana is drowning with an oil spill. To flirt with these extremist crack pot birthers, I‘d like to say it‘s beneath David Vitter, but, you know, I have a serious question about David Vitter and Tony is not going to like this one either. But every time we refer to Eliot Spitzer, he‘s always, always the disgraced Eliot Spitzer because he resigned after patronizing prostitutes. David Vitter admitted patronizing prostitutes, didn‘t resign but he‘s not the disgraced David Vitter. Instead, we have to sit here and talk about his crass political pandering to birthers in Louisiana about whether the president is a legitimate president. This is a waste of our time. He shouldn‘t even be on the national scene.
SCHULTZ: Apparently when he said it in front of the crowd, they gave him a favorable response.
WALSH: I‘m sure they did.
SCHULTZ: Which underscores that there are a lot of Americans out there that think that it would be valid for the president to produce more documentation, although the state of Hawaii apparently hasn‘t satisfied a lot of people.
WALSH: It‘s crazy.
SCHULTZ: Is this a road, Tony, that is productive for republicans to follow to say, yes, we‘re OK with the legal challenges here. What do you think?
BLANKLEY: Look. He‘s pandering to his base. We‘ve never seen this before in a politician, you know. It‘s the same thing that the democrats did in some of the more absurd charges against Bush. They don‘t want to go to your base. They are not made of stern enough stuff to stare a crowd in their face and say, you guys are crazy.
WALSH: Which senate—which democratic senator said something that it was completely crack pot about—and untrue about President Bush running for re-election? Give me just one example of somebody who said something completely insane about the president.
BLANKLEY: Look, go through the news reels all through.
WALSH: But you can‘t come up with one.
BLANKLEY: Wait, can I have a whole sentence to myself first.
WALSH: Sure, absolutely.
BLANKLEY: I saw a plenty of democratic congressmen who didn‘t put down charges when people were saying that maybe the president wanted the September 11th to happen and they would hem and haw, they wouldn‘t say no because they are crazy followers. Every party has some crazies.
WALSH: That‘s not true.
BLANKLEY: And if you want to deny that, give me a couple of days and we‘ll come back on the show and I‘ll give you the names.
WALSH: OK, Tony.
BLANKLEY: The fact is I was—I was on MSNBC about a year ago saying that the birther issue was idiotic. I was on “HARDBALL” and.
SCHULTZ: Well, apparently Mr. Vitter didn‘t hear it.
SCHULTZ: You‘ve got a United States senator who thinks that the legal challenge—he‘s not convinced that the president of the United States is a United States citizen. I mean, that is just psycho talk.
BLANKLEY: As I‘m saying, and we‘ve seen it before. Both parties have
most politicians will pander to their base, and that‘s what‘s happening.
SCHULTZ: OK. All right. Let‘s go to Harry Reid. He‘s got 60 votes, did get some help from the republicans and lo and behold Ben Nelson is coming on board. Financial reform, would this be a big victory and is this bill tough enough when you look at Mr. Feingold from Wisconsin, Joan. He‘s saying that he‘s not going to get on board with it. What about this?
WALSH: You know, I think it‘s the bill that we can get. It‘s the best we can do. I‘m disappointed with it. I think that they can still—they can still go play, you know, play casino games with our money, Ed, and I wish some of those rules about that—about speculative trading had been tougher. I still think the derivatives language could have been tougher. I know what Russ Feingold is saying, but I think, the rest of the democratic caucus is saying, this is what we can do. We‘ll going to try to tighten this as we go along.
SCHULTZ: Tony, is this an Obama victory if it happens?
BLANKLEY: I think, it is a moderate political victory for him in the short term. I think in the long term, it will be seen to have contracted credit and it will probably not to be seen as a plus, but republicans are not fighting it in the way they fought health care. So, it‘s—it‘s a victory for him, but I don‘t think a big one.
SCHULTZ: All right. Joan Walsh and Tony Blankley, got to have you back, and certainly when we talk about Newt Gingrich again we won‘t forget this conversation. Good to have you with us. Thanks so much.
WALSH: Thank you.
BLANKLEY: Good to be here.
SCHULTZ: Coming up, he was a larger than life figure in major league baseball who became a sports icon. Longtime Yankee‘s owner George Steinbrenner passed away today at the age 80. We‘ll look back on a career of hard leadership with legendary baseball analyst and historian Peter Gammons who is live from the third base line at the baseball all-star game. He joins me next on THE ED SHOW. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: It‘s still not too late to let us know what you think. The number to dial is 1-877-ed-msnbc. Tonight‘s telephone survey question is, do you agree with Harry Reid that President Obama needs to be more confrontational with the republicans? Press the number the one for yes, press the number two for no. Again, the number to dial 1-877-ed-msnbc. We‘re right back.
SCHULTZ: And in my Playbook tonight, remembering George Steinbrenner. The larger than life Yankees owner died this morning at the age of 80 after suffering a massive heart attack. The boss was known for his top leadership style and win at all costs attitude. But he was also a great businessman who expected and got results. He bought the Yankees in 1973 for $8.7 million and over the next 37 years he turned it into a billion dollar Sports Empire. Steinbrenner also made headlines outside baseball. He pleaded guilty to making illegal contributions to Nixon‘s re-election campaign. Later he was pardoned by President Reagan. Despite his highly publicized run-ins with republican presidents, Steinbrenner‘s Yankees only won championships under democratic presidents.
I always found him entertaining, full of savvy, always ahead of the curve and also had somewhat of a very compassionate attitude towards baseball. It may be socialist, but he was for revenue sharing. He knew the importance of the small market teams like the Milwaukee brewers and the Minnesota twins, a team that has won a championship in the past. He wanted the league to do the right thing by the fans, and we as Americans can take a lesson from George Steinbrenner to be a tough competitor, that‘s how you do it. And this programming note, former New York Yankees Manager Joe Torre will join Keith Olbermann on “COUNTDOWN” tonight to talk about George Steinbrenner‘s legacy, 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time right here on MSNBC.
A few pages in the Playbook, the real king has spoken. David Stern, NBA Commissioner, fined Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert $100,000 for inappropriate comments he made about LeBron James in a letter to fans. Gilbert called LeBron narcissistic and cowardly. Stern also said LeBron‘s TV announcement was ill-advised.
The story of Alvin Greene really is made for Hollywood. An unknown, unemployed man from South Carolina becomes the democratic senate nominee. Greene says, if his story ever makes it to the big screen, he wants Denzel Washington to play him. And this might not be far from reality. The “New York Times” reports Greene has been contacted by a screenwriter in California.
And we‘re learning more about where Caribou Barbie‘s political action committee money is going. She spent around $3,800 last quarter on Caribou sausage? OK. Back in April, Palin gave out gift baskets at Southern Republican Leadership Conference, according to a report. More than 3,000 delegates walked in to Palin‘s speech to find an Alaska snack from SarahPAC. Snacks like sausage, reindeer, hot dogs, trail sticks, squirrels and such, and more.
And after 85 days, the worst oil spill in the United States history might be coming to an end. BP is preparing to test the new cap that could finally stop the oil gushing into the gulf. The cap was secured on top of the well last night. Engineers plan to slowly close valves today. The tests will take six to 48 hours to tell if the leak has been stopped.
Coming up, there‘s no help in sight for the long-term unemployed in this country, and Senator Jon Kyl thinks the rich have it worse? This just shows where the Republican Party is right now. My commentary is next. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: And finally tonight, actually I could lead with this story every night I‘m so passionate about it, some righties truly have no shame. The second highest ranking republican in the senate, Minority Whip Jon Kyl just called unemployment insurance a necessary evil. So, let‘s get this straight. Kyl has no problem exploding the deficit if it‘s in the form of a tax cut for the wealthy Americans in this country, but when it comes to helping out-of-work Americans in a tough economy, the worst in decades, then all of a sudden he gets worried about increasing the deficit. This deficit argument that they are making is totally phony. This just proves all along what I‘ve been saying in this argument, that the republicans are out of touch, out of touch with reality. They are heartless when it comes to not the unemployed but American workers.
I say the conservative movement in this country has put a lot of these people out of work with their steroidal attitude when it comes to outsourcing of jobs. These are Americans who had a job, and I wish I had a dime for every e-mail I‘ve gotten from Americans who are not working right now because their job went overseas, and until this country realizes that we have to put some serious incentives on the table for companies to insource instead of outsource we are looking at the new normal, because nobody seems to be coming up with any real ideas on how we‘re going to put all of these folks back to work. Can we survive as a nation with ten percent unemployment? Not really. Ask the 99ers.
There are four million Americans that have nothing right now. I‘m going to say this every night. They have nothing. Is this the America that Jon Kyl wants? Is this the kind of leadership you want in the senate when we go to the mid-term? This is who these people are. They are ruthless. They don‘t care. All they care about is profit. They don‘t care about people, and they are showing it right in front of our eyes. This is America. This is the land of opportunity, not the land of shipping people‘s jobs overseas and a race to the bottom line. We are finding out what this issue right now just who we are as a country.
A true crusader for the unemployed, Washington Congressman Jim McDermott. Congressman, good to have you with us tonight.
REP. JIM MCDERMOTT (D), WASHINGTON: Good to be here, Ed.
SCHULTZ: I‘ll let you add to what I have to say. This is a problem that the republican majority, when they had the majority, they were—they couldn‘t outsource enough. They did more for corporations than any party in power in the history of this country. Am I right or wrong?
MCDERMOTT: You‘re absolutely correct, and what you‘re seeing right now is Jon Kyl and Mitch McConnell take their clothes off and show the American people exactly what their attitudes really are about American workers. I hope America is looking because we‘re going to have an election here, and they are going to have to decide, do they want those guys back in charge, or do they want some people who are trying? And I think that the evidence is clear that the republicans do not care about workers in this country.
SCHULTZ: They do not. This is Kyl‘s statement to reporters in the halls of the Congress. “My view, and I think most of the people in my party, don‘t believe that you should ever have to offset a tax cut.” What do you make of that?
MCDERMOTT: It‘s all double talk. They want everything paid for except when they give money away to the rich in this country. Those tax cuts, most of it, went to people above—at the very top, in the top three percent of this country, and they simply are unwilling to be even-handed. Treat the workers like you treat the rich in this country, but they don‘t. They give to the rich and take it away from the poor, and then cluck their fingers and say, we shouldn‘t give you an unemployment check because you might sit at home and wait for this little check and not go out and look for a job. You can‘t find a job today in most parts of this country. You‘ve got six people looking for every job that‘s out there, and to put the blame on the workers is absolutely wrong.
SCHULTZ: There‘s no question about it. I‘ll ask you, as I asked Chris Van Hollen earlier in the show. Would you like to see the senate change the rules, get rid of the filibuster and majority rules?
MCDERMOTT: The only issue that‘s going to save this country is for the senate to change their rules in January. They have got to get rid of the filibuster. You cannot have the senate capable of having 40 percent of the vote stop anything from happening. This country operates on the majority rule, and they have been operating on the 40 percent rule for the last year and a half, and we simply are—we are stymied. We have to change that rule if we‘re going to survive.
SCHULTZ: Congressman, great to have you with us tonight. Thanks for speaking up again. I appreciate your time.
MCDERMOTT: You‘re welcome.
SCHULTZ: Tonight in our telephone survey, I asked you, do you agree with Harry Reid that president Obama needs to be more confrontational with the republicans? Sixty percent of you said yes, 40 percent of you said no. That‘s THE ED SHOW. I‘m Ed Schultz. For more information on THE ED SHOW, go to ed.msnbc.com or check out my radio website at wegoted.com. You can catch me on XM 167 noon to 3:00, Monday through Friday on the radio. HARDBALL with Chris Matthews starts right now here on the place for politics, MSNBC. We‘ll see you tomorrow night.
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