The Ed Show for Thursday, August 26th, 2010
Read the transcript to the Thursday show
Guest Host: Cenk Uygur
Guests: Mark Potok, Jonathan Alter, Bob Shrum, Mike Rogers, Stephanie
Miller, Sam Stein, Scott Hennen, Roy Sekoff, Lizz Winstead
CENK UYGUR, ANCHOR: Good evening, everybody and welcome to “The Ed Show.” I‘m Cenk Uygur in for Ed Schulzt. These stories are hot tonight.
The right wing has spent weeks stoking hate on the Muslim community center near Ground Zero. Now that hate-filled rhetoric is turning into real violence and they pretend to be surprised. My commentary on that in just a moment.
Speaking of Republican demagoguery, remember how the Bush/Cheney re-election team drove anti-gay conservatives to the poll in ‘04 by putting anti-gay marriage on the ballot in 11 states. Bush‘s 2004 campaign manager, Ken Mehlman just came out. I‘ll tell you why I‘m not accepting his apology.
And it‘s chiller time, Glenn Beck tells you why God wants you to buy gold in honor of one of his sponsors for this weekend‘s rally at Lincoln Memorial. This guy has no shame.
Tonight, we start with the party of hate. The Republican Party in this country has been running on hate and division for the last 50 years.
First, it was the southern strategy meant to discriminate against African-Americans in order to gain white southern votes. That worked in capturing the south for a generation or more, but they lost the entire African-American vote for even longer.
That‘s what happens when you slap someone across the face then once that well started to run dry, they apologized. In 2005, Republican Chairman Ken Mehlman told the NAACP he was sorry, quote, “some Republicans gave up on winning the African-American vote looking the other way or trying to benefit politically from racial polarization. I‘m here today as the Republican chairman to tell you we were wrong.”
And then unapologetically picked their next target, gay Americans, they ran campaigns all across America, premised on taking away rights from gays in this country. Now, one of the architects of that plan, Ken Mehlman who ran George W. Bush‘s campaign in ‘04 and was RNC chair in ‘06 has come out and said he‘s gay. Again, our bad, our mistake, not that they‘re stopping attacks on that front, I‘ll have more on that later.
Then there‘s the vitriolic fight against immigrants, undocumented ones and in Arizona just people who happen to look undocumented. Of course, there‘s the grand daddy of prejudice, fear and hatred stoke up against Muslims in this country.
Now, it‘s gotten so bad that a young man stabbed a cabbie in the neck and face Tuesday after finding out that he was Muslim. He yelled this is your checkpoint. Ironically, it means peace be with you.
But Islam has been so twisted by conserve demagogues here that a peaceful greeting has been misinterpreted as a war cry and then used against Muslims.
That a man yesterday walked into a mosque in Queens and urinated all over their prayer rugs while yelling that all Muslims were terrorists, gee, I wonder where he got that idea?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nazis don‘t have the right to put up a sign next to the holocaust museum in Washington. We would never accept the Japanese putting up a site next to Pearl Harbor. There‘s no reason for to us accept a mosque next to the World Trade Center.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UYGUR: If the manufactured rage against minorities and Muslims in particular was not bad enough, Republicans across the country have added an element of violent imagery to top it off.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It‘s not a time to retreat. It‘s a time to reload.
REP. MICHELLE BACHMANN (D), MINNESOTA: I want people in Minnesota armed and dangerous on this issue.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UYGUR: And it hasn‘t been just Muslim Americans who‘ve been on the receiving end of this violence. There was Scott Roeder who killed abortion provider Dr. Tiller after hearing provocation like this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL O‘REILLY: Tonight on what you think about the abortion issue you should be very disturbed by what continues to happen in Kansas. This man, Dr. George Tiller known as Tiller, the baby killer is performing late term abortions without defining the specific medical reasons why.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UYGUR: Then there was the guy in Pittsburgh who killed three police officers because he was convinced they were coming for his guns. Gee, I wonder where he got that idea.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GLENN BECK: He will slowly but surely take away your gun or take away your ability to shoot a gun, carry a gun, he will make them more expensive. He‘ll tax them out of existence. He will because he has said he would. He will tax your gun or take your gun away one way or another.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UYGUR: Then there was the man in Tennessee who shot people inside what he considered a, quote, “liberal church.” He was reading O‘Reilly and Hannity‘s books on how terrible liberals were and might have heard a rant like this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I beg you, look for the words social justice or economic justice on your church website. If you find it, run as fast as you can.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UYGUR: Look, this is destructive to our country. It rips us all apart. The demagoguery especially based on race or religion is also destructive to the idea of America. That we are all created equal, and are all equally American.
But it‘s also destructive to the Republican Party. What black person, gay guy or girl, immigrant or Muslim American in their right mind would vote for the Republican Party? They might as well hang a sign around their neck saying I hate myself.
So in the end, the GOP will be left holding a shrinking part of the U.S. population screaming about how they hate everyone else. That‘s a terrible political strategy. Don‘t get me wrong. Demagoguing does work in the short run. That‘s why they do it.
They‘ve been doing it since McCarthy because it gives them a temporary leg up in the next election, but in the long run, it kills your own brand. You‘re not going to get a majority of even the white voters you think you‘re going for by being the party of hate.
They‘re much better than that. They‘re Americans. So after a couple more Muslims and others get attacked and the passion has died down, America will realize again that there‘s no bogeyman coming to get them. The Sharia law is not about to be imposed in Des Moines or Sacramento. They will reject the politics of hate.
Then where will the Republican Party be with even less voters, even more margin naturalized and probably even more angry? We‘re witnessing the death pangs of a once great party, the party of Lincoln. That is no more.
If they keep going this way, they‘re going to go from the grand old party to the sad little party and they‘ll only have themselves to blame. Now, tell me what you think in our telephone survey the number to dial is 877-ed-msnbc.
My question tonight is, do you think the GOP strategy of hate and fear will backfire? Press one for yes, press two for no. I‘ll bring you the results later in the show.
Now joining me is Mark Potok, one of America‘s foremost experts on hate crimes. He‘s the intelligence project director for the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Mark, let‘s look at what happened today with the cabbie or I should say yesterday getting stabbed. Do you think that‘s just, oh, random coincidence that a Muslim cabbie happened to get stabbed yesterday or is this related to all the demagoguery about the so-called mosque near Ground Zero?
MARK POTOK, SOUTHERN POVERTY LAW CENTER: Well, I think it‘s about as clear as it could be that this comes right out of the really rancid debate around the whole Ground Zero Islamic Center.
I mean, you named some of the villains. No doubt about it, Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin and so on, but we also have major outfits like the National Republican Trust Political Action Committee claiming that the Islamic center will be a celebration of the murder of 3,000 people.
You know that, kind of language is not only grotesquely false, but it is obviously demonizing and that kind of demonization, as you‘ve suggested is precisely what‘s leading to what seems to be a real spike in anti-Muslim hate crimes.
UYGUR: Mark, that leads to the obvious next question of what can we do about it because, I mean, you see it. The baby killer, what are you going to do about it they‘re asking their audience and all of a sudden, somebody kills Dr. Tiller.
You know, you see it with the liberal churches. You just saw the whole list. Now they‘re doing it with Muslims, but they have First Amendment rights so what can you do about it?
POTOK: Well, one hopes that one can shame some of these political leaders into saying something a little more responsible. You know, you‘re speaking about the Republican Party. It‘s probably worth remembering that one of the very decent things that President Bush did was immediately after, actually nine days after 9/11, he gave a very important speech in which he talked about Muslims were not our enemies, Arabs were not our enemies. A very specific network of terrorists was our enemy.
And I think that Bush actually had the effect of tamping down what could have been an absolutely amazing backlash against Muslims and perceive Muslims. It‘s worth remembering immediately after 9/11, there was a 1700 percent rise in anti-Muslim hate crimes.
But by the beginning of the next year, 2002, that had dropped by more than two-thirds. So I think that when political leaders like bush speak out responsibly, it works. It‘s helpful.
UYGUR: And you have to give credit to Bush on that, there‘s no question about that. What didn‘t help is him randomly attacking another Muslim country that didn‘t have anything to do with 9/11. That didn‘t really help the situation.
POTOK: Of course.
UYGUR: It seems the Republicans have gone the more radical since Bush. But one final question for you what‘s happened since Obama took office? Has there been a rise in hate crimes, et cetera?
POTOK: Well, there has definitely been a rise in threats towards the president, in domestic terrorism aimed at the president and at hate speech essentially revolving around the idea that we have a black man and his black family in the White House.
So that‘s undeniable. I mean, we‘ve seen skin head assassination plots, a guy who wanted to set off a dirty bomb at the inauguration and a whole long list. Many of the cases you mentioned like the man hop murdered three officers in Pittsburgh were also influenced by this anti-Obama atmosphere.
And the idea that whites are losing their majority in this country. So this seems to be we‘re seeing right now kind of another spasm of the same kind of hate directed against people who do not look like the white majority.
UYGUR: All right. Thank you, Mark. We appreciate you coming in.
For now, for more let me bring in Jonathan Alter. He‘s a National Affair columnist for “Newsweek” and an MSNBC political analyst.
John, other than being a low something to do, this demagoguery seems like it‘s in the long-term a really bad political strategy, doesn‘t it?
JONATHAN ALTER, NEWSWEEK: Absolutely. I think you made a great point in your opening commentary, Cenk. I mean, this is a disaster for the Republican Party in the middle and the long-term.
So they could take back the Congress or more likely just the House of Representatives and have a really terrific 2010 politically. But they‘re cutting off their noses to spite their face. This just is not going to work for them long-term.
Demography is destiny and it is stacked against them right now in this country. You know, John McCain did about as well with white voters as Ronald Reagan did. Look how much worse he did in the presidential election.
The face of America is changing. States like Michigan where you have a lot of Arab-American voters are moving out of range for the Republican Party over time. Now, it‘s true in the short run, the economy will trump all of these things and could bring good times for Republicans.
But again, in the medium and long-term, it‘s a recipe for disaster for that once great political party.
UYGUR: Jonathan, I don‘t see any sign that anybody‘s turning around. I mean, if you‘ve got specter who goes a little toward the center, Chris who goes a little toward the center, they immediately get booted out of the party.
If they keep going further and further right, just—if the Democrats went further and further left, which they‘re nowhere near in my opinion. Any political party, if you go that far, aren‘t you going to fall off a cliff at some point?
ALTER: Well, what happens is you get wiped out and then you reassess.
Remember the Democrats in the 1984 election, they nominated Walter Mondale.
He got crushed by Ronald Reagan.
And then you had a real reassessment of what the Democratic Party should be in the late ‘80s and it moved to the center. And it got to a place where it could get Bill Clinton elected.
So if the Republicans nominate Palin in 2012 and she gets wiped out, then in 2013, they‘ll reassess whether this crazy move to the far right was really in their interests.
UYGUR: All right. Jonathan Alter, thank you so much.
UYGUR: Thanks, Cenk.
UYGUR: Now, the up—coming up, Beck‘s joke of a speech is two days away. He says the spirit will talk through him and you‘re not going to believe what that spirit is telling him. What an unbelievable fraud this guy is.
And the man in charge of the RNC when it ran the most anti-gay campaign in history comes out as gay. This is a new chapter of a Republican hypocrisy. I‘ll tell you why I‘m not accepting his apology.
All that, plus I‘m actually going to give Republicans credit for something. Hey, look that and one right wing congressman just said building the mosque near Ground Zero is just as offensive as Dr. Laura dropping the “n” word.
You‘re watching “The Ed Show” on MSNBC.
UYGUR: Up next, time to get rid of Alan Simpson. The president says Social Security is here forever, but the man in charge of his debt commission thinks people are milking the system.
Simpson says the pig is dead. No more bacon to bring home. Is he trying to kill Social Security? Don‘t worry, we‘re not going to let him get away with it. Bob Scrum tells me if Simpson should be fired ahead.
UYGUR: The White House is circling the wagons around former Wyoming Senator Alan Simpson, the co-chairman of the president‘s deficit commission after he went berserk about Social Security.
Simpson likes to talk about the budget in terms of farm animals. In an e-mail to an older voter advocate he wrote that Social Security was like a cow with 310 million—I think you get the picture.
The White House has responded, quote, “Alan Simpson has apologized and while we regret and do not condone his comments, we accept his apology and he will continue to serve.” Catering to loathsome Republicans, the Obama White House at its best.
For Simpson, this week it was a cow. Last month it was a pig. Speaking to a gathering of the nation‘s governors in July, Simpson compared the Recovery Act to a pig saying “the pig is dead. There‘s no more bacon to bring home.”
Get a load of this guy. He thinks you‘re milking the system as if it‘s his money. You paid into social security. It‘s your money. You‘re not milking a damn thing and when we try to stimulate our economy or keep teachers on the job, he says the pig is dead. Who killed the pig?
Simpson and his friends in Congress who spent all of your money including the Social Security surplus on tax cuts for the rich and endless wars. Old Simpson had a farm on it he had a bunch of rich Republicans who milked the system dry then told us they killed our pig.
Joining me now is Democratic strategist Bob Shrum. He‘s a professor at New York University. Bob, look, this whole talk about how Social Security is going bankrupt, you don‘t understand, you guys are milking it dry, doesn‘t it have a $2.5 trillion surplus? Isn‘t all this one big fat lie?
BOB SHRUM, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Yes, it is actually. The truth of the matter is that before Simpson loves to say Social Security goes bust in 2037. That‘s not true.
There are 25 years of surpluses before then. The surpluses are supposedly secured by federal notes in the Social Security trust fund unless the federal government intends to default, those surpluses should be used in 2037 when the system starts collecting less money than it pays out.
Secondly, there‘s another solution here. Let‘s take the payroll tax cap off for people who make over $200,000 a year. The truth is, for Alan Simpson, for the Republicans who yearn to cut Social Security and always have, this is about one thing. They want seniors to get less so that the rich don‘t have to pay more.
UYGUR: Bob, I hear you on that. Obviously, I agree as you can tell from my commentary, but what I‘m concerned about is a Democratic president‘s deficit commission, which has this guy as a co-chair and 14 out of 18 of them are fiscal conservatives.
Why did we elect a Democrat if we‘re going to get a conservative deficit commission that‘s going to cut our Social Security?
SHRUM: There is irony here. You‘re absolutely right, Cenk. Barack Obama was not elected on a promise, for example to, cut social security. He was elected on a promise, for example to, close Guantanamo.
So the White House counsel Greg Craig who tried to keep the promise on Guantanamo is gone and Alan Simpson who wants to cut Social Security gets to keep his job. I don‘t think it‘s smart politics and it‘s wrong on the merits.
UYGUR: Do they get at all? I mean, you‘re more connected in Washington than I am. Do these guys get it that this is why people aren‘t excited?
This is why they‘re not going to come out and vote? This is why there‘s a lethargy in the Democratic voters? Did they not understand any of that?
SHRUM: Well, I‘m not going to presume the judgment the president‘s going to make when this recommendation comes in. But I‘ll tell you one thing, if the Democratic party ever joins Republicans in cutting Social Security, gives them cover to do that, I‘m talking about big reductions not the adjustments that were made for example in 1983, then we‘re going to be in deep trouble.
I‘m appalled by the spectacle of so-called well heeled experts sitting in plush conference rooms living plush lives telling people with back-breaking jobs that they should work into their 70s.
And by the way, if you adopt that policy, 1.5 million seniors are immediately forced into poverty. This president promised to fight for those people and I hope that‘s what he does.
Bob, real quick, Simpson should be fired, right?
SHRUM: Yes, he‘s just Jamie Galbraith said back in June distinguished economist at the University of Texas, terrific guy, looked at Simpson and said you look the temperament to do this job fairly or impartially. Simpson has spectacularly proved how right that was and he ought to go, but that doesn‘t solve the problem.
All right. Thank you, Bob. We appreciate it. Coming up, rightie radio talker Mike Gallagher clicks his ruby slippers. He‘s got those? He did it three times to problem the wizard of psycho talk. That‘s next.
UYGUR: In psycho talk tonight, right wing radio talk show host Mike Gallagher was over at Fox News this afternoon and he took a shot at Nancy Pelosi.
May and Kelly asked him about Congressman Bobby Bright, a blue dog from Alabama at a recent event, Breit allegedly side stepped a question about whether he supported Pelosi by joking that she might not run again for speaker because she could “get sick and die.” That was bad enough, but here‘s Gallagher‘s response.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Breit did cross the line. My approach for Nancy Pelosi, you wouldn‘t want for her to die. I would suggest throw a bucket of water on her and see what happens. Now that might have been a more tactful approach.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UYGUR: Get it? Get it? Because she‘s a witch and she‘ll melt if you throw water on her. You know what rhymes with witch? Very clever, very classy because how do you appeal to your rabid right wing audience? You call the first female speaker of the House a witch?
Does the Republican Party want anybody to vote for them? Eventually they‘re going to forget what they were going after and start attacking older white men and looking around going, wait, there‘s no one left. What were we trying to do? You were trying to win elections before you devolved into a party of pure vitriol and psycho talk.
Coming up, Glenn Beck says his rally will mark a turning point in American history, where miracles will happen. And what does he want you to do with the miracles he‘s created? Box of gold from his sponsors. How can anyone take this guy seriously?
And W‘s former campaign manager comes out as gay. This is the man who helped elect Bush‘s anti-gay administration. I‘m telling you why I‘m rejecting his apology.
Liberal radio talk show host Stephanie Miller also recently came out, she joins me ahead. All that, plus Congressman Roy Blunt says building a Muslim community center at Ground Zero is just as offensive as Dr. Laura using the “n” word.
And daily show co-creator Liz Winstead is in for club Ed. You‘re watching “The Ed Show” on MSNBC. Stay with us.
UYGUR: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. I‘m Cenk Uygur, “The Young Turks” in for Ed Schultz. The Battleground story tonight, Ken Mehlman was a campaign manager for George W. Bush‘s re-election effort in 2004 when the Republican Party ran one of the most anti-gay campaigns in history. That helped to put anti-gay rights measures on ballots in states all across the country.
Now, a man at the center of these smear campaigns has come out of the closet and said that he‘s gay. Mehlman said it wasn‘t him. He privately tried to talk the party out of campaigning on that issue. Well, it didn‘t work. And I don‘t believe him. A lot of people are talking in sympathetic tones about Mehlman and now they say, they‘re concerned about the inner turmoil that he went through. You know what? He wouldn‘t have had inner turmoil if he wasn‘t at the center of the anti-gay party driving an anti-gay agenda. If he was torn up about it, he had a funny way of showing it. Because as the chair of RNC in 2006, they went right back to the anti-gay well again. He now asks people who doubt his sincerity this, “if they can‘t offer support, at least offer understanding.”
No deal. Next time someone runs a divisive, hate-filled campaign against his own people or any people, they should consider that they will not get understanding. They will get the shaming that they deserve. When it mattered, Ken Mehlman failed. He hid and he went along with the attacks he knew were hateful. Now that he would like to go out and dates in public and wants to make a statement after he no longer has any power to affect his party, he acts as if he‘s coming out and it‘s brave. I‘m not impressed. Next time if you want understanding, do it when it counts. Apology not accepted.
Joining me now is blogger Mike Rogers, a gay rights activist. Mike, you tried to out Ken Mehlman a while back. Why did you do that?
MIKE ROGERS, GAY RIGHTS ACTIVIST: You know, one of the earliest cases that I reported on on my website was about Ken Mehlman because he was exactly as you said, the heart of the animal that created the entire anti-gay campaigns of 2004 and 2006. And he was the one responsible is the White House political director prior to serving as the general campaign chairman that was responsible for devising the entire federal marriage amendment campaign, going state to state as you said. And I think it was really important to expose that, not because he‘s gay but because he‘s a hypocrite and because he knew what he was doing was wrong while he was doing it.
UYGUR: And how did the mainstream press and the rest of the Washington react when you went after Mehlman and it turns out now in hindsight, of course, you were right, how did they react to that back then?
ROGERS: Well, I think, one of the classic cases to look at is how another news network ran a clip from a show called “The Larry King Show,” where Bill Maher actually reported on—for momentarily reported on Ken Mehlman—and then when the show repeated, they stripped out the language, because the media has been protecting people along the way and is protecting people like Ken Mehlman so that they can maintain their access, despite the fact that Ken repeatedly told the media, directly told the “New York Daily News” that it wasn‘t true. So the media ends up protecting people like Ken rather than exposing the truth about them.
UYGUR: Mike, do you have any sympathy for Ken Mehlman here? I mean, look, as someone who‘s also gay, there‘s of course some struggle there and you know, do you come out? When do you come out? Is it going to affect your job, et cetera? Any sympathy or no? You know, nothing but disdain?
ROGERS: Any time that somebody comes to terms with being out of the closet, it‘s a good thing. I think that what will Ken Mehlman has to do is show whether or not he‘s really sorry. And all I ask are three simple things. First he should spend time with the parents of a child who killed himself after 2004 after that horrible election. I think that he needs to take the fabulous $3 million condo he bought in Manhattan and donate that back to the cause that he worked so hard against. And most important, he needs to put up a heart felt apology upon YouTube or somewhere on the web where he actually looks at the American people and says I‘m sorry, I‘m sorry for what I did. And I‘m going to work in the future to make it better. But he has no desire to apologize. He has no regrets he said. So, I think that we really need to hold him more accountable for what he‘s saying and then potentially welcome into the fold, the rights activists. But right now, it‘s nothing more than a washing of the reality of his record.
UYGUR: All right, clear words. Thanks, Mike.
ROGERS: Thank you, Cenk.
UYGUR: Now let me turn to Stephanie Miller. Thank you. She‘s a radio talk show host and Stephanie also recently came out. And Stephanie, do you have any sympathy towards Ken Mehlman coming out at this late juncture in his life?
STEPHANIE MILLER, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Well, you know, Jake, I do. I obviously have, you know, little more of a unique take on this. And you know, I guess as Mike said, I mean, to me we‘re at such a critical tipping point in, you know, in this sort of civil rights battle in our history for gay marriage and gay rights in general that I sort of welcome anybody to the fold and I think that in my case, I just always been a very private person and I‘m not prepared to claim moral, you know, superiority over Ken Mehlman because I fought for gay rights all my life and I wasn‘t a hypocrite.
This is what I‘ve been trying to say Cenk, and why I did it. But this is not a partisan issue. This is a human and civil rights issue now. You know, Dick Cheney has a gay daughter. Newt Gingrich has a gay sister. Phyllis Schlafly has a gay son. Barry Goldwater has a gay grandson. This is about being able to look your loved one in the eye and say I love you, but I don‘t believe you deserve the same rights that I have. And that‘s why I did it. So, I can only speak for myself but I totally get your points and I think he does have a lot of karma to make up for.
UYGUR: With Mehlman, I got the sense that he did things, everything was way too little way too late. Like, OK, well, now that it‘s not going to hurt my career, now that I‘m done damaging the gay community and country, sure, yes, I‘m gay because I‘d like to go to dinner and not have people bother me, right? But what was it for you? I mean, what tipped you over?
MILLER: Well, you know, Cenk, again, I‘m not sort of you know, prepared to have a courage off with anybody. People said that about Ellen or Rosie. But you know, you don‘t know. Could Ellen have gotten her first sit-com if she had come out earlier? Could Rosie have gotten her first talk show if she had? You know, my friend Chely Wright, the country singer said, you know, if you think I could have gotten a record contract on Nashville if I had come out earlier? You know, you‘re wrong. Could I have gotten my first radio show? I don‘t know, Cenk. But I think that it‘s not for me to judge other people on when they do it. I do think it‘s ironic but you know, nobody took away Dr. Laura‘s first amendment rights. She quit her own multimillion dollar radio show.
In several states, I could still get fired for being gay. So, that‘s why I did it because I was inspired by a lot of brave people like Chely Wright‘s of the world that, you know, may have had more to lose professionally. So, I think it‘s a different path. I mean, what I‘m concerned about this is he says, he‘s still a republican. The enemy, he‘s sleeping with in my opinion is not a man, it‘s the Republican Party. Because this is not a party that is interested in gay rights at all. And when he says, George Bush is not a homophobe, he also allowed gays to be used as a battering ground and a wedge issue. And when he was governor of Texas, he was not just for gays not being able to adopt, Cenk, he was for taking kids away from gay couples that had already adopted them and loved them. So you know, he‘s got some more rethinking to do I think.
UYGUR: Stephanie, very clearly said and powerfully said. Thank you so much.
Now, let‘s get some rapid fire response from our panel on these stories. Looks like Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski will become the next incumbent to get the boot in 2010.
Palin-endorsed Tea Party candidate Joe Miller is ahead in the republican primary. Could John Boehner and the republicans actually retake the House in November? A democratic pollster tells political, quote, “The House is already gone for the democrats.”
And Congressman Roy Blunt says, building a Muslim community center at Ground Zero is just as offensive as Dr. Laura using the “n” word in her rant.
With us tonight, Sam Stein, a political reporter for the “Huffington Post” and Scott Hennen, a conservative radio show host in North Dakota. Sam, let me start with you. You have to give the republicans credit here. They do a hell of a lot better job of throwing out their incumbents than the democrats too.
SAM STEIN, POLITICAL REPORTER FOR “HUFFINGTON POST”: It has been a fierce and fast slide to the right flank. You know, I was thinking about this on the ride over. And I just got to wondering exactly what the composition of the Senate is going to be next year with some of these more extreme members actually coming into power. Because, let‘s be honest about it, the landscape is looking very much favorably dispose towards republicans. You know, people like Joe Miller, possibly Sharron Angle, Rand Paul all coming into power in the Senate. That could really change the dynamic of Congress in fundamental ways. I‘m curious to see what happens.
UYGUR: Now, on the other hand, look, I think that them voting an incumbents for example, that voter for the bailout is actually a good thing. But on the other hand, don‘t, you know, to throw it over to you, Scott, don‘t we have an issue with republicans going further and further to the right and losing an election like in Nevada that looks like they‘re going to lose to Harry Reid which seemed inconceivable?
SCOTT HENNEN, CONSERVATIVE RADIO SHOW HOST: I‘m glad Sam if I could see Harry Reid‘s gone. Harry Reid‘s votes has.
HENNEN: If you want to find out why he‘s gone, great website, harryreidvotes.com. Check it all, it‘s out today, it‘s amazing. This guy‘s votes are absolutely terrible. But you know what? This is about the people. This is really about the people saying, enough already. It isn‘t about too right or too left. This is just people saying, you know what? Let‘s fire them. You can pick up 535 better members of Congress out of the phone book. Sarah Palin gets that. She drives liberals‘ nuts. They‘re going crazy, oh, she‘s picking winners and picking losers. No, she‘s just where the American people are right now.
UYGUR: All right. Now, let me go to the next story. We‘ve got a report from “Politico” and they say that a democratic poll show working on several key races has said that, quote, “The realities that the House majority is probably gone and his data shows the democrats‘ problems are only getting worse.” It‘s spreading the pollster, he said. So, Sam, are the democrats, are they in a world of trouble here or are they overstating the case?
STEIN: Well, it remains to be seen. Although, it is getting worse and worse as the weeks go on. You know, this whole summer was meant to be the recovery summer as meant to point to all the successes that have happened because of the stimulus, as well as various other actions that the administration has taken. And the irony of course is that there is, and I know, I‘m going to be—here but there is stuff to actually tout. Mark Zandi, the Moody‘s economist said that unemployment could be at 11.5 percent, had it not been for the stimulus. Now, of course, it‘s very tough to sell that things are better than they would be because there are a lot of people out there who are suffering. So, it‘s a tough sell. But, you know, there‘s no one actually making the passionate aggressive case out there in the democratic caucus that could actually maybe change the landscape for them.
HENNEN: Well, first of all, I mean, whoever this anonymous democratic, whoever operative is, talk about the worst kept secret in the history of modern day politics. I mean, come on. Oh, seriously? You know, I mean, is it going to be 100 seats? Is it going to be, how many are in play right now? I mean, that‘s a no-brainer. You might as well put that on everybody‘s forehead. Of course, this is going to be a significant change. And again, the reasons for it are Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Barack Obama. The American people aren‘t buying this. Recovery summer, what a joke. What a complete and total joke. Obama care, the American people still don‘t want it. They want it repealed. So, these guys have blown it. It‘s amateur hour at the White House.
UYGUR: All right. Now, in my opinion, the republicans didn‘t help at all. But that‘s a separate issue. And let me give you guys one of the republicans actually. Roy Blunt said this recently.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ROY BLUNT ®, MISSOURI: There are lots of things that the constitution allows you to do that you shouldn‘t do. You can say lots of things in our country and a lot of them shouldn‘t be said. In fact, some big radio personality just had to cancel her, end her 20-year radio career because she said things that were constitutionally OK to say but highly inappropriate. And the mosque is also just as inappropriate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UYGUR: Scott, that sounds pretty offensive to me. You don‘t think that‘s offensive?
HENNEN: Well, I‘m not going to get into a game of the offensive meter. But if you‘re going to compare the words of someone, all they get offensive, and a word that is completely inappropriate to be using, to people dying, and you know what I love about—I do not know why liberals don‘t get this. I mean, a softball throw from where 3,000 people died in the largest attack on U.S. soil in our history saying, let‘s put a mosque there. When you could put that mosque anywhere, you‘ve got an Imam which is behind the thing saying, we, the United States of America have more blood on our hands than does Al Qaeda. And that‘s supposedly a moderate Muslim by the way. If that‘s a moderate Muslim, then Ed Schultz is a moderate liberal. I mean, this is ridiculous.
STEIN: Oh, my gosh.
HENNEN: That‘s very, very offensive.
STEIN: Let me just say, Scott, Scott, if a softball throw is too close, what about like a pitching wedge? I mean, how far away do you have to get in order for it to be fine? How big is the Muslim free zone have to be in lower Manhattan for you to be comfortable with this? How big does the zone have to be?
STEIN: Four blocks away is fine?
HENNEN: There are plenty of places in New York City to put this mosque.
STEIN: Is 12 blocks away all right? Is 12 blocks away because that‘s where he has a mosque right now?
HENNEN: I‘ll try to use my role as chairman of the Common Sense Club of the Heartland of America to just help you out a little bit here because...
STEIN: How far away can I toll a softball?
HENNEN: The “Huffington Post,” you know, doesn‘t get?
STEIN: Of course. How far away, how far away?
HENNEN: It doesn‘t belong there and the American people get that, guys. They get it.
STEIN: How far away?
UYGUR: Guys, yes. OK. We didn‘t get an answer. By the way, there‘s a mosque actually four blocks away.
STEIN: A guy operates a mosque 12 blocks away.
HENNEN: Use that one, double the size of that one. There you go.
STEIN: I could throw a softball four blocks.
UYGUR: All right. Scott and Sam. Thank you, guys. Thank you.
All right. Coming up, Beck wants everyone to know who, that, he‘s changing the world. Wow, that‘s bold. And his spirit talks through him. Well, apparently it‘s telling him some curious things like buy gold. We‘ll talk to “Huffington Post” Roy Sekoff about that, next.
UYGUR: It‘s still not too late to let me know what you think. I‘m always interested in that. The number to dial here is 877-ed-msnbc. Tonight‘s telephone survey question is, do you think the GOP‘s strategy of hate and fear will backfire? Press one for yes. Press two for no. Again the number to dial is 877-ed-msnbc.
UYGUR: In the Playbook tonight, Glenn Beck is gearing up for his ridiculous restoring honor rally this Saturday. The stage is already set up in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. And Glenn‘s ego is out of control. He‘s plugged the event as a quote, “American Miracle.” And predicted that the spirit would be talking through him. And now he‘s releasing an incredibly egotistical four-minute long ad implying that his rally is following in the tradition of Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King and the founding fathers, oh, yes, he wants you to buy gold.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GLENN BECK, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: There‘s nothing free in life, my friend.
Well, except for the following clip brought to you by Goldline.
ANNOUNCER: Every great achievement in human history has started with one person. One crazy idea. People unafraid to march boldly into the unknown. When confronted by the oppression of fear and conventional wisdom, the bravest always chart a new course. The American experiment. Men guided by their own reason. Standing tall against seemingly insurmountable odds. Pledging their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor. So others, generations, would have a chance for life. Liberty and happiness. Remember the spirit of those who came before us. It‘s time to restore America. Restore the world. It‘s time to believe again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UYGUR: That was unbearable. Comparing yourself to Lincoln and Rosa Parks? You left out Mother Teresa, Harriet Tubman and a guy who jumped on the tracks of the New York subway to save a fellow passenger. But he still has time to include all those people because after all, God talks through him apparently.
For more on Glenn‘s Beck ego trip, let me bring in Roy Sekoff, the founding editor of the “Huffington Post.” Roy, I mean, other than the absurdity of all of his claims, it looks like even the Tea Party guys aren‘t buying this. Because some of them are bailing on him on this, aren‘t they?
ROY SEKOFF, “HUFFINGTON POST” FOUNDING EDITOR: Well, that‘s the thing. Even the Republican National Party is trying to distance themselves because they know that his one agenda, his one issue is his own self aggrandizement. I mean, he tells you, right? He tells you right out. I‘m a rodeo clown. And he said, if you take what I say as gospel, you‘re an idiot. You know, so, I think that video had to be done by either by the onion or by “Saturday Night Live.” I mean, that couldn‘t have been serious, could it, Cenk?
UYGUR: Well, you like that video, wait until you get a load of this. Now, he‘s going to talk about, you know, how you need to do all of this for Goldline. We have another clip for you. Let‘s watch that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BECK: Our sponsor, this half hour is Goldline. I want you to ask yourself, do you have faith in man or in God? If you put your faith in man, God Bless you. I can‘t wait to see the solution. But if you don‘t, I ask you to look at gold.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UYGUR: All right. Is this guy just a snake oil salesman? Is this all this just to sell more gold?
SEKOFF: Yes, I mean, clearly. I mean, the choice is, you know, he‘s equating God with gold. Just throwing in the extra L, right? It‘s either man or God. But here‘s the thing, Cenk, the whole thing is about restoring honor. My question is, when did America lose that honor? Did we lose that honor when we invaded Iraq for nonexistent WMD? Did we lose the honor when we opened Guantanamo? When we allowed extraordinary rendition? Did we lose the honor when we said water boarding wasn‘t torture? Or maybe did we lose our honor when Glenn Beck said the president of the United States had a deep seeded hatred for white people. You know, that‘s my question. When did this loss of honor occur? Because if it was those things, he‘s a little late to the game.
UYGUR: Yes, I hear you on that. But I do know, there‘s one way of fixing it. Buy more Goldline.
SEKOFF: That‘s the only way, right?
UYGUR: I can‘t believe anybody believes this guy.
SEKOFF: Of course not, he‘s compared it to Woodstock, right? He said it‘s going to be this generation‘s Woodstock. So, does that mean, Cenk, we can look forward to a lot of naked stoned Tea Partiers rolling around in the mud and Sarah Palin singing like a Janis Joplin, you know, “Take a Little Piece of my Heart,” baby?
UYGUR: I hope not. I really hope not. Thank you, Roy.
SEKOFF: Scary thought.
UYGUR: We appreciate you coming on here.
All right. Now coming up, “Daily Show” co-creator Lizz Winstead tells us why she‘s got a deep seated hatred for Glenn Beck. Lizz is restoring real honor.
UYGUR: It‘s time for a special Thursday edition of Club Ed. With Lizz Winstead, co-creator of the “Daily Show” and one of the stars of the top blog on YouTube. Lizz, it turns out, Ken Mehlman‘s gay. I didn‘t see that coming.
LIZZ WINSTEAD, CO-CREATOR OF THE “DAILY SHOW”: Yes, no one saw that. Actually, everyone saw that coming except ken Mehlman. You know what‘s so crazy though is you know, your conversation with Stephanie was really amazing. But the practicality of being Ken Mehlman seems a little goofy, when you spend your entire career trying to just remove the civil rights of gay people and then you come out, what is your life like? How do you even get a date? Do you literally go to a bar and pick up a guy and go hi, you know, I‘d really like to take you back to my place and just tell you how much I hate the way we live? I mean, you‘re not going to score.
UYGUR: You never know. Maybe that works. You know, he‘s being a bad guy, you know. So sometimes that really works, it really works with girls.
WINSTEAD: Yes, right, yes. He‘s a daring bad guy. Ken Mehlman, the daring bad gay.
UYGUR: Speaking of bad guys, how about Glenn Beck?
WINSTEAD: Yes, I mean this weekend is going to be great. The pilgrimage to Beck as I‘m calling it. What I don‘t understand seriously is just the biblical references. Versus the Goldline. I mean, I‘m pretty sure Jesus wasn‘t that psyched about the money changers and yet he just hammers this Goldline thing. And basically, you look at Glenn Beck and he looks like he needs more gold bond than he does Goldline because he‘s sweating in places that I don‘t even want to talk about. But to call himself every man is pretty preposterous. I mean, Glenn Beck is every man I‘ve ever had a restraining order against, I‘ve got to be honest.
UYGUR: OK. Now, to be fair, Lizz though, I heard Martin Luther King also had his “I have a Dream” speech sponsored by Goldline.
WINSTEAD: You know what? That‘s fantastic. You know, I did not know that. You are a wealth of historical fact, my friend. But Glenn Beck is going to give his “I hate your Dream” speech. So, you know, he‘s trying to find the parallels as best as he can.
UYGUR: All right. Thank you, Lizz. I always appreciate it. You can catch Lizz at the Mixed Magic Theater in Pawtucket, Rhode Island this weekend.
All right. Now, tonight in our phone survey, I asked you, do you think the GOP‘s strategy of hate and fear will backfire? Eighty six percent of you said yes, 14 percent, said no.
That‘s THE ED SHOW tonight. I‘m Cenk Uygur. And you can catch me on the youngturks.com later tonight. But “HARDBALL” starts right now.
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