Guests: Byron Dorgan, Katrina Vanden Heuvel, Eric Burns, Scott Hennen, Todd
Webster, Adam Green, Jonathan Alter, Jack Conway
ED SCHULTZ, MSNBC ANCHOR: Good evening, Americans, and welcome to THE ED SHOW tonight from New York.
These stories on the table and hitting “My Hot Buttons” at this hour.
Well, President Obama on the offensive. He goes to John Boehner‘s back yard and absolutely destroyed him for doing nothing and offering zero solutions to the nation‘s problems.
My commentary on that plus reaction from Senator Byron Dorgan in just a moment.
And another top war general sends a stern warning: If that psycho-talking preacher down in Florida burns the Koran, our troops will be in severe danger. But the troop-loving conservatives fueling this nation‘s Islamaophobia, they‘re nowhere to be found. Their silence is absolutely deafening and disgusting.
And the top progressive group in this country calls Rahm Emanuel the cancer of the Democratic Party. The leader who said that joins me in my “Playbook.” Plus Jonathan Alter predicts what‘s going to happen if Rahm does bolt the White House.
But this is the story that has me fired up tonight.
President Obama went to John Boehner‘s back yard and stuck it to “The Tan Man” seven different times in his speech today. Here‘s the president in Cleveland.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There were no new policies from Mr. Boehner. There were no new ideas. To most of you, I‘ll bet this just seems like common sense, but not to Mr. Boehner and his allies.
When Mr. Boehner was here in Cleveland, he attacked us for closing a few of these loopholes. Mr. Boehner and the Republicans in Congress said no to these projects, fought them tooth and nail.
Mr. Boehner has so far said no to infrastructure. That‘s bad for America.
So let me be clear to Mr. Boehner and everybody else. We should not hold middle class tax cuts hostage any longer.
When these same Republicans, including Mr. Boehner, were in charge, the number of earmarks and pet projects went up, not down.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Is that the president getting turbocharged? The president hammered Boehner throughout the speech, including this, when he laid out an incredible small business idea and proposal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: I am proposing that all-American businesses should be allowed to write off all the investment they do in 2011. And this will help small businesses upgrade their plants and equipment and will encourage large corporations to get off the sidelines and start putting their profits to work in places like Cleveland and Toledo and Dayton.
To most of you, I‘ll bet this just seems like common sense, but not to Mr. Boehner and his allies.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: I think this is a defining moment right now. I don‘t know if the president really believes this. I kind of think he does. I‘ve never heard anything like this before.
Did you hear what he said? The president just said that he wants to allow American businesses to write off all capital investment that they do in 2011. The word “all” means 100 percent.
Now, this has got to be a test to see if the Republicans really want to work with the White House in any way, shape or form. I mean, if you own a construction company and you buy a brand-new $100,000 payloader, you‘ll get $100,000 tax write-off on your taxes. The money goes right to the bottom line. Now, if you own a tanning salon in Cincinnati, you can buy 10 new tanning beds and write them all off.
How can Boehner and the Republicans be against that?
This is how the “The Tan Man” responded to the president‘s idea. He says, oh, if the president is serious about finally focusing on jobs, a good start would be taking the advice of his recently departed budget director and freezing all tax rates.
It always—it always comes down to taxes and money with the Republicans. And when this president steps out and offers up something to small business, a 100 percent write-off, they‘re against it because, you see, he‘s a black guy, he‘s in the White House. We don‘t appreciate him, we don‘t want him. He‘s not supposed to be there.
This is all about power. This is not helping about helping small businesses in this country when it comes to the Republicans.
President Obama isn‘t taking his direction from Peter Orszag. He‘s history. He‘s already on the speaker‘s tour. And John Boehner, when it comes to tax cuts, has nothing to offer.
The president‘s not listening to him. The president is sticking to his guns and his campaign promise to end the tax cuts for the top two percent in this country.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Let me be clear Mr. Boehner and everybody else. We should not hold middle class tax cuts hostage any longer.
We already, this week if they want, to give tax cuts to every American making $250,000 or less. For any income over this amount, the tax rates would just go back to what they were under President Clinton.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Now, this is where Mitch McConnell likes to get off into the weeds and tell you that there‘s going to be a tax on small businesses. Not true. It‘s a lie. And it bothers me that nobody in the Republican Party, you know, stands right with McConnell when he says this.
It bothers me when nobody in the Democratic Party steps up and says, you know what? You‘re lying about that.
You know, the president of the United States is not going to raise taxes on small businesses. It‘s not going to happen. Yet, the Republicans keep throwing it out there and they seem to get away with it.
I own a small business. President Obama is the most pro-middle class, pro-small business president I‘ve ever seen this country have in my lifetime. Now, I‘ll give you an example.
If my boys at E.A. Schultz Construction can get new equipment, guess what they can do? Well, they can do more jobs, they can hire more people. We could make more money and we‘d pay more taxes to increase the tax base.
Are the Republicans against that, employing people? I think that‘s a hell of a lot better than giving Rupert Murdoch and the Wall Street barons across the street all these tax cuts so they can just feel better about creating jobs.
It ain‘t about feeling good. It‘s about an opportunity.
And when the president does it is 100 percent, 100 percent total write-off on your taxes for capital improvements, where are the Republicans? They‘re against it.
Now, my boys would love to go down to Ohio and build a new tanning salon right next to the Speaker wannabe‘s house, although the chain-smoking Boehner told “Good Morning America” today that actually his orange is a natural glow.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, “GOOD MORNING AMERICA”: I have to note that if you do win, and you do become Speaker, you‘ll probably have the deepest tan of any speaker in American history. And there‘s actually been a poll out in your state of Ohio saying 30 percent of the voters think you spend too much time on your tan and 27 percent don‘t like it.
Is this something you have to overcome?
REP. JOHN BOEHNER ®, MINORITY LEADER: Well, they probably weren‘t there yesterday when I was out cutting my grass or when I was out riding my mountain bike, all right?
STEPHANOPOULOS: So no worries there?
BOEHNER: Thanks, George.
SCHULTZ: I just don‘t understand Mr. Boehner. He‘d actually would rather go on television in a very tough economy and humor people with his tan instead of focusing on creating jobs in this economy when the president of the United States just put a 100 percent tax write-off on the table. He would rather talk about himself. He would rather humor the host.
This is what the Republicans are all about. Don‘t get hoodwinked.
And let me ask all you voters out there tonight who are liberals and who voted for President Obama, do you want to quit? Do you want to be like Sarah Palin?
She quit. She quit. Did the state of Alaska change the gubernatorial term up there to two years because of Sarah Palin? No. It‘s a four-year job.
See, their DNA, they‘re self-centered. They care about themselves.
They care about the people that are going to put them in office.
And when this president, being so proactive and doing everything he possibly can to create jobs in this country, the leader of the Republicans likes to go on TV and humor everybody about his tan instead of taking the serious approach. Were those people in Cleveland today, were they serious about jobs?
This is what the president is pointing out. He goes to the back yard of the villain who really has the political power to bring some Republicans with him to get some people hired in this country and turn this climate around and turn the economy in a direction where it needs to be. The president can only do so much.
The obstructionists are on steroids. They are doing everything they possibly can.
We‘re less than eight weeks from the election and I hear that the enthusiasm for the Republicans is really, really high. Why? Because Boehner goes out and cuts the lawn and goes mountain biking? Is that the answer that America is looking for, because he‘s out on the golf course with the corporate boys shaking them down because the Supreme Court says they can get as much money as they want?
Is this what we want in this country? And let me ask you again, liberals, do you want to be like Sarah Palin and not be enthused about the right direction for this country and you just want to quit?
Ask yourself tonight if you‘re a liberal. Are you a quitter?
Quitters never win and winners never quit. It‘s simple but it works.
John Boehner absolutely is licking his chops to become the next Speaker of the House. And believe me, nothing will change.
This president is telling the truth. This president is trying to connect and do something for the middle class in this country. That‘s the majority of Americans.
And where are the Republicans in this economy? They‘re nowhere to be found. They only complain and they only want power back. And they‘ll do it by fear-mongering.
I do believe that this psycho pastor down in Florida, that all comes from the right-wing rhetoric, and we‘ll get into that story later on in this program tonight.
I want to bring in Senator Byron Dorgan from North Dakota, who‘s leaving the Senate, and also after 40 years. After 40 years of public service, has decided to go in a different direction.
And I think, Senator, you can speak in very candid terms tonight. The climate, the political climate in this country, have you ever seen anything like it eight weeks out from a decision?
SEN. BYRON DORGAN (D), NORTH DAKOTA: I really haven‘t. I mean, I think the politics in this country is abysmal. You know, they say we inherit this country from our parents and we borrow it from our children. We have responsibilities, and I‘m a lot less interested in who wins the next election, or the next two elections, than I am about the economic fortunes of this country.
And when I—you know, I‘ve served in the Congress for a long while. I‘ve never seen what I‘ve seen recently in the United States Senate and in the House.
You know, these very same people in the minority party that caused the economic wreck and supported the policies that threw this country into the ditch and a lot of people out of work, their solution? Let‘s do nothing. Let‘s do nothing on every occasion. Let‘s oppose everything this president proposes.
Boy, that‘s not standing up for this country‘s best interest, in my judgement.
SCHULTZ: Is President Obama good when it comes to trying to create jobs? Is he sincere? Do his proposals register with you? Can you give him credit for what he has tried to do in dealing with this obstructionist elected officials on the right?
DORGAN: He has been under siege on every single proposal he‘s made.
The fact is, you mentioned Senator McConnell and Congressman Boehner.
Their approach is to say let‘s do nothing.
Now, this president has proposed an Economic Recovery Act, he‘s proposing now a series of things that represent incentives for businesses to invest and hire people. You know, a whole series of proposals. And my guess is when Congress is back in session next week, we‘ll hear the same people on the floor of the Senate and the House saying, well, these policies are awful, these policies won‘t work.
You know, it takes no talent to decide to do nothing. It takes no talent to have no ideas or no new ideas. And I just think the country deserves better and people expect more from not just Democrats, but especially the minority party who has blocked—they would block a Mother‘s Day resolution if it were in front of the Congress.
SCHULTZ: They certainly would.
I want to ask our audience tonight—get your cell phones out, folks.
I want to know what you think about this.
Our text survey question tonight is: Do you want President Obama to get even tougher on Boehner and fellow Republicans? Text “A” for yes, text “B” for no to 622639. We‘ll bring you the results later on in the show.
Senator Dorgan, should President Obama keep this up torrid pace of politically attacking his opponents now that we‘re coming down the stretch? The other night we had Chris van Hollen on the air say that he wants the president to go turbo.
DORGAN: You know what? I don‘t think he has any choice.
You can‘t be involved in a great debate, in a very significant fight for this country‘s future, and let the other side have all the ground. You‘ve got to go out and stand your ground, which is what the president did today in Ohio.
I mean, we‘ve got to make the case to the American people that look, what we inherited here from the previous administration—and by the way, if you like those eight years to tell Wall Street and the top financial folks in the country be involved in speculative binge and unbelievable cesspool of greed, make lots of money and run the country in the ditch, if you like that, then go ahead and put the Republicans back in place and they‘ll give you it again. But if you really want to put this country back on track, the kind of circumstances where people who work hard for a living, get up and decide they‘re going to work and make a paycheck and care for their families, and the kinds of things that we expected in this country for many decades, if you believe in those policies that nurture the kinds of jobs that we need to expand our country‘s future, then vote for the Democrats and the policies. I mean, it‘s very simple to me.
SCHULTZ: Senator Dorgan, good to have you with us. Thanks so much.
DORGAN: Thanks a lot, Ed. Good to be with you.
SCHULTZ: Coming up, this hate-filled pastor just doubled down on his burning a Koran day plan for 9/11, putting our troops in even more danger. I can‘t believe the deafening silence out of the righties that always talk about how they love and support the troops.
“Slant Head,” “The Newtster,” “The Maverick,” what‘s the matter? Cat got your tongue?
And look out. One of the nuttiest Tea Partiers out there, Rand Paul, is gaining steam. His opponent is trying to derail his crazy train, and we‘ll be stopping by talking to him.
All that, plus O‘Reilly‘s backup is sucking up to a convicted felon, Palin‘s making up words, and Vitter‘s prostitution scandal gets reenacted. You‘re going to want to see it.
You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW, and thanks for watching tonight.
Well, we knew it was going to happen. Insurance companies are jacking up their rates, holding consumers hostage, and of course telling them that health care reform is the big blame of it all. They‘re whining about having to cover people with pre-existing conditions, claiming they‘re just passing the cost on to consumers.
Hold it right there. Look at the numbers.
Regence Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Oregon, now, you see, they want to raise rates 17 percent. But only three percent is to pay for changes due to the health care reform. There‘s a three percent cost to them, but they‘re trying to pass it on, a 17 percent rate increase to the consumers.
This is standard operating procedure. It just shows how dishonest and predatory this industry is, and they won‘t stop.
The Republicans are carrying the water for big insurance. They want Americans to get hit with a double-digit rate increase right before the November elections—how convenient—while they‘re screaming about repealing Obamacare.
For more, let‘s bring in Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor of “The Nation.”
Katrina, great to have you with us tonight.
KATRINA VANDEN HEUVEL, EDITOR, “THE NATION”: Thank you, Ed.
SCHULTZ: And thanks for coming back after a nice vacation. We all deserve that. We miss you.
VANDEN HEUVEL: Thank you.
SCHULTZ: All right. The battle lines are drawn here. And I want to say that I think the Democrats were going to come out and go home in August and come back in September, trying to, you know, make the claim that they‘ve done some great things, some good provisions in this health care bill. I haven‘t really heard that, and now the story of rate increases.
How should they play it?
VANDEN HEUVEL: Well, what they should first do is point out that in
this landmark piece of legislation, health care legislation, however flawed
and for the first time in modern American history, no Republican signed on to this—there are protections for consumers against greedy, corrupt insurance industry. And 30 million people are going to get access and coverage, no longer pre-existing conditions, won‘t be denied coverage.
But the main thing, Ed, I think is you‘ve got to point out that the Republicans have tried to delay, dilute, obstruct health care reform.
Democrats need to campaign on what they‘re going to build on, and they also
need to point out that you are witnessing the possibility of a rollback of
the 20th century -- 21st century, because you‘ve got 14 states, governors -
I‘m sorry a Republican attorney general now trying to nullify this health care legislation.
This is an effort funded by the billionaire Koch brothers, Americans for Prosperity Now, United Patients Now. And I think if we lose control of the Congress, we are going to see more efforts to repeal and roll back the civilizing advances and reforms, not only health care legislation, but Social Security privatization, Medicaid privatization, Medicare privatization.
VANDEN HEUVEL: They need to campaign on this as a choice election.
You‘ve talked about that very clearly.
And for those progressives who are discouraged or feel apathetic because they didn‘t get everything they want, you know what? To sit back will be the greatest gift to the right wing dominating the Republican Party.
And you know, Obama, let him do his thing. We should be continuing to mobilize, but we need to do our thing, which is to continue to build on the reforms even if they‘re flawed, but continue to build. And that is the history of social change legislation in this country.
SCHULTZ: So how do liberals in this country answer the enthusiasm gap? They‘ve got a lot to be proud of. I mean, it wasn‘t a conditional 22 months of support. Nothing‘s going to get done in September and October. We know that.
But it just seems to me that there as enthusiasm gap, and firing up the base and getting people cranked up on the issues again should be a no-brainer for the Democrats.
VANDEN HEUVEL: You know, I think part of what President Obama did was demobilize his base. We need to see more of the fighting Obama that we‘ve seen in these last few days speaking with passion and empathy for the economic pain and anger millions of Americans feel around this country, and beginning to lay out the infrastructure bank, investments in this country.
Sure, we always want more, but let us mobilize to push for more. But he begins to speak to those concerns.
I also think he should appoint Elizabeth Warren head of the Consumer Protection Financial Agency this week, because that is a fight you want to have to say I am on the side of working people in this country who have more to gain if we move forward and far more to lose if we move backwards. And Elizabeth Warren speaks --
SCHULTZ: Do you think he‘ll do it?
VANDEN HEUVEL: I hope he does it soon, because I think you want her by your side. You want tough policies, you want investments in this country. But that is an important both symbolic and policy gesture to counter those in the White House so many progressives feel have not been constructive in moving forward in a direction that will make this a rebuilding of America.
SCHULTZ: Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor of “The Nation.”
Great to have you with us.
VANDEN HEUVEL: Thank you.
SCHULTZ: Great to have you back. Thanks so much.
Coming up, “Shooter‘s” former chief of staff and convicted felon popped up on O‘Reilly‘s show last night. Bill‘s fill-in just drooled all over him. It was totally disgusting. They‘re both in the “Zone” next.
Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: And in “Psycho Talk” tonight, Monica Crowley filled in for “Billy the Bully” last night on Fox, and she got to interview I guess her idol, warmonger and convicted felon Scooter Libby.
She‘s such a huge fan, she‘s still bent out of shape about the way Scooter was treated after he lied to the FBI and grand jury about his role in outing agent CIA agent Valerie Plame.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MONICA CROWLEY, HOST, “THE O‘REILLY FACTOR”: That will absurd political witch hunt that you were subjected to during the Valerie Plame case, your sentence was commuted, but you never did in fact get a pardon.
Are you still hopeful that eventually you might get a pardon?
SCOOTER LIBBY, FMR. CHIEF OF STAFF FOR DICK CHENEY: Well, Monica, I worked 13 years, maybe 12, something like that, for the federal government and national security. I learned two things from this. One is, the world‘s not just. And the second is, it doesn‘t do a lot of good to whine.
CROWLEY: You are a class act, Scooter Libby. And had Monica Crowley been president of the United States, you would have gotten that pardon.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Was that an announcement? The day Monica Crowley gets elected president is the day I pack my bags and definitely head to Big Eddie‘s North Country Lodge in Canada and never return.
Monica, I know you‘re not real deep, but calling a convicted felon who outed a CIA agent a class act is outrageous “Psycho Talk.”
Coming up, a psycho church is stacking up the Korans, getting out the matches, and endangering American troops. So I want to know, where are all the right-wing talkers? Their silence is unacceptable. I thought they supported the troops.
Eric Burns, president of Media Matters, blasts off on that one coming up in “The Battleground.”
George W. Bush says this moment, having a shoe tossed at him, was the weirdest of his presidency. Well, I‘ll walk you through some of my favorite lowlights in the “Playbook.”
We‘ve also got Sarah Palin. She makes “The Maverick‘s” daughter cry.
And Rand Paul‘s opponent is here tonight on THE ED SHOW ready to rip into Rand Paul.
You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. The Battleground story tonight, Islamophobia is out of control in America and conservatives like Newt and Hannity who love to wrap themselves in the flag and talk about the troops are very interestingly silent on the issue. Despite pleas from top generals and politicians across the country, a radical right wing pastor in Florida is going ahead with the Burn A Koran Day on the anniversary of 9/11. General Ray Odierno, the top, the former top commander in Iraq, said that it will lead to more violence against U.S. forces.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEN. RAY ODIERNO, FORMER TOP COMMANDER IN IRAQ: What does is this feeds right into what they want. What they feed off of hate and fear. And they will use this to generate more hate and what that will turn into is potentially more violence against U.S. troops.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: So, why are the conservatives quiet? General David Petraeus, the top commander in Afghanistan agrees. He told the Associated Press, “Images of the Burning of A Koran would undoubtedly by extremist in Afghanistan and around the world to inflame public opinion and incite violence.” Yet, the nut job Pastor Terry Jones spoke out today making a different case.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REV. TERRY JONES, DOVE WORLD OUTREACH CENTER: Just yesterday, we got a phone call from a retired special force Green Beret delta force. It was his opinion that the people that are on the field, the Special Forces he told us, are 100 percent behind us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Where are the republicans speaking out against all of this?
All this Islamophobia started with the Islamic center near Ground Zero.
The conservative talkers fanned the flames on that story and now silence. On top of that, McCain and Cantor and the network across the street all said that in the past, we need to listen to General Petraeus.
For more let me bring in Eric Burns, president of Media Matters for America. And we‘ve got a developing situation here late this afternoon. We‘ve got Sarah Palin tweeted about the Koran burning plan and posted this quote on her Facebook. “Book burning is antithetical to American ideals. People have a constitutional right to Burn A Koran if they want to, but doing so is insensitive and unnecessary provocation much like building a mosque at Ground Zero.”
Number one, Sarah, where‘s the support for the troops after two generals have spoken out about this? You didn‘t mention anything about the troops. And besides that, I don‘t think she knows what antithetical means nor do I think that she wrote all of that. But anyway, Eric Byrnes, your thoughts on this response and this whole situation about the silence of the conservative talkers of America and the pundits out there over on the other side of the street who were just supporting the troops all the time but all of a sudden, they‘re silent on this one.
ERIC BURNS, MEDIA MATTERS OF AMERICA: Well, Ed, you‘re absolutely right. The silence has been deafening from the leadership on the right. Boehner, Glenn Beck and now Sarah Palin have made kind of half hearted comments asking this pastor not to burn the Koran but also falsely equating the burning the Koran with an attempt, you know, to build a Muslim, you know, Education Community Center in lower Manhattan. And those two things are just not the same. You know, and I think we can all agree as Americans that using religion to divide and scare Americans, using fear, you know, to divide Americans is an abusive religion.
SCHULTZ: Has FOX been the mouth piece for all of this in your opinion?
BURNS: Absolutely they have. They‘ve been running what I would call the republican summer of hate over at FOX. They‘ve been drumming up the fear and the vitriol against the Muslim community for months over the Park 51 project in Manhattan. And it‘s just like what we saw during the health care debate where they drummed up the fear and it led to violence, it led to violence against members of Congress and now, we‘ve been seeing acts of violence against you know, against mosques around the country and a lot of hate speech against Muslims. And, you know, it‘s something that this is what FOX does. This is what the republicans are doing. They‘re looking for an enemy.
SCHULTZ: Yes. This is what John Boehner had to say speaking out on the Pastor Jones situation. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, “GOOD MORNING AMERICA” ANCHOR: General Petraeus has spoken out against it, Secretary of State Clinton has spoken out against it. What is your message to Pastor Jones?
REP. JOHN BOEHNER ®, OHIO: Well, to Pastor Jones and to those who want to build the mosque, just because you have a right to do something in America does not mean it is the right thing to do. We‘re a nation of religious freedom. We‘re also a nation of tolerance. And I think in the name of tolerance, people ought to really think about the kind of actions they‘re taking.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So you‘re telling him not to do it? Sir, you‘re telling him not to do it?
BOEHNER: Well, listen, I just think that it‘s not wise to do this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: What do you make of that, Eric?
BURNS: Well, there was an awfully long pause there before, you know, Minority Leader Boehner actually said I think maybe they shouldn‘t do it, you know. But it gets back to your original point, Ed, that we have American troops in the field fighting and dying as you and I are talking right now. And all of this fear mongering, this, you know, this Islamic wave of heat that we‘ve seen from the political right designed to score political points at the ballot box are actually endangering American lives. And I think it‘s, you know, it‘s important to remember the words of George W. Bush, in the dark days after 9/11 that it was important for Americans not to do the easy thing and blame all Muslims for the actions of just a few, that we have a lot of really millions of Muslims living in this country who are patriotic Americans. And I think that‘s something that this crowd of republicans has clearly forgotten. And if they want to be taken seriously, if they want to be able to lead the Congress, they‘ve got to demonstrate a little more backbone than that and certainly support our troops and not undermine our efforts to achieve some sort of a victory in the Middle East.
SCHULTZ: Yes. Eric, good to have you with us tonight. Thanks so much.
BURNS: Thank you, Ed.
SCHULTZ: Now, let‘s get some rapid fire response from our panel on these stories tonight. The republicans‘ silence on the Koran burning. And these stories, once again Tea Party Senate nominee Sharron Angle is refusing to disavow the claim that there are domestic enemies in Congress.
And Louisiana democrats are airing, trying to air a new TV ad that takes aim at republican Senator David Vitter‘s serious sins and prostitution scandal.
With us tonight, Todd Webster, democratic strategist, Scott Hennen, conservative radio talk show host. Gentleman, good to have you with us tonight. Let‘s talk about this Koran burning that is planned for 9/11. Scott, where do conservatives stand on this? Where do you stand on this?
What should be done here?
SCOTT HENNEN, CONSERVATIVE RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Well, first of all, you know, I think the most dangerous place in America is usually between Chuck Schumer, Jesse Jackson, you know, Al Sharpton and a camera. Add this pastor to the list. You know, clearly a publicity hound, clearly a gadfly. This is no church. This is a joke. So, I think actually silence is better here, Ed. I really think the idea of giving this guy more publicity, I think even you‘re hearing some whispers from the Pentagon that General Petraeus might and others might have erred by raising this to a level that they have. I think it‘s better just to ignore the guy to tell you the truth.
SCHULTZ: OK, the three people that you mentioned, have they in your opinion done anything as outlandish has offer up to burn the Koran?
HENNEN: You know, you could you talk with some people about that. I mean, my point is he‘s a publicity hound.
SCHULTZ: You‘re the one that said it. I‘m talking to you about it.
HENNEN: Well, I‘m not trying to associate them with the Koran thing. I‘m simply saying, you know, look, they‘re publicity hounds, they love the camera. So, is this guy, so why give him what he wants? That‘s all I‘m saying.
SCHULTZ: OK. He does have a congregation of only 50 people. But it seems that the conservatives don‘t seem to be denouncing him too much after supporting the troops, saying they support the troops when General Petraeus and others have said that this puts our troops in danger. That‘s the hook, isn‘t it?
TODD WEBSTER, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Ed, may I jump in here?
SCHULTZ: Go ahead, Todd.
WEBSTER: Yes. What I think that you‘ve got going on is sort of selective concern for the welfare of our soldiers. You remember a few years ago, it was little Cindy Sheehan who held a protest against the Iraq war and the reasons that we went in which was as we all know now were unfounded and you had right wing talkers and right wing politicians denouncing her how about how she is giving aid and comfort to the enemy, that she is endangering the troops. It‘s unpatriotic. And now you‘ve got the general of central command who is coming out and has said that doing this would, in fact, endanger the soldiers serving overseas.
WEBSTER: Hold on a second. Hold on a second. To say nothing of other Americans abroad who would be targeted or who could be targeted by this or other missionaries, western missionaries or American missionaries who are doing work abroad.
HENNEN: The question we all need to ask.
WEBSTER: So, it‘s unnecessary inflaming this and the silence from the right wing, the same folks that were beating up little Cindy Sheehan have had nothing to say about this.
SCHULTZ: All right. Scott, what‘s your response to that?
HENNEN: Well, I would just say, I think in retrospect, giving this guy what he wants, more publicity is not helping the troops. And I‘ll put Sean Hannity‘s efforts for the troops up against anybody. So, you guys can pile on Sean all you want. But he puts his mind where his mouth is there, a lot of his other conservative guys as well, I think silence is the right response.
SCHULTZ: Well, now that you brought up Hannity, there is some question about where the money goes from all of his freedom concerts. Some conservative—can you tell me how much he‘s raised? I mean, come on now.
HENNEN: Absolutely, totally bogus.
SCHULTZ: Let‘s stay focus on where were at but if you want to bring your friend into it, that‘s fine. The fact is, the man that you just mentioned is not supporting the general who says that our troops are in danger because of this guy. So why aren‘t the conservatives, why aren‘t are you denouncing this guy? Why aren‘t the 400 right wing talkers across the country denouncing this guy? It‘s almost as if you folks love this Islamophobia that‘s going on, Scott.
HENNEN: No, the reason is very simple because the more you do that, the more the guy loves it. You‘re giving fuel to his fire. It‘s ridiculous. Ignore him. That‘s the best medicine to make him go away.
SCHULTZ: He‘s not being ignored. The fact is he‘s not being ignored and he‘s not being denounced. That‘s the point I‘m making. Todd Webster, it is selective, as you say. Let‘s move on to this story now. Tea Party Senate nominee Sharron Angle is refusing to disavow the claim that there are domestic enemies in the Congress. Todd, you‘ve worked around the Congress a long time. Who are the domestic enemies?
WEBSTER: You know, it‘s more crazy talk coming from Sharron Angle out of Nevada. And I think what she is a symptom of a much bigger story in this election about the number of flawed republican candidates who have been produced who are running on the ballot in November from Linda McMahon, the steroid enabling misogynist to Jan Brewer who maybe need to be checked for mental competency to Joe Miller in Alaska to Rand Paul and his anti-civil rights.
SCHULTZ: Who are the domestic enemies, gentlemen? I want to know who domestic enemies are, Scott.
HENNEN: Well, first of all, call her Senator Sharron Angle and that gives you an idea, you know, you guys are sort of mocking.
SCHULTZ: Who are the domestic enemies?
HENNEN: The majority leader in the United States and the domestic enemies Ed, to answer your question, because I want to do that, are everybody that are doing exactly what Sharron Angle said which was, quote, “certainly people who pass these kinds of policies, Obama care, cap and trade, stimulus bailout, they‘re certainly not friends of the free market system.” So, look the votes up and there are your domestic enemies.
SCHULTZ: Domestic enemies. Getting people health insurance, pre-existing condition, that makes them a domestic enemy. OK. Fellows, great to have you with us tonight. I appreciate your time.
Coming up, the door is open for Rahm‘s run for mayor in Chicago. Here‘s my message Rahm, don‘t let the door hit you in the fanny on the way out. PCCC Chairman Adam Green and Newsweek‘s Jonathan Alter getting into it next, right here on the Playbook. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: And it‘s not too late to let us know what you think. Tonight‘s text stay question is, do you want President Obama to get even tougher on Boehner and his fellow republicans? Text A for yes, text B for no to 622639. Results coming up. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: And in my Playbook tonight, it‘s time for Rahm Emanuel to go home. Chicago Mayor Richard Daley is not running again and Emanuel is on record saying that it‘s the job that he‘s always wanted. I think, it‘s perfect timing, Rahm‘s job at the White House has pretty much run his course. This is a guy who is called liberals, quote, “f‘ing retarded.” And then allegedly blew off the autoworkers saying that the, well, “f the UAW.” I mean, who needs friends like that? The progressive change campaign committee called him Rahm, a cancer on the Democratic Party. Now, I don‘t think that he can get out of Washington fast enough and this morning, Obama adviser David Axelrod said the White House is prepared to fill his shoes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID AXELROD, WHITE HOUSE SENIOR ADVISOR: But no one is indispensable. And if that‘s the direction he decides to go, there are many here who are ready to fill in the breach.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee and Jonathan Alter, MSNBC political analyst and “Newsweek” national affairs columnist joining us on this story tonight. Adam Green, you‘re adamant about getting Rahm Emanuel out. Why?
ADAM GREEN, PROGRESSIVE CHANGE CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE CO-FOUNDER: Well,
this is a big moment for the Democratic Party. There are basically two schools of thought among democrats. There‘s the bold progressives school of thought which says, when the public is on your side, when democrats and independent voters overwhelmingly support a public option and taking on the insurance companies and taking on the Wall Street interests, you win, you fight and you win. That‘s the way you do things. And if Joe Lieberman stands in the way, you use the power of the bully pulpit against him until you win.
The Rahm Emanuel schools of thought made a different. They don‘t really like the fight too much. They want to invite the insurance companies and the Joe Lieberman‘s of the world behind closed doors and say, regardless of what the public thinks, what do I need for your vote and your support? That‘s not a winning mentality. And our message for democrats in 2010 is look for two years, we followed the losing of Rahm Emanuel school of thought which says don‘t fight, cave. And look for where it‘s gotten this.
SCHULTZ: Jonathan Alter, your response to all of this. Jonathan, your thoughts on this.
JONATHAN ALTER, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. Now, Rahm Emanuel didn‘t get us anything. Only the most significant piece of social legislation in 45 years? Since Medicare and Medicaid in 1965. Look, you can blame Rahm Emanuel for his mouth, I am not going to defend the stupid things that he‘s said. You could say that he‘s more moderate or conservative than progressive democrats might like. That‘s all fair comment. But to say that he didn‘t get it done is just inaccurate. You know, when I interviewed Rahm Emanuel for my book “The Promise,” last year on this very, very question that Adam just addressed, he said, you know, we could do it the progressives‘ way.
We‘ve only been trying that for 75 years and failed to get universal health coverage, which has been on the democrats‘ agenda since the time of Franklin Roosevelt. The only way he argued to get something done was to get buy-in from the interest groups. Now, you can say that that‘s not pure, that that‘s a sellout. You can use all sorts of ways to characterize it. But that‘s the way you actually get something done. There are now 30 million Americans who are going to be insured, have health insurance because of this.
SCHULTZ: Adam, what about that?
GREEN: Look, I respect Jonathan a lot, if he‘s on TV, I turned up the volume, I‘m interested in what he have to say. On this he‘s a little bit wrong. Look, in Joe Lieberman‘s home state, people wanted the public option by three to one. In Olympia Snowe‘s home state of Maine, people wanted the public option by two to one. Did we see Barack Obama do what he did today in Cleveland? Where he went to their home states and used the full power of the bully pulpits to rally their constituents against them until they caved? No, he didn‘t even try. Well, he addressed the Senate democratic caucus. He didn‘t even mention the public option. So, look Jonathan, we don‘t mind if democrats fight and then have to compromise. But when they give up before fighting, that‘s the problem. And that‘s Rahm Emanuel have to go.
ALTER: That‘s an interesting tactical debate you can have, but just on the Joe Lieberman question, I mean, I have a scene in the book where Rahm Emanuel is, you know, really ticked at Joe Lieberman, you know, for backing off on the Medicare expansion and torpedoing health care in the 11th hour. The guy was working day and night to get this done. To call him a cancer, it‘s pretty unfair to a guy who‘s been doing a lot of good, getting a lot of legislation through.
SCHULTZ: Who would be.
GREEN: Some victories are better than others and just putting a “W” in the column is not superior to getting a progressive victory.
ALTER: It was a big one. It‘s better than nothing.
SCHULTZ: Who should replace him as chief of staff, Adam?
ALTER: It was better than kill the bill. That was ridiculous.
SCHULTZ: Adam, who should replace him as chief of staff?
GREEN: Well, Ed, you know, I think we need a North Dakotan as chief of staff. My first choice honestly is you. But if you‘re not available, I actually think.
SCHULTZ: Not available. I got too much fishing to do. All right.
What about it, Jonathan?
GREEN: I do want to float one name though.
GREEN: I do want to float one name. The guy who was on your show earlier today, Byron Dorgan, comes from the.
SCHULTZ: OK. That‘s all I need was a name. Jonathan, your thoughts?
ALTER: Well, I think, you know, I‘m more interested in trying to get a sense of what actually might be rather than my personal choice. The names I‘m hearing are Valerie Jarrett, Ron Klain, Tom Donelan (ph).
ALTER: So, I think it might be one of those three.
SCHULTZ: Gentlemen, thanks for joining us tonight. Final page in the Playbook tonight. Good old “W” made a rare appearance in Texas and said the weirdest moment of his presidency was when a pair of shoes was thrown at him when he was in Iraq. He said, quote, “It was like Ted Williams who said he could see the stitches on the baseball. It was coming at me in slow motion.” Well, George, this got us thinking about some other weird moments of your presidency that might top the shoes. How about the time you made an official visit to Africa and you showed the world what happens when you put your dancing shoes on? Actually, this was hilarious when Bush did this. I love this. It‘s one of my favorite pieces of tape. Order time when he was representing the United States on a visit to Mongolia, he couldn‘t find the right way out of the door. How about that? And then of course, there‘s the time he called upon all the nations of the world to band together and stop those terrorist killers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I call upon all nations to do everything they can to stop these terrorist killers. Thank you. Now watch this drive.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Nice drive, W. Maybe if you spent as much time running the countries as you did golfing and fooling around, we might not be in the mess we‘re in right now. Coming up, the Tea Party message might be working. This nut job Rand Paul is as extreme as it gets and he may soon be a senator. This democrat Jack Conway is trying to stop him. He will lay out the battle plan, next on THE ED SHOW. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: And finally tonight, the Kentucky State Senate race, well, it‘s neck and neck. Tea Party nut job Rand Paul could actually be a senator, a poll just out shows Rand Paul and democratic opponent Jack Conway are deadlocked at 46.
Joining me now is Kentucky‘s attorney general and State Democratic nominee for Senate, Mr. Conway. What do you make of the poll? Good to have you with us tonight.
JACK CONWAY (D), KENTUCKY SENATE NOMINEE: Well, it‘s good to be with you this evening. Look, the race is a dead heat. And I‘m focused on putting Kentucky first and I‘m here fighting a bunch of special interest money that‘s coming through Karl Rove‘s American crossroads group. Then we had a great internet fund-raising bomb yesterday that raised about $300,000. So, if your viewers want to help us, they can go to Conwayfightfunds.com and help us fight back some of this Karl Rove money.
SCHULTZ: And are you pushing back on some of the nutty things this guy says and some of the positions he‘s taking especially like on public education?
CONWAY: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely, Ed. I mean, Rand Paul has policies that quite literally would hurt people. This election is about the people of Kentucky and nothing else. And Rand Paul‘s policies would hurt people. How many people do we all know Ed, that he has furthered their education on a Pell Grant? You know, Rand Paul would want to do away with federal assistance for education. I mean, what would Rand Paul say to veterans coming home wounded from these two wars when he speaks out against the Americans with disabilities act?
SCHULTZ: Are democrats in Kentucky motivated?
CONWAY: I think they are motivated, absolutely. They are motivated because I don‘t think Rand Paul gets the state. You know, he put a national reporter in a truck in Eastern Kentucky and couldn‘t tell him the basics of eastern Kentucky and they started talking about how drugs were not a pressing issue. Here in Kentucky, we‘re dealing with a drug epidemic, particularly prescription pill epidemic and he‘s calling for eliminating all federal funding for either interdiction or treatment. So, we‘ll just doesn‘t get the state.
SCHULTZ: Jack Conway, all the best to you. We‘ll do it again.
Thanks so much.
CONWAY: Thanks, Ed.
SCHULTZ: Tonight in our telephone survey, text survey, I asked, do you want President Obama to get even tougher on Boehner and his fellow republicans? Ninety seven percent of you said yes, three percent said no.
That‘s THE ED SHOW. I‘m Ed Schultz. “HARDBALL” starts right now.
We‘ll see you tomorrow night.
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