The Ed Show for Friday, Nov. 5th, 2010
Read the transcript to the Friday show
Guest Host: Cenk Uygur, Sheila Jackson Lee, Sam Stein, Jim McDermott, Bill Press, Ernest
Istook, Jeff Santos, Jonathan Alter, Stephanie Miller
CENK UYGUR, MSNBC ANCHOR: Good evening and welcome to THE ED SHOW.
I‘m Cenk Uygur, in for Ed Schultz.
These stories are hot tonight.
Who‘s in charge of the country, President Obama or John Boehner? I can‘t believe people are seriously asking this question. Now‘s the time for President Obama and Democrats to stand up and fight for what they believe in.
My commentary on that in just a moment.
Conservative wing-nuts are flipping out over the president‘s upcoming trip to India. Rush, Hannity, Beck, they‘re all freaking out, saying it will cost $2 billion. And wait until you hear what else they‘re making up. You know it‘s bad when “The Wall Street Journal” debunks it as certifiably insane.
And get your popcorn. It‘s time for a new season of the real Tea Partiers of the Republican Party, the Capitol Hill edition. We‘ve got a cat fight brewing here between Michele Bachmann and her troops and the establishment GOP, represented by Boehner. Well, that‘s going to be a lot of fun.
But we start tonight with what the Democratic Party stands for.
In this week‘s congressional elections, Democrats lost all across the country. The axiom that all politics is local is dead. That might had been true in the 1970s, but with cable television and the Internet in nearly every home now, all politics is national.
When I asked Congressman Alan Grayson yesterday on MSNBC why he lost in his district, he pointed to a national phenomenon.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ALAN GRAYSON (D), FLORIDA: It was a national disaster. I won by four points in 2008. I went back and checked to see what happened to all the Democrats who won by 10 points or less in the House in 2008, and believe me, 10 points is a lot more than four points. What I found is that of the 24 Democrats who won by 10 points or less in 2008, only one of them won this year, one out of 24.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UYGUR: It didn‘t matter—it didn‘t matter at all whether you were
in Florida or Ohio or Colorado. If you were a Democrat, you got swept out
by the same force.
So that leads to the obvious question, was there a failure in the national message of the Democrats? Congressman Grayson thinks so.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRAYSON: They‘ve got their strategy intact. What about our strategy?
Our strategy for two years has been appeasement, and look where it got us. I think Democrats want to see a fighting leadership, they want to see a fighting president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UYGUR: That sounds exactly right to me.
There‘s another theory, though, that the Republican message won the day and that they now have a mandate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER ®, MINORITY LEADER: The American people spoke, and I think it‘s pretty clear that the Obama/Pelosi agenda is being rejected by the American people. They want—as I said last night, they want the president to change course. And I think it‘s change course, we will. I think it‘s a mandate for Washington to reduce the size of government and continue our fight for a smaller, less costly, and a more accountable government.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UYGUR: But what‘s weird is that when the country clearly and loudly voted for the Democrats in 2008, John Boehner did not step out of the way. In fact, he made it his mission to block the way, in every conceivable way.
So when the country votes for Democrats, it means nothing, but when it votes for Republicans, that apparently is supposed to have a huge political meaning. The nattering nabobs of mediocrity in the Washington media I‘m sure will agree.
In fact, President Obama was asked if he or John Boehner was in charge now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think the overwhelming message that I hear from the voters is that we want everybody to act responsibly in Washington. We want you to work harder to arrive at consensus. We want you to focus completely on jobs and the economy and growing.
I think that there‘s no doubt that as I reflect on the results of the election, it underscores for me that I‘ve got to do a better job just like everybody else in Washington does.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UYGUR: Mr. President, they asked you if or Boehner were in charge.
That answer sounded like a concession speech.
Here‘s how I would have answered. That‘s a fair question since the Republicans just took the House, but let me tell you something, John Boehner represents the 8th District in Ohio. I am the president of the United States. I‘m definitely in charge.
Make no mistake about it. Next question.
But both Boehner and Grayson do have a fair point. The issues are decided on a macro level these days. So, on that level, we know what the Republican message is: lower taxes, less government. Everyone knows it.
Whether they deliver or not, you know where they claim to stand. Now, what do the Democrats stand for? I‘ll give you a minute to think about it.
Anything? Anything? You want another minute?
Look, what‘s brilliant about the Republican framing is that it forces Democrats to take the opposite stand, which they don‘t want to do. Who wants to tell voters that they‘re in favor of higher taxes or bigger government?
So the Democrats have been running from this fight for at least 30 years. Did it ever occur to them that they should go on the offense? How about you lay out an agenda? Not just on the issues, but a meta agenda on for what you stand for. You‘re not going to be surprised to find out that I have some suggestions.
Look, it‘s just as simple as the Republican platform. It actually represents progressive ideology and it‘s something all Americans can get behind.
Two simple planks on the platform: opportunity and responsibility. Democrats stand for opportunity because they want everyone to have a fair chance. They don‘t want equality of results, but they definitely want everyone to have a shot.
So, for example, Democrats want to invest in a better education system so that a kid growing up in Logan, West Virginia, has just as much of a good chance as a kid growing up on the upper west side of Manhattan.
Responsibility is something that all Americans, conservatives and liberals, can relate to as well. It‘s what the Democrats do.
After the children in the Republican Party make a mess by cutting taxes for the rich, blowing up the deficit, and crashing the economy, the Democrats are always brought in to fix the problems. They‘re the adults in the room.
Bill Clinton cleaned up after Reagan and the first Bush. They gave us huge deficits, and a Democratic president left us with a giant surplus, until, of course, the second Bush screwed that up and let us have another huge deficit. We hired Obama to clean that up and the economic collapse, also created under Bush, and then we got impatient when he couldn‘t clean it up quickly enough.
Look, Democrats always wind up taking the more responsible route.
They should at least get credit for it.
Another upside to these planks other than having the advantage of being true is that they are also hard to counter. What are the Republicans going to say, we‘re against opportunity and we hate responsibility? While that might be accurate, it‘s not really a winning political slogan.
But all this requires leaders who are willing to make their case and stand up for their beliefs, not leaders who buckle at the first sign of a Republican talking point. When Republicans say they wanted tax cuts for the top two percent, the correct answer from the Democrats should be, we are the party of responsibility, and it would be wildly irresponsible to give the richest people in the country another tax cut while our deficit is exploding.
There they go again, Republicans, the party of fiscal recklessness.
We won‘t stand for it.
Now that wasn‘t that hard, was it? They could have given that answer.
If the Democrats don‘t wake up to the reality that politics is national and that you can‘t win without a coherent, easily identifiable message, this week will only be the beginning of their troubles.
Now, get your cell phones out. I want to know what you think.
Tonight‘s text survey is: Do you have faith President Obama will fight Boehner and the Republicans? Text “A” for yes, text “B” for no to 622639. I‘ll bring you the results later in the show.
Joining me now is Texas Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, a member the Progressive Caucus.
Congresswoman, you heard what I just said. What do you think? Do I have it roughly right?
REP. SHEILA JACKSON LEE (D), TEXAS: Can I shout now or wait a little bit longer?
Let me just tell you that, frankly, I believe Democrats have been working for the right reason and doing things for the right reason, and, you know, sometimes you get hit with a Mack truck when you‘re standing on the right side of right. And that‘s what we have done, and, frankly, I believe message is important, but Cenk, I believe that action is important.
And maybe we haven‘t shown the muscles in our arms, we haven‘t been seen with our sleeves rolled up, really standing in the gap for really a financial collapse of this country. And maybe they haven‘t heard us.
You know, it‘s hard to be heard when sometimes you‘re perceived as saying the same thing over and over again. But we‘ve been talking about job creation, and, in fact, we have stopped the bleeding.
And when we go into this new Congress, we need to stand for our values, and our values are job creation and equality. You‘re absolutely right.
Has anybody noticed that we‘ve created 800,000 jobs in the private sector? Did anyone recall that when we had to make that horrible decision about TARP and maybe even the thought of a stimulus to some that we, frankly, saved us from having a $3 trillion-plus more deficit? And does anyone recognize that we‘ve given small businesses 16 tax cuts?
Well, that‘s maybe about message. But we really were engaged in action.
So here‘s my message back to you. Yes, Democrats have values, and we need to show them on our sleeves, on billboards, wherever we go.
But I will say this to you, that Democrats lost, and a good number of my friends—and we appreciate their service. But those who remaining know what it‘s like to go hand in hand with their constituents, providing constituent services, and fighting back for those very constituents and others that are not represented, voices not heard.
We‘re going to fight for jobs. We‘re going to fight for jobs. We‘re going to get those jobs.
UYGUR: No, but, Congresswoman, look, here‘s the thing, right? You might be on the right side of right, as you said, and of course I‘m sure you think so, and I‘m sure a lot of the Democrats who lost think so. But if you don‘t get that message out, you‘re still going to lose, as a lot of those Democrats found out.
So, can you boil it down for me? I mean, we know what the Republicans say is their message. Like I said, lower taxes, limited government. They say it all the time.
What is the equivalent Democratic message?
LEE: The equivalent Democratic message, or the better Democratic message is, that we are not leaving any job seeker behind. You will have a job under the Democratic clock. All you‘ll have under the Republican clock is an increased deficit and, again, questionable jobs.
UYGUR: I know, but that‘s specific—look, that‘s a very important issue, and that‘s specific to this election, and I‘m sure the next one. But I‘m talking about over the last 30 years. They‘ve been pounding this message in, whereas I feel like you guys haven‘t fought back with another message to say, no, no, no, this thing is national now. You all need to vote for us not because we brought home the bacon, not because—even in this particular election we‘re for jobs, or this or that, but to say here‘s what we stand for.
What is that?
LEE: What we stand for, Cenk, is that everyone has a stair step up the ladder of opportunity. That is not the case with Republicans.
Every time a Democrat has had to come in with a big broom and sweep up the mess of a Republican—FDR, after Hoover, and the mess of the 1929 collapse—we‘ve created decades of opportunity for people who never thought of an opportunity. So if you want to hold on to the true American dream, we‘re the dream keepers.
We allow people to rise to their highest aspirations. And that‘s what we were doing in the last two years under President Obama.
We‘re not selfish. We frankly gave opportunities where there were no opportunities. We saved auto jobs where no one else could save them. Now a million jobs are in the Midwest.
You‘re right about the message. So the message is a value-based message. It is a message, frankly, that you need an opportunity, take advantage of it. But, yes, we need to speak it loudly and clearly, and then we need to talk about the fact that spending does not equal deficit. Spending equals saving the economy.
LEE: And the very fact that the doors are open and lights are on across this nation, even though we have double-digit unemployment in many places, it‘s because we put the stop-gap method. And if they want to follow the method of little government and less taxes, first of all, they‘re not reading, because we‘ve already given the lowest tax cuts for Americans, and they‘re paying the least amount of taxes that they paid in 60 years.
UYGUR: All right.
LEE: So we‘re in the business to fight to tell our story, but I tell you, if you want to turn the lights off and close the doors, then you don‘t listen to the Democrats. And we‘re coming back. You can be assured of that.
UYGUR: All right. You‘re coming back, and you‘re the dream keepers.
I like that one.
Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, thank you so much for joining us.
LEE: Thank you for having me.
UYGUR: All right.
Now, for more, let me bring in Sam Stein, political reporter for “The Huffington Post.”
Now, Sam, if they were such tough fighters, you know, they‘re still in charge, aren‘t they, until January? Wouldn‘t they do something?
SAM STEIN, POLITICAL REPORTER, “HUFFINGTON POST”: Yes, they do have the reins of power until January, and there‘s a lame-duck session that‘s approaching. And there is a few items on the docket that they‘re going to consider, but obvious questions about, what can be done in the session, primarily because the narrative is stacked against what they want to do—take unemployment insurance, for instance.
They haven‘t been able to pass extensions without a fight before. They‘re going to want to do it again. But there‘s questions as to whether anyone in the caucus has a stomach for that fight. They‘re going to have to find ways to pay for it.
So items like that you‘ll see fights over in the months ahead.
UYGUR: See, Sam, I have a theory that it‘s because they‘re scared of what the Republicans are going to say about them.
UYGUR: I mean, if I was in charge, and I still have the House, the Senate, and the White House, I want to get a lot of things done. I mean, shoot, you‘re going to lose that advantage in January. Let‘s go.
Why not put up immigration? Why not put up all these things? But it seems like the Democrats are scared.
STEIN: Well, Cenk, they‘re going to—Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has signaled that he is going to consider the Dream Act during the lame-duck session. The other thing that they have to do, which anyone who follows judicial politics knows, is they have to make some appointments.
There‘s been a huge amount of judicial appointments that have stalled on the docket, people who have actual he gone through the Judiciary Committee. And it‘s creating a real crisis across the country.
And if they don‘t start doing that and filling those slots, you‘re going to have a real backsliding of cases that have to be considered. And that could be a real, real problem.
So those are two of the bigger items that are going to be considered.
But again, what is the incentive for any Republican who was newly elected -
I know they‘re not going to be there, but, for instance, Mark Kirk is going to be in the Senate now because of the rules of his special election. What is his incentive to move the ball forward when more Republicans are coming in? That‘s the major question.
UYGUR: Right. Sam, one more thing for you here.
UYGUR: And it‘s a good point about Harry Reid. But, for example, the president has signaled that he‘s going to buckle on the tax cuts and he‘s going to give them to the top two percent, as the Republicans want.
Now, I think it‘s because they‘re scared, oh my God, the Republicans want lower taxes and we can‘t oppose that. Oh, no! Oh, no! And it seems like they don‘t have their own message to be able to say, no, here‘s what we stand for, and here‘s why we‘re not going to stand for this proposal.
Am I getting it wrong about the messaging, or do you think that‘s part of the critical problem?
STEIN: They had a message, and I actually credit the White House for hitting it repeatedly before the election, which is that this is going to blow the deficit. And for all the talk from Republicans about deficit reduction, this is hypocritical.
The problem, of course, is that the election‘s now over. The message, as it were, has been sent. And you are essentially in a game of chicken. Who is going to blink first?
Are you going to let all the tax cuts expire for everybody, or are you going to try to compromise and get a deal? And so it might be a two-year extension or a one-year extension for the whole package, or it could theoretically extending them for everyone under $500,000, as opposed to $250,000.
But the last thing the White House wants do right now is to be seen as allowing tax cuts across the board to go up. And I don‘t blame them for that necessarily.
UYGUR: No, I blame them. I blame them. How about you stick to your agenda? How about you don‘t get scared because John Boehner said “boo”? I mean, maybe you don‘t lose elections that way. But I know, I‘m the crazy one.
STEIN: No, you‘re not crazy. It‘s a matter of ethos.
UYGUR: All right. Sam Stein from “The Huffington Post.”
Thanks for joining us.
STEIN: Take care, man.
UYGUR: All right.
Coming up, all the righty nut-jobs are freaking out over President Obama‘s trip to India. What they‘re making up is much crazier than usual, if you can believe that.
Newt Gingrich is officially off the rails as well. You won‘t believe why he thinks the election taught the world to fear America.
Does that mean of his own party? Well, we‘ll find out right back after this.
UYGUR: Welcome back.
For the first time in five months employment in the United States rose. That‘s a good thing. The private sector added 159,000 new jobs last month, proof that the economy‘s picking up.
Now, look, I don‘t agree with everything the administration is doing on the economy, but the stimulus is working. The right wing, the ones who had the brilliant plan to do no stimulus spending to help the economy, have a very different view.
John Boehner released a statement saying, “Any job growth is a positive sign, but stagnant and stubbornly high unemployment makes clear why permanently stopping all the looming tax hikes should top Washington‘s to-do list this month.”
What in the world does tax cuts for the richest people in the country have do with this? The only thing Boehner got out of this good news for hundreds of thousands of Americans who now have jobs is that they can help finance more tax cuts for the rich.
But Boehner isn‘t done. Check out the next line in his statement.
“Stopping these tax hikes and cutting spending to pre-stimulus, pre-bailout levels, would help eliminate the uncertainty gripping small businesses.”
Only three percent of small businesses are in the top income bracket. This isn‘t about helping them. This is about the Republican Party paying back the people who got them elected, the very rich.
They finance the GOP and now they want a return on their investment.
That‘s why it‘s the GOP‘s number one on their agenda.
Eric Cantor also piled on saying he hopes Congress returns to pass legislation so that no one faces a tax increase. Gee, I wonder who he is referring to? That‘s as disingenuous as Boehner trying to distance himself from the bailout, as if he wasn‘t the same John Boehner who cried on the House floor in September of 2008 as he begged his Republican colleagues to vote yes on $700 billion for Wall Street.
Joining me now is Washington Congressman Jim McDermott.
Congressman, great to have you on here.
REP. JIM MCDERMOTT (D), WASHINGTON: Good to be here, Cenk.
UYGUR: All right. Look, we‘re getting smoke signals from the White House, and statements as well—so it‘s not that unclear—that they‘re going to buckle on this issue and they‘re going to give into the tax cuts for the top two percent.
Do you agree or disagree with that?
MCDERMOTT: I absolutely disagree with it. Giving money to the top one percent of this country and increasing the national deficit by $7 trillion is wrong. It doesn‘t produce any jobs, it makes things worse in the long run for our grandchildren, and it simply perpetuates what we had in the last two years.
Now, my belief is the Republicans have—they don‘t believe in anything. The only thing they believe in—and Mitch McConnell said it—my job is to prevent Obama from being elected a second time. He doesn‘t care what happens to anything.
The first bill that should come out of the House and out of the Senate is an extension of unemployment benefits. They—if they don‘t—if we don‘t act on that, two million people are going to lose their benefits at Christmastime. That‘s not a country that cares about its working people.
UYGUR: Congressman, now John Boehner, Mitch McConnell are saying hey, listen, we won the House, and so you‘ve got to play by our rules, and it‘s time for you to, you know, go along with our agenda.
When you guys won the House, the Senate, and the White House, did they go along and play with your agenda?
MCDERMOTT: From day one, they used the filibuster in the Senate to kill our legislation. We put 420 bills over into the Senate, and Mitch McConnell killed every blessed one of them.
So they have no interest in governing this country. They simply want to take back the White House. That is all that‘s on their agenda.
And this paying of their constituency by giving them this tax break is just simply unconscionable when you are laying off librarians and you‘re laying off school teachers, and you‘re laying off firemen and policemen all over this country, and they‘re saying, oh, we have to give this money to the rich at the top, or they‘ll—or I don‘t know, they won‘t be able to have Christmas, I guess. I don‘t know what they‘re whining about.
UYGUR: But, Congressman, they have an important tool here that they actually used against you guys in this election, and probably will in the next, because usually the American people blame the president for whatever‘s going wrong. Right?
So if you don‘t create any new jobs over the next two years, the
Republicans don‘t get the blame. The president does when he goes up for
re-election. And now you don‘t control the House.
So how do you create bills that create more jobs if you don‘t control the House and the Republicans have no incentive to help you?
MCDERMOTT: You know, people are very worried in this country. They are very anxious about what‘s happening. And they‘re going to throw out everybody next time if they don‘t get some change in the economy.
The banking system, the problem of banking and small business, is not going to be helped by giving more money to the banks and taking away the regulation. The world is not going to be a better place if we give more tax cuts.
We‘re going to have to go to infrastructure, which is what Franklin Delano Roosevelt did. Franklin Delano Roosevelt created 1.8 million jobs in the first two years simply by putting people back to work in public works projects. And my view is that if you‘re serious about putting people back to work, you have to start talking about using the government money to create jobs. And you can do it.
We need roads, bridges, sewers, water systems, airports. All sorts of things need to be fixed in this country. And we‘re simply sitting here and saying, let‘s give more money to the rich and give more money to the banks and hope they do the right thing.
We saw what they did to us the last time. We don‘t need more of that.
UYGUR: All right. Congressman McDermott, thank you so much for joining us. Really appreciate it.
Now, coming up, Newt Gingrich is getting more and more pathetic as the days go on. He thinks countries fear America more because some Republicans want House seats. That‘s fascinating. Is that even a good thing?
We‘ll give you his exact loony quote next.
UYGUR: In “Psycho Talk” tonight, Newt Gingrich is getting crazier by the minute. It‘s like he‘s being a concerted effort to out crazy the Tea Party. He went on Greta Van Susteren Show this week and she asked him about the world‘s reaction to the Republicans staying over the House.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST, “ON THE RECORD”: What do you think this major country as Iran, France, I mean, any of these countries, what are they thinking?
NEWT GINGRICH, FORMER HOUSE SPEAKER: Imagine if you were in China as a dictatorship and you watched the American people cheerfully firing people and you thought to yourself wow, that‘s a pretty cool idea. Or imagine you‘re and Iranian student thinking, wouldn‘t it be nice to be ought to fire Ahmadinejad the way Americans go about their politics?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UYGUR: First of all, why did Greta Van Susteren just put France in the same category as Iran? Second, I‘m pretty sure the French are pretty familiar with how democracy works. And some Iranians just lost their lives fighting for democracy. I think they need any lessons from Republicans. And if they were to “learn” that changing government is possible, 2008 might had been a good time to realize that. But back to Gingrich, he wasn‘t done yet. The 2010 election apparently also taught the world to fear America. It‘s fantastic.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GINGRICH: I think this was a real signal to the world, not to assume that the United States is a weak, timid country, not to assume that we‘re going to tolerate bad economic policies, and not to assume that we‘re a country who will be able to be pushed around or run over because I think the American people are exhibiting a robust willingness to change the entire game and that‘s a pretty good historic reminder to other countries. That we are a remarkably powerful and if necessary remarkably dangerous country when people try to behave in a predatory way towards us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UYGUR: So is he saying that the Republican Party won, so rest of the world understands now that we‘re extremely dangerous? I guess I‘d agree. The Republican Party is extremely dangerous. If that‘s the message Gingrich wants to send to France or Iran or to America, well, then for once his psycho talk has been helpful.
Coming up, Beck and Hannity have outdone themselves in what they‘ve made up this time. They‘re flipping out over President Obama‘s trip to India.
Joe Miller is on the ropes, so he‘s crying to Jim DeMint for help and money. And DeMint might be willing to start a GOP civil war for him. I‘ll get rapid-fire response.
Plus, Nancy Pelosi‘s running for minority leader and radio show host Stephanie Miller tells us why Boehner was really crying in “Club Ed.” You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC.
UYGUR: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. I‘m Cenk Uygur in for Ed Schultz. The “Battleground” story tonight, the epic fight between the conservatives and reality. That‘s always a fun fight. The right wing has whipped itself into a frenzy over President Obama‘s trip to India and become more and more detached from reality with every iteration of a supposed itinerary. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MICHELE BACHMANN ®, MINNESOTA: Just within a day or so, the president of the United States will be taking a trip over to India that is expected to cost the taxpayers $200 million a day.
SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: $200 million a day? Three thousand people he‘s—he needs the whole Taj Mahal Hotel?
RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Five hundred seven rooms of Taj Mahal, 40 airplanes, $200 million a day. This nation will spend on Obama‘s trip to India.
GLENN BECK, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: No it‘s $2 billion.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Yes.
BECK: We have 34 warships. Have you seen this?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UYGUR: I mean, not only is it insane and totally made up, but how did they think the country would believe that? Really? $200 million a day. This dictator socialist president plans to fly a million planes full of a billion of his friends, put them up in a zillion hotel rooms for a multiday back and along the steps of the Taj Mahal all paid for by you, the taxpayer. That actually would be a great party. I don‘t think that‘s what they‘re going to do. Can you believe all this? Well actually no.
But just to be sure, let‘s get the facts from that liberal, leftist authority, the “Wall Street Journal.” Quote, “The claim is demonstrably incorrect. It says the White House had blocked off the entire Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai. It hasn‘t. And that the press traveling with Mr. Obama will be staying there. We won‘t. Besides the press pays its own way at considerably costs to the media outlets, not the U.S. taxpayer. As for the 34 warships, the White House called that ridiculous.”
Well, that‘s good to know and in case you thought that the right wing had exhausted its list of historical evildoers that they can compare the president to, don‘t worry, the FOX News website publishes this, quote, “A foreign force of this size probably hasn‘t been seen in India since the era of British colonization.” Which by the way, would had been Churchill, right? And I thought they liked Churchill but what‘s the mental disconnect that allows conservatives to think Obama‘s both a secret Kenyan nationalist and a colonialist?
All right, for more on that, let me bring in national syndicated radio show host Bill Press. Bill, you know what‘s frustrating.
BILL PRESS, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Where do you start with this, right?
UYGUR: I know. What‘s frustrating is that they just get to make stuff up and there‘s no accountability on their end and never is, I mean what are you going to do? This has poisoned the minds of so many people who I am sure e-mailing it to their friends now.
PRESS: Yes, you know what, this is the Obama hate machine in high gear, once again, right? I mean, there is zero, as you just pointed out, zero evidence when the “Wall Street Journal” says, you‘re full of, you know what? I mean, you‘re full of it, right? Zero evidence and yet that doesn‘t stop Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh. Their mission really is to destroy Obama and they‘ll do so—it doesn‘t matter what the facts are. This is like the death panels, right? This is the same thing as Obama‘s birthplace, but I want to give you one little fact here, as a member of the White House Press Corps, I could have done on this trip. I chose not to because I can‘t afford it, my radio show can‘t afford it, and the estimated cost for those traveling in the press is $20,000 for ten days. Ten days, right? It‘s not $66,000 a day. So that just puts it I think in perspective.
UYGUR: You know I wonder where they make it up, Bill? You know, because is it like they all got the same kooky e-mail and since they don‘t do any fact-checking, OK let‘s say it on air or they get together, and say, like, all right, what should we make up, 33 warships, 34 warships or 35 warships?
PRESS: Yes. This happened to come from one source to—one British
one Indian newspaper quoting one anonymous source somewhere in Indian intelligence, now then you have to fabricate right and believe that that person inside of the Indian intelligence and knew everything, the secret service and the Pentagon were doing to protect the president of the United States, right? Which is crazy. But, that one little source went to drudge and from drudge it goes to FOX News, they see it, it‘s anti-Obama and they run with it and that‘s all it takes.
UYGUR: But the thing is, Bill, when I saw the story and I thought $200 million. Who in their right mind would believe that? Even if they‘re going to make something up like that, that‘s a dumb thing to make up and they also had other things, like a tunnel, they were building a tunnel for Obama, et cetera. So my question is, are they stupid enough to think that that could happen, that maybe Bush or Clinton or anybody could have spent $200 million a day in India. Or they know that it‘s not true at all and they think their audience is so stupid who cares they won‘t be able to tell.
PRESS: Well, here is my first take, first of all, I think they know it‘s not true, it doesn‘t matter, they know also—but they do know that the people who listened to them and who watched them every day will believe anything they say. Again, they‘ll believe death panels. They‘ll believe Obama was born in Kenya or Obama was born if Iraq. If Rush Limbaugh says it. They know they‘ve got a bunch of suckers watching and then unfortunately, you know, I‘m torn. Should we even be talking about it? I think we have to in order to shoot it down but there are a lot of people out there who still believe it. They believed Saddam Hussein flew the planes into the World Trade Center.
UYGUR: Bill, you‘ve accidentally started another rumor here. Now I can hear.
PRESS: I‘m sorry.
UYGUR: .Obama was born in Iraq. I heard Bill Press say it.
UYGUR: Thank you, Bill. Thank you.
PRESS: All right.
UYGUR: All right. Now, let‘s get some rapid-fire response from our panel on these stories. I‘ll get their take on conservative meltdown over the president‘s upcoming trip to India. And Nancy Pelosi announces she will run for minority leader. And many on the progressive left think that that‘s awesome.
With us tonight Jeff Santos, a progressive radio show host from Boston. And Ernest Istook, a former republican congressman and fellow at the Heritage Foundation. Now, let me start with Istook first, if I could.
ERNEST ISTOOK, FORMER REPUBLICAN CONGRESSMAN: Sure.
UYGUR: I mean, look when you see this, aren‘t you embarrassed by this whole $200 million a day and $2 billion and $7 trillion and 38 warships or whatever it is, don‘t you shake your head and go, what are they doing now?
ISTOOK: Well, I agree with you, people should be very skeptical. When they first saw that number, they should have said, something is wrong whether it‘s a decibel point, whether it‘s translating between dollars and rupees. I don‘t know what the source might be. But that‘s a figure that should have been seen as suspect. You know, presidents do travel in style. They make rock stars look like they‘re pickers by comparison. This is a huge entourage. And by comparison, I did a little bit of checking, back in 1999 was the only comparable one I found.
There was a ten-day trip by President Bill Clinton to Africa with a huge entourage, and eventually the general accounting office computed that the known cost of that trip was $42 million collectively for the entire trip plus several million more in costs that were not disclosed for security reasons. So these are very expensive trips but $200 million a day, no.
JEFF SANTOS, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Do we really have to spend time talking about how much cost? Are we going to figure out the pencils and the erasers next, come on!
UYGUR: Now, Jeff, aren‘t they basically criticizing for being president? I mean the president‘s got to go make a trip, it doesn‘t matter if it‘s a democratic president or a republican. I mean, it never even occurred to me when Bush was in charge to say I can‘t believe he‘s going abroad, he is the president.
ISTOOK: Yes, the same question is, how many people go?
SANTOS: Cenk, this is ridiculous. Look we want to open markets. We want to stop the outsourcing, so we‘ve got a president going there to do the right thing. This idea of having the entire right wing world talk about whether or not we‘re going to have it as $20 million or $40 million or $2, who cares, who cares? Do they care about unemployment numbers? Do they care about how many jobs are being created? They only care you about tax cuts and then more for the top two percent, that‘s what the Republicans care about and all of this other stuff is just nonsense.
UYGUR: All right. Look, I‘ve got leave that one alone. Let me go to Nancy Pelosi. So Jeff, let me start with you actually on this one. I mean, you happy that she‘s going to come back as minority leader?
SANTOS: Look, I look at that this way, I want somebody who‘s going to stay and fight. I don‘t like someone like Sarah Palin who‘s just going to quit and say oh, I‘m going to go and play parcheesi and go around the world to make some reality shows and write some books. Well, if she can read one. But the fact is that I would like to see Nancy Pelosi in a tough, and I mean tough second person in command go after the Republicans and go after Boehner. That‘s what they need. They need a number two to go after them and somebody from the Midwest would be ideal because that‘s where they‘re going to win the next election.
UYGUR: Congressman Istook, isn‘t it logical for Nancy Pelosi to stay, given that we‘re having these wild swings. The Democrats are in charge, the Republicans are in charge. Who knows, maybe two years from now, she‘s Speaker of the House again.
SANTOS: That‘s right.
ISTOOK: Believe me, the fact that she wants to stay and possibly become speaker again is a gift to the GOP.
SANTOS: Oh, please.
ISTOOK: What‘s happened is we see that one of the most dangerous
things to be politically is a democrat who is not liberal. If you‘re not -
if you‘re a non-liberal democrat, the voters are after—are likely become after you, and you know the leadership, the Democrats who remain in the House of Representatives are more liberal than they were before. So, having Nancy Pelosi as the symbol of the Democratic Party, Republicans frankly see this as a gift. Well, whichever way you want to define the correct term there. The point here is that when you say, vote for me in 2012 and I will put Nancy Pelosi back in charge of the House because she‘s still there just waiting in the wings that is going to be a turnoff to a great many voters.
UYGUR: All right. Let me wrap this up with my opinion on this. You know, a lot of people are saying Nancy Pelosi‘s got to go because the Republicans don‘t like her, that makes me think she should stay.
ISTOOK: That‘s right.
ISTOOK: It‘s because the public rejected her agenda.
UYGUR: They reject all the Republicans in 2008, they did, right? Why didn‘t you guys go away?
ISTOOK: Believe me, they didn‘t say.
SANTOS: That‘s why Boehner didn‘t leave.
ISTOOK: They said let‘s give a different group of Republicans a chance. You‘re right. The voters don‘t have a great level of trust for Republicans but they have an even lesser level of trust in the Democrats right now.
UYGUR: We have to leave it right there, guys.
SANTOS: We have to leave, OK.
UYGUR: Thank you, I really appreciate both of you joining us.
All right, coming up Jim DeMint is blasting off at Karl Rove and the GOP establishment. It‘s a dysfunctional family feud and I love it. Jonathan Alter sounds off, next.
UYGUR: It‘s not too late to let me know what you think. Tonight‘s text survey question is, do you have faith President Obama will fight Boehner and the Republicans? Text A for yes, text B for no 622-639. The results are coming up.
UYGUR: In the “Playbook” tonight, three days since the Republicans won the House and the infighting is already under way, awesome.
Tea Partier Senator Jim DeMint is blaming the Republican Party for Christine O‘Donnell‘s loss in Delaware. He told “The National Journal,” quote, “If Christine had not been so vilified by the Republican Party, when she first won the primary, she might have had a shot.” Wrong again.
But anyway, for more, let me bring in Jonathan Alter, national affairs columnist for “Newsweek” and MSNBC political analyst.
JONATHAN ALTER, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Hi, Cenk.
UYGUR: Hi, Jonathan. First, we‘ve got DeMint trying to say that oh, O‘Donnell would have won it, if the Republicans weren‘t so nasty to her.
UYGUR: And he‘s also is now backing Joe Miller and sending money his way, even though it looks like he‘s going to lose to Murkowski. Is he trying to start a republican civil war?
ALTER: Well, no, I think that he‘s just an extremist who happens to now be kind of, you know, Jesse Helms‘ heir in the United States senate, but the difference is that he‘s a marketing guy. That‘s DeMint‘s background, so he‘s very effective at framing messages. You remember when he said, you know, health care will be Obama‘s waterloo. You know, he knows much better know that the Democrats how to drive a message. And this is very good news, generally, for Democrats, because if he can keep this threat to the GOP establishment alive and take them into 2012 as a party in a civil war, that helps Obama. Not as much as bringing down unemployment but it definitely gives him a leg up in 2012, if they‘re divided.
UYGUR: Jonathan, here‘s the thing I don‘t understand. What do they disagree on? I mean, I‘m serious, like the Tea Party guys.
ALTER: Not that much.
UYGUR: No, the Tea Party guys say, let‘s do tax cuts for the rich. The Republican Party says, let‘s do tax cuts for the rich. They say no regulation for the banks. The Republican Party says, no regulation for the banks. So what‘s the fight about?
ALTER: Well, you‘re right, that there‘s—there‘s, you know, not as much difference as you might imagine. Although, if you go back and look at, say, T.A.R.P., you know the wing nuts, the people on the extreme of the Republican Party, some of whom are now going to be committee chairman in the House, they were against T.A.R.P. The establishment, folks like John Boehner, were for T.A.R.P. going along with the Bush administration. So there are some, you know, big issues where they disagree, but I agree with you. It‘s like being, you know, 80 degrees to the right of center, versus 90 degrees to the right of center. There‘s not that many differences. Mostly difference of tone. You won‘t see the mainstream Republicans disengaging in you know, the big lie machine as Bill Press mentioned. You know, you‘re not going to see them just making stuff up.
UYGUR: Which Michele Bachmann just went along with so she did, yes.
ALTER: Which Michele Bachmann just did. So, you know, and there are some examples where DeMint and some of the others, maybe not in this case, but they work hand and glove with Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck. On the other hand, you just saw Mitch McConnell, at the Heritage Foundation the other day, he was saying, hey, I like Rush Limbaugh a lot better than, you know, Bob Reich, I think was his example on the left.
ALTER: So, no matter what kind of a republican you are, you‘re joined at the hip with Rush Limbaugh even when he‘s telling big fat ones on the air.
UYGUR: There you go. All right. Jonathan Alter, thank you so much for joining us.
ALTER: Yes, thanks Cenk.
UYGUR: All right. Now, one final page in the playbook tonight, get this one, Sarah Palin is complaining about the media invading her privacy. She was whining about it to the cameras recording her and her every move for her new reality TV series. Sarah, if you want privacy, don‘t invite a television camera into your bedroom and call it a reality show. To be fair, living room. Living room, OK?
Coming up, Michele Bachmann is still dazed and confused from election night. Radio show host Stephanie Miller will snap her out of it in the “Club Ed,” next.
UYGUR: If it‘s Friday, it‘s time for “Club Ed” with Stephanie Miller, nationally syndicated radio show host. Stephanie, what was that with Boehner crying on election night?
STEPHANIE MILLER, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Well, let me borrow a phrase Cenk, since Sharron Angle won‘t be needing it anymore. Man up, Boehner. Don‘t you just want that like drill sergeant therapist to throw a box of Kleenex at him like that guy from the commercial? I mean, men should only cry when something heavy falls on them, Cenk. I think we can all agree on that. Let me get this straight, in a country where half of us don‘t have jobs, he‘s crying of about jobs he had to do when he was a kid, oh for God‘s sakes. Don‘t cry all of your bronzer off, then you‘ll have something to cry about.
UYGUR: Yes. And by the way, he was crying about how he would clean up in his dad‘s bar. That means, his dad own the bar. It‘s not that bad. OK. Anyways, Stephanie, how about Christine O‘Donnell, she wasn‘t crying, she was partying when she lost.
MILLER: Yes, boy, it looks like she drank somebody under the satanic altar that night. Maybe, she didn‘t, along with not studying constitutional law, she also didn‘t study concession speeches, Cenk. What was the, hey we‘ve got the room and hors d‘oeuvres you guys, this will be great, whatever.
UYGUR: I didn‘t know they had hors d‘oeuvres, I would have shown up. All right. Now, how about Bachmann, what was going on with her with the hypnosis or something, what was that?
MILLER: Wow she‘s a special kind of bat blink crazy, isn‘t she, Cenk? If I were her, I would skip the hypnosis and go right to the electric shock. Maybe Christine O‘Donnell put a trance on her since she was mad that she won and she didn‘t, I don‘t know, who can tell.
UYGUR: She does look freaky. All right. How about Paladino? You talk about freaky. The guy comes in with a baseball bat. What‘s that about?
MILLER: Yes, I thought that was going to turn to that scene from The Godfather” if he lost by anymore points, he was going to start smashing some heads. Sadly, the San Francisco Giants don‘t want him either and neither do the voters of New York. So, I‘m not sure what he‘s doing with the bat, Cenk.
UYGUR: He said it, represents the people but they voted by a 27-point margin against him. So if anything, I guess the people wanted to use that bat on him, not Cuomo.
MILLER: Yes, I‘m with you.
UYGUR: All right. Thank you so much for joining us, Stephanie. We really appreciate it.
MILLER: Thanks, Cenk.
UYGUR: All right. Now, look. Tonight in our text survey, I asked you, do you have faith that President Obama will fight Boehner and the Republicans? And I was kind of split on it and it turns out, so were you. Forty nine percent say, yes, I hope they‘re right, but 51 percent said no.
Unfortunately, I probably agree with them. Depends on how hard he fights.
All right. I‘m Cenk Uygur. Thanks for watching. Ed Schultz is back on Monday. “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews starts right now.
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