updated 12/15/2010 11:51:07 AM ET 2010-12-15T16:51:07

Guests: Jeff Bingaman, Alan Grayson, Heidi Harris, Jack Rice, Karen

Hanretty, Kiki McLean, Lionel, Joan Walsh

ED SCHULTZ, MSNBC ANCHOR:  Good evening, Americans, and welcome to THE ED SHOW tonight from New York.

These stories are hitting “My Hot Buttons” and on the table at this hour. 

The Republicans have President Obama right where they want him.  I think this tax deal is really bad news for his re-election campaign, and so does Mitt Romney. 

My commentary on that, plus reaction from Senator Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico, who is against the deal. 

Now, here‘s one for you.  A group of wishy-washy Washington types, they want the righties and the lefties to come together.  So they started a No Labels group. 

Just how sweet is that?  What a bunch of garbage.  Here‘s what it really means—no conviction—no conviction whatsoever to see it through. 

I‘m going head-to-head with one of the founders of this group. 

And incoming Speaker is a weeper of the House.  Can you imagine if Nancy Pelosi had started just crying at the drop of a hat?  What do you think the right-wing talkers of America would have been saying about her? 

Joan Walsh and the Republicans, well, their big double standard, we‘re talking about that tonight. 

But this is the story that has me fired up tonight. 

At this hour, Harry Reid and his best friend, Mitch McConnell, are trying to hammer out a deal to bring the Obama tax compromise to a final vote in the Senate.  And they could get it done tonight on the floor.  We‘ll see. 

Now, the president and any other Democrat with their name on this deal, I think that they are walking themselves right into an election fight for their lives.  Republicans have set the Democrats up big-time on this whole thing. 

Now, I know where the Democratic senators are on this.  Most of them are saying, oh, we‘ve got to do it. 

If I‘m the last dog standing here, I just want the audience of THE ED SHOW to know I think that this is a crucial mistake.  The more I look at this, it‘s more of a hoodwink. 

The biggest names in the 2012 Republican field, you know what they‘re doing?  They are licking their chops, trying to tie President Obama to a $900 billion gamble.  They don‘t want it to work. 

Mike Huckabee, the first one out.  He‘s excited President Obama took the bait by extending the tax cuts for two years.  He told “The National Journal, “I was shocked it was just going to be two years and not three, because it puts this whole thing in the very center, the bull‘s-eye of 2012 presidential election.”

No kidding. 

Sarah Palin, she may have gotten this one right.  She slammed the president from the Republicans on the tax compromise.  She did it on Twitter.  That‘s her vehicle.

America‘s biggest political empty suit tweeted this: “Obviously Obama is so very, very wrong on the economy and spends GOP tax cut goals.  So fiscal conservatives, we expect you to fight for us.” 

Now, that‘s about as deep as she‘s going to get on anything. 

Now, here comes “The Mittster.”  Mitt Romney was a little more detailed in an op-ed in “USA Today.”

Romney‘s opinion piece titled “Why the Tax Cut is a Bad Deal.”  He writes, “Death and taxes, it is said, are life‘s only two certainties.  But in the wake of President Obama‘s tax compromise with congressional Republicans, only death retains the status of certainty.” He goes on to say, “The deal keeps current tax rates from rising to pre-Bush era levels for two years.  But in 2013, unless Congress acts again, the rates will increase dramatically.”

All right. 

Now, to me, it‘s pretty clear.  The righties will put the tax issue right on President Obama‘s desk in the 2012 run-up to the re-election. 

The president will constantly be on the defensive.  And I guarantee you, Republicans will never let—they will never let the tax cuts for the top two percent expire.  And watch them come up with some special argument on the Social Security reduction tax.  They‘re going to say, oh, we can‘t let this go back to 2010 levels. 

It was just one week ago today that President Obama, he didn‘t sound too worried about taking the fight to the Republicans on this issue in 2012. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  I know there are some who would have preferred a protracted political fight even if it had meant higher taxes for all Americans, even if it had meant an end to unemployment insurance for those who are desperately looking for work.  And I understand the desire for a fight.  I‘m sympathetic to that.

I‘m as a posed to the high-end tax cuts today as I have been for years.  In the long run, we can‘t afford them.  And when they expire in two years, I will fight to end them, just as I suspect the Republican Party may fight to end the middle class tax cuts that I‘ve championed and that they‘ve opposed. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  And, of course, a lot of Democrats are wondering, please define the word “fight.” 

I‘ll tell you what, I hope he‘s right on this.  I want to be wrong on this.  I‘ve never wanted to be so wrong on something in my life.  This has to work. 

But I think the Republicans have hoodwinked the president on this one.  I‘m not saying the president‘s not smart.  I‘m just saying that he is really underestimating his political power. 

Let these tax cuts, let this legislation expire.  Let‘s go fight them on an even playing field where there‘s nobody being held hostage, where there‘s no dictation coming from Mitch McConnell and the righties.  And let‘s find out who really cares about the middle class in this country. 

Isn‘t being in the Senate all about guts?  I mean, I am shocked today. 

This came across my desk.  This is a release from Minnesota Senator Al Franken.  Al Franken, you know, the liberal talker from Air America.  Hell, they even got him hoodwinked. 

He says this: “A lot of people are unhappy that the president punted on first down.  And I‘m one of them.  Extending the Bush tax breaks for the super wealthy will explode our deficit over the next two years without doing anything to help our economy.  It‘s bad policy.”

But he‘s going to vote for it.  The liberal talker from Air America is even caving in. 

I mean, what is it about Washington?  This is about conviction. 

If it‘s about the treasury, and if it‘s about the future generations, you know what?  I don‘t want to hear any Democrats in the next two years go out there on the campaign trail and say, you know, we‘re really worried about the grandkids. 

Now, I know the president desperately wants to help the unemployed during this holiday season, but this compromise, it‘s not worth it.  If Mitt Romney can beat President Obama with this tax cut issue, it will fundamentally change unemployment benefits for years to come. 

Why?  Because he wants to privatize unemployment.  Romney goes on to write, “We need a very different model, perhaps establishing individual unemployment savings accounts over which employees would exercise direct control when they lose their jobs.”

Oh, Mittster, you‘re speaking like a true millionaire tonight, buddy. 

Everybody‘s got control when they lose their job, right, Mitt? 

Is that correct?  Oh, it‘s correct.  You heard me right. 

He wants to privatize your unemployment insurance.  This is about the dumbest idea I think I‘ve ever heard.  I mean, this takes us to where Bush was.  What do you say we privatize Social Security? 

You know what would have happened if we privatized Social Security?  Anybody pay attention to what happened to the market in late 2008 and early 2009?  If Romney gets his way, and if he can get a portion of your paycheck that would go to Wall Street, go to some fund that could go belly up at any time, then the government wouldn‘t be on the hook for anything.  And that‘s just what they want. 

If you think Republicans are cruel about unemployment benefits now, wait until you see what the corporate suits are going to do if this ever goes through. 

Now, only 13 senators were brave enough to vote against this gamble on Monday.  I hope more of them see the light tonight before they sign on to this package. 

The Republicans are on a mission to destroy the New Deal, and I guess you have got to be an old goat to know what the New Deal is.  It takes us back to FDR, it takes us back to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid.  You know, all those ‘40s, ‘50s and ‘60s generational changes that we made to protect Americans that couldn‘t provide for themselves. 

The Republicans, they want to get rid of all of that.  That‘s what this is.  This tax compromise—and that‘s what they want to call it—it‘s a cave-in—this could be the beginning of the end of entitlements as we know it, because this is what the Republicans have wanted all along. 

Now, if they can get Al Franken from Minnesota, I‘ll tell you what, they can get anybody.  Of course, Al comes back and talks about how it‘s going to help the economy and struggling families and all that kind of stuff. 

Let me tell you something.  If our economy—if we as a country can‘t pay our bills, if this fails, we‘re not going to be talking about helping just a few Americans.  We‘re going to be talking about helping multimillion numbers of Americans, because that‘s how many Americans are going to be in despair.  If this country can‘t pay its bills, if we all want to go to the country club all the time, if we don‘t have the conviction to stand up and say it‘s time to pay the bar tab, just tell me, when are we going to do that? 

Yes, I‘m fired up about this.  I do have grandkids.  And I do believe that we are screwing them big-time by saying, well, we have got to help the economy right now. 

Face it, this generation can‘t sacrifice.  It‘s not in our soul, it‘s not in our bones.  We just can‘t serve it up. 

We‘re afraid—we‘re afraid to sacrifice.  We‘re afraid to turn to multimillionaires and say you‘ve got to do more for the country right now. 

Can we revisit this in one year?  Can we just revisit this in one year?  Come on, Democrats. 

And I‘ve had some people say to me, “You know, Eddie, you‘ve got to let it go.”  “You know, Eddie, we‘ve got to get past this.” 

You know what?  Until that vote is cast, I‘m not giving up on this, because I think it is morally wrong. 

Tell me what you think in our telephone survey.  The number to dial is 1-877-ED-MSNBC. 

Tonight‘s question is: Do you think President Obama‘s tax cut compromise will hurt his re-election chances?  Press the number 1 for yes, number 2 for no.  We‘ll bring you the results later on in the show. 

Joining me now is Senator Bingaman of New Mexico.  He voted against advancing this tax deal.

Senator, good to have you with us tonight. 

SEN. JEFF BINGAMAN (D), NEW MEXICO:  Good to be with you, Ed. 

SCHULTZ:  Is this a bad deal for America? 

BINGAMAN:  Well, I think on—I judged it on two fronts.  One is, does it help dig us out of this economic recession?  And I thing on that count, it‘s reasonably acceptable.  On the count of reducing the deficit, or getting us in a position to reduce the deficit in future years, I don‘t think it is acceptable, and so I voted against it on that basis. 

SCHULTZ:  And will you vote against it tonight when the vote takes place? 

BINGAMAN:  Well, I will.  I‘m not sure if the vote will be tonight or tomorrow, but whenever it occurs, I will not plan to support it. 

SCHULTZ:  What are Democrats afraid of?  The Democrats have gone out on the campaign trail the last two election cycles and talked about the fiscal responsibility that we need in this country.  And here we are.  We‘re at the defining moment. 

Senator, in your opinion, what are Democrats afraid of? 

BINGAMAN:  Well, I don‘t know what anyone‘s afraid of.  I do think that there‘s a concern which economists have expressed, and a lot of economists have expressed, about allowing a lot of folks who have unemployment benefits now to lose those, about allowing folks‘ taxes to go up on 98 percent of the American public. 

All of that happening while the economy is still struggling to recover.  So I think that—I think there are credible economists who say some kind of package of provisions to keep those economic stimulus—

SCHULTZ:  Sure. 

BINGAMAN:  -- items in place is needed. 

SCHULTZ:  And Senator, we‘re going to be right back here in two years.  Do you agree with Mitt Romney?  We‘re going to be right back here in two years talking about this. 

It‘s going to be on the president‘s desk.  We‘re going to hear the same arguments—well, there‘s economists out there that say that we‘ve got to do this, the same ones we listened to the last time. 

What do you think? 

BINGAMAN:  No.  I think, clearly, in two years, the debate will be joined again.  There‘s no doubt about it.  The way this is proposed, we‘re going to have this set of tax provisions extended, these Bush tax cuts all extended for two years, then they all expire again.  So we‘ll be right back in the debate. 

SCHULTZ:  And Senator, are you confident that the Republicans will step up in two years and say it‘s time to go back to the old rate on Social Security, at 6.2 percent? 

BINGAMAN:  Frankly, I‘m not sure what they‘ll say on the issues of the tax on Social Security.  I do think that a lot of them are very wedded to the whole idea of the Bush tax cuts. 

When we adopted the Bush tax cuts in 2001, I voted against that.  I spoke against it.  I didn‘t think we could afford to do what we did at that time. 

It was going to reduce revenue too much and run up our deficits.  And I think we‘re still in that circumstance, and maybe the circumstance is even worse. 

SCHULTZ:  And finally, Senator—and thanks for joining us tonight—if this doesn‘t work, how severe a position will we be in as a country?  If this doesn‘t work, if we do the $900 billion over two years, if we come back and we‘re sitting here two years from tonight and we‘re in the same spot, now what? 

BINGAMAN:  Well, clearly, we have to put in place—if we‘re not doing it now, we have got to do it in two years.  We have to put in place a plan both for revenues and spending that will begin to bring down deficits.  And that‘s—everybody has his or her own opinion as to whether we‘ll have the courage to do that. 

SCHULTZ:  Senator Bingaman, I appreciate your time tonight.  Thanks so much. 

BINGAMAN:  Good to be with you. 

SCHULTZ:  Coming up, “The Beckster” loves to talk about fiscal responsibility, but he‘s gone missing in action on the $900 billion tax deal.  We‘re calling him out. 

And the Tea Party hypocrites in “The Battleground” story tonight. 

Where‘s the march?  Where‘s the protest? 

Oh, there he is again, the weeper in House.  I mean, John Boehner can‘t keep it together.  What if Nancy Pelosi looked like this on a daily basis?  She would have been ripped to shreds by the righty talkers of America. 

Joan Walsh sounds off on that.

Plus, disturbing new information about the judge trying to derail health care reform. 

And I‘ll tell you what politicians could learn from Brett Favre.  That‘s right.  They should have played him last night.  He would have at least got a touchdown. 

Way to go, Giants. 

You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC.  We‘re right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW, and thanks for watching tonight. 

Folks, it is a fight for the finish on this bad tax gamble.  Some House members are standing strong on principle. 

Speaker Pelosi is furious about the compromise, especially the estate tax giveaway that would let more than 40,000 millionaires and multimillionaires totally off the hook. 

This is the travesty in this whole deal.  But Senate leaders are threatening that any changes to the bill could kill the whole deal. 

And I think Speaker Pelosi is between a rock and a hard place, because this basically is what the president wants.  I mean, he is staking his presidency on this.  If he can‘t get this deal done, where does it leave him? 

And of course, she doesn‘t want to be the one to blow the thing up. 

Or does she? 

The House passed a resolution a week ago not to bring the bill to the floor without changes.  So where are all the changes?  Where are they?  What are they? 

The situation is fluid, and it‘s not clear exactly how all of this is going to play out. 

For the latest, let‘s bring in Florida Congressman Alan Grayson. 

Congressman, good to have you with us tonight. 

REP. ALAN GRAYSON (D), FLORIDA:  Thank you, Ed. 

SCHULTZ:  Your prediction?  What will Nancy Pelosi do?  I mean, is there any chance that she would not bring it to the floor? 

GRAYSON:  Well, of course.  That‘s what we voted for as a caucus, and that‘s our position. 

There‘s been no material change in the bill.  There‘s nothing significant that‘s been changed.  And frankly, we are getting the bum rush.  That‘s what this is. 

This is a bill that spends a trillion dollars.  That‘s $3,000 for every man, woman and child in this country. 

A couple of weeks ago I bought a big-screen TV for $1,500.  It‘s my first one in about five years.  And I spent more than two hours trying to figure out which was the best big-screen TV to buy, because $1,500 is a significant expenditure. 

Here we‘re talking about $1 trillion, $3,000 for every single one of us.  And it‘s being forced through without a hearing, without a markup, without even a study of its economic effects.  This is the bum rush, and I‘m not happy about it. 

SCHULTZ:  The PR game seems to be working.  Even 68 percent of Democrats across the country want this. 

Do you believe these polls?  I mean, the last week, Monday through Friday of last week, President Obama, he was on a roll.  He was talking to the media, he was holding press conferences, he was making statements, he was going to the press room.  That had an effect. 

Do you think the public is really behind what you just said? 

GRAYSON:  I don‘t think the public knows what‘s in the bill.  You know, we‘ve heard over and over again for the past two years, read the bill, read the bill. 

Where is the bill?  How are we supposed to know what‘s even in it? 

What I‘ve learned from it is that one-third of this bill which corresponds to $1,000 for every man, woman and child in this country, one-third of the bill consists of two things.  The first thing is tax cuts for the rich and the second thing is corporate giveaways. 

I don‘t think that‘s a good bill.  Do you? 

SCHULTZ:  I don‘t.  And I don‘t want this to go through.  I think it‘s a generational mistake. 

I think the Democrats will never be trusted with the economy again if this doesn‘t work.  This has to work.  And the story about Moody‘s talking about the credit rating in the United States, I mean, is anybody in Congress paying attention to the news? 

GRAYSON:  Well, sure.  And people in Congress are paying attention to the bill as well, this proposal.  And I think that there is a division of authority.  There‘s a split of views inside the Democratic Caucus about this bill. 

SCHULTZ:  Yes. 

GRAYSON:  I‘d say that half of us think that the bill is the president punting on first down, and the other half of us think it‘s the president striking out on one pitch. 

SCHULTZ:  All right. 

The estate tax—

GRAYSON:  There are only five people in the Democratic Caucus so far -

five people in the Democratic Caucus who have praised this in our caucus meetings. 

SCHULTZ:  OK.  So, the estate tax, could this be the deal-killer?  You know, by law, it was supposed to go to $1 million, at 55 percent.  Now, of course, the Senate moved it to $5 million and 35 percent. 

Will this be the linchpin in this to kill this deal? 

GRAYSON:  I would like to see the president come out and reiterate that he doesn‘t think that it‘s the best use of $150 billion for us to be cutting taxes on the rich.  I‘d like to see him reiterate that, and that includes the estate tax giveaway. 

Maybe if he did say that, he could push the Republicans a little bit further.  Bear in mind that we‘ve already passed an estate tax bill.  We‘ve already passed a tax cut bill here in the House.  We‘d be happy to go to conference and try to bridge the differences between the House and the Senate. 

And the president could have gotten our bills passed if he had just gotten two Republican senators—two Republican senators -s- to go along with this bill.  Instead, he has got all the Republican senators to go along with the bill because it gives away too much for the Democrats. 

SCHULTZ:  Congressman Grayson, good to have you with us.  Thanks so much.

GRAYSON:  Thank you.

SCHULTZ:  Telling it like it is again. 

Coming up, Bill O‘Reilly‘s good pal Bernie Goldberg wants a monument built to rich people.  He thinks they‘re all heroes. 

Well, we‘re busting his chops in “The Zone” coming up next.  Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  And in “Psycho Talk” tonight, Bill O‘Reilly‘s good old buddy Bernie Goldberg. 

Mike, have we had “The Bernster” in this segment yet?  I don‘t think so.

He‘s a new guy in “The Zone.”  He‘s fighting a delusional battle to get a very special monument built in Washington, D.C.  He‘s concerned a particular group of Americans are being overlooked. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BERNIE GOLDBERG, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR:  I suggest that we build a big bronze and granite monument, a statue to honor some truly American heroes, unsung American heroes.  And those heroes—and this is where the drum roll would normally come in—are the rich. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(LAUGHTER)

SCHULTZ:  Leave it to a rich guy on Fox News to come up with garbage like that.  Bernie seems to think that the rich are getting the short end of the stick in this country.  Not enough credit. 

He doubled down on his one-man crusade to honor the rich on “The O‘Reilly Factor” last night. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOLDBERG:  We need to build a beautiful granite and bronze monument in our nation‘s capital to honor American heroes, unsung American heroes.  And those unsung American heroes are the rich. 

Now, I said that half tongue-in-cheek.  OK?  But the absolute serious part was that, try to imagine an America without rich people.  They pay a disproportionate amount for all sorts of things that help poor people.  They don‘t need to be vilified the way they are by the left in America today. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Bernie wants us to feel bad about vilifying rich people while he‘s riding high on the hog in Miami? 

Now, they don‘t deserve my sympathy or yours.  We bailed out the Wall Street bankers.  Then we let the CEOs get away with massive golden parachutes.  And now we‘re about to spend billions more on a tax cut for the rich because Bernie‘s crowd says they‘re going to go out and create jobs. 

For Bernie Goldberg to say that the top two-percenters are the unsung heroes of this country and they deserve a statue and a monument built to them in their honor is monumental “Psycho Talk.” 

Coming up, remember all these crowds?  Oh, they were fantastic, rallying against spending and the deficit. 

Well, I want to know where the heck these Tea Partiers are now with this tax cut deal.  What a bunch of hypocrites. 

I‘m going to go head-to-head with radio talk show host Heidi Harris on this issue. 

The skeletons are flying out of this man‘s closet.  The Bush-appointed judge thinks President Obama‘s health care law is unconstitutional.  Well, you won‘t believe what I dug up on this fraud. 

Plus, Carl Levin thinks President Obama is not fighting hard enough. 

And I‘ve got a message for the fence-sitting No Labels folks.  Yes, that crew is coming up in “The Playbook.”

You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC.

Stay with us.  We‘re right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.  The “Battleground” story tonight, where is the Tea Party outrage against this tax cut deal?  Where the heck are they?  I mean, I thought they were deficit hawks.  I mean, the tax cut deal is going to cost $900 billion.  I mean, we‘re going to have to borrow over $400 billion from China to do this deal and we‘re learning today it‘s going to tank the country‘s credit rating.  Isn‘t that exciting?  Moody says, quote, “The package will be credit negative for the United States and increase the likelihood of the negative outlook on the U.S.  government‘s AAA rating during the next two years.”  So, I want to know, where‘s the Tea Party outrage?

Their silence is deafening, isn‘t it?  Where are the marches?  Where are the rallies?  You know, come to think of it, where the heck is Glenn Beck on this?  I mean, this is what it used to look like when the rally was against spending.  But folks, take a look at this.  Here‘s the mall.  Here‘s what it looked like today.  Son of a gun, isn‘t anybody there.  Nearly empty.  No effect to, no effort whatsoever to restore honor to the United States treasury, with some real credibility and integrity and accounting for this country.  No Tea Party march on Washington.  I was just amazed.  In fact, the Tea Party claimed to be populist, but populist don‘t support tax to giveaways to the rich, do they?  It looks to me like they‘re just pawns for the republican establishments. 

Joining me is radio talk show host Heidi Harris.  Heidi, good to have you with us tonight.  

HEIDI HARRIS, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  Thanks.  

SCHULTZ:  You and me one-on-one here now.  Be an honest broker.  

HARRIS:  OK.  

SCHULTZ:  Where are all of those Tea Partiers who were down there in Nevada who were working over Harry Reid saying, he‘s just absolutely overseen the worst spending we‘ve ever seen in this country‘s history with the stimulus package that wasn‘t working?  I mean, not a word.  What about that, Heidi?

HARRIS:  Well, you think they‘d be more upset.  I‘m upset about it but I guess part of the problem is, first of all, maybe the Tea Party is not as organized now as they were in November.  No, but people are still upset.  But here‘s the second thing, the details of this tax package keep trickling through.  And I know that anybody knows what the final thing it‘s going to be until it‘s actually voted on.  And that‘s part of the issue too, I believe.  

SCHULTZ:  It is part of the issue. 

HARRIS:  Yes.

SCHULTZ:  It‘s stealth in the night so to speak.  It just seems to me that the Tea Party, as much media coverage as they got, as much as they can garnish the camera time from just about any righty in this country, as much as the fact that they were all over every right wing talk show in America, all of a sudden their silence is  deafening.  I mean, come on, you can‘t have it both ways.  I mean, I‘m kind of counting on the Tea Party to step up and ask some tough questions.  Because it‘s $900 billion.  Now, you wouldn‘t think that they‘re part of the republican establishment just hoping to hoodwink the American people that Obama would fail on this and it would set up 2012.  What about that?

HARRIS:  Well, it‘s interesting.  I don‘t want to see the country fail.  I know, there are people who say they don‘t want when the Republicans take over the majority in Congress, they don‘t want to do too much that will make Obama look good.  I don‘t agree with that.  I want the country to do as well as possible.  But, you know, come on, Mr. Scrooge, it‘s the Christmas season.  A lot of people out there Christmas shopping, spending time with family and maybe they‘re just focus on something more important.  

SCHULTZ:  You know what Heidi, you bring up a great point.  It is the holiday season.  And I want to do something for the unemployed folks.  No question about it.  But I really do believe that President Obama and the Democrats have the political capital that they could make any real good Valentine‘s Day, just 45 days into the year.  And I think they‘re making a crucial mistake here.  Now, you and I we‘re talkers.  We hear people talk.  The easiest thing in Washington is to go get a tax cut.  The hard thing is to be fiscally responsible.  Who are the winners?  Who are the losers on this deal?

HARRIS:  I‘d like to see them be fiscally responsible.  I think the losers on this deal are the Democrats because you guys on the left really wanted to see the rich pay more money.  And you‘re not getting what you wanted.  And let‘s not forget, you still have the majority.  So, you guys lose.  The Republicans, they win.  And the American public wins.  Because here‘s the deal, I work for people with more money than I have.  I want a raise next year.  I‘m not going to get it if you tax my bosses, the people who own my company more highly or you or anybody else.  It doesn‘t benefit America to stick it to the most productive members of society.  Most Americans see that.  

SCHULTZ:  You know, Heidi, you know, we‘ve been playing golf at the Country Club too long and somebody slipped out the back door and didn‘t pay the bar bill and we just can‘t do this generation after generation.  We have to be honest in our accounting.  Sooner or later, there‘s going to have to be a generation of Americans who step up and say, we have to fix these fiscal mistakes.  I mean, what the hell, I‘m still waiting for Iraqi oil to pay for what we did over there. 

HARRIS:  OK, listen, I agree.  But when you‘re talking about fiscal sanity, you can‘t continue to give people unemployment for the next what, two years, three years, five years, how long do you extend it, and then complain that we‘re not being fiscally responsible.  We spent up to $45 million a week in Nevada on unemployment.  We can‘t afford this.  We‘re going under like every other state. 

SCHULTZ:  So, you think that this tax package of $900 billion is going to change all the rich people‘s thinking in your state of Nevada and doggone it, they‘re going to go out and start hiring people?  You know what the problem is, And I don‘t mean to get off track here, we have to start making stuff again in this country.  If we don‘t—we can manufacture our way out of this valley.  

HARRIS:  Absolutely.  

SCHULTZ:  We can do that.  But if we‘re not going to make anything, we‘re not going to go anywhere.  Heidi, you‘re a good sport.  Good to have you with us tonight.  

HARRIS:  Thanks, Ed.  I appreciate it.

SCHULTZ:  Thanks so much.  Now, let‘s get some rapid fire response from our panel on these stories.  There is some major dirt on this Bush appointed judge who ruled health care reform as unconstitutional.  It turns out, he owns part of a republican consulting firm that tried to take down the bill.  Son of a gun. 

And is President Obama afraid of a fight?  Democratic Senator Carl Levin says, the president has to be—has been unwilling to fight hard for the things that he campaigned on.  Wow. 

With us tonight, Jack Rice, criminal defense attorney.  And also, Karen Hanretty, republican strategist.  Great to have both of you with us tonight. 

All right.  I‘ll lead both of your comment on this.  Let‘s see, the judge was on the payroll for a republican lobbying firm that tried to take down the health care bill.  Wow.  That‘s a mouthful, Jack Rice.  What do you think?

JACK RICE, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY:  You‘re absolutely right, Ed.  I mean, I look at this.  Look, as a criminal defense attorney, I was in court today and I‘m arguing various things.  I understand advocacy.  I‘m a former prosecutor myself.  And yet, at the same time, the last thing I want is a judge who‘s already decided the direction that they‘re going.  This judge should have removed himself.  I know that there are people saying, oh my gosh, it‘s going to change everything.  There‘ve already been multiple cases where they have found this constitutional.  In this particular case, I see a real question on whether or not this judge has so much bias, he couldn‘t possibly have decided the case, not appropriately, but he couldn‘t have possibly chosen the case without actually having his own personal benefit at issue. 

SCHULTZ:  What do you think, Karen?

KAREN HANRETTY, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST:  OK.  First of all, I‘d love to know how it benefits him to kill the health care bill.  Actually, he would make more money if he ruled that yes, you can keep the health care bill.  Let this campaign organization continue to raise money off of the issue.  Push it to the Supreme Court.  You know, the conflict of interest, you have to go back, you‘re going to have to look at what is the full body of his work over the tenure of his being a judge and has he ever shown instances of, you know,  being biased, not ruling according to the law and.

SCHULTZ:  You mean, Karen, that you would.

HANRETTY:  This is something that you guys—no, Ed.      

SCHULTZ:  Well, no, it‘s not you guys.  Wait a minute.  

HANRETTY:  This is an opportunity for you on the left to try to, I think dis-way the president from actually sending this to the Supreme Court.  Just let the Supreme Court decide.  

SCHULTZ:  Karen, if you were in the courtroom and you were involved in some situation, and the ruling was awfully big to you, would you feel good about knowing that the judge has got an ideology?  Would you feel good that there‘s some documentation about him. 

(CROSSTALK)

HANRETTY:  You‘re saying that no judges on the left have any ideology?  They‘re saying that no judges on the Ninth Circuit Supreme Court have any ideologies?  Is that what you‘re saying, Ed?

(CROSSTALK)

SCHULTZ:  I‘m talking about this ruling, I‘m talking about this judge.  

HANRETTY:  No.  You‘re saying that no judges have any ideological bias, first of all.  

(CROSSTALK)

SCHULTZ:  I say, it‘s your party that has repeatedly talked about activist judges.  Do you think this is an activist judge?  Fair question?

HANRETTY:  No, I don‘t think it‘s activist.  And I do think it is absolutely.  

SCHULTZ:  Wait a second.  

HANRETTY:  No, look, why don‘t you just look at the facts of the case and let‘s have a discussion about, you know, whether or not the federal government.

RICE:  Let‘s talk about the facts of the case.  

HANRETTY: .can determine whether or not they can force people across the United States to purchase something that they don‘t want to purchase. 

SCHULTZ:  I can understand.

RICE:  It‘s a fascinating thing to me.  It‘s a very same arguments, Ed, that I heard about Social Security and Medicare.  It‘s the same sort of.  

(CROSSTALK)

HANRETTY:  You don‘t purchase Social Security.  

RICE:  It‘s exactly the same.  And by the way, this very same judge said, you know what, we‘re going to be arguing this case until 2014 anyway.  Trust me, he‘s going to make enough money on this either way.  So will he benefit from this?  Without question.  I don‘t doubt that.  Frankly, if I have a judge who I think is bias, he should remove himself under these circumstances.  It‘s what I would expect when I walk into court today and when I walk into court tomorrow. 

HANRETTY:  What‘s the Obama administration going to do?  Is the Obama administration going to say, look, let‘s send this—we can appeal this, they can appeal this, you‘re right, for the next two years or they  can settle it once and for all and send it to the Supreme Court.  

SCHULTZ:  Well, they‘ll probably send it to the Supreme Court.  It‘s not a big key element of the health care bill, in my opinion, because the insurance companies. 

HANRETTY:  It‘s actually a huge part of the health care bill.  

SCHULTZ:  No, it‘s not.  

HANRETTY:  No, it is, Ed.  And you know what, you‘re lying to your viewers. 

SCHULTZ:  Well, I‘m not lying.  Wait a minute, now, don‘t call me a liar here on my own show here.  

HANRETTY:  No.  You are absolutely—you‘re absolutely giving the wrong impression to your viewers.  

SCHULTZ:  Karen, I‘m not going to take that, all right?  You‘re going into the gutter.  

HANRETTY:  If you don‘t have a mandate. 

SCHULTZ:  Karen, you telling me you know more about health care than I do?

HANRETTY:  Yes.  I probably do.  Sure.  

SCHULTZ:  No, you don‘t, you don‘t know.  Let me straighten that out.  

HANRETTY:  All right.  I don‘t know more than the guy on the radio.  You‘re right.  I forgot, you‘re the health care expert because you‘re on the radio.  

SCHULTZ:  I want to be very clear about this.  The president has never gone around saying that you got to have a mandate.  This was a controversial issue.  The fact of the matter is, one of the things that the Democrats definitely want is to get as many people covered as they possibly can.  Now, if this provision is struck down, it will change the CBO forecast because maybe not as many people will be in it.  But to say that it is key, no, it has nothing to do with pre-existing condition, it has nothing to do with an insurance company saying that we‘re going to drop you because you got sick.  Those are the two big things.  It has nothing to do with young kids going on their parents‘ policy until the age of 26.  Those are the three big things in the health care bill.  

All right.  Coming up, I‘m taking on a group trying to bring Republicans and Democrats together.  They think Washington is just too partisan.  Well, I think they‘re a bunch of fence sitters.  You don‘t get anything done if you‘re a fence rider.  

And some say the tan man‘s crying shows his softer side.  But I think it‘s a complete double standard.  Show you what happened, what Nancy Pelosi, what would happen if her if she had lost control?  Stay with us.  We‘re right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  And it‘s not too late to let us know what you think.  The number to dial is 1-877-ed-msnbc.  Tonight‘s telephone survey question is, do you think President Obama‘s tax cuts compromise will hurt his re-election chances?  Press the number one for yes, press the number two for no.  Again, the number to dial is 1-877-ed-msnbc.  We‘re right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  And in my “Playbook” tonight, a new bipartisan group called no labels is trying to bridge the divide between right and left in Washington.  They say they want to work for more civil discourse in Washington, but they won‘t take specific policy positions.  These guys should be called in my opinion, the fence riding society.  And there is no place for fence riders who refuse to stand up to protect folks without a voice.  We went through eight years of absolutes with George W. Bush, but now liberals have some power in Washington and all of a sudden, gosh, we‘re just too partisan.

What is their position on the 40 million people who don‘t have health care in this country?  Where do they stand on shipping jobs overseas or a war in Afghanistan, or gays in the military?  Getting along is great, but it doesn‘t get things done for working men and women, and oh by the way, where do they stand on the employee free choice act?

Joining me now is one of the founders of the group, Kiki McLean; she served as a senior advisor to Hillary Clinton in her 2008 presidential campaign.  Ms. McLean, good to have you with us tonight. 

KIKI MCLEAN, FMR. CLINTON CAMPAIGN ADVISOR:  Ed, call me Kiki.  Call me Kiki, we can be civil... 

SCHULTZ:  OK.  All right.  What—how are you supposed to work with the Senate that says, no to everything and then come back and say, hey, let‘s work together and we have too much rhetoric?

MCLEAN:  What I want is for people to start with what they have in common, so that if there‘s a chance for a solution, Ed, we get it.  Listen, the better part of my adult life has been dedicated to the work I‘ve done as a democrat on campaigns, on issues, in protest and advocacy.  But where we are now is just a dead end stalemate on everything.  Because everybody‘s trying to win the moment.  Look at the conversation you just had with Karen Hanretty.  I mean, I‘m not suggesting that we need to always say please and thank you, although I tell my children to do that. 

And there will be days that my colleagues in No Labels Mark McKennen (ph), a republican or John Avlon, an independent.  And I may draw a line and we may have a good old fight.  But here‘s the deal, when we have seen the biggest best most profound and moral change in our country, something like the civil rights bill, right?  Lyndon Johnson didn‘t do that by himself.  I‘d love to give them all the credit.  But it took a republican Everett Dirksen from Illinois to spend a lot of his own capital that.

SCHULTZ:  But Kinky, you‘re dealing with an ideology, and by the way, I was totally correct in that last argument.  We‘re dealing with an ideology that they want to defeat President Obama.  And President Obama won what, nine Bush states and then they come in and say no to everything.  So we‘re not nice enough to the Republicans?

MCLEAN:  No, that‘s not what I‘m saying as a democrat.  I‘m saying as a democrat that I want to give our elected leaders whether they‘re in Congress or the city council, the room to find the solution.  If we start the day by calling each other liars, if we start the day by calling each other baby killers, murderers, racists, we don‘t even get to the topic of the substance.  Here‘s the deal.  For most of my adult life, I‘ve been willing to look up and say, when we lost an election, oh, what the heck, we‘ll get them next time.  

SCHULTZ:  We‘ll go tell that to the Republicans. 

MCLEAN:  I am.  

SCHULTZ:  They lost in 2008 when they were obstructionists throughout. 

MCLEAN:  Ed, there were Republicans with me in New York.  There are Republicans and Independents involved in this.  That‘s the point.  This is not about being not a democrat or republican.

SCHULTZ:  And so, the republicans that you were with respect.

MCLEAN:  Ed, let me. 

SCHULTZ:  Wait a minute.  No, but the Republicans that you were with were saying that the Senate Republicans were wrong for their obstruction?

MCLEAN:  The Republicans that are with me agree that the hyper partisanship on both ends of the spectrum is out of control and it is limiting our ability to do the things you care about.  Get our families insured.  Make sure our kids get the best education.  Most importantly, get this economy up and going.  I support what our president has done here.  I know you don‘t.  I believe we have to move forward.  

SCHULTZ:  Look, I do support what the president has done, I just wish he had fought a little bit harder.  But I think this is a pipe dream.  And I think Kiki, you‘re never going to get anything done being a fence rider.  Good to have you with us tonight.  

MCLEAN:  I‘m not a fence rider, Ed.  I believe in the future of America.  

SCHULTZ:  OK.  So, the Democratic Party platform was universal health care, we just didn‘t fight for that?  Kiki, we will do this again.  I appreciate your time tonight.  

MCLEAN:  OK.  We‘ll have to do this again.

SCHULTZ:  Let‘s go to Lionel from Lionel media, he‘s also a New York Pix 11 news commentator.  Let‘s get along big guy.  What do you think, huh?

LIONEL, NY PIX 11 NEWS COMMENTATOR:  Ed, with all due respect, I love the idea of civility.  But imagine a No Labels rally.  Imagine somebody running for office under the No Labels credo.  I will fight for you provided they don‘t fight back.  If they do fight back, I will respectfully decline and back off because I don‘t want to be rancorous or not civil.  You know, Ed, did you notice the people who were involved in this No Labels group?  Mayor Bloomberg, you got Charlie Crist and Joe Lieberman.  Now, between them they cover, like, nine different parties in the course of their historical or their political history. 

They change their minds constantly.  Right now this is a rancorous, this is an uncivil world that we live in.  These issues, Ed, with all due respect to Kiki, I love that aberration.  Whether you‘re left or right.  If I went to John Boehner and Nancy Pelosi and said, now, listen, I want you two to find one issue that we agree on that we can start.  They‘d say, nothing.  OK?  There we go.  So I don‘t know where this common ground is.  Right now, we have unfortunately, Ed, a group, a country that is ravaged by torpor.  We‘re walking around zombified.  Constantly, we don‘t hardly vote.  

SCHULTZ:  Lionel.

LIONEL:  And the last thing in the world is to tell them, come down. 

SCHULTZ:  We will do it again, my friend.  You‘re spot-on in my opinion.

Final page in the playbook tonight, Brett Favre‘s 297 consecutive starts record came to an end last night.  This is a remarkable record.  Ron Jaworski previously held it but Favre passed him 11 years ago.  I wonder if Congress could work 297 consecutive Sundays.  I don‘t think so.  Congrats Brett Favre.  What a heck of a career.  I hope you come back next year.  

Coming up, everyone is talking about the weeper of the House, John Boehner and about the double standard, the righties have for Nancy Pelosi.  Joan Walsh, salon.com sounds off next.  Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Finally tonight, the tan man John Boehner is becoming the weeper of the House.  And he says, he breaks down so often because he‘s just an emotional guy.  Living the American dream.  Folks, think about this.  If Nancy Pelosi had broken down over and over when she was about to become speaker, do you think the right wing talkers of America would have gone nuts on that?  The righties would have just taking part on talk radio and on the cables.

For more, let‘s bring in Joan Walsh, editor-in-chief, large at Salon.com.  Are there comparisons unfairly drawn here in your opinion?

JOAN WALSH, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, SALON.COM:  Oh, yes.  I mean, look, Nancy Pelosi did not break down repeatedly unlike speaker—soon to be Speaker Boehner, I guess.  It‘s a done deal.  But you know, she did tear up once about a year ago, Ed, and she was talking about how the climate and the rhetoric of  intimidation around the Tea Party made her think about the murders of Mayor Moscone and Supervisor Milk here in San Francisco.  That was something real.  You can say maybe, the comparison you don‘t agree with, but those murders were tragedies and she was remembering them.  And people, they‘re still very—they cut a hole in San Francisco liberalism.  It was tragic.  And she was mocked mercilessly by the right wing after that.  

SCHULTZ:  Yes.  Men show emotion in public sometimes but we‘re all. 

WALSH:  It‘s fine.  

SCHULTZ: .almost into double figures right now with Mr. Boehner.  Is he stable?  And would President Obama be President Obama if he had acted like this on the campaign trail?

WALSH:  No.  I mean, that‘s easy.  Short answer.  No.  I don‘t know what to say.  Look, he cries a lot and he cries inexplicably.  And the only thing I can think of—when he talks about his humble origins is that maybe he‘s crying because he feels guilty about the fact that he has sided with the rich and powerful against the interest of people like the family that he comes from.  I don‘t know.  I can‘t psychoanalyze the guy.  It is a little bit strange that it seems to detached from anything that would necessarily trigger tears, unlike Speaker Pelosi.  

SCHULTZ:  And this is a man who has obviously very—he‘s very sensitive.  But he says, no to the unemployed repeatedly and beyond that, he says he rejects compromise.  Isn‘t it a Jekyll and Hyde?

WALSH:  It‘s clearly a Jekyll and Hyde.  He‘s certainly not crying for the growing number of families living in poverty.  The growing number of children living in poverty.  The people who have been kicked off unemployment and aren‘t going to get it back under this cruddy deal that we‘ve got to give tax cuts to the rich.  You know, I don‘t know why he‘s crying, but things that move the rest of us to tears don‘t seem to affect him at all.  So, I don‘t have a lot of sympathy for him.  I hope he looks into his heart and figures it out.  

SCHULTZ:  Joan Walsh, always a pleasure.  Great to have you with us.

Tonight in our phone survey I asked, do you think President Obama‘s tax cut compromise will hurt his re-election chances?  Seventy three percent of you said yes.  Twenty seven percent of you said no.  That‘s THE ED SHOW.  I‘m Ed Schultz.  “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews starts right now.  We‘ll see you tomorrow night.

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